You’ve chosen a rewarding career in early childhood education, and now it’s time to find an organization that best suits you. There are numerous choices in early childhood education in terms of the type of organization. For example, you may decide an early learning center in a small church is ideal, or you may prefer a much larger private organization.
If you choose a local-regional company like U-GRO Learning Centres or a state or national organization, you may even have the option to apply to multiple centers within that organization. For example, if you were looking to work in Lancaster county, you could look at job openings across six U-GRO centers.
Alternatively, you may be applying to multiple organizations within close proximity to your home. In either case, you have the advantage of comparing different centers to determine which type of center is right for you. Here are three things to consider when determining where you want to grow your career.
1. Size of School
One of the biggest factors when people apply to a higher education organization is the size of the school. The same can be said when choosing an early learning center. Small, cozy classrooms may provide more of a homey feel, which may fit your personal preferences. Other centers may have larger classrooms with more modern tools. Does one of these appeal to you, or are you looking for something that fits in the middle? Importantly, you want to feel comfortable in your teaching environment.
During the hiring process, it’s fine to ask the hiring manager or recruiter about a typical classroom. You should definitely have the opportunity to tour the center at some point. During your tour, see if you can picture yourself in that center. Larger organizations like U-GRO will have centers of various sizes. In that case, you may have the benefit of comparing centers across one organization.
Each early learning center has a unique culture. If you have the opportunity to talk to current teachers at the centers you’re applying to, ask about the company culture. How do co-teachers work with each other? Do teachers enjoy interacting with each other outside of work? During your tour, make sure you see yourself fitting in with the other team members.
Is the organization one that promotes teacher learning and promotion? This is another important question to ask and consider, as growth opportunities may vary depending on the organization.
Additionally, consider the type of environment. Do you prefer an energetic, fast-paced environment or a relaxed atmosphere? Consider what is the best fit for you before you tour.
3. Leadership Style
No matter what center you apply to, you’ll have a supervisor or someone to report to. You may prefer managers who are proactive and offer lots of hands-on guidance, particularly if this is your first job in early learning. Alternatively, you may be seeking a manager that gives you freedom and flexibility. Be sure to ask how you’ll be given feedback and how often you’ll meet together.
Note that the center size and culture may have an influence on your manager’s leadership style. Therefore, all three considerations are important when choosing a center.
If a center doesn’t check all of the boxes for you, it doesn’t mean that the organization isn’t a good fit for you. Organizations like U-GRO have multiple early learning centers. Each location has its own unique culture while still adhering to U-GRO’s core values and programming. When appropriate, ask the hiring manager or recruiter about other centers and opportunities. More than likely, the organization will be able to help you find a center that matches your personality and skillset.
Teachers are the heart of U-GRO. Our 13 centers are always looking for passionate teachers and staff to join their team. Whether you’re just starting your career in early education or you want to further your development, there’s a U-GRO center for you!