Toddler Teacher Job Description

Toddler teachers are responsible for the education and care of children, typically between one and three years old. They provide physical care while also tending to the emotional and social development of young children. Toddler teachers usually help develop age-appropriate curricula related to developing basic skills and knowledge. They also plan activities for the day and supervise children on the playground or within a caretaking setting.

In addition to a background in early childhood education, toddler teachers should be comfortable communicating directly with parents to report on their child’s progress.


Toddler Teacher Duties and Responsibilities

Toddler teachers are friendly and compassionate, with high energy levels, and the ability to maintain the safety of young children. Based on listings we analyzed, these are the core duties typically assigned to toddler teachers:

Educating Young Children

Toddler teachers primarily interact with and instruct children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. Children in this age group are typically learning basic social skills and developing their familiarity with language; toddler teachers develop lesson plans that help teach and reinforce basic skills such as counting and speaking. They also develop plans for activities and constructive playtime that contribute to social and emotional development.

Maintaining Safety

While supervising young children and maintaining classrooms and equipment, toddler teachers make safety a priority, making sure children use equipment and interact safely, as well as disinfecting classroom surfaces and equipment to prevent the spread of germs. Toddler teachers also keep records of accidents and other incidents to help maintain a safe and supportive learning environment for all children.

Parent Communication

Toddler teachers regularly communicate with parents, whether to provide day-to-day reports on classroom activities or to report on a child’s development. In some cases, toddler teachers may meet directly with parents to address concerns or difficulties and work with parents, providing support and resolving ongoing problems. Toddler teachers should be willing to collaborate to develop solutions that are in each child’s best interests.

Monitoring Development

Toddler teachers closely monitor and keep extensive records of students’ intellectual, social, and emotional development. This can involve regular, daily observations, as well as periodic assessments to measure each student’s mastery of life skills and attainment of educational goals. Toddler teachers have extensive knowledge of developmental stages and benchmarks to conduct accurate evaluations and take note of a need to communicate with parents or administrators regarding a child’s progress.


Toddler Teacher Skills and Qualifications

Toddler teachers are empathetic, outgoing, and energetic to keep up with the daily responsibilities of caring for young children. Generally, toddler teachers need at least an associate’s degree, along with the following skills:

  • Lesson development – toddler teachers develop fun and engaging lessons that are interactive and enjoyable while supporting child development
  • Classroom leadership – toddler teachers successfully take charge in a classroom setting, keeping toddlers engaged during activities and being able to rapidly adjust lesson plans and activities throughout the day
  • Written and verbal communication – the ability to communicate both verbally and in written reports and documents is important for communicating with children and providing information to parents and administrators
  • Observation and evaluation – toddler teachers monitor children’s development, observing and evaluating toddlers to keep track of their progress
  • Compassion and empathy – toddler teachers exercise compassion and empathy while interacting with children and their parents, supporting a safe, healthy learning environment for all children
  • Organization and cleaning – finally, toddler teachers have a high level of organization and cleanliness; they often arrive early or stay late to plan lessons and ensure that the classroom area is clean and sanitized


Toddler Teacher Education and Training

Education requirements for toddler teachers vary depending on the location of a preschool and whether it is within a public or private setting. Generally, toddler teachers need at least an associate’s degree, although toddler teachers in public or private schools may need a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Additionally, preschools and daycare centers may require toddler teachers to complete a certificate in early childhood education, especially if they do not have a bachelor’s degree.

In many states and cities, toddler teachers need to obtain a license. It’s a good idea to maintain first aid and CPR certification if you want to pursue a career as a toddler teacher. Some preschools and daycare centers may offer this certification as part of the onboarding process.


Toddler Teacher Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, as of May 2016, the median yearly wage for preschool teachers (including toddler teachers) was $28,790. This wage can vary widely by geographical location and depends on whether the teacher works in a public or private setting. The lowest 10 percent of toddler teachers earned less than $19,430 annually in 2016, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned over $54,310.

Employment for toddler teachers is expected to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026 as the number of preschool-aged children grows and parents place more of a focus on early childhood education.


Helpful Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about a career as a toddler teacher, we found many resources for early childhood educators that provide more information and opportunities to learn about this field:

National Association for the Education of Young Children – This professional organization for early childhood educators offers accreditation, continuing education programs, and opportunities to connect with educators

Early Childhood Education: Becoming a Professional – This book provides an extensive look at the field of early childhood education, providing resources for readers interested in working in the field.

ChildCare Aware – ChildCare Aware is an advocacy and public policy group focused on improving access to early childhood education and promoting the benefits of early education.

Early Childhood Education: A Practical Guide to Evidence-Based, Multi-Tiered Service Delivery – This book applies principles of educating school-aged children to early education, focusing on child development and family engagement.

Teachstone Blog – This blog offers articles and resources for toddler teachers at any stage of their careers.

Rethinking Early Childhood Education – Educator Ann Pelo explores new topics in early childhood education, focusing on nurturing empathy, curiosity, and collaboration in young children.


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