start-up question

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by busybeeprek, May 5, 2011.

  1. busybeeprek

    busybeeprek Rookie

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    May 5, 2011

    I have recently graduated with an associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I am considering opening my own preschool and I would like to hear from some of you have done so. I have a couple of questions.

    Where can you get financial assistance to help fund your start up? Are there organizations that will help or did you get loans?

    If you have any other advice to give, please do so. I want to make a final decision in the next week or so.

    Thanks so much.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 5, 2011

    This is coming as a mom, not as a teacher.

    My first question would be as to your experience. As I read it, you're newly certified, with a 2 year degree, but with no experience? I would be concerned about your qualifications.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    May 6, 2011

    Hey there! I applaud your ambition, and started a program fairly soon after school myself, but agree with Alice - I would want to see that you had very excellent experience - not just in education, but with nonprofit/educational management and leadership. Maybe you have had this experience before or during school?

    A few responses to your questions below:

    It depends on what type of organization you are starting - organizations can either be for-profit businesses, nonprofit child care centers, schools, or a religious institution. The funding that is available varies widely, and depends on the structure of what you are wanting to start. Technically, the business would probably be the easiest, yet the most expensive. You may be able to get a loan, but you'd need a solid business plan (again proving your experience and competence) and start-up funding - few banks would loan you 100% of the funds you'd need, so you'd need a good amount of money to start.

    A nonprofit center is more complicated in terms of some aspects of regulations (similar in other areas of regulation), yet there are more funding sources available. Still, the nonprofit funding arena has become much more competitive over the last 10 years, and particularly since the economy has been in decline, and most funders want to see a proven track record of success, a good amount of diverse fundraising already taking place. In short, you'll need money to start up something like this as well.

    Can I ask what has led you to want to start your own center? What are the pros and cons as you see them, and what would be your alternative if you decided not to start one?
     
  5. busybeeprek

    busybeeprek Rookie

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    May 6, 2011

    Thanks for your comments. First, I don't think I was clear in stating my qualifications. I spent a year working as an intern while in school and before I started going to school, I worked as a substitute teacher as well as in the business industry. I also have a background in working with children. I spent most of my teenage years working with my grandmother who owned a family home daycare center. While DAP was not as widely known then (2o years ago) she worked within the realms of what is now considered DAP. I learned a lot from working in these situations.
    Second, my reasoning for starting a preschool is simply that in my hometown, we serve the needs of the low income through Headstart and ABC(Arkansas Better Chance) as well as an established daycare center that serves the needs of those who can afford it. I live in an economically middle income community where people work hard but don't have a lot to show for it. I feel that the needs of their preschool children are not being addressed and would like to be able to fill in that gap. There are so many children that start kindergarten without a preschool experience. If there was some way I could meet the needs I want to do that.
    If I don't open a preschool, I still have options in the industry, but would have to drive out of town for a job. I guess my main concern right now is knowing what would be required of me to start up a center and how some of you did that.
    Thanks so much.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    May 6, 2011

    Cool - definitely sounds like there is a need in your community. If you are near a metro area, there would likely be some sort of child care resource and referral agency - most cities have some form of that, and the United Way that covers your area would most likely know. Even if you are in a rural area, there is almost surely a United Way that covers your county. If you call them up and ask about a resource & referral agency, they may be able to help you.

    If not, check with your state licensing agency for child care - they likely have seminars/info sessions for those interested in starting a child care center - it would likely go over all of the rules, procedures for starting the center, etc.

    In terms of the formal procedures for starting an organization, that would be where I'd start. Your other 3 big areas to start thinking about are 1) money, 2) program expertise, and 3) business expertise.

    In terms of money, you'd likely need some sort of start-up capital in order to buy equipment hire teachers & staff, lease the building, etc. If you charged tuition, that might be able to eventually pay your bills, with a little bit left over, but typically there is a period of time when you first start up where your enrollment would not be at capacity, and you'd be taking losses each month.

    This is related to the business expertise area - raising money as a nonprofit, or running a business, takes a fair amount of skill, from the accounting/financing to strategic planning, human resources, regulatory compliance, taxes, etc. It sounds like you might have experience in this area?

    The third area - program expertise - is comprised of a few different categories. First, most child care licensing laws require the director to have a certain amount of experience in a certified child care organization - not sure if your experience in high school would count? Beyond the requirements, there are 2 general levels of expertise - classroom instruction/management (the job of a teacher), and program design/management (educational leadership - the job of a principal, etc.). Having a good amount of experience to be able to supervise experienced teachers, provide training to new teachers, etc. would be critical. I would look at your skills, and honestly assess if you would feel comfortable supervising a teacher that has taught for 10 years in another center, have enough expertise to train new teachers, design a curriculum, handle complex behavioral issues that other teachers and staff aren't able to handle, etc.

    If you don't have these skills yourself, I'd think about if there are any other staff members that you could bring on board that would have these skills. If not, I would definitely encourage you to work for another agency that you really respect for a couple of years, and soak up as much as you can - ask for administrative responsibilities when appropriate, etc.

    Hopefully some of this helps!
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    May 6, 2011

    There will be a resource and referral that covers your area, however, if you are extremely rural it may not be "near" you. Many of these offices have a "lending library" to help with set up costs. Borrow the items you need for a theme and then spend you incoming funds on materials that you would need for the long term like mats, tables and what not.

    Licensing differs from State to State, so make sure that you are doing what needs to be done...find them in your phone book or online. Make sure your biz license is done the right way for your area.

    I am not aware of loans for these sorts of tiny programs, sadly, however there are some grants that you can apply for once you are up and running.

    Start small and add as you go is the motto I have followed. And be a thrifty teacher!!!!! Use everything for more than one purpose!
     
  8. busybeeprek

    busybeeprek Rookie

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    May 6, 2011

    Just a note, my recent experience has been in a certified Pre-K classroom in our school system. I think there may have been some confusion about that. Thanks for the comments, it has given me a lot of things to think about.
     

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