Retaining EYFS staff is a challenge in the current climate. It is more important than ever to keep your nursery staff feeling valued in their role, helping you to keep those gold-dust early years practitioners at your setting. A role in childcare is not all sandpits and finger painting. Working in childcare involves high levels of accountability, record keeping and knowledge of child development. In this article, we share how good nursery software can help you to retain your EYFS staff.
What you will find in this article:
Why are EYFS staff leaving the sector?
Early years staff are not just leaving the sector; the recruitment numbers are the lowest they have ever been. There are several reasons for the recruitment crisis in early years, some of which are out of the control of owners and managers due to external pressures. It can help you to audit your current recruitment processes, by taking an in-depth look into the early years recruitment crisis and how you can keep practitioners.
Poor pay, excessive workload, limited career progression and not feeling valued are among the main reasons for EYFS practitioners leaving the sector. As a nursery manager or owner, you will be striving to make your nursery as efficient and profitable as possible. This comes down to sourcing and retaining a happy and qualified team.
How to keep your nursery staff happy
Happy staff equals happy children. Practitioners who can give their best version of themselves secure the best learning outcomes for EYFS children. It is important that your leadership teams regularly evaluate the measures your childcare setting takes to keep your nursery staff happy and valued.
Creating a positive and supportive working culture in schools and nurseries is vital for staff morale. Consider including a mentoring programme across your nursery, with more experienced staff members supporting newer recruits, and vice versa. Helping each other with areas of strength without judgement can help to build a positive working environment.
Most private day nurseries operate for the majority of the year, closing for some holidays and special occasions (like Christmas and bank holidays). Staff can appreciate it when nurseries try to be as flexible as possible when accommodating their personal commitments when organising the staff rota.
Some working parents may never watch their child’s nativity play due to being at work. Trying to accommodate these sentimental requests can help boost staff morale. Blossom’s staff planner can show the child/adult ratio needed in each room based on the online register for the day. Allowing managers to be as flexible as possible when accommodating family event requests.
There is often confusion around the job progression possible for EYFS staff. This is due to the changes in qualification requirements for each level. Support your staff to develop in areas of strength and interest when employed at your nursery. During your regular appraisal meetings, discuss their areas of interest and try to signpost them to available training.
For example, if an early years apprentice or Level 2 practitioner shows strength in parent management or SEND identification, encourage them to consider undertaking their Early Years SENDCo qualification. This shows that you support their studies with time away from being in ratio to study and observe good inclusive practice.
6 Ways good nursery software retains EYFS staff: the secret of software
Nursery software that saves your practitioners time during their working day and increases productivity across your childcare setting is an investment. We share 6 ways that good nursery software helps to retain your gold-dust EYFS staff members.
1. Save time throughout the nursery day
The administrative tasks associated with early years have increased in the last decade. Staff are now expected to have high accountability for children’s development and progress, recording these observations regularly. Good nursery software helps to make practitioners’ jobs simpler, taking away the stress of paperwork-heavy tasks.
EYFS observations are an essential part of the role yet can detract from the time spent with the children as they can be time-consuming. Using nursery software that has an observation feature allows for golden milestones to be captured with ease, and in a time-efficient way. Freeing your staff from the end-of-day observation write ups that can impact their job satisfaction.
Moreover, by your staff being able to share their observations with parents through photos and videos with Blossom, their observations of the children are brought to life. This helps your staff to truly celebrate and share children’s creations and experiences when sharing stories with families.
2. Increase effective communication across your nursery
Communication is key to running an effective and profitable nursery. Your staff must be able to quickly have access to parents for communication and other colleagues. Using nursery software can connect all your setting’s communications in one place. Building strong relationships between all nursery stakeholders (parents, local authority services, and your staff).
When your staff are supported with a tool that enables them to pop a reminder to parents, or confirm something as easily as sending a WhatsApp text, this relieves any potential strain on their communication with parents. Blossom’s in-app messaging function allows early years practitioners to ask parents questions throughout the day, reducing the end-of-day questions for parents at pick-up time.
3. Personalise record keeping for key workers
Key workers are the first port of contact for parents. It is important that the key workers have access to personalised information about the children in their care. Blossom’s child profile gives access to information about children’s likes and dislikes. This helps your staff to form relationships easily with the children, to feel more connected to their children, and therefore motivated to stay.
Parents can also update their child’s likes and dislikes as their child grows and gains new interests. Through Blossom’s nursery software, key workers will immediately be notified of this update, allowing them to plan new activities, have new conversations and continue that journey with the children.
4. Analyse nursery data easily
Good visibility of your nursery’s performance is one of the most important aspects of running a successful nursery business. The reporting tools that come with using nursery software will be your nursery manager’s new best friend. This helps support your managers by providing invaluable insights into the business they most likely didn’t have before, or were very difficult to attain.
Having access to good nursery software helps leadership teams to easily spot areas in need of improvement. Relieving some of that data gathering and interpreting stress placed upon leaders. Whether it is seeing the number of children they have on the register currently, or who is moving into primary school next year, or a forecast in available spaces upcoming next year. This supports your leaders to make informed decisions on how to act, creating a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment in their position at your nursery.
5. Make nursery financial processes easier
The financial aspects of running a childcare business can be challenging; regularly creating and sending out invoices to parents can be time-consuming. Not forgetting any alterations for parents who have booked extra sessions for their child! Blossom’s financial features support your finance teams with sending automatic invoices to parents, including any additional charge changes.
The newest BE Paid feature now helps parents to pay everything through the one app, having Blossom as the one-stop-shop for all nursery interactions. And reducing the need for your finance teams to perform that endless chasing-up of unpaid invoices!
6. Track nursery staff training and qualifications
An individual’s strengths can be utilised to support the whole staff team in an area of teaching and learning. You may have a team member who is an expert in supporting children with Autism. Giving them mentor responsibilities to help another practitioner with a child presenting with typical Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) traits can help improve the child’s learning experience and build a feeling of value for the mentor.
By keeping track of all your staff’s qualifications with a digital platform, this supports you to spot easily where CPD opportunities lie. Whether this results in internal or external training. Monitoring the breadth and depth of CPD training for EYFS can give direction to managers when creating a bespoke CPD plan for your nursery. Focus on the current needs in your setting, and identify any areas that may require more training. By having these conversations with team members this shows your setting’s commitment to their career journey, and fulfilment.