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What Does a Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant Do?

Kindergarten teacher's assistants help the head teacher in the classroom. Kindergarten teacher's assistants may help students on an individual basis, prepare instructional material, and monitor students.

Career Overview: Kindergarten Assistant

A kindergarten teacher's assistant is responsible for helping the head teacher in the classroom by performing assigned duties. They may help in developing, organizing, and putting into practice the daily program under the supervision of the head teacher. They are generally responsible for classroom supervision when the head teacher is absent. They may also be required to assist with light cleaning duties, attend staff meetings, and participate in training programs.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Similar Occupations Childcare Worker, Preschool Teacher's Assistant, Special Education Teacher's Assistant, Library Technician/Assistant
Key Skills Patience, interpersonal skills, and communication skills
Required Education Varies by school district, but usually a high school diploma or associate's degree is required; sometimes a skills-based test is required
Work Environment Other than in the classroom, some teacher's assistants will ride the bus with students and work during the summer for summer school

Assistant Teacher Responsibilities

In cooperation with the head teacher in the classroom, kindergarten teacher's assistants perform many of the same tasks, such as enforcing classroom and school rules and greeting children when they arrive to school. Under the supervision of the head teacher, assistants may take over teaching the class as a whole on an occasional basis. Depending on the size of the class, assistants and head teachers often work together to get the young students settled for the day, helping them with the morning routine. Teacher assistants may complete supportive work, such as organizing paperwork, photocopying, and preparing and producing bulletin boards, classroom displays, and materials used in instruction. Duties such as record-keeping, materials inventory, and technical support for classroom computers, tape recorders, or projectors will likely fall to a teacher's assistant.

Other responsibilities included in a kindergarten paraprofessional job description:

  • Tutoring or assisting individual students
  • Supervising children at lunch, in the hallways, and at recess
  • Helping with children that have special needs
  • Accompanying students and teacher on field trips or outings
  • Escorting children who need to leave the classroom for any reason
  • Ensuring that students meet the correct bus

Advantages of Having a Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant

Though some may think a kindergarten teacher's assistant doesn't help much and there's no need for the position, studies demonstrate otherwise. The assistant goes a long way towards furthering student learning. The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) includes a study where students at three different schools were evaluated before and after having a kindergarten teacher's assistant for six weeks. Results showed that while the teacher's assistant was present:

  • More small-group activities could take place
  • Each child received more individual attention
  • The classroom ran better
  • Students' language development increased
  • Teachers had more time for observation
  • Children could interact with one another more often

Salary Information and Career Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specifically on kindergarten teacher's assistants, it does publish data pertinent to teacher's assistants in general. According to the BLS, the employment of teacher's assistants is expected to grow by about 8% between 2016 and 2026. The mean annual salary earned by all categories of teacher's assistants was $28,750 in May 2018. Those assistants working in elementary and secondary schools earned an annual mean salary of $29,180 in 2018.