As a preschool director, you have a passion for kids and education. You want to make a difference in students' lives, but also share your knowledge with others, including the next generation of teacher and directors. That's why you're starting an intern program.
Intern programs can be a wonderful opportunity for the intern, the staff and the students. The key is to create a program structure and stay focused with goals that benefit everyone. Whether it's high school students in early childhood education classes or college students pursuing their educational licensure, you can create an intern program that matters when you keep a few important things in mind.
A good intern program will have guidelines for what's expected from both the staff and the intern. The goal is to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Terms for what is expected of interns — including length of internship and how often they are expected to work — should be clearly laid out. They should understand and sign an employment and code of conduct agreement just like everyone else.
You might partner with a local organization to strengthen your internship program. For example, maybe the local community college is a good source for high-quality interns, and you can work together to create a program where they get credit for their time at preschool through a work-study program. These partnerships can also help you decide if you should offer a paid or unpaid internship.
Interview and vet
Just like any other hire you're making, it's important to interview interns to ensure you get the right fit for your school's culture. Keep in mind many interns will be younger and therefore will have limited experience with children and interviewing for jobs, but that shouldn't stop their passion for kids from shining through when you're talking with them. What's more, follow all safety protocols for staff when vetting interns, including background checks and running records through the state licensing agency.
Interns are in the class to help, but because they are still in training, they should not be left alone with students or responsible for any major issues, such as disciplinary steps. With that in mind, it's important to empower interns and explore their interests. Whether they like art, dramatic play, science or reading, allow them to bring ideas for curriculum to the table and, with assistance and support, lead during different parts of the class.
Having an intern is an opportunity, and while it can add work at times, it can be worth it when you see them blossom and build a relationship with the kids. Even if things start slowly, maintain a positive mindset. Interns offer new energy and fresh ideas. While they can help with some of the grunt work, don't only designate them to paperwork and cleanup. They can be a light in the classroom and a great help to teachers given the right attitude on both sides.###Preschool intern programs can benefit teachers, students and interns. Learn tips for creating an effective intern program today.Preschool students love interns! Learn how to run an intern program that matters to both the kids and the interns.
As a preschool director, you have a passion for kids and education. You want to make a difference in students' lives, but also share your knowledge with others, including the next generation of teacher and directors.