Kindergarten teacher qualifications in the United States can include a teaching license, student teaching experience, and certain educational requirements such as a bachelor's or master's degree, depending on the type of school setting. Public school teachers for all grades including kindergarten must maintain a teaching license, but private schools do not always require teachers to be licensed. Continuing education credits obtained on a regular basis are typically required in order to continue meeting kindergarten teacher qualifications after employment. In other countries, kindergarten teachers might have to earn a Bachelor of Education degree, obtain teacher registration, or meet other requirements. Another important component of kindergarten teacher qualifications is the individual's ability to meet certain personal characteristics for teaching success.
Generally, kindergarten teacher qualifications include successful completion of an accredited training program and a student teaching experiential. Teaching training will include a review of basic academic skills that will be taught in the classroom. In addition, teacher training for kindergarten placement can include coursework in topics such as psychology, curriculum planning, bilingual education, classroom management, multicultural issues, children with special needs, or technology.
Teaching kindergarten typically requires a bachelor's degree in education or early childhood development in the United States. In some areas with greater need for teacher placement, it can be possible to meet kindergarten teacher qualifications through an alternative route if the individual has a bachelor's degree in any subject. Some states mandate that teachers must earn a master's degree in the field of education within a certain time frame after beginning their first teaching position.
Requirements for teaching in other countries can vary. In many parts of Canada, a specific Bachelor of Education degree can be required for teachers. Parts of Australia and New Zealand require a similar Bachelor of Education or an alternative of a non-education bachelor's degree with two areas of study. Teachers in Australia must also register with their local board of teacher registration.
Significant kindergarten teacher qualifications also include personal qualities. An individual who wants to teach kindergarten should be patient and enjoy working with small children who might be unaccustomed to a school setting. A kindergarten teacher must also be able to communicate well with parents, working in collaboration with them to meet student goals.
Kindergarten teachers introduce students to primary skills in a variety of subjects. Academic topics covered can include science, language, math, and social studies. Kindergarten also teaches students appropriate social behavior as a foundation for continued schooling. Teachers facilitate learning in kindergarten by means of interactive games, storytelling, and structured play.
In the United States, kindergarten is considered part of standard elementary school education but was not mandatory in all states as of 2011. Academic skills learned in a kindergarten class could include recognizing shapes, listening, distinguishing letters of the alphabet as preparation for reading, and understanding common symbols. In some school districts, kindergarten is a half-day program, while in others it can be equivalent to a full school day. Like the U.S., English-speaking areas of Canada also regard kindergarten as the initial year of primary schooling. Many other countries worldwide view kindergarten as part of a child's preschool experience.