Competencies of Child Care Center Directors Gwen

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Competencies of Child Care Center Directors Gwen Morgan, Wheelock College (Used by permission) Based on work by Joe Perreault and Nancy Travis at Save the Children, refined through class discussion and assignments by day care directors from across the country that participate in directors' courses at Wheelock College between 1975 and 1993. The ability to develop and maintain the organization • Understand the legal form of the organization, its philosophical base, its history, and its goals • Be able to sense and respond to environmental influences, and to stakeholders both external and internal • Understand and comply with all applicable rules and regulations • Develop a management philosophy that includes a clear mission statement, and clear objectives based on the organization’s values and the needs expressed by parents in the community • Develop and implement strategies for management that build teamwork and participation of staff; make effective use of time and other resources; engage in short term problem solving and long term planning • Work with and contribute to Board development in organizations that have Boards; develop Advisory Groups where applicable • The ability to evaluate the program and all its components, and use this evaluation to change and improve the program • Knowledge of basic strategic planning process The ability to plan and implement administrative systems that effectively carry out the program's mission, its goals and objectives • Systems for implementing curriculum, addressing all aspects of development for each individual child, appropriate to their age/level of development • Regular communication with parents, that involves parents appropriately in the life of the program and supports parents' lives; a focus on contributing to the parent/child dyad and improving the quality of life for families • Nutrition and food service management • Recruitment and enrolling of children, attention to separation for children and parents • Social services and health care, appropriate to the needs of the parent group • Organization of tasks and decision-­‐making teamwork throughout the organization • Systems for maintaining all aspects of the physical facility in a safe and healthy condition, and in a creative design that contributes to learning and teaching • Knowledge of basic Total Quality Management concepts The ability to administer effectively a program of personnel management and staff development In the organization as a whole, the director needs: • Ability to give and receive feedback • Ability to gather information needed through regular communication with all staff and parents • Ability to facilitate development of community among staff, among parents, among the Board or advisory groups, and among children • Ability to maintain personal stability and confidence; self awareness, desire for growth, ability to change • For staff development and support, the director needs: • Ability to observe objectively and to give positive and negative feedback in a way that helps individuals to change • Ability to motivate and challenge people; to set a high standard • Ability to communicate clear expectations for performance, and to insure fulfillment of objectives • Ability to train; knowledge of training methods • Ability to hire the right person; interviewing skills • Ability to supervise performance over time, with follow through, so that poor performance leads to termination and good performance is recognized • Knowledge of different supervisory styles and methods to meet individual needs of supervisees, appropriate to classroom staff and also appropriate for the cook, maintenance staff, office staff, and other non-­‐classroom roles • Modeling of behavior The ability to foster good community relations, and to influence child care policy that affects the program • Knowledge of community services and functions • Child care resource and referral organizations and what they offer parents and providers • Other child care programs, how they differ and how they are similar, information on salaries fees charged, and service options; personal relationship with other directors • Health services, social services, vendors and providers of functions needed by the program and the parents using it • Child care policies, and changes that are made in them, including regulatory policies, funding policies, and governmental structure • Legislative processes and how to participate in them • Media and other ways to develop public support • Ability to use knowledge to build networks and coalitions as needed. • Effective skills in communication: •
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Public speaking Writing letters Writing proposals, marketing plans, business plans Comfortable with interviews, media contacts Supervision or production of brochures, flyers, parent handbooks, other materials Regular communication with other advocates Commitment to education of the community on a regular basis The ability to maintain and develop the facility Knowledge and skills of the director include: • Establishing procedures to monitor and correct in order' to maintain compliance with all applicable codes: fire, safety, health, sanitation, building, and zoning • Maintenance of all equipment in safe working condition; knowledge of procedures for maintenance and repair • Knowledge of security practices and equipment; ability to maintain at all times • Knowledge of room arrangement/space design, environmental psychology; ability to support design and redesign of space Legal knowledge necessary to management The director will work with legal counsel, and will have general personal knowledge in the following areas: • Regulatory standards that are applicable, and regulatory concepts; rights of licensees • Custody issues that affect child care • Confidentiality laws that affect child care • Labor laws that affect child care • Anti-­‐discrimination laws that affect child care • Working knowledge of liability • Health rules • Basics of contracts that affect the center • Basics of liability • Ability to work with legal counsel Financial management ability The director will assume responsibility for financial management, and will have the ability to direct the accountant or other financial staff how to present figures on income, expenditures, enrollment and other information, presented so as to inform decision-­‐making. •
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Skills in resource mobilization, including fund-­‐raising, marketing, unrelated business income, and governmental grants/purchase of service support Maintaining accurate and complete records or financial expenditures Use of financial tools in planning Effective budget planning and monitoring Staffing pattern for each room Annual budget, and projections Deviation analysis Functional cost analysis Program budgeting Cash flow projection Breakeven analysis Knowledge of federal, state and local funding sources, public and private funding sources Basic marketing concepts Ability to develop and implement fee policies that fit the needs of the organization Ability to develop salary schedule that rewards retention and increased knowledge/skills of staff Note: Directors of centers who serve as executives, fully responsible for running programs, need the above competencies. If the income side of the budget is someone else's responsibility, as is usually the case in public school based programs, or Head Start, the director may not need the full range of competencies. Directors of small programs, and group child care home licensees, need all the competencies at a more generalist level than directors of large programs. 
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