One of the more challenging aspects of being a center director can be finding candidates and hiring the right teachers for the job. Early Childhood Education is a very specialized field of study, and requires not only the right credentials, but also the right disposition and tremendous respect for children and families.

Early Learning Foundations is a collaborative environment, therefore it is important that the teachers are involved in the hiring process  and that we are in agreement that any new hire is a good fit for our team. Although I receive resumes every day, I usually begin “The Search” by informing the staff that there is a position open, and ask if they know of any teachers who are looking for employment. If so, I ask that they forward me a resume.  Three of our current teachers began as such “referrals.” This is not surprising-we have a strong teaching staff who understand both the ethos and philosophy of the school and they only recommend colleagues or friends that they feel will contribute positively to the program.

I follow a three step process when interviewing.

  1. I contact the individual and arrange an interview. Most often I ask the applicant to describe his/her own experiences in Early Childhood Education and listen carefully to the way they speak about young children. A teacher who understands and respects child development, and has been able to incorporate it into her practice, is asked to return for a Practical Interview. I need to see the candidate in action!
  2. Before the Practical Interview takes place, I call references- it takes three good professional references to proceed with the hiring process.  Once that  has been achieved, I observe the potential new hire in the classroom.  Some of the qualities I look for include; engaged observation of the children, “floor time” (actually being on the ground with the children), and quality interactions with both children and teachers.
  3. If all goes well, I invite the interviewee back for a second Practical Interview-this time without me in the room.  Upon the conclusion of this second Practical Interview, I meet with our teachers and ask for their insights, observations and  any concerns they may have.  It is only after we have all had a chance to share our thoughts and agree that the Practical Interview was successful do I make an offer.

This semester we welcomed Lisa Morris and Emi Valerio to our team. Both made it through the interview process with flying colors and are proving to be wonderful additions to the school.

By: Vicky McLaughlin, M.Ed
Director of Early Learning Foundations Preschool