In today’s rapidly changing society, the transformations are taking place in the field of culture, economy and technology, which also affects the changed professional role of preschool teachers. Their role is becoming more and more complex; in addition to raising children, quality cooperation with parents and with the wider environment is also required. Preschool teachers are faced with different interests, requirements and expectations that may even conflict. Teachers are confronted with high requirements and expectations, which also applies to preschool teachers. In general, teachers are expected to work effectively and economically, with as little resources as possible. High expectations that teachers should be educators and buffers against social inequality, cannot be fulfilled without the constant professional development of teaching staff (Valenčič Zuljan et al, 2011). This also applies to preschool teachers.
The preschool teacher’s professional development is important for their own sake, so that every individual develops his or her abilities, strong and weak points, learns effective communication and reacts appropriately to different conflict situations in the profession. The professional development of individuals in the context of educational institution contributes to the building of a learning community that includes a collaborative culture and a positive climate. The opposite is also true; the creation of a learning community is an important basis for the professional development of staff in which its leadership plays a crucial role. In today’s society, practicing the teaching profession can be very stressful and can lead to stress, burnout and gradual loss of interest for working. Therefore, it is important to deliberately develop resilience – that is, resistance to stress and lifelong flexibility.
The theoretical part of the master’s thesis defines the professional development of a preschool teacher, presents some models of professional development and the VITAE project, which is a longitudinal study on the factors of teachers’ performance in their profession. We will define stress, its impact on people and focus on resilience. We will identify the term and describe the development of resilience research and its importance for the professional development of a preschool teacher. The empirical part describes the factors that: influence the professional development of a preschool teacher, cause them stress and affect their resilient response. The empirical part is based on a qualitative research approach and a descriptive pedagogical research method. 13 preschool teachers with varying years of service were involved in the study which, among other things, showed how the participants assess the impact of single factors of professional development. Female preschool teachers underlined the importance of reflection among the factors of professional development. The results of the study also showed that the participants are mostly contented with their profession, which is, according to their opinion, quite stressful. Some of the participants expressed their intention to leave the profession. According to the respondents in the survey, personal qualities are of great importance for the professional development of a preschool teacher. Such traits are: a sense of iniciative, responsiveness, active learning attitude, openness to change and novelty and the character of a preschool teacher. The study found that the resilient response is influenced by the individual’s experience and stress management in the profession.