Preschool children’s well-being in the classroom setting thrives on awareness of children’s needs, classroom needs, and director’s needs, professional development resources that empower those who work with young children, and opportunities for directors to personally train staff and supervise their growth.
ChildcareTennessee sought out a group of eight dedicated leaders and asked them to mentor the creation of a new substitute process for childcare centers in Tennessee. This group has become a shared services team with the goal of providing trained temporary staffing, making them available through a newly created innovative online website, ChildcareMatters Substitute Service, and providing staff documentation for licensure records. As each member does their part, it saves all participants time and money, allowing opportunities to create higher quality at each childcare site.
The organic focus of this group allows it to be open and growing. The directors each do what they excel in by conducting interviews and overseeing training. The directors keep control of the employment by choosing the sub they desire through a text alert, pay for the time through their own payroll system which allows them to budget their use, and has the assurance of staff that they themselves have trained. The Community Foundation supports their work by providing staff to advertise for substitutes, phone screen applicants, and facilitate the interaction between each mentor director and new substitute. The website, ChildcareMatters.com, is used for the posting of jobs and text message interaction between applicants for the job. Personnel documents are securely stored by The Community Foundation and shared through a password protected website of resources managed by ChildcareTennessee.
As directors become less stressed by having temporary but trained staff available, they are able to turn their attention to the important work of providing quality experiences in the preschool setting. As teachers are relieved of the stress of working in classrooms that are short staffed or staffed with inadequate substitutes, they focus on the children’s day and a quality experience. As parents come to expect to arrive at the preschool without apprehension about the safety and security of their child, they enter with enthusiasm and leave with appreciation. And the children, for who we do it all, have a happy day of learning and play.