Back-to-School: Building trust with new families for stronger client retention [Webinar]

In this webinar we were welcomed by three childcare center directors, Melissa McLauchlan, Karen Fitzgibbon and Richa Sharma to discuss the power of family relationships this back-to-school season. In this session, we discussed how you can start this school year off strong with trusting and meaningful family relationships, and the impact that these relationships can have on your center’s client and staff retention. We asked our experts questions such as “How do you prepare your staff to build strong relationships with new families” and “What strategies do you use to make parents feel like partners at your school?”. Keep reading to listen to this active discussion all about the power and impact of strong family relationships and how you can open your classroom doors with confidence this back-to-school season.

🎤Our Special Guests:

Melissa McLauchlan – Director at Grimsby Community Preschool

I have always had a passion for teaching and pursued this through Early Childhood Education in 2016. I was inspired by the wonderful Educators that took care of my own children in their preschool years and admired their dedication and devotion and knew this was the next part of my journey. With a never-ending reservoir of energy, I wear many different hats from Mom of two children aged 13 & 11, Executive Director at Grimsby Co-op Preschool, a Registered Early Childcare Educator, and a dance instructor at Expressions Dance Company. I am a positive advocate for both my staff and the families of the preschool community. My enthusiasm complements my incredible ability to develop and maintain a strong program that offers families support and flexibility.

Karen Fitzgibbon – Assistant Director at BrightPath Kids

Karen is a registered ECE who graduated from Seneca College with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate in Administration in ECE. She has over 15 years experience working in childcare and has worked with children aged 3 months – 12 years. Karen loves being a part of the children’s lives and being able to observe and assist in their growth and development. Karen moved to Canada from Ireland in 2013. In her spare time, she loves spending time with family and friends, reading, and travelling.

Richa Sharma – Assistant Director at Atelier Kids

Richa is a passionate RECE who obtained her diploma in Early Childhood Education from Sheridan College in 2011, as well as her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Leadership. She also earned her Bachelor’s in Education and Masters of Teaching with Specialization in Primary and Junior from the University of Toronto (OISE) and has worked in the field for over eight years. Richa was among the first Educators hired to work at Atelier Kids upon opening in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. Richa is the consummate professional, attending to each detail of her day with integrity and care. Richa connects with the Reggio approach to education because it nurtures children’s confidence and instills in them a love for learning. As an Assistant Director Richa strives to create a strong sense of community for the educators and families at her school.

🧪Key Learning Outcomes from Melissa, Karen and Richa!

  • Creating a positive and warm relationship from the very beginning sets the tone that you are open and approachable and creates comfort for families.
  • Sending an email to introduce yourselves to families who just put themselves on the waitlist goes a long way in building a meaningful relationship right from the first point of contact.
  • Create opportunities for families to get to know each other (center BBQ, family picnics, open house) so families can build communities of support during this transition.
  • Offering transparency from that very first day is key. Being able to share photos or send a quick message that their child is safe goes a long way in putting parents at ease.


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Maddie Hutchison

Maddie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a Master's in Early Childhood Studies. Her specialty is in Children's Rights and she is currently a Content Strategist for HiMama!