|I offer a curriculum, an organic menu that would put most home providers and EVERY centre in my city to shame. My home is likely cleaner than any centre out there and children are offered the benefits of home. - structure and routine without rigid standards and the benefit of flexibility when needed. If they are extra tired one day they do not have to wait until naptime to rest. If they are hungry I make a snack. They do not wait until the centre is on 'snack schedule'.
First of all, you have to remember we are in different areas so regulations are going to differ.
We have no restrictions on serving organic foods, allowing children to nap when tired, play when they would like, etc.
Most center-based care does have structure, but even in my southern family owned center we do not restrict a child's creative or physical desires. We also have Montessori schools who are even more flexible.
The nutrition guidelines are awesome here and to be on the food program you must meet these guidelines. It seems as though you would be well liked by any food program coordinator with your awesome organics.
The things you mentioned as reasons you do not want to be licensed have nothing to do with state licensing. At least not from the various states I have done care in in the U.S. these things are center decisions. Regulations in my area come and make sure you are pretty much what we at MDC would call AP. They judge us on interactions with the children to make sure we are respectful and kind, that our voice is comforting, that we are done on the children's level. They make sure our toys are not broken, the playground safe and free from debris.
All of these things are pains, and hassles, but as a provider (and we as a center) gladly jump thruogh the hoops because we know that this government entity is here to ensure the proper and excellent care of children.
We also qualify for money. In fact we just received a 2,500 dollar grant for our (MY! WOOHOO!) after school room. We will received new furniture, equipment for the playground, arts and craft supplies, etc. Without being licensed and registered we could not do this.
We are also reembursed for continueing education in the Early Childhood Education programs at local colleges. We currently have 3 employees working on assocaites in ECE. I am working on my BA in English Education. This month I will receive an incentive check for 225 dollars for credits earned. I'll receive another in May.
When childcare providers are given incentives to further career and education, they stay in the field (hourly pay is something that needs to be increased of course) and when childcare providers are better educated they give better care.
In our case we have 8 loving, attentive teachers with education, experience, and compassion. Not ALL because we are licensed and registered, but much of it is because of this.
Our center is not big, we have 65 students enrolled, in 5 classrooms, from infant to school-aged. We are owned by a mother-daughter team- bot hwho have a 2 year degree. They started as a home-based business (registered and licensed) because of word-of-mouth their center grew and grew. They have been in operation in our current buidling for 9 years. My bosses grandmother is our cook. We are a FAMILY, and not just the teachers, but the children and families included.
Many of the parents who trust us with their children grew up with the teachers in our center. The children of these families play at each others houses and at our houses with our children.
So, yes, licensing says, you can trust that we are doing what we are needing to do to ensure that your child gets proper care and nutrition and if he/she doesn't, there is recourse for you and we can be disciplined.
An unregistered, unlicensed homecare provider does not have these same benefits or consequences.