First, and perhaps the most telling, a quality preschool teacher never raises her voice in anger or losses patience with a child or the class. While preschool teachers are not saints, quality preschool teachers know that letting children see their frustration hurts both the children and their own ability to teach. Beware of a preschool teacher that expresses anger or resentment of children in anyway. A quality preschool teacher never barks out commands or scolds children. This kind of treatment undermines the very purpose of preschool – helping a child establish his or her own autonomy. An autocratic and scolding preschool teacher cannot help your child develop this sense of autonomy and actually undermines your child’s development. Run as fast as you can from these “teachers”. Unfortunately there a far too many of them in the vocation today.

Second, a quality preschool teacher understands how to avoid and diffuse power struggles. In fact, many children bring their unresolved power struggles from home with them to the classroom along with their backpack. A quality preschool teacher recognizes that entering into or fostering power struggles at school both undermines the child’s early childhood education as well as sets a negative tone for future academic environments. If your child comes away from preschool with the sense that school is about exerting power and that they are on the weaker side of that power equation, when they start feeling powerful in high school, this residual problem will become a large and daunting problem for both you and your child. Observe your child’s preschool teacher and determine how they manage the classroom. If they enter into and exert commanding power over your child – find another preschool. One great why of detecting this is to ask how they handle disruptions by children. If the answer is that the child needs to sit in a “time out” chair – that’s a clear sign of a power-oriented person – not a quality preschool teacher.

So how does a quality preschool teacher lead the education of our children without the tools that many parents tend to use everyday? Choice is the answer. Quality preschool teachers offer children choices and help them establish their autonomy and self-confidence by teaching them how to make choices and take responsibility for them. Quality preschool teachers have always used “choices” to help children develop. Its unfortunate that “responsible choices” has only recently become the mantra of high school educators.

Watch for these factors and your are sure to be able to spot a quality preschool teacher and as important, a poor preschool teacher. A quality preschool program will only employ quality teachers so don’t cross your fingers and hope that you child is assigned to a particular preschool teacher. Look for a program that takes the chance out of this equation – both you and your child deserve more than luck.