National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day – March 17, 2023

National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day, a time to break out the apples for all those amazing educators shaping young minds, is celebrated on the third Friday of March each year. This year, it takes place on March 17. This day is held to — naturally — annually share our love and shine some light on the often-hard-yet-always-rewarding task of teaching very young minds.

History of National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day

Way back when, at a time when gender defined the kind of schooling people got, and only the upper classes could actually afford an education, many attempts were made to provide unrestricted access to education for all children.

This was a global movement, and institutional arrangements for preschool education sprouted up all over the world. In French-speaking nations, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia, and Israel, there was the ‘crèche,’ while others termed these institutions ‘infant school,’ ‘daycare,’ or ‘day nursery.’

The name most educators will link to early childhood education is Johann Friedrich Oberlin, a French pastor who founded a ‘salle d’asile’ or ‘hall of refuge’ in 1767, which was the very first infant school of its kind. His institution cared for and educated children of daily workers and farmers, and inspired imitations across Berlin, Paris, and elsewhere.

At the same time that infant schools were becoming common across France, Welsh philanthropist Robert Owen opened an infant school — the first global one — in Scotland in 1816. This school, which was specifically formed to teach the children of Owen’s workers, inspired the very first infant school in London the following year, and afterward throughout England.

Soon, early years educators began developing theories that informed how these infant care centers would teach and care for their charges, and schools for young children sprung up around the world. By the 20th century, science and loads of research in the same field led the world to understand that young children begin developing from the day they are born, and guidance during this time is crucial.

In the United States, where kindergartens had already been a well-established mode of learning for decades, the “Head Start” program began in 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s program would provide early preschool education, health, and nutrition to children from lower-income homes. This was the first publicly funded preschool program in the U.S., and it was followed by many other educational opportunities.

Today, preschool education is recognized as a crucial element of children’s development, but people are not restricted to one place. They have a choice between formal, state-mandated education, and private institutions.

National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day timeline

June 28, 1840
We Have a Kindergarten

Friedrich Fröbel opens a play and activity institute in Germany three years before this, which he renames as 'kindergarten' or 'garden for children.'

1912
The Montessori Method

One of the most famous people to influence early childhood education, Maria Montessori develops her educational theory about how young children should be taught; it inspires a global movement and her philosophy of education is taught in preschools all around the world to this day.

Mid-2000s
Preschool Attendance Rises

70% of 4-year-olds in the United States are attending preschool.

2017
The U.S. Spends Big on 'Head Start'

The United States invests $9 billion in the flagship early education program started years earlier.

2018
Jeff Bezos' Day One Fund

Amazon's CEO and his wife announce they are giving $2 billion towards the causes of homelessness and preschool education as a part of their philanthropic endeavors.

National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day FAQs

Is there a National Preschooler’s Day?

National Preschooler’s Day precedes National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day by a week. Each year, it falls on the second Friday in March and celebrates all preschool-attending kids around the U.S.

What do you write in a preschool teacher appreciation card?

You can write anything you or your child is thankful to the teacher for, including gratitude for preparing the child for the future and appreciation for their patience and passion in the classroom.

How do I thank childcare educators?

There are various ways to show your appreciation for childcare educators, including writing thank you notes, personally expressing your gratitude, or even gifting them something as a thank you.

National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day Activities

  1. Look up your preschool teacher

    Remember who taught you when you were young? Contact them and thank them for their help in making you the person you are today.

  2. Plan fun activities in the classroom

    Get together with other adults to encourage children to celebrate their preschool teachers by organizing little games and activities for the classroom. Kids could create little drawings celebrating their teachers, help teachers around the classroom, or even play at being the classroom teacher for a while.

  3. Give a little token of appreciation

    This can be as simple as buying them lunch or as big as donating essential classroom supplies you know they need. You could also help kids pick gifts for their preschool teachers, to show their appreciation.

5 Awesome Benefits To Preschool And Preschool Teachers

  1. Effects on health

    Health screenings, immunization and vaccination programs, meals, and more are a part of many preschool programs, raising the health outcomes of all children who attend these schools.

  2. Benefits snowball into the next generation

    A study by the Brookings Institution showed kids who attended the Head Start program had better self-esteem and control, and even improved parenting practices.

  3. Academic benefits are also likely

    A 1970s experiment, the “Abecedarian Project,” proved intensive early intervention could help strengthen adult math and reading ability, and even increase the likelihood of college education.

  4. It works as reliable child care

    Trained professionals are not only looking after children's academic needs but are also caring for and keeping kids safe as their parents work.

  5. Huge advantages for parents too

    When Washington, D.C., made preschool universal and free, labor-force participation of parents, mostly women, increased to 76.4% from 65% over the span of a decade.

Why We Love National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day

  1. It helps kids at a critical age

    From birth till age 6 is a period of great development for young minds. Preschool education, which takes in children between the ages of 3 to 5, helps these developing brains play and learn, and actively engage with other kids.

  2. Preschools change lives

    Parents and children are both positively affected by having a safe learning center to go to during the day. Preschools provide stability to little kids and their parents, an enormous boon that greatly impacts lives.

  3. We can celebrate these quiet heroes

    Preschool teachers spend their days nurturing and helping children, often with very little in the way of recognition. National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day is a good way to honor and celebrate these amazing people who work silently in the background without expectation of any rewards.

National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day dates

YearDateDay
2022March 18Friday
2023March 17Friday
2024March 15Friday
2025March 21Friday
2026March 20Friday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.