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Want to Know How to Start a Daycare? We Can Help!

Whether you’re an experienced early educator, or someone looking to make a career transition, starting a child care out of your home is a really exciting career path. Here’s what you need to know about how to start a daycare:

Ten Steps on How to Start a Daycare

1. Call it Child Care

You will be caring for and educating children, not days. You will be putting your heart and soul into this business, and regardless of what your state calls it, you should view yourself as a professional. We don’t sit on babies and we don’t care for days. We build brains!

2. Start the Licensing Process in Your State

Licensing requirements vary state by state, but generally include an application, CPR & first aid training, mandated reporter training, and a background check. Join Wonderschool for a customized licensing checklist for your state. 

3. Build Your Business Plan

You’ll need to make decisions on all aspects of your business and think about associated costs:

  • Ages you’ll enroll
  • Hours you’ll be open
  • Tuition pricing
  • Meals or snacks you’ll provide
  • How, when, and the number of teachers you’ll hire

4. Start Marketing Your Child Care Program

You’ll need to start building your web presence with a professional website, social media accounts, and business accounts for SEO. Obtaining your license takes time. Start marketing your program even before you have your license so you have a healthy pipeline of families.

5. Set Up Your Learning Environment

Your program should have an early learning philosophy, which will help inform how you set up your space and what materials you buy. If you’re brand new, your program will probably be play-based. You may choose to purchase a curriculum, or join Wonderschool for access to our Curriculum Corner.

6.  Write Your Parent Handbook

Your parent handbook is how you can ensure parents who enroll in your program understand and agree to your policies. It’s important to have things explicitly written out so that everyone is on the same page. Here are some examples you’ll want to think through and write policies around:

  • Hours of operation
  • Holidays and days off
  • Meals and snacks
  • Payment schedule
  • Daily flow
  • Capacity
  • Children’s ages
  • Late pick ups or after school care
  • Transition plans for new families
  • Sick day procedures
  • Emergency procedures (e.g. severe weather)
  • Discipline
  • Field trips
  • Parking

7. Practice Delivering Tours

The tour is where you’ll figure out if a family is a good fit for your program, and vice versa. You’ll want to make sure you’re presenting the best, most professional version of your program. The tour is where a family will make a decision of whether or not to enroll. It might be nerve wracking at first, but as with most things– practice makes perfect!

8. Enroll Your First Family

Congrats! Pat yourself on the back and take a deep breath. It’s now time for the real work to begin.

Join Wonderschool today and let us support you on your journey to opening your in-home child care program.

Meredith Downing

Meredith Downing is the Curriculum Lead at Wonderschool, where she supports directors to build high-quality programs that help students grow and succeed.