Professional Development Day is an annual celebration of team building and learning for center staff around the country. For the highly-engaged group of teachers at Chambers KinderCare in Eugene, Oregon, PDD was a chance for the team to brainstorm what they can do to take themselves to the next level — and how they can work toward their NAEYC Accreditation.
Center Director Katheryn and new Assistant Director Melissa guided the team through everything they needed to know — from best practices to talking with parents to how to best communicate about problematic behaviors, and emphasized parents should feel like KinderCare is a place they “can’t imagine a world without.”
Though the team achieved the second-highest family engagement score in their district, they unanimously agreed that they need to better communicate with parents. Whether it’s bringing back a digital display with pictures of kids having fun at the center, or committing parents’ first names to memory, the team is determined to up their communication score on next year’s engagement survey.
“Last week I had an eye opener,” said Miss Georgia, floater teacher. “I don’t usually talk to parents because I’m a floater, but last week I did and the family ended up writing me a Valentine! Communication pays off.”
“Everyone who works here is meant to to be with children,” said Miss Tiffany, a new teacher whose daughter Violet attends the center. “Even interacting with a child in front of their parents can be communication to that parent. Show them what you’re good at and that their child is safe and happy in your care.”
The team also wants to focus on how they can better serve children in their center with unique behavioral needs. Everyone was thrilled to see the materials available through the Inclusion Services team, and discussed the best way to talk to parents about their children.
“Find a positive thing to report on even if the child has many problems, it makes a huge impact,” said Kathryn. “We have a huge responsibility to communicate to parents about their children.”
“I’m a huge believer in positive reinforcement,” said Miss Hailey, floater teacher. “When a child only hears negative things, they internalize that, so if all we’re doing is communicating the negative, that isn’t fair to the child or the parent.”
The group agreed that the service value they want to focus on this year is “An important part of my job is talking with parents about their children.” Opening up communication and getting to know their families more will help the center retain families.
Lead teachers at the center just finished completing their portfolios for accreditation through NAEYC. As the center enters the next phase of the process, the teachers discussed why earning accreditation is so important to their center’s success.
“Accreditation holds us to a higher standard and keeps us transparent about what we’re doing,” said Miss Briana, floater teacher. “It shows that we’re really trying to be the best.”
Overall, the staff feels confident that they can implement their new strategies and ideas to build great relationships with families and keep kids in their center. With the highest employee engagement score in their district, working together comes naturally — and all of the teachers are there for one reason: the kids.
“It’s the happiness on the kids’ faces that makes me feel so good,” said Miss Jeanice, toddler teacher. “One child was having a rough day and the parent was like ‘Do you want to see Jeanice?’ and she just lit up. That is huge to me, to have that sort of impact.”
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