One of the reasons we appreciate Head Start’s EHS-CCP program is our longstanding ties to community child care. Foundations for Families began with a vision to strengthen the business, fiscal and HR/training components of community child care so that directors and teachers would have more time and resources to do what they do best: provide excellent care and education to young children and partner meaningfully with their families. For 18 years, that has been the heart of our work.
Our Community Child Care Consulting/Training/Coaching practice gives us the opportunity to work directly and together with teachers, staff and directors providing care and education in the community. Sometimes these are the partners in the EHS-CCP program but much more often they operate independently. Their tenacity, creativity and determination inspire us every day.
An often overlooked but critical element of a center can be a parent governing body. When legally structured as non-profit organizations, a parent board of directors usually governs these community child care centers. We understand that, at their core, these working parents of young children are very busy. They are well-intentioned: they volunteered to serve because they care about their child and center. In most cases, these young parents have experience in a field other than early care and education and this is their first time serving on a nonprofit board.
Yet, the director and teaching staff rely on the board to do what boards do: set the long-term vision and direction of the center and the strategy for achieving that success; provide oversight for the center’s finances and quality programming; and be an inspiring and supportive boss of the center director. Boards of directors do their best work when they have:
- Annual board orientation and training;
- Effective meetings on regular and sensitive topics;
- A strategic plan for operational success and financial stability;
- Knowledge of center finance/budgeting, program operations, and human resources;
- A succession plan for center leadership; and
- A clear understanding of how to support and manager the center director.
What are signs that a center’s board of directors is well functioning?
- Evidence of an orientation for each new board member and annual board training for all members.
- A roster than includes at least one non-family member with ties to the community and professional connection to the field of early care and education.
- An annual schedule of monthly meetings with an agenda, minutes, and director’s program/finance/enrollment reports for each on file and available for review.
- A current three or five-year strategic plan that includes intended outcomes and a method to measure progress.
- Knowledge of the program’s program philosophy, financial health, and enrollment.
- A strength-based, professional development plan for the director.
How is the health of your board of directors? Take this quiz to get a sense because your center’s health and well-being is more closely tied to this group than some think!
If you identify an area that need shoring up, please be in touch. We’d love to support you by strengthening the skills and knowledge of your board.