Preschool teachers are responsible for the educational and social development of children between the ages of 3 and 5. Preschool teachers use a variety of instruction methods including dance, art, music, storytelling and games to instill learning in small children. Lessons include the alphabet, simple word recognition, numbers, days of the week and seasons. Preschool teachers fulfill several roles in order to prepare their students for the rigors and expectations of elementary school.
It is a preschool teacher's responsibility to create and execute lesson plans appropriate for preschool-age children. Lesson plans should be designed to give children manners, citizenship, cultural and social awareness and responsibility, as well as educational tools. Preschool-age children are often given individualized or small group instruction; teachers may have to create more than one daily lesson plan depending on the fluctuating needs of the student population.
Preschool-age children require interactive and movement-based activity for maximized learning potential. It is the role of the preschool teacher to lead children in activities such as drawing, painting, dancing, singing and storytelling. Preschool teachers have the responsibility of demonstrating to children the connection between fun and learning.
It is also the role of preschool teachers to fulfill the practical needs of children. Preschool teachers have to provide nutritious meals, snacks and beverages for the children, as well as help them go the bathroom, help them change their clothes if they have an accident, bandage any cuts or scrapes, provide them with a safe and warm space for napping, and act as a peacekeeper for any arguments or disagreements that arise.
Preschool teachers fulfill a role as a nurturer and role model. Small children need positive encouragement and love; preschool teachers have to compliment children, tell them what a good job they're doing, how much they're making their teacher and parents proud, and how kind, talented and creative they are. Preschool teachers have the responsibility to boost the self-esteem of their students. They must also be a positive role model; preschool teachers must exhibit patience and flexibility, and they must speak only in a way they wouldn't mind their students emulating.
It is the administrative role of the preschool teacher to monitor and document their students' progress and development for parent and school records. This provides schools with a model of instruction method successes and failures to build upon for future classes, and it gives parents an idea of their child's strengths and weaknesses.