Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds (2024)

Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds (1)

There are essential skills that areimportant for every preschool teacher to have in order to manage their classrooms effectively and efficiently and support children's social, emotional, and academic development.

Skills such as communication and collaboration enable teachers to build better relationships with families and work better in teams with other educators to support all children in the classroom.

While some preschool teacher skills are innate, others can be learned. All teachers, whether new to the profession or veterans, can continue to develop their skill sets to better support the children in their care. Below, we’ll explore the key skills you need to become a successful preschool teacher.

Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds (2)


Why do you want to become a preschool teacher?

Being a preschool teacher may seem like it's all playtime and fun, but a lot of work goes into it. In addition to all the hard work, the profession also comes with a lot of rewards. Seeing the joy on a child's face when learning something new or accomplishing something they've been working hard on is a joy to behold.

First, as a preschool teacher, you get a chance to make a difference in the lives of children. The early years are crucial for development and laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning. As a preschool teacher, you help your children develop essential skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Being a preschool teacher also offers decent pay, as the average salary for a preschool teacher in the United States is about $35,000 per year according to May 2022 data. However, this number varies widely based on location and experience level with teachers in certain states making closer to $40,000—$59,000 per year.

Becoming a preschool teacher is a great way to start a career in education. There are opportunities for advancement, and you will be well-positioned to move into other roles.

But before you begin your journey to becoming a preschool teacher, ask yourself why you want to enter this profession. You don't want to commit to becoming a teacher unless you are sure it is the right fit for you.

Here are the motivations that typically draw people to become preschool teachers:

A passion for working with children

Preschool teachers must have a deep love for working with children. They enjoy watching children grow, learn, and explore new things and are passionate about making a difference in their lives.

Helping children succeed

Whether learning a new skill or reaching a milestone, seeing children succeed is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a preschool teacher. The first few years of a child’s development are crucial and providing an engaging learning environment will help build the foundation for future learning success.

Working with children of all backgrounds and abilities

As a preschool teacher, you will have the opportunity to work with children of all different backgrounds and abilities. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about other cultures and to help children learn and grow in their own ways. If you enjoy working with a diverse group, this might be the right profession for you.

What does a preschool teacher do?

A preschool teacher is responsible for caring for and educating children ages three to five. They work in various settings, including public and private schools, childcare centers, and Head Start programs.

The duties of a preschool teacher vary, depending on the ages and needs of the children they are working with. However, all preschool teachers share a common goal—to help their children learn and grow.

There are specific duties that all preschool teachers must fulfill to reach this goal.

First, preschool teachers create a safe learning environment for their children. This includes providing a clean and well-organized classroom, supervising activities, and ensuring that all safety procedures are followed. Children need to feel safe to learn, so it’s the role of teachers to create a positive and nurturing environment.

Second, preschool teachers plan and implement engaging activities for their children. These activitiespromote learning and development in all cognitive, social, emotional, and physical areas. Theyalso provide opportunities for children to explore their interests and express themselves creatively.

Preschool teachers must also assess each child's progress and adjust their instruction accordingly. They achieve this by observing children during activities, keeping track of their progress, and identifying each child’s individual strengths and weaknesses to help each child reach their full potential.

Preschool teachers also communicate regularly with families. This includes sharing information about their child's progress, providing resources and advice, and addressing parents' questions or concerns. Good communication helps to maintain a positive relationship between teachers and families.

Finally, preschool teachers collaborate with other professionals, such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, and counselors. This allows them to provide their children with the best possible education and care. By working together, they ensure that all children are receiving the individualized attention they need to succeed.

Skills needed to be a preschool teacher

The best preschool teachers make the learning process fun and engaging, lay a foundation for later success in school, and encourage a love of learning in young children. They possess skills such as organization, classroom management, and time management skills that are essential both in classroom settings and in one-on-one interactions.

Educators that have the following top preschool teacher skills can create a nurturing and stimulating environment that promotes early childhood development:

Organizational skills

With a large group of young children, teachers need to be organized. This includes having well-planned lessons, easily accessible materials, and a safe and inviting classroom.

Something as simple as having a designated area for art supplies or books creates a sense of order in the classroom. When everything is in place and there is a routine, children feel more comfortable and focused on learning.

Communication skills

Teachersmustclearly and concisely explain activities, expectations, and rules to young children. They also need to be good listeners to understand what children are saying and identify any problems they may have.

When speaking with families, clear and frequent communication builds a strong partnership. It's typically best practice for teachers toavoid using jargon and speak in a clear, direct manner when discussing their child’s progress with families.

Classroom management skills

A skilled preschool teacher uses effective classroom management strategies to create a positive learning environment for all children while still providing individualized attention. This includes things like choosing the optimal classroom layout, establishing daily routines, and managing transitions between activities.

Keeping a class of preschoolers engaged can be challenging. Avoiding downtime and creating consistent daily schedules will help keep children busy and engaged.

Lesson planning skills

Preschool teachers must plan developmentally appropriate lessons that meet each child's needs. This includes knowing what skills need to be taught and how to teach them in a way that is engaging and fun.

Teachers need to be flexible in their planning and be able to adjust lessons quickly if necessary. This might mean adding an extra activity or modifying an existing one to meet the children’s needs more successfully.

Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds (3)


Behavior management skills

Many children will hit, bite, kick, or throw tantrums at some point during their preschool years. Therefore, teachers need a system to respond to challenging behavior effectively, including using positive reinforcement and establishing rules and boundaries in your classroom. For more severe offenses, teachers may need to use time-outs or have difficult conversations with families about the child's behavior.

Record keeping skills

Teachers must keep track of each child's developmental progress by maintaining attendance records, tracking assessments, and writing anecdotal notes.

Accurate and up-to-date records help identify concerns and track each child's progress. These records are also vital when communicating with families and other professionals.

Child development skills

Preschool teachers need to have a strong understanding of early childhood development and the key milestones that children reach in each developmental domain. This knowledge helps them create an appropriate curriculum and plan activities that nurture each child's physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional growth. It also allows them to spot any concerns or developmental delays.

First aid skills

It's important for anyone working with childrentohave a basic understanding of first aid, including training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Additional health and safety training and beingtrained on their center’s emergency procedures, including when to call for help and how to follow up after an incident, all help prepare teachers to provide the best possible care to children.

Technology skills

While preschool teachers may not need to be technology experts, having a basic understanding of how to use early childhood education software will assist them in their daily job functions. For example, many schools now use digital portfolios to communicate with families, so being able to upload and organize files and photos is essential.

Time management skills

Time is of the essence in a preschool classroom. There are always things to do and very little time to do them in. Thus teachers have to manage their time wisely. For example, they must plan and organize the day, knowing when to delegate tasks to other staff members. It also means keeping the class on track while allowing flexibility.

What makes a good preschool teacher?

Not all people are born to be teachers. You may have some personal qualities that make a good preschool teacher, but not all of them. That's okay! You can always work on developing the traits you need. Here are some of the qualities that make a good preschool teacher:


Children at this age are still learning how to control their emotions and behaviors. They may act out or be disruptive in class. Teachers must be patient and understand that these behaviors are developmentally appropriate.

Teachers must also be patient when communicating with families. Effective communication with families is a key to building strong engagement with your program, and taking the time to understand their perspective will strengthen that partnership.


Children learn best through play and exploration. Therefore, teachers must be creative in their lesson planning and activities to keep childrenengaged.

When children actively engage in their learning, they retain more information and are more likely to enjoy the process. Also, by being creative, teachers can better differentiate instruction to meet each child's needs.


Preschool teachers are responsible for creating lesson plans that meet the early learning standards of their specific state or program and assessing each child’s progress towards developmental milestones.

Teachers must have solid organization skills to effectively plan lessons and activities and maintain records and documentation on each child’s learning outcomes.


Preschoolers have a lot of energy. They are constantly moving, exploring, and trying new things, so teachers need to be able to keep up with them.


Teachers work with children who are still developing emotionally and socially. That means children may not yet have the skills to effectively manage and express their emotions which can cause frustration.

Teachers will be better equipped to connect with children if they try to see the world from a child’s perspective and have compassion for their experiences. If children feel that their teachers care about them, they are more likely to trust and confide in them.


Preschool teacher skills help you develop lesson plans and activities that stimulate young minds, help children learn new concepts, and make children excited about coming to school each day. These skills also build strong relationships with your children and their families and lead to a career in education, which is a stable and rewarding field.

Enrolling in an accredited early childhood education program is the best way to develop the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful preschool teacher. With the right skills and training, you can make a difference in the lives of young children and their families in many rewarding ways.

Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds (2024)


Essential Preschool Teacher Skills for Nurturing Young Minds? ›

Teachers must clearly and concisely explain activities, expectations, and rules to young children. They also need to be good listeners to understand what children are saying and identify any problems they may have.

What are three skills needed for a preschool teacher? ›

Important Qualities
  • Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good writing and speaking skills to talk to parents and colleagues about children's progress. ...
  • Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young children. ...
  • Interpersonal skills. ...
  • Organizational skills. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Physical stamina.

What are the top five attributes that an effective preschool teacher should have? ›

10 Qualities of Great Early Childhood Educators
  • Patience. Full of curiosity and excitement, and eager to learn, touch, and do, little kids can be impulsive and reactive. ...
  • Passion for Teaching. ...
  • Love for Young Children. ...
  • Caring and Compassion. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Organization.
Aug 13, 2021

Which skill is the most important for educators to help children develop? ›

Problem-Solving Skills

Foundational to success in school, personal relationship and in even life's simplest of activities, problem-solving skill development should begin in preschool. Teaching and stretching children's problem-solving skills can occur through personal interactions, games and assignments.

What are the soft skills for early childhood educators? ›

Soft skills in high demand among employers in the early learning sector include good communication, reliability, organisation, patience, teamwork, creativity, curiosity and the ability to solve problems and think on your feet.

What are the core competencies of preschool teachers? ›

The California ECE Competencies are organized into twelve overlapping areas: (1) Child Development and Learning; (2) Culture, Diversity and Equity; (3) Relationships, Interactions, and Guidance; (4) Family and Community Engagement; (5) Dual-Language Development; (6) Observation, Screening, Assessment, and Documentation ...

What are the qualities of a good early childhood teacher? ›

  • Patient. Of all the characteristics of effective early childhood teachers, whether in a school or a child care center, having a patient nature is perhaps the most important. ...
  • Impact-Aware. ...
  • Creative. ...
  • Passionate About Teaching. ...
  • Observant. ...
  • Compassionate. ...
  • Communicative. ...
  • Physically Fit.
Feb 21, 2023

What is your greatest strength as a preschool teacher? ›

Example Answer:

One of my greatest strengths as a preschool teacher is my ability to build connections with my children. I have a warm and welcoming demeanor that helps children feel comfortable and safe in the classroom.

What are the strongest attributes as a teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

What are the five competencies of a great and effective teacher? ›

Teaching Competencies
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills.
  • Organization and Planning.
  • Classroom Management.
  • Facilitation and Engagement.
  • Assessment and Coaching.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork.
  • Caring and Inclusiveness.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability.

How can you nurture children's strengths? ›

How can you nurture children's strengths?
  1. Be explicit in recognizing and positively reinforcing a child's strengths. ...
  2. Acknowledge strengths and encourage others to reinforce them, too. ...
  3. Emphasize at least one strength for every child. ...
  4. Ask parents and other caregivers at home for their insights and observations.

What are the foundational skills of preschoolers? ›

In pre-kindergarten, children develop phonological awareness, print concepts, and knowledge about letters, all of which contribute to the development of fluent reading. These skills are a necessary foundation to reach the ultimate goal of reading: comprehension.

What are three skills of a teacher? ›

Here are the top teaching skills:
  • Communication. A huge part of teaching is communicating information. ...
  • Patience. People learn at all different rates. ...
  • Creativity. People learn best when they're doing something fun and interesting. ...
  • Enthusiasm. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Dedication. ...
  • Conflict resolution. ...
  • Organisation.

What are the hard skills of a preschool teacher? ›

The most common preschool teacher hard skill is child care. 18.4% of preschool teachers have this skill on their resume. The second most common hard skill for a preschool teacher is cpr appearing on 16.6% of resumes. The third most common preschool teacher skill is classroom management on 15.0% of resumes.

What are the four basic teaching skills? ›

Teaching has at its center the method of communication, task -based methods, functional methods and situations as real life etc . These methods are realized through various strategies and techniques, according to language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) .

What skills should be taught in preschool? ›

Preschools teach the basics to kids, giving them a strong foundation for the elementary years. This includes academic concepts of literacy and math, such as counting, coloring, and letter recognition and developing large and fine motor skills, such as walking in a line and using a pencil.


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