I have been a preschool director and teacher for 26 years. I went to La-Sierra University and received my B.S. in Early Childhood Education. I chose this line of work because I love young children and knew that I could make a difference in their lives.
I am always amazed when people equate my job to babysitting. “So what do you actually DO with preschoolers? It’s not like you’re teaching them math, or science or reading. What is it that a preschool teacher does?”
Well, I don’t teach a math class but when we count the days on the calendar, or count objects in the classroom, (how many shoes do you see here today?) or when I teach a three year old what a rhombus, or a trapezoid, or a pentagon is they are learning basic math… this will prepare them for addition, multiplication, geometry and algebra.
I do not teach a science class. But when we put objects in water to determine if they will float or sink we are learning about density. When we play with cornstarch mixed with water we are learning what a non-Newtonian fluid is. When we sing the water cycle boogie we are learning about the continuous movement of water… evaporation, condensation, precipitation.
I do not teach preschool children how to read but I teach them the alphabet, the individual sounds and blended sounds. I teach them to recognize their name in print. I read them stories and teach them a love of the written word. I teach them to rhyme. These skills prepare them for Dr. Seuss, William Shakespeare and John Steinbeck.
I do not teach a writing course but I will teach them how to shape letters and how to write their name. I teach them to cooperate with others, and to use their words to communicate their feelings rather than lashing out physically. I teach them basic hygiene, how to clean their face, to wipe their nose, to wash their hands and how to sneeze in their sleeve so as not to spread germs… GERMS… what are those? Another great science lesson.
I teach more to a preschool age child than you can begin to imagine. What they learn in preschool prepares them for life. It is imperative for me to help my students develop a lifelong love of learning because when they leave my classroom they will spend at least 13 more years in school. I teach future teachers, future engineers, future nurses, future judges, and future ceo’s.
Early childhood educators teach preschool because they love young children, not for fame or fortune. It is a joy when I run into ex-students that have grown and listen to them share stories about preschool. I have received high school and college graduation announcements from some of my students and most have notes attached that say something like this, “Thank you for being my first teacher.” or “Preschool was the best time of my life.” This is why I teach and I am grateful for this gift.