Discover the Common Components of Daycare Certification
Depending on where you live, requirements for daycare certification may be just a few forms or a long, expensive process. Often daycare providers are required to have at least a Child Development Associate certification, and they are also usually expected to attend annual workshops to keep up on their training.
But this can also be just the beginning of regulation, depending on which state or country you set up your business. Many U.S. states require a health and safety inspection of your daycare facility before you can open up, similar to the inspections a restaurant goes through before opening. There are often different regulations for completely commercial child care centers than for family child care homes, as not as many children can be accommodated in the latter arrangement.
Here is a short list of common requirements to receive daycare certification, all of which vary by location and legislation:
- CDA certification or equivalent education and training
- Proper teacher to child ratios that meets local regulations
- Having enough physical space for number of children you want in your daycare
- Background checks on all care providers and personnel
- Immunizations and health exams for all staff
- Equipment is safe for children to be around
- Unannounced inspections
This is just to be certified by the state to open up your daycare and to keep it going. Other certifications are available, but not required.
Is the NAFCC Accreditation Worth It?
For family child care providers, the National Association for Family Child Care offers an accreditation that is recognized nationwide. Only about 2,100 day cares across the country have achieved this accreditation, as it costs about $400 and can take up to three years before you receive the accreditation.
So is this NAFCC accreditation worth it for the business you are considering? That depends on your situation. If you live in an area with minimal regulations on child care facilities, the NAFCC accreditation can help prove your credentials to parents who may apprehensive about finding the right daycare, as the accreditation indicates a high level of quality in your facility. The accreditation is also useful if you are in an area with high levels of competition – this can give you the advantage you need over your competitors and could allow you to raise prices, where appropriate.
However, if your area already has stringent regulations, the NAFCC accreditation should probably not be high on your list of priorities. High levels of regulation can already hinder a business’ growth, so don’t add another layer of self-regulation unless you think you can handle it.
Daycare Certification and Reputation Make or Break Your Business
What makes a great daycare center? Here are a few components that will make the children under your care happier and the parents who leave them with a better peace of mind (plus they will help you keep your daycare certification).
- Compliance with local regulations: Maybe this seems obvious, but proactive parents will check to see if your permits, certifications and licenses are all up to date. If you aren’t, you may get reported and lose your ability to offer daycare. Also check to make sure you are following all the required safety protocols, including secure outdoor play areas.
- Reputation: Day cares thrive on word of mouth advertising, so make sure the word on the street is your facility is top notch. If you have a reputation of angering parents for whatever reason, your clientele will begin to move elsewhere. Survey current clients if need be, which is something you need to do when getting your CDA certification anyway.
- Keeping it Clean: Cleanliness is next to godliness, and that couldn’t be more true for daycare facilities. Don’t let the appearance of your facility detract from your talent.