A healthy and happy workplace culture is crucial for the performance of your early learning centre and the retention of your influential early childhood educators. This culture not only lifts the morale (and subsequent performance) of your team, but also ensures a safe and healthy workplace for employees to collaborate and grow.
Collaboration and communication are both essential requirements for your childcare team to engage and explore modern and innovative teaching techniques. Regular, clear and consistent communication thrives in a positive work culture with engaged and valued team members.
The engagement of external consultants and health and safety mentors can help your team in formulating healthy work practices, managing stress and encouraging the involvement and input of all educators. This mentorship, in conjunction with proactive team building exercises and social events, can create a strong sense of belonging and community, strengthening your employee retention and relationships with parents and children alike.
By focusing on your workplace culture and boosting your team’s morale, you also create a happier, smarter and healthier learning environment for your community. It’s very easy to become sidetracked with getting through the busyness of the day at your centre, but dedicated and focused time to reflect, affirm, and challenge your team to improve on their service ensures that your staff deliver high-quality educational programs.
How do I Improve the Workplace Culture of my Childcare?
Critical reflection, strong communication and collaboration are essential elements of early childhood education services that shape positive interactions and outcomes.
To ensure your educators feel safe and comfortable to share open and transparent communication, a team needs to create a sense of belonging and identity for every team member to contribute. Team building exercises, lunch time walks, social outings and daily/weekly debriefs are all excellent ways to ensure your team members are heard and appreciated for their expertise and opinions.
These opportunities for interaction establish a mutual purpose of shared goals for your team, meaning that each educator is contributing to a bigger picture, celebrating their wins and learning from their mistakes. As a leader of your childcare, it is your responsibility to foster an atmosphere of positive reinforcement and proactive action to lead by example.
Meaningful conversations with your staff about their personal interests and goals are also an excellent tool for building trusting relationships with your educators. Being available for your team, no matter your workload, creates loyalty and trust - a crucial component in running a childcare centre smoothly.
As a leader you need to be seen in action, getting your hands dirty and being involved in the everyday tasks of your centre. By demonstrating as a leader that no task is below you, you can successfully break down the “us and them” barriers of management and ensure the healthy equality of your team members to contribute and thrive.
Another excellent way to involve your educators in the bigger picture is by encouraging them to contribute to your teaching curriculum. This contribution encourages your childcare team to be invested in what they are teaching, as they have a personal stake in the content and structure of your care program. You create a sense of belonging by always being mindful of your team’s feelings, encouraging them to contribute to the team, and that their contribution is valued and appreciated.
Small gestures and “pause-moments” to appreciate your childcare teams’ efforts and achievements are invaluable for your centre. These moments act as an instant morale booster for your educators and mean that your team feels inspired to go that extra mile for the health and safety of your centre. These gestures, in conjunction with a healthy understanding of work-life balance for your employees, means your team will be more inspired, energised and loyal in the long-term.
Lastly, while a team setting is important for individuals to share their thoughts and work collaboratively, private one-on-one sessions with your educators is equally as important. Try to make time in your busy schedule to have closed-door evaluations and discussions with your team members, where constructive feedback can be given and grievances aired in a proactive manner. This will ensure you are across your teams state of mind and that you are not blindsided by unexpected resignations or discrepancies.
By creating a healthy workplace culture, we all ensure happier, smarter and healthier children of the future. If your centre is in need of a culture overhaul and you don’t know where to start, feel free to reach out to us at The Help2Group for a friendly chat on where to begin or how we can help!