A childcare program administrator handles all the day-to-day operations of a children's daycare center. They are in charge of all aspects of running the childcare program, including scheduling trainings, planning educational activities, hiring and managing properly trained teachers, recruiting new children to the center, handling the budget, and establishing well-defined policies and procedures. They are ultimately responsible for everything that takes place within the daycare center, and they act as the main communication hub between parents, teachers and children.
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A childcare program administrator oversees all the activities of the teachers and students, and ensures that proper planning and implementation of those activities is completed. They ensure that the students are learning through well-planned and age-appropriate activities that focus on all developmental areas. They set the developmental standards that are to be followed by all teachers, and assist the teachers in working towards these set goals. They intervene with any problems that occur between the teachers, students and parents, and try to resolve the issue in the best interest of all parties.
They develop the policies, procedures and programs for the entire center, and ensure that these policies are carried out appropriately. They ensure that the daycare center meets all the rules and regulations set up by their specific state or district, and that the center's licensing is kept up-to-date. They make sure that the center is fully staff by qualified teachers and also ensure that mandatory teacher-student ratios are kept at all times. They are required to keep detailed records of both students and teachers, and must be certain that annual updates are completed as required.
They handle all budgetary needs and are responsible for allocation of funds to different programs. They are responsible for purchasing the equipment and materials used by the daycare center, as well as paying all bills, including payroll. They interview, hire and train new classroom teachers and aides, as well as hold meetings and tours of the center with potential new clients. They are responsible for all communication between parents, teachers and the community.
Being an administrator of a childcare program takes a vast amount of knowledge and understanding about all areas of childhood development, including social, cognitive, emotional and educational development. They should have a good grasp on human psychology, especially child psychology. They must have the ability to monitor several classrooms, teachers and students at the same time, and implement any necessary changes that need to be made. A full knowledge of basic first-aid and life-saving tactics, such as CPR, is mandatory for all administrators of childcare programs.
Administrators must have excellent business management skills and have a complete understanding of budgeting and allocation of funds. They must be very organized and able to document and keep comprehensive records for both students and teachers. They should be good communicators, have the necessary time management skills, and be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently. They must also be knowledgeable on all the state or district licensing rules and fully understand all the things required to keep the center in compliance.
A childcare program administrator must have a minimum of a four-year bachelor degree in Early Childhood Development. Some states and districts require a childcare program administrator to have a master's degree, which requires an additional two years of schooling. Many states and districts require teachers, as well as administrators, to attend several hours of childcare training every year. Before becoming an administrator of a childcare program, individuals should have several years of experience working with children in a classroom setting. They are required to pass a complete police background check and a child abuse clearance. In addition to early childhood development classes, they should have business management experience and human resource training.
The workplace for a childcare program administer is at a public, private, or home-run childcare center. Some centers are for-profit, but many operate as non-profit organizations, such as the ones held within a church or college campus. A childcare program administrator may operate their own childcare center, or work for a childcare agency. Generally, they will not work in the classroom on a day-to-day basis, but rather they will have their own office and spend their time planning and implementing the daily operation of the center. When necessary, they may fill-in for a teacher in the classroom in order to meet the legal student-teacher ratio requirements. The work hours will vary greatly and are based on the hours of operation of the specific daycare center they work for. Most often this will be Monday through Friday daytime hours, but more and more daycare centers are beginning to increase their hours of operations to include evenings and week-ends.
In 2012, the median salary for a childcare program administrator was $43,830 per year. The size of the daycare center, and an individual's experience and education play a vital role in their pay. Those with master's degrees or higher are paid substantially more than those with only a bachelor's degree. The outlook for this career is very good because it is expected that more daycare centers will open for business over the next few years.