Running a child care center, nursery or preschool takes an enormous level of dedication and work. However, until you’re behind the scenes, you may not fully understand the numerous tasks the director is responsible for overseeing. Not only does a director oversee the staff, but they must also ensure the school is safe and clean, the bills are paid, laws and regulations are followed, and the educational and emotional needs of the children are met.
But what exactly does this all look like from the insider’s perspective? The following sections break down the primary responsibilities of a director.
Develop and Oversee the Curriculum
A child care center, nursery or preschool is first and foremost responsible for caring for and educating young children and can serve children as young as six weeks old to school age depending on the type of curriculum at the selected institution. No matter the ages served, the director is responsible for ensuring the children’s social-emotional, physical, and educational well-being while in their care.
The school may dictate what type of curriculum a director oversees, for example, if the school is a Montessori school or Waldorf school. Or, they may have to shop around and research different curriculum programs available for purchase and implementation approved by the local education authorities. The curriculum must cover the ages of the children being served and be adapted for individual children’s development and learning styles.
A child care director is responsible for hiring, training, and overseeing the staff. In addition, they must ensure that staff holds the proper degrees, certifications, and training to be hired and stay certified while actively teaching. Finally, a director ensures their staff follows all health and safety protocols and maintains a clean and safe classroom.
Directors should regularly observe teachers in action and provide positive and constructive feedback to help them develop. In addition, regular, open communication about the school, policies, and events is essential.
A director must plan and implement professional development for the staff that is meaningful and relevant to the children in their care. For example, a school that has recently enrolled a special needs child may have their staff take specialized training on students with disabilities. Lastly, the director must ensure the staff maintains positive relationships amongst themselves, with the children, and with the families they serve.
Manage the Facility
A director is in charge of overseeing the daily maintenance of the center, nursery or preschool they are managing. These duties include but are not limited to:
- Ordering food
- Ordering supplies
- Creating a staff schedule
- Assigning children to classrooms
- Maintaining enrollment
- Invoicing parents
- Creating and managing a budget
- Arranging safety inspections
- Conducting fire and other safety drills
- Communicating with the staff and families
- Paying bills
- Ensuring the building is clean and safe
- Inspecting equipment
- Maintain licensing and follow any regulations and standards
Market the child care, nursery or preschool program
Ensuring the program is adequately marketed is another essential task of a director. Marketing entails attending community fairs and events, taking out ads as needed, managing feedback to online reviews, and conducting site visits for prospective tours. In addition to this, it is imperative that the director ensures an online presence through social media channels or a website. While credentials, traditional marketing, referrals and word of mouth is a big reason why parents select a nursery, a digital presence provides them with an insight into the nursery before they visit for a tour.
It is the director’s responsibility that their center is well-received within the community, particularly if competing centers exist in the area. Center directors can form a reciprocal relationship by referring parents to a local competitor if they do not have space for a child.
Create A Welcoming Environment
One of the most critical tasks a director is responsible for is creating a welcoming and fun environment for the staff, children, and their families.
Disagreements and conflicts between staff members or between a parent and staff should be handled privately, respectfully, and calmly. Parents and staff alike should feel comfortable speaking to the director about concerns. A child care center, nursery or preschool should be a place of happiness, energy, and excitement. Parents should feel safe dropping their children off because they know they will be well cared for, loved, educated and nurtured.