11. Do I need a special license? Insurance? Special permission?

License: In most areas, you need to obtain a “family day care provider” license in order to run a preschool in your home. There is no separate category for preschools, so you have to meet the requirements (which are generally quite simple) for holding a daycare in your home. Some states only require that you get a license if you have more than a certain number of children or if they will be with you for more than a certain number of hours a day. You may not need a license if you state that you’re providing an educational program (like music lessons or dance lessons), not day care. If your city or state does require you to have a license, don’t worry, the fee per year is usually less than $100 and the requirements typically involve attending a 2 hour meeting, filling out some forms, and sometimes having someone visit your home to be sure it meets basic safety standards. You’ll want to carefully check out the requirements in your area by visiting your city and state’s website and searching for “family day care license” or “preschool license” before you apply to become a Joy School. We strongly urge you to ensure that you understand the requirements in your area before launching into starting your own Joy School.

Insurance: You generally don’t need special insurance to run a preschool in your home (check your homeowner or rental insurance policy) but we recommend that you have all parents sign a waiver stating that they won’t hold you liable for any common injuries that may occur while their child is with you (this form is included in the registration forms we provide to you).

Permission/Notice: If you rent, you need permission from your landlord to run a preschool in your home. If you own your own home, it’s generally advisable to give a nice note to your neighbors, letting them know about what you’re doing including your plan for keeping drop-off and pick-up unobtrusive and asking them to let you know if there are any issues regarding noise or parking during drop-off and pick-up.