September 2019 Student Spotlight – Natalie Taylor

I began my career in early childhood as a summer job at the age of 16 at a local childcare facility. After being in retail for about a year, I felt a deep need to help take care of others again and went back to work in childcare and have been loving it ever since.

My favorite time of the day to spend with the children is morning circle time, to see them grasping the information is very rewarding. Watching them grow and develop social and cognitive skills. I enjoy witnessing when the children engage in free play and bring along the knowledge learned during circle time. Other than circle time, I enjoy the teachable moments that are not given a scheduled time. As an early childcare provider, I can work and play at the same time. There aren’t too many jobs that allow you to do that. Outdoor playground time creates a new learning experience and opens up more doors for learning opportunities with the children.

The children enjoy their creative activities since it allows them to freely express themselves. Seeing how they interpret art into their own by adding their own twist and story line is always enjoyable. Knowing that I can have a positive impact in their development is motivating. When I see the children making improvements in their behavior, it makes what I do extremely rewarding and it is the best feeling in the world.

I currently reside in Winter Garden, FL but I am originally from sunny Miami. When I’m not engaged in school work, I usually entertain myself by playing word games, catching up on my favorite animes, and reading books and articles pertaining to social justice. Beginning in the Fall 2019, I will be starting the master’s program at Florida Atlantic University within their College of Arts and Letters. In the future, I see myself as a professor educating others on subjects that affect society. I will be working towards my doctorate in sociology and hopefully after that I will obtain my juris doctorate to be able to pursue law and fight for social justice amongst children and families.

With ChildCare Education Institute, I have completed multiple courses that have helped me reach my certification each year and I am currently working on more coursework with CCEI to meet my annual certification requirements for 2019. CCEI provides excellent coursework and information that professionals in early childhood education can readily apply in the classroom. They have educated me on how to understand and properly address each individual child’s emotional needs correctly. I also appreciate the quick responses given when I had any comments and concerns. For anyone who wants to receive more knowledge in early childhood education, I would highly recommend courses with ChildCare Education Institute.

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Strategies for Effective Onboarding

In addition to creating an onboarding schedule that spreads tasks out over the employees first few months of employment, you can also incorporate some of the following ideas into your onboarding practices:

  • Assess current knowledge and values:  The interview process is a great time to learn about a candidate’s knowledge and values related to ECE. Use this information to tailor the orientation schedule to meet the needs of the new employee. 
  • Incorporate technology – Utilize online training, such as CCEI, to provide basic orientation information to new employees.  This will save you time and allow the employee to gather new information during nap time or in the evenings.
  • Make it fun – include a variety of games to make learning fun and engaging.  Scavenger hunts, trivia games, and activities where students have to identify something missing from a picture can be fun and meaningful. 
  • Boost engagement – Create ways that new employees can get to know their coworkers on a more personal level. Plan activities that encourage staff to cooperate and collaborate throughout the onboarding process. 
  • Plan Check-ins – Even after an employee seems to be settled in, be sure to check in on a regular basis to ask about successes and challenges.  Ask specific questions and consider using texts or emails in addition to face to face conversations. Sometimes indirect contact will elicit different feedback.
  • Gather feedback – Use surveys or other tools to learn about new employees’ experiences during the onboarding process.  Ask about changes or enhancements that would have made a difference for new employees. Reflect on how these suggestions could be incorporated into future onboarding sessions.
  • Goal-setting – It is important to set goals throughout the onboarding process.  Don’t forget to set goals at the end of onboarding.  Have a conversation with the new employee to determine what is next for them in their development as an early childhood educator.  Help them identify the resources they will need to reach their goals.

What are some of your favorite onboarding activities or practices? Share with us on our Facebook page here.

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule

According to a survey conducted by Allied HR IQ, it takes an average of 8 months for a new employee to become fully productive in their new position.

However, a different study discovered that only 37% of companies hold onboarding activities after the first month.

Consider that gap for a moment.  It typically takes 8 months to become productive, but intentional onboarding support stops after one month. Perhaps you can image the level of frustration and lack of support new employees may feel after the first month. This is especially true if the underlying message is, “It’s been a month; you should know what you are doing now.”

To create an effective onboarding schedule, reflect on the topics that you need to cover for your specific program.  Identify the things that new employees need to know about immediately. Determine the information that you need to receive from the employee early on. These are going to become elements of your orientation program. 

Everything else becomes part of the remainder of the onboarding process, which could stretch for the employees first year of employment.  For example, employees need to be familiar with the evacuation procedures on day one; this is part of orientation. Employees do not need to know all of the details of the assessment system that your program uses on the first day. This is a topic to include in your schedule for later in the onboarding process, perhaps during month two or three, after the employee has gotten to know the children and families. 

Create a schedule that lays out when each topic will be introduced, practiced, and reviewed.  Adult learners benefit from hands-on practice and relevance.  They need to be introduced to a topic at a time when the information in relevant to their experience. An obvious example would be introducing family style dining during a meal or snack. After introducing the topic, provide modeling and allow the employee multiple opportunities to practice the skill. 

Observe the employee and provide specific and strength-based feedback so that the employee is clear on the expectations and how their performance compares to those expectations.

It might seem like this will take a lot of time and you would be correct – this is an investment of time and effort into the success of your new employee, but it is worth it!  Utilize the other leaders in your program to help you. Delegate onboarding responsibilities to other staff members. This will empower them and sharpen their skills as well. 

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies for Effective Onboarding, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Elements of Onboarding

Sometimes people use the words orientation and onboarding interchangeably.  Technically, these words mean different things and it is important to use the correct terminology (especially if you want to make enhancements to your onboarding practices).

First, there is orientation, which includes:

  • A welcome to the program
  • An overview and introduction to responsibilities
  • Paperwork completion

It is typically conducted in a lecture format where the new employee is responsible for absorbing lots of information.  It usually last between 1-3 days.

Orientation is an important element of an effective onboarding process. Onboarding, however, also includes:

  • Descriptions and demonstrations of what success looks like
  • An intentional series of activities that build skills
  • On-the-job training with coaching and specific feedback
  • Goal-setting and action planning
  • Deliberate participation in ongoing professional development

As you plan your onboarding process, consider including the following topics:

  • Program philosophy
  • Team & culture
  • Health and safety procedures
  • Curriculum & assessment
  • Materials & supplies
  • Food service
  • Documentation/paperwork
  • Family relations/customer service
  • Building & administrative information

This is a lot of material to cover and we want to make sure that employees retain the information we are sharing with them.  Therefore, it is important to consider your onboarding schedule, or how you will cover the topics over the course of a few weeks or even months. 

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies for Effective Onboarding, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Statistics about Onboarding

The hiring process is lengthy and expensive.  It takes time and money to interview, hire, and train new staff members to an adequate level of proficiency.  When employers stop short of providing new employees with the tools they need to be successful, those employees may experience frustration and failure. A Digitate survey from 2018 found that new employees who experienced a negative onboarding experience were twice as likely to look for a new job opportunity soon after being hired.

If you don’t believe that effective onboarding makes a difference in staff retention and job satisfaction, take a look at the results of additional research done by the experts:

According to the Brandon Hall Group –

  • Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies with weak onboarding programs lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.

The Human Capital Institute found:

  • Only 40% of organizations say onboarding is effective at retaining new hires, which is most likely because it has been focused on paperwork and processes rather than people and performance.
  • In most organizations, onboarding activities stop after the first week in the new role; this is not nearly enough time to orient, prepare, and develop a new hire to be successful in their new position.

The Wynhurst Group discovered:

  • 22 % of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment.
  • New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.

And finally, a survey by O.C. Tanner found:

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding

After looking at the statistics, it becomes clear that effective onboarding strategies have a significant impact on staff retention, job performance, and job satisfaction.

You can explore more facts about onboarding here.

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies for Effective Onboarding, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences

One of the most important elements of a successful business is the staff and its ability to meet the needs of the clients or customers.  This is true for virtually every organization, including child care programs, which count on their employees to maintain a safe environment, support the development of each child, and build strong relationships with families. There are so many specific skills that early childhood educators must possess to accomplish these tasks.  Some of these skills are easy to learn and reproduce, such as the proper steps to handwashing.  Other skills take many years of practice to master. 

In order to ensure that every employee is set up for success, early learning programs need to spend time reflecting upon and making enhancements to their onboarding procedures.  Onboarding procedures include all of the direct instruction, coaching, and teachable moments that occur during a new staff member’s first few months of employment.

This month, we will explore a number of best practices related to onboarding. Some of these practices may require extra time and energy be spent with new employees.  The goal of investing in new employees in this way is to reduce the number of times you need to conduct onboarding throughout the year.  Effective onboarding means that the people you hire have the tools and guidance they need to remain successfully employed at your program.

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies for Effective Onboarding, CLICK HERE

August 2019 Student Spotlight – Paula Clark

My facility is a 3 Star Texas Rising Star Center in Deer Park, Texas. We strive daily to improve our program to benefit our children, parents and staff. Laura called one day, explained who she was and what scholarship was available for our staff and how it would benefit our center. The program was CCEI’s Texas Child Care Administration and Business Practices Certificate Program. I was excited that it was all online, at my pace, I could access the program 24 hours, and I had one year to complete the course. I was hesitant at first, but I jumped in and went for it! With a lot on my plate, I knew I could do it. With my husband being in and out of the hospital, CCEI was an asset to me meeting my goals in continuing my education.

When I opened the program and reviewed the syllabus and the modules, I was not overwhelmed. It was divided into sections and the certificate course was self-explanatory. If I had questions, I called Laura, she was my Education Coach and she was awesome in explaining to me what I needed to know.

With CCEI I am able to work, spend time with my grandchildren and my children. CCEI offers many classes for child development, business management and you can get your CDA as well. If you don’t like adult learning in the traditional classroom environment, then CCEI is for you. I would recommend their program to everyone! As I mentioned before, my Education Coach Laura, was a huge asset to me completing my certificate program. Even though I am a strong, positive individual, she kept very positive and that helped me stay positive to meet my goal by completing the program. I love to teach and make a difference in children’s lives. I want to continue to gain knowledge on child development in order to make a difference in a child’s life. The more experiences I have in early childhood activities and education, the more I can introduce to children.

I grew up in Prairieton, Indiana. It was a little town and out in the country. I now live in Deer Park, Texas. It’s an awesome city to live in. I just have never liked the city life, but I have adapted and one day will be back in the country. I have dedicated the past 2 years to my husband, for he came before anything and anyone. I love going to conferences and trainings. Meeting new people in the childcare industry and learning new ideas. We can never stop learning and CCEI gives everyone the opportunity to continue their education and have a well-balanced life.

August 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Vision Statement: Program Vision Setting

Members of leadership are likely responsible for the development of the program vision.  It is a simple process for one person to write a vision statement, but if that statement does not represent the vision of all team members, it won’t be a very valuable tool. 

To create buy-in and a sense of ownership, work with staff members to create a vision statement that incorporates the ideas from the employees.  Work with teaching teams or other small groups to identify the elements that are important to each small group.  For example, infant/toddler teachers may have a different vision than preschool teachers.  The program vision should incorporate the ideas from both groups.

Once your teaching teams/small groups have worked together to identify elements of their vision for the program, shuffle the deck.  Ask teachers who work with different age groups to come together, share their vision statements, recognize similarities and differences, and synthesize their ideas into new statements.

Bring the small groups together and share all of the ideas they have generated.  Work as a group to identify the most important and common elements of the vision statements and use this information to create a broad vision statement that is reflective of all employees.  This process may take a few weeks to complete.  Use time during staff meetings to have these important team-building conversations.

To add an element of family involvement, invite families and children to sit in on this process.  This will ensure that their input is reflected in your statement as well!

Here is a list of resources you may find helpful as you work to create a shared vision with your team. 

For the main article Creating a Vision Statement, CLICK HERE

For the article Setting a Vision for Your Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Vision Setting with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Vision Setting with Families, CLICK HERE

August 2019 Newsletter – Creating Vision Statements: Vision Setting with Families

Work with families to create their very own vision statements.  Host a series of events where families are encouraged to create and commit to a family vision.  Begin by sharing information about what vision statements are and how they are developed.  Invite families to reflect on the following questions:

  • What do we do to take care of each other?
  • How do we show that we love one another?
  • What actions of behaviors can we take to show we care about each other?
  • What actions and behaviors can we take to show we care about people outside of our family?
  • What do we believe the word “family” means?
  • How do we want to feel when we are spending time together?
  • How do we want to feel when we are in our home?

Guide families to use the answers to their questions to form unique vision statements. 

Use the tools at your disposal to pass along this practice to families who are unable to attend the family involvement events in person.  Share resources with families, including feedback from families in attendance.  Ask families to share their vision statements with other families who may need examples for inspiration.  You could highlight one family each month in your program newsletter or share stories on social media, with permission. 

For the main article Creating Vision Statements, CLICK HERE

For the article Setting a Vision for Your Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Vision Setting with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Program Vision Setting, CLICK HERE

August 2019 Newsletter – Creating Vision Statements: Vision Setting with Children

Young children can create simple visions for themselves, but they will likely need a little guidance from teachers.  Find images of children engaging in different actions and encourage children to pick one or two of the actions that they want to focus on.  You could include images that depict:

  • A child comforting another child- Call this Kind Friend
  • A child working to complete a task – Call this Hard Worker
  • A child solving a problem – Call this Problem Solver
  • A child being helpful – Call this Helpful Buddy
  • A child painting – Call this Creative Thinker
  • A child taking a deep breath – Call this Calm Kiddo
  • A child engaged in any other action that you want to see more of in your learning environment

Engage in one-on-one conversations with children about what they see in the pictures.  Share the names of the pictures and talk about the actions the children are taking.  Encourage children to choose an action or characteristic that they want to focus on. This is a form of personal vision.  Children can to pick a new vision each day or even each week. 

This activity could be set up as an interactive bulletin board on the back of a storage shelf. You could also place the images on a poster that is located near the cubby area.  Try to catch each child as they enter the classroom to have the conversation about the vision they have for themselves that day!

Use the language from these images and conversations when you notice children engaged in the actions throughout the day.  For example, “I noticed that you were being a Helpful Buddy during clean-up time today. Thank you!”

Show us pictures of your Vision Bulletin Board on our Facebook page here.

For the main article Creating Vision Statements, CLICK HERE

For the article Setting a Vision for Your Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Vision Setting with Families, CLICK HERE

For the article Program Vision Setting, CLICK HERE