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A preschool director acts as the administrator of a preschool. Among other duties, he or she typically supervises the staff and oversees the budget. Other common responsibilities of preschool directors include developing the school’s policies and programs, as well as acting as a liaison with parents and the community at large. These professionals usually have a background in early childhood education and prior teaching experience. In a large preschool, the director may employ an assistant director, or other administrative staff members, in addition to the classroom teachers.
A preschool is an institution of early childhood education, generally for children between the ages of three and five. Many preschools offer either full-day or half-day programs, and can vary as far as the number of days per week that children attend. In many U.S. states, there are guidelines and standards regarding the structure and curriculum of preschools. For example, a certain adult-to-child ratio is typically required in each classroom. In addition, many schools must follow a certain type of curriculum in order to gain accreditation from a regional or national body. The preschool director is solely responsible for ensuring that the school adheres to such stated guidelines.
The normal responsibilities of a preschool director generally include seeing to it that programs are implemented effectively, while managing the overall daily operation of the school. This role can include assisting his or her staff with classroom issues, as well as collaborating with parents and teachers regarding student concerns. A preschool director usually has teaching experience, as well. In schools experiencing a temporary staff shortage, directors might have to teach classes in addition to performing their administrative duties. Furthermore, education budgets can vary according to geographic area and the type of preschool. Although many families pay tuition for certain preschool programs, the director still might have to coordinate fundraising activities to cover expenses.
As is the case with many occupations, a preschool director’s salary will usually have several determining factors. Different geographic areas usually have varying salary scales. In the U.S., for instance, a person’s salary normally depends on where he or she works, as well as his or her background and skills. The job outlook for teachers and education administrators, however, is generally positive. As a result, qualified candidates can usually expect to be paid a competitive salary in most locations.
Generally, a preschool director is expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many of them complete at least some post-graduate coursework in areas such as education or child development. In the U.S., many states also have licensing requirements for preschool directors, which can usually be fulfilled by taking additional courses and gaining a certain amount of professional experience. If he or she wishes, someone who starts as an assistant teacher can often advance with ease to teacher and lead teacher positions, eventually obtaining a career as a preschool director.