Developing good relationships with parents, teachers, vendors and your students is a key component to operating a successful childcare center or school. Every aspect of your childcare facility – staff satisfaction, parent interaction, teaching the children, managing your staff – comes down to effective communication.
Communication skills are critical to developing and nurturing these essential relationships. Communication skills are important to any business, but especially in early education. You are not working in a widget factory or washing cars. You are caring for and educating people’s children. Nothing is more sacred than a person’s son or daughter so any miscommunication, particularly in a potentially stressful moment, can become hyper-sensitive very quickly.
It’s important to be direct and honest with parents, but being tactful is also paramount. If you call a parent and say “…your son is mean and he bit a little girl at the lunch table today.” that is not the same as saying that “….you worked with “Billy” on some behavioral issues today. While the little girl and her parents are fine, he did bite one of his classmates at lunch today. I think the problem has been corrected, but you may want to talk with Billy at home tonight.”
In any situation where expert communication skills are required, keep your eye on what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. Don’t go into any situation where you are addressing a parent, teacher, staff member, or child without knowing what you want to accomplish as a result of the conversation. Don’t “wing it”.
When you talk with any person, make sure you are wholly focused on that person. Don’t be looking at your phone….don’t let other people interrupt the conversation. When the person is talking, listen closely. Don’t just pretend to listen while you’re waiting for another opportunity to talk. This task isn’t always easy when you’re busy, but it is more effective. You may not realize it, but one focused conversation may save you three repeat conversations.
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