Jump Into

Jump Into Child Care

Child Care

Developing Early Childhood Professionals

About Jump

What is JICC and how we can help you in your early childhood career?

Family vs Center

Is a home-based family daycare or child care center best for you?

DHS Lookup

Detailed information for any Minnesota licensed child care setting.

Upcoming Trainings

Available trainings to help you jump into a career in early childhood education!

Jump Into Child Care

Jump Into
Child Care

Jump Into Child Care is a program designed to provide education and training opportunities for people who are interested in beginning a career in child care.

Whether you are interested in joining a team of child care professionals or starting your own business, Jump Into Child Care is a free orientation to the exciting and ever-changing world of child care and early education.

collage of happy kids

Our Mission

To introduce new professionals to the Early Childhood field by providing high quality development opportunities and community education.

Thank You To Our Funding Partners

Which Child Care Is Right For You?

Child care in the United States has changed drastically in the past 120 years. Prior to WWII, most child care was done in the home, or in the homes of friends, neighbors, and relatives. With more women joining the workforce during the 20th century, the need for high-quality child care has become an important national concern. To learn more about the history of child care in the United States visit: socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu.

There are two main branches of licensed child care in Minnesota: Family Child Care and Child Care Centers. While there are many similarities between the two, they operate under different Minnesota statutes.

child care provider using learning blocks with kids sitting on the floor

Family Child Care

Family Child Care operates under Rule 2 and is licensed through the county. It is often in the home of the provider and typically provides care to a mixed age group, which can be infants through school age. The provider has the flexibility to focus on one age group though, under state-mandated capacity regulations for each age group.

A Family Child Care Provider is a business person and wears many, if not all, the hats of operating the business including bookkeeper, advertising, enrollment, teacher, nurse, cook, groundskeeper, and many more. Often the provider’s own children are part of the program. This can be loosely structured or strictly structured. A Family Child Care Provider does not typically hire employees but sometimes does hire a part-time helper.

teachers and preschoolers doing an art project

Child Care Center

A Child Care Center, in contrast, is typically in a commercial facility that houses several classrooms. Each age group is broken up into specific classrooms, from Infant (age 6 weeks to 16 months), Toddler (age 16 months to 33 months), Preschool (age 33 months to kindergarten), and School Age (Kindergarten and beyond).

A child care center is governed by Rule 3 and is licensed by the state. Depending on the size of the center, There can be a few or many employees in different positions. Typically each classroom has a Lead Teacher and support staff such as Aides and Assistant Teachers, and the center will have a Director to oversee the facility. Centers may also include a Cook, Float Staff, Assistant Directors, Substitute Teachers, Janitorial staff, and more depending on the location and size of the center.

Family Child Care vs. Child Care Centers

Not only are the two branches of licensed child care different from one another, but each business that operates under the same rule can be different from the next as well.

For example, a Family Child Care Provider works alone with a group of up to 12 children from open to close, providing all care for the children. The program and daily routine may be loosely structured or firmly regimented. The Provider may or may not have formal education, be Parent Aware Rated, or utilize a curriculum to provide education enrichment. Different learning methods may or may not be adhered to, such as Montessori, Waldorf, Nature Based, or Traditional. Training are required each year.

Whereas a Child Care Center may opt to not have an infant room, only accept preschool children, adapt to certain learning methods such as Montessori, Waldorf, Nature Based, Traditional, or they may opt for a blended learning style. The center could be a small or a large business with multiple site locations, and may or may not be Parent Aware Rated.

Other than size, the biggest difference is a Child Care Center must always hire staff that meets state-mandated educational requirements, for example typically a Lead Teacher will have an education degree and experience. Learn more about Child Care Center staff qualifications and the Minnesota Administrative Rules.

Any licensed program in the state of Minnesota can be found with detailed information regarding the license, program capacity, and results of annual licensing visits through the DHS Licensing Information Lookup.

It is important to note that under the “Family, Friend, and Neighbor” program, the  Minnesota Statute allows a person to care for up to one family without obtaining a license, it is not legal to advertise for care for people’s children without obtaining a license. This is a good reminder that the statute is meant to support one’s immediate friends and family, and not to be advertised to the community as a whole. 

If you are considering opening your own child care program, whether or not it is in your home, you must obtain a license in order to do so.

“Working in the early childhood field is challenging, but so rewarding to know you are making a difference in the lives of our youngest learners. What other job can you build with magnet tiles, watch a child discover something new, and get to know really awesome families all in the same day?”
Skip to content