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Tutoring at the kindergarten level may seem excessive or unnecessary to some, but in actuality there is need. The primary purpose of kindergarten tutors is to help struggling students with reading readiness – a skill primarily taught in kindergarten and necessary for success in all subsequent grades. Kindergarten tutors may help with additional learning skills as needed, but reading and math are the foundation of kindergarten learning. To become a kindergarten tutor, specific skills and education are necessary, though there is no universal standard.
Schools constantly struggle with resources and as a result, staffing is a constant issue. There may not be enough money in the budget to hire classroom aides to aid teachers with struggling students. Those students who do not meet the required mandates for individualized education plans (IEPs), may not be afforded extra help in areas where it is needed. As a result, some parents may turn to a private tutor. The requirements to become a kindergarten tutor in the private sector will depend largely on the organization or institution offering services, but typically require some formal education in the field of early childhood education or development.
In schools where funding is available for hiring ancillary staff, such as classroom aides or paraprofessionals, kindergarten tutoring may be substituted by individualized or small group learning sessions. This is considered a school job and the qualifications are governed by the board of education that oversees the state or region where the school is located. At the very least, a two-year degree in early childhood education or development or a passing score on a classroom paraprofessional exam is likely to be a requirement. Some areas may require a teaching certificate to become a kindergarten tutor.
Whether tutoring in the public or private sector, the general expectations to become a kindergarten tutor include previous teaching experience or working with young children in an educational environment and some formal education or experience in the subject area being taught. Unlike tutoring for older children, kindergarten tutoring may include social and motor skills in addition to reading or math readiness.
Kindergarten tutoring may be an employment option for retired teachers, new graduates, or for preschool and daycare workers who have the necessary experience and education. While there is no specific standard of education to become a kindergarten tutor, employment options will be limited based on employer requirements. When working with children in person, additional requirements such as CPR training and certification may also be required and a criminal background check is nearly always necessary to qualify for employment in and educational or childcare setting.