What qualities does a successful childcare director have?

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Answered by: Elaine, An Expert in the Children's Day Care Centers Category
A childcare director is the person in charge of managing a childcare center, including overseeing hiring, budgeting and policy making. A successful childcare director must be committed to providing a safe and healthy environment in which children can learn, explore, imagine and discover new skills. Good directors have the organizational skills necessary to manage day-to-day operations, as well as the interpersonal skills needed to interface between employees, parents and children.

Prepare a business plan to run a successful and efficient childcare facility. Your plan should encompass details on all aspects of running a facility including hiring of staff, staff certification requirements, recruiting students, and encouraging the development of children to prepare them for later academic success. As you develop your plan, be aware of any requirements regarding state licensing of childcare centers. In many situations, reports must be filed with state and local facilities to retain childcare certification. Include any steps needed to comply with state requirements in your plan.

Prepare a vision statement and share it with the staff. To be successful at inspiring the staff to follow your vision, clearly outline both the childcare center's responsibilities and philosophy towards child development. Responsibilities include meeting the basic needs of the child, such as providing adequate supervision. Popular philosophies include Montessori, which focuses education on the individual child's nature after an observation of his needs; and Waldorf, which focuses on interdisciplinary learning. Provide a copy of your vision statement to the parents so they have an understanding of your attitude towards child development.

Visit the classrooms often so the children find you approachable and friendly. As a successful childcare director, be aware of the daily activities of the childcare center. This will give you an understanding of the atmosphere of the center and the ability to step in and take care of undesirable situations immediately. Being visible and available during the day shows you care about the children, the staff and the child-care facility.

Schedule regular staff meetings and training seminars to present new information on child-care and to encourage and support your staff. You can obtain new information by reading professional journals, conducting independent research and attending conferences or continuing education courses. Offer training seminars to share what you have learned with your staff, to enhance the skills of the childcare workers and to provide CPR, first aid training and re-certification. At staff meetings and training seminars, you can also discuss lesson plans and schedules and share staff concerns.

Allow parents to visit the daycare freely any time they wish, and encourage visits early on until both the parents and children are comfortable with the school routine. Most parents will be concerned with leaving the care of their child to strangers. Listen to their concerns and offer suggestions to resolve any apprehensions. Be flexible regarding the child’s needs while he is becoming accustomed to the childcare facility.

Create an atmosphere of trust in which teachers and aides know they can depend on you for support and fair decision-making. Act as a mediator to solve conflicts. There may be disagreements on how to handle an unruly child, activities or unrealistic parents. Listen to the dilemma and remain impartial until all the facts are available. Then make a clear and decisive decision, explaining your decision to all involved.

Develop an operating budget and a schedule of fees. This will require keeping a balance between quality childcare and fees for the childcare service. Explore all options for extra funding through local and state business donations and grants offered through state and federal organizations. Attend seminars to learn more about ways of raising funds or acquiring donations for the childcare facility. As you set a fee structure, ensure you are charging enough to cover operating costs, but not so much you are priced out of the market. Monitoring competitor's prices is one option to make sure your price is in-line with market value. You may also wish to consider a sliding scale fee structure for parents who show need or a reduced cost for parents with multiple children.

Prepare an employee handbook, outlining the rules and policies of the child-care center. Unlike the vision statement, this should be more specifically focused on the procedural details of staff management such as attendance, timely arrival, wage payment schedule, and employee discipline procedure.

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