by Loren Yadeski
Posted on Saturday 16th of July 2011
Most daycare centers start their operations from 6 AM and continue up to 6 PM. Not all daycare centers offer breakfast for the children who come in very early but you can opt to offer breakfast which would let you charge about $8 to $12 a week on top of your usual bill. You can save on food expenses if you buy in bulk. This would not be really a big burden considering the additional revenue plus the fact that you would already have a cook and kitchen facilities anyway because you would have to serve lunch. Not all states require daycare centers to provide mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks although some daycare centers do serve them anyway. Cookies, fresh fruit and juice would be your best choices to serve during snack time.
Lunch usually means a hot noon meal for the children. For this, you need to have a regular cook, planned daily menus, kitchen supplies, food supplies which you could buy in bulk to save money, some small chairs and tables just right for the children, and if warranted, kitchen help for dishwashing duties.
All of these involve overhead cost, which you have to keep low. Large overhead expenses would mean you would have to take in more children to recover your expenses and earn. However, having more children in your daycare would mean you would have to expand and provide more space.
You should establish a routine for operating your daycare center. Most daycare centers breakdown the day into 1 hour periods and follow the same routine as public schools. You can start a usual day with playtime as the children come in and end it around 9 AM. You would need to provide toys, a television set big enough for all the children to see, and maybe sand boxes. Beginning at 9 AM, you could have the children separated according to age group and have them read or listen to a story until 10 AM. You could serve a mid-morning snack afterwards. Younger children could enjoy a short mid-morning nap. Following snack time, you could have a learning session for all the children. You could invite guests to entertain them or to speak to them about typical interesting topics from which children could learn.
Lunch is typically served between 12 noon to 1 PM, followed by a learning period, which could include the 3 R’s – reading, writing, ‘rithmetic. If you are not qualified to handle this learning session, you could hire college students, unemployed people with teaching certificates, or even retired teachers. Just remember that your goal is to inculcate in the children an ardent desire for learning and exploring the world that surrounds them. Instead of just being in the room, you could plan to have your learning session outside. You could walk around the neighborhood, or go to the nearby zoo, police department, fire department or even television or radio stations in your community. Some daycare centers find that films about nature are very good for children. You could include this in your learning sessions as well. Younger children might enjoy taking a nap at this time while older children might like to read books and play games. After this period, you can allow them some playtime until their parents come to fetch them.
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