Two of the most frequent questions I am asked about the early childhood education company I founded are how we vet our educators and what we look for during our interviews with them.
As a parent myself, I understand that the decisions parents, family members, and caregivers make about their child’s education are deeply personal ones. Neither I, nor any of us at Dearest, take the educator interviewing and vetting responsibility lightly.
Dearest matches top educators with families for individual or small-group, in-home early childhood programming. Using our curriculum, Dearest educators are responsible for planning developmentally appropriate lessons with specific learning goals, adapting engaging and hands-on activities to best meet the needs of the child or group, and recommending additional activities to extend the experience. At the conclusion of each session, our educators send parents a progress report, detailing the content covered and skills mastered!
These educators are what sets us apart from other early childhood education and childcare companies out there and our team has been obsessed with finding the top teaching talent in early childhood education since Dearest was born in 2017. Thousands of bookings, hundreds of parent reviews, and countless in-person educator interviews have helped our team to build a systematized and data-driven vetting process that identifies top teaching talent.
Our vetting process begins with a resume screening, online assessment and video interview, during which our team gets to know the candidate and evaluates their communication style. The process continues with an in-person interview and two practical tests.
Our interview process gives candidates an opportunity to speak about their background, teaching methodology, and areas of expertise. Each candidate is asked thoughtful and engaging questions based on their specific resume and experience; they are also encouraged to ask any and all questions about the role! We really value this in-person time with each candidate.
The two practical tests offer a skills-based opportunity for our educators to show off their teaching chops and creativity. We give each candidate a learning goal, state standard, and student age and ask that they create a lesson and activity in real-time given that information. The second test follows the same format, but with different learning goals and standards.
The last two steps in our vetting process are a thorough background check (including SSN Validation, Sex Offender Search, Global Watchlist Search, National Criminal Database Search, and County Criminal Search) and two professional reference checks.
Throughout the process, we look for a track-record of responsive, engaging teaching practices, core intelligence, and individuals who care deeply about the children they educate and the families with whom they work. Our educators are able to recall their lesson planning details from classes they taught years prior because they are devoted to ensuring that their students learned, that they thrived, that they explored. Dearest educators are, and always have been, deeply committed to providing the best educational experience for any child they teach.
Since Dearest’s beginning, only 3% of applicants have made it through our rigorous process and over 80% of those hold, or are currently pursuing a master’s degree. Because we at Dearest understand that early childhood experiences, relationships, and education all help to create the developmental foundation for the rest of a child’s life, 100% of our educators have both teaching and childcare experience. We believe that the combination of creating learning experiences and lessons that are personalized to the child’s developmental needs and responding to the child’s interests with enthusiasm, positivity, and warmth, the whole child is nurtured and will thrive.
CEO and founder of Dearest, Inc. Eiko is also an NYC mom with background in education tech, new business launch, and turnaround. She grew up in Asia and holds MS in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business
Photo credit: The We Company