Most of us are in the early childhood and education field for our love of children and desire to make the world a better place by enriching the lives of children. Because of this outlook the business side of owning, operating, and managing the daily operations of a childcare are often an after-thought.
Why would you want to assess the business practices of you program? How the program is being run through its policies, manuals, risk management plans, salary scales, etc. is just as important as the practices that are being used by teachers in the classroom. There are many benefits to reviewing and assessing your program’s business and administration practices. Assessing the quality of an early childhood program goes beyond the classroom environment. Without quality practices in place behind the scenes in terms of policies, management, educational requirements, etc. teachers would be unable to provide high quality experiences in the classroom.
In assessing the business practices of your early childhood program, you might discover that you don’t currently have a written policy about the use of cell phones in your program. There have been so many technological advances in the past 20 years that your policy might only refer to E-mail and texting, when there are a lot of other technologies that exist today such as apps like Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. For instance, you might think of creating a policy that addresses teachers having personal cell phones in the classroom or about posting photos of children to Facebook or Instagram, that didn’t exist years ago.
It’s also just a good habit to get into in reviewing your policies regularly. Employing a group of volunteers including the director, teachers, parents in the program, board members, etc. will provide a fresh and unique perspective.
There are Program Observation Instruments (POIs) to help you in assessing your business and administrative practices available to you. The Program Administration Scale (PAS) is designed for center-based programs and the Business Administration Scale is designed for family childcare programs. The scales are based on research and best practices and if nothing else will open your eyes to a new way of looking at quality programming. You can read more about each of the scales at the links below.