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Facilities and Equipment

One of your primary concerns in starting a program will be determining the location, size, and type of space you need.

Things to think about when looking for a space include child care needs of the local community; licening regulations, fire and health department regulations, parking needs. Contact us for more information.


Indoor and Outdoor Space Requirements

Once you've found the right site, make sure the building and grounds are suitable for child care. Inside the building, you'll need many things in place before opening your doors.


All rooms should have more than the minimum required square footage per child required for licensing, as well as natural light from windows or skylights. Areas for both quiet and active play, along with sufficient space for children to play alone or with a group, are important.

A child care classroom typically includes interest areas for blocks, dramatic play, reading, manipulatives, art, sand/water play, indoor active play (gross motor area), science, and a napping area. In addition, each class needs space for cubbies and coat hooks at children's level.

Diapering Area
An area for diaper changing may be located within or adjacent to the classroom, and should include a changing table, disposable table paper, diapers, wipes, spray bottle with disinfectant solution, disposable rubber or latex gloves, and covered diaper pail, with a sink for handwashing nearby.

A child's lavatory should be located within or immediately adjacent to the room, with sinks and toilets at children's level (if possible) to facilitate handwashing and toilet training. A separate adults' lavatory should be conveniently located.

Food storage areas, equipment suitable for food preparation, and industrial appliances (including a dishwasher) are essential elements in the kitchen. Check with your licensing officer for kitchen requirements.

There should be ample storage space(s) in each classroom, particularly in areas for art, science, cooking projects, and manipulatives.

Staff Room
Supply a comfortable room that staff use for breaks, conferences, and meetings, with a secure place to store handbags and personal items. Tea and coffee, and a small refrigerator for keeping lunches and soft drinks, are welcoming touches.

Resource/Library Area
Set aside a place for parents and staff to share resources on child development and parenting, and to store children's books not currently being used in the classrooms.

Office/Administrative Area
You will need a private space to house all files and records pertaining to the center and families, office equipment (including telephone and computer), all money and checks, and space and equipment for administrative functions.

It should have a door that locks and a locking file cabinet to keep confidential records secure. You can use this space to interview parents for enrollment and for confidential staff meetings, parent meetings, etc. In addition to a desk and chair, you may want a small sofa or several comfortable chairs.

Outside Space
Children will spend time each day in the outdoor play area, which must be a fun, safe, and developmentally appropriate space. Outdoor space adjacent to the daycare is required by licensing.

Your center's playground space will need to be approved by the licensing, and should have the following:

  • Cushioned ground covering under play equipment (approved by licensing)
  • Sturdy playground equipment that meets safety standards, properly spaced to avoid accidents from collision or crowding
  • Fencing around the entire outdoor space
  • Adequate drainage
  • Balance of sunny and shady areas
  • No broken glass, animal waste, standing water, or other hazards


Furnishings and Equipment

The size of your center, the type of program you offer, your staff, and your budget will all affect your purchasing decisions for furniture, equipment, and supplies.

There are basic furnishings and equipment you'll need to help provide a safe and comfortable learning environment for children. (Note: These lists do not include any special equipment needed for children with special needs.)

Furnishings for your center should include:
Tables that seat four to six children; chairs, at least one per child; comfortable chairs, couch, and/or carpeted area for reading and quiet area; storage units (shelving) with children's materials on their level, plus adult storage not accessible to children; easels; rugs and/or mats; cubby storage units; book display stand; supply storage units (for paints, glue, art supplies, etc., not in use -- with doors that cannot be opened by children); clock; wastebaskets; window shades; sand/water table

Paint containers (spill-proof); paint (non-toxic, washable); paint brushes in assorted sizes; paper (assorted sizes of colored construction, newsprint, and plain white); aprons or smocks; markers; blunt nose scissors; glue and/or glue sticks; glitter; colored chalk; crayons; stamps and ink pads; recycled materials; natural materials from outside; hole punches; string; staplers

Block Corner
Wooden unit blocks in varied sizes; cardboard brick blocks; table top blocks; wooden trucks and cars; sturdy model animals and people to extend creativity; wooden train sets (optional)

Dramatic Play
Housekeeping/kitchen units; safety mirror; dress-up clothes and costumes; play foods (multicultural, too!); play kitchen utensils, dishes and cookware; puppets; puppet theatre; dolls (various sizes and multi-ethnic); doll high chair, cradle or furniture; plastic animals (farm, jungle, dinosaurs); equipment to expand dramatic play beyond home living (e.g., play money and cash register, office equipment, dress-up clothing)

Washable infant toys (have several of each type); connecting blocks (e.g., Duplos); pegs and pegboards; geo boards; lacing cards; puzzles; shape sorters; beads and string; linking toys (snap-together cubes, gears)

Meal Areas
Stove; sink; dishes and cups (plastic for children); eating utensils for children; serving utensils; microwave oven; pots and pans; kitchen utensils; refrigerator with freezer; storage cupboards; cleaning equipment and supplies; dishwasher and sterilizer; food thermometer; high chairs for infants

Instruments (drums, tambourines, bells, maracas, cymbals, fingerbells, xylophone, etc.); rainsticks; tape, record or CD player; cassettes, records, or CDs; scarves and flags for movement and music

Nap Areas
Cribs (for infants); mats or cots (for toddlers and older); mat sheets (washed daily); extra sheets and blankets; stuffed animals (washed frequently)

Outdoor climbing structures (with proper surfacing); swing sets (you need plenty of room for these!); riding toys such as tricycles, scooters, play cars, etc.; wagons; wheelbarrows; balls (many sizes); sandbox with lid; sand toys; see saw; basketball hoop (free-standing). If you choose to provide a outdoor climbing structure or swings you must have appropriate space and proper surfacing.

Reading and Literature
Alphabet blocks, puzzles, magnets, stamps, cookie cutters, etc.; games (bingo, lotto, sorting cards); sequencing puzzles; felt boards with play scenes; books (picture books, board books for infants, big books); audio tapes and cassette player; posters of favorite book characters

Nature objects (shells, leaves, rocks, etc.); magnifying lenses; plant growing materials; magnets and magnetic objects; charts (weather, temperature, etc.); binoculars; gardening materials; books and posters about science; discovery table or light table; live animals (e.g., fish, ant farms, small mammals, as allergies allow), but no turtles (due to toxic salmonella germs)

Play-doh (you can make your own); modeling clay; shaving cream; "pudding painting" bubbles; sand and water toys (buckets, shovels, funnels, measuring cups, water wheel, bathing dolls, spray bottles, etc.)

Toileting Areas
Washbasins and toilets (at children's level if possible); toilet paper; paper towels; toilet seat inserts (if desired); small step stool (if needed); liquid soap in dispensers; diaper changing table or surface; wipes; disposable rubber gloves; spray bottle of disinfectant to use on surface; diapers; diaper pail with lid .



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