The horizon of 2024 is shining bright, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and make plans for the year to come. Last year we wrote a blog that outlined a simple 5-point strategy for 2023. Now we’re curious to find out how it went.
Did the year go as planned?
Did it meet, exceed or fall short of your expectations?
Did the strategies you put in place, get the results you desired?
Reflecting on what happened and if you met your goals, is essential for moving your early years business forward and steering it towards future success. We hope this blog helps you to gain clarity on the things that went well and those that didn’t, to ensure 2024 is your year of growth.
Looking back at the past 365 days, it’s important to take stock of both your triumphs and setbacks to get a clear picture of how things went.
If things went well, celebrate them. Every success deserves recognition for the hard work that went into achieving it. And it’s not only the larger aspirations, such as making a profit of X amount, that you should focus on. That you’ve continued to provide a safe environment full of happy children who are learning and developing through the supportive learning experiences you’ve created also deserves a big round of applause.
On the flip side, identifying where things haven’t gone to plan is equally important because it helps you to figure out what you can do better over the next 12 months, both as an individual and as a team.
For example, if finding and keeping the right staff was an issue, you could preempt it as a potential pitfall for the coming year and make a backup plan. It could mean training others to step in when needed, or identifying other ways of getting help quickly when it’s needed most. Was sickness the issue? How people feel at work is important. Making sure everyone feels good about their job and can access support when they need it can make a big difference.
Thinking about all this can help us learn from our mistakes and do better next time. It’s a bit like using a map to find a better way from A to B after making a few wrong turns on a previous journey.
New Goals For 2024
As we move into 2024, fresh goals await. Things may not have gone as you hoped and you might feel apprehensive about what’s coming. To be honest, most childcare professionals are feeling like that. After all, providing first-class early years provisions in the current economic climate with the added pressure of government promises looming isn’t a simple task. That’s where setting achievable goals can help.
An impending Ofsted inspection doesn’t have to be feared. If you get ready now by making sure the procedures, policies and practices you have in place align with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework, you can ease the pressure early on.
If staff training has slipped, certificates have expired or you need to get to grips with current best practice, there’s no time like the present to investigate training providers and book onto courses. Not only does it ensure staff get better at their jobs, it also enhances the professionalism of your nursery which will attract more families and help to fill places.
How about a good old-fashioned SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis?
A SWOT analysis of your early years setting can help you see what needs to stay the same, improve or swerve to survive and thrive during 2024. Involving your staff in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your nursery will give you a better picture of what’s really going. Helping you to make a plan on how to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Our common aim for 2024 should be to make our settings even better than before.
Staying positive helps a lot with reaching goals and doing a great job. Why? Because it gives you energy and the determination needed to go above and beyond, to get things right.
When you lead your nursery with a positive approach, it allows problems to be seen as chances to grow, develop and change – instead of big barriers. It’s this growth mindset that can help you push for excellence in all aspects of your childcare services and inspire you to think outside of the box to try new ways of doing things.
Things that can help with developing a growth mindset…
- Lead by example – when you present yourself with enthusiasm, optimism and motivation it can quickly rub off on the people around you.
- Create a positive working environment – making your employees comfortable at work means they’re more likely to be happy there.
Have you heard of the ‘eat the frog’ theory? – Don’t worry I haven’t gone hopping mad!
It’s an actual theory that suggests tackling the most challenging task first. Why? Because starting with the toughest job will help beat procrastination, enhance focus and lead to a more productive day.
Policy changes like the impending updates to the EYFS and Early Years wellbeing document, plus December 2023’s implementation of the new Prevent duty guidance for England and Wales (2023), means that forward planning is a must to stay one step ahead of the game.
We’ve made it easier than ever for you to stay on top of the changing face of early years with our monthly newsletter and emails. We do the tricky job of breaking it all down so you don’t have to. By signing up you have access to an easily digestible overview of the most important updates, changes and requirements for early years throughout the year. Leaving you free from the stress of deciphering the jargon to be able to plan and make changes.
Putting everything together to build a strategy is essential if you want 2024 to be the year to make things happen. A logical plan of action (PoA) lets your people (staff, parents and children) know what you want to do and how to do it, and prepares them for the changes ahead.
To build a successful strategy it can help to…
- Perform a SWOT analysis.
- Define clear and concise goals.
- Develop a step-by-step plan.
- Delegate responsibilities to your team.
- Be open to changes and adapt.
- Set and stick to deadlines.
- Review how things are going.
- Communicate your strategy.
When you’ve invested your time, effort, hopes and dreams into a business, It’s not always easy to view it from an unbiased viewpoint. Or maybe you simply don’t have the time right now to investigate things fully to come up with a fantastic forward-thinking plan.
That’s where we can help!
Contact us now, and let’s work together to lighten the load and pave a path towards a brighter future.