Being time-poor is perhaps the biggest hurdle in being an effective manager in an early childhood education and care setting. So many people say “If I didn’t get so many interruptions, I might actually be able to get something done!”
In this post we explore and look at time-saving tools to significantly improve communication with Educators / Teachers and families. These tools can literally save you hours each day.
1. Reduce interruptions by talking to your staff more
Having regular catch-ups with your team 1:1 will mean less interruptions. Ideally, you should meet with each of your staff once a week for 5 to 7 minutes. In this time, you can give them your undivided attention, find out how their weeks been, follow up on any feedback and check in with them. As your weekly meetings become more and more regular, you’ll find your Educators / Teachers interrupt you less. They hold their ideas waiting for the weekly meeting. You can even get them an A4 exercise book where they can jot down their ideas during the week
Make sure the right person does the right job at the right time. You shouldn’t be the person ordering nappies and baby wipes. Having a manager ordering stock is a poor use of resources. Giving an up-and-coming staff member the responsibility of managing the stock levels is a more appropriate use of human resources. You can relieve that staff member whilst they order supplies and you can use that time to coach and mentor staff in the room.
3. Have morning briefings
How many times do you have to deliver the same message each morning? First into the babies room, then into the toddlers, then to the preschoolers and don’t forget the kitchen and the office. Take the time to have morning briefings., Do them over an intercom system. The room leaders listens on the intercom to the morning briefing, often no longer than three or four minutes. Then they’re responsible for passing on the message to their teams. Absent children, messages from parents, lunches or changes in shifts, they can all be delivered over the morning briefing. At Farran Street we call them the morning POW-WOW.
4. Schedule other people
At Farran Street, we invite potential families to make an appointment to tour the service. Tours are conducted every Monday between 9 and 11am. If potential families pop into the service outside these times, they are greeted and invited to make an appointment for the following Monday. Sales reps, booksellers, handy men, potential families, everyone needs to make an appointment. Reminder emails are sent two days before meetings to minimise no-shows.
5. Use technology to save time
Create a closed Facebook group to help your Educators / Teachers keep in touch. You can post rosters, notices, questions and reminders all to the Facebook group. Staff will receive notifications when the group has been updated, and you’ll be able to see who’s viewed the material. A closed Facebook group is just like the whiteboard in the staff room, only this way, it can be accessed from anywhere at any time and it becomes a discussion rather than just a way of delivering messages.
6. Schedule reactive time
If you have eight hours of office time and you know that normally you’re interrupted at least a quarter of the time, then you should only be scheduling six hours’ worth of work. In the morning, list down all the things you plan to complete that day and leave time for interruptions and reactive tasks. This way you won’t feel frustrated or demoralised when you have to deal with an issue immediately.
7. Use geo-reminders on your iPhone
The iPhone’s reminders App is pretty handy., Add in its location-based abilities and it becomes an absolute lifesaver. You can set up reminder alerts to go off at a certain place. For example, if you keep forgetting to collect those art and craft supplies, your iPhone can remind you the next time you’re within 100 meters of the supermarket. It can also remind you of things before you leave the house or set a reminder to take work home before you leave for the day.
For more time-saving tricks join us for the Early Childhood Management webinar series which starts on 28th Feb. Click here to reserve your seat.
Meetings tend to be the bugbear of both staff and managers alike. As you begin the year it might be a nice time to reflect on how to get the most out of your meetings.
Below are 3 do’s and don’ts for having effective meetings.
1. General Reminders
Team meetings are NOT for general reminders. “I’d like to remind everyone to supervise correctly.” “Don’t forget to wear your hat.” General reminders in a large group setting do nothing but decrease morale and promote an autocratic environment
2. Tell off the Entire Team
Team meetings are not an opportunity to tell off the entire team for what one or two people may have been doing wrong. “A few people have been coming in late…can everyone please remember to come in on time.” Telling off the entire team creates a culture of blame and intimidation.
3. Have large group discussion
Large group discussions seldom succeed in getting the best ideas from your team. Often large group discussions can become confrontational and often only the loudest people are heard. Not everyone operates best in a large group environment.
1. Celebrate Achievements
Whole team meetings are a great opportunity to celebrate achievements from Educators. Staff meetings should be an opportunity to present best practice from around the service and highlight great work. Remember: What you focus on is what you get more of.
2. Generate Discussion
Team meetings are a great opportunity to generate discussion and capture ideas from the team. Use a 3 step process to make sure everyone feels included. 1. Individual brainstorm, 2. Small group discussion. 3 large group discussion. Using this process will ensure everyone has a chance to thrive.
3. Learning and Development
Team meetings are a great opportunity for learning and development. Allow Educators to specialise in areas of interest and use team meetings as an opportunity for them to share their knowledge with the broader team. Team meetings are also a great opportunity to have a guest speaker or run a training session.
With these simple tips, your meetings will be loved not loathed and you’ll get the best from your team.
It’s this time of year when we’re encouraged to set goals and chart a new path forward. Eat healthier, get more exercise and save money always tend to be at the top of the list. Let’s look at 5 resolutions you can make to help your team succeed in 2018.
We’re on our feet all the time however, 2018 is a great time to get fit with your team. You can use an activity tracker like Fitbit to track your activity during the day. Get started with a Fitbit Group for your team. Maybe even a Fitbit challenge. Fitbit not your style? What about a walking group? Each week Educators get a day with 10min extra on their break to walk around a local park. Build fitness and team morale in one go.
2. Become Flexible
Your team will have people with a variety of strengths, backgrounds, personalities and work styles. To be the most effective leader, you’ll need to modify your leadership style to accommodate the needs of each team member. Being flexible means modifying your approach to create an environment where your staff can thrive. It’s not playing favourites, it’s supporting high performance.
3. Develop Strong Teams
One person alone cannot steady the ship. It requires a small team of committed individuals to chart the path forward. Services that succeed have a team of leaders who support each other’s decisions and commit to exceeding expectations. Develop a team of supporters around you and you’ll see huge changes in the morale of the team.
4. Be Mindful
Not everything is going to go to plan. Be mindful, new leaders are going to make mistakes. You’ll need to be mindful and compassionate in your approach. Your role as a leader is to serve your team. Eventually, to make yourself replaceable, teach people well so one day, they can supersede you.
5. Learn a new language
Make 2018 the language of Character Strengths. When you learn the language of character strengths, you talk about what is right with people. Your words will bring them energy, and help them be engaged. There are 24 character strengths, and when you learn to talk in terms of strengths, they’ll feel more motivated, more energised and more connected in your team.
Help your team reach their New Year’s Resolutions with some of our stand out programs in 2018.
Leadership Essentials, learn the fundamentals of leadership in just 4 hours. Special 3-for-2 offer on now.
Team Workshops (We come to you)
Understanding Yourself and Others – This workshop explores individual personality styles and helps your team improve communication and reduce conflict.
The Trusted Team – This workshop explores the language of character strengths. Help your team increase a sense of belonging and protect against burnout.
We’re very excited to launch our Professional Development program for 2018.
Congratulations, we’re glad you’re here and that you’ve thought of us to support you in your learning journey. We’ve created a range of learning programs designed to inform, inspire and ignite your thinking.
Farran Street Education delivers learning experiences which leave you inspired and full of ideas. Our customised learning solutions are practical, fun and driven by results. We provide fast-paced, easy-to follow learning experiences specifically designed for Children’s Services professionals.
At Farran Street Education, we find that despite being technically strong and having many years of experience in Early Childhood Education, managing, motivating and engaging other educators continues to be the most prominent roadblock to services achieving quality educational outcomes for children. Our programs are designed to support you in this area and help you and your team be the best they can be. Our programs are designed for Educators who are looking to step up into leadership roles or experienced Leaders looking to refine their practice. We’re here for managers who want to learn new techniques or those who are unsure about where to start. We are here to help you navigate the learning journey so you have the strongest possible team.
Whether you’re a room leader, director or operations manager you’ll find our learning experiences jampacked with the latest research, practical ideas and step-by-step solutions to help you lead and manage your team. We’re looking forward to helping you navigate the path forward and joining you on the journey.
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