In this guide, we delve into the insights and voices of over 2000 passionate and dedicated early childhood professionals from around the world. These educators, including teachers, directors, administrators, and owners, share their strategies, experiences, and words of inspiration for making the back-to-school season a magical and joyful time. From easing parents’ worries to creating engaging activities and fostering meaningful relationships, these educators bring the excitement of back-to-school to life. Join us as we celebrate their wisdom and expertise in creating a nurturing and enriching environment for our youngest learners.
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This back-to-school guide features insights and voices from over 2000 early childhood professionals, including teachers, directors, administrators, and owners. The majority of respondents were from the United States, with some international representation. Most educators had extensive experience in the field, with over a third having worked for 20+ years. In this guide, their perspectives and strategies for making the back-to-school season magical are shared and celebrated.
Part 1 → Understanding the hearts and minds of Early Educators: How do you feel during back-to-school?
Early childhood educators prioritize welcoming new families during the back-to-school season, while also facing challenges when it comes to transitioning new children into the classrooms. The most common concerns expressed during this time of year are hiring qualified staff and reaching enrollment capacity. Regardless of any challenges and concerns, educators find joy in meeting new children and families, creating a sense of community, and helping children feel safe and loved. If given extra time, many educators would devote this time back to spending more time with children, organizing classrooms, and building a positive classroom community. The focus for the majority of educators is on establishing loving and nurturing relationships so they can create a safe and welcoming environment for all children and families.
Part 2 → Helping you thrive: Expert tips from Early Childhood Professionals
Early childhood professionals share their top strategies for success during the back-to-school season.
Top strategy → Parent communication
Educators prioritize parent communication using digital tools like HiMama to offer families real-time, easy to use and professional communication.
Top strategy → Staff preparation
Offer professional development for new staff at the start of the year to set them up for success, re-energize them and keep them up to date with new information.
Top strategy → Administration
Don’t carry all the work on your shoulders. Delegate administrative tasks across the organization to save time.
Top strategy → Morning drop off
For morning drop-offs, educators recommend using engaging child-led activities, family photo walls, parent communication tools, and scheduled transitional days before the first day. This helps new families and children feel at home and comfortable in the classroom, building a sense of community that helps children learn best and keeps families at ease.
Top strategy → Daily transitions
Many educators recommend using transition songs that involve movement to help children move from one part of the day to another, and giving children choices as they move their bodies. These transition activities help give children more agency over their movements, helping them feel more secure and comfortable during the transition.
Top strategy → First week activities
In almost a unanimous vote, educators vote sensory activities, outdoor play, and child-led activities as the most recommended ways to keep children focused, engaged and happy during their first week.
Part 3 → Rekindling your spark: Insights and Inspiration from Early Childhood Professionals
In this section early childhood professionals offer advice for easing parents’ worries on their child’s first day of school, emphasizing the use of easy communication tools like HiMama to keep parents connected to their child. When it comes to putting parents at ease, educators focus on making parents feel heard and supported, and also recommend preparing parents in advance with resources such as the classroom schedule and teacher bios so families know what to expect.
When it comes to finding motivation for that first week, educators stress the importance of play and connecting with children authentically, and the impact quality early childhood development has on a child’s happiness and holistic development.
Educators then provide words of inspiration, encouraging educators to focus on building strong relationships with children, being confident and authentic, and taking care of themselves.
Here is what some of them had to say 💗
“You’ve got this! Your role in these children’s lives is so critical, and it’s all about the relationships you build with them that show how important they are, and how important their learning is” – Danielle (Teacher, 10+ years, USA)
“Be prepared, be confident, and above all be yourself. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed” – Amelia Van Vollenstee (Vice principal and curriculum specialist, 20+ years, South Africa)
“Even though it can be stressful at times, this is one of the most rewarding jobs out there” – Haylee Harris (Owner, 10+ years, USA)
You can find more detailed information and strategies in the full guide!