Your organization is responsible for many important things, not the least of which is caring for, educating and enriching children. When a parent brings their child through your doors, they are passing over their very world, and it’s up to you to take that responsibility very seriously. But, it’s also a lot of fun! Children bring out the best in all of us, so let’s talk about how to bring out the best in them.
1. Set fair and safe boundaries. As much as kids like to push back on rules, they actually crave and need clear guidelines to feel safe and be productive. Clearly communicating expectation about schedules, behavior and activities will give children a sense of security, allowing them to focus on learning, growing and creating. Establish protocols for misbehavior ahead of time.
2. Allow children to make choices. When you’re sitting around the table making paper valentines, it’s so easy for adults to try and coach them to have a “successful” project. Their color choices are odd and the hearts are upside down. So what? Allow kids to create in a way that suits them. It will build their confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment.
3. Listen. Children have a lot to process every day – A lot to learn and a lot to understand. They have questions. You can be a trusting adult in their lives by giving them a chance to express their feelings, ask questions or process events with you.
4. Do your research. Feeling like your offerings are getting a little stale or old? Kids love variety and want to be exposed to different, diverse things. A short Google or Pinterest search for new craft ideas, team building exercises, or outings can reinvigorate your curriculum, especially if you’re with the same kids on a regular basis.
5. Keep them safe. This one is a joint effort between staff and leadership. Whether it be their physical or emotional well-being, when children are in your care, they must be cared for in every way. That includes preventive physical safety as well as a plan for the off-chance when things go wrong. Having an up-to-date data management system means emergency information and contacts are at your fingertips – exactly where they should be. Make sure current background screenings and safeguards for all staff are in place, as well as fail-safe processes for child drop-off and pick-up.
As an organization that serves your littlest members, you carry a wonderful responsibility to encourage the best out of the children in your facilities. Your work is incredibly important, and all the families in your organization know it. Thanks for contributing positively to the future of our communities!