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Archive for November, 2010

Even at preschool ages books are important. Picture books and other age appropriate books are an important part of how a child should spend some time during the day. Your children’s parents will be pleased and impressed to know that you provide “reading” time during the day for the preschoolers.

It’s not unheard of for 4-year olds to be reading very basic words. So in addition to board books, picture books, and touch ‘n feel books, you will also want to include some beginner reading books for those students excelling. However, books and bookshelves can be expensive.

Making a special reading nook encourages children to enjoy books. You may designate this area by arranging bookcases, bean bags, large pillows, and rugs in a corner of the room. Children will enjoy their time curled in a bean bag with their book. So, how do you economically create this reading environment?

Request Donations from Parents

One of the easiest ways is to ask parents to donate any books they no longer use at home. You may ask this of parents whose child is leaving for kindergarten. In addition, at open house you can ask the local bookstore to display new books that the parents can purchase, hopefully at a discount, and give to the school.

Buy Used Books Online

The US Post Office offers a media rate for shipping books which makes it more economical to purchase used and new books online. Books intended for preschool children are generally durable and can easily survive a family of children that make great child care resources.

Local Libraries and Schools

Occasionally local libraries and schools discard books to make room for new ones. Ask to be put on the list to receive any preschool books which may be discarded.

 

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Are you working so hard that you can’t find the time to add the extra touches to your child care business? It’s not uncommon for child care providers to work so hard at providing for the children they serve, that the added touches they desire to provide to the children and their families are overlooked. One way you can solve this problem is by hiring a freelance worker online.

Maybe you want to send out a monthly newsletter, create a website, write a grant for additional funding, or create a Christmas play to teach the children. These all take time, a lot of time, and it’s likely you are very low on that resource. Well, one answer is to hire someone else to provide these services for you.

Freelance Workers

People who are willing to work on project based items are generally referred to as freelance workers. You simply pay them for the project; they are not considered your employee. The only reporting requirements are if you pay more than $600 to one person in a year, then you are required to file a 1099 with the IRS.

You can find freelance workers online, many have their own websites, but most join websites that specialize in connecting projects with freelancers. Any time a project does not require on-site work, an Internet website is an excellent tool for finding a freelancer.

Hiring a freelance worker through the Internet is quite simple. You simply post your project and pay range online and freelancers will bid to do the work. You choose the person who seems to be able to meet your needs closely and is willing to work for a price you will pay. You are able to preview the work and request any revisions. When the work is completed to your satisfaction, you pay the arranged fee.

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Clean out Your Closets

If you are finally running out of space and your closets are full of unused items from your child care business, or even from when your children were little, clean them out now. There are child care centers, early education centers, and preschools across the world who would love to have the opportunity to purchase your old child care equipment and materials.

Listed below are some ideas of the things that child care centers can use and are looking to acquire.

1. Seating: Child sized tables and chairs, booster seats and high chairs

2. Sleeping: Cribs, cots, pack ‘n plays, fold out mats, blankets, and mattresses.

3. Diapering: Changing table or chest of drawers, pads, diapers, wipes, storage bins, and diaper pails.

4. Playing: Small wheeled toys, baby swings, outdoor toys, swing set, things to climb on, sandbox, scoops, play mats, blocks, building materials, and any kind of toy.

5. Art: Meat trays, egg cartons, computer paper, paints, paint brushes, canvases, yarn, and any other item which can be used to make art.

6. Library: Bookcases, books, puzzles, games, beanbags, and rug.

7. Imagination. Dress up clothes, costumes, shoes, hats, and any props for make believe.

8. Music: CD players, CDs, and headphones.

9. Focused Learning: Flash cards, color charts, crayons, pencils, markers, coloring books, curriculum guides, and role play products.

10. Babies: Bouncy seats, swings, exercisers, playpens, and infant seats.

11. Storage: Bins of all sizes, shelves, hooks, baskets, boxes, and small plastic cases.

12: Administration: Desk, computer, filing drawer, desk supplies, phone system, and printer.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Use this list as inspiration for other things you may have stored which can easily be used by children or those who take care of them. Equipping child care centers, early educational centers, and preschools can be very expensive. Plus, it’s easy to sell your items on the Internet.

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Many child care facilities could use an additional “head” to help with certain aspects of the business. Excellent people to fill these shoes include a retired teacher, retired educator, or retired professional. Retired persons generally aren’t ready to sit at home and hope to have the opportunity to give back to their community. One excellent way is to provide advice and consulting to child care educators.

It’s not uncommon for child care owners to wear several hats: business owner, teacher, lunch lady, recess supervisor, and janitor. There are hardly enough hours in the day to do all that is required. Therefore, when something can be outsourced, it frees time for other child care management duties.

Things to Hire Freelancers to Do

1. Bookkeeping.  Most any business owner will tell you that his or her least favorite part of owning a business is bookkeeping. The freelancer you hire for this job does not even have to be an educator.

2. Parent communication. One of the most important aspects of any school or child care facility is communication with parents, through newsletters, websites, classroom activity sheets, or email. Hiring all or some of those responsibilities out will free large amounts of time for child care providers.

3. Curriculum development. Not all child care facility or preschool owners are educators, so being able to hire and rely on an educational expert provides significant relief to a child care provider.

4. Marketing. Business owners are not necessarily marketers, which is often the reason new businesses fail. Finding a qualified freelance marketing expert can make strides in your community exposure and ability to grow your business.

You can find experts for these projects online at exchange sites or auction sites. When you post your job, you just wait for bids until you find the person you desire to hire.

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Is your preschool or child care business so busy that it seems you don’t have time to buy the supplies you need? Or maybe you dread the thought of how much it will cost to supply preschool classes this year. Whatever the case, buying supplies online can help solve either concern.

Supplies are available new and second hand on auction sites on the Internet. Some sites handle any products, while other sites are tailored to particular niches such as education. It’s generally more productive to search educational sites than it is to search the catch-all sites.

3 Reasons to Shop Online

1. Convenience. With the availability of websites 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and 52-weeks a year, you are able to search for, research, and purchase educational supplies anytime that works for you. When you have a full day, it’s nice to be able to buy what you need in the middle of the night; not to mention, you don’t lose time during the day traveling to, shopping, and returning from a store.

2. Savings. As a general rule, you can find products online at cheaper prices than in the store. Even stores’ websites often sell the same products online for less than they sell them in a store. On auction sites, you can sometimes get excellent deals.

3. Expertise. With the Internet available any time, you have time to research the products you are interested in before you purchase. Generally, you are able to find expert advice regarding whether a product does what it claims, or not. This is invaluable information when considering products for use in preschools.

As a practical matter, shopping online is safe, convenient, and provides the opportunity for research and savings on the products needed. It’s hard to go wrong when you buy online.

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5 Ways to Raise Money for Your Child Care Business

A child care center is an excellent business and service to the community. In order to start a child care business you must have adequate financing.  Fortunately there are many sources for financing. The type of financing available will depend on whether you are a for-profit or nonprofit center.

Private Sources

Private sources include your own money and money from family and friends. This is generally the most common method for financing a new child care center. Using your own funds is an easy process, but you lose the use of your money. Borrowing from family and friends can often be accomplished easily with good terms, longer payback time, and there is no limit on the amount you can borrow. However, if the money is not paid back it becomes a very uncomfortable situation.

Commercial Banks

All banks offer business loans, short and long term, using prevailing interest rates. When you borrow from a bank, collateral is required. Some banks will take the equipment and other items being purchased for your center, while others will require you to secure the loan with personal assets.

Government Agencies

Federal, state and local government agencies offer financing programs for small businesses. There are many loan programs designed to assist special types of businesses. These loans usually carry restrictions. Government agencies generally require collateral as well and the funds are typically used for long term capital needs, such as purchase of equipment.

Grant Programs

Grants are funding sources that do not require repayment usually funded by a state or federal governmental agency, although private foundations provide grants as well. There are usually strict qualifications for grants and rarely will a for-profit business qualify for a grant. Applying for a grant requires presenting a grant proposal which is very specifically tailored for the grant process.

Sell Used Stuff Online

You’re bound to have a variety of items in your childcare business from old toys to cots that you could sell to help raise money.  By selling them online, you’re offering other teachers and childcare business owners the opportunity to buy recycled items they need at an affordable price while freeing up space and making money for your own business.

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4 Ways to Save Money in Your Child Care Facility

Providing child care is an enjoyable and fulfilling job, but lack of funds, shortages of equipment and tools, and limited space can be taxing on the child care provider. Increasing the cost to parents is not always the best answer to increasing costs and needs for the facility. When funding options are limited, the only other option is to find ways to save money.

 

Purchase Second-hand Equipment and Tools

There is no reason not to buy second hand equipment and tools that are gently used, clean, and still functional. Not only are you saving money, but recycling products as well. Tables, chairs, bookcases, hard cover and board books, cribs, high chairs, desks, playground equipment, wooden blocks, and hard plastic toys are all durable and certainly capable of lasting for years.  Better yet, they can be purchased online through education exchange sites like Excel Assist.

 

Recycle

This is not just about taking plastic, paper, glass, and cans to your recycling center. Instead of throwing the box you received supplies in, use as a storage container. Cut plastic jugs in half to use during art. Find alternative uses for products.

 

Buy in Bulk

Generally speaking, items cost less per item when they are bought in bulk. There are several sources for doing this including online sources. Non-perishable food items, art supplies, and cleaning supplies are all things that can be bought in bulk and easily stored.

 

Volunteers and Contract Labor

Using volunteers for special programs, field trips, and lessons will save money which would be used for hiring someone. Also, contracting work for part-time will save money in employee required expenses and taxes.

 

These are only a few of the ways you can save money. Small savings over time will add up to big savings over the years and will help keep your child care program running for many years.

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