resources for child care operations from A to Z

Operations covers a lot in business, these resources can include information on program structure, policies and procedures, improving business practices, and more. Operations resources are crucial because they can help child care providers ensure that their businesses are organized, safe, and well-staffed.

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Here you’ll find resources that will help build a solid foundation for your business, including giving you the basics of child care in Montana and help you jump-start your way to success!


Operations covers a lot in business, these resources can include information on program structure, policies and procedures, improving business practices, and more.


This section provides valuable information and tools for child care providers looking to promote their business and attract new families.


Child care providers need to have a solid understanding of financial management principles in order to ensure that their business is profitable and can continue to provide high-quality care.

“Human Resources are the set of people who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, industry, or economy.”

If you have even one employee (which includes yourself), you must think of yourself as a Human Resources Manager. You do not have to be a large organization or have a specific Human Resources Department in your program to need human resource management. The function of having someone in charge of Human Resource activities is for recruitment and retention of employees (hiring, firing, training), exploring employee benefits, ensuring wage laws are being followed and most importantly, everyone is being paid for their time.

Human Resource management encompasses so much, that MCCBC is working to compile resources that will be most helpful for you as a child care program owner, manager, or director. Continue to watch this page, as resources will continue to be added!

There are distinct differences between leadership and management. Being a manager and a leader at the same time is possible, which is often the case in an Early Care and Education program. But remember, just because someone is a great leader, it does not always mean that the person will be a great manager as well, and vice versa. So, what are the traits of each role and the differences between the two roles?

5 important traits of a leader:

A leader knows where they stand, where they want to go, and how to involve the team in charting a future path and direction.

Leaders hold themselves and others accountable. They aren’t afraid to admit mistakes and they welcome feedback from others. They encourage their teams to do the right thing, no matter what.

Leaders are usually inspirational—and help their team understand their own roles in a bigger context. Leaders have people who believe in them and walk by their side down the path the leader sets.

Leaders always keep their team informed about what’s happening, both present and the future—along with any obstacles that stand in their way.

Leaders are those that challenge the status quo. They have their style of doing things and problem-solving and are usually the ones who think outside the box.

4 important traits of a manager:

Managers build a strategic vision and break it down into a roadmap for their team to follow.

Managers are responsible for day-to-day efforts while reviewing necessary resources, and anticipating needs to
make changes along the way. They ensure that business operations happen on a regular and predictable schedule.

Managers have the authority to establish work rules, processes, standards, and operating procedures. Good managers communicate expectations to the team and support the team with coaching and follow-ups.

Managers are known to look after and cater to the needs of their staff: listening to them, involving them in certain key
decisions, and accommodating reasonable requests for change to contribute to increased productivity.


It is important for programs to have leadership and management to be successful.

The best managers are also leaders!


“A policy is a document that contains instructions that determine how things are done in your organization. It clearly defines modes of conduct, reflects the organization’s values, and determines the cultural structure of your organization. Your policy is your organization’s action plan.”

Accordion Content

To provide written communication for the purpose of identifying processes, practices, and procedures that staff and families who utilize the service of licensed childcare in Montana need to know.

The development of written policies for processes, practices, and procedures within licensed childcare facilities communicates expectations for all persons involved with licensed childcare facilities.

A policy is intended to provide guidance to staff and families that utilize the childcare facility. It includes important processes that need an explanation for proper implementation for health and safety purposes. A policy may be designed to guide staff and families or may be intended for just one or the other.sets.

It is the responsibility of the staff to know, understand, follow, and implement the policies in place. To ensure this, the policies and procedures need to be studied and converted to memory. When developing policies thought should be given to how the tasks (procedures) should occur. Practicing procedures can be one way to enhance understanding. Additionally, better awareness and implementation of policies can occur when employees and leadership are both involved in creating them.

It is the responsibility of the director to ensure families have reviewed and signed any policies that pertain to them.

Policies that are well-developed and known by staff and families help keep people safe in instances of a crisis or emergency. This is considered a strong risk management practice.

Policies should be reviewed annually at a minimum. Be sure the most current version date is on both the policy itself and the Policies & Procedures handbook to ensure staff and families have the most up-to-date information.

There are many written policies required within MT Child Care Licensing rules and regulations for Family/Group programs and Center programs. It is important that these policies be written and implemented prior to providing care.


In order to be successful, a business must have both policies and procedures, not one or the other.

  • Policies set guidelines for decision-making but leave room for flexibility. They show the “why” behind an action.
  • Procedures explain the “how.” They provide step-by-step instructions for specific routine tasks. They may even include a checklist or process steps to follow.


  • Do not change often
  • State the who, what, when, or why
  • Are more general


  • Often change to improve processes
  • State the what, how, when, or who
  • Are very detailed with step-by-step instruction