In the first two articles of this series on understanding a child care center director’s complex role (see Parts 1 & 2), we’ve focused primarily on interpersonal relations. Though connecting with students, teachers, staff members, and parents is vitally important, there are some other practical aspects to directing a child care center that must not be ignored. These would include the following points listed below in this final installment of our series.
Ability to Develop an Appropriate Curriculum
If a particular child care center is designed to be considered an early childhood educational institution as opposed to a babysitting service, the director should meet with staff members to put forth an educational curriculum that reflects state and federal educational standards. This is one area where a degree and background in early childhood education could prove to be extremely beneficial.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states actually require nationally recognized credentials, like the Child Development Associate (CDA). The BLS also mentions that a bachelor’s degree and experience in childhood education are often expected of someone seeking the position of child care center director.
Ability to Keep the Center’s Physical Facilities Clean, Safe & Attractive
If a director wants the public to have a positive impression of the child care center which they oversee, taking good care of the building is crucial. Failing to stay on top of this aspect of the job can really hurt a center’s reputation, not to mention jeopardize the health and safety of students. A competent director must be able to not only work well with people but make sure that the facilities are consistently up to state and local safety and sanitary standards.
Under conscientious leadership, the center should be able to pass health and safety inspections with flying colors on an ongoing basis. Maintaining this kind of clean, safe environment requires that the director authorize the purchase of necessary cleaning equipment and products. The director must also be diligent in making sure that all educational materials, furniture, electronics, and play equipment are up to current safety codes.
Ability to Successfully Manage the Center’s Finances
Enthusiastic directors who want to boost student learning and development might be tempted to overspend in order to obtain the “latest and greatest” educational materials and equipment for their child care centers. One of the key aspects of running a quality child care center that stays in operation for the long term, however, involves exercising fiscal responsibility.
Like so many other important decisions, the decision of how to budget the center’s available funds falls to the director. They manage the collection of payments from parents as well as the distribution of payments to center employees. Budget development is the director’s responsibility as well. They have to find creative yet affordable ways to advertise the center to the surrounding community in order to attract new students.
Running a child care center isn’t easy, but somebody’s got to do it. That “somebody” should be a person with a passion for students and a willingness to take their administrative role and responsibilities seriously. Whether it’s keeping the facilities safe, encouraging student achievement, facilitating healthy communication, hiring a first-rate staff, or balancing the budget, this job requires a skilled leader with vision. If you’re seeking to become a child care center director or looking for someone to direct your center, be sure to keep these important leadership qualities in mind.