Family Child Care Policy Book – Structure

Since I’ve had requests to share my family child care policy book I thought I’d post some of my policies now and then. I do request that out of professional courtesy and compliance to copyright laws you don’t copy any of my policies. However you are welcome to use them as a creative springboard to write your own, or to borrow a word or short phrase here and there if you wish. Thank you.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I accidentally restructured my entire family child care policy book, going from 34 pages to 57. It really was an accident; I sure didn’t take on that huge job on purpose! I know a 57 page policy book sounds scary, but I added a ton of “page breaks” which made the book a lot longer.

 

My original family child care policy book from 1999 had four sections:

  • Welcome to Amy & Kids Co.
  • What You may Expect from Amy & Kids Co.
  • What Amy & Kids Co. Expects from Parents
  • Additional Information about Amy & Kids Co.

I really liked the whole “what we can expect from each other” part, but as I added more policies the whole policy book started to get bogged down.

 

Last year’s policy book was a mish-mash of policies organized more by length than by subject:

  • Welcome to Amy & Kids Co. Family Child Care
  • What Parents may Expect from Amy & Kids Co.
  • Health at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Safety at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Nutrition at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Infants and Toddlers at Amy & Kids Co.
  • What Amy & Kids Co. Expects from Parents
  • Schedules at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Tuition and Fees at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Additional Information About Amy & Kids Co.
  • Arrival and Departure Policy
  • Child Guidance Plan
  • Biting Policy
  • Toilet Learning Policy
  • Wellness at Amy & Kids Co.
  • Amy & Kids Co. Daily Schedule

What a confusing mess! Basically I had all the shorter policies toward the front of the book with the longer ones at the end, regardless of what the policy was about.

 

I knew there had to be a better way to organize my policies but didn’t know where to start until I read the policy book section of Patricia’s From Babysitter to Business Owner.

The structure Patricia recommended made sense to me, and I was intrigued by the Information pages she said should be included. Much of this information was on my family child care website, but not in my policy book.

Patricia’s recommended family child care policy book structure is:

  • Information:
    – Mission statement
    – School history and description
    – Teacher credentials
    – Daily routine description
    – Curriculum
    – Communication
  • Policies and Procedures
    – Admission
    – Nutrition
    – School Rules
    – Child Release
    – (and a bunch of others to consider)
  • Contract Agreements
    – Insurance
    – Provider Job Description
    – Tuition and Fees
    – Teacher Benefits
    – Trial Period/Termination
    – Contract

Patricia also suggested that each policy book section begin on a separate page to make it easier for readers to tell when one section ends and a new one begins. It also makes changing things easier; instead of having to print out the entire policy book you can print out just the section that was changed. Brilliant!

 

Little by little I went through Patricia’s list, writing, cutting, pasting, and writing some more. I didn’t follow her recommendations to the letter; instead I incorporated the ideas that felt natural to me, and adapted or omitted the ones that didn’t.

If I’d known how long it was going to take and how much blood sweat and tears would go into it figuratively, of course I probably wouldn’t have even started, but I’m so happy with the results. I think the additional information is important to share with parents, and the entire structure flows so much better than what I had before. Plus I was able to keep my “what we can expect from each other” parts. Woo-hoo!

Here’s my final family child care policy book outline:

  • About Amy & Kids Co.
    – Welcome to Amy & Kids Co. Family Child Care
    – Our History
    – Credentials & References
    – Daily Routine
    – Curriculum
    – Communication
    – Privacy
  • What Parents may Expect from Amy & Kids Co.
    – Health
    – Nutrition
    – Wellness
    – Safety
    – Child Guidance
  • What Amy & Kids Co. Expects from Parents
    – Enrollment
    – Arrival and Departure
    – Child Care Schedules
    – Tuition and Fees
  • Infants at Amy & Kids Co.
    – Biting
    – Safe Sleep
    – Toilet Learning
  • Contract Agreements
    – Job Description
    – Tuition 2012-2013
    – Child Care Contract
    Ages & Stages Consent Form

Of course there are more policies than what’s listed above, those are just the five main sections and their main headings. As a side note, this is also the index that follows the cover page. I tried including all the headings but the index ended up being way too long!

Let me know if there’s any particular policy or section of the policy book you’re curious about; otherwise you’re subject to my whims. Speak up now or forever hold your peace!

Family child care providers – what does the structure of YOUR policy book look like?

Amy Sue

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  1. Pingback: Child Care Curriculum

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