Highly Qualified Kindergarten Teachers: Have They Been Left Behind?

Jan. 15, 2008

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 29, Issue 1 January 2008 , pages 81 - 88

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has increased the academic expectations for kindergarten children. Where kindergarten was once a place for children to learn to socialize through play, many kindergarten classrooms have become replicas of first grade with children sitting at desks completing worksheets, learning to sound out words, and memorizing sight words. And, where once kindergarten teachers were educated with an emphasis on child development, the NCLB requirement of highly qualified teachers shifted state licensing requirements to majoring in subject areas.

In many teacher education programs, the change moved the preparation of kindergarten teachers out of early childhood teacher education programs into elementary/middle school programs. This article identifies the characteristics of highly qualified kindergarten teachers, summarizes state credential requirements for kindergarten teachers, shares a research study on the education of kindergarten teachers in one state, and suggests an action plan to make sure we have highly qualified kindergarten teachers for our kindergarten children.

Updated: Sep. 01, 2008