A daycare center does not need so many occupations to be fully staffed. Aside from the Administrator, who is usually the owner of the center, and the Childcare Director, a daycare center needs only preschool teachers, teacher assistants, child care workers, and office and administrative support like clerks, building cleaners, cooks, and drivers. There could also be a number of volunteers but they usually come and go depending on their availability to work and the need for workers in the daycare center.
Daycare centers’ staffing requirements are imposed by the State and by the insurance companies. While requirements vary from state to state, generally teachers must be at least 18 years of age and the Administrator and the Program Director must be at least 21 years old. Most states require teachers, teacher assistants and child care workers to complete a certain number of hours training every year in addition to the criminal record checks required of every staff member of the daycare center. Most states have the required minimum educational or training requirements for all the staff members beginning from the Administrator or Director who gets the most stringent requirement down to the child care workers and the support staff.
Daycare Center Managers
Comprising a mere 4 percent of the industry’s workforce, Administrator and Child Care Center Program Director establish the overall objectives of the daycare center. They set the standards for service and instructions to be carried out in the center, provide day-to-day supervision of the teachers, teacher assistants, child care workers, and volunteers in the daycare center. The Administrator and Program Director share the responsibility for program development that improve the over-all performance of the staff in the center, as well as designing the marketing plans and strategies of the business aspect of the daycare center. They also take charge of other functions such as budgeting, staffing, and the day-to-day supervision of the staff.
In most states, a daycare director/administrator must have a college degree, accompanied with experience in a child care facility and training in early childhood development.
Preschool teachers comprise the largest number of workers in the child daycare business, accounting for almost 32 percent of the workforce. A preschool teacher is an early educator who teaches children from infancy to age 5, the period covered by early child education. Their main responsibility is to teach the children basic physical, social, and intellectual skills they will need by the time they enter primary school. Requirements vary from state to state but generally, preschool teachers are required to have credentials in Early Childhood Education which could come in the form of a Child Development Accreditation (CDA) or formal college units in Early Childhood or related subjects.
Preschool instruction refers to teaching in non-public centers and they could be in the form of a licensed childcare center, preschools, family day care center, home daycare center, and programs that are funded by federal money like Head Start and those that are funded or operated by non-profit or religious organizations. Preschool teachers need to work well with young children as young as 2 years and 9 months old. They should interact well with these young children whose attention span is very short thus requiring activities ranging from playing games, playing with toys, and listening while being read to by their teacher.
Teacher Assistants and Child Care Workers
Teacher assistants and child care workers care for and nurture children who are in the stage before entering formal schooling. Older children are also supervised before and after school when their parents are not yet home from their work. They attend to the children’s needs while their parents are away from work or other activities by providing for the children’s basic needs. They organize activities of the children while they are in the daycare center and they implement the curriculum that is designed to stimulate the children’s physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. These workers help children discover and explore their individual interests and talents, build their self-esteem and learn how to socialize with other children.
Assistants and child care workers are usually required to have a high school diploma, and in some cases, a combination of college education and experience in dealing with young children. They may also be required to have training in early childhood development. In addition, they are also required to undergo training on health and first aid, fire safety procedures, and child abuse detection and prevention. In many cases, daycare centers hire only workers who are credentialed by a nationally recognized child daycare organization.
Office and administrative support
There are a myriad of activities and tasks in the daycare center that must be performed by a host of workers other than the teacher, teacher assistants and child care workers. The office must be staffed by clerks and receptionists who can attend to the needs of the parents, visitors, and those inquiring about enrolling their children in the daycare center. There are no specific requirements for office clerks other than the usual qualifications required of any office workers. They must be familiar with basic computer functions, must be adept at filing documents, and must be able to handle telephone calls and inquiries from the public.
The kitchen must be staffed by cooks and helpers who will prepare the meals of the children and help serve them later. They must possess the basic knowledge of cooking and kitchen work, with special emphasis on ability to follow the requirements of the health code in running a kitchen and keeping food supply safe from contamination. They must be able to prepare food according to the nutrition requirement of the children they are going to feed.
Cleaning staff must have experience cleaning a place inhabited by children, keeping the area safe and sanitized. They must be familiar with the upkeep of the toys and other materials the children use in the daycare center.
Drivers must have a valid drivers’ license and must have a good driving record. They must be experienced with driving vehicles with children on board.
Just like the administrator, teachers, and child care workers, the support staff must have criminal record clearance if they will be in direct contact with the children in the daycare center.
Hiring the most qualified staff members in a daycare center can spell the success or failure of its operation so all efforts must be exerted in designing good recruitment and hiring procedures.
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