A daycare teacher works with young children, including infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, and is responsible for their well-being and pre-kindergarten education while parents are at work. The job description of a daycare teacher requires patience, compassion, responsibility, strong organizational skills, and a background in early childhood education.
A daycare teacher watches children whose parents work full time, designs creative activities to entertain children and aid in their intellectual development, and encourages positive interactions among children at the daycare center.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Daycare Teacher
- Monitors all children under care while parents are at work.
- Ensures that children are safe and well behaved.
- Designs craft projects and other creative activities for children to complete.
- Provides snacks and meals for children.
- Makes sure daycare center is clean and organized.
- Takes children to nearby park or oversees recess as they play outside.
- Monitors interactions between children to ensure there are no fights or disputes.
- Disciplines children when necessary.
- Provides updates to parents on children’s behavior and progress.
- Administers first aid when necessary.
- Comforts children who are homesick or upset.
- Designs activities that help children learn alphabet and basic reading skills.
- Arranges and oversees rest times or naptimes.
- Feeds, changes, and carries infants at the daycare center.
- Assists in recruiting, training, and overseeing teacher’s aides.
- Administers care to sick children.
- Contacts parents in the event of an emergency.
- Answers parent inquiries.
- Addresses and resolves disputes among children.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates patience and compassion.
- Exhibits traits of a responsible and attentive person.
- Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
- Possesses knowledge of proper childcare techniques and early childhood development theory.
- Is capable of applying childhood development theory to everyday activities and curricula.
- Possesses strong listening skills.
- Demonstrates ability to communicate effectively with young children.
- Exhibits strong leadership skills.
- Is able to think and act quickly in a crisis.
- Possesses knowledge of basic first aid and emergency procedures.
- Demonstrates strong problem-solving skills.
- Exhibits ability to think creatively and innovatively when designing activities.
- Demonstrates strong interpersonal skills.
- Possesses physical and mental stamina required to oversee large numbers of young children on a daily basis.
Education and Experience
A daycare teacher holds a high school diploma and a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Some daycare teachers also hold Master’s Degrees in Education, and most have had previous experience teaching and working with children, often as teacher’s aides. Daycare teachers must also receive their teaching certification prior to employment.
A daycare teacher spends his or her working hours in a daycare center, which may be either an independent entity, attached to a school or business, or based in a private residence. Teachers generally maintain 40-hour workweeks, though evening and weekend hours may be necessary. Depending on the number of children being supervised and the teacher’s aides available, the environment can be hectic and stressful, particularly if children are sick or misbehaved.
The average salary for a daycare teacher is approximately $25,000 per year. Salaries can range from $20,000 to $40,000 per year depending on the teacher’s years of experience and educational background.