Afterschool Staff Development Q&A With Sally Crosiar!

We are more than excited to release our Q&A with Sally Crosiar! Sally is an expert in the childcare and afterschool industry. Sally is currently an instructor for school-age credential preparation courses and a consultant at Healthy People Wellness Workshops. She has developed and presented school-age care credential preparatory courses, advised school-age care credential candidates, developed and facilitated national and regional leadership seminars, and much more.

Sally has shared some of her wisdom with us here. Enjoy!

Q: Staff development is paramount to any program, but many program admin let it fall by the wayside, what are some easy ways that program admin can develop their staff?

A key ingredient for success is making the most of regular staff meetings. During these meetings, include an activity that is practical and helps build staff cohesion. Play a new game every staff meeting. By doing this, your staff will learn how to play and learn new things. Staff will always be more likely to do something with kids once they have done it themselves.

Another important way to develop your staff is to put together program standards. I encourage directors to have their staff look at these standards and, as a team, analyze how they are doing to meet these standards and what they can be doing to meet them even more so. Do not shy away from digging deep into these standards. Really get into it and conduct in depth analyses of staff performance according to these standards. You can ask the following questions:

  • How are we doing?
  • Where can we make improvements?
  • Where can we build on the improvements we’ve already made?

Q: Some of our clients are in the early stages of developing their programs, what should every program director know when creating and developing an afterschool program?

A great way to learn about running a program is to seek out some local folks who are already running accredited programs. It is so important to check out other people’s programs and learn from them. One of the ways we suggest that directors do this is by creating a director’s exchange.

A director’s exchange is where a program swaps an employee with another program’s employee. They exchange a body for a body in a particular program. The exchanged staff member won’t be 100% effective, but it will expose them to a whole new opportunity. They will also count for their staff-child ratio and will be able to deal with any emergencies. This is a way to help broaden their perspective in afterschool programs.

Q: Many afterschool admin struggle with motivating their staff. What advice would you give these people?

Staff pay plays a huge factor in motivation. Low pay can absolutely be a dissatisfier for folks. Even if your program is not set up financially to do so, brainstorm bonuses and incentives to give your staff. It is beneficial to set up some inexpensive ways to show your staff that their work is appreciated.

A great way to do this is by helping your staff connect to families who can offer appreciation. If you can get families to do something for your staff, they will feel great about their work and will in return feel appreciated. Even sometimes just a thankyou is enough.

In childcare, there is sometimes a level of frustration among staff members because they don’t see the tangible results of their work. Offering staff tasks that have a beginning, middle, and end is very motivating. You can offer these tasks and set goals to motivate your staff to accomplish them. Goals are a great way to motivate. And of course, when they do achieve these goals, celebrate!

Q: Are there any resources that you recommend admin have their staff look into?

One of my favorite organizations is Responsive Classroom (responsiveclassroom.org). They have a ton of valuable resources. One resource in particular is Yardstick by Chip Wood. Yardstick is a reference volume on how kids develop and what we should expect from them and how we can help them develop.

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If you are interested in learning more about Sally and what she is doing in New York State, you can check out her full bio here. Also, make sure to check out the awesome work she is doing at healthypeoplelearn.com.

Best,

Jake

CommunityRoot