These days there’s a lot to consider when running a childcare facility. Many of the trends in the childcare industry have changed dramatically in the past year; some have accelerated, and other completely novel patterns have emerged.
Overall though, it’s good news – the forecast for the future of the childcare industry is bright. Here’s the latest trends, and what they mean to those who serve and care for our future generations.
#1 Early childhood degrees are on the rise
More and more childcare centers are requiring their lead teachers to have bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE). The research shows this number has been on the rise for years, and shows no signs of slowing.
While many centers accept teachers with an Associate’s Degree, or basic ECE units, the best childcare centers are increasingly looking for staff with a four year ECE degree. Existing teachers are adapting, with the rise of online education programs for ECE degrees making it possible for teachers to continue their education while they’re already in the classroom.
More educated teachers provide better quality teaching and assessment, aided by a clearer understanding of best practices. As parents assess childcare centers, they’re increasingly looking for innovative, forward-thinking providers, with an emphasis on education quality. Make sure you stand out from the competition with a robust focus on learning and parent communication.
#2 Increasing awareness of the importance of quality Early Childhood Education
Childcare, as much fun as it is, is a business at the end of the day. As more universities launch ECE programs, the government continues to increase funding, and Head Start programs are multiplying throughout the country.
Recent stimulus packages have included billions of dollars in funds for early childcare programs. The most recent–the American Rescue Plan– includes a significant increase in childcare tax credits, making it easier than ever for parents to afford childcare.
Additional funds are being directed to childcare centers who need COVID assistance. Many states have early childcare initiatives with extra funding for centers who can demonstrate their successes through quality assessment.
All this points to an increased need for childcare centers to have their business set up for success. Many parents might be in the market for childcare services for the first time, and it’s important childcare centers understand how to differentiate themselves from their competition. Primary ways to stand out include a higher quality of care, better parent communication, and offering a safe environment.
#3 Best practices in ECE assessment
As awareness of the importance of ECE continues, so does the attention focused on assessment tools that measure the development of individual children as well as the productivity of the center itself. Most states have developed standards for ECE centers, and the NAEYC also have their own set of developmental milestones.
When teachers keep abreast of the latest trends in assessment, they’re able to provide parents with a better understanding of how their child is progressing. This is much easier for teachers when they have digital tools to record observations and assessments, and can prepare lessons and activities to help their students hit developmental milestones.
#4 Resurgence of Play
Classic early childhood theorists have expounded the benefits of play for years, and now, ECE professionals are finally catching up. In 2021, more and more childcare centers are focusing on getting children outside and playing, driven by both COVID-19 and recent childhood obesity trends.
Children are spending more time outside while in childcare, and there’s an increased focus on organized physical activities like yoga, running, and even sports that involve throwing and kicking balls.
While many parents focus primarily on education, it’s important to remind them of the importance of play. Physical activity makes for healthier children, and aids development of large motor skills. Make sure to track physical activities and share important developmental milestones with parents to build that all important human connection with families.
#5 Increasing use of technology
Many early childhood facilities are introducing technology in their lesson plans. Allowing children to utilize a tablet or a computer stimulates different parts of the brain, and allows for the development of necessary skills to function in today’s society.
Likewise, new technologies are emerging that can boost the productivity of centers and improve the teacher – family connection that is so crucial to the success of each young child.
Positive relationships with parents and families can sometimes be the hardest component to running a center – probably never more than the past year. One of the biggest trends for 2021 is the increasing use of technologies that enable better interactions between childcare centers and parents.
As both parents and teachers become more technologically-savvy, it’s becoming almost expected that childcare centers make use of technology to foster better relationships with their parents.
How to make the most of these trends for your childcare business
If you want your childcare business to continue to prosper in 2021 and beyond, it’s important to take note of these trends and consider how your childcare business is positioned in relation to them.
Business has changed a lot in the past year, and while some things will go back to the way they were, others have changed forever.
Software like Daily Connect that can help you move with the trends of 2021. Embracing technological solutions can improve your productivity, and offer a better way to communicate and engage with families throughout the day.
It’s not just families – teachers will benefit too. They can update information real time for doting parents: eating habits, bathroom trips, socialization, and more can all be shared from teacher to parent in seconds. There’ll be no more writing out notes for every child at the end of the day.
Easily accessible assessment tools are incredibly important for parents to see how their child is developing in relation to developmental milestones. Through technology, parents can view a portfolio of their child’s work, photos of their activities, and track their development against benchmarks – giving them the peace of mind they desire.
Embracing the trends of 2021 will help your childcare center stand out from the competition. Not only that; you’ll provide a better experience for parents, children, and teachers alike, building a strong childcare business well-positioned for future success.
We recommend you consider Daily Connect as a low-cost digital platform that will help you create unforgettable childcare experiences for children and parents alike.
Thousands of childcare centers across the world use Daily Connect every day to communicate with parents, track compliance, and provide a higher quality of childcare. It’s easy to use, completely customizable to your practice, and is loved by parents, with thousands of 5 star reviews.