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Creating a business from the ground up

Children gather around Teigan Jansen as she teaches a lesson from the popular book and song "The Wheels on the Bus." Photo by Margaret Ontl

Teigan Jansen, a junior at Hudson High School, is pretty sure she will pursue a career working with children.

"Ever since second grade I always wanted to be a second-grade teacher," said Jansen, who took Deb Meyer's Childcare Services class last semester.

The class gives juniors and seniors an in-depth look at the child care industry and upon completion of class work the students may earn a certificate as an assistant child care teacher, which means they can work in a child care facility at age 17.

The semester-long class requires students to observe a variety of childcare facilities, from home-based businesses to large, multi-age centers. They also learn specifics about health, safety, nutrition, guidance techniques, expenses and revenues.

The core activity that pulls together all the subject areas is the design of a child care facility. The students have to name the facility, determine the number of students, establish program goals, determine the atmosphere, develop a marketing plan and make sure the design incorporates the legal and educational requirements established by the state.

"I benefitted a lot," said Jansen. "There is a lot that goes into a child care business, from state laws to good program goals. I went to observe at six different places and I took a little from all of them to create my business."

At the end of the semester, students present their business plan to a director of a child care facility.

Jansen presented her materials, floor plan and budget to Melissa Gubricky, director of the YMCA Child Care at 732 Exchange Drive.

Armed with swatches of fabric and flooring samples, Jansen shared her vision for "Wiggles and Giggles" Child Care.

Her promotional literature spelled out everything from what the meals would include based on nutritional guidelines to a specific daily schedule of activities.

Jansen's business would provide care for children from 6 months to 5 years. Tuition, outdoor play and pet policies were outlined as well as policies on late fees and absentees.

From the floor plan to program goals, Jansen took the time to create an entire business.

"It is a wonderful experience for them to create a business plan," said Meyer. "They find out a lot goes into providing a safe environment for the children as well as the staff."

Gubricky learned the project took Jansen over a month to complete and one of the noted facts was that each child needs 35 square feet of space, a fact that had to be taken into account in the space arrangement.

"From a mission statement to a name and logo, they have to do it all," said Meyer. "It is real-world experience for them with checks and balances."