Preschool Teacher  What They Do

Just the Facts


Instructs children (normally up to 5 years of age) in activities designed to promote social, physical and intellectual growth needed for primary school, in a preschool, day care center, or other child development facility. May be required to hold State certification.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Teaching/Training pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Establishes and enforces rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order.
  • Organizes and leads activities designed to promote physical, mental, and social development, such as games, arts and crafts, music, storytelling, and field trips.
  • Teaches basic skills, such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, and social skills.
  • Reads books to entire classes or to small groups.
  • Observes and evaluates children's performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Attends to children's basic needs by feeding them, dressing them, and changing their diapers.
  • Provides a variety of materials and resources for children to explore, manipulate, and use, both in learning activities and in imaginative play.
  • Assimilates arriving children to the school environment by greeting them, helping them remove outerwear, and selecting activities of interest to them.
  • Serves meals and snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
  • Teaches proper eating habits and personal hygiene.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Child Development Teacher -- Creates and organizes daily curriculum and schedules to meet the needs of the children while supporting their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
  • Montessori Preschool Teacher -- Teaches children according to Montessori theory that states that children learn by observing and manipulating the objects in their environment and that sees teachers more as observers than leaders.