As a child care provider, there are countless steps running your facility and providing a valuable, healthy learning environment for the children in your care. One of the very process-intensive areas of owning a childcare facility is child care enrollment.
Before you waste any more time trying to remember each step of the child care enrollment procedures, read through your comprehensive guide below in order to create your facility’s own child enrollment standard operating procedure (SOP).
1. Check Availability
When you’re first approached with a potential family interested in child care enrollment, the first step you should execute is determining whether you have a space available at your facility. You know your capacity best, based on what you’re legally allowed to offer and the number of children that you’re comfortable with having in your care.
Here’s what you should consider in regards to availability throughout your child enrollment procedures:
- Application for enrollment of children will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
- Check to see which openings are available based on days and times they require care and the age of the child.
- If there are no openings available, add your name to the waiting list that you have created.
2. Interview and Tour
Once you’ve determined your child care facility’s availability for the new child, the next step is to offer your prospective child care family a tour of the facility in addition to an interview to determine if the family and child are the right fit for your child care facility.
First, schedule an interview so you can:
- Discuss the child’s specific needs
- Review important information about the program
- Address all of your questions and all the family’s questions
- Allow the child to meet the other children and see what fun things there are to do
During this stage of the process, we recommend preparing to present the following as a child care enrollment packet if the family prompts:
- Child Care Credentials
- Daily Schedule
- Parent Handbook
- any other documents you find important
You may want to prepare these documents as a child care enrollment packet and send it through to prospective clients. Then they can review all the documents prior to the interview, making the interview that much more productive and ensuring that none of those documents affect the parent’s interest in their child’s child care enrollment.
3. Require Enrollment Forms
What you ask on enrollment forms is highly important to the entire child care enrollment process, as it allows you to gain a better understanding of what will be required on both sides - you as a child care provider and the parent(s) and family of the child.
As you develop your child enrollment procedures, create a child care enrollment packet that includes a form that the family must fill out. For the best success, make this step in the child care enrollment process mandatory and communicate to families the importance of this step in providing quality care.
Your child care enrollment forms should include fields that cover:
Questions About The Child’s Emotions
- How does the child express frustration?
- How do they calm down?
Questions About A Child’s Family Background
- What is the status of the child’s parents and/or guardians?
- Do they have siblings?
- Are there custody concerns to be aware of?
Questions About Pick-up And Drop-off
- Will the child be walking home? Or picked up by a babysitter?
- What would the child’s general arrival and departure times at the facility be?
Acknowledgments For Key Dates And Procedures
- Holiday closures
- Pick-up on a half-day
Acknowledgement Of The Form And Importance Of Accuracy
- Parents and guardians can indicate on enrollment forms that they have received, fill out and signed the document
- This section can also include confirmation that the family has returned any important materials such as facility handbooks and legal forms or releases that you require back
You may want to also include additional space for parents to communicate additional information that they feel is pertinent to their child’s enrollment in your child care facility.
4. Submit an Enrollment Application
This step of the process is the easiest.
Once parents have received and filled out the child care enrollment form(s) that you have created, simply wait for the parents to hand in the paperwork and be attentive should they have any questions along the way. (A good tip is to record every question that you’re asked and create an FAQ in a prospective parent portal or online forum that you provide to parents, saving you time answering the same questions over and over)
At this point in the process, the enrollment application must be completed by both parents and submitted along with the enrollment fee and the first week’s tuition. Then, Enrollment Acceptance will be completed and sent to parents along with the current Parent Handbook and information about the required enrollment forms.
Enrollment is considered to begin on the date listed on the Enrollment Acceptance form and a place reserved for your child beginning on that date, as long as all fees and forms are received on time.
5. Complete Your Enrollment
When you find yourself nearing the end of the child care enrollment procedures for each family, here’s what you need to confirm has been completed:
- Enrollment application
- Parent/Provider Contract
- Child Health Report
- Health History and Emergency Care Plan
- Daycare Immunization Record
- Intake for under 2 years or Intake for over 2 years
- Additional Intake Information
- Privacy & Confidentiality Policy
- CACFP Child Enrollment Form
- Transportation Permission
- Alternate Arrival/Departure Agreement
While you can rely on your memory or a standard list, the best way to keep track of what you have and haven’t received for each child’s enrollment is to have one single platform to manage all the information and all your SOPs.
Final Thoughts on Child Care Enrollment Procedures
As a child care provider, doing your job well means providing a clear and stress-free experience for the families that are looking to enroll their child. After all, they are trusting you with the person they care about the most! When you are developing your child care enrollment procedures, keep the parents’ perspectives in mind and try to answer their questions before they ask them.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
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