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9 Steps to Getting a Promotion

It’s enjoyable when your life is progressing. Like losing weight or increasing your nest egg, getting a promotion can be gratifying. The key is to prove that you deserve a promotion and are the right person for the job. With a little planning, you can get a promotion and advance your career.

Even if you’ve been stuck in the same job for years, it’s never too late to make new career strides. You can quickly establish yourself as a valuable employee that deserves greater responsibilities.  Do you want to be a lead teacher, curriculum specialist, trainer, or director?  You can!

Get a promotion and revitalize your career:

  1. Work at a school where promotions are possible. For example, if you work for a small center with a long-term teachers, there will be few opportunities for promotion. So, your first step might be to find a new center! Ideally, it would be a large company with multiple locations. If your center has room to grow, stretch your wings there.
  2. Start each day with a plan. Most employees arrive at work, grab a cup of coffee, socialize for a while, and then try to figure out what to do. Have a plan before you go to bed. With a plan, when you get up, you can start your day effectively and get a head start on the competition.
  3. Go above and beyond. Does everyone else arrive at 8:00am and leave by 5:00pm? Then you arrive at 7:30 and leave at 5:30. It doesn’t take long for people to identify you as the person that comes in early and leaves late. Find a way to stand out as a superior employee. It isn’t hard since most others are just doing enough to avoid getting fired.
  4. Always be early. Be early to work and early with your work. If something is due by Friday at 5:00, have it completed on Thursday. Be 100% reliable. And be on time for meetings. Avoid letting anyone down. Be impeccable with your word.
  5. Avoid making enemies. You never know whom your archenemy knows. You both might be low on the totem pole but your nemesis might be best friends with the boss’s daughter. Be one of those people that everyone likes and admires. It’s not hard to be pleasant when a promotion is at stake.
  6. Be indispensable. There are certain people that your school can’t do without. You probably know a few of them. What can you do to be so valuable that the owner or board will try to keep you happy? One key to getting a better job is being important enough that the company won’t want to disappoint you.
  7. Identify the important people. Where is your promotion likely to be? Whom would you work for? Start making friends and prove your worth. Specifically ask about the position and what qualities they need in an employee.  Begin developing and advertising the skills necessary to be successful.
  1. Speak to your boss and any other managers. Let them know that you’d like to take on a new role in the near future. You’ll be viewed favorably for showing initiative and you’ll be on their radar. Being proactive shows that you’re willing to take on greater responsibilities.
  2. Get the training you need. If you want to be a Director, or Assistant Director, Get your Director Credential.  Texas Director can help you get your credential in less than a month.  If you want to be a trainer, take a train the trainer class.

Keep your ear to the ground to know of upcoming openings. You can even suggest a new position be created that’s perfect for your backgrounds, skills, and interests.  Perhaps you can step into the new role for 2 hours a day, and stay teaching the rest of the time.  Be a creative problem solver!

Most employees aren’t willing to earn a promotion. You have much less competition than you think. However, if your best efforts fail, it might be time to look to another company. The perfect promotion for you already exists somewhere. The disadvantage of staying with the same company is fewer opportunities. Weigh your options and enjoy!

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5 Ways to Celebrate Holidays/Holydays in Your School

Holidays are often a key element in the annual calendar of our schools.  Christmas crafts, dreidel spinning, flag making, pumpkin carving, Chinese dragons and eating special foods enrich our programs.  The children enjoy the change from the standard routine and we feel great about incorporating elements from other cultures and broadening the kids’ awareness.

Sometimes in our excitement to do these wonderful things we misstep.  Dates that our calendar lists as holidays are sometimes actually holy days.  Days that are holy to families around the world, some of whom may be at your center.   We are entering one of the busiest times of the year for this.  Tomorrow starts the Muslim holy Day of Eid al Adha. The Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur happen in October.  Hindus and Sikhs have Diwali.  Pagans have Samhain/Beltane. Christians have All Saints Day and Christmas. Additionally Buddhists have Bodhi.  That is just between now and the end of the year.  It is jam packed.

We don’t want to inadvertently treat a day that has a lot of significance for families cavalierly.  So Here are 5 simple steps to make these days super special at your program.

1. Find out which families celebrate one of these holy days.

The easiest way to do this is with a survey.  I suggest doing a written and an online version.  Another option is to make it a point to ask each parent at pick up over the course of a week. DOn’t assume that you know what the spiritual background of the families is.  I have met African-American Buddhist monks.  You cannot know without asking.

if-you-want-to-know-something-just-ask

2. Select the 2 or 3 you are going to explore this year.

Branch out from what you always do.  Wouldn’t it be great to learn about the holy day that is celebrated with candles, fireworks and sand art creations?  If you add one new exploration a year, you will keep your teaching fresh and your families excited to see what is on the horizon.  It will help families feel that they belong at your center.

3. Research the holy day.

The context of the holy day is important.  Many of us spin dreidels in December with our classes as a way to explore Hanukah.  Do we tell the story?  I didn’t know that it is not really considered an important holy day for years.  Yom Kippur is much more central to Judaism.  Why are fires set on November first in parts of Europe?  Are there special food associated with the day?

Comment below if you want a resource guide we have, that answers many of these questions.   A guide to the major religious holy days of  Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and 4 other major religions.

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4. Select activities, stories, crafts, music and/or food to share.

A quick google sear with the name of the holy day and the phrase “children’s activities” will get you started.  Crafts and coloring pages are usually the core of those web links.  Call or go by your local library to see if they have any children’s books on the subject.   Google can also provide you with music to play in the classroom and potentially ones to sing at circle time.

Hopefully by the time this time of year rolls around again next year Texas Director will have finished our resource kit for centers about each of these holy days.  Right now all we have is the informational packet, which is a good place to start.  Just fill out the form below and we will send it to you!

5. Go on a journey of discovery with your students.

Leap into the (previously) unknown with your class!  Dance to new music, eat apples and honey to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.  Make sand art.  In doing so you will be honoring countless memories of people from around the world.

Something to look out for:

Sometimes we get caught up in the artistry of what we are doing and don’t think about what we are actually teaching the children.  This is most often and issue with Easter, but can be an issue with other holy days as well.  Because Easter is the most problematic, lets look at it.  What is the most important, or holy, part of this holy day?  Is it the crucifixion?   Is a man dying a horrid death what makes the day sacred to millions of people?  NO, it is that he returned to life.  If your projects are all centered on crosses you are missing the actual relevance.  Focus on what makes the day sacred to those who believe.  Making resurrection rolls,  yarn eggs, games of hike & seek,  and growing rye grass are all projects that focus on the renewal element of Easter.  This doesn’t mean chicks and eggs can’t be part of your plan, just select the activities that relate to what you want to highlight.

 

 

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Success

Sometimes we, who work in early childhood education, people who society at large calls “babysitters” at worst and “teachers” at best, look at our peers and envy their success.  People we went to school with are wearing nice blouses and going to meetings while we are playing with playdough.

Envy.  It is a nasty word, but it something we feel.  We tell the kids they are entitled to their emotions, and you are entitled to yours.

I just saw the movie Don’t Think Twice and it really made me think about this issue.  The movie is about what happens to a group of friends and collaborators when one of them “succeeds.”  He got what they all thought they wanted. That released envy, introspection and a change of focus for the other members of the group, changing all of them for the better.

When you hit the big time you have to move on form where you were.  You don’t get to live in the neighborhood you live in now.  You don’t get to keep the friends you have had for years.  You are now the other.  You don’t fit in any longer.

Revealing my age here, I have a friend from high school who went on to be an MTV vj.  She made it.  No one else I knew was recognizable nationwide in their twenties.  I haven’t seen her in decades.  I hope she is happy and fulfilled in her life.  I know from facebook that she has gone on to many adventures, in high heels.

But I don’t want that life.  I like my town.  Getting to see my pals from school is fun.  I love being married to my best friend from high school.  The fact that my kids got to play in the same parks I did is cool.

There are days that I wish I could wear nicer clothes.  I would love to go to dinner parties with people who shape the world.  I would like for everyone to hear what I do and automatically treat me with more respect.  To tell you the truth, though, I would be uncomfortable in that world.  The number of times I have asked adult friends where the potty is, is embarrassing.  You can’t do that when hanging out with CEO’s.

I like playing with playdough.  I am grateful for the life I have.  I will keep this life.

Take a moment below and let me know what you envy and what you love about where you are.

 

 

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Playdough

5 Great Playdough Recipes

Full disclosure:  I don’t create any of these.  They are just my favorite ones to make, some with the kids and some at home for the classroom.

Kool-aid Playdough (smells soooo good)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Saucepan
  • Food coloring, tempera powder, or Kool-Aid powder for color
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tablespoons alum

Directions

  1. Combine salt and water in saucepan and boil until salt dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and tint with food coloring, tempera powder, or Kool-Aid.
  3. Add oil, flour, and alum.
  4. Knead until smooth.
  5. This dough will last 2 months or longer.

 

child cooking No-Cook Playdough

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Food coloring or powdered paint

Mix it.  Keep kneading it until it’s just right. Depending on the age of the cooks it will take between 2 and 30 minutes.  Just keep smooshing and rolling.  Add a touch of essential oil or extract (vanilla or peppermint) to make it smell wonderful!

 

Long Lasting Playdough

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • food coloring and scents of your choice

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in sauce pan
  2. Stir till well blended
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until it forms one large ball.
  4. Remove from heat immediately.
  5. Place play dough onto waxed paper or your countertop.
  6. When cool enough, knead until smooth.

child cookingNontraditional Playdough

Ingredients

  • 3 cups conditioner
  • 2 cups corn starch

Directions

  1. Combine cornstarch and conditioner in a bowl.
  2. Paint or food coloring can be added, scent is already there with the conditioner.

child cookingBoiling Water Playdough

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups conditioner
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons of oil of your choice
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. Combine in a bowl using a spoon until cool enough to touch
  2. Knead until smooth.

All of these recipes yield great dough for increasing fine motor control, managing frustration, stimulating the senses, and making your day better.  If the dough doesn’t turn out just right, make adjustments.  For the flour based doughs, if it is too sticky – add more flour; too clumpy, add more boiled water; too stiff add more oil or just roll it more in your hands. 

What is your favorite playdough recipe?

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Inspiration: Start the Day Off Right

Beginnings excite me.  Every day is a new chance to achieve.

Something new is likely to come into my life. New relationships, experiences and successes all provide a new lease on life for me. Newness brings the feeling of excitement to me and gives more meaning to my existence.

I love getting new challenges and responsibilities at the school. They give me a chance to pull on my core strengths. I got the opportunity to prove myself worthy of any situation that flashes in front of me.

Starting a new project at work is like getting that second wind.  Those of you who came through the live class or the hybrid, you KNOW this about me.  Coming up with a new project is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  Brainstorming with you is something I really look forward to during your coaching sessions.

Whenever I make a long-awaited purchase, I get so excited to take it home with me. Such experiences take me back to childhood and getting holiday gifts. But I am even more excited as an adult because I see my hard work paying off.  When I get a new piece of playground equipment or classroom resources, I am definitely a kid in a candy store.

I hope you feel this way too.  If you don’t, let me send you daily inspirational quotes for the next month.  Just enter you details below and I will send you some sunshine!!!

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Failure Bow

We misbehaved.  We have not kept in touch with our clients on our mailing list.  We will do better.
We knew better.  Kate has been teaching about marketing in small business since the 90’s.  She can give you 20 ways to keep your clients engaged without breaking a sweat.  Carrie opened her first center in 1995.  Carrie maintained a waiting list from the first day she opened.  Without communication with her list, her first program would have closed within a year.

In the theater world, where Carrie spends much of her free time, there is a tradition that we would like to invoke: the failure bow.  When you mess up in public you take a bow and all your fellow performers clap.  This is usually done in rehearsals, because the audience doesn’t need to know when you messed up.  The team around you steps in and covers the error.  And then, together, you move on to do the hard work.

We didn’t follow our own basic marketing advice.  We know this.  We just got too caught up in other projects.  We take our bow.  We acknowledge our mistake and move on, with our friends.

We all need to take a bow from time to time.  There are likely times when you’re unhappy with how your school is running, what you’ve gotten gone, or which path you’re taking. That’s because you’re human. Those sentiments affect all of us from time to time. Sure, there will be days when your best doesn’t seem good enough to you, but what if your best is really just fine?

Coming to terms with your true self can help you acknowledge the awesome person you really are and what a great program you have developed. Your various characteristics combine to make something totally unique and special. No one else has your individual talents. No one else could ever take your unique place in this world. No other center can provide what you do for these children.

Accepting yourself for who you truly are can also boost your confidence and help you take advantage of your innate skills for your own benefit and that of others as well.  When you fall down, just bow and move forward.

Try these strategies to achieve contentment with where you are:

  1. Know that your program and staff are special. It’s important that you look at everyone, including yourself, as a beautiful creation. You weren’t made this way by mistake. Your beliefs, likes, and dislikes are all part of a magnificent design.  It brought this team together and attracted these families to your school.
  1. Look at the bright side. Often times, you probably feel that someone else’s situation is better than yours because they have more, their clients seem to be happier, or appear better off than you. But if you take a moment to look at the circumstances of others who are “less blessed” than you are, you’ll realize that there is actually a bright side.
  • Do you know anyone who couldn’t find a good toddler teacher for so long that they’ve given up on it?
  • Is there anyone around you who’s suffering the pain of losing a loved one?
  • When was the last time you noticed how the register family homes near you are doing?
  1. Consider your accomplishments. Throughout your life, you’ve probably achieved lots of things, both personally and professionally. Whether you accomplished a stronger bond with your staff, or completion of a project that earned your center recognition, those things all took place while you were in the skin you’re in today.
  • Remember that the person who has those accomplishments is the true you – you did it with your own strength, abilities and sensibilities.
  • You’re a winner in your own right by merit of what you’ve accomplished, and no one can take those victories away from you.
  1. Avoid underestimating yourself. One important factor that may be causing you to feel less than happy with who you are and where you are in life is the fact that you may be underestimating yourself. It’s possible that you don’t have what you want because you haven’t really tried to get it!
  • Instead of wishing you had what somebody else has, why not put some thought into how you can achieve it for yourself? Make a detailed plan of achievable steps to get what you want. We can help you with that if you need the hand up.  All of our directors are entitled to 5 hours of coaching a year.
  • Stop and consider that there’s really nothing separating you from your goals because you have what it takes to work towards it.

You were uniquely created with the talents and skills to have a fulfilling life. However, remember that what you put in is also what you get out. Make the life for yourself that only you can design and achieve!

Once you have gotten back into a good place mentally, take 2 hours to evaluate where changes need to be made. 
What do you know you should be doing for your school, that is not getting done?  Are you getting contact information from parents who call, email, and tour?  Did you follow up with them?  When did you last send out newsletters to your current families?

What about with your staff?  Do each of them have an annual training plan?  Are you practicing your “Management by Walking Around” and taking notes to catch staff doing a great job?  I know I get into a routine and forget to get up and go into the classes and just be for 5 minutes, letting the class flow around me.

Are you being a good scout: be prepared. 
Monthly safety checks are easy to let go.  When was the last time the screws and bolts on your trikes were tightened?  Scissors and tweezers wander away from first aid kits.  Does the emergency folder have up to date contact information and medical information for all the students and staff?  Are health forms up to date?  Are there licensing issues that need to be addressed?

Take a bow and do what needs to be done!

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7 Simple Hacks to Simplify Your Life and Get More Done Each Day

Life is fast moving and complicated. There’s a lot you can do to simplify your life and still get more accomplished. There’s a seemingly endless supply of “hacks” online. There are hacks for work, your love life, exercise, and everything else under the sun. Getting through all of the hacks requires a hack of its own.

Keep things simple and focus on a few powerful strategies:

  1. Make a short list. The fewer things you try to accomplish, the more you’ll get done. Make a list of the 2-3 most important things you want to get done at work. Before you drive home, make a list of the 2-3 most important things you want to get done at home. Make a new list for the weekend.
  • The act of making the list will force you to prioritize so you can accomplish the most important tasks.
  1. Focus on one task at a time. Switching back and forth between two or more tasks is inefficient. Learn to focus on one task until it’s complete before moving on to something else. Try this for a week and notice the difference it makes.
  2. Simplify your diet. The next time you’re at the grocery store, stick to the edges of the store. What do you find there? Lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Throw in some nuts and healthy whole grains and you have a healthy diet.
  • You’ll save time and money at the store and do wonders for your health.
  1. Try to limit your emails to five sentences. If an email is five sentences, no one will complain that your email is too short or too long. You can maintain relationships without spending a lot of time typing a senseless email. Pick up the phone as the situation calls for it.
  2. Go to bed early. Any extra time you’re awake at night probably isn’t productive. It’s probably spent watching TV while nodding off in your favorite chair. Get to bed early and get up early. You’ll get more done.
  3. Sort your mail as soon as you get home. Each day, grab the mail and stand over the garbage can. Throw out the junk and sort the rest. Put it all away in the appropriate place.
  • Avoid the frustration of lost bills and clutter. Save your time and energy for more important tasks than going through a huge stack of junk mail every time you need to find a bill or other important paper.
  1. Work offline. It seems that more and more work must be completed on the computer, but there are pitfalls to working online – the internet. The internet is both the best and worst thing ever invented. It provides tremendous resources, but it’s also the perfect way to waste a lot of time.
  • Would you rather complete the billing report for your boss or watch a video of kittens riding on the back of a goat? See how easy it is to get distracted?
  • If you’re at home, pull the Ethernet cable or turn off the Wi-Fi. You can find a similar solution at work.
  • One famous writer once stated that the only way he could get any work done was to glue the Ethernet cable into the port and then cut off the cable. He couldn’t control himself if he had access to the internet.

 

Try out these seven hacks and see how they impact your life. What other hacks could you add? Consider where you seem to waste the most time. This is a prime area for developing a hack of your own. Keep your life simple and it will be easier to get through the day with a feeling of accomplishment.

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Director’s Keys to Professionalism

We need to be ever mindful of the effect we have on others lives. We are taking care of this world’s most precious commodity: the children. How they are treated affects what the world will be like tomorrow and for years to come.  When you are in a tight spot, ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in the other person’s shoes? What is morally right? If you use these as your guideposts, you will have a lot fewer professionalism concerns.

keyConfidentiality: The three rules that you and your staff MUST make reasonable efforts to keep confidential:

  1. Medical and developmental issues
  2. Family status
  3. Financial information

keyConsistency: Questions to ask your self:

  1. Is this what is in my documents?
  2. Did I do this last week?
  3. Is this how I want to be remembered?

keyEducation: Continue professional development through continuing education courses, workshops or college courses. Participate in professional organizations and conferences.

keyEthical Conduct: If you have questions on what is right or wrong, review one of the professional codes of conduct in the next section.

keyResourcefulness: Have an active Rolodex, appropriate resource directories and actively network in and out of your field.

keyHonesty: Convey the facts to clients. Keep staff up to date about issues. Be accurate in paperwork.

keyAlertness: Know your staff and your parents, spot observations. Read pertinent periodicals.

keyMindfulness: You are a model to the community, your staff, children in your care and parent.

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Why Waiting for the Right Moment is Often a Mistake

Are you waiting for the perfect time to launch your grand plan? We don’t like to wait in line, but we’re more than content to wait for some other things. Diets are commonly started on a Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year. It’s rare that someone chooses to start a diet right this very minute.

The same mindset applies to starting a business, going back to school, learning to play guitar, writing a book, or having a difficult conversation. We believe that challenging objectives require optimal conditions.

The idea that perfect conditions are necessary is flawed:

  1. Life is much too short. Eventually, we all run out of time. No one can wait forever. That doesn’t mean to be impulsive and throw all caution to the wind. It does mean, however, that it would benefit you to act soon.
  2. Life will always get in the way. Waiting for the right moment is like saving the money you have left over at the end of the month. You’ll never have any time to spare, just as you’ll never have any money left over.
    Make time for the important things you want to do or accomplish. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to get started.
  1. Waiting is passive. Each day is filled with unique moments. It’s not necessary to wait until the perfect storm of opportunity, convenience, and motivation finally occurs. You can create special moments whenever you choose. Plenty of good moments are happening each day, but you’re failing to make the most of them.
  2. You don’t learn anything while you’re waiting. You’re not enhancing your skills or gaining any experience when you’re inactive. Make the most of right now and you’ll be better prepared for the future.
  3. Avoid regret. Do you really have the time to spare? Those that wait too long are filled with regret at the end of life. Do you want to look back on your life and think, “If only I would have …”
    Few things are worse than regret, especially when you’re no longer in the position to do anything about it. You might still be able to climb a mountain or learn to play the piano at the age of 80, but it might be easier when you’re 45. You’ll also have more time to enjoy it!
  1. Taking action results in a more exciting and fulfilled life. Taking action and failing is better than doing nothing at all. Even in failure, you’re learning, taking risks, and living life to the fullest. You’re better prepared for the future and gain a new perspective.
    Make your life interesting and fulfilling by deciding that right now is a good enough time to get started.
  1. Waiting results in a lack of control. While you’re passively waiting for the perfect situation to occur, you’re giving away control of your life. One common symptom among those with depression is the belief that they lack control over their lives. Why wait? Take action now to create the life you want and take back your control.

Become button

Valuing yourself will result in valuing your time. When you value your time, you’ll begin to make the most of it. Every moment is important because you’re important. Avoid waiting any longer for the perfect moment to finally arrive. Get started today and create your own moments!