A Child Care Guide to Staff Management

The goal of this document is to help child care center owners and directors understand the basics of staff management. This is a beginners guide to staff management for the child care industry.


Terms to Know

Assistant Director

An assistant director for a child care center ensures the facility is a safe and fun place for children to learn. They are tasked with a wide variety of responsibilities including staff management, parent interaction, scheduling, marketing, and financial duties. The also serve as the backup to the center director.

Assistant Teacher

Assistant teachers in child care centers work with children to provide a safe and nurturing environment for social and emotional growth. They provide supervision, discipline, and other forms of general care, in addition to helping with instruction and clerical work. Assistant teachers can be full or part-time.


The cook oversees operations of the food program, including cleanliness, meal planning and preparation, food distribution to rooms, record keeping, and all kitchen operations. The cook also ensures adherence to Child Care Food Program guidelines (where applicable) and all public health regulations regarding food storage and preparation.


Floater teachers assist in various child care classrooms as assigned. The floater is used to cover breaks and adjust for state ratio requirements and moves from classroom to classroom as needed.


Preschool and child care center directors direct and lead staff, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of the center. Most child care centers have one director that manages the assistant director, teachers, and other staff.


The driver is responsible for the safe transport of children back and forth from the child care center and school/other center/other drop-off/pick-up location. The driver ensures adherence to safety rules and may assist children in boarding or exiting the bus. Driver may sometimes be required to have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).

Lead Teacher

Lead teachers are experienced educators who work with other teachers, administrators, and parents to help both teachers and students have a positive and productive learning experience. They may provide support for new teachers or for teachers dealing with challenging students.


Child care center owners provide a place for children of working parents to stay during the day. They are responsible for the safety, health, nutrition, and overall development of children. Child care center owners are often self-employed which allows them to set their own schedules.


Teachers provide developmental care and supervision to children enrolled in child care. The also implement age appropriate curriculum for children as well as establish and maintain supportive relationships with children and parents. Based on state ratio requirements, more than one teacher may be assigned to a room because of the number of children in attendance.

Real-Time Employee Time Tracking

SmartCare makes tracking employee days off, sick days, and full/part-time scheduling easy. Child care center owners and directors will never have to spend another day wondering how to shift teachers from classroom to classroom to maximize efficiency. With real-time employee tracking and real-time sign-in and sign-out for children, all ratios are updated in real-time and owners and directors can easily see if a teacher should move rooms or sent home to save on expenses. SmartCare also tracks employee benefits, required training, and mandatory upcoming immunizations. With Quickbooks integration, payroll can also be easily monitored and processed for each employee.

Making It Work

Staff management in a child care center is a combination of caring for staff, communicating with staff, communicating with parents, and knowing how to operate the center all with a focus on meeting the children's needs by providing quality care. Set goals for your teachers and strive to help them meet them. Work with staff to help them learn to provide quality care. Be organized and do paperwork correctly and on time. Lastly, use what you know about caring for children to make sound decisions.

Prevent Multitasking

Child care center owners and directors should focus on doing one thing at a time. Time is a valuable currency in any child care center. Child care center owners and directors can accomplish more and with better results when not multitasking. They will also save time doing more things right the first time around.