In order to get hired as a Kindergarten teacher in Illinois, you must hold a teaching certificate issued by the state. When you graduate high school, and you know that Kindergarten is the grade you want to teach, a quick check of the regulations for issuing a teaching certificate will lead you in the right direction as to what university courses you should take. Illinois requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited university as well as teacher training in early childhood education for all teachers applying for Kindergarten positions in the schools of the state. Once you complete this approved program, you are deemed to have met the requirements for an initial teaching certificate.
To get hired as a Kindergarten teacher in Illinois, you must hold either a teaching certificate in Early Childhood to Grade 3 or an Elementary Grades certificate for Kindergarten to Grade 9. In order to gain admission to the teacher preparation program, you must pass the Illinois Test of Basic Skills. Upon completion of the program, you must pass either the Illinois certification test for Early Childhood Education of the exam for Elementary/Middle Grades as well as the Assessment of Professional Teaching as it applies to the early years.
Some of the areas in which you must demonstrate competence in order to get hired as a Kindergarten teacher in Illinois include knowledge of oral language development in young children. You must understand the characteristics of how children learn to speak and have a repertoire of strategies for helping them to develop in their speech. The foundation of literacy development is an extremely important area in which you need to be able to teach phonics and early reading. You should also be able to assess students in their first year of regular schooling to identify any students who are having difficulties and make the appropriate accommodations so that they can experience success. You need to know when these students will benefit from having the support of specialists or paraprofessionals in the school.
One of the components of the teacher certification process leading to getting hired as a Kindergarten teacher in Illinois is that you have experience in the classroom gained through a student teaching internship as part of the teacher preparation program. This will let you observe a certified teacher in the classroom and eventually teach lessons to the children. There is a mandated Kindergarten curriculum with stated outcomes the students must master at the end of the school year. You should be able to use the curriculum guides to follow these outcomes in planning lessons. The Kindergarten program involves a lot of play through which the students meet the outcomes, so you should be able to teach in such an environment.
Knowledge of current research in child development and various teaching methodologies is a requirement for getting hired as a Kindergarten teacher in Illinois. You need to have an extensive repertoire of teaching strategies you can use in various situations and be able to demonstrate knowledge of classroom management techniques. In Kindergarten, students do not sit quietly in their seats and listen to the teacher. Therefore you need to integrate learning centers in the classroom and have lessons of short duration. Depending on the size and resources of the school in which you teach, you may also be responsible for teaching Music and Physical Education to the Kindergarten students.