One of the ways you can “set yourself up for success” is to have an impressive learning environment in your daycare. When parents see a space that is set up to nurture children’s development and growth, they will naturally be attracted to this space, and be motivated to enroll their children with you!
For centers, this means that you should consider designing one or more “wow” features into your center, such as a large indoor play structure, a lifesize “faux” tree with swings, or elaborate play stations. Another idea is oversized, very spacious rooms that can be partitioned into smaller rooms when your enrollment levels change.
For in-home daycares, I highly recommend that you create a room to be used exclusively for your daycare or preschool. The benefits to having a room (such as a walk-out basement) designed exclusively for your child care business are many:
- Parents will take you more seriously. It’s difficult to get parents to think of you as a business if they’re hanging out in your kitchen or living room.
- Parents will have more pride in what they’ve chosen for their children.
- Parents will pay higher rates for a learning-environment child care room.
- It’s easier to separate yourself from your business at the day’s end, which means you’ll be happier and less prone to burn-out.
- It’s easier to keep your children’s things separate from the “daycare toys” & creates a boundary for your family.
- It’s easier to create a completely child-safe environment and give the kids freedom to explore.
- You can get the tax benefit of using the room 100% of the time for business, which means that any improvements to the room are 100% tax-deductible.
The goal of an exclusive-use classroom in your home is to contain your daycare in one place. This means it must have all the basics needed to care for children, including a bathroom, sink, a kitchen area with appliances, an entry area for cubbies & coats, a carpeted area for play, a vinyl area for art & meals, windows for light, appropriate exits, and enough room for playing, eating, and sleeping the number of children you plan to enroll.
If you can’t manage a separate room for your daycare, here are some ideas for storing and organizing supplies and toys to keep your areas looking neat:
- Use a turntable-style spice rack for storage of small are & office supplies; put items such as buttons, sequins, paper clips, wiggle eyes, etc. into the jars.
- Install a wall of shelves on one wall of the room, and hang curtains on each side of the shelves. At the end of the day, pull the curtains to hide the shelves.
- Store construction paper on stacked file holders, one color per shelf. Use a file folder on each shelf to hold scrap pieces of the matching color.