Navigating Change

Our program is currently undergoing a big change! While it is very exciting, there is so much to learn, and how things are handled can make or break the shift. We have been operating a Certified Childcare Center and this is our fourth year in our current location. The opportunity came about to expand by joining forces with another program in our town. They have a professional gymnastics gym where the children spend part of their morning, but the classroom time was struggling in the academic and management department. We are so excited to share Mother Goose Time, among other things, with another group of children! In just two weeks, it is already making such a huge difference!

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The children are so excited each morning to come in and see what we will be learning. It is amazing to watch their self-control and focus when they are engaged. I have seen so much growth in the children with some simple structure and new material. The reality is winning over children is easy… but earning the trust of their parents is another story.

The biggest piece that was missing was communication with parents. There was no way for the parents to know all that their child was doing while they were away or what was coming up. We are currently using a program called HiMama to document our day. Parents can check in via the app, or an email will be sent to them each afternoon with their child’s Daily Report. This is a helpful tool, but the structure of the curriculum is our biggest asset.

We have a research based lesson plan packed full of learning and new experiences with Mother Goose Time. Each month there is a Family Newsletter to send home, detailing the topic of the month and some things parents can work on at home with their child. This month we are going on a Rainforest Adventure! Parents can see the Theme Web, The Activity Overview Calendar and the Skills Chart posted in the classroom. The Daily Topic Poster is always hung on the Circle Time board before the children arrive, and when they look around the room, there are purposeful activities that send the message, “We are learning here!”

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Here are 5 Lessons we have learned so far on this new adventure, but good to remember for any program change!

#1: Always be honest! Speak only to what you know for sure, not what you think they want to hear. Change is hard, but if you say one thing and do another, it does not inspire confidence in your program.

#2: Focus on what is to come! It is important to learn more about how things have been done in the past, but the reality is that the future is the only thing we really can control. Never speak poorly of what was, but focus on the great things that you are bringing to the program for the future.

#3: Ask Parents what they want! We are talking about other people’s children and what they need/want is important. We are on the same team and truly want what is best for each child, so asking for parent input in a new situation is the best way to begin open communication.

#4: Make a clean break! Communicate very clearly with parents what is going to happen and when. It is important to have a clean shift from one leader to the next so care remains consistent and parents know who to talk to with questions/concerns. We run into problems when their is a communication loop between the old and new, and if both are present as is our current situation, we have to be on the same page.

#5: Try not to take things personally! Not all families will be willing or ready for the change. They may take their child elsewhere or need to take a break while the dust settles, and that is perfectly acceptable. It is not about you and it is important to let them do what they feel is best for their family. Focus on the children and families in your care and do your very best to meet their needs.

We are so excited about the days ahead as we expand our program. We love Mother Goose Time and the amazing stability, communication and asset it is to our program. Our teachers have what they need to succeed and our children are excited to learn!

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