How to Hire Quality Childcare Staff

childcare staff

 

I find myself frequently talking with childcare operators about the biggest day-to-day challenges they face. While there are many things that come up, I have found that finding, hiring and keeping quality staff are the most frequent instigators of headaches.  

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Managing staff is an unpredictable job. You don’t always know which staff will be a star player, how long a staff member will stay with you, or how long the hiring process will take to replace them if they leave. While there are some factors that are out of your control, there are a few ways you can make hiring childcare staff easier,  more predictable, and less stressful.

 

Where to Look for Childcare Staff

You are ready to start interviewing and training a new childcare staff member, but where do you go to find the best candidates? Not all job site are created equal, and different types of centers and schools may find some resources a better fit than others. Below you will find a list of some of the best job sites for childcare staff:

Craigslist– While there are many sites to post jobs on today, Craigslist still remains a great site for new job postings. They allow you to target your postings based on the industry and location at a very low cost.

Colleges with ECE Programs– Most colleges have an internal job board for college students. Universities with ECE programs are a fantastic place to find ambitious candidates that are currently looking for a job in early childhood education.

CCR&R– Most communities have a local CCR&R network that provides resources and referrals for the child care community. If you haven’t checked out your local CCR&R get on it ASAP. They provide tools that go far beyond hiring.

Indeed.com– A favorite tool to find qualified teachers and staff. It’s fairly simple to use and gives you the opportunity to search through resumes posted for candidates interested in early childhood education jobs.        

LinkedIn– LinkedIn is a helpful tool for networking with other people in the childcare industry, as well as finding new hires. Not having luck with a LinkedIn job posting? Search for candidates with a childcare background, and try recruiting candidates yourself instead of playing the waiting game.                                                                                               
Idealist.org– Is your center or school a non-profit? Idealist is a job site for nonprofit companies only, and is an outstanding place to find passionate candidates committed to making a positive change in the world.

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Referrals

Ask your best Childcare staff for referrals

Amazing childcare staff tend to know other amazing people that would be a perfect fit for your child care center or preschool. If you are lucky enough to have a star staff, let them know often how thankful you are to have them. The only thing more important than hiring quality staff is keeping them.

Let your staff members know that you are always interested in hearing about other spectacular staff and teachers that would be a wonderful fit for your center, even if you are not currently hiring.

Offer a referral bonus to staff

As we just mentioned, quality childcare childcare staff are priceless. Your current team is a great resource for finding other staff and teachers, but sometimes they need that extra push to reach out to their friends and let them know about the opportunities at your preschool or childcare center.

Try offering a referral bonus incentive for each new hire who stays with your center for a minimum of 3-6 months. Make sure your incentive is large enough to peak your team’s interest.

Ask parents too

Parents can be another helpful resource when you are looking for new staff and teachers. They share a similar interest of wanting to see amazing teachers and staff work at your child care center, as the staff they bring to you will be the same ones that work with their children.

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Have a job fair 

Hosting a job fair gives you the opportunity to bring candidates right to your door, talk with a larger amount of candidates at once, and help in expediting the hiring process. A successful job fair requires some preparation and planning to ensure candidates show up to the fair.

Publicize the job fair by posting the event on online job boards and social media platforms like the ones mentioned previously. When creating your job fair posting, be sure to input keywords that are related to the job you are hiring for (ex. preschool teacher, childcare staff, children). This will ensure the right candidates find you.

 

Never stop hiring

Ever felt a moment of panic after someone puts in their 2 week notice? Ever hired someone you possibly shouldn’t have? When you are desperate for new staff you will have a much harder time finding quality staff, and may not be as critical about who you do hire.

Most of the time it takes much longer than 2 weeks to hire someone. It’s good practice to not hire only when you need someone, but throughout the year. This gives you time to post jobs, screen candidates, and have an extensive selection of candidates to interview and choose from. 

We also suggest hiring a floater staff who is available to cover vacancies or help out when staff are sick. It alleviates stress for you and your team, and allows you to take the time to choose the perfect candidate for your center or school.

 

 

CACFP Meal Tracking

CACFP Meal Tracking

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) funded by the USDA supports many child care providers and provides nutrition meals to millions of children across the country. Now, Kinderlime helps you reduce that CACFP paperwork by recording meals, providing meal counts and reporting it to your sponsors.

When meal tracking is done in conjunction with the Kinderlime Sign In-Out app, the process for recording meals is error free. Our software will look at who is present during meal times and automatically record the proper meal counts, helping you avoid inaccurate reporting.

CACFP MEAL TRACKING FEATURES:

  • Record meals for Breakfast, Lunch and Snack served in each location / room
  • Record the start and end time during which the meals were served. Kinderlime eliminates wrong claims by validating if child was present during the time that the meals were served
  • Keeps an accurate count for each meal – for each child and also for the entire room
  • Download an excel spreadsheet report which lists the meal counts and the child the meals were served to

 

Remain CACFP Compliant

Keeping up with the CACFP guidelines and paperwork is an important part of being in compliance and maintaining your program’s grant. Oftentimes sponsors are out of compliance because of the following –

  • Inadequate paperwork to establish that the providers had recorded meals accurately
  • Meals are approved without validating them against meal pattern guidelines from USDA. Meal patterns should be validated based on age and meal type. These guidelines help providers and sponsors serve healthy and balanced meals to the children they serve
  • Inaccurate meal counts and sometimes counting  meals that were never served
  • Inadequate onsite monitoring of providers

Kinderlime software which is web and app based, removes all these challenges for sponsors and providers. A daycare provider is able to easily record all the meals they serve each day. They can record what is served during Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack and which child has been served each of those meals. Each month the providers can then download a spreadsheet report which shows the attendance together with the meals that were served to the children on each day. A total count for each day for each meal is available. This can also be separated by age group.

CACFP Monthly Meal report

Kinderlime CACFP Monthly Meal report

5 Questions to Ask About Safety Procedures at Your Child’s School

School Safety Procedures

 

When your child starts a new school, you probably have a million questions bouncing around in your head about testing, methods, expectations, etc. But, while education questions are obviously important, some of the less obvious questions involve your child’s safety.  If you are unfamiliar with the school and their safety procedures, here are a few questions to get you started.

 

Are They Prepared for All Emergencies (Not Just Shooters)?

Most talk of emergencies in schools today seems to center around shooters or intruders entering a school, and this is certainly a scary possibility. But, the truth is, it’s one of the least likely scenarios your student could encounter while at school. Much more likely are instances of bad weather or violence in the surrounding area. So, before you launch into questions about shooters and gun violence, educate yourself on the school’s procedures for tornados or hurricanes (depending on your area) so you can prepare your child. Asking these questions will help you understand what will be expected of your child but will also reassure you that your child’s school is prepared for every eventuality.

 

How Will the School Communicate With You?

When there is an emergency, how will you be made aware? And is their communication plan one you are comfortable with? For instance, many schools now inform parents of developments through text message. Is your phone capable of receiving texts? Will you have it with you enough for this to be effective? Can you opt out of texts and choose to receive a phone call? Asking these questions will guarantee that you are made aware of important events occurring at your child’s school.

 

How Can You Help At Home?

Preparing your child for drills and emergencies at home is just as important as the drills they will experience at school. So, knowing what will be expected of them during a drill is essential. By asking about the procedures of drills and emergencies, you can begin preparation at home in a comfortable and safe atmosphere. Assure them that when drills, or even emergencies occur, there is no need to panic and that it is important for them to be on their best behavior. When this message is enforced at school and at home, it is more likely to sink in.

 

What is Expected of You?

When you, as a parent, hear of an emergency at your child’s school, your first instinct is to jump into action. But, this may be the wrong thing to do. Many schools ask that parents do not come to campus when an emergency is reported. First responders, police, and staff will all have jobs to do and issues they will be dealing with. Extra bodies wandering will only impede their ability to do their jobs. So, how can you stay abreast of the situation without getting in the way? This is what you should ask the school before the situation occurs.

 

What Types of Safety Devices Are in Place?

Besides procedures, what else is in place in your child’s school to help keep them safe in an emergency. If a shooter enters the building, will your student’s teacher need to rely on chairs and desks to barricade the door? Or is there a device in place, such as the Nightlock Classroom Door Barricade, that will make barricading the door quick and simple? Are you comfortable with the level of protection each classroom offers?

 

While there are many more questions that may come up when it comes to the safety procedures that keep your child safe while at school, these questions will get you started and will hopefully lead to much more in depth conversations.

This post was written by Jason Matznick at Nightlock

 

Infant Daily Report Time Saving Tips

Infant Daily Report

The first time a parent leaves their child at daycare can be terrifying and emotional. It’s incredibly important for parents to know their baby is in safe hands. Infant daily reports are a helpful tool used to communicate with parents, and help them feel connected to their baby’s day.

While daily reports are crucial, taking care of infants is unpredictable, making it a challenge to stay on top of daily sheets throughout the day. These tips will help you save time, and ensure every parent receives a quality report at the end of the day.

 

CREATE A ROUTINE

It can be challenging to find extra time when working with children, so it’s important to take advantage of every moment you are given. If you still struggle to find time in your day, utilize our daily activity schedule. This may give you a better idea of when in your day is the best time to complete daily reports.

Daily Activity Schedule

Daily Activity Schedule

 

SAY GOODBYE TO EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK

While many child care providers still use paper daily reports, there are many reasons to go electronic. Printing infant daily reports is time consuming, bad for the environment, and a waste of money. 

Moving everything electronic allows for child care and daycare centers to e-mail reports to their families all at once and easily edit mistakes. Keeping all of your daily reports electronically also makes it easy to save and store all previous reports, and never have to deal with running out of storage space again.

 

Use a clear and concise infant daily report template

The format and template you use for your infant daily reports can make a world of a difference. When creating a template you will want to think about the following items:

-what information do you need to provide?

-what information will keep your parents happy and connected to their child’s day?

-Is the infant daily report quick and easy to create?

-Is the report easy to read and understand?

The hardest part in creating a template is providing a quality report that is also fast to create. Here is an infant daily report template that will keep you and your parents happy.

Infant Daily Report

Infant Daily Report Template

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Try a Daily reporting app

Utilizing a high quality daycare software can make your daily reporting process much simpler and faster. An app like Kinderlime allows daycare staff to create daily sheet templates and quickly send reports electronically. Aside from being a huge time saver, a daily sheet app is also a great way to make your daycare stand out from the crowd, and help in strengthening the parent-to-staff communication.

Want to know more about using Kinderlime’s Daily Sheet app? Schedule a demo with our team today! We will help you learn how Kinderlime can make running your child care center easier, and help save you time and money.

Child Care Billing: How to Handle Late Payments

Child Care Billing Late Fee Policy

 

Collecting late payments is one of the most unpleasant and toughest parts of child care billing. While it may not be possible to eliminate late payments altogether, these tips can help alleviate some of the billing struggles child care providers face.

 

set Expectations with a Child Care Billing Policy

Minimize  late payments by setting expectations and preparing for late payments before they even happen. In the enrollment packet given to your parents, include a child care billing policy form. Use this form to give parents a clear look at what is expected and what consequences may occur if the billing policies are not followed.

 

Keep track of late pickups and payments

When you are already dealing with late payments, the last thing you want to do is waste time calculating late pickups, and remembering past due charges. While you may not be able to completely eliminate the pains of calculating late payments, you can make the process much easier.

Child care billing software can help centers easily calculate how many late pickup hours have accrued, as well as easily track when child care payments are made.

 

Keep parents informed

It is a good practice for you to give parents reminders when tuition is due, and notices when they are late. This will first help parents be more likely to pay on time. Parents may have the best intentions, but we can all use a reminder.

Late notices also keep parents informed of late fees they may have. Even if you outlined your child care billing policies at the beginning of the year, many parents may not realize what amount of late fees they have accrued. Keeping parents informed helps eliminate unpleasant surprises for parents come billing time, as well as help encourage parents to pay in a timely manner in the future.

 

Make it easy for parents to pay

I forgot my checkbook.

How much do I owe again?

Do these phrases sound a little too familiar? Provide your parents with a variety of billing methods such as credit card and ACH. While this will not guarantee families will pay on time, offering online billing will make it easy to collect payments.

Many child care online billing services also give parents the option to quickly view how much they owe at any given time.  This helps eliminate any confusion and late payment excuses.

 

Understand the challenges your families face

Create an open line of communication, and do your part to understand your family’s challenges and needs. You may find that a simple change of how often you bill your families, or changing the payment deadline date may make a huge difference on payments being received on time.

 

Stand your Ground

As much as we hate it when families are late on paying the bill, we also care about our families we serve. We empathize when our families are going through financial difficulties and hardships.

However, it’s important to stand your ground, and stick to any late policies you have set up. If you let a late payment slide, it is much more likely to happen again. Following the late policies you have created helps keep parents accountable, and ensures you are able to continue running a quality child care service.

 

Know when to take further action

While we all hope it never gets to this point, sometimes we need to take more serious actions when it comes to late or missed payments. What if a parent is constantly late on his or her payments? What if a family stops paying you all together, but promises they will pay soon? Sometimes it gets to the point when you need to let a family go.

This does not mean you are an uncompassionate person. Running a quality child care center requires a large amount of time and effort. Be kind and understanding with your parents, but also firm. In the end, good parents will appreciate and respect the fact that you are running a business.

 

Want to learn more about how you can save time and take the pain out of child care billing? Sign up for a Kinderlime webinar today