Assistant Teachers in State-funded Preschool Programs

by GG Weisenfeld, Kate Hodges, & Abby Copeman Petig

Assistant teachers are an integral component of the preschool classroom, planning and implementing educational activities and supporting individual children and small groups, and often bring linguistic, cultural, and racial/ethnic diversity to the teaching field. However, there is limited research on the impact of assistant teacher qualifications and training on child outcomes. This lack of research makes it more challenging for state administrators, policy makers, and advocates who want to understand how best to develop, support and/or implement workforce policies that are inclusive of assistant teachers. With support from the Alliance for Early Success, NIEER and CSCCE teamed up to present information that we do know about assistant teachers in this newly released report, Assistant Teachers in State-funded Preschool Programs. Some of the findings include that most state-funded preschool programs only require assistant teacher to have a high school diploma or the equivalent with fewer than one-third requiring a CDA. The report concludes with some strategies states have implemented to support assistant teachers in meeting qualifications, including scholarships and stipends.