How to Be a Kindergarten Teacher (With Duties and Skills)

Updated 30 April 2023

Early education teachers are educators that teach children in kindergarten and nursery classes. If you love being around children and teaching, a career as a kindergarten teacher might interest you. Knowing about the qualification requirements for the role and understanding the functions of the position can help you determine whether it's an ideal career path for you. In this article, we outline how to become a kindergarten teacher, discuss the duties and responsibilities of the role and highlight key skills required to perform the job duties effectively.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

How to be a kindergarten teacher

If you're wondering how to become a kindergarten teacher, here's a step-by-step guide showing you the process for entering the profession:

1. Determine the target age group and language proficiency

Before you start your journey as a kindergarten teacher, learn about the specific requirements for the specific age groups you intend to teach. Find out the qualifications for teaching different languages. As a kindergarten educator, you can be an English Language teacher who specialises in teaching English as a first language. You can also be a second language teacher, which involves teaching in Chinese, Malay, Tamil or non-Tamil Indian languages. Kindergarten teachers can also be foreign language teachers.

2. Meet educator certification requirements

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) requires kindergarten teachers to meet specific professional, academic and language requirements. There are different educator certification levels for each age group and language. For this role, you're going to be teaching kindergarten, nursery, pre-nursery and playgroup, which are children between the ages of 18 months and six years old. Educators who want to teach this age group require a Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education. They also require five GCE O-levels credits in five different subjects, including a B4 or C6 grade in English Language or the applicable language.

With these qualifications, you can become an English language teacher in kindergarten and the rest of the applicable age groups. Foreign language and second language kindergarten teachers also require the same diploma. Second language teachers require a B4 or C6 grade in their GCE O-levels second language, while foreign language teachers are expected to have a B4 or C6 grade equivalent in a foreign language from a national or state examination. For each language proficiency level, candidates with a B4 become L2 teachers, while those with a C6 become L2C educators until they have a B4 in the relevant language.

Related: Early Childhood Certificate vs. Degree: Differences

Find kindergarten teacher jobs

3. Apply for educator certification

If you've met the ECDA's professional, academic and language requirements, you can apply for educator certification. The kindergarten or child care centre that employed you is going to submit the certification application on your behalf. The application involves submitting all your credentials, such as your Early Childhood Graduation certificate, transcript which includes a grading system and documents to show language proficiency.

Once you complete the application for certification, the ECDA is going to assess your credentials and process it within seven working days for individuals with a local early childhood qualification. Those with a foreign early childhood qualification require 14 business days to process their applications. If the ECDA approves your application, the agency is going to upload a Letter of Notification to your educator's account, after which you can start working as a kindergarten teacher.

Related: What Is an Early Childhood Education Degree? (Plus Job List)

Duties and responsibilities of a kindergarten teacher

Here are some duties and responsibilities of a kindergarten teacher:

Design and follow teaching plans

As a kindergarten teacher, part of your work includes designing lesson plans based on the curriculum. This involves creating a general outline of the teaching goals and learning objectives and the methods to achieve them. An ideal lesson plan allows you to leverage your knowledge and teaching skills to create an ideal learning environment that stimulates children's inquisitiveness and promotes their social skills.

Related: What Is Early Childhood Education? (Roles, Skills and Salary)

Organise learning materials

It's important for teachers to organise teaching materials to keep their classes tidy. You can create weekly and quarterly lesson plans to ensure you have the materials required for each class. Teachers also use binders to label their worksheets and resources, ensuring their classroom is clutter-free and well-organised.

Your work can involve sourcing materials, such as whiteboard markers, glue sticks, letter tiles, alphabet cards, puzzles and pipe cleaners. Kindergarten students use these materials to learn writing, reading, maths and arts and crafts. Having the right teaching and learning resources can help facilitate hands-on learning, encourage children to explore their surroundings and promote creativity and social interaction.

Teach key life skills

Kindergarten teachers help children acquire important life skills by teaching them letters of the alphabet and numeracy. They use a variety of instructional methods and activities, such as games, songs, stories, art and audio-visual teaching aids to enhance the children's learning and make classes fun and engaging. Teachers in kindergarten also help children develop personal, social and emotional skills by encouraging them to interact with each other, share toys and make decisions.

Related: How to Become an ESL Teacher (With Duties and Skills)

Create a conducive learning environment

One function of the kindergarten teacher is to create a conducive classroom environment that predisposes students to learning. One way to do this is to decorate the classroom with vibrant colours and use creative room arrangements, such as flexible seating. An ideal kindergarten classroom environment is welcoming, comfortable and encourages cooperation and group activities.

Assess students' performance

Your job is going to involve student performance assessments. Teachers use quantitative methods, such as activities that test students' academic progress, and individual reports, to ensure children get high-quality education. Part of your duties is to report each student's progress to their parents and incorporate insights from each individual's performance to improve the teaching and learning strategies.

Enforce professional standards

Working with children requires stringent teaching and safety standards. It's your duty to ensure that students in your class are well-behaved and don't injure themselves. Ensure you follow teaching best practices when interacting with the students and enforcing discipline through the use of positive reinforcement and consistency. That way, you can reward good behaviour, set expectations regarding acceptable conduct and inculcate respect for one another in each student. It's essential to observe each student to identify those that require individualised support to ensure they behave properly in class.

Related: How to Become a Teacher's Aide (With Duties and Salary)

Key skills for kindergarten teachers

Here are important skills that can help kindergarten teachers perform their job functions effectively:

Classroom management

Kindergarten teachers require classroom management skills to ensure students can learn effectively. Effectively managing classrooms requires being able to source and keep track of teaching and learning materials and resources. It also involves maintaining a safe, comfortable and supportive environment that promotes learning and social skills development.


It's important for teachers in this role to be adept at planning class activities and leveraging the classroom resources to motivate students to learn and interact. Effective kindergarten teachers know how to organise worksheets and lesson notes and keep teaching aids and the classroom environment clean, safe and ideal for learning activities. They also use organisation skills to keep track of each child's progress.

Related: 9 Qualities of a Good Teacher (With Tips to Develop Them)


Teaching children requires creativity, as young students require more effort to learn and focus in class. Teachers use different methods, including play, games, songs, toys and a variety of other tools and activities to achieve teaching and learning goals. For example, you might intend to deliver a class with read-aloud books. As the lesson progresses, you may realise that a song is a better delivery medium to help students learn. Having the flexibility to combine different teaching approaches can keep your students engaged and make your class interactive and rewarding.


Teaching kindergarten students requires being able to communicate effectively with children. While some children can recognise letters, some may require visual aids, such as pictures and visual representations in the form of animals, to understand your point. This makes it important for kindergarten teachers to know how to identify the ideal way to interact with students to aid their academic progress.


Kindergarten teachers require excellent classroom management, teaching, adaptability and problem-solving skills to keep them engaged in lessons. Like every other student, children in kindergarten classes are going to learn at an individual pace, especially because they're still developing their language and social skills. Being patient and compassionate can help you better understand each student's learning challenges, allowing you to provide dedicated attention to improve their performance and progress.

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