I. The Parent’s Handbook
One of the most important things you have to have when you own or operate your day care is a parent handbook. This handbook will serve not only as a binding contract between you as the owner and the parents of the children enrolled in your daycare center but would also serve as the parents ultimate guide when it comes to your background, curricula, activities, rules and regulations and several other things they need to take note of.
As the owner of the daycare center, it is one of your responsibilities to have the parents of the children signs a form in which they acknowledge that they have received, read, and agree to abide by the principles outlined in the handbook.
Below is a list of possible items you may wish to include in your daycare center’s parent’s handbook. Remember this is only an example and is not meant to be exhaustive. You may wish to add, delete, or rearrange the list of subjects. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to have different policies.
If unsure, first speak with a person from the agency which licenses your program and ask them what you should include in your handbook. As always, make sure any written forms or other materials in your day care center have been checked by a lawyer who can make sure they are legally sound and adhere to any applicable state or federal laws.
1. Name, address, and phone number of your day care center.
2. The day care business owner, director, and the names and contact details of managers or operations heads.
3. Hours/Days of operation
4. Days when the day care center is closed
5. Ages of children the day care accepts
6. Fees/Payment policies and payment procedures
7. Termination of child day care (what reasons does the day car center have for refusing to continue caring for children)
8. Philosophy of care (mission/vision))
9. the day care center code of discipline (dos and donts)
10. Items that cannot be brought in to your day care center/home
11. Items that are needed for the different age groups
12. Program summaries (brief description of your different classrooms/programs/age groups) – you may want to have a separate sheet or booklet for each parent as their child/children progresses from one classroom or age group.
13. Required forms needed before the child can begin attending your day care center
14. Table of contents and/or index
II. The Day Care Center Staff Handbook
A staff handbook for your day care business is as equally important as the parent handbook that you need to have when you start your own daycare center.
Most states require various daycare centers to provide both these two types of handbooks to ensure that business can and will run smoothly. These handbooks basically lays out the different rules and regulations to make your child care center run more smoothly.
When expectations and policies are laid out ahead of time, your day care center staff should know what to expect. Make sure though that the policies in your day care staff handbook adheres to all government regulations (such as hiring practices, etc.)
Again, it would be best to have a lawyer look over your day care employee handbook and make sure it is legally sound. It is also advisable to consult with the agency that licenses your child care center/home to see what policies they suggest you include.
Below is a list of items you may want to include in your day care center employee handbook:
1. Your Child Care Center name, address, and phone number.
2. Hours/Days of operation, holidays
3. Hiring procedures/policies
Aides must be at least 16 years of age
All other staff members must be at least 18 years of age
4. Orientation procedures/Required Forms/Employee Training
Once an individual has been hired, they must complete a twenty hour orientation in which they will be trained on the Center’s policies through written material, observation, and direct interaction with the staff, parents, and children. All new staff members must complete all forms provided to them before their first day of orientation.
5. Salary Guidelines/Performance Reviews/Benefits
Salaries are based on experience, education, job description, and performance.
6. Sick pay/vacation pay/holiday pay
All staff will receive five unpaid sick days. Staff will not receive any holiday pay. After the first 30 days, all staff members receive 5 paid vacation/personal days. After the first 6 months, all staff members will receive an additional ten vacation/personal days. Vacation days are paid based on the number of hours worked by an employee in an average week.
7. Attendance/Asking for time off/Calling in sick
Excellent staff attendance is crucial to maintaining these state-mandated ratios. Therefore, it is critical that staff do their part to inform the director or assistant director of any planned vacation or personal days they wish to receive off.
8. Causes for termination
You may be terminated for several reasons including, but not limited to, the following: providing inaccurate or false information during the hiring process or thereafter, threatening to harm or harming a child in any way, failing to provide children with appropriate supervision, habitual lateness, excessive use of sick days, failing to do something required by the state agency
9. Dress Code
Staff members are expected to act and dress like child care professionals. Clothing should be neat and fit properly.
10. Grievance Procedures
If you have a complaint, you should submit it in writing to the director. Your complaint will be addressed in 30 days or sooner.
11. Cell phones/Phone Use
The day care center’s phone is not for personal use. Cell phones should be left at home or in the car and may only be used on breaks.
Staff working 6 or more hours will be given a thirty minute unpaid lunch break. For every four hours worked, staff will receive a paid 15 minute break.
Smoking is not permitted inside the child care center
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