As the owner of a child care center, your focus is on creating the best environment possible for children to explore, learn, play, and grow. Making this happen means more than planning lessons and hiring attentive staff — it means running a strong business.
One part of child care businesses that's often overlooked? Child care forms. From waiting lists to staff evaluations, child care forms are necessary to collect and organize some of the most important information for your business.
Rather than hiding them in a file cabinet, use them as an opportunity to put your business a step ahead. How you write and present your forms is a direct reflection of your business and its values. The perceptions of staff and parents are influenced each time they fill out a form, so maximizing your forms has a host of benefits.
Nailing these forms and using them correctly helps you build a better business.
Just want the forms? Head to the end of the article for links to 7 essential child care forms.
Child care forms are more than just a formality
Whether it's a child care daily sheet or a staff evaluation, the forms you use to run your business are about more than ticking off boxes and getting things done for the sake of doing them. They are a touchpoint that guides the way you do business. The forms you use every day reflect how you think about providing the best experience for children, staff, and parents.
When writing or updating the child care forms you use regularly, take a critical eye to them to ensure that you're building the philosophy of your business into your paperwork. For example:
- Customize daily report forms to fit the needs of each child, showing your prioritization for individualized care.
- Use staff evaluations to reflect your core principles of teaching, creating an environment where staff prioritizes their in-classroom efforts.
- Make enrollment form language inclusive and leave space for all types of families to tell their stories, demonstrating your commitment to serving all families equally.
Child care forms are a way for you to show the personality of your program and reaffirm your values. When forms are something that parents look at while enrolling their child, or something that staff look at every day, being intentional with how you ask things, what you include, and how you present information will build consistency of philosophy within your program.
Maximize your child care forms:
- Child care daily report forms: When parents and staff rely on daily report forms to communicate, perfecting their format and content can make all the difference. Consider how you can streamline staff's work while enabling the customization that parents want.
- Child care staff evaluation forms: Staff evaluation forms are a critical opportunity to align with staff around your childcare program's values. Center your staff evaluation forms around how you and your staff can execute the gold standard of care.
- Child care enrollment forms: Filling out enrollment forms is one of the first times that a family interacts with your institution, and one of the most important. Using inclusive, thorough enrollment forms sends a message about how welcoming your center is that parents will take to heart.
Child care forms affect parents and employees
Child care forms are integral to how a parent interacts with your business, especially at first. Families looking to reserve a place for their child might fill out waiting list and enrollment forms before they are even assured they're going to get a spot in your program.
Presenting parents with well-thought-out child care forms demonstrates that you respect their time and understand their concerns when seeking the right child care center for their family. Parents will appreciate straightforward and inclusive forms that are easy to fill out, and they will pick up on what your center views as important based on what you ask in those forms.
Using child care forms to put your best foot forward goes beyond the paper or electronic forms themselves. Be thoughtful about how you present forms, how easy they are to find, and how much information you're giving parents when they fill them out.
A great example of this is with waiting lists and application forms. Pairing an application form with information on your waiting list policies and how families should expect to hear back from your program can go a long way to building a respectful rapport between your center and potential families.
Staff use forms for your business, sometimes every day, like daily report forms and sign-in sheets. Streamlining your child care forms and the processes around them helps employees do their jobs. For example, digitizing daily forms and sign-in can help staff work faster without losing accuracy. Reducing the time your staff spends on filling out forms gives them more time to dedicate to the children in your care.
Maximize your child care forms:
- Child care waiting list forms: Turning a point of frustration for many families into a clear and transparent experience with your center speaks volumes about your respect for those in your community. Find out how to handle waiting list forms and how to present them in a positive way.
- Child care application forms: An application is a first point of contact with families, and crafting it with care can help your center get off on the right foot with every family who is considering your care.
- Child care sign-in sheets: Sign-in sheets play a vital role in both accounting for the whereabouts of children in your care, and for gathering accurate attendance data for licensing, recordkeeping, and billing purposes.
Good child care forms save you money
If something is foundational to your business, it has the power to influence your businesses' finances. Child care forms are no exception — how you manage the creation, distribution, and input of your child care forms can affect the success of your business. Each time you pull out a form, think of it as an opportunity to strengthen your center by examining the processes that underpin your business.
Printing supplies and organization
Moving some forms to a digital system can save time and money on supplies and administrative costs. Paper forms can be costly to print, and forms you use regularly, such as emergency forms and sign-in sheets, may need to be reprinted multiple times a year or session. Not only do you need to keep the appropriate supplies stocked, but staff may have to deal with taking time out of their schedules simply to reprint and organize copies of paper forms.
Any child care form that a parent handles is an opportunity to build a better relationship with that family. Waiting list and enrollment forms that are well-thought-out can encourage parents to sign up their children for your program — especially if you present these forms with additional information about your business. What you ask about on these forms and how you handle intake, billing, and anything else that parents may fill out and return leaves a lasting impression. Parents with a good experience are likely not only to enroll and continue enrollment, but speak positively about your program.
Streamlining forms that your staff use can help their day-to-day, as we've seen with daily report forms. Beyond that, forms that you use with your staff can help your business by increasing retention and positivity in your workplace. Interview questions and hiring materials can help you find the employees that are a best fit for your center, while staff evaluation forms can build empowerment among your staff. Having staff that is a good fit and that feels supported in their development means lower turnover, which saves you money and improves the quality of your care.
Maximize your child care forms:
- Child care emergency forms: Preparation for any emergency starts with child care emergency forms, and handling them well ensures that you are ready to handle anything that comes your way. Learn how to prepare your emergency forms — and how to use them.
- Child care interview questions: Your hiring process can make or break your business, and relying on a set of interview questions is a great way to ensure a fair and thorough consideration of each candidate.
7 child care forms you need — and how to maximize each
- Communicating daily with parents about the milestones and activities children are experiencing is an essential part of the connection between staff and parents. Child care daily report forms are one of the best ways you can facilitate this connection.
- Child care sign-in sheets
- Using staff evaluation forms lays the groundwork for a successful performance assessment, ensuring that, together, you create the best experience for parents and children.
- Asking your staff to self-assess in tandem with performance reviews allows them time for self-reflection on their personal strengths and growth areas.
- Managing a waiting list is a necessary and time-consuming part of business — but it's also an area of opportunity for your program.
- Learn how to craft and implement a comprehensive emergency form to cover all your bases in the event of an emergency.
- These interview questions will help you get to the heart of who your interviewees are and if they're a good fit for your workplace.
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