Why is Teacher Appreciation Important?
Building good culture is really important at child care centers. While it’s easy to focus on team-building activities for teachers and staff, don’t forget that your parents are powerful advocates for your teachers!
Involving parents and increasing their appreciation for teachers is a key part of creating a sense of community at your center. They say it takes a village to raise a child for a reason! Watching relationships at your child care center grow and evolve can be a really rewarding part of being a child care owner or director.
Apart from bringing people together, appreciating your teachers is a good way to retain top talent, engage your staff and impress your parents. There are some pretty organic benefits in doing this. You will have a positive atmosphere at the center, be less stressed out and parents will readily refer their friends to you.
4 Ways to Increase Teacher Appreciation at Your Preschool
Here are a few ideas on how to increase teacher appreciation at your center. Not only will this engage your families
Parent Volunteer Program
A good way to bring parents into your center’s routine is to start a parent volunteer program. There’s no better way for parents to understand the daily routine of your teachers than to be a part of it – trust us, we’ve been there.
Let your parents roll up their sleeves and become a part of the teaching environment by volunteering as an occasional classroom helper. This will help them get to know their teachers better and spend some quality time with their child’s classmates.
Field trips, sports activities or off-site events are also good opportunities to recruit parents as chaperones to support teachers in their role. This time spent together performing the tasks and duties of teachers will give parents a better sense of how much work really goes into organizing a preschool classroom.
Your families will walk away from the experience with a better sense of appreciation for your staff and your teachers will feel like they have a community that they can count on. This is helpful for establishing a good work-life balance at your center.
Teacher Appreciation Day
Preschool teachers are not strangers to long and busy hours all year round. So, why not schedule a day to acknowledge their hard work?
Having a designated Teacher Appreciation Day once a year in your calendar is a great way to make an event of appreciating your teachers. This way, you can plan ahead and allot some budget to celebrate your teachers!
You can include an announcement in your newsletter encouraging parents to drop by at the center for some activities that you’ve planned. Another option would be to have your parent volunteers own this project and organize something for your teachers.
This can be as simple as a lunch, or gathering to make some care packages for your teachers, or even a picnic at the park. There are a ton of creative ideas for inexpensive gifts for teachers on Pinterest. The options are endless
Get the Kiddos Involved
We’ve talked about parents quite a bit but it’s very likely that the kiddos are your teachers’ biggest fans! Getting them involved in the appreciation initiative can really make it a centerwide event.
Parents can work with their kids at home to come up with something creative and fun. Some ideas are:
- A homemade card
- Desk plant with a DIY decorated pot
- Supplies package from the dollar store
- Scrapbook with some pictures and memories
- Cute cookies!
It’s worth remembering that even a small token of appreciation can go a long way in making teachers feel great about their work. This also provides parents with the opportunity to reflect on their child’s experience in the classroom together.
Technology for Parent Education
You can make classroom reflection more consistent by using technology to your advantage. With the availability of child care apps, the work that goes on in the classroom can now be more visible and accessible to parents in real time.
Digital daily reports can give parents insight into what goes on in the classroom with pictures and notes. More importantly, the alignment with early learning frameworks and curriculum offers parents the pedagogical perspective of early learning.
Millennial parents are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of early education. The ability to access their teachers’ documentation on their mobile devices is helpful to continue the learning at home. This connectivity will help change the perspective that preschool teachers are simply babysitting young children. A whole lot of development goes on during the early years and an app is an easy way to showcase that!
Check In With Your Teachers
Now that we’ve talked about both the parents and the kiddos, let’s look at what the management team can do to increase teacher appreciation.
Yes, working in child care means wearing many hats, but a little bit of praise and recognition goes a very long way. At the end of the day, you know your teachers better than anyone else. Managers and colleagues are in the best position to recognize areas of growth within the team.
Take the time to reflect on how each person on your team contributes to your center, from both a quality perspective but also culture. Don’t assume that your teachers know that you notice the work that they’re doing! It’s always nice to be told: “Hey, you did a good job!”
Make it a point to check in with your teachers and get to know them on a more personal level. After all, people spend 80% of our time at their workplaces – it is so important to have fun while on the job.
Celebrate each teacher’s successes and be supportive when it comes to professional development. A workforce that is constantly developing and growing will only raise the quality bar at your center. Building a tight-knit team is how you will retain top talent at your center.
Teacher appreciation is something that every stakeholder at a child care center benefits from. It brings the community together as well as creates a stable and positive environment for the children.
Do you already practice some of these things at your center? Let us know in the comments if you do something