Meaningful measurement: how engagement improves early learning

“Recruitment and retention of competent early childhood educators” Knowledge Universe presenter: Wei-Li Chong

“Recruitment and retention of competent early childhood educators”
Knowledge Universe presenter: Wei-Li Chong

KinderCare data reveals impact of emotional connections between families and teachers

Knowledge Universe today revealed data that shows early learning centers perform better when families and teachers are most engaged.

It’s not easy to measure emotional connections, but it’s an integral part of a child’s early learning experience and a successful early childhood education (ECE) business.

“Measuring emotional connections provides clear insights for KinderCare teams to celebrate what works, focus on areas that could improve experiences for children, and open the door to entirely new discussions with families,” said Wei-Li Chong, executive vice president of people and family experience for Knowledge Universe. “The more engaged our teachers and families feel, the better our centers perform overall, and in the end that means more children better prepared for school and a life of learning.”

Wei-Li spoke at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute today in New Orleans. The institute is for seasoned and emergent ECE leaders, and this year’s theme is The Early Childhood Profession We All Want: What Will it Take to Get us There.

Knowledge Universe has made major investments in research-based approaches to increasing the quality of early learning experiences and the people who bring those experiences to life with children every day.

“This science and approach is the first in our industry, and we believe it will have a profound impact on our ability to support the growth and development of children in our care,” said Wei-Li, who has led the organization’s cultural transformation to include annual employee and family engagement surveys that have been completed by more than 100,000 people. This year the organization also moved to a new hiring platform, including a Gallup research tool that identifies ECE professionals whose traits best match those of KinderCare’s top talent.

“Taking a research based approach, KinderCare is working to prove that talent – innate capability – is the strongest indicator of teacher success,” Wei-Li said. “We studied our best, tenured teachers and found they have natural talents that are very different than the teachers who struggled in the ECE space.”

Engagement by the Numbers

  • Better problem solving: Families at the 200 most engaged centers reported 147% greater satisfaction with how problems are handled compared to parents at the 150 least engaged centers
  • Better teacher retention: Teacher turnover was 42% lower at the most engaged centers
  • Better than the nation: The average U.S. employer reports 30% of employees as positively engaged. Knowledge Universe has seen their engagement grow from 30% to 50% percent in two years

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