How To Start Your Own FDC!

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Laiorwyn
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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Laiorwyn » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:58 pm

Nothing yet. I'm planning on a trip to bunnings one weekend soon to get everything. I'll also need to organise asthma/anaphalaxis qualifications, then I'll have all the paperwork I need. It's a big 2 story house, so I don't have to worry about too much about upstairs, and only the kitchen/spare toilet is downstairs. There's a built in cupboard I'll be putting cleaning stuff in and that will be baby proofed.

On a side note, hubby wants to be creative and make a jungle gym type set up with tyres, including a big old spare tyre for a sand pit. I'll use a tarp to stop things pooing in it.

I have animals (allowed but need to lock them up and make sure the kids can't touch them) That's the last thing we'll have to do. Feeding the animals can be part of the daily routine.


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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:34 pm

I've two cats myself, but children will only be allowed to look at them through a window. Both of my felines are timid and a bit unpredictable around strangers and small children, so that's for everyone's safety and comfort. And here in Victoria contact with family pets isn't allowed in any case.

You'll need a baby gate for the stairs, if there isn't a door that can be locked to prevent children wandering up them.

While baby proofing, don't forget to get covers for the door jams. I got mine off ebay for about $6 and they can prevent a nasty injury. I speak from experience, having lost the fingernail on both my little fingers as a child from getting them jammed in door jams twice before I was four. I was nearly 10 before they grew back and trust me, that's not something you want to explain to a parent.

St Johns is the best for asthma and anaphalaxis and will often hold both courses together at a discounted rate. They'll also keep your certificates on record and post out new copies if you ever lose them for free.

~Ann

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Lorina
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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:26 am

Gum tree is another option of finding cheaper items as well as St Vincent De Pauls and other op shops. Especially for dress ups you can use second hand clothes. Op shops even have a few good second hand toys which can be purchased on the cheap. However if you are purchasing anything second hand please make sure that they are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before allowing the children to play with them. Also, you need to check parts, edges, make sure everything is intact and safe. Also you know how councils do those massive residential clean-ups every couple of months or so, sometimes you can find some great treasures!

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:57 am

Also, I'd be extremely careful about buying cots second hand. If you really can't buy them new, don't buy them off ebay unless they're close enough for you to inspect them for any damage/missing pieces in person. And even so, buy new cot mattresses. You don't know what illnesses/bodily fluids/other contaminations the mattress has been exposed to.

Also, when buying new and in bulk, it never hurts to explain you're starting a home childcare and ask politely if you can get any sort of a discount. It's how I got my ergonomic cots without paying a month's rent for them.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Laiorwyn » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:11 pm

Thanks! I'll keep my eyes out... And also look for new cots. =)
Thankyou soo much for your help, I'll keep an eye out for any more advice too, always helpful.

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:13 pm

You're welcome, Laiorwyn.

I had my visits to other FDC educators today. It was a very interesting experience.

One of the educators was on the more rural outskirts of town and liked to provide a very naturalistic experience, involving a lot of gardening, plant life, insects and fish and the majority of her equipment was made of wood. Children also had free access to her outdoor undercover area and she'd chosen to only have 3 to 5 year olds. I liked her programing, which was very focused around being led by the wishes of the children, but I did feel that having so much wood, combined with the educator's dislike of putting children's art on the walls, which were also paneled in dark wood, left the children's environment somewhat under stimulating.

The other educator was in town and actually only a few blocks from my house. Her set up was more like mine, with a lot of bright colours and more conventional equipment, except she doesn't do a lot of art work unless the children insist on it and she has portacots for sleeping children as she prefers to rent all her equipment rather than buying it. There felt like there was a lot more for the children to do here, and the amount of colour felt a lot lighter and more inviting. What was particularly interesting is that is educator has gone basically paper free and emails her daily records and observations to parents.

Two very different experiences, with two lovely women, that gave me a lot to consider in my own programming.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:25 am

Hi Ann,

Very interesting to read about your experiences! I was actually talking to my sister in law the other day about how some early childhood settings are so obsessed with making every aspect of their setting natural from the floors to the walls and everything in between. First off buying wooden products is very expensive! For less than half the price you can buy the same product in plastic or foam or another type of material. Also just because a setting is full of wooden furniture doesn't make it a natural environment so to speak.

I feel that children should be exposed to natural objects that can extend on their learn and bring out their curiosity... Adding sea shells, tree log blocks, pebbles, stones, leaves, sticks, grass, feathers, having indoor plants, a pond,etc, a veggies patch, worm farm, etc. is much more meaningful and can be incorporated into play and experiences which really creates a sense of nature. A natural environment should promote natural items that the children can touch, feel, observe, smell and not just wooden furniture.

I'm just saying that it's more meaningful to have natural experiences for children to interact with rather than sit on... I just get a little antsy when some centres are completely against any furniture that is brightly coloured or plastic or kiddy. These are young children they need to have a splash of colour in their lives! :giggle:

Also my sister in law pointed out, centres may buy wooden furniture to promote more of a natural setting however did they stop to think how much nature is actually being destroyed by chopping down trees to create this furniture? I swear I'm not a wooden furniture atheist I just don't see anything wrong with having plastic here and there...

Have you thought about what you are going to do in regards to programming, obs or daily records? Are you doing individual portfolios?

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Laiorwyn » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:56 am

I love bringing nature into the childcare setting. I'm trying to get wooden furniture, but have no problems with painting or decorating it. I'm going for a mostly neutral colour palette though, so I can make displays that won't be an eyesore. If you look at some pictures of fdc's online, they've got primary colour squares on the floor, primary colours on the walls, biiig bold BRIGHT pictures, hangings, decorations etc. and you can't see what the kids are doing cause your eyes have been burned out. I want to make it colourful but not offensive. I am a little restricted by very small wall space and a landlord that doesn't want holes in her walls (pictures) and what appears to be cheap paint that comes off if you use bluetac, but I've come up with ways around that. I also have a little back porch I'll be having fun with, and will be doing gardening and animal husbandry with the kids that are interested, while the others have freeplay.

Programming will be done loosely, with morning activities based on a theme but all activities the kids have shown interest in, afternoon being based on family input and child interest. I will have portfolios, but only loosely based on showing the childs development - portfolios aren't necessary, as long as your documenting their progress, which will be done in other ways. I want the parents to get a keepsake - an "Omg that is so my kid" thing they can keep and show their child when they're growing up. I'm going to have a private facebook group for daily communication with the parents. Still in planning but I like the idea of keeping pages reflecting the childs interest on the wall. I live with a camera in my hand, always writing notes and have a pretty good memory for what kids say, so I'm pretty confident about being able to document everything.

Also, Using wooden furniture is only a problem because the production of wood is so poorly managed. Illegal logging is huge but only because legal tree farming/logging isn't enough to meet demand. I've said it once and will say again - if I ever won lottery I'd be getting acreage in WA and growing trees. Thousands and thousands of them.

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:36 am

I agree, L.A. The children will get plenty of time with nature here with me - by spending time outside and with the things that we bring inside. I can't help but feel like 'chairs' made from wood with the bark still on is more about making a statement then it is about supporting the children's learning.

Funny you should ask about programing L.A, since I was writing out the program for the first week using the Learning Outcomes based Curriculum Plan from this site just last night! :giggle: It's hard to plan for the first week, when you don't yet know who'll you'll be getting, but I have a loose plan that'll let me meet all the learning outcomes while being focused on helping children get to know each other and bond. We'll also be starting on the Kimochis Social-Emotional learning program, since the first lessons and activities are all based around introductions and using people's names.

I'll be doing learning stories for my obs and a reflections of our day which, to save paper, I was thinking of emailing to the parents an hour or so before pick up time. Still thinking about portfolios.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:17 pm

Big news. I've had my second orentation session, which was basically all about medication forms, enrollment forms, accident and illness forms... You get the picture. It was an important and useful, but very long two hours. After that, I took care of getting my family day care insurance taken care of with Family Day Care Australia.

Now I have my final safety check on Wednesday morning, then, and here's the big news, an interview with my first client and her 13-month-old daughter who's looking for a place for three days a week.

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:34 am

Hey Ann,

Everything is happening so fast for you! :thumbup:

Regarding planning for the first week, keep it simple and casual. Most of the experiences planned can be "intentional teaching", or even from "parent input" which you can get from your interviews. Besides, the normal types of questions of days required, child routine etc are you getting the parent to fill in any form/questionnaire about the child's interests, likes/dislikes which you can use within your programming? What about goals for their child? May be a good way to build rapport with the family and gives you an idea on program planning for each individual child. I know you're still thinking about doing portfolios but you can use some of the templates for surveys, input forms etc. Anyways just an idea to help get you started...

You mentioned you had your orientation session regarding all the forms you need. Did you have to buy them? Create them yourself?

Regarding insurance how does it work? Do you have to pay monthly? How much are you insured by?

Hope your first interview goes really well and you get your first client!

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:23 am

Hi L,A.

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I am getting parents to fill in a form about their child's likes/dislikes and interests. That's actually one of the forms I've been supplied by the council to use as part of my enrollment. Which leads me onto your other questions.

Most of the forms I need, enrollment, routine, parent input, timesheets, risk management and so on were provided by the council. I also got a huge book of policies and procedures, a copy of Belonging, Beginning and Becoming (making this my fourth copy, since I have 1 from my Cert III and two copies from my diploma), a guide to the national framework and a guide to the victorian framework, which is basically the same as the national but is written slightly differently. I also got the service rating poster, which I'm required to display. This, plus my council registration fee, cost $50. Which probably doesn't even cover the cost of paper and ink for all the books, forms and kits (I now have my own epipen trainer pen. :giggle: ) I was given. Other things, like my fee policy, I needed to create myself, since they differ between FDC providers. Mine's $8 an hour with a 7 hours per day minimum. Other people charge more and have a lower minimum hours requirement, or they charge less but require 8+ hours per booked day in care. Over all, parents will end up paying around the same amount per day no matter which FDC educator they go with.

On insurance, it's a council requirement to have the full package from Family Day Care Australia. That costs $551.25 a year, which can be paid in one hit or by the month, with an extra fee for paying by the month of about $11. I'm paying by the month this year because I couldn't afford $550 all at once. That gives me Public Liability insurance (10 million dollars coverage), Personal accident insurance for children ($10,000 coverage), and Management Liability Insurance ($2,500 coverage). So I'm really well covered in return for that $550.

Hope this answered your questions. Feel free to ask more.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:14 am

Hi Ann,

Been thinking about you recently and just wanted to catchup and find out how is your FDC going? It's been about a month now since you started interviewing families to start at your FDC so now I'm guessing that it has all taken off and your business is up and running. How it is going?

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:57 pm

Hi Lorina!

Sorry I haven't been in touch. Yes, I'm up and running. Things are going very well, thanks. I've two groups of three twice a week, a single child (8 months) on Tuesdays and a sibling pair on Thursday, so I'm keeping pretty busy. Not fully booked yet, but I don't want to be just yet. Easing myself into things until the start of 2015.

Gotta head to bed (My Thursday pair start early) so I'll pop in on the weekend and give a better update on how things are going and what it's like on the job.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:09 am

Hi Ann,

What a great way to get your feet wet! Nice to hear that everything is well with you and looking forward to reading about your experiences so far.

Enjoy your day!

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:47 am

Sorry all. Here it is, Monday, and I didn't get around to my promised weekend post!

Okay, well let's fix that. To start with, I want to say that while I'm technically on my own with the kids, I have a GREAT council support team. As shown two weeks ago when I had a break in over the weekend and about half the FDC office staff came around to help me clean up, get stuff repaired and offer their support. And who kept coming around to see how I was all that week once I was back to work on the Wednesday. They're a great group, with a lot of advice and on the phone or email support for the days when I feel like I'm drowning as I get used to going from casual assistant to completely in charge. In line with that, my support officer drops by every Monday afternoon for the first month to offer advice, suggestions and help when I need it.

My families are fantastic and have given me great feedback as we've gone into it. I currently have three families using my service, with 6 children between them. One of those six, a 6 month old little girl, wasn't able to settle (hysterical screaming, to the point she was either vomiting or unable to breath) so her parents and I had to sit down and discuss her situation, coming to the conclusion that we'd wait a few months then try again when she's a little older. Her older siblings still come and her parents have chosen to pay to reserve the baby's place, since they're really happy with my service and don't want to risk losing the spot.

That's the only issue I've had since starting up, aside from the expected tantrums and occasional out bursts that come with working with children.

Happy to answer questions if you have them!

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Lorina » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:35 am

I'm sorry to to hear that you had a break in! Hopefully they didn't get away with much and the police catch up with them soon.

Great to hear you have a great support team! I think that makes such a big difference. Knowing that you people there supporting you and assisting you with any issues or concerns or even to provide encouragement. You're lucky to have that!

Sounds like you're well on your way and you're providing your community with a great service! I'm sure when you are ready you will fill up fast through word of mouth via your very happy families! :)

How's your documentation coming along? Even though you only have 6 kids (except the little baby) you're providing a program to them on the days they attend? Have you started observations? Learning stories? How are the children getting along? Have you got any excursions planned?

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:04 pm

Hi Lorina,

Not holding my breath on the thieves getting caught, but it wasn't too bad. Lost about $300 in fees that some parents had paid in cash which I hadn't gotten to take to the bank (WHY aren't more banks open on weekends?), a tablet pc, my old (and broken ha!) mobile phone and a bit of jewelry. The worst part was that the thieves also kicked my 8 month old kitten, injuring her enough that I had to rush her to the vet with cracked ribs. Who kicks a kitten? *shakes head*

My FDC families and the FDC office all chipped in a little to make up for the lost fees and the smashed window, which still makes me tear up. They're all great people. And yes, it makes a huge difference when you know you have people ready to drop everything to help you. The FDC unit was around even before my own family arrived, despite it being 8 pm on Sunday night! As I said, they are fantastic people.

My documentation is coming along well. Yes, I'm providing a program for the children on the days they attend and yep, I'n doing learning stories and communication books to cover the observation requirement, which the FDC unit and the parents are all happy with. So far the children are getting along well, with a little tension between my youngest two (2 years and a 8 month old) in my Wednesday group. *chuckle* The 8 month old has only recently moved to Wednesdays (perviously she was on Tuesday, but her mothers asked to have Wednesday as well), and the 2 year old isn't really sure he likes not being the youngest in the room. They'll settle.

I've taken my Thursday and Friday groups to the local park a couple of times now, so yep! We've done a few excursions and the kids just love it. Sadly the weather's been rotating between 'raining cats and dogs' and 'about to rain cats and dogs' as well as freezing cold, so I haven't been able to risk the walk to the park for a week. And it doesn't look like we'll make it there this week either. :( So instead we'll be getting our fresh air on the covered deck, and starting stage 1 of our pot plant garden - painting the pots! Should be fun.

In regards to filling up via word of mouth, I got a call from the FDC unit about an hour ago, looking for a place for a 3 year old boy from Tuesday to Friday. So that will completely fill up my Wednesday and Friday slots and leave me with only two slots left on Tuesday and one on Thursday. So I'm filling up pretty fast, given that this is the slow time of the year for enrollments. I don't have anyone on Mondays and for the moment I'm hoping to keep it that way.

~Ann

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by Laiorwyn » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:22 am

Its great to hear things are going so well for you!

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Re: How To Start Your Own FDC!

Post by NorthLight36 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:22 pm

Bit of a stressful day today, of the sort that does come with family daycare so I thought I'd discuss it here for people to read.

Over the last two weeks there's been some incidents with my Wednesday/Thursday sibling set. Last week, on Wednesday the toddler boy attempted to climb into a baby's cot while I was helping his older sister change out of wet clothes. I was there as soon as he ran into the sleep room, but was a second too late to stop him grabbing the baby's nose and giving her a bit of a scratch while bumping his own head. Nothing serious and both children were fine, but regulations require an incident form to be filled out and parents notified for any visible marks like the bruise the boy had or the scratch across the baby's face. The next day the toddler's sister kicked him in the back (and bit me hard enough to draw blood) while she was throwing a tantrum, which also lead to a report.

Given that there'd been unheavial during the week (one parent away on a business trip) I was perfectly happy to file the required paperwork then dismiss it as children being children. It happens, right?

Come this week, yesterday. First the family arrived more then an hour late, without any attempt at notification and meant I wasn't able to take the children on a planned excursion to get some ideas for the garden we're starting next week. Then the father walks straight into the sleeproom, despite the fact I'd just said that I'd just put down my Wednesday baby, and put his screaming toddler down in the second cot. Even besides the fact they woke up the baby, who goes into a dark room, with a stranger's child, without so much as a by your leave? No appologies for the lateness or waking up the baby, just leaving me with a screaming toddler and baby.

After the boy woke up, I noticed that his whole arm was swollen a bit and there was a strange lump on the wrist. Combined with the fact he was refusing food, I was concerned that he was reacting to something and contacted his mother. She told me it was probably nothing and basically told me not to bother her unless he stopped breathing as she was busy with housework. She also told me that it was a spider bite he'd gotten the evening before and that he hadn't wanted to eat all night or this morning. I was not impressed, but kept a cold compress on the arm until the swelling went down and went on with the day. That afternoon they arrived 40 minutes late for collection - which on one hand WAS inside of their booked hours, but on the otherhand, since the parents said they needed to collect the children at 3, I had the children packed and READY at three. And with no notice they'd be late or of how late they'd be, I was somewhat restricted in what activities I could get the children involved in.

So today, when they arrived, I took the parents aside and explained, gently but firmly, that they need to inform me if they are running late so I can adjust plans accordingly and reminded them that no one other then myself should be alone in the sleep room, particularly when other families' children are in there. I also said that if there is an injury to a child, I need to know so I can monitor it. The mother became defensive and first claimed I had given permission for her husband to go into the sleep room, then threatened to withdraw her children.

I replied that it is against policy so no, I didn't give permission and, of course, if they wished to withdraw their children then that was their choice and, while I would be sorry to see them go, I'd get the paperwork ready by collection time this evening and take it as their two week notification. They quickly backed down, but I'll be keeping an eye on this family as possible trouble.

They also apologised again this afternoon at collection time. Which I accepted, without backing down on my stance that, if they are running late by more then 10 to 15 minutes, I need a text message or phone call to let me know.

Problem families are always an issue in FDC, as they often assume that if you're working at home, arrival and departure times don't matter. This was something I was warned of when I started and it does happen a lot. The only way to deal with it is to nip it in the bud straight away and don't be afraid of losing a family.

Each family needs us a lot more then we need that particular family. Particularly in Family Day Care, where the wait list is often two to three years long and there's always someone else who'll treat you with respect.

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