Preschool open houses can provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your program or bring your community together. During these events, parents often fall in love with your program as they see the children, meet the teachers, and spend time in your space.
Preparing for an open house is essential. Here are nine open house or event planning tips for your preschool program to help you make the most of your event. Check out our free resource guide for free templates and further guidance on hosting an open house.
It's important to define and design your event. If it's an open house for child care programs, will it be open to the public? What activities will be there for children and adults? Do guests need to RSVP?
Here is a run down of early event planning you might want to consider.
Feel free to be creative with open houses and events. Holiday and seasonally-themed parties are great. You can also focus on kid-related events that reflect your program well.
Some open houses have arts and crafts, food, music, and the like. As part of being a director on the Wonderschool provider platform, you can brainstorm ideas with providers nationwide in our private Slack community channel.
Wonderschool directors have hosted successful open houses that include interactive presentations, flower arranging, and juicing with kids. The possibilities are limitless.
An open house is only successful if you can get people to attend. Consider where you're most likely to reach your audience. Word of mouth and open house signs are a good start, but you should also advertise the open house in various places online.
An important part of making your preschool event a success is ensuring the open house is on a day and time that works for parents.
In real estate, there's a reason why open houses usually happen on Sundays. People like weekends because they give them time off work, and Sundays are less busy than Saturdays. Sunday afternoons are great because many people have downtime, and you have time to set up.
If you do choose the afternoon, try to have the open house early enough in the day so you have time to clean up before Monday. Of course, you can experiment with weeknight open houses and the frequency of open houses until you meet your goals.
Your ability to show that you lead a healthy and safe program will be a game changer for many parents. During the open house, especially during cold and flu season, make sure to have all your safety protocols in place. This could include verifying if it's a must for all adult attendees be vaccinated, providing hand sanitizer, having a well-stocked washroom, and a making it a requirement for those showing signs of illness to not attend.
Parents should be able to picture their children in your preschool. They should sense your program's safety, intention, and creativity.
Remove all clutter, personal belongings, and valuables. Depending on how many toys and objects you have, you may want to remove surplus materials and limit what kids have easy access to. Instead, set up intentional play provocations such as a table for play dough or open block space.
Unfortunately, open houses pose a security risk. You can avoid this by ensuring there are no valuables in the home or securely storing jewelry and other items in safely secure. You should also avoid leaving any valuables lying about during an open house.
Learning documentation is an excellent way for open-house attendees to get more familiar with your school. Set up or refresh a picture board or art board that shows what is happening with the kids in your school. Show what the journey of learning is, how the children connect with each other, and how you celebrate milestones with the children.
You can also use the board for relevant quotes, mission statements, and school philosophies. Try adding teacher bios and certification so parents can see what makes your program a high quality option.
A simple gesture of hospitality goes a long way. When guests enter the front door, greet them with a smile and a quick introduction. If you can't be at the door, make a colorful sign and add balloons or decorations to draw in folks.
As people look around your preschool, make yourself free to answer questions. If possible, have an assistant or friend manage the party tasks so you can be an available host.
If you book your event through your Wonderschool website, you'll have a record of who is attending and how to reach them later. However, you might have new guests come in. Make sure to have an iPad or sign-in sheet available to keep in contact with guests.
It's a great idea to follow up with parents and thank them for attending your open house event. In this email, you can ask them what they're looking for and encourage them to spread the word about your program.
Another way you can show hospitality and make the open house feel more welcoming is by offering refreshments to guests. Consider the time of year and the time of day to help you select what you serve. Here are a few ideas.
Anyone who wants to enroll their child in your program will want to learn as much as possible. Be sure to have a card, brochure, postcard, or flyer that can direct parents to your website. If you want to cut down on paper, creating a unique QR code for your school should be easy. Parents can scan your program information and save it on their smart phones.
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