Your teachers are your greatest asset. Classroom busy work and administrative tasks like attendance tracking and manual milestone tracking can lead them to seek other positions where they can spend more time doing what they love.
To attract and retain the best teachers, you need a child care management system (CCMS) that automates processes and allows for batch actions, such as entering attendance, milestones and meals you serve the children.
Another challenge that the childcare industry faces is the ability to pay a preschool teacher salary that meets livable wage requirements. Many childcare centers charge barely enough to get by and are forced to pay their teachers an average of $12 an hour without benefits.
But increasing tuition to cover higher teacher wages isn’t plausible. For families, childcare already costs almost as much as college tuition. And according to a study from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, child care is the largest household expense for many families.
The key in paying teachers well to retain the best talent is in finding and filling open enrollment spots, automating billing to ensure accurate bills and on-time payments, and delighting parents to reduce customer turnover. And that means adopting a child care management system (CCMS) that can automate administrative functions.
Delighting Teachers by Reducing Classroom Busy Work
Teachers are working for your school because they enjoy educating and interacting with children. They aren’t there because they love paperwork and documentation. The more time you can free up to allow teachers to do what they love, the more likely you’ll be able to retain the best talent.
A good CMMS allows teachers the following freedoms to collect necessary information quickly and get back to what they love.
- Batch actions to add details to multiple students at a time
- Enable better classroom organization by putting crucial information at their fingertips
- Open various lines of communication to parents for fast questions and responses to better understand students and their needs
- Create a check-in process that informs teachers about what they need to know without requiring a lengthy morning process that keeps them from teaching
While data input is necessary, it shouldn’t be so time-consuming that it keeps teachers from doing what they love.
Increasing Automation to Free Up Time to Focus on Your Teachers
Childcare administrators are stretched thin, which means completing regular one-on-one meetings to listen to your teachers and their needs is challenging. Freeing up time from administrative duties can allow you the freedom to listen to your teachers more and focus your efforts on retention.
Administration for childcare centers requires about 48-54 hours per month on the following tasks.
- Tuition billing and payment tracking
- Attendance tracking and subsidy billing
- Enrollment management
Those 50 hours can be reduced by as much as 90 percent down to just 5 hours a month with a CMMS that has effective automation tools.
A CMMS can reduce payroll to a fast 1-hour per payment cycle activity – just to verify the information. And tuition billing can become a simple half-hour per month activity.
Attendance tracking and subsidy billing become a quick report that you schedule and send to the relevant party weekly. Instead of spending 10 hours, your team might spend a half-hour reviewing and packaging the information to send out.
Managing enrollment becomes so simple once you allow parents to enroll their child through a parent portal. You run a report based on children’s ages and when they’ll move up into another classroom to manage your waitlist on a rolling basis and notify parents of openings.
Listening to your teachers to retain the best talent will provide a consistent experience for parents, which will help retain your customers to keep enrollment full to maximize your income so you can pay your teachers a fair salary.
Challenges in Paying a Fair Preschool Teacher Salary
Attracting and retaining top talent at a preschool is challenging when centers can only pay teachers slightly above minimum wage.
The issues with low preschool teacher salaries affect not just childcare administrators, but students and parents as well.
- Low wages and no benefits prevent the best applicants from applying or accepting the job.
- Low-quality teachers lower the quality of the school’s programming, which reduces a child’s education.
- Due to low wages, teacher retention is low, which leads to challenges for students to continue learning when they constantly need to learn how to get comfortable with new teachers.
- Teacher shortages lead to some centers closing, which means fewer options for working parents.
Evaluating your teachers’ salaries is an essential element of running a successful childcare center. If you’ve seen high turnover rates recently or have open positions you can’t seem to fill, low pay could be the reason for it.
But your finances are likely already stretched thin. Maintaining full enrollment is the key to paying teachers what they are worth. And to do that, you need clear insights into enrollment now and in the future.
Your childcare management system should allow you to run reports on classroom availability, teacher schedules and when children will move from one classroom to another to free up enrollment spaces. The consistency in tuition money will boost your bottom line to free up some funds to pay your best teachers what they are worth.
The challenge of attracting and retaining the best teachers is one that technology can certainly help solve. Schedule a free demo of iCare Software to learn more about a truly automatic software option.