From Nanny to Preschool Teacher: How to Turn Your Job into a Career
Being a nanny is hard work but it definitely has its perks. In addition to cleaning up and setting boundaries, you get to go on adventures to the park, witness a child learning how to walk and even enjoy some free time during naps.
Providing long-term care for children can be extremely rewarding but there will inevitably come a time when your youngsters grow up and no longer need your supervision. When faced with this dilemma, you may begin your search for another family in need of your services or you may be looking for the next step in your career.
Luckily there are similar, more permanent career options if you do choose to move on. One ideal career path is to move from nanny to preschool teacher. Preschool teachers, much like nannies, play a crucial role in a child’s life.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing this path because you recognize the importance of preschool, you’d like to enjoy job stability and a regular work schedule or you simply want to continue working with children, keep reading to discover how you can convert your job title from nanny into preschool teacher.
Do nannies make good teachers?
Nannies and early childhood education (ECE) teachers share a very similar skillset. After all, both are entertaining and caring for young children. But besides loving kids, what skills do nannies and preschool teachers share? Let’s start with the skills you probably possess already.
Your experience as a nanny has likely equipped you with these important skills that Michelle LaRowe, editor in chief at eNannySource, says qualified nannies possess:
- Meeting the physical, emotional and educational needs of children in their care
- Ability to keep an environment neat and sanitary
- Organizational skills
- Effective communication skills
- Meeting the needs of one child without sacrificing the needs of another
“Caregivers who are self-starters and intrinsically motivated tend to make great nannies and they'd probably make great preschool teachers too,” she says.
Kate Granchelli of VIP Nannies was a nanny before earning her master’s degree and then becoming a teacher. She says being a nanny helped her develop several skills, including multi-tasking, the importance of deadlines, scheduling and helping children one-on-one.
It can be easy to forget that in addition to children, teachers also interact with their parents or caregivers daily. For Granchelli, being a nanny helped with her master that somewhat nerve-wracking task.
“I learned to be more tolerable and patient with peoples’ requests,” Granchelli says. “When you are a nanny there are tons of dynamics that you have to deal with.”
Preschool teachers need many of these same skills when dealing with a classroom full of kids. Specific skills preschool teachers need include monitoring, active listening, speaking, critical thinking and instructing.
So while we can’t guarantee that every nanny will make a stellar preschool teacher, we’re confident that most would experience a fairly smooth transition.
How to go from nanny to preschool teacher
Leaving your nanny position can be a little trickier than quitting any old job. You’ve poured your heart and soul into one family so you probably feel a strong allegiance with them. And you certainly care for the children. Needless to say, you want to leave in the right way.
LaRowe says you should always do whatever you can to end any nanny position on good terms and even secure a letter of reference when possible. “There is no formal standardization of nannies so [professional] references are like gold,” she explains.
Once you leave your position as nanny, the next step is acquiring the necessary skills and training to qualify for a preschool teaching job. Check out this handy resource for more information on what it takes to teach tots: Where Education Begins: Your Guide to Becoming a Preschool Teacher.
LaRowe also recommends that prospective preschool teachers also join professional organizations and look into professional development programs.
Leaving one job for another is never easy but you should now be confident that the transition from nanny to preschool teacher isn’t as difficult as you might think. So how can you do it?
Earning an ECE degree is a solid option as it will help equip you with what you need to succeed in leading a classroom. Even better? The childcare skills and knowledge you've developed as a nanny can make it easier to earn a degree. Check out Rasmussen College's Early Childhood Education degree page to learn more about the flexible, competency-based learning options available to you.