Are you a new licensee or commencing a new centre director? An effective transition plan is essential!
New centre licensee’s and new centre directors often underestimate the importance of a well-prepared transition plan when taking on a new centre. Here are a few of the important points to consider when documenting a transition plan:
If ever there was a word to strike fear into an early childhood worker this is it! We all have good intentions and most people will say ‘’we embrace change’’ and are open to participating in the change process; however, reality can be a quite different situation. When a centre has a change of ownership or management it can cause tremendous upset if its executed without a detailed plan. Your plan needs to be broken down into manageable segments that address all changes with staff, communications with parents, meeting quality guidelines, addressing all compliance/ policies/ processes and administration.
Okay so you’ve got your detailed transition plan and you’re approaching your commencement date (in the case of a new centre director) or settlement date (if you’re purchasing a new centre). It should go without saying that there’s a time for listening (keeping your eyes and ears open, writing your observations down and keeping your opinions to yourself!) and a time for action. Restraint and diplomacy are two words that must be front of mind.
The service has been operating (at good or bad levels) before your arrival and you will not ‘’personalise’’ it in one day, so its important that you take enough time to firstly modify and then execute your transition plan. You are the new face in the centre and it’s you who must establish credibility with the existing team. The existing team may not see it as their responsibility to listen excitedly to the refreshing ideas you wish to introduce, they may take time to come around.
Policies and Processes
From the time you set foot in the door you become responsible for the staff and children. It’s your responsibility to ensure the centre is meeting compliance – as a minimum! Child safety and well being are paramount! It’s your responsibility to ensure you provide a safe work place for staff. Address these areas very early in your transition plan as it may save you a lot of avoidable pain in the future and in the long run it will greatly assist in establishing your credibility with the team and the families using the service.
You should have already communicated with families using the service well before your first day, taking the opportunity to write to families to tell them a little about yourself and how you are looking forward to working with the existing team. If there are agreed or necessary changes that must take place, then you should also advise families of the changes. If you haven’t factored communication with parents into your transition plan, then you’re leaving out a huge part of the transition.
If you didn’t communicate with families prior to your first day, then you need to do it as soon as you possibly can after you start.
The transition phase is a make or break period. If there is a breakdown during this period then the road to being a stable, happy and well respected centre within the community can be very rough and very long. Careful planning and thoughtful execution before you commence can save you an untold amount of heartache. If you are looking for some tips on how to build or refine you transition plan contact the team at Childcare Concepts. We would love to provide some assistance in your transition planning.