5 Steps to Retaining Great Employees

They’re invaluable, aren’t they?

Great employees I mean. Particularly in the early learning environment.

It’s critical to retain great staff in our industry because kids need stability. They bond with their carers and get upset when they leave.

Unfortunately, we’re in an industry that tends to have high staff turnover.

But if you can change that, and hang on to your fabulous staff, that gives you a huge advantage. It can be a key point of difference between you and your competitors.

Reliable, loyal staff are not only a great advertisement for your business but a huge support to you too.

Being able to rely on your team means less stress – and often less work – for you because you can delegate.

So when you find good people, how do you make sure they stay with you? Here’s some strategies for retaining your top talent.

 

Retain top talent

Retain The Best

Don’t let the best people slip through your fingers. When you find them, hang on to them with both hands.

Nurture and support them, and invest in their development. It’s not always easy to find high-quality, industry-specific but that’s why we put together a Day With The Best 2016.

The Day With The Best is an annual event that brings together Australia’s leading experts and is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

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7 Reasons to Invest in Staff Training and Development

It’s an easy mistake to make.

Skimping on staff training, I mean. But it causes a lot of problems.

It can result in poor staff performance, not to mention guilt.

You know what I mean.

That horrible feeling of self-recrimination. The remorse that comes from knowing we’re at least a little to blame for a staff member underperforming.

Just because we trimmed the training budget.

The trick is to learn from the situation. Learn and move on, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

And the first thing you need to understand are all the reasons why it’s critical to invest in staff training and development.

This infographic covers everything you need to know.

Reasons to invest in PD

Professional Development for Early Childhood Educators

One of the most challenging aspects of working in the early learning space is that it can be hard to find high-quality professional development.

That’s why we put together a Day With The Best.

The Day With The Best is an annual event that’s set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

A Fantastic opportunity to engage in PD to inspire and reignite passion in an early childhood educator. Ran very smoothly. Panel was a great idea to allow presentors to show perspectives – T Abbott Le Smileys

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

 

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5 Characteristics All Successful People Share

Do you want to be a success?

Of course you do – who doesn’t? No matter how you define it, we all want to be successful.

And here’s something you may not know. All successful people share certain characteristics.

Learn, nurture and display these characteristics and you can become successful too. So what characteristics should you possess?

Check out our handy infographic that shows you five characteristics you need to succeed.

Characteristics for success
If you don’t have some of these qualities, that’s OK because they can be learned, and that’s why we put together a Day With The Best.

Because we want you to succeed and become one of the most reliable experts people turn to when they need quality child care.

The Day With The Best is an annual event that’s set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

The Day With The Best is created for Early Childhood Educators by Early Childhood Educators and it brings together Australia’s leading experts.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

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How To Make Sure Your Early Learning Centre Stands Out From The Crowd

Running an early learning centre can be tough.

In an ideal world, you’d hang out your shingle and be inundated with loyal families, clamouring for your services.

But the reality is somewhat different, isn’t it?

We all know there are lots of centres out there competing for families. And we know that they vary in quality.

So how do you stand out in the crowd? How do you ensure that you create a business that provides high-quality care?

Because getting a reputation – for all the right reasons – is important.

You might not realise it but:

– 85% of your potential customers use the internet to research your company before they decide to make a purchase
– 79% of your potential customers value personal and online recommendations in their search for a reputable company
– 86% of people are willing to pay more for a service from companies which feature higher reviews and rating (source: Public Relations Institute of Australia)

So having a great reputation is critical. But how do you gain that great reputation?

You implement simple strategies that work. Here are a few ideas.

Invest in People

It goes without saying that you’ll hire well-qualified people who are a good fit for your business. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you can’t afford to stop there.

Early Childhood Education and Care is a people based business, and your team are the greatest assets in your business.

It’s essential you cultivate your skills – and those of your team – through ongoing training, professional development and personal growth. It’s the best investment you can make, and one that can have the greatest impact.

Ask for Input

Ask everyone associated with your business what they think.

If you encourage your staff to come up with ideas for improvements you’ll be amazed at how great their ideas are. You don’t have to watch Undercover Boss to know the value of consulting the people who actually do the work.

Try running a competition and provide a reward for the best ideas each month!

More importantly, ask parents to evaluate your services, and then use that information to develop an improvement plan.

Utilise the Competition

Rather than seeing competitors as competition, make them irrelevant. Learn to create a business that’s so different to your competitors, people will always choose you.

Some early learning centres different themselves by the educational programming, hiring part-time art teachers, or music teachers. Some extend their hours to make their services different. Some have facilities that make attending their centre a joy for the children.

But differentiation doesn’t have to come at such a high price.

Differentiating yourself can be as simple as creating a team you’re proud of, being an exceptional leader, and creating strong relationships with children.

Mix With The Best

The best thing you can do to make your early learning centre stand out from the crowd is to mix with like-minded professional carers who are also building outstanding businesses.

As Jim Rohn says:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

And it’s true. That’s why many influential people spend time together because they learn and grow from those friendships.

And that’s why we put together a Day With The Best. Because we want to mix with Australia’s leading experts, and we want you to join us.

The Day With The Best is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.  Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment. – T Eichmann TCS

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

 

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How To Build A Childcare Team You Can Be Proud Of

 

A successful team is a group of many hands and one mind. ~ Bill Bethel

Many organisations are trying to do more with less by relying on the efficiency of teams.

That means that teamwork is more important than ever, and it’s critical that teams work well together.

Failures in teamwork have caused serious workplace accidents. They’ve also caused planes to crash and businesses to fail.

The problem is that many teams are really a collection of individuals. A group of people is not a team just because they’re called ‘a team’.

For a group of people to become a fully functioning team, a whole range of psychological processes need to be nurtured.

While all teams are different, psychologists have discovered there are some things that all teams need. Here’s the low down.

1.   Social Skills

A study conducted by Wooley Et Al in 2010 found that group intelligence is:

“. . .not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members but is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members. . . ”

And it’s not an isolated finding, this evidence emerges in research again and again.

So strong communication and social skills are critical to great team wok.

2.   Clear Goals and Roles

It might seem obvious, but clear goals and roles make a huge difference in teams.

A recent survey of 7,200 U.S. adults found that only 12% of employees set priorities with their managers. But that 12% were much happier than the employees who scored their managers’ goal setting towards the bottom of the scale.

Organisation goals and clearly defined team roles prevent confusion and increase stability in so many ways. In fact, clearly defined roles decreases absenteeism and lateness (KammeyerMueller and Wanberg, 2003).

Role clarity is particularly important during times of change. Teams with clear roles can adapt easily, but when individuals don’t know who’s responsible for what, chaos reigns.

3.   Trust

Whilst trust might seem obvious when it comes to team function, it’s more complex than that.

Research conducted by Naquin and Kurtzberg in 2009 found that people will base their assessments of team trust on the least trustworthy individual in a team.

So each member of the team must be trustworthy, and be perceived as trustworthy in order for people to trust the group. If not, the whole team suffers.

4.   Humour

As crazy as it might sound, Professor William Hampes has found that people with a strong sense of humour are perceived as more trustworthy.

Equally, teams with strong group dynamics will joke around together. Humour is a signal that groups are getting along well and has the added benefit of reducing stress, increasing team cohesion and increasing creativity (Romero and Pescosolido, 2008).

Don’t Do It Alone

Building and leading a team effectively is complex and challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

If you want to build a great team by cultivating your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

On the day you’ll:

  • Learn how to think deeper about your practice
  • Be inspired to turn your ideas into action
  • Discover how to harness the power of your team
  • Meet other Early Childhood Educators like you for potential collaboration and shared learning
  • Have fun with people who love educating children

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts and is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

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5 Parent-Wrangling Secrets Every Childcare Professional Should Know

It can be challenging.

Maintaining strong relationships with parents. You know it’s critical, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Parents are so emotionally invested in their children they can’t always see straight.

Using a few simple strategies can make all the difference, so here are 5 strategies to strengthen your relationship with parents.

1. Stop, Look and Listen

Whenever possible, stop what you’re doing and look at parents when they’re talking to you. This communicates that you’re really listening to what they have to say.

Let the parent finish speaking and then check your understanding by paraphrasing what you heard.

Paraphrasing can seem a little strange at first, but it’s actually reassuring for the speaker. It shows you’ve heard them, and it helps clarify their thoughts. They can hear what they told you and confirm it’s correct.

2. Get Curious

Try to understand the parents’ perspective, even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying.

You can do this by getting really curious about their thoughts and feelings. You might try saying something like, “It sounds like that was frustrating.”

It’s also useful to use open-ended questions to ask for additional information if you need it. Open-ended questions give people a chance to expand on what they’re saying rather than just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example, “What did you mean by saying he was mucking up?”

3. Respond, Don’t React

Often when we’re rushed or busy we say things in the heat of the moment. It’s OK to pause and consider your response first. It’s also OK to defer the conversation until you both have more time.

Get used to using ‘I’ messages. They keep you focused on how you’re feeling about the situation, rather than blaming, or focusing on what you want parents to do.

It’s important to keep your comments in the present. Don’t bring up issues from the past. If the issue keeps happening, move on to finding a solution.

4. Address Problems Now

We often have to raise concerns with parents, and it’s never easy. But problems don’t go away by themselves, so it’s important to address them before they escalate.

The most important thing is to be open and honest with the parents. Explain exactly what the issue is and why it might be a concern.

Check what parents think about the issue and whether they’re concerned about it. Ask if they experience the same kind of issues at home.

5. Work Together Where Possible

When you’re looking after children it’s natural that there will be concerns from time to time. Whenever there’s an issue, it’s important for you to work with the child’s parents, as a team.

Try to show an interest in the parents’ welfare as well as their child’s after all, the problem is likely to impact them too.

Offering solutions is a consultative process. Ask for parents’ opinions and then brainstorm as many solutions as possible. Once you’ve got some ideas, jointly evaluate the pros and cons of each solution to find what works.

 

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How To Harness the Power of Critical Reflection

Confusing isn’t it?

Understanding critical reflection and knowing how to use it to implement a childcare program.

What is ‘critical reflection’?

How is it relevant to childcare?

How do you use it to meet Element 1.2.3 of the NQS?

It’s all so … difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be. There’s really three simple steps to getting it right.

So let’s unpack them, shall we?

1. Unpacking Critical Reflection

The first step is to unpack what is meant by ‘critical reflection’ and what is expected of educators in relation to the National Quality Framework.

This needs to be done effectively so you can distinguish between evaluation, reflection, and critical reflection. Once this becomes clear, you can apply the critical reflective process to a range of practical context and issues.

Getting crystal clear on this also allows you to identify a range of strategies for recording and documenting critical reflection.

2. Strengthening Early Childhood Programs

Critical reflection is more than just a process to be followed. It’s doing reflection at a more conscious level.

Critical reflection is the process of analyzing, reconsidering and questioning experiences within a broad context of issues, ideas, and values. Used correctly it strengthens early childhood programs.

But it requires a deep understanding of the process, and how to make it work for you. You need to be able to participate in reflective conversations, reflection on action and reflection in action

3. Developing a Growth Mindset

A key outcome of the critical reflection process is developing a growth mindset. Not just in yourself, but in your team, and the children and families you work with.

Developing a growth mindset changes “I can’t” into “I’m working on it”. It moves you from “impossible” to “I’m possible”. This is deeply transformational for both educators and families.

Developing this mindset increases creativity and eliminates boundaries. It makes almost anything possible.

How To Make It Easy

Understanding critical reflection is one thing, but harnessing the power of the process can be complex.

It can take years of discovery, setbacks, and experience to get it right. But there’s a shortcut you can take.

You can discover key strategies from experts like Stephen Gallen, Caroline Fewster, and Rod Soper. Their experience encompasses all aspects of early childhood learning, from classroom teaching to managing services, consulting and developing professional development programs.

They’re passionate about early learning and providing optimum opportunities for young learners to realise their full potential, and they’re sharing their knowledge and expertise with us at the Day With The Best.

The Day With The Best is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators, so grab your place now.

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How To Deal With Child Care Documentation (Without Drowning In It)

Necessary, but often overwhelming.

That’s how many child care professionals see documentation requirements. And it can be.

It can be challenging and time-consuming and draining.

But it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to know how to deal with it efficiently and effectively.

To know the frameworks and requirements, and to know how to inject a little passion into it.

Here’s how to deal with childcare documentation, without drowning in it.

Documention for KKTC

The Secret To Nailing Documentation

The real secret is to know what the experts in the child care industry are saying.

And that’s why we’re getting a bunch of them together for a professional development day on Saturday, 16 July – the Day With The Best.

It’s put together for child care professionals, by child care professionals, so you’re hearing from people who really know what they’re talking about.

And it is not a conference full of trade displays and sales briefings in between a few educator presentations.  Expect the most current industry topics to be covered, specialist panels, case studies and Q&A sessions – not sales managers selling their wares! This is a day for you not them!

Expect to listen to people like Caroline Fewster who offers a wealth of real world knowledge, combined with high-level qualifications and superior teaching skills, and Stephen Gallen who has over 25 years in early childhood education and care.

Join us and Australia’s leading experts for this one-day event, that’s set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators. Grab your place now!

 

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Registrations Now Open For Day With The Best PD Event

Kool Kids Training College is pleased to be associated with Day With The Best! PD Event – A One Day Event Designed ‘By and For Early Childhood Educators’

The event will cover the most pressing PD issues in the sector today and will be held Saturday 16th July, 2016, at the Shark’s Events Centre on the Gold Coast. 

For more information about the event read today’s Press Release with registrations available at www.dwtb.com.au

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Secrets Of Great Leadership

Leadership can make or break an organisation.

It filters into the very fibre of the organisation. It affects the morale, the efficacy and the overall success of a business.

So it’s critical to get it right. But what is right, exactly?

Leadership is more than just recruiting and managing a team, setting goals and delegating. It’s a blend of innate characteristics and learned skills.

Let’s take a look at some of the qualities of great leadership.

They Imagine The Future

Effective leaders need vision. They know where they are now, and where they’re going. And that requires significant knowledge of your profession because you need to be able to read the landscape.

It’s like a great driver needs to know more than just how to operate the car, and work within the road rules. They need to be able to see ahead, judge the environment and predict the unpredictable.

Effective leadership in an educational setting requires a vision for educational change. That’s not easy.

To do that well you need to understand both the purpose of leadership and the role of educational change. And then you need to understand the deep and transformative connection between the two.

They Manage Change

Great leaders understand that change is inevitable, and resistance to it is futile. Instead, they anticipate the changes that are coming and make plans to address them before they arrive.

They promote a positive organisational culture and encourage an environment of professional enquiry. This can be difficult when some of the team are resistant to change.

So great leaders also need great people skills. They need to be able to support, guide, influence, challenge and inspire the people in their team.

They need strong communication skills so they can guide their team through change – even if there’s resistance.

They Create Positive Culture

Effective leaders know how to create a positive workplace culture. They understand that people spend about one-third of their lives at work and that our work environment should be a pleasant place.

Unhappy workplaces are also unproductive workplaces. When people aren’t happy at work there’s increased staff turnover, higher rates of unplanned leave, they’re less productive and their work quality suffers.

A 2011 Harvard Business Review article stated that the level of happiness has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality.

Part of creating a positive culture is to recognise employee effort using strategies that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and take only a few minutes to accomplish. Because recognising employees’ achievements results in improved morale, performance, and loyalty.

They Collaborate Successfully

Collaboration is a powerful tool when used well, but many people fail to get it right. It’s critical to understand the structure and processes involved and to know that some structures are better suited to achieving certain outcomes.

It’s important to know the pitfalls of collaboration, and not to use it as a façade for a predetermined outcome. It’s also critical not to ‘stack the deck’ with homogenous voices rather than the diverse opinions of all those impacted.

It’s not something that should be done because it seems like a good idea, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a process that requires sufficient time and resources to get it right.

It’s also critical that leaders take their people on the collaborative journey because, without their support and enthusiasm, the collaboration will not succeed.

Want More?

If you want to cultivate your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts. The event is  set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

A Fantastic opportunity to engage in PD to inspire and reignite passion in an early childhood educator. Ran very smoothly. Panel was a great idea to allow presentors to show perspectives – T Abbott Le Smileys

Gained confidence and knowledge on how I can improve my practices. –  J Bae Upper Coomera ELC

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS