Daycare centers are nothing without the caring staff that run them. A committed staff of instructors ensures your child care business can thrive, as staffing is of critical importance to daycare owners, parents, and children.
As a business owner, you need these qualified professionals to provide high quality care to the students that attend your center every day, as well as to ensure your center is meeting state licensing requirements for student-teacher ratios.
Staffing is also critical to enrollment, as parents will be assessing the level of care their child can receive, ensuring that staff is qualified and available to provide their child individual attention. Also, children build a trust and relationship with the caregivers they interact with each day, meaning a level of consistency is important.
How to Optimize Your Daycare Schedule
There are a variety of reasons why keeping an organized, informed daycare schedule is integral to the long-term success of a childcare center. As daycare centers plan out staffing schedules to ensure consistent care and sustainable hours for staff, while maintaining a reasonable budget, here are essential tips to consider:
Track Daily Attendance
To ensure your daycare is not spending money unnecessarily, it is important that only the required number of staff is scheduled each day to meet student-teacher ratio requirements. This means that staff will need to have some flexibility, as there may not always be the same number of children in attendance each day.
For the most part, your center will be able to establish its peak hours and schedule staff accordingly. To do this, centers need to keep accurate attendance logs. Each day at check in and check out, have parents record the exact time their child arrived and left. From there, you will be able to determine when you will need to schedule more staff. Make sure to do this for each enrollment cycle, as peak and off hours may shift.
Once these hours are established, try maintain consistency with the day’s and hours you assign to each caregiver. This will help them plan their week, and will ensure they are available when needed. It is also a good idea to have a staff member on standby, in case there is unexpectedly and greater number of students.
Track Employee Hours & Off Time
Of course, there will be time when your staff needs to take time off or is sick. It is important to try to track planned vacations and other employee off time so that schedules can be altered in advance. This will save you from scrambling to find a substitute at the last minute.
Keeping employee records for hours and off time will also help you to accurately calculate payroll.
If hours change, someone calls in sick, or more children are dropped off than usual, your center should have a central hub for communication so that all staff remain updated and on the same page. When leaving coverage up to individual staff members, centers risk being understaffed or having too many employees arrive for the shift, which is inconvenient for them and you. Having a central email or central document can ensure this does not happen.
In addition to providing a more manageable week for your staff, it is important that there is a level of consistency in your scheduling for the children at your center. It is important for children to develop a relationship and comfort with their caregiver. Therefore, centers should try to ensure that the same instructors are paired with the same children each day when able.
Having a consistent organized daycare staff schedule is integral to running your business as well as to the happiness of your staff, parents, and children. Following these tips will ensure your center is always properly staffed, meets ratio requirements, and remains within budget.
Learn how Procare can how you track staffing and daycare schedules.
Interested in learning more about managing daycare schedules? Check out these related articles.
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Professionals seeking to pursue a career in child care or daycare management are motivated by their passion to improve the lives of their students. In order to do this, it is important that these individuals have a strong understanding of the developmental needs of children, how to communicate with their families, and how to ensure kids’ health and safety while in their care. This understanding helps child care professionals establish an integral trust between themselves and the children they care for, which ultimately fosters stability in kids’ lives.
There are several qualifications that aspiring professionals in the child care field must meet. These requirements can vary based on state licensing regulations, or the requirements of the school or daycare center. In order to be successful in this field and reach the level of responsibility desired – whether a teacher, daycare director, or daycare owner – candidates must complete various courses and trainings that qualify them to provide and contribute to:
- A safe, healthy learning environment
- Quality curriculums that promote child development and parent involvement
- Business operations and administrative tasks.
Typically, to acquire accreditation in these areas, child care professionals will have completed degrees in early education or elementary education, or pursue continued education degrees in daycare management.
In addition to these classes and course work, daycare management professionals are often required to have their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, or Child Care Professional (CCP) certification – these are two of the most commonly recognized and required daycare management certifications. These programs can be rigorous. The CDA requires prospective candidates to have completed 480 hours of experience working with children within the last five years, as well as 120 hours of formalized child care. CCP certification requires 720 hours of experience, and 180 hours of training in nine specific areas of care.
Successful Daycare Management: Training, Courses, & More
These certifications, as well as many daycare management education courses and programs, focus on providing enrolled care professionals with the following core competencies.
Create a Safe, Nurturing Learning Environment
It is essential that daycare providers have the skills to keep children safe and healthy, while still encouraging curiosity and exploration. While pursuing daycare management education, providers will learn how to create this environment.
Care providers should assess the space from a child’s perspective, looking for hazards or items that might cause accidents, such as sharp edges, or uncovered electrical outlets. Caregivers must also be careful with how they store food and medications. If children require medicine, caregivers should store it up high, behind a lock. If there are any allergies, food will have to be stored accordingly to ensure there is no cross contamination.
In addition to safety measures, daycare providers must create welcoming centers that encourage early childhood development with age appropriate games and toys, as well as child sized chairs and tables, natural light, and ideally an outdoor area.
Promote Development Through Curriculum
The primary goal of any child care provider is to educate their students. Courses in daycare management teach providers how to build out programs that promote development across all core functions such as cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills. This will include creating customized plans by age group, from infants, to toddlers, to preschoolers.
In addition to teaching daycare providers how to plan these nurturing curriculums, a strong daycare management program will also help to develop the skills needed to observe and evaluate each child’s developmental progress. This ensures the highest quality, individualized care, as instructors observe and alter plans based on the pace of each child’s growth. Furthermore, these trainings will help daycare instructors create plans for parent engagement, for how to best communicate and build relationships with families to align learning.
Business and Administrative Operations
In addition to preparing child care professionals for day-to-day child needs, daycare management training will also prepare professionals with the business and administrative knowledge to direct a daycare, or to open their own daycare. Individuals in these management positions are in charge of the administrative tasks that keep daycare centers running.
This means tracking employee training and licensing requirements, billing and payroll, scheduling, expenses, and more, to ensure that that center is profitable. Daycare management courses will often include sessions on how to automate these processes with daycare software, and how to choose the best child care software for your center.
To achieve a well-rounded daycare management education that informs high quality care, caregivers need training in three core areas of operating a successful child care business. When searching for the program to get this training, child care providers should maintain the three core areas listed above as a basis for their continued daycare education and training.
Learn about how Procare’s child care management software supports daycare administrative tasks.
Interested in learning more about child care and daycare management? Check out these related articles.
Hugging a teddy bear can help kids feel braver when it comes to getting a shot. And while they may have to endure a brief moment of pain in the name of good health, at least they don’t have to deal with the hassle of keeping track of immunization records and paperwork. Truth be told, neither should you.
As a child care professional, chances are you’re familiar with the recommended immunizations for young children and you’re careful to make sure every family brings in the child care immunization records for their children before they can attend. Next on your list is the question of how to efficiently keep track of all the immunization requirements, due dates and child history.
How to Track Child Care Immunizations
To help you simplify the paperwork, here are some essential features to look for in immunization tracking software to keep your immunization records up-to-date.
Flexible Immunization Schedule
In order to track when the next immunization is due, you’ll need a way to define the schedule of required vaccinations. Since each shot requires a different schedule, you’ll want the child care database you choose to be flexible. For example, one immunization may have multiple doses due at specific ages, another may be due every 12 months, and a third may be due so many months after the last one, rather than at a specific age—such as when children are on a make-up schedule.
Allow for Exemptions
Children may be exempt from certain vaccinations for a variety of reasons.
- If they’ve already had an illness, like chickenpox, the immunization (such as varicella) may no longer be necessary.
- A child might have an exemption due to family philosophical or religious reasons.
- Combo-vaccinations are another reason for exemptions. Families might choose (or their pediatrician might recommend) individual shots or a vaccine that combines multiple immunizations into one. Therefore, you’d need a way to exempt children from the “individual” shots or vice-versa.
- An age exemption is another possibility. For school-age children you may not be required to track immunizations that apply to younger children.
One final thought on exemptions: you’ll also want a way to indicate the reason why a child is exempt.
Alerts When Immunizations are Due
It’s good to know when an immunization or other requirement (physical, etc.) is due, but it’s even better to get advanced notice of when it’s coming due. In other words, you’d like the parents to know ahead of time, so they’re able to make sure they have the necessary doctor’s appointments arranged.
You may also want a way to:
- Easily see on your director’s screen when immunizations are due or coming due.
- Let parents see immunizations that will be needed soon, at the time they check their children in.
- Generate reports and lists showing immunization information.
Beyond knowing what’s coming due, you’ll also want an efficient way to track the history for each child. In other words, what dates did a child receive each vaccination in the sequence? Typically, this information should be available on an immunization history report.
Making sure the kids attending your child care center are up to date with their immunizations is necessary to ensure the health of every child in your care. However, when the year gets underway and your schedule fills up, it can be easy to lose track of the multitudes of paperwork that go along with immunizations records. To mitigate these challenges and manage health records, child care centers should employ immunization tracking software with a degree of flexibility and customization that allows them to account for each child’s needs.
Learn how Procare can help you better keep track of family health information at your child care center.
Interested in learning more about managing health information at your child care center? Check out these related articles.
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- Move Daycare Records to Your Smartphone, iPad, etc.
Are you still keeping track of children on the waiting list at your child care, daycare, or preschool with paper and pencil, or perhaps a computer spreadsheet? Child care management software —specifically designed to help your center run more efficiently— makes it easier to manage your daycare waiting list and make informed decisions about how to market your business.
Manage Your Daycare Waiting List and Marketing
In this article we’ll show you how Procare Software® can help you both manage your waiting list and keep track of how people found out about your center.
Child Care Waiting List Categories
It’s easy to set up a waiting list by creating enrollment categories in Procare. You could use just a single status like “Waiting List” or create multiple items like “Wait List – Student”, “Wait List – Faculty / Staff”, “Wait List – Public” to categorize each person on the list. This may be useful if you have different levels of priority for each group.
- From the Procare Home screen go to Configuration > System > Data Management > Status & Relationships > Child’s Enrollment Status.
- Enter a new status on the top blank line, then click Save > Exit.
- Then look up a family and assign a waiting list status on the Child’s Enrollment screen.
Creating a Waiting List Report
In Procare’s Family Data module, you can use an enrollment report to find out how many (and which) children are on the waiting list, with these three steps.
- In Family Data & Accounting choose Reports > Family Data > Child Enrollment. To see a list of children whose status has changed (everyone new to the waiting list) choose Change of Enrollment Status. To include everyone at their current status (everyone on the waiting list) choose Enrollment Status Summary.
- Choose a Date Range then click Run Report.
- With the report on screen double-click a status (like Waiting List) to get a detailed list of all children assigned that status.
As an alternative, try the following report that lets you sort by name, age, or classroom. Choose Reports > Family Data > Filtered Reports > Child: Birthday – Age Summary. Use the Filter to select the Enrollment Status of “Waiting List” as of a date you specify.
Tracking Your Marketing Sources
Be sure to ask new enrollees and those on the waiting list how they heard about you. That way you can track each source and get a picture of what marketing sources are working best for your center. For example, you may wish to track how many people saw your add in the yellow pages, found you online, heard from a friend, saw your flyer, or found a coupon, etc. With Procare, this requires just a few simple steps:
- Create a tracking group called something like “Marketing” and items within the group like “Yellow Pages”, “Online”, etc. See the knowledge base article on how to Manage Tracking Items.
- Assign your marketing items to the Account Tracking screen for each family.
- Use the Account Filter to get a quick count of the number of families with each referral source.
- Print a report to get a list of families assigned to each category, like Reports > Family Data > Tracking Account: Contact Information. Then choose your “Marketing” category and Run Report.
Having a well managed child care waiting list is the best way to ensure consistent enrollment at your center throughout the year. Using child care management software allows your center to keep track of the families on your waiting list, get accurate and up-to-date reporting, and track marketing efforts to optimize your spend, while increasing efficiency at your center.
Learn more about how Procare can help manage enrollment and wait lists.
Interested in learning more about simplifying administrative tasks at your child care center? Check out these related articles.
ProCare Software would like to welcome in the new year with one of our most popular blog features – our Child Care Center of the Month. Each month we select a daycare, preschool, child care center or similar place of early learning as our Center of the Month. Centers are selected based on information provided for their Free MyStory Web Page.
For January, ProCare is pleased to announce Kiddie Care Learning Center of Dothan, AL as our award winner! Continue reading