This blog originally was posted in March of 2021, and was updated with new information on July 18, 2023.
Finding child care staff with the best skills and qualities helps create the perfect environment for kids to learn, grow and have fun. But as child care centers and daycares struggle to find staff, it can be hard to narrow down what skills and qualities to look for.
Let’s take a look at important considerations for you to make as you interview and choose your staff!
Key Skills and Qualities to Look For in Child Care Staff
No matter the industry, employers will almost always prefer someone with experience. Of course, experience comes with a little higher price tag. The more child care experience they have, the more potential hires expect to be compensated … as they should! The truth is, as an employer, you will probably get what you pay for. That’s not to say a new, enthusiastic teacher won’t turn out to be a wonderful choice! But if you have the budget, you won’t regret putting it toward hiring experienced teachers for your classrooms. They will already have naturally developed more of the child care job skills to come on this list, plus, an important X factor that comes along with experience –– confidence. And that comes in handy when managing children.
Depending on the age of the children and ratio guidelines, a child care worker may have up to 12 kids they’re responsible for at one time. There’s no time for indecisiveness! If kids are fighting or misbehaving, a decisive teacher can curtail the issues quickly, rather than letting things get out of hand. And that means a safer environment for the children. Kids also pick up on indecisiveness quickly. If they sense someone is unsure of themselves, it could lead to problems.
3. Certifications in Key Areas
Early childhood education degree
A degree in early childhood education is a big bonus to see on any child care worker’s resume. Having such teachers on staff will stand out to families and could potentially boost enrollment. As an employer, you can stand out and retain these kinds of qualified candidates by offering tools to your child care workers to simplify and streamline education and development. Child care management software allows teachers to plan weekly lessons, manage curricula and assess children’s developmental progress. Your facility can also easily stay aligned with early learning frameworks through pre-loaded standards for all 50 states.
Children with special needs require dedicated care and consideration. Additional certifications in this area can mean the world to a parent with a child struggling with learning or development challenges. A candidate who not only has a degree in early childhood education, but also a focus in special needs, may be of great value to your facility. If you’re a child care worker looking to find great early education degree programs, check out this handy list.
Last but not least, CPR training is an essential child care skill. It’s so important to be prepared and practiced for any dangerous situation that could arise. These certifications need to be renewed, so be sure your staff members are up to date on their CPR training.
Side note: Always make sure your teachers have access to the poison control number. The national number is 800-222-1222. They will connect you to your local office in an emergency situation.
4. Patience and Adaptability
Parents know better than anyone that kids can test your patience. Some days, they aren’t their best little selves simply because they didn’t get enough sleep. Other days, they’re rays of metaphorical sunshine. Regardless of the kids’ moods on any given day, a patient, adaptable child care worker can handle both sides in their classroom with grace. Of course, it’s not always easy to know if a candidate is patient and adaptable in real life. So, why not put it to the test? Try a role-play situation in your interview, or explain a difficult scenario and ask them how they would handle it.
5. Clear Communication
Kids need clear direction and structure to thrive. A big part of creating that kind of positive environment is to have a teacher in the classroom who knows how to communicate effectively. A resume can’t necessarily show how well someone communicates in person. As an employer, it will be important to meet with several candidates in person –– or these days, on video conference –– to get a picture of how they communicate.
The other important piece of communication is parent-to-teacher. Parents want to stay informed and involved in how their kids are doing at school. They will greatly appreciate it if their child’s teachers are in consistent communication with them. With the right family engagement capabilities, you can build stronger connections with the families your business serves.
Extra Credit Point Child Care Skills
There are a few other areas of expertise that prove to be beneficial in creating fun and engaging classrooms. Here are a few bonus point skills that are sure to make a child care worker job application stand out.
Experience with Yoga, Dance or Fitness
Being active is an indicator that someone has worked to master discipline and patience. Plus, they’d likely be able to incorporate their fitness-related skills into the classroom routine. Who doesn’t love starting their day with a little yoga or even a little dance party?!
Focus in Nutrition
Parents care about their kids’ nutrition. Having teachers who can speak to those choices and help parents who need guidance in that area could be a nice perk to offer.
In the United States, about 41.7 million people speak Spanish as a first language (about 12.5 percent of the population) and that number continues to grow. Additionally, the U.S. is home to nearly 15 million people who speak Spanish as a second language, according to Babbel magazine.
When a child care worker can speak both English and Spanish, it benefits kids who haven’t learned to speak English well, and children who don’t speak Spanish can learn in the process.
How Procare Can Help!
The bottom line is the caliber of your teachers and child care staff will directly affect enrollment numbers.
As an employer, you can more effectively hire and retain qualified candidates by offering tools to simplify and streamline education and development. Procare Solutions has teamed up with Learning Beyond
Paper, Inc, the leader in digital curriculum, to offer early educators a tool they’ve been waiting for — a fully online curriculum program tailored to child care centers.
Procare Early Learning powered by Learning Beyond Paper is an all-digital curriculum specifically designed to meet the unique needs of educating children from infancy through pre-kindergarten.
The integration with Procare makes this curriculum easy to use. New content, training and tools arrive automatically! And its saves hours of time each week, which in turn saves your center money.
Want to see how much time and money a digital curriculum could save your center? Learn your potential personalized savings by entering some information about your program into this online calculator!
Request a Demo
Request a demo and talk with one of our friendly Procare experts to get a tailored child care solution for the unique needs of your business.