With parents struggling to figure out the next steps to maintaining their professions while at the same educating their own children at home, and many schools going online with child care limited, the staffing industry related to childcare has been a whirlwind August. As a parent myself of three children in different schools, one Elementary, one Middle, and one in High School, I found myself overwhelmed and exhausted from the past 6 months of life at the never-ending saga surrounding the Pandemic lifestyle.
Over the past few weeks, we have fielded a ton of inquiries with parents not knowing where to turn and how to structure their new “learning” or care environments. My team has been drowning in phone calls from confused families trying to take their next steps, understanding how to put together a plan, figure out costs that they never intended on having in a difficult economic climate, and create a positive situation for their children and families.
I thought it would be helpful to hear a little bit more about the education we, as a child care staffing company, have gotten throughout this process and what we are telling clients today. This has been a learning experience not only for our clients and our team internally but for me as a working mother of three.
Here are my words of wisdom:
- If you work outside of the home now is the time to make a plan. If you have the choice to follow the curriculum being offered by your district or private school I would take it. Why try to reinvent the wheel? Compliment existing curriculum at home with a Private Educator Facilitator during the day. That is the new title for a tech expert, education support with light tutoring, organizer, reminder, snack and lunch maker, and cheerleader.
- If you want to go a completely different route by hiring a teacher with credentials as well as one that provides curriculum, use an education company to do so. Trying to facilitate building a program and recruiting someone on your own in a few weeks is highly likely to add more stress to your family’s current situation. Work with a company that is expert in Education and provides full employment services, health care protocols, and understands the structuring of effective pods, while at the same time can pivot with your family and pod as needed if the circumstances change (which they are highly likely to within the next year).
- If you work in the home and time allows, understand what the day looks like once school begins, how your kids respond to the new structure, how deep of a level of academic support and structure they will need, and if you can facilitate that on your own or need support. This way you will not be hiring someone when you don’t know completely what you need. This is the path I would recommend to most parents working at home during this time. I would consider it a “training period” for you and your children. Once you are all trained and understand the need, then you can assess it without wasting money or energy. However exhausting this period may be, realize that the first few weeks of school are always pretty draining for parents. This is a time of putting more structure back in everyone’s lives after the break of summer, although this term was a 6 month free for all for most families. Once you have the clarity of what the job really looks like you can complement your children’s routine and needs accordingly.
The below positions are what is available to families whether you identify candidates/solutions on your own or use a company.
- Private Educator Facilitator-Truly a facilitator of existing curriculum, leader, organizer, planner, technology expert (from wifi issues in the home to glitches in school online portals), snack and meal maker, cheerleader, an expert at keeping optimism and fun in the day, a potential resource for homework or study pods for socializing in small doses
- Accredited Teacher with Curriculum-Planning lessons with an appropriate standardized curriculum that is grade applicable, tracking individual growth providing in-depth analysis and guidance along the way, caring for children’s social-emotional needs, assessing student progress, communicating with parents and the rest of the elementary, middle, and high school teaching team, and maintaining health protocols. Education degree or Teaching Credentials required.
- Tutor-Providing specific support related to subject development. Applicable for one on one development of skills related to specific topics.
- Homework Groups-Meetings of small pods (3-4 kids) 1-2 times per week for homework study, can be volunteer-driven or supported by a Tutor, or Care Provider/Nanny provides socialization for children and the opportunity to work as a group, snack facilitated by volunteer or teacher during homework hours. Possible concepts include a weekly family rotation of 4 parents volunteering their time 1.5 hours a week every other week. Can include physical activity.
- Care Provider or Nanny-In-home care for the well being and nurturing of children or infants, may include playtime, organization of activities, general care, driving, domestic support. An educated Care Provider or Nanny can act in a hybrid role as an Educator Facilitator if age-appropriate and desired by both parties.
Crunch Care facilities services including Private Educator Facilitators and Care Providers/Nannies. We are happy to consult with families to help them better understand what options exist. As a parent, professional, and expert in the industry, this can be a challenging time and we are available as a community resource to assist in allowing us to thrive in these challenging conditions. I can’t emphasize enough that no one is in this alone, including myself.
Crunch Care, a Division of Steelman Staffing & Associates