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Nature Preschool Assistant

Posted: May 20, 2024 Expired: November 27, 2023
Dallas Zoo
Dallas
INTERNSHIP
High School 5 Year

Dallas Zoo

Located three miles south of downtown Dallas, the 106-acre Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest zoo in Texas. Founded with just two deer and two mountain lions in 1888 as the first zoo in the Southwest, this City of Dallas-owned but privately managed zoo is a thriving example of a successful public-private partnership. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for 35 years, the Zoo provides a home for more than 2,000 animals representing over 400 species.

Nature Preschool Assistant

JOB SUMMARY
This position is an assistant teaching and caregiving position for the Wild Earth Preschool program, a nature preschool at the Dallas Zoo. Classes are mixed-age groups of children ages 3-5 years old who attend full-time daycare. Equipped with growing knowledge in early childhood development or a related field and the ability to inspire children to connect with nature through play and exploration, the assistant fosters positive relationships with children, parents, and staff to benefit whole-child growth. Together with the teaching team, this position assists in planning, implementing, and documenting learning; maintaining safety and regulation standards; and participating in nature-based activities with the children in all safe weather conditions. Assistants are organized, responsible, joyful, energetic, flexible, child-focused, safety-conscious, and enjoy being outdoors year-round for most of the day.

Regular working hours, typically 40 per week, are scheduled Monday – Friday, though some weekends and evenings will be required for family events and staff meetings. Hours may vary between 7:30 am and 6:15 pm. 

SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Teaching and Curriculum:
• Assist in facilitation of developmentally appropriate nature-based preschool programming.
• Incorporate project-based learning in an emergent curriculum that follows National Association for Educators of Young Children (NAEYC) and North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Guidelines.
• Assist in planning learning opportunities based on child interests, including outdoor activities, play, art, music, dance and drama, language, math, science, technology, social/emotional, gross motor, and fine motor skills.
• Help young children with self-help skills in dressing, grooming, bathroom activities, etc.
• Assist in preparing environments and materials to support learning opportunities.
• Assist in conducting formative assessments and maintain child portfolios.

Relationships:
• Sustain a welcoming, peaceful, and joyful classroom family atmosphere.
• Assist in developing children’s emotional, social, and behavioral skills through connection with nature, positive guidance, conflict resolution strategies, and mindfulness approaches.
• Sustain a culturally responsive inclusive environment for children and their families.

Physical Environment:
• Assure children’s physical and emotional safety, including following procedures in medication administration, allergy management, and authorized release.
• Assist in maintaining a clean, healthy, safe outdoor and indoor environment. Ensure accurate and timely documentation of compliance logs.
• Respond to emergencies in a calm and responsible manner.
• Communicate concerns about the learning environment or children to the Early Childhood Manager.
Families:
• Involve families in their children’s educational growth and encourage families to fully participate in the program.
• Positively communicate child progress with family members and other teaching staff.
Administration and Operations:
• Collaborate with parents, guardians, education staff, and other zoo departments.
• Maintain compliance with all relevant governmental, company, and departmental rules and regulations.

QUALIFICATIONS
Education and Experience
• High school diploma or GED required.
• Valid CDA or 12 college credits in Early Childhood Education (ECE), Child Development (CD), Elementary Education (ELED), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSPED), or enrolled in a program that will lead to these qualifications or higher preferred.
• Experience in nature-based programming and demonstrated interest in conservation and environmental education preferred.

Knowledge and Skills
• Knowledge of basic biologic, ecologic, geologic, natural historic concepts preferred.
• Must demonstrate strong emotional intelligence, including empathy and listening skillset.
• Must demonstrate working knowledge of hazards and risk assessment as related to the environments of young children.
• Must be flexible and willing to assist with a variety of teaching and administrative duties.
• Must be able to create a culturally responsive inclusive environment for children and their families.
• Must be able to communicate positively and effectively in English, orally and in writing. Communication in another language a plus.
• Must demonstrate computer literacy, including use of Microsoft Office Suite and email.

Working Conditions
• Must be able to work outdoors in all seasons and all types of weather conditions 60% or more of each day.
• Must be able to safely navigate a variety of surfaces, walk long distances, stand for extended periods of time, sit, kneel, stoop, crawl, twist, reach above head, climb stairs or ramps, and carry up to 50 lb.
• A typical work week is 40 hours, M-F. Occasional evenings and weekends are scheduled for parent meetings, in service trainings, and/or special events.

Other
• Pediatric CPR/first aid certification required, or the ability to receive certification within 2 weeks of employment
• Complete drug screening, background check, TB test.
• Must be able to sign DFPS form 2985 Affidavit for Applicants for Employment with a Licensed Child Care Center.
• Must have a valid driver’s license to operate company vehicles and reliable transportation 

How to Apply

Please Click Here to Apply

Dallas Zoo
650 S. R.L. Thornton Fwy.
Dallas, TX 75203
Fax: Dallas Zoo

@DallasZoo

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