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Many of us perform some form of "hourly counts" in our Centers. There are several good reasons to do this. Teachers and caregivers need adult interaction. At any given moment teachers and caregivers may need quick opportunities to vent in order to ease frustration and generally not feel isolated in order to maintain clear thinking and professionalism. Teachers and caregivers need to know that members of management care about them and the job they do. This keeps the lines of communication open. It helps teachers and caregivers to think of managers as people rather than an entity to rail against (rail = "vehemently complain about"). And, of course, these checks also allow you to keep tabs on how many children are present in the classroom throughout the day and that allows you to staff more efficiently.

There is another good reason for you to perform these hourly counts. You can combine them with Compliance Checks.

When a child care licensing representative enters your building, does one of your employees know to immediately run around the center quietly alerting everyone? If so, that either means that you know that some of your classrooms are out of compliance or you are afraid that some of them are. Neither is acceptable. You should expect your staff to keep themselves and their classrooms in 100% compliance at all times - and they should know that that is your expectation.

After a regular monitoring visit from child care licensing, the director of a child care center with enrollment of just under 200 children and 33 staff members was exasperated about the simple non-compliance issues for which the center was cited. In response to that she wrote the following memo to her staff:

Dear Teachers,
We are updating the Hourly Count checks.  ("How many children do you have?")  They will now also include Compliance Checks.

What this means to you is that you'll want to be sure that your classroom is in compliance 100% of the time. Some of you do this anyway. We recognize that and appreciate your hard work very much. Others, however, need to step up their game.

Below is a quick list of some of the items we will check every day.  Not all items will be checked every time, but every item will be checked at some point during the day.  You won't know what or when, but that won't be a problem if your classroom is always in compliance. There will also be rewards for those who work hard to do the right things each day.

  • Do both teachers in the classroom know how many children they have?
  • Do both teachers know every child's first and last name?
  • Does each teacher in the classroom know exactly which children she is responsible for at all times?
  • Are the children washing their hands after toileting/diaper changing, after coming inside from the playground and before eating?
  • Are teachers washing their own hands after assisting with toileting/diaper changing EACH TIME?
  • If gloves are worn, are they changed each time? (AFTER hand washing of course.)
  • Are the soap, paper towel and toilet paper dispensers filled?
  • Do both teachers have auditory (hearing) and visual (sight) supervision of the children at all times?  (Never turn your back toward any of the children for which you are responsible and do not look out of your classroom door into the hall unless supervising children in the hall. Do not open the door to the adjoining classroom to chat with other staff members.)
  • Are all teachers using the appropriate kind and professional) tone of voice?
  • If a child is crying, is a teacher with him?  (Even if he's having a tantrum or "in trouble," the child should be near a teacher or vice versa.)
  • Are teachers praising the children in a loud voice but correcting (griping!) in a quiet, confidential voice only to the child(ren) involved?
  • Are positive discipline and guidance techniques being used? (Tell children what TO DO instead of what NOT to do and end sentences with  "please" or "do that for me now, please.")  Remember, it is possible to be firm and kind without being witchy OR wimpy.
  • Is the In/Out Log current to the minute?
  • Is the Daily schedule being followed?
  • Are all bottles, caps, and pacifiers labeled with the children's names?
  • Are bags of dirty clothes labeled with child's first and last name?
  • Is every infant/toddler who is sitting in a yellow in the table chair, a swing or bouncer wearing a seatbelt/safety strap?
  • Are teachers keeping at least 10 feet of distance between them and other teachers in the classroom and on the playground so that there are no "blind spots" or unsupervised areas or children?
  • In the classroom, and during nap time and especially when on the playground, are teachers walking around interacting with the children rather than sitting?
  • Are the children playing in centers rather than running around the room and strewing toys? (e.g. "under control and learning taking place")
  • If a child is in a play center and is supposed to be sitting down - is he? These little things help you keep control of your classroom.
  • Are children quiet and happy or singing and happy in the halls rather than running or crying? (again, "under control")
  • During nap time, is each child on his/her own mat and using his/her own blanket and pillow?
  • Is there walking space on at least two sides of every nap mat?
  • Is the teacher walking around checking on sleeping children?

Some of the checks will also be done using the observation cameras. If there is a non-compliance in your classroom, you will be told right then and there so you can make necessary changes.

Bonus incentive: each time Licensing comes to perform an inspection and we pass with zero non-compliances, you will each receive a $25 Visa card to be used any way you wish! Don't be the one who blows it for everyone! Your job is important and you have the skills to do it right. If you need assistance, training or even a little pep talk on a bad day, please let us know. We are all in this together. You are here for the children and we (the managers) are here for YOU.


Next, she counseled her management team, including the Cook and anyone else who would routinely perform the Hourly Counts as part of their duties, to address not only any non-compliance issues in the classroom but to also offer help where needed and to be sure to make positive comments in the classrooms that were in compliance instead of just getting the numbers and leaving. 


She introduced a simple code to quickly document what was being checked and symbols to place right next to the number of children in the classroom that would denote whether or not a classroom was in compliance: A star meant "Looks good!" A frowny face meant "Assistance given." Adults are not that much different than young children - we all like gold stars next to our names! Seriously, recognition for a job well done is always appreciated.

Each week the Director reviews the hourly counts and can quickly determine which staff members are in need of verbal counseling and which deserve a pat on the back. Unfortunately, in this situation it also told her something she had suspected for a while - that one  teacher, who was well-liked by parents because she was so chatty with them and who could "talk the talk" about providing great child care, really had very little interest in doing so. And so was let go. (Encouraged to seek more fulfilling employment somewhere else.)  

Wouldn't it be fun if the Director were to dress up as a caricature of the toughest licensing rep she could imagine complete with a giant name badge "Terry McTough the Toughest Licensing Rep You Can Imagine", over-sized eyeglasses, a giant magnifying lens, clipboard and giant pencil, a skirt and jacket, sensible shoes, a bun with pencils poking out of it and no make-up other than bright red lipstick and perform her own "licensing visit" compliance check? Surely everyone would pass and receive their $25 Visa cards. The staff would get a boost and see that their changes really were having a positive impact, and besides that, silliness makes your soul smile!

Then, why not take it a step further and make the Visa cards a regular part of the Center's policies for passing regular inspections with no non-compliance issues? (This would not apply to complaint investigations because there should be no complaints if everyone is giving 100% every day.) This puts a more positive spin on Licensing visits and may provide some necessary incentive to put teachers and caregivers back on top of their game.   

You can visit our Document Center for a sample copy of the Hourly Counts form. (Set Page Setup to landscape.) 


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Each attendee will receive a 1 hour take-away training module.

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In this session, "required" topics as set forth by The Minimum Standards will be presented in a fun and informative way. Topics include, but are not limited to: Discipline and Guidance, Age Appropriate Curriculum, Teacher Child Interaction, Child Growth and Development, and much, much more!

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Click here to view more info on these and other conferences through December!

Visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com to download 

the registration form under the CONFERENCE tab,  

or call 972-979-0282 for more information
on these exciting training sessions.



Rockwall County, TX                                 $2,500,000 

Prestigious Child Care Center w/ Motivated Owner 

This premier location (east of Dallas) has street frontage and significant public exposure in a thriving community with lots of growth potential. Excellent reputation with limited competition within a 5 mile radius. The center is licensed to serve more than 300 children operating Monday-Friday, 6:30am-630pm.


See you next month with more new and exciting ideas and information!


Click here to

download this month's Staff Handout, "Monday Morning



For more Monday Morning Motivational quotes to post in your Center's break room or clock in area, visit these websites:
The Daily Grind
The Aspirer

These quotes make great additions to payroll envelopes, too!


Five Crows

All Shiny and Black

(tune: "Five Green and Speckled Frogs")

5 crows, all shiny black,

Sat on a scarecrow's back,

Eating the most delicious corn, CAW! CAW!

he shouted BOO!

1 crow, away she flew,

Then there
were 4 black shiny crows!


Repeat for crows 4, 3, 2, 1.

Our Favorite Ideas from Pinterest
this month:

*"Monster Mash" Add large google eyes and assorted pipe cleaners to your play dough center.

*"Roll A Pumpkin Game" - Each number on the die represents a feature to add to your pumpkin drawing. Very young children can play a few at a time with the teacher and use one group pumpkin instead of individual ones.
2= eyes, 3=nose, 4=mouth, 5=stem, 6=teeth, 7=fun accessory, 8=roll again, 9=write your pumpkin's name, 10=draw a missing part on a friend's pumpkin for them, 11=the next player gets two turns, 12=leave your pumpkin alone (lose a turn).
This game can easily be adapted to Thanksgiving turkeys, snowmen in January, etc.

*"Cup Crash" -Take ten large plastic Solo cups and teach the children how to stack them into a 4-3-2-1 pyramid. Add a few small plastic seasonal toys to stand on various spots on the stacked pyramid. Provide beanbags or spongeballs and a taped line to throw from for target practice - I mean hand/eye coordination skills of course!

spotlight products

  • Employer's Reference Manual  
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  • Parent Handbook 
  • Training Materials  
  • and more. 

You can purchase our products online right here!

 While visiting our website, be sure to click on "Newsletter" and scroll to the bottom of the page

to view past newsletters. More great ideas you can use right away!  

You'll also want to visit our  document center for free information you can print and use today!



Parent News logo

The weather will soon be turning cool and children will need to bring a sweatshirt, sweater or jacket to school each day. Please be sure to write your child's first and last name in these garments. Children need to play outside every day unless the temperature is below ____, so please dress your child accordingly. Unfortunately, children who are too ill to play outside are also too ill to attend school.

This is also a good time to include info about:
the Center's holiday closings for November, December, and January,
as well as dates and times for holiday programs and pageants. Grandparents and other out of town guests may want to plan their visits to coincide with seeing their darlings in these school programs!

(Hint: If you have not already scheduled your programs, check with local elementary schools and try to hold your events on different dates from theirs so families with older siblings do not have to choose one or the other.)




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For information visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com or call 972-979-0282

Previous Newsletters
August 2013 Newsletter September 2013 Newsletter
October 2013 Newsletter November 2013 Newsletter
December 2013 Newsletter January 2014 Newsletter
February 2014 Newsletter March 2014 Newsletter
May 2014 Newsletter June 2014 Newsletter
July 2014 Newsletter August 2014 Newsletter

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