Employee retention is a huge struggle for many child care centers. Our industry is notorious for high turnover rates. A recent survey by Glassdoor shared that child care employees rated their places of work at only a 2.8 (average) on a scale of 1-5, 5 being a great place to work, and 3 being an “ok” place to work. Child care in general was rated as LESS THAN “OK.”

The number one reason for the low rating was noted as poor leadership and culture in the work place. In other words, the managers or directors either did not lead well or did not help maintain a positive work place culture. I am on a mission to change that.

Why not start “wowing” your new hires on day one with some added touches that make them feel extremely welcome right off the bat? There are several ways you can do this, but here is ONE IDEA. Give each new hire a special “Teacher Survival Kit” on their first day.

You can get some cheap baskets or gift bags from the dollar store. Then design a cute little card titled “Teacher’s Survival Kit” and pick out  your favorite items from the list below, then fill your basket with these items.

This list is a compilation of lots of ideas I found from several sources online. Some of the items are repeats, but the reasons they are included on the list were different, so I included them both. Don’t use all of the items listed below….just pick your favorite 10-12 and create your very own teacher survival kit.

I did this at my child care center for all new hires, and it really made my new employees feel welcome. Here are a couple of pics of the teacher survival kit that we gave our new hires.

Giving your new hires a fun gift is not going to completely change the turnover problem that the child care industry faces, but it is one small thing that you can do to get started off on the right foot with your new team members.

We would love to hear from you if you give this idea a try! Leave us a comment below.

Here are several cute ideas to include in a teacher’s survival kit

  • Animal crackers for when your class seems like a zoo.
  • Band-aids for when things get a little rough
  • Chewing gum to help you stick to it.
  • Gum to remind you that we stick together as a team.
  • A sponge to help you soak in all the children’s needs.
  • Tissues to dry the tears…yours and theirs.
  • Crayons to color your day bright and cheerful.
  • Marbles to replace the ones you’ve lost.
  • Mounds bar for the mounds of confidence you give your students.
  • Paperclips to hold it all together.
  • Rubber band to remind you to be flexible.
  • Starburst to give you a “burst” of energy when you need it.
  • Erasers because everyone makes mistakes
  • A shiny penny to remind you that each child will shine in their own way.
  • A marker to remind you to leave a good mark wherever you go.
  • Hugs & Kisses to remind you that you are loved
  • Toothpicks to help you pick out the good qualities in others and in yourself.
  • Smarties because that’s who you are helping.
  • White-out to correct your wrongs.
  • Glue stick to bond your team
  • Batteries to energize yourself
  • A push pin to help you push through your battles.
  • Deodorant to help you keep your cool when the pressure is on.
  • Tootsie Roll to help you roll with the punches.
  • Notebook to write down all the funny things kids say.
  • Eyes because sometimes you need them in the back of your head (Googly eyes)
  • Seeds for the seeds of knowledge you sow
  • Mint because you are worth a Mint to the parents
  • Gloves for when you need an extra pair of hands
  • Tea Bag to remind you that you are TEA-riffic
  • 2 pennies – so you have the “cents” to realize how valuable you are
  • Lifesavers because you are a lifesaver to many children
  • Peanuts/Almonds to remind you to be a little nutty sometime (could do silly string – allergies)
  • Goldfish crackers because you are O-Fish-ally an AWESOME teacher!
  • Take 5/Kit Kat to remember to take a break when you need one
  • Snickers to remember to laugh (sometimes its all you can do)
  • 100 Grand because you are really worth it…..REALLY worth it!
  • Kind Bar because it takes a KIND heart to teach little minds
  • Coffee Gift Card – Remember that we like you a “latte”
  • Jigsaw piece – your class is not complete without you
  • Eraser to remind you that a good education can never be erased
  • “Thank you for the Mounds of support you give each child and for Highlighting the positives. Always remember to celebrate each accomplishMint no matter how small. Finally, here’s 100Grand because you are worth it!”

And, "DO-NUT" forget you are loved!