A Childcare Staffing Crisis?
"Now Hiring" signs are everywhere and many industries are facing an employee shortage crisis. In some ways, childcare is just like every other industry that is hurting. In other ways, it is not. A shortage of quality teachers for early childhood care is not a recent development.
K-Prep has been one of the lucky childcare centers that has not had to limit enrollment or temporarily close due to staff shortages. K-Prep is fortunate to have a core staff that are dedicated to the field of early childhood and this amazing group of teachers continue to keep our classrooms supported. Sometimes this means staff are helping in rooms that are not their own, or working overtime to help out where it is needed. When shortages do occur, there is usually a short-term response by our team to keep things moving smoothly. The difference this time is that everyone is growing concerned that the short-term response might be long-term.
In addition to the independent childcare center, K-Prep runs a substitute program to help out other centers that are in need of support. Being a substitute offers independence, the opportunity for a more flexible schedule, and it builds experience for those entering the field of education. This year, the applicants for the substitute program are fewer and the need from other centers is greater!
There are many reasons why childcare companies struggles to find employees. A significant challenge is pay and benefits. Nationally, the average childcare teacher makes $12/hour with little or no benefits. K-Prep offers higher pay options and benefits for full-time employees, such as health care, discounted childcare and paid time off. Another area that deters people from applying is the assumption that there is significant formal training involved to enter in childcare. While experience, education and training are important and requirements vary with the positions, the core element in an early childhood educator is a love of young children.
If an individual has a passion to offer loving, quality care and contains an open desire to learn the best practices in early education, they can find a wonderful career in child care.
The crisis to find early childhood educators might not be new, but it is growing and through the struggles of the pandemic, it has caught the attention of the media.