By: Christine DeSanti of LifeCubby
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had drastic effects on the early childhood industry.
When the pandemic hit and centers began to shut their doors, it was reported that 1 in 4 teachers were contemplating quitting their jobs. And, though most centers have moved back to in-person learning, the shortage of qualified early childhood professionals has made it hard for many programs to continue operating at the same capacity they were prior to the pandemic.
With that in mind, it’s more important than ever for program directors to make a concerted effort to keep the employees they do have happy and motivated.
Before joining LifeCubby over 10 years ago, I spent my time teaching at and leading childcare centers. As a result, I know firsthand what it takes to make educators feel valued and excited to show up to work each morning.
That’s why I’m sharing my top four tips for improving retention rates at your childcare center:
- Recognize them.
It sounds obvious, but the best place to start when it comes to making your staff feel appreciated is doing just that — appreciating them. Schedule regular check-ins with your employees so you have a set time to talk through the things they’re doing well (along with any areas they can improve on). Take notes throughout the week of anything that deserves recognition and be sure to speak to them during your meeting. Finally, keep track of birthdays, personal milestones and work anniversaries, and celebrate each accordingly.
- Provide professional development opportunities.
Investing in your staff is a great way to show them how much you value them. Help cover the cost of your staff’s required training hours by purchasing a center-wide subscription (or offering to cover the cost of an individual subscription) to an online professional development provider like ChildCare Education Institute. If your employees are interested in earning a professional certification (such as their CDA), consider offering a stipend to help with costs — or extra time off for studying and exam prep. Finally, if you have enough employees, look into starting a mentoring program where senior staff can help talk junior staff through any professional and personal goals they may have.
- Plan regular team building sessions.
Getting your team together outside of work hours (and center walls) can be the perfect answer to boosting team morale. Plus, it can help your staff build relationships with each other and give them more of a reason to stick around your program. Team building sessions can be as involved or low-key as you’d like them to be, and should be planned around the interests of your staff. Some of my favorite team building activities include escape rooms, happy hours, potluck dinners and community service outings.
- Give them the tools they need to succeed.
One of the easiest ways to help prevent teacher burnout and turnover at your center is to invest in tools that actively make their jobs easier. LifeCubby’s award-winning childcare management software helps eliminate tedious tasks (like filling out daily sheets and incident logs) and frees up time for your teachers to focus on what they love the most: the students. Plus, our suite of communication tools will make it a breeze for your teachers to keep in touch with you and parents throughout the day.
Want to learn more about how LifeCubby can help make center life a breeze for your staff? Click here to schedule a free demo today!
Christine DeSanti is the chief customer officer of LifeCubby. Throughout her career, she has held a number of positions in the early childhood education space and has served on several organization’s boards. DeSanti was instrumental in launching the Central Ohio Christian Directors group and served on several committees for education licensing in the state. DeSanti holds a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood development from The Ohio State University.