While you might want to think of yourself as your child's one and only role model, give her preschool teacher the chance to also fill those shoes. Although there is certainly an understandable expectation that the preschool teacher is a thoughtful educator, any early childhood professional's should also impart positive behaviors to your child through thoughtful actions.
Social and Emotional Behaviors
Your preschooler may still throw a mega-tantrum when you tell him "No" or when his BFF won't share a coveted toy train. This doesn't mean that he has a behavior problem or can't relate to other people. instead, these seemingly negative behaviors are part of the preschoolers burgeoning -- and still immature -- social and emotional development. The preschool teacher should act as a role model, showing -- by doing -- your child acceptable ways to behave in social situations. For example, instead of screaming at the college intern who knocked over the entire art cart of paint onto the reading area carpet, your child's teacher should restrain her emotions and use polite words such as, "It's OK. I know that you didn't mean to spill the paint."
Learning is much more fun when it's, well -- fun. If your child's preschool teachers demonstrates -- through her behaviors and actions -- that learning is exciting and interesting, chances are that your little learner will think so too. The pre-K educator can act as an academic role model, showing the young students that learning is more than just something that kids have to do. For example, during a color mixing activity, the teacher can model how "into" the project she is by doing her own version of the exploration and talking excitedly about it.
Health and Nutrition
When your child is at preschool he isn't just learning his ABCs and 123s. Children who attend a full-day preschool program will eat at least one meal -- most likely more if you count breakfast and snack -- away from home. Not only can the school do its part to contribute to your child's health by serving nutritious food, but the teacher can model positive eating behaviors. This may mean trying a new food -- happily and without a sour look -- at an ethnic themed lunch or a holiday party, as well as eating in a healthy way every day. For example, if Monday's preschool lunch is chicken and carrots, the teacher should finish all of her veggies to show the children how she can eat in a healthy manner.
Your preschooler, like any child, is building her self-esteem. If she doesn't seem to have the confidence that you would like to see in her, the pre-K teacher can help to show her the road to self-esteem. By modeling confidence, the early childhood educator shows your little learner how easy it is to feel good about herself. For example, when the teacher makes a mistake -- such as singing the wrong words to a song -- instead of getting down in the dumps, she might say, "Everyone makes mistakes. I know I'll do a good job if I try my best."
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.