Daycare Director Job Description
A daycare director oversees the operation of a daycare facility, ensuring the little ones they’re charged with caring for are given a safe, happy, and educational environment. Directors may work in nursery schools, daycare facilities, preschools, or other pre-kindergarten settings, but the main focus of their jobs essentially remains the same: making sure all wheels are turning at their centers. And since they’re the go-to for any problem that may arise, they should be diligent task-masters who can think quickly on their feet. Hours vary depending on the facility, but directors typically have a Monday-through-Friday workweek with most regular school and federal holidays off. Natural leaders, they’re generally the highest authority at work, although they may report to an owner or district director.
Daycare Director Duties and Responsibilities
The type of organization daycare directors work for greatly determines the duties and responsibilities they can expect to undertake. That said, there are several core tasks common to all daycare directors, such as:
Develop Programming and Curriculum
Daycare directors will often play a large role in the programming and educational curriculum offered by the facility. They work closely with the center’s teachers and staff to create programs and learning plans that meet any state and federal requirements, as well as the expectations of the parents. A background in education or instructional design can be useful to the daycare director.
Perhaps the most important task of the daycare director is staff management. This may include interviewing and hiring staff members, providing training, ensuring all background checks and fingerprint records have been processed, scheduling, filing timesheets, and observing staff with children. A daycare facility relies on excellent employees for its success, so the daycare director must recruit the top candidates and ensure they adhere to all protocols and requirements. In addition to childcare staff, directors may also hire janitors, kitchen staff, and any other personal needed.
Manage Daycare Facilities
Maintaining safe and well-stocked facilities is a task that falls on all daycare directors. This means ensuring that required safety equipment is available and in working order, no hazards are present, the facility is kept clean and orderly, and any supplies and equipment needed are ordered regularly. They must also adhere to any local and federal regulations and allow regular state inspections of the facility.
Set and Maintain an Operational Budget
Daycare directors are responsible for managing all aspects of their program’s finances. This includes creating and maintaining a budget, setting up a system for bookkeeping and accounting, overseeing accounts payable and receivable, and applying for funding when applicable.
Attract Prospective Clients
Despite the growing demand for childcare, there’s a great deal of competition among daycare facilities. It’s up to the daycare director to map out a marketing plan so locals are aware of their services. This may include setting up a website, maintaining social media accounts, and buying local ads. In addition to getting the word out there, directors are tasked with giving tours to prospective families and staying active through community outreach.
Daycare Director Skills and Qualifications
Daycare Directors should have a passion for working with children as well as strong leadership skills. Licensing, certificates, and childhood education credits required for this position will vary by state, but a bachelor’s degree along with two years of experience are typically sought out. Employers also prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Business management – daycare directors run all aspects of their facilities, from setting up security systems to overseeing the program’s budget. Along with being organized and detail-oriented, they must also have working knowledge of state and federal daycare laws and requirements
- Classroom experience – since they will be hiring childcare staff, daycare directors know how to handle a room full of squirmy children and are well versed in tracking childhood development, establishing classroom structure, and creating curriculum
- First aid – daycare directors must have knowledge of safety regulations regarding children and stay up-to-date on first aid protocol for the age ranges at the facility
- Managing people – it’s the job of the daycare director to keep staff motivated, hire and train new teachers and support staff, and resolve conflicts in the workplace
- Communication skills – daycare directors are the face of their centers, so they must possess excellent communication skills and feel confident giving tours to prospective parents, writing newsletters, and running staff meetings and retreats. Bilingual abilities may be required at some programs
Daycare Director Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a similar field is required in most states for daycare director positions, though educational requirements do vary by state. Coursework and experience in childhood development, teaching, and tracking children’s progress is preferred by most employers. Required credentials and licensure also varies by state, but daycare directors will most likely need to pass background checks, provide immunization records, and have up-to-date CDA credentials and certifications in CPR and first aid.
Daycare Director Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for preschool and childcare center directors is $45,790. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $29,230 while the highest 10 percent earn upwards of $82,790. Depending on the daycare center, some directors are paid hourly while other programs offer salaries with a benefits package and bonuses. The BLS has predicted a job growth of 11% percent through 2024, adding about 6,500 jobs to this steady job sector.
There are many helpful resources out there for those interested in becoming a daycare director. Check out these links that are full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.
Earlychildhood News – This online resource is aimed for teachers or parents of children from infancy through 8 years of age. It provides a wealth of articles on varying topics such as child development, safety issues and behavioral issues. It also has resources and links to help build age-appropriate curriculum.
ChildCareExchange – ChildCareExchange.com offers a magazine, training resources and books to childcare professionals worldwide. With training and education opportunities and a mass of resources, this site is a great for any Daycare Director.
ChildCare Education Institute – CCEI offers online training and certification programs for early care and education professionals. They also offer career development and administrative solutions.
Planning and Administering Early Childhood Programs – This text is designed for the Daycare Director, with chapters covering areas such as identifying a programs’ mission and vision, making it affordable, reaching children from diverse backgrounds, hiring and retaining personnel and developing strong leadership skills.
Developing and Administering a Child Care Center – The authors of this text have years of experience in administering daycare facilities and they share their knowledge and know-how in this insightful and comprehensive book.
Child Development – This book is considered the standard on child development and is read by professionals and college students nationwide. With a wealth of resources and detailed information regarding children and their developmental states, this is a handy resource for anyone working with small children.
National Child Care Association – The NCCA is a professional trade association that specializes in setting guidelines and standards for childcare facilities to better the environments for children and childcare professionals. Their site includes useful articles and industry news.
Association for Early Learning Leaders – Since 1984, this association has provided directors, owners, and administrators of early childcare and education programs with education and training opportunities, access to resources, chances to network with other professionals and program quality review.
National Association for Family Child Care – NAFCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, training and promotion to caregivers who provide childcare services from their home.
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