Preschool teacher observation checklist

Written by denise brandenberg
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Preschool teacher observation checklist
There are many things to look for when scoping out a preschool. (boy & girl drawing image by Jane September from

Even though it is a necessity for many working parents, some people are apprehensive about sending their toddlers to new preschools. One way to become more comfortable with the school is by observing the preschool teacher in action. There are many things to look for, and most people benefit from using an observation checklist to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

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The preschool teacher's communication methods, both with the children and the parents, should be carefully observed, according to the Canada Child Care Directory. The checklist may include a section on how children are greeted, the type of voice tone the teacher uses and how the teacher listens when children speak to her. Other items, such as how the teacher communicates student expectations and gives student feedback are also important. The parent should also note how the teacher communicates and gives feedback to the parents, whether it's a daily note, e-mail or regular one-on-one meetings. Some schools even send out monthly newsletters that highlight children's achievements and remind parents about upcoming events.


Discipline is an action that should be taken into account when choosing a prospective preschool and teacher. Most children will act inappropriately from time to time and need to be disciplined. Some observation checklist items in this area may include watching how the preschool teacher reacts to disagreements between toddlers, as well as how he responds to the situation. According to a sample checklist on the Circle of Inclusion website, it is important to observe how the teacher redirects bad behaviours and turns them into learning and social development lessons.


The preschool teacher's attitude can impact a child's perception of school and organised structures. The observation checklist should have areas regarding the teacher's demeanour (calm or frantic), as well as her attitude. For example, most effective preschool teachers have a positive outlook and encourage positive interactions between children. Look for situations that show how the teacher helps a child who is struggling, and observe how helpful and respectful she is with the student. Observe how the children react to her.

Training and Education

When parents are visiting potential preschools, they should sit down and speak with the preschool teacher to learn about her teaching philosophy and background. Some common checklist reminders on topics to inquire about include the teacher's educational background and continuing education training programs. Other items to be on the lookout for are training certificates, such as in first aid and CPR.

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