If working with children is something that you enjoy doing, then opening your own daycare/preschool is a perfectly natural way to turn what you enjoy into a profitable career for yourself.
In order to open a successful daycare, you are going to need a few pieces of equipment and other supplies. It is critical that you take the time to figure out what you need- and to obtain it all- before you open your doors for business.
Educational Items & Toys
When you have made the decision to open a daycare/preschool, one of the first things you must think about is obtaining educational items and toys. After all, when you have a building full of children, they are going to need something to do besides sit there and look at each other. Take the time to learn about age-appropriate toys for the age group you plan to be taking care of. In addition, you need to invest some into educational materials such as learning toys and books that can help the children with their cognitive development.
The children you are caring for should be able to get outside and enjoy nature when the weather permits. Therefore, you will need to have a fenced-in area where you can let them play without worrying about them wandering off. You do not have to obtain state-of-the-art playground equipment, but it should be appropriate for the age/stage of children you are working with. In addition, you want to make sure you have a soft area under the equipment with a rubber base or something like that.
If you plan to be taking care of infants in your daycare program, you are going to need several pieces of equipment for them. You’ll need to make sure that you have cribs that meet safety standards so that they have a place to sleep when they are in your care. In addition, you’ll need to make sure that you have a secure/sturdy changing table for when you need to do diaper changes. If your daycare center is large, it’s beneficial to have more than one changing station. Highchairs are necessary for securing the little ones during feeding time. You may also consider getting large strollers that hold more than one baby/toddler so that you can transport them through various areas of the center- sometimes they do need to get out of the room they are in and explore the center or take a stroll outside.
First Aid/Safety Supplies
When caring for young children, it is critical that you have first-aid and safety supplies on hand. You will need to have a stocked first-aid kit in each one of your classrooms. This way, if a child is injured, he or she can receive care immediately. Some supplies that should be kept in the kits include: disposable gloves, tweezers, cold packs, scissors, gauze, medical tape, bandages, and more. You may also consider having a first-aid reference book as well. When hiring staff members, make sure they are trained in CPR and first-aid so that they know the proper way to respond to an emergency situation.
In addition, you must make sure that the center is childproofed with doorknob covers and special locks. Cleaners keep the facility clean and in appropriate condition for the children, but you must keep them locked up, away from children’s reach in order to avoid accidents.
In order to properly run a daycare/preschool program, you are going to need to make a significant investment in furniture. Some furniture that you might need include highchairs (as mentioned above under baby gear), booster seats, couches, nap mats/cots, tables, small chairs, and rocking chairs. In addition, you might need step stools so that children can easily (and independently) reach the sink and training toilets for the ones who are potty training.
Typically, most daycares provide snacks and at least one meal each day. You will need to make sure you have plenty of nutritious food in your kitchen. You must make sure that you have proper storage equipment such as refrigerators and freezers to keep the food safe for children. If you are preparing the food onsite, you will need to have cooking utensils, appliances, and pans. You are going to need to provide plates, cups, and silverware as well as tables and chairs.
When it comes to the business-side of running a daycare program, you will need to think about the expenses you are going to incur. You are going to need to be sure that you have a liability insurance policy in place, as well as property insurance. You may want to consider consulting with an attorney about creating a legal entity for your business so that you can avoid any personal liability for injuries/damages that occur on the property. You’ll need a business license as well in order to be a legal business.
In addition to these basic items, there are some other miscellaneous items that are going to need to be on your shopping list. For example, you are going to need a computer and software tools to help run the business. You’ll need to be sure that you also purchase art supplies and bedding for smaller children. One final thing to consider is purchasing a radio, and other types of entertainment for the children you will be caring for.