Greetings love! It’s been a while(we will dive into that ocean later) but after working in the oh so trying yet loving and rewarding childcare field for a few years, it’s been on my heart to share a few tips for those of us who have been debating if opening up and actually directing a childcare center of our own is a legit desire to partake upon. (These are just a few of the basics from my actual work experience, hence the title…Feel free to use the guidelines regarding your state’s requirements and/or how you envision your own center, remember to always do your own research loves…btw, some tips may or may not be in order..) Alright, let’s get it!!
1.) Check Your Credentials
Aspiring entrepreneurs who plan on working with youths (ESPECIALLY other people’s youths lol) should deeply consider if they have the wholehearted compassion and patience to not only teach but are able to give the youth the attentiveness they may require. (If you have no experience, “don’t even like kids”, or just looking for some quick moolah, this is not the profession for you. I recommend anyone who is thinking about pursuing this field schedule time to “sit in” with or “interview” several center director’s before moving forward with a final decision. Next, childcare requires that the person(s)(director and staff) are certified in both CPR/First-Aide( local YMCA or Red Cross for starters) and an updated background check(State Capital or Police Department are placing these can be requested) would be needed as a precaution against pedophiles. CDA(Child Development Associate) may be required by your state as well, check at your local community colleges, or adult education centers(if working for a childcare, they may be available to provide tuition or offer this course for free.).
2.) Apply For a License
Though most states requirements may be similar, when contacting the local business administration, be sure to check your states specific requirements to open up your center. Don’t be alarmed if the process is a little more than thorough, you have to consider the nature of this business (with some of the horror stories I’ve heard and witnessed, who can blame them?) While waiting on your approval, continue to seek and inform yourself, the more knowledgeable you are, the more power and success you’ll possess 🙂 .
3.) Deciding On a Center, Home or Lot?
Look, I don’t know if y’all have ever babysat before or not but x amount of youths in an x amount sq ft house or apartment may or may not work without you needing some “space”! Lol. I couldn’t agree more with many who say the best way to start… would be from home and small (5-10 youth’s). If you just want to step out on faith and start with a big center (because you need your personal space lol) Remember to keep up with state ratios (number of adults per child) and health/safety requirements…Which leads us to our next tip…
4.) Preparing The Center
Starting at home or settling with a big center, keep in mind the center should provide sufficient space for free-play areas, napping (cot/crib) areas, eatery areas etc. Next, safety is of the utmost importance in cases like these, especially if the center will be catering to toddlers. (For safety reasons, I LOVED working in centers where the floors and outdoor playgrounds were covered in either carpet(classes) or the soft mesh material(outdoors), my heart drops everytime a youth falls plus I have a 2yr old tot so Y’all know I’m extra dramatic…dododododododododododododododon’t be judging my mama-ness! Lol) All exits/doors should remain locked or have key entries, stairs should have railings and all electrical sockets/wires should be hidden from plain view. (Basically, child-proof EVERYTHING…Like a prison..but without the bars and well..nevermind, I’m just gon’ stop here..Y’all get where I’m going.)
5.) Education, Toys, and Entertainment.
Before opening your center, the owner, you, must be ready with age-appropriate activities to keep the youth occupied throughout the day. (Be aware of choking/safety hazards.) For centers who would be introducing playgrounds, the equipment must be installed and inspected correctly to prevent any type of accidents. (Some centers I’ve worked for had T.V.’s and some didn’t, though the choice is ultimately yours, I would limited T.V. viewing to a hour per day on certain days during the week that’s mostly educational and encourage more free play and interaction between other youth..try to take advantage of the thousands of activities for them to incorporate their imagination into!!!..I’ll get into that on another post.) Will you be taking field trips? If so, be sure to check for discounts, rates, and even special occasions when the facility can be open just for your center. (My son’s center takes local trips to the library for story time, the fire station and even a local park that is close to the center!) Don’t forget about your waivers (documents stating your consent, usually for trips and/or for youth’s pictures to be taken).
6.) Customizing Nutritious Meals
First and foremost what are your state’s guidelines as to how many meals/snacks you provide per day? What type diet(s) will you follow? Who will cook? Are you familiar with food allergies? (If you’ve ever taken peanut butter into a childcare center, you might as well have taken concealed weapon..don’t be that person smh lol) These are just a few questions for you to ponder on. ( The fact that centers who follow a state guideline are opening up to incorporating vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is bomb! ..in a good way. 😉 )
*Will you have reliable means of transportation to and fro? Not every center offers transportation, some parents are okay with this but to those who don’t have means of transportation, this can be a no go for a lot of parents.
*Will you hire a specific cleaning company to deep clean or will you? What about landscaping? Sanitation of play areas and kitchen areas?
*How will you market your center?
*What makes your center unique?, Why should a parent choose your center?
* Is your center in a safe neighborhood/environment?
*Though you may only be a director of the center, keep in mind that life still occurs outside of your center, so this means call in’s from employees and you actually having to work with the youth hands on. Can you handle that? This is also important for the quality of people that you hire. So many centers bomb because of failure to provide efficient care.
*Are you financially stable enough to run a center? How will you be funding your center? How much would you charge for tuition? DON’T FORGET ABOUT GRANT MONEY! F.Y.I. , many states offer up to $5000 for opening a childcare center. (You better take advantage of that “I don’t have to pay this back” money, baby.)
**Once again, be as knowledgeable as you can, seek and you shall find..Google, your local library, local business development center anywhere you obtain help, receive it. Granted I have been some assistance for you.
Give Thanks & I grant you the best in your endeavors loves!!
FB: I’m Zioness