When you start your in-home preschool, you may be worried you won’t be able to fill your program. If you don’t have enough interested families, it will be hard to support yourself and your worst fears about starting your own business may come true.
Even if you eventually want to serve preschool-aged children, opening your program to infants and toddlers at first will help you reach your enrollment and financial goals. It can even set the stage for you to expand to 3-5-year-olds in the future.
We advise many of our directors to start with younger children first.
If you’re only marketing your program to families with 3-5-year-olds, you’ll find you are swimming in a very competitive – and small – pool. Many families are already committed to a preschool long before their child has even turned three.
In the traditional enrollment process, preschools start admissions a year ahead of time. They send out decisions of acceptance in March. Families then commit with a non-refundable deposit to start school in September.
As a new in-home preschool, competing with established schools for 3-5-year-olds will be tough. You’ll only attract those who didn’t get into the preschool of their choice, have just moved to the area, or aren’t satisfied with their current school.
If you start your in-home preschool with infants or toddlers, however, you increase the size of your target market to families that are not committed to a preschool already.
As a family child care, you can start your in-home preschool with children under the age of three, unlike most traditional preschool centers.
One of the side effects of the traditional preschool enrollment frenzy is the growing desire of parents to enroll their children in enriching programs at a much younger age. Parents are realizing their children reap many social and emotional benefits when they start care earlier.
More and more families are seeking care starting at two years and younger. This is an underserved demographic. If you accept younger children, you’ll fill this niche and have an easier time reaching your enrollment goals.
As a provider, you can expect a higher rate of return and a longer client life cycle with younger children compared to other age groups.
For example, if a child enrolls in your program at age two and does well, parents are more likely to leave their child in your program until age five, rather than switching them into a preschool center.
When students return over a number of years, you to build trust with the family, achieve better outcomes and communication, and foster better relationships.
Besides the unmistakable benefits of continuity of care for children, accepting infants and toddlers will also allow for long-term, consistent tuition fees to meet your financial goals.
When you work with Wonderschool, you can start accepting families to your program immediately after director licensing and vetting. Parents can grab a spot once it’s available – they don’t have to book a year ahead of time like in traditional preschool centers.
Since infants and toddlers are usually not committed to other programs, your target market won’t be tied to the school year and you can expect enrollment all year long.
This is better for everyone: you aren’t competing with the traditional preschool system for families, and parents won’t have to wait until the fall to enroll.
Because you’re tapping into an underserved demographic, increasing your target market and thus increasing your opportunities for enrollment, you can expect to hit your enrollment and tuition goals faster than you would otherwise.
This will allow you to rely on steady enrollment and tuition. You will have the freedom to shift your enrollment to the age group you most want to serve in the future, with increased security.
Find out more about becoming a Wonderschool director and starting your own in-home preschool here.
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