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 Preschool Lead Teacher is responsible for providing a supportive and developmentally appropriate classroom learning environment. The position should model for, and support the teaching team in using effective instructional strategies to facilitate daily routines and activities that build on the individual and collective strengths of the children, and create a rigorous classroom learning environment. This position ensures that the needs of the children are met in accordance with Head Start, NAEYC, federal, state and local standards, and that the tenets of a demonstration model of early education are understood and used effectively in the classroom environment.
Scope of Responsibilities
- Maintain a rigorous, engaging, and positive classroom environment through the use of progressive classroom management techniques to ensure all aspects of daily activities are safe, supportive and inclusive for all children and families in the center.
- Demonstrate enthusiasm and interpersonal skills to relate well with children, families, colleagues, administrators and the larger community.
- Model and promote high-quality teaching and learning in the classroom including various systems of assessment and evaluation that supports school success.
- Model, coach and mentor pre-service teachers and associate teachers in best, and promising practices of teaching and learning, utilizing various tools including reflective supervision, workshops, training, and collaborative planning.
- Integrate and assist children with special needs into to daily life of the classroom environment.
- Develop effective partnerships with families and encourage parent involvement and communication through a variety of methods, supporting their understanding and increased knowledge in child growth and development.
Supporting the Demonstration Model
- Establish a professional rapport and work cooperatively with classroom team, establishing clear expectations for roles and responsibilities and fostering the professional and pedagogical development of classroom staff.
- Assign and evaluate skill-developing activities and tasks to classroom associate teachers based on assessment of their individual skills, strengths, and areas for growth.
- Conduct reflective supervision and team meeting opportunities with classroom associate teachers.
- Effectively communicate theories of teaching and learning utilized by center program models and curricula; be prepared to answer questions and speak with groups of touring, or observing students, professors and/or other visitors to the classroom.
- Present periodically at local and/or national conferences, meetings and gatherings within the larger field of early childhood education, delivering workshops, seminars, group talks, articles or other materials that support best, and promising practices in the care and education of young children
- Support the YMCA’s mission and center operations as needed.
Lesson Planning and Implementation
- Create developmentally appropriate lesson plans with curricula-aligned goals, objectives, activities and outcomes for children, that integrate health, nutrition, mental health, social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children and support family involvement.
- Organize and conduct activities for a balanced program of inquiry, instruction, demonstration, and play-based activities that provide children with opportunities to observe, question, investigate and produce.
- Create a strong school-to-home connection by providing opportunities for family-participation in the classroom and for parent/child learning interactions at home, being aware of and utilizing the range of ethnicities and cultures of the classroom population, but avoiding a “tourist” approach to examining cultural differences.
Evaluations, Assessments, and Reports
- Administer grant-required screenings, staffings and documents in a timely and accurate manner, as prescribed by the various program and licensing standards and regulations.
- Regularly observe children to evaluate and record their progress, recommend, and complete referrals for further evaluation as a need is identified.
- Input classroom and child data into appropriate information systems, weekly, as required.
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 as required by 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.
Minimum & Preferred Requirements; Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
- Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field
- Current Illinois Professional Educator License with Early Childhood Education and Bilingual or ESL Endorsement is required.
- Three or more years of experience as an early childhood teacher
- Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum integration and promising instructional practices for children ages 3-5.
- Ability to assess, analyze and interpret Head Start Standards and State and local licensing requirements
- Ability to build rapport with children, parents and families of high risk, and/or residing in underserved communities.
- Knowledge of Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Five preferred
- Bilingual preferred with ability to communicate with children and families in program
- Classroom leadership experience with the ability to model best practices and coach others ability to model best practices and coach others is essential
- Basic PC proficiency (e.g. MS Office, email, etc.) along with the ability to learn and adapt to new technology.
- Demonstrated critical thinking and problem-solving skills.