Lesson 1 — Calculating Operational Capacity

“My staff and I have finished calculating the spaces in my CDC. Now let’s see…looks like calculating Operational Capacity is the next task.”

It is time to move to the next CDC Space Station…Calculating Operational CapacityOperational Capacity is the number of spaces that you will have when you implement your changes to maximize the use of your CDC. This outcome is based on everything you have learned about your CDC up to this point and what other CDC Directors have learned about their CDCs as well.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define Operational Capacity.
  • Identify required materials and personnel needed when meeting to calculate Operational Capacity.
  • Complete Procedure 3, Calculating Operational Capacity.

Operational Capacity Overview

Procedure 3: Calculating CDC Operational Capacity

Procedure 3: Calculating CDC Operational Capacity

Definitions for  Space Census terms are provided below:

Actual Capacity The number of child-care spaces by age you currently have in any module/room at any given time.
Adjusted Design Capacity The number of spaces based on usable square footage and most effective use of space.
Operational Capacity The number of spaces by age you will have when you implement changes to maximize the use of the CDC.
Compensatory Space Capacity The best and most efficient use of spaces in your CDC.
Current program (posted) capacity The capacity posted on signs outside each module/room.
Potential capacity The number of spaces you would like to put into the module.
Maximum Capacity The maximum number of spaces, based on ages, that can fit into the module/room.
Raw Square Footage The square footage of a module/room based on actual dimensions.
Usable Space Space that is used for child development activities.
Non-usable Space Space that is not used for child development activities, such as areas off-limits to children or used by teachers or parents.
Adjusted Square Footage The square footage of a module/room after non-usable space is subtracted from the raw square footage.
Usable Space Per Child The allotted square footage allocated by age and usage.
Maximum Group Size The maximum number of spaces, based on ratios and group sizes, that can fit into the module/room.
Ratio Cluster A program assistant and the corresponding number of children assigned to him/her.
Group Size The number of children that may be in each room of a module at any given time. The maximum group size is two ratio clusters per room. Two groups make up a standard design module.

Meeting to Determine Operational Capacity

“I’ll need to meet with other members of the Child Development Services family to complete this procedure.”

The numbers and ages of children and the programs offered in your CDC are partially dependent upon the numbers and ages of children and programs offered by other CDC and FCC programs. Calculating Operational Capacity occurs as a joint effort led by the CYS Coordinator and attended by installation CDC Directors and other staff.

Select each link for a list of the personnel and materials needed at the Operational Capacity meeting.

  • All Child Development Services (CDS) Directors (CDC, FCC)
  • CYS Coordinator
  • School Age Services (SAS) Director (if school age children are in the facility)
Materials and Forms
  • Blank copies of the floor plan diagram (enough to have one for each module)
  • Completed Census Worksheets 1-A — Actual Capacity for each module
  • Completed Census Worksheet 1-B — Actual Capacity for the entire facility
  • Completed Census Worksheets 2-A — Adjusted Design Capacity for each module
  • Completed Census Worksheet 2-B — Adjusted Design Capacity for the entire facility
  • Blank copy of Census Worksheet 3 — Calculation of Operational Capacity for Entire Facility

Calculating Operational Capacity

Before the Operational Capacity meeting, all the Directors send the Coordinator the data they have already collected through Procedures 1 (Calculating Actual Capacity of Entire CDC) and 2 (Calculating CDC Adjusted Design Capacity). The Coordinator rolls this data up to be reviewed during the meeting.

There are four key steps to follow as a group to determine your CDC Operational Capacity:

  • Step A: Review and discuss the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up.
  • Step B: Complete Worksheet 3 and adjust the floor plan.
  • Step C: Redo the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up.
  • Step D: Compare Operational Capacity with Actual Capacity.

Step A: Review and Discuss the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up

“The meeting was excellent. The first item on the agenda was to review and discuss our installation’s CDC roll-up, which our Coordinator had prepared.”

The roll-up takes data from several CYS programs and looks at the numbers from several angles. This is where you learn how well your installation CYS is meeting Army metrics.

Note: Remember, Adjusted Design Capacity is a tentative calculation of how many spaces your center should serve. Now is the time to “lock-in” those numbers in line with Army metrics, keeping in mind what your Installation CYS Operations Plan (ICOP) says you need.

The Installation Spaces Roll-up has several categories (select each link to learn more):

Combined actual capacity in all installation CDC programs

CDC 1 8 25 28 40 AM 40 AM 40 15 20 216
PM 40 PM 40
Satellite 0 0 0 0 AM 40 AM 0 0 0 40
PM 0 PM 40
CDC 2 32 40 28 80 AM 20 AM 20 0 0 220
PM 20 PM 20
TOTAL 40 65 56 120 80 80 15 20 476
Percentage of spaces, by age, your CDC provides
CDC 1 33% 33% 50% 33% 50% 50% 100% 100%
Satellite 0% 0% 0% 0% 25% 25% 0% 0%
CDC 2 67% 67% 50% 67% 25% 25% 0% 0%
Percentage of spaces for infants and toddlers compared to Army metrics
CDC ACTUAL 9% 15% 12% 61% 3%
Percentage of spaces for full-day, part-day, and hourly modules compared to Army metrics
CDC 75% 17% 8%

NOTE: Full Day Kindergarten counts as PD, AM or PM Kindergarten counts as Full-Day

Let’s Apply the Numbers!

Take a closer look at the roll-up numbers on the charts shown. Notice that the bottom row of both charts lists the Army metric for each age group and type of care.

Let’s see if you can determine where Fort Wonderful is falling short of the Army metric. Click on the charts to reveal areas where there’s a discrepancy of more than +/- 5%.

Spaces Roll-Up

Spaces Roll-Up

Additional Considerations

“After reviewing the numbers in our meeting, I immediately wanted to shift our infant and toddler spaces and use some of the preschool space for infant care. But, there’s more to it than just considering the numbers. I need to work with my CYS team to determine the best way to provide the best use of space.”

Absolutely Pamela — numbers don’t always tell the entire story! We can’t be so driven by numbers that we don’t make rational decisions. Here are some other things you must consider:

  • Demographics of the post might indicate a higher percentage of older children.
  • FCC Target Capacity from the FCC Space Census might say FCC is maxed out — meaning there probably are no more homes that would be interested in providing FCC services.
  • In reality, most of the demand is for CDC infant and toddler care. However, making your Operational Capacity match your demand for infants/toddlers would most likely result in a CDC program too costly to operate.
  • As an installation CDS team, you need to decide what you need to provide, where you need to provide it, and how cost effective you can make it.

Determining Strengths and Potential Problems

Once you’ve looked at the numbers, you should determine strengths, potential problems, and solutions for your CDC.

  1. Refer to the Installation Roll-up data and analyze where the Installation CDS Program’s strengths and potential problems lie. If, for instance, yours is the only CDC on the installation and you have converted your hourly-care room to a toddler room due to demand, you will need to re-configure because the Army metric calls for at least 15% hourly-care spaces.
  2. Next, turn your focus to your CDC. List the potential problems and determine what changes could be made to make best use of your facility.

Here’s what Pamela determined with her team during the meeting:


Strengths & Potential Problems

Step B: Complete Worksheet 3 and Adjust the Floor Plan

“My team and I are back on track. We put together a comprehensive list of strengths, potential problems, and solutions, and we’re ready to move on to the next step.”

Step B has two parts — completing Worksheet 3 and adjusting your CDC’s floor plan.

Click here to view a demonstration of how to complete Worksheet 3.

Adjust the Floor Plan

Now that you have described how you would do things differently, how would these changes look on a floor plan?

You made a tentative floor plan when you determined your Adjusted Design Capacity. You may need to make adjustments based on the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up and Operational Capacity. If so, you should use a blank copy of the floor plan diagram and develop a new floor plan for each module.

Adjusted Floor Plan

Adjusted Floor Plan

The images below show how changes have been made to this floor plan.

Adjusted Floor Plan

Step C: Redo the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up

“Calculating Operational Capacity is proving to be incredibly valuable for us. At first, I thought it was going to be difficult to do, but once we did it, our plan of action was much clearer.”

In Step C, you will redo the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up based on what you learned about your CDC in Step B.

  1. As a team, recalculate the Installation CDC Spaces Roll-up Sheet. (Your Coordinator has this sheet and will guide you through the process.)
  2. If your installation numbers now meet the Army metrics, continue on to Step D.
  3. If not, you and the CYS Space Census team will identify the problem(s) and try the process again, either until the numbers are within acceptable ranges or you have an agreement with your Region to allow the variance based on unique circumstances.
Spaces Roll-Up Process Chart

Spaces Roll-Up Process Chart

Step D: Compare Operational Capacity with Actual Capacity

Finally, in Step D, you compare Operational Capacity with Actual Capacity.

  1. Gather Worksheet 1-A and Worksheet 3.
  2. Compare your Actual Capacity (along with your paid enrollments) with your Operational Capacity. Note: The target for your CDC is Operational Capacity. However, you are funded based on your Actual Capacity.
  3. If your Actual Capacity is less than your Operational Capacity, you are losing funding and are not maximizing the capability of the CDC. Determine what needs to be adjusted, set a new target, and create a plan for meeting it.
  4. Include your plan for meeting your new target in your ICOP.


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Strengths_Problems (September 24, 2019) jpeg (47 Kb)
Spaces Roll-Up Process Chart (September 24, 2019) gif (19 Kb)
Spaces Roll-Up (September 24, 2019) gif (28 Kb)
Spaces Roll-Up (September 24, 2019) jpeg (59 Kb)
Procedure3 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (30 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_6 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (47 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_5 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (29 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_4 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (31 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_3 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (33 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_2 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (32 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan_1 (September 24, 2019) jpeg (43 Kb)
Adjusted_Floor_Plan (September 24, 2019) gif (36 Kb)