Child Care Training Challenges
“I don’t need to do professional development. I attend staff meetings every month.”
“I didn’t like high school. Why would I go to college?”
“I don’t have time to take more training. I already work full-time.”
“I’ve been in this field for years. I know all I need to know.”
Instill a mindset of continuous improvement
A director in the group asked me, “What do you suggest I do with someone who doesn’t want to learn anything new?
I have someone who has worked for me for 17 years. When I tell her at her annual review what she needs to take for professional development, she is never happy about it.”
I asked the director, “What do you do for your professional development to set an example for staff?” By the look on the director’s face, my follow up question clearly took this director by surprise.
As a leader in your program or organization, what professional development do you do personally? Do you attend conferences or webinars? Do you listen to podcasts or TED talks? Do you attend training to fill gaps in your knowledge and skill? Do you further your learning by pursing credit-based education? Do you share your learning with others?
Having a growth mindset and believing in the importance of lifelong learning is a first step to creating a culture that embraces continuous professional development. You can set the example for others by demonstrating how important your own professional growth is each year. Be transparent about your own learning needs and what your professional development goals are. Then when faced with someone who ‘knows it all’ you can say I continue to grow because…
“You don’t know what you don’t know.” -Socrates
A second step in creating a culture that embraces lifelong learning and professional growth is to consider what staff are most passionate about, not what they ‘have’ to learn.
Everyone has a passion that naturally fosters a sense of curiosity and need for learning. For your most challenging staff, find out what their passion is and start there.
Maybe you have a staff member who has a love for nature-based learning. Find a training, webinar, article, book, website, professional resource specific to nature-based learning and share it. Extend that learning by asking the staff member to share with colleagues what they’ve learned. Perhaps this staff member’s passion becomes a passion project for your program and an area of the playground is set aside for a center garden.
Just like negativity can spread like cancer throughout the body, passion and excitement for learning can spread like a viral cat video throughout a program or organization.
What happens when you are told you must do something, but you don’t really want to do it?
Like a grumpy teenager, staff can develop a negative attitude and procrastinate getting professional development done when they have no choice in their learning. Yet what happens when staff are asked what they want to learn?
Could involving staff in their own professional development be the game changer you need to create a culture that embraces lifelong learning?
Staff buy-in starts with getting to know what the interests of your staff are and then encouraging them to pursue their own passions. Instead of telling them what professional development they must do, make a conscious choice to guide them on their professional development journey instead.
Carve out a few minutes each week to touch base with staff about their professional development plans. Hold staff accountable by showing you genuinely care about their learning and periodically ask them questions about their progress. Don’t let their annual review be the only time you talk with your staff about their learning goals.
Remember…professional development is a personal journey. Consider your own journey and how you can be a role model for others. Nurture passion projects and be the game changer that establishes a culture of lifelong learning and professional growth in your program or organization.