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Entries in Day Care (1)

Wednesday
Apr042012

I Once Ran a Day Care

The title exaggerates a point.  I was president of the Board of Directors for an established day care and learned a bunch.

Did I aspire to be in the day care business?  Not at all.  This was a day care very close to our home, and with a decent relationship with the school (like the school bus picked up and dropped off.)

My kids liked the program, and it had a nice feel to it.

The executive director asked me to help as they were financially struggling.  I knew something about business, and nothing about the day care business.  The executive director was very knowledgeable in the specifics of running a day care….so we partnered.

The day care was running out of an old school building.  So we had classrooms, a gym, and space.

We rallied the other parents to help.  We really made it a community event.  We painted every classroom, scrubbed all the furniture, and built a playground out in back.  The local hardware donatd paint (ever wonder what happens to mixed paint when it is returned as “just not right”), landscapers donated sand, etc.

We also listened to the children.  The older children were not happy they had to “take a nap” if the afternoon, and wanted more age appropriate activities.

We also listened to parents.  Once a month, we would take the children for a haircut (if the parents asked), and we arranged for a local drycleaner to do pick up and drop off at the building.

Of the two parties, we learned the customer is the child.  If they were happy, parents were happy.  If they were not happy, the parents would move them to another provider.

The biggest thing the board did was change the financial reporting. The accountant presented income as negative numbers, and expenses as positive.  OK, that’s an approach, but the board always thought there was money left over.

Once we “changed the sign”, the board was able to make more reasoned decisions.

Enrollment began increasing as this became the day care of choice.

Why do I share this?

Because sometimes you need to help lead another group of parents in doing something special for the children.  The community came together to make this happen…not me.  All we did was paint a vision.

Parents who help, as coaches, assistants, as chauffeurs, as aides….parents who participate make it better for their children and others.

What have you done to help?