22 Chapter 2
The Role of the Lead Teacher
What is the role of the lead teacher? On the surface, the role of the lead teacher
is to create a learning environment for young children, develop and implement
curriculum, and ensure optimum outcomes for the children in the classroom.

The role of the lead teacher goes even deeper than this. To ensure optimum
outcomes for the children, the teaching
team must be healthy and efficient, and the
The team
The families
relationships with families must be trusting.

The role of the lead teacher, therefore, is a trio of
The children
equally important responsibilities. In early child-
hood, the success of your work with children is inte-
grally connected to the time and energy you invest in
all three.

The above figure represents the three elements of families, children, and
team in balance. Part of the role of the team leader is to balance these three
ele­ments. Communicating with your team regularly will help you achieve this
balance. Like any balancing act, balance in a teaching team is not a static end
goal. Rather, it is a process of paying constant attention to the state of the
learning environment, with many microadjustments along the way.

Working with young children is a big part of teacher training and prepara-
tion, whether that means teacher certification, education classes, or years of
experience working with children. But teacher training usually does not ad-
dress team teaching specifically. And yet the health of the team is integral to
the tone of the classroom. The role of the lead teacher starts by acknowledging
that the time spent investing in building a strong team will improve the out-
comes for children and families.

Setting the Tone: The Families
As the leader of the classroom, you set the tone for staff relationships with
families. It is up to you to prioritize good communication with families, model
partnering with caregivers, and demonstrate how to treat child-family rela-
tionships with respect.

Here’s how this looks in practice:
warmly day at
Greet time families to answer family every members’ drop-off questions and pickup. schedule a
Make or
time to answer their questions in person or via phone call.

Respond to family questions in a timely manner.