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  • 16 Oct 2016 4:32 PM | Anonymous

    Do you wake up each day excited at the prospect of going to work? Do you feel fortunate to have such wonderful employment and coworkers? Does your career provides you with spiritual abundance and freedom?  Does the passion for your career overflow every day, and inspire others?

    Do you expect the best for your job and yourself? Are you considered an expert in your field and enjoy the perks and benefits that go along with that positive reputation? Is your pay is appropriate for your level of expertise?

    Is your company thriving and providing you with challenge and inspiration? Do you feel grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization? Do you feel at home when working?

    Is your boss is supportive of employee advancement and good at giving feedback the staff need in order to excel? Do you spend every night reflecting on how fortunate you am to have my career?

    This is what I want for you in your career. I want you to plan to be your very best at work. I want you to be excited at the opportunities that your career presents and be committed to making the most of it. You have so many reasons to love your career if you are in the right one.  Take a minute to look at your current career track and appreciate what is great about it.  Also look at what needs to improve and make a plan to address it.

    Self-Reflection Questions:

    1. What would I change about my career?
    2. How has my career improved over the last year?
    3. What do I enjoy the most about my career?
    4. What needs to change?
    5. What steps can I take to improve it?

    If you are looking to take a different direction in you teaching career, Texas Director is here for you.  We can help you transition into a director or trainer role.  We also consult with folks who are looking to move into ownership.  Email Carrie@TexasDirector.org for a free session to start putting together your plan.

  • 13 Oct 2016 9:30 AM | Anonymous


    Enrollment in childcare is predictable.  When you are sitting in the hot seat it doesn’t feel that way.  I often felt like there was some incomprehensible force moving the families to surge into and dribble out of my centers.  If you have felt this confusion, I am here to help!

    Primary Shift

    When school is about to start in your area, or has just started is your best chance at a fully enrolled school.  Parents think about enrolling at this time of year.

    Many have been planning this for months and toured centers months before honing their search criteria and evaluating the prospects.  They came by in March, toured, and dropped off your radar. Then in August they show back up with the forms you gave them earlier in the year filled out, ready to start.  What?  I don’t have room for another 4 year old girl in Ms. Melissa’s class.  Has this ever happened to you?

    Other families seem oblivious to the concept of touring and evaluating and simply show up on a Tuesday ready to fill out paperwork so their child can start school on the first day of school, like big brother in second grade.  Of course there is room for their child.  The school district doesn’t turn anyone away, they just make it work.  It doesn’t matter if the program is a good fit, it is on the way to the elementary school and they have seen your bus during pickup time, so can you get Jimmie in the afternoon, too?

    My favorite type of August/September enrollment is the family we have had on the waiting list, who was on the books, has paid the fees, and come by with their child before the school year starts to help the child feel at home in your center.  Sometimes families are enrolled, but don’t come by between the tour and start date, but we have had communication between times, and have solidified their spot in our records.  I am good with them too.  There can also be those who are on your list, have filled out forms, but not paid or responded to emails or phone calls.  They make me nervous, but I have them pencilled in to the class roster.

    All of these families are responding to the societal norms that school starts at X time.  That is when their child will start.  I have been baffled by parents of infants waiting until late August to enroll their child, when they returned to work in June, but different strokes for different folks.  I presume they are also the type to not wear white for half of the year. I can live with that.  Most teachers and directors know this enrollment shift.  They plan for it and have events, crafts, or lesson plans adjusted for this period of transition.  By the time October rolls around everyone presumes the classes are pretty solid.  This is what our school will look like this year.  Cool.

    Second Shift

    But no school has had 100% the same student body at the end of the school year that they had at the beginning.  When we’re in it, it seams like folks just trickle in and out.  From the outside, I can tell you, you are missing something.

    Here is the thing, the first 60 days of enrollment are key to cementing a relationship.  It is like dating.  You agreed to be in this thing together and at first you are learning about the other person and it is exciting.  Then you discover they eat tacos like a heathen.  You get to decide if you can live with that.  Will you just stop eating tacos?  Will you talk to them about the different ways to consume this wonderful food without having to take a hose to the area afterwards?  Will you decide this is a deal breaker?  You have choices.  So do the parents.

    During those 60 days the parents find out that no sick kids, means they can’t give their son Tylenol and bring him in.  They learned that you were closed on Columbus Day, when else is the school closed?!?  Their child may have gotten sick or injured and you didn’t handle it exactly how they thought it should be handled.  You found out they want texts every time their child eats.  The teacher is concerned that the child came in the same clothes they went home in last night.  The child is super into rough housing and her teacher doesn’t know how to handle it.  So there are thoughts of breaking up.

    The Director starts getting calls from parents who are, “just getting information for a friend.”  Children disappear for half a day with no explanation (they are trying out another school).  Dads drop in unannounced on lunch breaks, both enrolled and touring.  Moms come by at 4pm to just hang out.  Parents bring friends and family members with them at pick up or drop off.  These are signs of shopping.  Some are signs that they love your program and want to make sure they aren’t missing anything before referring you to their friends who are unhappy at their school, and others are signs that they are unhappy with you, and looking to move.

    So if a child enrolls on August 22, 2016 (first day of school in the district I grew up in), 2 months later is October 22nd.  Do you think the parents want to change schools right before Halloween?  Then come Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Families generally wait to actually make the change until January.  Some move sooner, but most wait.  But they are shopping in October, November and December.  Are you marketing to them?

    The Third Shift

    Some folks held out thought the January shift thinking things would get better after all the holidays and excitement of the new school year were over, and are still unhappy and move in the spring, but not many.  Those have a  lot of loyalty and will be a great addition to your school if you are a good match.

    The last large shift happens at the end of the school year.  This is not a surprise to any teacher or director.  We have seen it many times.  Families pull out in June to have Cousin Susie watch the kids.  They shift to part-time because that works better over the summer.  New families enroll for summer activities. Three year olds are enrolled so they will be settled in for their pre-school school year.

    The spring is spent in planning summer programs, going to the area schools, and talking to your existing clients about all the fun stuff you will be doing over the summer, if you stay open.  For many centers this is a period of dormancy, where they close or reduce staff for the summer, so the spring is the time to nail down enrollment for the coming year.  Because a mass exodus can be such a blow to the budget, few Directors fail to plan for this shift more than once.  One lean summer is a powerful reminder of the need to get ready for the summer enrollment change.  On the other hand a super full summer with a budget cushion built is a fabulous way to go into the fall.

    So, How do I prepare?

    I though you would never ask.  You start marketing 2-3 months before the shift is expected.  If you aren’t marketing your summer program before Spring Break, you are behind.  Many programs know that, but almost no one is marketing their school in October, November and December.  That means you will have less competition.

    Step 1 Start with checking in with all of your newly enrolled families.  Schedule a time with each of them to visit.  See how they are liking the school.  What questions do they have?  Is there a way to get them involved on a project?  If you can get them involved in planning the Halloween festivities, you might cement the relationship.  Having them survey the parents in their class about what day would be best for a parent’s night out in November and December is a way to get them involved and remind them of your additional services to help busy families.

    Step 2 Once you have confidence that you have strengthened your relationships with the new families, take what you learned from them about what they particularly like about your center, and figure out what you should highlight for prospects.  Knowing what is resonating with your ideal client right now is important.

    Step 3 Develop a marketing plan.  Assess your most recent marketing plan.  Does it take advantage of the social media networks that you ideal client uses?  Are you sending newsletters out to parents who have toured and/or inquired over the past 12 months?  If blogging is more your style, set up a blog on your website and use that as the basis for your social media and/or newsletter.

    Step 4 Set up a system to track all calls and tours and make sure that you follow up with them to get the desired 6-12 contacts with each client.

    Step 4 Enroll.

    Enrollment Surge 2016

    If you want help putting all this together, I have good news!  We will be working with Directors to develop customized marketing plans to take advantage of the second surge in enrollment.  Together we will make 2017 the year of the full classroom!!!

    The Enrollment Surge Class starts October 28th.  You can use Halloween as your kick off event for your second surge.  Set up your marketing, events and program to bring in the RIGHT families for the new year without breaking a sweat!

    Join us for a four week intensive to maximize the upcoming enrollment period. 

    You will learn from Kate and Carrie, who have been in your shoes and worked to get full programs with waiting list following this program.  When we have offered this class in the past all the programs met their enrollment goals.  Click the link below and join us for this 4 week class.

    sign-me-up


  • 19 Sep 2016 6:58 PM | Anonymous

    It’s enjoyable when your life is progressing. Like losing weight or increasing your nest egg, getting a promotion can be gratifying. The key is to prove that you deserve a promotion and are the right person for the job. With a little planning, you can get a promotion and advance your career.

    Even if you’ve been stuck in the same job for years, it’s never too late to make new career strides. You can quickly establish yourself as a valuable employee that deserves greater responsibilities.  Do you want to be a lead teacher, curriculum specialist, trainer, or director?  You can!

    Get a promotion and revitalize your career:

    1. Work at a school where promotions are possible. For example, if you work for a small center with a long-term teachers, there will be few opportunities for promotion. So, your first step might be to find a new center! Ideally, it would be a large company with multiple locations. If your center has room to grow, stretch your wings there.
    2. Start each day with a plan. Most employees arrive at work, grab a cup of coffee, socialize for a while, and then try to figure out what to do. Have a plan before you go to bed. With a plan, when you get up, you can start your day effectively and get a head start on the competition.
    3. Go above and beyond. Does everyone else arrive at 8:00am and leave by 5:00pm? Then you arrive at 7:30 and leave at 5:30. It doesn’t take long for people to identify you as the person that comes in early and leaves late.Find a way to stand out as a superior employee. It isn’t hard since most others are just doing enough to avoid getting fired.
    4. Always be early. Be early to work and early with your work. If something is due by Friday at 5:00, have it completed on Thursday. Be 100% reliable. And be on time for meetings. Avoid letting anyone down. Be impeccable with your word.
    5. Avoid making enemies. You never know whom your archenemy knows. You both might be low on the totem pole but your nemesis might be best friends with the boss’s daughter. Be one of those people that everyone likes and admires. It’s not hard to be pleasant when a promotion is at stake.
    6. Be indispensable. There are certain people that your school can’t do without. You probably know a few of them. What can you do to be so valuable that the owner or board will try to keep you happy? One key to getting a better job is being important enough that the company won’t want to disappoint you.
    7. Identify the important people. Where is your promotion likely to be? Whom would you work for? Start making friends and prove your worth. Specifically ask about the position and what qualities they need in an employee.  Begin developing and advertising the skills necessary to be successful.
    8. Speak to your boss and any other managers. Let them know that you’d like to take on a new role in the near future. You’ll be viewed favorably for showing initiative and you’ll be on their radar. Being proactive shows that you’re willing to take on greater responsibilities.
    9. Get the training you need. If you want to be a Director, or Assistant Director, Get your Director Credential.  Texas Director can help you get your credential in less than a month.  If you want to be a trainer, take a train the trainer class.

    Keep your ear to the ground to know of upcoming openings. You can even suggest a new position be created that’s perfect for your backgrounds, skills, and interests.  Perhaps you can step into the new role for 2 hours a day, and stay teaching the rest of the time.  Be a creative problem solver!

    Most employees aren’t willing to earn a promotion. You have much less competition than you think. However, if your best efforts fail, it might be time to look to another company. The perfect promotion for you already exists somewhere. The disadvantage of staying with the same company is fewer opportunities. Weigh your options and enjoy!


  • 15 Sep 2016 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    Holidays are often a key element in the annual calendar of our schools.  Christmas crafts, dreidel spinning, flag making, pumpkin carving, Chinese dragons and eating special foods enrich our programs.  The children enjoy the change from the standard routine and we feel great about incorporating elements from other cultures and broadening the kids’ awareness.

    Sometimes in our excitement to do these wonderful things we misstep.  Dates that our calendar lists as holidays are sometimes actually holy days.  Days that are holy to families around the world, some of whom may be at your center.   We are entering one of the busiest times of the year for this.  Tomorrow starts the Muslim holy Day of Eid al Adha. The Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur happen in October.  Hindus and Sikhs have Diwali.  Pagans have Samhain/Beltane. Christians have All Saints Day and Christmas. Additionally Buddhists have Bodhi.  That is just between now and the end of the year.  It is jam packed.

    We don’t want to inadvertently treat a day that has a lot of significance for families cavalierly.  So Here are 5 simple steps to make these days super special at your program.

    1. Find out which families celebrate one of these holy days.

    The easiest way to do this is with a survey.  I suggest doing a written and an online version.  Another option is to make it a point to ask each parent at pick up over the course of a week. DOn’t assume that you know what the spiritual background of the families is.  I have met African-American Buddhist monks.  You cannot know without asking.

    if-you-want-to-know-something-just-ask

    2. Select the 2 or 3 you are going to explore this year.

    Branch out from what you always do.  Wouldn’t it be great to learn about the holy day that is celebrated with candles, fireworks and sand art creations?  If you add one new exploration a year, you will keep your teaching fresh and your families excited to see what is on the horizon.  It will help families feel that they belong at your center.

    3. Research the holy day.

    The context of the holy day is important.  Many of us spin dreidels in December with our classes as a way to explore Hanukah.  Do we tell the story?  I didn’t know that it is not really considered an important holy day for years.  Yom Kippur is much more central to Judaism.  Why are fires set on November first in parts of Europe?  Are there special food associated with the day?

    Comment below if you want a resource guide we have, that answers many of these questions.   A guide to the major religious holy days of  Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and 4 other major religions.

    hijab-etc

    4. Select activities, stories, crafts, music and/or food to share.

    A quick google sear with the name of the holy day and the phrase “children’s activities” will get you started.  Crafts and coloring pages are usually the core of those web links.  Call or go by your local library to see if they have any children’s books on the subject.   Google can also provide you with music to play in the classroom and potentially ones to sing at circle time.

    Just fill out the comments form below and we will send you a resource packet to you!

    5. Go on a journey of discovery with your students.

    Leap into the (previously) unknown with your class!  Dance to new music, eat apples and honey to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.  Make sand art.  In doing so you will be honoring countless memories of people from around the world.

    Something to look out for:

    Sometimes we get caught up in the artistry of what we are doing and don’t think about what we are actually teaching the children.  This is most often and issue with Easter, but can be an issue with other holy days as well.  Because Easter is the most problematic, lets look at it.  What is the most important, or holy, part of this holy day?  Is it the crucifixion?   Is a man dying a horrid death what makes the day sacred to millions of people?  NO, it is that he returned to life.  If your projects are all centered on crosses you are missing the actual relevance.  Focus on what makes the day sacred to those who believe.  Making resurrection rolls,  yarn eggs, games of hike & seek,  and growing rye grass are all projects that focus on the renewal element of Easter.  This doesn’t mean chicks and eggs can’t be part of your plan, just select the activities that relate to what you want to highlight.


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