Analyzing and Improving Your Child Care Program

August 2, 2017

For children from age birth to five, attending an early education setting, whether it is a family child care facility, child care center, or preschool, helps them to physically and emotionally shape their developmental milestones. Research shows that a child’s first five years are the most critical for brain development, with more than 90% of brain growth happening during this time. This makes it important for child care facility managers to review their business operations occasionally, and apply the findings to achieve improvements that match the necessary high quality standards for all child care facilities. By doing so, children are able to learn in a place that cares about providing quality standards when it comes to their services, curriculum, teaching practices, and environment.

Applying these measures will achieve:

– Healthy child development in all children under care

– Overall program success by improving practices

– Keep track of equipment and safety hazards

– Effective selection of staff and professional development opportunities to motivate them

– Recognition by families and the community on the quality standards provided

Four Tools to Improve Program Practices

The following suggestions will allow you to prioritize on what requires to be addressed in your program and what methods you can use in order to improve these needs.

(1) Gather Data

Data is the single most helpful tool for analyzing a program’s operations. Without data, managers have to conduct extensive investigations, surveys, reviews and research to determine how well the center is performing, and whether clients and their children are reaping the intended benefits of a quality child care business. You can gather from various systems, such as statistics for enrollment, financials, sick days, and retention of children, and then you can analyze and identify trends and patterns for what may need improvement.

(2) Perform Parent Surveys

Measuring customer satisfaction in the early childhood education field involves reaching out to parents for their feedback via surveys or comments. Though it can at times be challenging, as all families lead busy lives, you can find ways to make short, convenient surveys for them to complete. Asking parents to complete an annual survey provides a long-term view, and enables the program to identify shifts in perception over the year (e.g. number of educators per child, turnover, vacancies per age group, etc.), while more frequent surveys deliver data for shorter, specific periods.

New customers may have different viewpoints from existing ones, and by combining the data from surveys with the statistics available, the program management can compile comprehensive results

(3) Analyze the Results

Analyzing the findings and comparing them with the goals in the program’s business strategy enables management to see whether they are meeting objectives. This analysis should enable them to:

• Highlight common problems typically experienced in child care programs, and raise awareness of them

• Find out whether policies and procedures are being followed by staff, and what transpires when they are not

• Identify hazards that can play a role in child safety on the premises, with a view to preventing them

• Interpret financial results to see whether the program is on track to monthly or yearly success, or if it’s merely surviving.

Various types of software are available to perform this analysis, and once management has identified the patterns they can compile reports that give insight into where and why attention is needed.

(4) Implementing Improvements

A review of the findings enables center management to develop a plan to fix the problems they encounter. It’s important to keep parents up-to-date on the results of the review and the plans for improvement, and to take notice of any concerns the parents have. By conducting reviews of all staff members, they can ensure the employees all have the right qualifications and experience, and are able to work with all young children from birth to five.

Summary: Quality child care centers conduct continual monitoring of their policies and procedures to make sure they are delivering the quality services for the children in their care. This will create customer satisfaction in the long-run, keep clients, and help spread the word about how good of a child care facility it is, which will attract new clients and potential recognition from the field.

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