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In Start your own childcare service, the staff of LikendisLike Media Inc. and the writer Jacquelyn Lynn explain how you can start a child care service, whether you want to start a small home-based business or a large shopping mall. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer advice on hiring and training the right staff for your daycare.
Staff management is one of the most difficult aspects of owning a child care center, said Janet Hale, owner of Gingerbread House. “Each teacher does [things] differently, but I have a philosophy and a way of treating the children that I want them to use, ”she says. “I want them to do it my way.” And you’ll probably want the same thing, which means you have to hire smart and train properly.
One of the factors that will greatly affect the type of center you run is the ratio of children to staff. Below are the recommendations of the American Public Health Association / American Academy of Pediatrics by age for group size and child / staff ratios. Your state’s regulations may differ from these recommendations.
- For a child 0-24 months, a group size of 6 with a child / staff ratio of 3: 1 is best.
- For a child aged 25 to 30 months, a group size of 8 with a child / staff ratio of 4: 1 is preferable.
- For a child aged 31 to 35 months, a group size of 10 with a child / staff ratio of 5: 1 is preferable.
- For a 3 year old child, a group size of 14 with a child / staff ratio of 7: 1 is best.
- For a child 4-6 years old, a group size of 16 with a child / staff ratio of 8: 1 is best.
Child care operators agree that one of their biggest challenges is finding and retaining qualified caregivers and assistants. Newspaper advertisements are expensive and often do not generate many responses. You may want to try online sites, such as Craigslist, Careerbuilder and Monster. You can also include a “Job Opportunities” section on your website. Beyond that, be creative: Network with people you know, including current employees, post billboards in churches and community areas, and check with school placement offices. Students working on their teaching degrees are often a good source of staff, especially when looking for qualified part-time employees.
Characteristics and qualifications of caregivers
The more qualified your staff, the more attractive they and your service are to potential customers. So what should you look for in terms of features and qualifications? Education, qualifications, and specific experience levels will likely be dictated by state law. But in general, your guardians should have an understanding of child development and some training in early childhood education to make them sensitive and sensitive to all of the children in their care.
The caregivers of your staff must be warm and loving and also have mature, healthy and positive attitudes about life, love, sex and interpersonal relationships. Remember that impressionable children capture the attitudes and behaviors of the adults around them with incredible acuity. Good caregivers are sensitive to the individual, developmental and cultural characteristics of each child.
Caregivers must be educated or instinctively able to fairly discipline children, without traumatizing them. They must have the necessary skills to implement games and educational activities for disorganized, rowdy and voluntary groups of young people.
Examine potential caregivers very carefully; careless or inappropriate employees can harm children, damage your reputation and prosecute. Ask all candidates if they have abused children in any way in the past. Let them know that you will be performing a background check to verify all of their answers. While it is unlikely that many people will admit a history of child maltreatment, your attention to the problem may discourage them from seeking employment in child care.
Do not try to do the background checks yourself. This is a task best left to an expert. Expect to pay between $ 50 and $ 200 for a professional background check, depending on the amount of detail you need. Check your phone book under “Investigation Services” to find a resource for background checks, do an Internet search, or ask other business owners for a reference.
Once on board
The hiring process is just the beginning of the challenge of having employees. You must provide complete orientation to new employees.
Your orientation and initial training should include:
- A complete tour of your facility
- In-depth discussion of the facility’s goals and philosophy, including a history of how it was created and developed
- The names and ages of the children for whom the caregiver will be responsible and their specific development needs
- Any special accommodation required for a child with special needs
- Any special health or nutritional needs of the children assigned to the caregiver
- The program of activities planned in the establishment
- Routines and transitions
- Acceptable discipline methods
- Institutional policies regarding communication with parents
- Meal models and food handling policies
- Occupational health hazards of caregivers
- Emergency health and safety procedures
- Security policies and procedures
- General health policies and procedures, including hand washing techniques; diaper changing techniques; grooming; proper removal of layers; food preparation, serving and storage techniques (if the employee prepares food); formula preparation (if the formula is manipulated); detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse; how to teach health promotion concepts to children and parents; and recognize the symptoms of the disease
Appropriate guidance ensures that all staff receive specific and basic training for the work they will perform so that they can discharge their responsibilities safely and effectively.
Temporary qualified classroom help can be difficult to find. When a caregiver calls in the event of illness, your primary source of assistance should be internal. If you, as a manager, are able to take the place of that person, or if you can hire out-of-service personnel to cover, your problem is resolved. If this is not possible, or if your temporary need is for the longer term (such as when a caregiver suffers from a prolonged illness or goes on vacation), you will need to find a qualified replacement.
Start by advertising in local newspapers and locally targeted online sources for occasional teachers / caregivers and build your own network. The same teachers who replace kindergartens and kindergartens can also meet your state’s requirements for working in your daycare. Accredited teachers who work as substitutes may also be interested in being on your replacement work list, particularly if you make the remuneration attractive.
If your advertisement does not produce a sufficient supply of alternate candidates – say between one-third and one-half the size of your staff – contact your local school district and find out how to contact the pool of submarines it relies on. In addition, if several of your assistants are students pursuing graduate studies in education, they may have classmates who are not interested in full-time work but who would like some money on occasion. If they are qualified, give them a short training session – paid, of course – and put them on hold for emergencies.