Be a part of our mission.
The mission of the YMCA of Metro Chicago is to develop strong children, families and communities across Metropolitan Chicago through academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, fitness and healthy living. We rely on the expertise, passion, commitment and energy of our teachers and other team members to help us achieve our mission one child, one family, and one team member at a time.
Our early learning programs create a child-centered environment that promotes learning, character development, healthy living and positive, nurturing relationships. With a commitment to meeting accreditation standards and extensive training and development in research-based practices, you’ll also learn and grow and positively impact our children, families and communities.
The Lead Teacher provides effective instructional strategies, classroom management, learning, assessment, evaluation and related research for children ages 3-5 years old. The Lead Teacher is responsible for providing developmentally appropriate learning experiences, supervision of children assigned in the classroom, and providing a supportive and positive classroom climate. This role ensures that we are meeting the individual needs of the children as mandated by DCFS, ExceleRate Illinois, NAEYC, federal, state and local standards, and YMCA standards and policies, as applicable.
Scope of Responsibilities:
- Demonstrates enthusiasm and interpersonal skills in order to relate well with children, parents, co-workers, administrators and the community.
- Models appropriate language, interactions, positive behavior and guidance strategies to ensure high-quality teaching and learning in the classroom that promotes academic readiness.
- Promotes and models high quality teaching and learning in the classroom that fosters academic readiness.
- Demonstrates culturally and linguistically appropriate practices that values all children and families and makes them feel welcomed and an essential part of the program
- Communicates and develops effective partnerships with parents and families, encouraging parent involvement through a variety of methods (i.e., newsletters, calendars, emails, phone calls, and bulletin boards).
- Schedules and conducts at least two parent/teacher conferences per program year.
- Provides opportunities for parent participation in classroom activities and parent/child activities at home
- Completes at least thirty clock hours of professional development annually, through participation in offered trainings, workshops, in-service days, all staff conferences; and maintain log of professional development requirements in the Gateway registry system.
- Utilizes continuous quality improvement (CQI) strategies to improve the classroom experience for children and families.
- Participates and supports agency/center efforts toward recruitment, enrollment, attendance and retention of families.
- Supports the YMCA’s mission and center operations as needed.
Lesson Planning and Classroom Management:
- Establishes and maintains a clean, safe and effective environment.
- Provides positive guidance techniques for learning through functional and attractive displays, interest areas and exhibits of children and their work.
- Develops lesson plans with goals, objectives, activities and outcomes for children that integrate health, nutrition, mental health, disabilities and parent involvement.
- Uses observational and child data to plan developmentally appropriate and engaging early learning experiences based upon the emergent needs of the child.
- Prepares and adapts the early learning environment using researched based tools (like CLASS, ERS and Rosie) and children’s interests to maximize their experiences.
- Plans, prepares and delivers age appropriate instructional activities that facilitate active learning experiences and promote the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of each child.
- Maintains awareness and supervision of children’s needs and ensure their physical health and safety, at all times.
- Plans and conducts activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
- Researches, plans, and implements appropriate studies/projects for an in-depth investigation of a topic over time; and arrange for special guests and approved field trips to extend children’s learning experiences.
- Participates in the YMCA’s professional learning communities and implements action research to enhance teacher practice and to document the overall experience within the program.
- Provides a variety of materials and resources while identifying different instructional methods to meet children’s varying needs to explore, manipulate and use them, both in learning activities and in imaginative play.
- Creates an inclusive classroom environment that will integrate and assist children with special needs.
- Establishes a professional rapport, communicate regularly and work cooperatively with staff assigned to the classroom (i.e., Assistants, Aides, Teachers, Parents, and Volunteers).
- Convenes meetings and provide guidance and support to classroom team in implementing the daily program of activities based upon principles of child development and in accordance with the curriculum.
- Selects, stores, orders, and inventories classroom equipment, materials and supplies using environmental assessments to guide decisions.
- Organizes and labels materials, and displays children's photos and work in a manner appropriate for their ages and perceptual skills.
Assessments, Reports, and Evaluations:
- Adheres to timelines and completes all necessary paperwork for classroom activities including screening, assessment, attendance, and meal participation.
- Maintains accurate and up-to-date child enrollment files and a portfolio for each child.
- Establishes, utilizes and maintains a system for collecting, managing and inputting ongoing authentic observations and classroom data into appropriate information systems.
- Collaborates on an IEP team for all children suspected or identified with special needs to integrate each child as fully as possible into the daily classroom experience.
- Recommends and completes referrals for further evaluation
- Observes and respects issues of confidentiality and ethics according to YMCA policies.
- Generates and completes reports as required, using them as a tool for planning and sharing information with others.
Child Abuse Prevention:
Supports the YMCA’s commitment to child abuse prevention by:
- Reporting any items that may provide a health or safety hazard to staff, members or guests to your supervisor
- Following all policies and procedures related to keeping children safe in our facilities and programs, including those related to the monitoring and supervision of children
- Reporting any suspicious behavior and violation of policy and procedures to your supervisor
- Completing all child abuse prevention training as required
Commitment to Inclusion:
Supports the YMCA's commitment to inclusion of all members as required by the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Job responsibilities may include implementing program modifications for persons with cognitive, behavioral or physical disabilities including but not limited to the injection of medical glucagon to members with Type 1 diabetes in emergency situations. Appropriate training and development will be provided to YMCA team members based on your role and responsibilities.
- Associate’s Degree or equivalent in Early Childhood Education or related degree with a minimum of 21 college semester hours in Early Childhood Education or Child Development.
- Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in Early Childhood Education and/or Type 04 Teacher Certification preferred
- ExceleRate Illinois Level 4 or 5 ECE Credential highly preferred; must be obtained once in role
- Must have minimum of one year experience in management of a pre-school classroom
- Passion for and commitment to the YMCA’s mission and serving the needs of children and families
- Demonstrated knowledge and ability to implement developmentally appropriate practices to promote early learning and social-emotional development
- Ability to apply early learning best practices to create a child-centered, supportive, inclusive and positive classroom environment to meet the needs of diverse children.
- Knowledge of how to design and implement the Creative Curriculum and other high quality curriculum approaches preferred.