Re-opening your early learning programs marks a transition into uncharted territory. As new policies and procedures are put into place, children and families will need support — and so will your teaching teams.
Your staff will have additional responsibilities during the next few months, including following new health and safety guidelines, keeping children safe through social distancing, and maintaining new cleaning standards. In order for your child care staff to be successful, they will need ongoing support to ensure that they are safe, healthy, and onboard with all of the changes.
Quick Tips for Supporting Staff
Remind your team that their physical health and safety is a priority. It is important that you actively communicate to your staff your concern for their safety and health. As they teach and care for young children despite the continuing active spread of COVID, teachers are doing important work to help reopen our economy and support parents returning to work. You’ll want to establish an environment in which teachers feel appreciated, valued, and comfortable enough to speak up if they have any concerns about their health.
Provide extra support in the classroom, as possible. Children will be going through a big, confusing transition as they return to school. Ensure that educators have enough support, especially during drop-off and pick-up. This might mean that you step into the classroom as an extra set of hands or ask teachers if there are any tricky times of the day when your participation would be helpful.
Get input from the teachers. If you haven’t reopened yet, share your new plans and policies with educators and ask if they have any questions or ideas. Allow them to be an active part of the process. Once you open, be sure to schedule regular check-ins to learn how things are going. Find out what is working and what isn’t so that you can make necessary adjustments.
Ask how you can help. COVID-19 has created a lot of new stressors and challenges for working professionals. They might be looking for resources and information about things like public transportation, available cleaning supplies, or local food bank pick-ups. Try to create a helpful place where educators can find flyers and information about available local resources to support them and their families. A few resources that might be helpful are listed below:
As we think about overcoming a crisis or time of stress, we think about the need for resiliency. When we have the necessary skills to build resiliency, we can more effectively tackle adversity and stress.
If you are interested in ways to help build resiliency, The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University recently shared an article, How to Help Families and Staff Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Outbreak. The article looks at how resilience is built overtime and can help us to overcome hardship.
The article explains how resiliency skills can be built by taking steps to: unload negative inputs, increase the presence of positive inputs, and strengthen core life skills. Practicing self-care and ensuring that basic needs are met can help us effectively manage our stress and sustain our ability to meet challenges. Click here to read the full article.