I wish I could return to my preschool days. Life was easy back then. We were playing and singing most of the time, not really knowing that these skills would actually help us down the road, once we were learning to read and write. I just didn’t see the connection. Now though, after long years of working in education, I can tell with certainty that it makes a difference whether a child received a quality preschool education, or they received a poor education, or even none, before starting to attend the elementary school.
Of course, each child is individual, and how easily they learn to read and write depends on many factors. But preschool is definitely one of them, and we should not downplay the importance of good preschool teachers in the life of our children…. Do you also want to play this role? Do you want to be a quality preschool teacher? I hope so, and I will help you to prepare for the questions you may face while interviewing for this great job. Let’s start!
Why do you want to work as a preschool teacher?
Say that you are really good around young children. You understand their mental and emotional world, know how to win their trust. Your emotional intelligence and listening skills stand out, and you believe to have the right personality for this type of work. If you have your own children, you can mention it, because it definitely helps to get ready to work with children of similar age.
Second thing you can refer to is the meaningful purpose of your work. You know that in the age from two to six, children develop the majority of their formulas of thinking, and you hope to be a good role model for them, helping them to get ready for the later stages of their education and life. Try to talk with some enthusiasm about your work. The interviewers shouldn’t get an impression that you apply for the job just because you have a degree in early childhood education. They should feel that you really want the job, and know why you want to do it well.
What are your favorite teaching methods?
Right answer to this question really depends on the level of education. Speaking about preschool, you shouldn’t suggest lecturing or something similar. Go with more innovative and engaging teaching methods, such as learning by playing, flipped classroom, etc.
You can even say that you do not have a favorite method. Experimenting with various methods fitting for this age group, you always try to see what works the best in the given group of children, and then apply the methods in your lessons. You also alternate between various concepts and methods, making sure the children won’t get bored, and enjoy their preschool time… Needless to say, if you apply for a preschool teacher job in a special type of school, such as Waldorf, or Montessori, you should learn more about their concept of teaching, and refer to their teaching methods in your interview answer.
Young children struggle with discipline at times. How do you want to deal with it?
Struggling with discipline is, in my opinion, a part of childhood. We should not build a fence around their imagination, as long as we really want the best for their physical and mental development. At the same time, however, one child should not spoil the educational process (or the game) for the rest of their pupils. So, what to say at this point?
I suggest you to focus primarily on your role. Instead of blaming the children for poor discipline, you try to understand how can you make your teaching better, more engaging for the children, so they will stay on the same page with you and won’t make problems.
Of course, some children will remain disruptive regardless of how hard you try. In such cases you may suggest involving their parents in the case, or even seeking assistance of your colleagues from special education department. One way or another, you will do something, because you do not want to let one child spoil the day of everyone else in the class…
What are your favorite games to play with children in preschool?
I’m too old to suggest particular games here, but I can give you some pointers. First of all, suggest games that promote movement. The pandemic of child obesity is one of the biggest problems we face, not only in the United States. It is pivotal to help the children develop love for movement, of any kind. Playing sports, dancing, going for a walk to the forest (or to the park at least). Such activities have a more important meaning in the healthy development of children as many people think…
Second important group are activities that promote healthy social behavior. Talk about games that promote cooperation instead of competition. Working on all sorts of tasks together, children develop their communication and social skills, something they will benefit a lot from later on in life. Any games you pick, try to explain why you prefer them, and what role they play in the education of the children.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a preschool teacher?
Any weakness you pick, ensure the interviewers that you want to improve on it. In an ideal case you should explain how you want to do it. Let me show you an example. Let’s say arts are your weakness. You can draw a bit and play some flute, but you also know it isn’t enough, considering the importance singing and drawing have in preschool education. Instead of lamenting about it, however, you are learning piano three hours each week, and plan to attend evening classes in drawing. You try to improve on your weaknesses.
For your strengths you should pick something highly relevant for the job. Emotional intelligence, communication skills, an ability to connect with young children quickly and win their trust, your teaching skills in general, and so on, and so forth. You can also say that you continue working on your education, watching new trends and attending seminars and webinars, because you want to progress as a teacher, and are not complacent with your strengths and skills.
Other questions you may face in your preschool teacher job interview
- What do you consider the most difficult aspect of preschool teaching?
- I step into your classroom in the middle of the lesson. What will I see?
- What do you enjoy to do in your leisure time?
- How do you feel about working with children with special needs?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
- Explain in your own words what role does preschool education play in the life of a child.
- Why do you want to teach at this school, and not somewhere else?
- How do you include parents and guardians in their child’s education?
Generally speaking, interviews for preschool teaching jobs aren’t difficult–as long as you prepare for them in advance. Try to learn something about the particular educational establishment. Do they follow any particular teaching philosophy, like Montessori for example? What values do they try to foster in the children? How many children are in one classroom? And what role does technology play in the education? Knowing something about them will help you with your interview answers.
I also suggest you to read this post once again, and think about your answer to each of the questions. Make sure to show positive emotions throughout, and to speak with a lot of enthusiasm about your teaching mission. If you manage to do so, and do not remain silent when facing their questions, you have a pretty good chance of getting the job. I wish you good luck!
May also help you succeed:
- Teacher interview questions – 40 questions for all levels of education.
- Teacher interview – questions to ask a principal – Good interview is a dialogue, and you should know what questions to ask them once the opportunity arrives.
- Why do you want to work with children – Check 7 sample answers to this tricky interview question.
- Kindergarten teacher interview questions