Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Technology boot camp part of daycare conference :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Think childcare and the images are of primary colors and finger paints, not spreadsheets and computer software. But daycare is a business, too, and no business is complete today without technology.
"It's the next step of marketing. It would really help with my curriculum planning, my monthly menu and my bookkeeping," says Lenore Johnson, who has been running her childcare business, Home Sweet Home, out of her North Side home for 25 years.
With that in mind, the nonprofit Women's Business Development Center in Chicago plans to emphasize technology at its June 12 Childcare Business Exposition. "Technology is a core element of any business in the 21st century," says Christine Kowalke, event organizer. "Women in their 30s, 40s and 50s may not have used technology to their advantage."
The conference will show childcare business owners the benefits of computers for record keeping, communicating with parents, marketing and education, Kowalke adds. The conference will include a computer boot camp and tips on how to tell if your business is really making money.
Elizabeth Gardner, of the development center, says the conference is aimed at anyone who operates a childcare business or is thinking about starting one as well as companies that service the industry. Johnson, who has attended four of the last five expositions, says: "The conference is good because it gives you the basics for your business and great networking opportunities. This can be a very isolated business, so it's good to get out and find out what others are doing."
Illinois is home to nearly 14,000 licensed daycare facilities with the capacity to serve more than 290,000 children, according to the Department of Children and Family Services. However, U.S. Census Bureau data show there are more than 450,000 children under 5 in Illinois.
Registration, which includes all workshops, breakfast and lunch, is $35 before May 28; $50 after. For more information, call (312) 853-3477, ext. 29, or visit www.wbdc.org.
Tanya Mendis, Medill News Service