You’ve decided to open a family home daycare –
- What are your options?
- How many children will you have in your daycare?
- What ages will you solicit?
- Where will learning happen?
- Will you have enough space for toys and furniture?
- Is your kitchen big enough for food preparations?
- Will your refrigerator have enough space -or will you ask the parents to take food for their children?
- Is your entire home childproof? How about the stairs and sharp objects?
- Is the furniture bolted to the wall?
- Can the daycare children share your one bathroom?
- Is there storage space for the children’s extra diapers, wipes, and change of clothes?
- If a child is sick how will you isolate the child in your small or large home?
- Where will the children sleep? Will you share your personal bedrooms?
- Can you operate with a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, guinea pig, chinchilla, whatever pet – can you have a daycare?
- Is the fireplace safe for the children? How about that tank or well – will children be safe?
- What’s the ease of departure in case of an emergency? Do you have many burglar bars or bolts on the door?
- Where will you mount the fire and carbon dioxide devices? Will you need a fire extinguisher?
SO MANY QUESTIONS – where to start?
CONTACT YOUR GOVERNMENT LICENSING AGENCY
Your best option is to get help from your local government agency. More likely they will provide you with paper works and a list of requirements. In the United States – DCFS or the Department of Human Services may be that agency. In the United Kingdom Ofsted: Office for Standards in Education maybe that option, in Jamaica maybe the Ministry of Education. You will need to do your research on the ground first.
Now that you have a level of understanding, your next step is to design your home in a safe manner to accommodate the children’s play, learning, and bodily needs.
Are you living in an apartment, condo, townhouse, small house, large house, rural home, farmhouse?
Think of the space you have and let it serve you. No point wishing for what you don’t have. So work with what you have. Think outside the box. Think of ways to recycle. Use furniture and storage spaces that will provide multi-functions. Storage bins and totes can be stored under your bed, crib, and in other small spaces. Invest in toys that are multifunctional.
- Instead of buying three different legos – purchase one kind that can be used for all ages.
- Instead of buying a barrage of blocks, try minimizing your purchases.
- Head to your thrift stores and save – purchase second-hand toys (safety first, please check carefully).
- Ask your family to donate toys, art supplies, books, furniture…
- Spread the word in your neighborhood, amongst friends – let them know you are accepting gently used pieces.
- Make room for creative imaginative play – instead of having a play kitchen, market, car wash, etc. Use one plain piece of furniture and allow the children to create. Such creativity gives way to better play, imagination, and curiosity.
- A side table or coffee table can be converted into a table for the little people you will be serving. Placing a table cloth or folded flat sheet over that can contain spills, and protect your furniture – again think outside the box.
Allow the outdoors to serve as a classroom. Do you have tree stumps, crates, rugs, and the good old grass? Most children love the outdoors – think of ways you will invite them to play and learn. I guarantee that having an outdoor classroom will eliminate boredom, chaos, or burnout – the fresh air will provide good emotions for you and the children in your care.
I hope these were insightful and may help you along your daycare journey.
Keep posted as I share some effective ways to help your learning environment.
xoxo – Miss Sue