17 Preschool Assistant Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a preschool assistant teacher, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Preschool assistant teachers help lead and guide children in a preschool setting. They help with the planning and implementation of educational activities and help to create a nurturing and safe environment for the children.

If you’re applying for a position as a preschool assistant teacher, you’ll likely be asked a few questions about your experience with children, your education, and your philosophy on early childhood education. You’ll also want to be prepared to answer some questions about your own childhood, such as what your favorite childhood memory is.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with some sample questions and answers that you can use to help you prepare for your interview.

Common Preschool Assistant Teacher Interview Questions

Are you certified or licensed to work with preschool age children?

Employers may ask this question to make sure you have the necessary qualifications for working with young children. If you are not certified or licensed, consider taking a class or exam that will allow you to work with preschool age children.

Example: “I am currently studying to take my certification test for early childhood education. I plan on taking it in the next few months so that I can start working as an assistant teacher at your school. I feel like I have learned enough about teaching and childcare to be able to help out while I study.”

What are some of your favorite activities to do with preschool age children?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your teaching style and how you interact with children. It’s important to show that you enjoy working with young children, but it’s also helpful if you mention some activities that are developmentally appropriate for their age group.

Example: “I love doing sensory activities with preschoolers because they’re so much fun and I find them very rewarding. For example, one activity I did was making homemade playdough. We used different colors of food coloring to make different shades of brown, then added in some flour to make it more like real playdough. The kids loved getting messy and playing with the dough afterward.”

How would you handle a situation where a child is having a tantrum or is otherwise upset?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to handle challenging situations with students. In your answer, try to demonstrate that you can remain calm and focused in these types of situations. You should also highlight the importance of maintaining a positive learning environment for all students.

Example: “I would first make sure I am prepared for any type of situation that might arise during my teaching day. If a child is having a tantrum or meltdown, I would calmly walk over to them and speak softly so as not to draw attention from other children. I would then find out what they are upset about and try to help them solve their problem. For example, if they want more play dough but it’s time to clean up, I would offer to let them use the play dough again after cleanup.”

What is your experience working with children with special needs?

Special needs children often require additional attention and care. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with these types of students. They also want to know how you plan to help the teacher in charge of special education. In your answer, try to highlight any specific skills or techniques you use when working with special needs children.

Example: “I’ve worked with several special needs children throughout my career as a preschool assistant teacher. I find that it’s important to be patient and understanding when working with these kids. I always try to give them extra time and attention so they feel comfortable and safe. I also like to encourage parents to communicate with me about their child’s progress. This helps me understand what challenges they may be having.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to step in to help a teacher who was struggling to manage the class.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle stressful situations and whether you have experience working with a team. Use your answer to highlight your communication skills, problem-solving abilities and teamwork skills.

Example: “In my first year of teaching, I had a substitute teacher who was having trouble managing the class. The students were getting restless and started acting out. I stepped in to help by taking over some of the lesson plans so that she could take a break. She thanked me for helping her get through the rest of the day without any more problems.”

If you could only choose one, which would you consider to be more important: developing a child’s social skills or academic skills? Explain your answer.

This question is designed to assess your understanding of the importance of both social and academic skills in a child’s development. It also helps an interviewer determine whether you are able to balance these two important areas when teaching. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide examples of how you have balanced social and academic skills in the past.

Example: “I believe that developing a child’s social skills and their academic skills are equally important. In my experience, I find that children who develop strong social skills tend to do better academically because they feel more comfortable asking questions and participating in class discussions. However, I also think that focusing on academics is important for helping students learn how to interact with others. For example, I once had a student who was very shy. We worked together to help him overcome his shyness so he could participate in classroom activities.

What would you do if you noticed that a child was acting withdrawn or isolated from the rest of the class?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle challenging situations with students. They want to know that you can identify and address these issues in a way that helps the student feel comfortable and supported. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to help the child feel more included and confident.

Example: “If I noticed that a child was acting withdrawn or isolated from the rest of the class, I would first try to get them involved in an activity where they could interact with other children. If they were still not interacting after that, I would pull them aside for one-on-one time so we could talk about their feelings. I would reassure them that it’s okay to be sad sometimes and that everyone feels that way sometimes. Then, I would encourage them to find another friend to play with.”

How well do you handle criticism?

As an assistant teacher, you may need to receive feedback from your principal or other teachers. Interviewers ask this question to see how well you can take criticism and use it to improve yourself as a professional. In your answer, explain that you welcome constructive criticism because it helps you learn new ways to do things better. Explain that you value the opinions of others and try to implement their suggestions into your work.

Example: “I understand that receiving feedback is part of my job as a preschool assistant teacher. I know that sometimes people have different perspectives on what’s best for children, so I always listen carefully when someone gives me advice or criticism. I also try to be respectful in return, even if I disagree with something they say. I find that by listening to others’ ideas and offering my own thoughts, we can usually come up with a solution that works for everyone.”

Do you have any suggestions for ways that a preschool assistant can help a teacher to improve their classroom management skills?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have any ideas for how they can improve their classroom management skills. They want to know that you’re willing to help them and that you’re a team player who’s willing to share your knowledge with others. In your answer, try to offer specific suggestions or tips that the interviewer can use in their own classroom.

Example: “I think it’s important for assistant teachers to be honest about what works well in the classroom and what doesn’t work so well. I’ve seen situations where an assistant teacher was hesitant to speak up because they didn’t want to offend the teacher. However, I think it’s better to give feedback than not. If there are things that could be improved, I would rather hear it from someone else than find out later when parents start asking questions.”

When interacting with a child, do you prefer to use words or actions?

This question can help an interviewer determine how you interact with children and whether your teaching style aligns with the school’s philosophy. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of when you used both words and actions in your classroom.

Example: “I find that using both words and actions is often the most effective way to communicate with children. For instance, if I want to get a child’s attention, I will say their name and then make eye contact with them. Then, once they look at me, I will use my hands or body language to show them what I would like them to do. This helps them understand what I am asking for and gives them a visual cue so they know what to expect.”

We want our preschool assistants to feel comfortable approaching the teacher for help. How would you feel about being approached by a student?

The interviewer wants to know how you would feel about being approached by a student for help and guidance. This question can also give the interviewer insight into your teaching style, as they may want to see if you are more hands-on or prefer that students work independently. In your answer, try to show that you are open to helping students with their learning and development.

Example: “I think it’s important for assistants to be comfortable approaching teachers for help when needed. I always encourage my students to ask me questions and provide them with opportunities to practice asking for help in different ways. For example, I might have them practice saying ‘excuse me’ or ‘may I please have some assistance?’ before asking me a question.”

Describe your process for calming down a child who is upset.

When working with young children, you may encounter situations where a child becomes upset. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strategies for calming down a child and helping them feel safe and secure. In your answer, explain how you would use your communication skills and empathy to help the child feel better.

Example: “I once worked with a student who was having a hard time transitioning from one activity to another. He became very upset when I asked him to put away his toys and sit at his desk. Instead of telling him he had to do it, I tried to find out what he wanted. I learned that he just wanted to play a little longer. So, I let him play for five more minutes before asking him again to clean up. This helped him understand that I wasn’t trying to be mean but rather that we needed to move on to the next thing.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for a preschool assistant position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the job. They want someone who is passionate and enthusiastic about working with young children. Show them that you have what it takes to be a great assistant teacher by highlighting your skills, abilities and experience.

Example: “I am an ideal candidate because I love working with kids of all ages. I find joy in seeing their excitement when they learn something new. I also have several years of experience working as a preschool assistant teacher. In my last position, I helped teachers develop lesson plans and activities for the classroom. I can use these skills to help you create engaging lessons for the students.”

Which age group do you most enjoy working with? Why?

This question helps the interviewer determine if you are a good fit for their school. It also allows them to understand your teaching style and how it may differ from other teachers in the classroom. When answering this question, try to focus on what you enjoy about working with that age group rather than any challenges or struggles you’ve had.

Example: “I really enjoy working with children between the ages of three and five because they’re at such an inquisitive stage. They want to learn everything they can about the world around them and are eager to ask questions. I find that I am able to answer most of their questions and help them develop their vocabulary. I feel like I’m making a difference in their lives by helping them learn new things.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a preschool assistant to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you view your role in a classroom. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention skills that are important for working with young children and their development.

Example: “I think one of the most important skills for a preschool assistant is patience. Working with young children requires a lot of patience because they’re still learning many things about the world around them. I have always been naturally patient, so I find it easy to work with kids who may need more time to learn something new. Another skill I think is important is creativity. Young children are full of imagination and creativity, so I try to encourage my students to use their imaginations as much as possible.”

How often do you think a preschool assistant should check in with a teacher to update them on a child’s behavior or progress?

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how often you communicate with your superiors and the frequency of your updates. This can help them determine if you are likely to be a dependable team member who will regularly communicate important information. In your answer, try to explain that you think it’s important to check in at regular intervals but also give specific examples of when you would do so.

Example: “I believe an assistant should check in with their teacher every day or two to update them on any changes in behavior or progress. I have worked as an assistant for three years now, and I always make sure to let my teachers know if there is anything they need to know about a child’s progress or behavior. For example, last year I noticed one student was having trouble making friends. I told my teacher, and she helped him find other kids he could play with during recess.”

There is a conflict between two children in your class. How do you handle it?

This question can help an interviewer determine how you handle conflict and whether you have the skills to resolve it. When answering this question, try to focus on your problem-solving skills and ability to diffuse a situation.

Example: “I would first make sure that both children are safe and not in danger of hurting each other. Then I would ask them what happened and listen carefully to their side of the story. After hearing both sides, I would talk with the teacher about the best way to solve the issue. If one child is being aggressive or disrespectful, I would remove him from the classroom for a short time so he could calm down.”


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