Well, the decision was made to start the school...so now what? The first thing I decided to do was utilize Google. Yup. Good old Google, and I did literally type in "How to start a school in Georgia."
Here's the thing; I knew I wanted to start a school, and I knew WHERE I wanted to start it. That already provided me with a direction. So, utilizing Google provided me with the next step. Once I typed in my "how to", I found a plethora of links and information, and as is often the case with Google, too much information. Enter Google entry #2; "child care licensing authority in Georgia," And that was key.
You see, every state has a regulatory agency for its childcare services. While this may seem common knowledge to educators familiar with regulatory agencies, used to looking up specific regulations etc., these sites also have information on the steps to begin a program.
The state of Georgia actually offers guidance on two types of programs, at home childcare and center based childcare. Now, with these two basic types there are further instructions regarding ratios, but this was it! This was the "how to" I was looking for.
All 117 pages of it. And that was just the guide. I printed everything out, the guides, the how to's, everything. It was under this plethora of guidelines and sources I had an idea. Probably the best idea thus far in the process. I called Bright from the Start (licensing).
I was immediately connected to some wonderful people that were able to help me. They outlined every step, and provided me with their emails so that no matter what I thought of, or when I thought of it, I was able to contact someone directly. In particular, a wonderful woman named Jennifer was able to guide me through the process. After all, this school was being built from the ground up.
It seems I have a knack for learning things in depth (or the hard way, as my dad might put it). This was not my first school to direct, however, it is my first school to own, operate, direct, and build. Enter the wealth of knowledge of Jennifer. One thing I have found about Georgia is the people are absolutely the sweetest. They will help you with anything, with a smile and only the occasional "bless your heart." She was able to guide me through the construction and facility requirements. But it seems, I've missed a step...after all, the school was being built in Georgia...but where in Georgia?
We will get back to that. However, I encourage you, if you are starting a school to first Google the governing license agency in your area. They should be able to provide you with nearly all the information you need (I say nearly because well, this isn't the end of this blog).
Coming next blog; Forming your LLC, City and County Requirements, and just when you thought you were going to Direct the school, you find yourself back in a classroom!