Almost Free Resources

By Catherine M. Pruissen

Craft supplies, books, and staff all cost you and your child care facility a great portion of your income. Luckily there are ways to obtain these and other resources free or next-to-free. Here's how:

Free Resources

* Conduct a scavenger hunt with your parents. Send home a list of items needed for your art and craft works and see how many each family can scavenge together from their home.
* Ask home decorating stores if they would donate outdated wallpaper sample books.
* Print shops may be more than happy to donate left over paper scraps.
* Check with local businesses to see if you might be able to receive their empty shoe boxes, ice cream buckets (great for storage), or empty cardboard boxes.
* Fabric stores may have fabric ends or cardboard bolts they would be happy to donate.
* Thrift stores are a great way to build or revamp your "dress up" items for mere pennies.
* Local libraries often sell used books for as little as fifty cents. Most hold free story times or will offer to have a librarian bring the wonderful world of books to your kids.
* Some utility companies, airlines, children's societies have free learn and colour books for children. Call and order as many as you need. Video stores offer free rentals on community based videos like streetproofing, etc. Ask the staff to show you their free rental section.
* Contact your local early childhood teaching facility for volunteers for your centre.
* Often parents know of a retired person who would be more than happy to read to the children, teach a craft, music lesson, dance, etc. Put the recruitment word out to your parents.
* Post notices for volunteers with your local volunteer advisory/contact board.
* Place a free ad in the local bargain newspaper for used computers for your kids. Companies are forever upgrading their computer systems and are looking for great ways to discard old models.
* Contact as many child care organizations as possible to see what free information they have on issues of concern to you. Become a member if finances allow as networking is one of the most powerful tool we have for finding those almost free resources.

From: 101 Tips: Resources for You and Your Centre By Silvana Clark and Priscilla Burris, Warren Publishing House, Everett, Washington.

© Catherine M. Pruissen

Catherine M. Pruissen is the CEO of About Child Care Consumer Services and developer of child care online. She has published numerous child care related literature, including Start and Run a Profitable Home Day Care, The Daycare Alternative, How to Find Good Child Care, Caregiver Aids: Business Forms for Caregivers and Parents, Income Tax & Record Keeping for Child Care Providers, and a host of workshops and workbooks. She was the editor and publisher of the bi-monthly newsletter, Parent Care, Your Child Care News-line. Catherine was also the coordinator and workshop facilitator for The Child Care Information Centre in Calgary, Alberta, and ran a successful dayhome for eight years.