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Marissa Schneggenburger

Improving Team Culture at Your Childcare Center

  • January 14, 2022

Culture is a driving factor for success at your childcare center. Right now, centers all over the country are struggling with hiring, COVID protocols, enrollment, etc. With everything going on, it can be difficult to take time to focus on building a strong foundation at your center. However, when you work on improving your team’s culture, your center succeeds. 

A great team culture brings you higher staff retention, increased quality of care, better communication, and more. But what steps can you take to improve your team’s culture and therefore improve your center? That’s where we can help. If you’re looking to improve team culture at your childcare center, keep reading. 

Creating Your Center’s Mission, Vision, and Values

Your center’s mission, vision, and values will help define your center’s culture. These aspects of your center not only drive your culture but they also create your brand and attract prospective families to your center. 


Build your culture’s foundation by defining your mission. Your center’s mission is what you strive to achieve on a daily basis. This is where your business is currently. It speaks to what your goals are right now and how you serve families. 


Your vision should be far-reaching and speak to how you want to impact the greater community or industry. This is where you want to be in the next 3-5 years and what you strive for. Since this is a long-term achievement, it’s ok for it to be vague. 

Here are some questions to think about when creating your mission and vision:

  • What do you currently offer families that you excel at? 
  • At a high level, what do you do on a daily basis at your center? 
  • What do you hope to offer families?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • How do you want to impact your community or the greater early childhood industry? 
  • Does your center have a special theme or feature?

Core Values

Your core values are what your center stands by. These values guide your business and speak to how you interact with families and the type of behavior you expect from your employees. These will help you when you are making hiring decisions and also give families an idea of the type of culture to expect at your center. 

Here are some questions to think about when creating your center’s core values:

  • What type of work environment do you want to create?
  • What’s important to you as a manager or to your managers/directors? 
  • How do you want your employees to feel about working at your center? 
  • How do you want families to feel about your directors and teachers? 

Hiring for Culture

To ensure you build the right culture at your center, you need to hire the right people. When hiring, focus on your center’s culture and keep in mind how new hires will interact with existing employees.

When you’re starting your hiring process, there are four things to be mindful of:

  • Who do you want to hire?
  • Where will you find them?
  • What are you going to offer them?
  • How will you train them?

When you have the answers to these questions, your hiring process will go much smoother. You’ll have the confidence knowing you can attract the right people due to your clear vision and strong offering. 

Cultivating a Strong Team Through Onboarding

Hiring is only the beginning when it comes to adding new members to your team. Onboarding is crucial for creating the right culture at your center, increasing staff retention, and ensuring your team is ready to care for your children.

When starting the onboarding process:

  • Be Clear on Expectations

Make sure your new employees understand what is expected of them. Outline the type of thoughts, attitudes, mindsets, and behaviors that will not be tolerated along with the ones that are encouraged. 

  • Give Them the Tools to Succeed

Make sure your onboarding process is thorough and effective. This means taking time to ensure each new hire gets acquainted with each member of the team and assigning them a mentor to guide them. You can also use online tools like Trello, a free project management website, to outline their training process and track their progress. (For more information on how to use Trello for onboarding, check out our partner Beth Cannon’s ‘Manuals to Modules’ guide.)

Engagement and Beyond

Once you’ve successfully onboarded a new team member, work to ensure that staff engagement stays strong. With clear communication and ample feedback and appreciation, you can cultivate a great team culture.

Clear Communication

  • Utilize communication tools like Slack to keep everyone in the loop
  • Consider sending weekly or monthly newsletters on important events, reminders, initiatives, etc.

Utilize Technology

Make Room for Feedback

  • Part of creating a great company culture is being able to reflect and understand what you can improve on.
  • Be open to listening and making changes and provide a space for employees to give feedback. This could be time set aside weekly, a suggestion box, one-on-one meetings, etc.

The Benefits of Improving Team Culture

When you take steps to improve your team culture you can:

  • Increase staff retention
  • Boost morale
  • Improve recruitment
  • Build a better center reputation
  • Attract more families

Kangarootime is the leading all-in-one childcare management software for daycares and preschools. With billing and invoicing capabilities, parent communication and staff management tools and classroom automation, Kangarootime helps childcare centers grow and scale. To learn more about optimizing your center with Kangarootime, visit kangarootime.com

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