Preschool Teacher Interview Questions


Preschool Teacher Interview Questions

Preschool Teachers introduce children to the classroom setting and lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning. They develop creative, engaging curriculums that incorporate the most important elements of early childhood education to prepare students to enter kindergarten. Preschool Teachers also help children build self-esteem, learn important social skills and identify emerging developmental delays or learning deficits.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a teaching license, a Preschool Teacher should love being around children and have a naturally compassionate, patient and nurturing personality. They must also be excellent multitaskers to successfully run their classrooms and ensure every student is given the personalized attention they deserve. Look not only for a candidate’s qualifications but also their defining characteristics.

General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests, and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.

Below are Preschool Teachers interview questions to help you get started:

1. What is the best part about your job?

What you want to hear: Job satisfaction is important for many reasons, including positive mental health and improved performance. A Preschool Teacher should see their job as more than just a way to make money. They get to witness small children discovering new things about themselves and the world; listen for a response that shows a candidate’s emotional investment and sense of fulfillment from helping children grow.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: Many people are interested in teaching, but they are not all cut out for the practical work it entails. Preschool Teachers must be enthusiastic about working with children and genuinely love being around them. They cannot merely tolerate the preschool environment; they have to embrace getting messy, acting silly and playing with children on a daily basis.

2. What is the least enjoyable aspect of working with preschoolers?

What you want to hear: Job satisfaction is important for many reasons, including positive mental health and improved performance. A Preschool Teacher should see their job as more than just a way to make money. They get to witness small children discovering new things about themselves and the world; listen for a response that shows a candidate’s emotional investment and sense of fulfillment from helping children grow.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: Acknowledging challenging aspects of a job doesn’t make a candidate any less qualified. By identifying areas of discomfort or dissatisfaction, Preschool Teachers are able to implement positive changes that benefit themselves and their students.

3. What is your approach to classroom management?

What you want to hear: Behavioral discipline is important in any academic setting, but small children are especially sensitive to how their actions are perceived and reprimanded. Establishing class rules, being clear about expectations and using positive reinforcement are all simple ways a Preschool Teacher can promote good behavior. The most important feature of a response to this question is that the candidate recognizes themselves as a leader and role model in the classroom.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: If a Preschool Teacher is too lenient or too aggressive, it could have negative impacts on a child’s future development. The preschool classroom should be structured in rules and routines that promote good habits and encourage socioemotional development. Avoid any candidates who believe in time-outs, physical discipline or employ manipulative tactics to bribe rather than teach appropriate behavior.

4. What qualities do you consider essential to any preschool environment?

What you want to hear: The Preschool Teacher should always want their children to feel accepted and safe. Security and routine are extremely important to children at that age, and they need a classroom setting that promotes a love of learning, gives them opportunity to explore and discover themselves and nurtures their independent growth.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: The Preschool Teacher who cannot identify important elements of a preschool classroom will likely fail to cultivate the type of environment students need to achieve academic goals and develop properly.

5. What are some ways you help students resolve disagreements? 

What you want to hear: Every moment is a teaching opportunity. The Preschool Teacher should use disagreements as a chance to model healthy conflict resolution. They should speak to each student, have them express and acknowledge one another’s feelings and guide them toward the right behavior through clear explanations and modeling.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: If a candidate’s first instinct is to punish children for fighting, they could be overly critical and ultimately reinforce negative behaviors. Only consider candidates who accept disagreements as natural and use them to help students learn to handle their emotions and communicate better.

6. If a parent comes to you with concerns about their child’s performance, what do you do?

What you want to hear: Parents are an important part of the educational process. Their support and collaboration matters, and they should always be kept in-the-loop through phone calls, emails, newsletters, etc. When a parent comes to the Preschool Teacher, they should listen and strive to gather as much information as possible. Asking questions and offering reassurance first is the best way to avoid miscommunication and unnecessary conflict.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A candidate should recognize parents’ concerns as valid and do everything they can to resolve them. If they seem to be defensive or dislike input, they may be prone to withholding important details or misinterpret constructive criticism as a personal attack.

7. How would you help a child who is struggling to adjust to the classroom setting?

What you want to hear: Offering guidance and ample reassurance can help nervous students begin to acclimate. The Preschool Teacher should ensure every student goes through a morning welcome routine that gets them excited for the day ahead; drop-off with parents should be short but positive, and they may even ask parents to read stories and role-play preschool at home to help their child adjust. In addition, a buddy system with another student can help alleviate anxiety and guide a child toward greater classroom engagement.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A Preschool Teacher should have strategies for helping preschoolers with separation anxiety to prevent adjustment disorders from developing. A candidate should never dismiss the child’s feelings or think that ignoring anxiety until it goes away is an appropriate strategy. As part of your Preschool Teacher interview, make sure you cover various scenarios a candidate is likely to encounter.

8. What are some ways you help children get involved in learning?

What you want to hear: Preschool is no place for lectures. A Preschool Teacher should rely on a repertoire of activities including arts and crafts, media, story time and games to help children learn important subjects through interactive learning.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A cut-and-dry approach to teaching will lead to disengagement and misbehavior. Ensure that the next Preschool Teacher you hire to teach preschool is always looking for a variety of ways to make their classroom fun and exciting.

9. What do you do if you believe a child has undiagnosed autism?

What you want to hear: A Preschool Teacher should never make a diagnosis, but they can collect observations and present them to parents from a solution-oriented standpoint. For example, they may say that a child is not comfortable speaking to any of their classmates, so the Preschool Teacher is helping them participate in activities that encourage conversation. They should also offer to connect parents with the school’s Special Education Teacher; in the interim, it is important to adapt to the student’s needs.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A candidate should never diagnose a child or tell parents that they suspect their child has a specific condition. Parents may draw conclusions based on how a Preschool Teacher frames their statements, which is why open dialogue and additional support from the appropriate professionals should always be extended.

10. How do you create a welcoming and engaging classroom for your students?

What you want to hear: A good Preschool Teacher utilizes their entire space to help students learn and grow. The use of age-appropriate materials, visual cues, sensory-based toys and diverse material to promote cultural inclusivity may be included in a strong response. Preschool Teachers may also discuss the importance of having designated areas for different activities such as a reading corner or art table.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A candidate who does not understand the value of their classroom as a teaching tool is likely to underutilize the environment. Preschoolers want to engage and interact with everything, and a skilled Preschool Teacher will make sure that their classroom provides them with plenty of opportunities to learn and socialize. These abstract interview questions allow candidates to illustrate their applied knowledge.

Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Preschool Teacher position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who: 

  • Enthuse about children and clearly have a passion for their work.
  • Understand how to translate a curriculum into fun activities for their students.
  • Balance instruction and play in the classroom to keep students engaged.
  • Adopt a collaborative approach to teaching that includes parents and encourages at-home learning.

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