Qualities to Look for When Hiring Educators for your Daycare

When it comes to recruitment, finding the right talent for your business is no easy feat and hiring talent that has enough experience and skills to properly work with children is definitely no walk in the park either. As a daycare owner, you may find that one of the most challenging tasks that your job entitles is managing staff. That’s why you shouldn’t overlook the importance of securing top talent to begin with. Here are some qualities to look out for when hiring educators for your daycare.

Education and Experience

Qualified early childhood educators should have a solid educational background in early childhood education, teaching, family psychology, or a similar field. Working with young children is a career path that one without sufficient experience in rarely excels.

With education being at the top of the checklist, certifications and licenses can also make or break a candidate’s profile. Follow your local laws and regulations to determine the minimal education, experience, and licensing required and always reference check to ensure they are credible. Several factors to keep in mind when contacting references are a potential employee’s track record of absences, dedication to the job requirements, and how they treat the children, among many other requirements.

Behavioral Qualities

A potential educator’s behavioral qualities should never be overlooked. It is extremely important that a candidate fits into your company culture. The most effective way to get a first impression is to have a list of prepared questions to ask applicants about how they would react when placed under certain circumstances that are bound to happen during the day. For example, “How would you react to a child making racist comments?” or “What would you do if a child still isn’t understanding the difference between shapes after you’ve explained it dozens of times?”

Several important behavioral qualities to look for in early childhood educators include:

Patience

Kids ask countless questions and their curiosity knows no limits. Successful early childhood educators encourage curiosity and don’t give children a reason to shy away when they don’t have the answer to something.

A sense of humor

Children are … children. They are young and free and look forward to playtime. Having a good sense of humor is an often-underestimated skill when it comes to the job. It’s essential to a certain extent but educators should also know their limits.

Authority

As important as a good sense of humor is, educators also need to show authority and be strict to a certain degree so kids actually listen to them and take them seriously.

Attentive

In most cases, educators are the only rational ones in the room. They must be attentive to detail and always alert, especially if a child’s life is at stake. They must be quick on their feet and make rational decisions in a split second if necessary.

Effective communication skills

They should know how to effectively communicate with young children to help explain concepts and lessons at their levels of understanding. At the same time, they must have the knowledge and confidence to carry out a professional conversation with a parent or other staff members.

Believe in diversity

They should not only show respect to children and parents of different backgrounds, lifestyles, and ethnicities, but they also must promote the collaboration of children from different backgrounds and help open their eyes to a world of diverse cultures starting from a young age.

Understanding of Childhood Development & Early Childhood Education

The best way to ensure an educator has sufficient understanding and experience in working with children in selecting those that are aware of the demands of young children and how crucial the first few years are on the rest of their lives.

Teachers should have a solid understanding of physical, cognitive, social, and behavioral childhood. While arts and crafts, proper nutrition, and playtime are important, daycare employees also need to guide young children to meet developmental milestones at such a critical stage.

A Clean Record

Since working with children is a highly delicate field, all potential candidates should undergo a thorough background check and proper training. Screening shouldn’t be taken lightly and it doesn’t hurt to undergo background checks more than once. There are very few things worse than allowing a potentially incompetent or harmful caregiver to be around children. This could unfortunately, lead to traumatic events for the child, abuse and negligence, negative reviews from parents, malpractice, and in critical situations, even lawsuits.

Ability to Adopt your Teaching Methods

Since you’re looking for experts in the field, the potential educators you’re considering recruiting will more than likely have experience working with children. While many teaching methods may be correct, it’s understandable to prefer hiring teachers that will help keep your educational system and teaching methods consistent. That being said, it’s important while recruiting to keep an eye out for talent that is more likely to bring creativity and ideas to the table, but more importantly respect and adopt your specific teaching methods.

How to Recruit Early Childhood Educators

Now that you’ve grasped the requirements and have a clearer picture of what you’re looking for, it’s time to find the right early childhood educators for your business.

Placing job listings under the Careers section of your website is a great place to start. You also may have some luck finding qualified applicants through your other owned channels, namely LinkedIn and Facebook. Local directories will help spread the word fast, as candidates flock to directories in masses to check new job posts daily.

One of the most effective ways to target potential talent is by simply asking staff if they know anyone suitable for the job. Offer a referral program with perks to get the ball rolling. Chances are they have connections with like-minded educators or know someone that knows someone that meets the requirements.

But it doesn’t stop there…

Finding and hiring the right talent is only half of it. The onboarding is just as important and requires new teachers to

  • Familiarize themselves with the daycare’s mission and vision
  • Work in line with the rules, regulations, and teaching procedures set forth by the daycare owner
  • Get to know the children they’ll be responsible for, including everything from their names and parents, to their learning styles, health concerns, and everything in between.
  • Understand the approved activities used by the center
  • Adopt the centers meal plans, nap times, and more
  • Be familiar with the center’s Childcare Management System

It’s essential to continue to provide educators with proper training and educational opportunities. These can include regular workshops, seminars, and opportunities for additional hands-on experience, licenses, and certifications in the field.

Striving to handpick the best of the best for your daycare educators makes recruitment a daunting task for daycare owners everywhere. Keeping an eye out for patient, enthusiastic, properly educated and well-trained prospects will help you bring on board early childhood educators your enrolled children and their parents are sure to love.