Churches provide a large space for community members to open a daycare and preschool. Daycares typically care for children before enrolling in formal school. A preschool focuses on school readiness activities for children during the early years. The demand for childcare workers is expected to increase 11 percent by the year 2018, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Preparing to Open the Daycare
Determine the square footage of the church space the daycare will occupy. Then, contact the state department of licensing to determine how many children can be accommodated in that space. Also, consider the area’s proximity to an outdoor play area for children.
Also, purchase equipment for the daycare and preschool. Arts and crafts supplies, puzzles and a variety of stimulating toys should be offered. Also, purchase a crib for each young toddler or infant. Nap mats are appropriate for preschool age children. Ask the parent of each child to provide their own blankets and pillows and launder the linens weekly.
If your church needs help funding start-up costs, get in contact with the Small Business Administration. They can put you in touch with local lenders who offer small business loans.
Certification and Licensure
Enroll staff in CPR and first aid courses. The American Red Cross offers these courses to childcare professionals. Keep a certification of competition for each employee who completes the course. Some states require this documentation to accompany application materials for licensure.
Safety proof all rooms of the daycare and preschool. This includes covering electrical outlets with protectors and installing safety gates for smaller children. Also, store chemicals and other harmful substances in locked cabinets (out of children’s reach). Most states require an inspection of daycares and preschools. Contact the state ahead of time to request a safety checklist. This will assist with preparation efforts. Purchase fire extinguishers to place throughout the childcare facility.
Church childcares also need to get licensed with their state. After preparing the daycare area, contact the local state department of licensing and request application materials. Expect to fill out a background check for every person employed in the daycare and preschool facility. Some states require a schematic of the childcare facility be submitted (detailing the layout of the childcare space). Some states also require that the owner of the daycare attend a state sponsored course covering local laws and regulations.
Creating an emergency evacuation plan is also important. Some states require this. The plan should cover where children and staff exit the building and meet-up in case of an emergency. Once your daycare and preschool is operating, regular “drills” should be scheduled to practice this plan.
MarketChurch Childcare Services
Market childcare and preschool services to local families. If your church has a newsletter, include information. Some churches also have email lists which could be helpful in advertising the daycare opening. Post flyers at community boards near the center as well. After time, the word will spread about services and less time will be spent on marketing activities.