What is preschool all about?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by MissErin, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I've posted some questions in the jobseeker thread, but I thought maybe I could post here as well. I was just wondering if anyone could tell me what they like about teaching preschool and what they don't like. And also, if I could get a little insight about the typical day with preschoolers. I would hopefully be working with pre-k 3,4,or 5 (4-5 pref.) I am certified to teach K-6, but there are a lot more preschool job openings than grade school. Also- any insight on what types of places are best to work in? Or things that I should look for in a preschool environment (if and when I go to interview at some places)?

    Thanks for all the help!!!
     
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  3. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jun 22, 2008

    It's a small, small world

    It's a small world....

    I enjoy teaching preschool because children are just opening up, exploring, and having fun while learning. I have taught kdg and 2nd, and 3rd but preschool is my love. I thought I wanted kdg, but since it was so difficult to get in, I focused more on preschool. I am certified to teach ages 0-8. I am also certified in sp. ed for preschool.

    One of the things I treasure about preschool is the fact that we learn thru play. One of the things I don't like about preschool is that play is slowing being replaced with 30 minute language arts and math lessons. :unsure:

    What has hurt me is the fact that preschool was once a place for socialization and hands on exploration. Now, with No Child Left Behind, everyone seems to think preschool is more for academic readiness, and we must prepare kids for school. Unfornately, that isn't really want preschool was about. Kindergarten was designed to get kids ready for school. Today, too many preschool programs look exactly like kindergarten. And kindergarten is starting to look like 1st grade.

    There are 3 reasons why turnover is so high in preschool. Pay, benefits and training. Most programs pay less than what janitors earn. Small programs can't offer benefits. And many times, teacher assistants and aides only require a hs diploma, and therefore have little or no training in education. So, my problem is that they keep sticking me with an assistant who contradicts my every move. They want me to do things that are 'developmentally appropriate', which means child centered, hands on, and learning thru play. but the assistants or current teachers are used to doing what they want, or what they think the parents want to see.

    So, salary-wise, most pre-k teachers in a public school earn the same salary as other teachers. other programs pay considerably less, and most do not have retirement or benefits.

    Preschool can be a state pre-k program, housed in the elementary school, a private/non-profit program in resident or business area, or a social service agency that provides multiple resources, and has child care or Head Start services as well.

    Preschoolers range in ages 3-5, but some programs include infants and toddlers. In theory, programs can charge more for infants and toddlers, so they rush to get the 3year olds into the preschool side of the building. Therefore, you may have 3s in pull ups, and barely talking, and 5s who missed the cut off date for starting kindergarten, and they will talk your ears off.

    But needless to say, pre-k is my love. You need a heart of gold, knees like a National Leauge backcatcher, eyes in the back of your head, smiles that last a lifetime, and ears to hear everything they have to say.

    and a lot of patience, for their parents, and your co-workers.

    and directors...who have to do everything you don't.

    :p
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Pre school is about learning who you are (as the child), who the person next to you is, how to make a mess, how to clean up a mess, how to count (your friends and their snack crackers) and how to play...............

    This is how it should be. Now pre school is about filing papers and learning letters.

    I miss the good ol' days.

    I love every day with the children-it keeps you young.
     
  5. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Thank you both very much! MasterPreK it sounds as though you are really awesome at what you do! Thank you for all of the details and the real-life look into preschool, I really appreciate it! I value play even in the grade school levels, because children need a chance to be children. However, play does get moved out of the way and is very undervalued because of NCLB. It is really sad that it has to come to this! Hopefully NCLB will phase out... or something better will replace it.
     
  6. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Got an interview on Thursday...

    So I have an interview for a preschool teaching position that requires you to have a 4 year degree. So i'm hoping that the pay will be higher because of that. But we'll see! Are the interview questions for preschool positions similar to the ones that are posted in the jobseeker forum? Or does anyone have advice for what to study up on and what questions to anticipate? Thanks for the help!
     
  7. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jun 23, 2008

    NAEYC

    thank you! :)

    Everything you wanted to know about preschool...

    http://www.naeyc.org/


    It is important to find out about this school's mission, and philosophy. As we stated, many programs are still using the play-based, child centered approach. However, most school systems want the meat and potatoes. So, your mission if you choose to accept it, is to find out which way they are going. Because...if you come in there talking about Piaget, and getting down on their level and allowing them to explore, and they are looking for you to present a 30 minute reading lesson and give out homework dittos every night ...you two are NOT on the same page!

    I say, play it safe...be ready for both! Look thru kdg forums, and get ideas for lessons. Then look in pre-k too. Understand the basics of child development, and being a nuturing, supportive teacher.

    Develop your own philosophy, and stick to it...but remember, if you want to eat...you may have to play along (and maybe skip play time :unsure:)
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 24, 2008

    My five-year old son (just turned five) had his preschool graduation just Friday. It's a private preschool and a wonderful place. They run several events throughout the year, and I can imagine a lot of time must go just into preparing for them, because they're more ambitious than I would have imagined.

    They made a 9-foot Gulliver and 30 lilliputians in boats out of papier mache for their class art presentation (among personal drawings, sculptures, etc.).

    They had a full day field day with dances and songs, in addition to standard athletic activities and a group performance with a large parachute. They did this on a weekend.

    Their winter performance had at least a dozen songs, dances, or skits. Most of these had costume changes -- the most adorable being a dance done in grass skirts and leis, with pompoms, to a recording of "I can't help falling in love with you". One of the performances was a short recreation of an opera.

    Their graduation involved singing "America the Beautiful", speeches by teachers and one parent, awarding diplomas/certificates, and a slide show of pictures taken throughout the year. Each parent was given a copy of the slide show, some pictures drawn by their child at the beginning and end of the year (which were great for showing physical progress), and a set of pictures drawn by each of their classmates.

    After graduation, they went to the Big Apple circus, and then had an overnight sleepover at the director's house.

    In my opinion, a parent who wants serious academics for their preschooler should be doing it themselves. A parent can teach a child of average intelligence to read and basic addition before kindergarten if they wish without excessive effort (assuming they can do these things themselves). This is a great bonding experience and makes the child more enthusiastic about school. I also think "play" is a bit too loose a word for what should go on in preschool -- parents watching their kids in unstructured play who compare it to what they think is going on in preschool think of non-academic preschool as largely babysitting, when it actually is (or, can be) much more. I am far, far more impressed with what my five-year old's preschool does than with what my eight-year old's public school does.

    I don't think the teachers there are paid particularly well. And they do a lot of work (at least five weekend days that I can count). I have never seen them look tired or upset with work, though of course being a parent I probably wouldn't. At graduation, most of them cried more than the parents.

    Anyway, what I want to say is, despite MPK's admonition that you may have to play along, be aware that your choice of work environment will affect you. If you start out in a place that's heavily academically oriented, it will have an effect on your philosophy and work style even if you don't lean that way right now.

    I'm going to update my avatar now to one of the pictures in the slide show.
     
  9. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jun 24, 2008

    I'm interviewing very soon for a Prek sped position. I'm excited to work with this age group, because I can make their first school experience a positive one. I think what I will really enjoy is having more creativity in my teaching. These kids are open and eager... we can set the tone for them in years to come. I would like to challenge these kids as much as I can....

    Good luck on your interview Miss Erin.
     
  10. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    I teach preschool 3s in a private center. We do teach academics, but I teach mostly with hands on activities that the children enjoy. Throughout the year we do learn our letters and numbers and the months and days o f the week and months of the year and we do circle time and calendar and all those things. Thechildren generally enjoy doing those things as it makes them feel like big kids--and they want to "go to school" like the big kids at this age! through these activities they learn pre reading skills (calendar always goes left to right, top to bottom, pre math skills such as counting and patterning ( I start off with just single shape calendar pieces and then after a few months go to two different ones in a pattern and after a while they tell me what shape to look for!) they develop listening skills and manners and observation skills (weather person has to go look out the window and then turn the hands on the weather "clock" to what they think the weather is like). We do projects that involve painting and cutting and coloring and making messy things and they learn that they can do things they didn't think they could. We work on letter recongition and I make it fun with games and cool projects. Did you know J is for jump and cody can Jump 1 wiffle ball bat long? Or that Olivia is 9 of her footprints long? (we layed down on a piece of banner paper and i drew a line for their heads and feet and then I painted their feet and they walked from one line to the other--this was for Dr. Seuss week after we read The Foot Book) We learn our colors and shapes too. If I can help build theri self esteem and help them develop a sense of accomplishment and make learning an adventure then i've done my job well. To me that is waht preschool is aobut--learning how to get along with outhers and to beleive in themselves and to learn to try and when they leave my room if they look forward to coming bac the next day then I've done a good job. I also do hands on projexts like bringing in worms so they can expereience holding htem and observing them and then we fingerpaint worm tracks and crawl on the floor like worms and we hatched frog eggs to tadpoles and raised them all the wa to baby frogs. We did butterflies too. We grew bean plants in palstic cups and wet paper towels so they could see for real what we read about--roots look like hair etc---If you go to a preschool and you don't see lots of kids projects and art work---i'd be a little weary--also if all t he kids artwork and projects seem perfect--- that tells me they aren't doig it too much on their own. Look for well organized, clean, kid friendly . . . .look at the children-- are they all being silent or are they smiling and seem happy?---that's the best indication.
     
  11. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Thanks everyone for all of the insight. It makes me really excited about the possiblity of teaching preschoolers. I would love to crawl around like a worm on the floor! =) I love doing crafts and hands on activities. Thanks for the luck on my interview!!!
     
  12. missy21

    missy21 Rookie

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    Your going to love it. I did a long term substituting for pre-k and it was wonderful.. Its great to see them evolve so quickly. It's never boring, they always keep me on my toes...which I love!!
     
  13. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Remember, this is not a job for fakers! Just like Santa, they can tell when you are good or bad, and know when you are upset or mad! You can't smile when you are mad! If you are sick or have a headache...STAY HOME! They are very honest and ask if you have been crying or why are you mad at your co-teacher!!! They will do everything in your power to make you feel worse! that is their jobs! :) Seriously, you can blow off a headache, or sniffles in a 3rd grade class for 1 or two days. Not in preschool. You have to bring your "A" game every day, and come in on your toes, and be alert all the way up until the last kid leaves! Last kids have been know to pull some sneaky things on you, like leave the building! So, remember, what you do at the interview, be prepared to do for the rest of your pre-k life!!!

    :p
     
  14. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    It's about being honest! with the chidlren and with yourelf and finding out who youare, your strentghs and weaknesses. that goes for the kids and yourself. Nobody can do everything all by themslef--it's aobut learning what you can and how to ask for hlep when it's needed. But back to being honest-- if your not feeling well-- tell them, if your cranky --tell them. you'll be surprised how loving and supportive they can be. I've told them--"sorry guys--but I need youto be kind of quiet today-- I'm not feeling very wellright now--I will be okay but it will hlep me if you can be a little quiet right now" then they tell each other-- shhh---peggy has a head ache. they come and rub my back and if i c ough or sneeze thay ask me if I'm okay--- If I'm cranky I tell them-- I'm sorry guys--I'm cranky today-- it's not your fault-- I had a rough morning or Im upset with my mark--- but I'll get over it and it will be ok. I tell themI still love t hem and I still love my mark--I'm just feeling cranky. semtimes I tell them I need a time out! Sometimes if I m getting upsetwiththem they wil ask me if I need one!
     
  15. missteacher23

    missteacher23 Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2008

    Hi Erin,
    I just landed a job teaching preschoolers at La Petite. I start training on Monday. I also had a 4 year degree and they did credit my salary for that starting me off at 9.50 an hour. I can't complain since I don't really have experience and many start off lower. I have been on quite a few preschool interviews and found that they do not generally ask you many questions. They generally just tell you about their program and perhaps ask you what your background is and if you are willing to do the job duties. They are very laid back and generally just happy someone is willing to apply for the position. I have no doubt you will get the position. Good luck!
     
  16. FootballGal

    FootballGal Companion

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    Jun 26, 2008

    thanks missteacher23 for what you posted. I have an interview tomorrow at a daycare/preschool (I'm not sure what it is.. lol) and I am sooo very nervous. I usually always get nervous before an interview to the point that I can't eat. I guess I just want the job so badly that I'm so afraid I mess up the interview. Your post eased my nerves a little. I just hope the pay is decent since I too have a bachelor's with no experience except for student teaching. At least it's a job i guess. Thanks again!
     
  17. missteacher23

    missteacher23 Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2008

    Aww FootballGal,
    No problem! You will definitely get it. The anticipation is always a lot worse than the actual interview. I am pretty sure they won't ask you any tough questions at all. You know yourself better than anyone and thus can sell yourself if you put your mind to it or it comes down to it (which I doubt it will since this isn't a corporate job). Please let me know how it goes!
     
  18. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2008

    I had my interview and you were pretty much right on, it was more explaining about the facility instead of asking questions. However, she said she would pass my name on to the Curriculum Director and then have more of a teacher interview with her. They actually have a K program at this one, so I would probably do K instead of Pre-K. Congrats on the job missteacher!
     
  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2008

    ditto...that's exactly what I meant to say! :D
     

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