As the demand for high-quality child care continues to grow, so does the need for qualified preschool teachers. If you're a provider looking to hire a preschool teacher, having a well-defined hiring process in place is essential.
From finding and attracting quality applicants to interviewing and selecting the right teacher for your program, you'll want to ensure you're taking the necessary steps to find the best possible candidate.
In this article, we'll share tips on how to recruit and hire the best preschool teachers, including how to write a job description and what to include in a 90-day onboarding checklist.
Attracting quality preschool teachers
Every aspect of your preschool affects the quality of care children receive, from the building itself down to the toys they choose at playtime. Finding and attracting the right preschool teachers is a crucial step in building a high-quality early childhood education program. So, it’s worth it to put a lot of effort into hiring great childcare workers and continuing to actively look for highly qualified teachers to add to your staff.
Here are some practical tips to help you in the process:
Showcase your program's unique selling points
First, focus on the elements of your program that will attract highly qualified teachers. Things such as a welcoming environment, well-maintained facility, plenty of supplies and resources, and efficient operating systems and policies will help make your program stand out as a great place to work.
Highlight your program's curriculum, teaching methodologies, and any specialized programs or partnerships that enhance the educational experience for children. Mention if your program uses a childcare management software like brightwheel to streamline administrative tasks and save time. A tool like brightwheel can save you up to 20 hours per month and improves communication with families.
Develop an engaging job description
Create an engaging and informative job description that highlights the unique aspects of your program and what you are looking for in a preschool teacher. Clearly state the qualifications, responsibilities, and any specific program requirements.
Include details on your program's philosophy, the age range of children the teacher will work with, and the desired qualifications such as degrees, certifications, and experience.
Advertise job openings on various platforms
To reach a wide pool of potential candidates, advertise your job openings on various platforms. Utilize online job boards like Indeed, professional networking websites like LinkedIn, social media platforms, and local education organizations.
You can also contact your local childcare resource and referral agency for extra help spreading the word and finding qualified candidates. Consider advertising your job opening at local childcare job fairs and on online forums related to early childhood education. Also, be sure to make your current staff and families aware of open staff positions and offer incentives for any referrals.
Offer competitive compensation and benefits
To attract top talent, it's essential to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. Research the market rates for preschool teachers in your area and ensure that your offer is competitive and appealing.
Mention details such as health insurance, retirement plans, flexible scheduling, professional development opportunities, and paid time off.
Foster a positive and supportive work culture
Your preschool’s overall reputation can make a big difference in how successful you are in attracting the best teachers. Continuing to focus on taking care of your current staff will keep turnover rates low and motivation high.
By continuously providing opportunities for staff development through activities such as leadership or professional development days, you can continue to enhance your staff’s skills. Tell prospective candidates about these types of activities so they can understand how their growth and development will be supported at your preschool.
How to write a preschool teacher job description
Job descriptions are a critical tool for any business. They provide an outline of the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications needed to successfully perform a role within an organization. Writing effective job descriptions is essential for attracting qualified applicants who have the skills and experience necessary to do the job. Here are some tips to consider when writing your preschool teacher job descriptions:
- Create a template. A job posting template will help you save time and ensure you don’t forget any important details each time you are hiring for a position. You need to be clear about what the job entails to help you find the right candidate and set them up for success.
- Determine the job title. This is the formal title of the open position. Include any special requirements and level of experience in parentheses, if applicable.
- Start with a summary. This is where you’ll grab the attention of qualified candidates. In two to three sentences, describe the position, the main responsibilities, and who this person will report to.
- List the essential duties and responsibilities. This is the meat of your job description, where you’ll list all the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the position. Be as specific as possible so there’s no confusion about what the job entails. List these in bullet point form in order of importance.
- Define the requirements and qualifications. State the education, training, skills, and experience of your ideal candidate. For example, clearly state that candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and at least two years of experience working in a preschool setting.
- Describe your mission, values, and benefits. This is your chance to tell potential candidates why your preschool is the best workplace. Include information about your philosophy, curriculum, and anything else that makes your preschool unique. Be sure to also include details on compensation and benefits.
- Tell candidates how to apply. Lastly, include your contact information so candidates know how to apply.
Preschool teacher hiring tips
Hiring decisions are some of the most important decisions you’ll make at your preschool program. Once you have a few top applicants, you'll be ready to move on to the interviewing and selection process.
Conduct thorough interviews and demo lessons
During the interview process, conduct thorough interviews and consider including a demo lesson as part of the evaluation. This will allow you to assess the candidate's teaching abilities, classroom management skills, and their ability to engage with young children.
Ask candidates to prepare and deliver a short demo lesson on a specific topic, such as storytelling or a hands-on activity. Observe their interaction with children, their instructional techniques, and their ability to create a positive learning environment.
Assess soft skills and passion for early childhood education
In addition to technical qualifications, pay attention to soft skills and the candidate's passion for early childhood education. Look for qualities such as patience, empathy, creativity, and a genuine enthusiasm for working with young children.
Ask candidates open-ended questions about their teaching philosophy, how they handle challenges in the classroom, or how they foster a positive and inclusive learning environment. These questions will help you gauge their passion and dedication to early childhood education.
Conduct background checks and reference checks
Prioritize the safety and well-being of the children in your care by conducting thorough background checks on potential candidates. Although the requirements vary, most states require any person working with children to pass a criminal background check and provide fingerprints.
Verify their qualifications, employment history, and reach out to references to gain insights into their previous work performance and professionalism. Ask references about the candidate’s job duties, strengths, and any areas for improvement. This is an important step as it can confirm and reveal additional details about a candidate’s experience and give you valuable insight into the best ways to manage them.
90-day onboarding checklist for new preschool teachers
The first three months at a new job are essential for setting the tone for the rest of your employee’s tenure. A solid onboarding program will help reduce turnover and keep your best employees around for the long haul. During this time, they’ll develop habits and routines, form relationships with other staff and children, and get a feel for your center's culture.
The first step to ensuring a successful transition is to create an onboarding checklist for new preschool teachers. This will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done before your employee’s first day as well as items they need to complete within their first week and month.
In the first 30 days, schedule time to meet with your new employee to introduce them to your center’s values, mission, and vision, and share your expectations of their role. During this time, your new staff member will become more familiar with your policies and procedures. Consider assigning another staff member as a mentor or buddy so your new employee always has someone to go to with questions.
During the second month, your new employee will become more familiar with your daily routine, your business goals, and continue to align on the expectations for their role. As their supervisor, schedule time for regular check-ins, giving them feedback on what’s going well and identifying any areas of improvement. This can also be a great time to brainstorm any additional training areas, their career goals, and how you can support their professional development.
By the end of 90 days, or their third month, your new employee will be more confident and fully aligned with their role and expectations. The onboarding process at this time involves acknowledging and rewarding their proactivity and contributions and working with them on solutions to any problems they are facing in their day-to-day work. Continue to check in on their progress and offer any additional training resources if necessary.
Hiring preschool teachers FAQs
How do you choose between two candidates?
One way to help make your decision is to ask each candidate to complete a teaching demo. This will allow you to see how they interact with children and handle the classroom.
Another option is to ask for references from each candidate’s previous employers. This will help you understand their work history, strengths, and any areas for additional training.
Where do you find quality preschool teachers?
A job listing on an online job board such as LinkedIn or Indeed will allow you to reach many potential candidates. You can also contact your local early childhood education programs and ask if they have any recommendations. Asking for referrals from friends or family members who have previously hired preschool teachers will also help you land a potential quality teacher.
What is the cost of hiring a preschool teacher?
The cost of hiring a preschool teacher will vary depending on the position and the location. Typically, you can expect to pay between $30 and $60 per hour for a qualified teacher. In some cases, you may also need to pay for additional training or certifications.
What qualifications should I look for in a preschool teacher?
In most cases, preschool teachers have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and experience working with young children in a preschool setting. It’s also important to consider the qualities of each candidate, such as patience, creativity, organization, and a genuine love for working with children.
How do I onboard new preschool teachers?
Create a 90-day onboarding checklist for new teachers. This will help new teachers stay organized and complete all their required tasks in their first 90 days. The checklist can include meeting with the director, completing all necessary paperwork, observing the classroom, and scheduling regular check-ins.
What are some tips for retaining preschool teachers?
Provide competitive pay and benefits, offer opportunities for professional development, and create a positive work environment. Additionally, it’s important to be supportive and accessible to answer any questions that may come up.
Hiring quality preschool teachers is important for the success of any early childhood education program. Competent teachers have a huge impact on children, helping them develop the essential skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Take your time when hiring new teachers and consider their qualifications, skills, education, and experience. Create an organized and supportive onboarding process and provide plenty of opportunities for professional development to help attract and retain the best teachers. By implementing these practical tips, you can enhance your hiring process and attract qualified and passionate preschool teachers to your center.
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