How to Start a Church Daycare Center

By Dillon Okner
November 4, 2019

Searching for a daycare can be a difficult decision for parents, especially when trying to determine if the people running the daycare are trustworthy or not. 

An increasing number of churches looking to implement new forms of outreach ministry are providing a solution to the daycare problem for many parents. Daycare and pre-K ministries are a way for churches to meet the needs of the community while also inviting new families and children into the church. But this movement is not as simple as having an extra room and an adult volunteer. Extensive security measures need to be accounted for. Here are some crucial steps to starting a church daycare center.

Making The Decision

First, several things need to be considered before starting a church daycare center. 

Conduct Extensive Research

Research what daycare centers are offered in the area. Look at the hours of operation, ages they care for, and mission statements of each center to get a better idea of what the best practices of a daycare are. 

Research the Legal Requirements

Each state will have different regulations and requirements for employee qualifications, insurance minimums, and more. Some insurance companies request daycare employees to undergo specialized training. The state might even require a certain amount of space per child. Nutrition must also be considered for the children’s’ snack times. Any food that is stored, prepared, and served must meet health and sanitation standards. Requirements will vary based on the age of children that are accepted in the daycare, but providing a healthy balance of food groups and portion sizes will be necessary during snack and meal times. 

Look at what type of space your church has available, and how it can be converted into a daycare center. Just having empty classrooms does not necessarily mean that it is conducive to a daycare center. Depending on the desired capacity, renovations or rearrangement of the space may be necessary to make room for the church daycare. 

How Will The Daycare Affect The Rest Of The Church?

Depending on the space that is available to the church daycare, some areas might be shared between Sunday school classrooms or other group events. Cooperation is critical to make sure that each group can perform the necessary activities in the space, with as little interference from each other as possible. 

What Ages Of Children To Accept? 

It is important to decide what ages of children you will accept into your church daycare. Will you be caring for infants and toddlers, or will you also include an after-school and summer program for elementary-aged children? Make sure the hours of operation you choose can accommodate the typical work schedules and commute times of parents in your town. 

Do You Have The Necessary Financial Resources? 

Getting a church daycare started can be very expensive; you will have salaries, supplies, and equipment to pay for, as well as any insurance and licensing fees. Because it might take several years for the daycare to establish itself as an independently sustainable business, can the church handle the costs for the next couple of years? Or will the center need to make payments for rent and utilities as well? 

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Who To Hire? 

As the front lines of the facility. the staff of the church daycare will be one of the most important decisions you make. You want the team to embody the values and mission of the church, and be experienced and dedicated to childcare, as well as the safety and security of the children. 

Setting Up A Church Daycare

Once you have committed to setting up a church daycare, you should be prepared to enter this journey with the entire congregation. To do so, the church should develop the purpose of the ministry and daycare in conjunction with each other. 

Create a Mission Statement

A mission statement is one thing that many interested parents will look at when deciding between your daycare and another. The mission statement should explain your church’s goal of meeting the needs of children and their families, as well as spreading the word of your church. The mission statement should be just a couple of sentences long, but should clearly state the long-term goal of the daycare ministry. Pass out the written mission statement to families and other congregation members to help solidify the purpose of the daycare. 

Make Security a Priority

Naturally, all parents want the safest environment for their children no matter where they choose to occupy them during the day. Just like secular schools and daycare facilities, church organizations need to prioritize security above all else. This requires keeping detailed records, built-in safety measures like video monitoring systems and access control, and highly certified childcare professionals. All entries and exits to the playrooms and classrooms must be closely monitored and, it’s also recommended to invest in advanced visitor management or check-in software to streamline child drop-off and pick-up. All of the above mention technologies could be integrated with the right ecosystem of platforms.

While there are many steps on how to start a church daycare center, it is possible to run a thriving center. By meeting the needs of children and their families, a church daycare can allow the congregation to care for children and introduce them into the church on a more personal level. 

Dillon Okner

Head of Global Workplace at Enjoy Technology, INC

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