Degrees for Nursery School Teachers?
The importance of early childhood development has been at the forefront of debate over the last decade. Schools today look for nursery school teachers to have at least some formal training in early childhood education if not a bachelor's degree.
So, do you need a degree to teach preschool? Study after study shows that 3- and 4-year-olds are better served by more-educated teachers in myriad ways. As you might expect, these teachers tend to offer superior curricula and formal teaching. But they're also, on average, "more stimulating, warm, and supportive" and "provide more age-appropriate experiences." That finding is from a 2004 overview of the relevant research by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and it represents the consensus view. The experts disagree over how much college coursework preschool teachers should have"a two-year associate degree vs. a four-year baccalaureate. The more vexing question is how to take what is now an underpaid, low-skilled workforce and magically restock it with college-educated professionals.
Unfortunately, the salaries of daycare providers and nursery school teachers are traditionally so low, that they fail to attract qualified personnel. Hopefully salaries will one day reflect the importance of these workers, and draw more qualified people to care for our children.