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How to Run a Child Care Nursery

Running a successful child care nursery in Canada is not for the faint hearted. It can involve long hours with minimal breaks and many challenges.

This is the reason why it can be easy to forget, or be unable to find the time, to really perfect your business model and make your nursery the success it can truly be.

Here are some steps you can take to improve and effectively manage your child care nursery to the best of it's potential:

Be competitive and compliant

Unlike pre-school, where early learning and cognitive development are a focal point, child care nurseries mainly offer structured play time, learning activities and the chance for children to socialise with one another in a safe and stimulating environment.

It’s important to promote different forms of learning, such as sit-down solitary tasks or pro-active group activities; this will mean you catering to every child’s unique personality. It will also give parents an extra incentive to choose your child care nursery over other local competitors.

Each province will have their own regulations that you must follow; for example, the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2015 (CCEYA) sets out rules in governing child care in Ontario. These regulations include staff-to-child ratios for different age groups and also set out rules for home-based providers.

If you offer lunches at your nursery, then you could get a visit from the local health authority to ensure your nursery is complying with provincial and federal legislation.

Invest in good staff

Employee screening is a very important procedure in the child care industry, not only to protect your business from any risks, but to help you recruit an enthusiastic, hardworking honest team who have the right skills to work with children of various ages and temperaments.

In recent years, the Canadian government has been investing in early learning and child care, with CA$100 million invested in early learning and child care innovation, and plans to create 40,000 state-funded child care facilities across the country by March 2020.

If you have staff you trust and want to keep on at your nursery, consider offering them training in first-aid for babies and children, health and nutrition, or child development. Certain regional regulations also stipulate that employees should be certified as early childhood educators.

Your staff are the heart of your business, so prioritise employee welfare and staff morale to create a positive and dynamic environment for your nursery.

You – the owner – should be the main advocate in promoting early leaning; so research what classifications you can obtain to improve your skills.

Be clean and safe

Children crawl on the floor, chew on whatever they can find, and they aren’t afraid of close social contact with other kids.

Nurseries can be a breeding ground for illness, which can be detrimental to your reputation, and in this sector a bad reputation can spread just as quickly as germs.

You need to have a regular, thorough cleaning schedule in place: sanitize toys; scrub the floors; disinfect door handles and bathroom areas; encourage children to wash their hands regularly; and ensure no ill child comes into nursery to prevent the risk of viruses spreading.

Children are more susceptible to disease because of their developing immune system, but they can also be very accident-prone too.

Childproofing your nursery is essential and the list of precautions is endless: cover plug sockets; use door stops and window guards; install latches on cupboards, etc.

Also install a working security system, such as a keypad system or a video camera at the entrance; security systems can vary in price but it’s worth investing a reliable system from the start.

You may already believe that your nursery caters to all of this, however it’s very important to regularly reassess your business; what can be improved? And what have you let unintentionally slip? i.e. has your cleaning rota shortened or been skipped a lot, or are some of your security cameras not working?

Take this time to ensure that your standards are as high as possible, as one thing going unnoticed can mean several parents being put off by your services and facilities.

Home-based childcare

Running a home-based nursery can be a great way to gain valuable experience before taking the plunge and buying a child care business.

There are different regulations for home-based child care providers; you will care for less children and the maximum capacity applies regardless of the number of adults in the home.

The home child care industry is growing however as the demand for child care increases.

Your home needs to be a safe environment for children to play; make sure there are outdoor and indoor play areas and securely lock any rooms or storage cupboards. Also research comprehensive insurance packages that will protect both you and the children in your care.

When running any business from home it is important to remember to create a good work-life balance. If you’re running a child care business from the comfort of your home, however, this can be even more important.

With several loud children running about your house, it can be difficult to see where the business ends and your home begins. So, ensure that you have a safe-space which is unaffected by your nursery. By doing this you are able to separate the two and, in the long-run, your business will reap the rewards from you being able to see your business in a far brighter light.

Any child care nursery is consistently under the spotlight and ready for criticism from new and old parents. A parents child has to be in the best care possible, so, make sure that you are setting your goals high and ensuring that the parents, children and you and the owner are happy with the operation you are running.

Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.


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