Certified vs. Non-Certified vs. Credentialed Preschool Teachers
The Arizona Department of Health Services oversees public Daycare, Preschool, and After-School childcare centers in the state.
Non-Certified and Credientialed: The ADHS minimum requirements to be a Preschool Teacher who has twelve months of experience are: a high school diploma and one class (3 credit hours) in Early Childhood Education. While there are several credentialing agencies and junior colleges which provide effective training for aspiring Preschool Teachers, there is no guarantee that your child will be placed with a teacher with those credentials, and there is generally no requirement for student teaching or minimal internship hours. They are NOT placed under contract and can leave at any time, meaning that in some cases your child may have several teachers per year.
CERTIFIED teachers have completed at least a four-year university program, a rigorous internship and student-teaching experience, passed state professional knowledge exams, and have complied with the training and experience requirements from the AZ Department of Education Certification Unit. Further, certified teachers sign year-long contracts, meaning that the important teacher/student relationship is likely to continue throughout the entire school year.
Most of our teachers have taught in Kindergarten and First Grade and are highly familiar with the standards and expectations for those grade levels. This helps them to prepare their students for success in the future, as well as helping them recognize when a student is off-track and what they need to do in order to help each child thrive.
Our Certified teachers are part of the school district and are familiar with the programs and procedures available for students who are ready to be challenged or have special needs, need accommodations, or just need some extra support. They are also familiar with the curriculum in Kindergarten and work throughout the year to prepare the students and ease the transition from Preschool to Kindergarten.
So why do commercial daycare and preschool centers hire non-certified teachers? - Because it is much less expensive, which increases their profits! While we won't blame a business for wanting to maximize profits, we are not a business, so our goal is to provide a high quality education and prepare your child for future success while charging only enough to grow the program and meet overhead expenses.