Imagine your second year of teaching at a childcare facility and being promoted to Assistant Director with NO director training! When I was first promoted, I was very excited however, no one told me or trained me on how to transition to the director’s position smoothly; what the requirements were; nor how to always keep my building consistently prepared for State inspection! I was literally flying an airplane without pilot training.
Training is important no matter how long a person has been working in a particular industry and irrespective of what they think they already know.
There is always more than one way to accomplish tasks. Training affords the opportunity for the facilitator to pour knowledge into trainees such that the trainees can effectively and efficiently maximize their potential and outcomes. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for an apple tree to grow, there must first have been a seed planted in well-tilled and fertile ground. After the seed is planted, the ground must be watered at the location where the seed was planted. Then, wait for the tree to grow and watch to see if it produces plump, sweet, and juicy apples. This analogy is synonymous with the way staff members should be trained. To produce staff members who will meet and exceed the goals and objectives of a childcare center, they must be trained first (plant the seed(s.)) After the team has been trained, they must have a mentor to model after (water the seed(s.) Then wait and watch to see if they render the quality substance that was poured into them (the apples.)
Training isn’t only for new teachers who may have never worked in the childcare industry; training is for everyone! The biggest mistake made in childcare is the assumption that someone who shows up with experience in the industry is automatically qualified and prepared to be placed in a classroom. This is not only the biggest mistake, but it is the worst mistake.
People with experience still need training. Inasmuch as they can leverage their prior experience to be immediately effective in their roles, there will likely be areas of opportunity to correct tasks that may have previously been done incorrectly. As well, training also affords the employee and training facilitator a space to interactively dialogue on topics, such as the center’s mission; core values; diversity and inclusion; best practices; proactive versus reactive behaviors; and center-specific policies, just to name a few. It is not safe to assume a new employee will automatically know any of these standards upon arrival.
Theoretically, training, whether initial or continued, has the potential to reduce attrition by providing campus and forums for open communication regarding matters ranging from the classrooms to the overall business model, policies, and procedures. Training is a tool and adequate use of the tool leads to greatness. A well-oiled machine will run smoothly and accomplish tasks with precision. An amazing book I read states, “People perish for the LACK of knowledge.” Be sure to give every team member the knowledge they need so that they not only know how to manage a classroom or building but so that they also learn how to love what they do while they are doing it.
Remember, training is essential, necessary, and the prerequisite to a long-term and happy employee, whether the Director, teacher, bus driver, cook, or custodian!
Special thanks to Ty'Heim Clark, CEO of The Childcare Whisperer, for his insight. Visit The Childcare Whisperer for more information about training and managing your childcare center's operations.
Ty’ Heim Clark, also known as The Childcare Whisperer, is a South Carolina native and a Dean’s List and honors student. He attended Vorhees College in Denmark, S.C where he majored in Early Childhood Education. Ty’ Heim is passionate about helping shape and develop Center Directors into outstanding leaders that exceed the standards by which others are measured.
His professional experience spans from managing privately owned and corporate childcare centers with enrollments ranging from 30 to 200, and a staff of over 20 employees. Aside from his experience as a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Assistant Center Director, Center Director, and Director of Curriculum, he offers many years of hands-on experience, assisting his mother at her in-home childcare center throughout his preteen to young adult years.