Making a good daycare can be a somewhat difficult task as you have to decide what you think is most important. To try and make that decision easier, we have compiled a list of 4 things that make a great daycare.
To make a great daycare you need to:
- Create lots of space
- Hire great educators
- Create a low child-to-caregiver ratio
- Put effective safety precautions in place
Create lots of space
Half of the role of a daycare center is of course to care for children and educate them while they are in their care.
The other half of their role however is to allow children to play and socialize with other children around their age.
To do so, you need to create a significant amount of space.
Most states, if not all of them, require daycare centers to have a certain amount of space per child to maintain a sense of safety for the children involved.
Beyond this requirement, however, the more space you add per child the more effective a daycare center is going to end up being.
Why does space matter?
The amount of space in a daycare center matters for multiple reasons, some obvious while others not so much.
For one, having more space allows children more room to play and enjoy themselves, which of course is an intricate aspect of daycare.
More space also allows more large group activities to take place, which can also be an important part of childhood development.
One thing you may not realize or think about however is that a larger amount of space allows children to feel safer when they are in a daycare center, especially when they are new.
With a larger amount of space, children won’t feel as cramped, and when they are new to a daycare center and their anxiety is high, allowing them to have more space to themself can help significantly.
Hire great educators
For a daycare to run effectively, there need to be educators there to guide the children in the right direction.
While every daycare has educators that help them run effectively, great daycares have great educators, and it’s them that make the difference.
We discussed that half of the point of daycare is the social aspect, but the other half is the educational aspect.
Hiring great educators can make the educational aspect of the daycare center that much easier.
What to look for when hiring daycare educators
- A college degree
While you don’t need a college degree to watch children, you do need one to educate them.
When hiring daycare educators, look for people who have college degrees in early education or childhood development.
Hiring educators with degrees in these fields can make the educational aspect of your daycare center that much more effective.
- Great with children
While this one seems obvious, it is still important to check if those you are looking to hire as educators are good with children.
The best way to do this is to have them sit in for a day or two and have them interact with the children as if they work there.
This will give you a good idea as to how good they are with children and how patient they can be in everyday situations.
- Good motivation
Working day after day can get tiring and mundane if you don’t have the motivation to stay excited and energetic.
When interviewing candidates for a daycare educator position, ask about motivation and see how they respond.
You should also see how motivated they are if you give them a temporary position for a couple of days.
If they stay motivated, that is a fantastic asset to your business, as those who stay motivated tend to do the best work.
3. Create a low child-to-caregiver ratio
When opening and operating a daycare, try and keep the child-to-caregiver ratio, or the ratio of children to caregivers in your facility, as low as possible.
Having a low child-to-caregiver ratio is ideal, as it essentially means that there are only a few children for every adult there.
Having a low child-to-caregiver ratio ensures that the children under your care are always going to have an eye on them as there are more adults to do so, which generally means that the children are going to be safer.
What is the ideal child-to-caregiver ratio?
The ideal child-to-caregiver ratio will vary depending on the age of the children at hand.
For example, when it comes to infants, it is recommended that there is one teacher for every three infants.
When it comes to toddlers and slightly older children, the recommended ratio is one teacher for every four children.
Essentially, if your daycare has a ratio around 1:3 or 1:4, then you should be in good shape!
Put effective safety precautions in place
When you’re running a business that centers around children, safety precautions are of the utmost importance.
Ensuring that your daycare has effective safety precautions should be one of the first things you do before you open up for business.
Having effective safety precautions will ensure that when children are in your care, they will be as safe as possible.
Now, you may be a bit unsure as to what safety precautions you should put in place, but thankfully enough, we will cover some of the most important safety precautions for any daycare.
Important safety precautions your daycare should meet
- A fenced-in outdoor space
While having a fence along any outdoor space is not necessary, it is absolutely preferred from a safety standpoint.
Having a fenced-in outdoor space will ensure that children can play outside safely without the chance for them to run off or into the road.
- No accessible bodies of water
While this usually refers mostly to things like pools, make sure there are no other sources or bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds, or essentially anything that a child could drown in.
- Ensure all furniture or freestanding equipment is sturdy enough to be pulled on
Children are going to try and pull on furniture and other equipment whether you tell them to or not.
Thus, you must check and make sure that no furniture or equipment in your house can be pulled over, such as a chair, as it may fall on a child.
Instead, you should try and weigh any furniture or other equipment down or simply invest in sturdier furniture.
Check out which furniture we think every daycare should have HERE!
What credentials do you need to open a daycare?
Trying to open a daycare will require you to possess a few credentials.
These credentials are universal in most states, with very few differences between them.
These credentials usually include the following:
- High school degree or GED
While most states don’t require a college degree to open a daycare center, all of them require you to have a high school degree or your state’s equivalent
- Certificate three in early childhood education and care
This certificate is a basic childhood educational requirement that will allow you to learn the basics of childhood education and taking care of children.
Generally, it will take about six months to obtain a certificate three in childhood care and education.
These certificates are offered by almost all local colleges and universities, including local and online colleges.
- CPR certification
As with all early childhood teachers, those looking to open and work in daycare are required to obtain a CPR certification.
This certification will ensure that if the worst comes to be, then they know the proper actions and steps to be taken to keep the child alive until proper medical help arrives.
How much does it cost to open a daycare?
Opening a childcare center can be a great business opportunity for anyone interested in childcare.
It does however cost some money if you are looking to open your own daycare center instead of simply working at someone else’s daycare.
There are two types of daycares you can open, one being a residential daycare and the other being a commercial daycare.
Depending on which of these two you are looking to open, the start-up costs are going to be different.
- Start-up costs for a residential daycare
The start-up cost for a residential daycare is much less than it is for a commercial daycare center.
The start-up cost for a residential daycare usually ranges from about $1000 to $4000, which is much lower than a commercial daycare.
This is mostly because a residential daycare center does not have to pay for a commercial property which can often be the most expensive cost.
- Start-up costs for a commercial daycare center
Commercial daycare centers will generally cost a lot more to start-up than a residential daycare center.
Of course, commercial daycare centers do have other costs that are lower than they are for residential daycare centers, but that is a discussion for another time.
A commercial daycare center will generally cost between $10,000 and $50,000 to open, which as was mentioned, is significantly higher than that for a residential daycare center.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.