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Hiring preschool teachers and other staff members can be a challenge. Early childhood learning centers need to develop strategies to find the right kind of people who can handle this demanding job. Hiring managers are tasked to discover those special people who have what it takes to make young learners thrive and develop into successful kindergartners and school-aged children. Make your task of hiring the right preschool teachers and staff easier by looking for these eight essential character traits and job skills when you are hiring your staff.
The first important skill that all preschool teachers and staff members need to be equipped with is patience. Dealing with young learners may involve a variety of different types of situations. Preschoolers can be messy and slower than other, older learners because the educational experience is a new thing for them. Successful preschool teachers need to be able to have the calm patience that young learners require when teaching new skills or reinforcing various behaviors.
Creativity is another top skill that preschool teachers and staff should possess. A big part of this job is developing lesson plans that are engaging to young learners. Preschoolers require a lot of hands-on experiences that capture their imagination and teach them basic skills in literacy, math, and social interactions. Creative personalities can dream up a variety of ideas that are interesting to young learners and also meet their educational needs.
A quality preschool teacher needs to also have a friendly, welcoming personality. Schools today cater to a variety of different types of learners, and a friendly, outgoing teacher or support staff member can help children achieve, no matter what. The preschool community may include learners with special needs, children from different backgrounds, children who may not speak English, and many other different circumstances. Children should have a positive experience for their first time in school, and a friendly, caring teacher is someone who can guide them to the path of success in these early years.
Knowledge of Positive Behavior Interventions
Teachers at all levels should also demonstrate knowledge of positive behavior interventions. Making sure little people follow the school’s behavior expectations can be difficult, but with positive behavior intervention strategies, everyone tends to be more successful. This type of behavior intervention philosophy focuses on building community, highlighting good behavior, and earning rewards. If students don’t meet the expectations, there are consequences, but there are more things for students to earn and get excited about than worrying about doing the wrong thing. For a future preschool teacher for your building, candidates should have a strong understanding of how positive strategies work.
Another key skill that preschool staff members need when working with young learners is physical stamina. At programs like Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, students do a variety of learning tasks throughout the day and need assistance at times. Preschool teachers and staff members sometimes need to get down to the students’ level to assist. They also need to participate in activities such as physical education, playground supervision, art, and other hands-on experiences. The ideal preschool teacher should be able to get right in the action and work with kids with lots of energy.
Next, organizational skills are a must for staff members who work with early learners. Preschool teachers may be required to develop a daily schedule of lessons and activities for various contents, such as reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and health. Children tend to thrive in routines, and the teacher must also show strong skills in following the same routine every day. There are a lot of different early childhood learning skills to cover, and the best educators have everything organized and planned out ahead of time to get the children to the next benchmark.
Experience With Curriculum Standards
Educators working at all levels also need to have knowledge and experience with curriculum standards. For students in preschool, it’s common for schools to work towards the state’s kindergarten readiness standards. An effective early childhood educator will be well versed with these standards and be able to design lessons and activities that help students achieve goals and standards that prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. Educators should also have a good sense of understanding about the Common Core Curriculum and how it can be applied in their own classroom.
Knowledge of Childhood Development
The last essential piece of a top candidate who is capable of working in a preschool environment is knowledge of childhood development. Young children go through various stages of development before, during, and after the preschool years. Effective educators should be able to recognize the different stages of development for young children. They can use this knowledge to design better learning activities that appeal to the children in different developmental stages.