Launching a child care program is a rewarding and challenging endeavor. The most critical decision you make as you lay the plans to start your own program and put your skills and passion to work is what type of program you want to run.
When you’re the boss, you can build a team that can meet the needs of every child in your care. You can implement an educational program that fits your vision, with lessons and activities that draw on your own experiences and knowledge.
Let’s take a look at six programs for you to consider!
A Child Care Center
Opening a child care center in a stand-alone building is one option. But it requires a lot of legwork.
In addition to more stringent licensing requirements, child care centers come with more administrative and managerial overhead than other types of child care businesses.
You also must decide whether to open an independent center or a franchised operation. Check out Procare’s recent podcast here, in which Nannette Ray, who has owned two Kids ‘R’ Kids learning academies and now owns a company devoted to helping child care centers with financial decisions and planning, discusses why she and her husband opted to go the franchise route.
Home-Based Child Care
Opening a family child care in your home, a program choice often used by providers who want to care for their own children as well as other kids, may or may not require licensing depending on where you live and the number of children in the home. They usually have lower capacity and fewer staff than child care centers.
A huge advantage to caring for children in your home is that you won’t need to lease a commercial location to set up your center. You’ll save on many of the up-front and month-to-month costs, most noticeably paying rent.
Family child care homes have lower maximum enrollment than center-based care facilities, so you’ll have more opportunities to develop close bonds with the children in your care and their families.
But remember that running a business on your own, as family child care home owners often do, is demanding. You’ll need to take care of a variety of different operating concerns on your own, from bookkeeping to attendance management and security.
But you don’t have to start from scratch — an all-in-one child care management solution can help, with no accounting experience required.
Child enrichment programs offer tutoring to kids who need a higher level of education than in a public school classroom, or whose parents want them to get a head start on their education.
You can provide these services to kids of all ages. Topics include basic academics, sports, arts or more specialized subjects as children get older.
If you have specialized knowledge of a subject, this type of child care program will put your skills to work. You’ll help kids develop their interests and abilities and boost their performance in school. And it’s a good fit for those who want to work with older kids.
Child enrichment programs frequently command higher enrollment fees than center-based care. That means parents will have high expectations for developmental and educational progress. So make sure you’re ready to provide high-quality lesson planning and activities.
Before and After School Programs
Before and after school programs are activity-based programs that may be hosted at a local public school or another location in the community. They provide care and developmental opportunities to kids and teens before and after school while parents are working. They involve fun and educational activities, from music and dance to sports and even kids’ coding classes.
Many schools offer these programs in their buildings. If you’re looking to create your own program, look for a space to host it that is near the school you’re looking to target for enrollment and offer a pick-up/drop-off service. Such a service assures parents that their kids are safely chaperoned to and from your program each day.
School Age Programs
This type of program can be center-based or home-based child care for kids between 5 and 12. They generally operate before and after school during the school year, and all day during the summer and holidays.
In many households in which both parents work or there is only one parent or guardian, parents need someone to make sure their kids are safe when they are not in school.
But it can be challenging to plan activities for diverse age groups with varying interests. Procare’s activity management features can help you plan, manage and track activities to ensure that every child’s needs are met.
Preschool Care Programs
Preschool care programs specialize in educating young children between 3 and 5 years old. They prepare children to enter school and form the building blocks of socialization. They may run for only part of the day.
Enrolling their kids in a preschool program is a great option for stay-at-home or work-at-home parents who need a break for part of the day, and for parents who want to make sure their kids enter school with strong social and emotional skills. For child care providers, they are perfect for those who love educating young kids.
But parents may be nervous enrolling their children in preschool care for the first time. They’ll worry whether their children will make friends, participate in stimulating activities, get enough one-on-one attention and learn what they need to be successful in kindergarten.
So effective parent engagement is essential to reducing parent anxiety and keeping parents reassured about their kids’ safety and developmental progress.
Launch Your Child Care Business with Procare Solutions!
With more than 30 years in the business of child care, Procare gives you a competitive advantage when launching a new child care program. Two out of every three child care businesses that use software choose Procare.
Procare’s child care management software supports child care operations of all sizes with powerful features like attendance tracking, automated child care billing including mobile pay as pictured above and a robust parent engagement platform.
You’ll be able to streamline management tasks and impress prospective families with convenient billing and payment options.
If you’re ready to get your child care business off the ground, request a demo today to see how Procare can help!