By Chris Bennett

Whether in technology or business, when you look closely at how great ‘building’ happens, you discover the same core elements in place. There is always an understanding of environmental needs, working plans, and a foundation.

These principles are the same for building significant pipelines of quality child care programs where you will find exceptional engineering, support, and attention to function.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious lack of adequate programs. Child care deserts are everywhere. Teachers are quitting due to a lack of pay and flexibility. Working parents are forced to choose between their careers and their kids.

At this point, I’d say we–the collective we–know why it’s a must to help teachers, stay-at-home parents, and other qualified individuals create programs and grow existing ones.

But what excites me most is that my team at Wonderschool knows how. We have been helping others create incredible, home-based child care businesses and child care centers that parents can find easily for years and are able to help scale solutions.

Alongside our remarkable providers, we’ve been mastering the process for years of planning, starting, and growing quality programs. All across the nation, we enable teachers, states, agencies, and employers to build solid child care programs that are high functioning and high quality.

Three Wonderschool initiatives develop and establish new, sustainable child care programs: Wonderschool New Supply Program, Wonderschool Government Platform, and Wonderschool For Employers.

Wonderschool New Supply Program

Our new supply program helps fill the demand for child care with trained and ready child care directors becoming well-equipped child care business owners.

It begins with a 12-week virtual cohort where anyone interested in starting child care gets all-in-one industry and technology support. Our training covers best business practices, safety, curriculum, licensing, and 1:1 help as needed. It’s similar to an accelerator for child care businesses but also offers an instant, built-in community where providers find support.

Our first group of new supply cohort graduates matriculated recently. Among the newest providers is Yukari, a mom and Montessori teacher for many years, who had long wanted to start her own child care business.

She had all the abilities needed and had heavily researched what to do but found finishing the licensing process and forming a plan she could build on was difficult without proper support.

One day, while visiting a museum, she came upon a child care provider taking care of six children and found herself extremely impressed with how successful the provider was and the level of care she offered. She asked the provider how she got started, and she told her, “go to Wonderschool. They’ll give you everything you.”

Yukari joined our program and completed her part of the licensing process in just 3 months. She’s about to kick off her business with a community of other new directors and Wonderschool supporting her whenever she needs.

Her vision is finally taking shape, and soon, families in need of quality care will have one more place to go.

Wonderschool Government Program

Our platform helps governments create quality programs by understanding what’s available, what’s readily scalable, and what’s possible in the long term when it comes to recruiting new providers to start home-based programs.

Along with our New Supply Program for governments, we offer licensing, Early Childhood Education, and business support for governments looking to scaffold existing child care practices to the next level.

Some people are already taking care of children in their own homes, but the process of leveling up into a solid business isn’t there yet. Governments have identified this group and want to increase their visibility and profitability to ensure lasting child care coverage.

Building new programs and licensing existing ones requires allocating resources and funds wisely, so we help agencies manage their budget and grant opportunities to be used for successful program growth.

Wonderschool For Employers

Helping employers to find and launch child care for their workforce is another way we build child care programs. Wonderschool provides complimentary program creation and placement services.

Every company culture is unique, but they all benefit from child care options close to where people live and work.

Working parents are frequently constrained by a lack of accessible child care options. Wonderschool collaborates with employers to add child care benefits to their packages. We offer one-on-one concierge service to discover child care, design personalized child care programs and manage child care employee benefits.

Through Wonderschool For Employers, we create new programs and assist current ones with enrollment that are adjacent to company sites. This ensures enrollment slots for employees.

Wonderschool works with over 36,000 family child care providers in 43 states and can help businesses and parents nationwide.

Experience Makes Things Go Faster and Better

The expression ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ has a new meaning in this era. A ‘day’ back then could translate to an ‘hour’ when it comes to building.

Though I think its primary meaning is true – great things take time and skill – I also know that everything moves more quickly and efficiently once you know what to do.

One way we accelerate the process of creating high-quality programs is our tested method for ensuring strong growth.

    • We scope what the child care environment needs are for parents, providers, and networks. We start and end with listening and learning about their environment and pivot where need be.

    • For individuals, it might be helping them to understand how to create a home-based business with or without a formal education background.

    •For local states, it might be identifying the most significant social and behavioral hurdles and solutions in their region for providers and parents.

    • We create holistic plans for increasing child care businesses.

    • Our New Supply program and other child care creation services lay the groundwork using data and market insight to make critical decisions on where and how to establish growth.

    • Our dedicated engineering and product team create user-friendly technology based on feedback from child care providers, parents, and networks.

    • We emphasize quality. A successful child care business cannot exist without a commitment to quality.

    • Quality programs are what children need and, experience shows, tend to perform better in the market. Our ECE and multichannel service community are here to help providers raise and keep the bar high.

    • We consider all the parts that child care businesses need to function.

    •We are ardent fans of Louise Stoney’s Iron Triangle formula. High-functioning child care aligns with other business and market principles.

Tapping Into The Needs and Potential of Building Child Care

I am always looking at metaphors for the work we do. Sometimes they are handy when I have to explain to others what makes a strong child care business partner. Let’s keep the metaphors of ‘creating and building’ going.

I googled ‘what makes a building beautiful’ the other day.

Here’s a line that resonated with me: “a well-designed structure should provide both a safe space to be and sensory stimulation.”

This definition struck a chord with me. It reminds me of how we built Wonderschool and continue to help providers launch new child care programs.

When we met the first providers and governments, we knew they needed a safe space and friendly partner to launch their ambitious plans.

Because we studied the licensing process, markets, and edtech and fintech trends, we could assure them that they would thrive and would be backed by a trustworthy team.

To keep the parallel going, I’ll swap out ‘sensory stimulation’ for market stimulation. We built a child care finder marketplace at the same time that we helped providers open up the doors to their home-based programs.

Today our child care finder marketplace beautifully places new and existing programs on an easy-to-find website and instantly connects parents to caregivers.

For too long child care businesses have been left out of the conversation of what makes a viable market. We changed that with a marketplace that providers can personalize and parents can easily discover.

Our ability to create and then connect programs to parents grew more sophisticated and now we offer child care white label resources to states for their child care finding marketplaces.

New Channels of Child Care Require Readiness Too

We have a culture of creating at Wonderschool. We are ready to build quality child care program pipelines in every small neighborhood and major metropolis. Our inspiration point is the child care practitioners who have so much talent and our dedicated network and employer partners who want to solve community problems.

The approach in which we create innovative pipelines of child care programs is fueled by finding solutions for multiple, often overlapping segments.

We help individuals who want to create new styles of child care programming and states that need more widespread, regional child care consistency for families.

Our company culture is centered on supporting, saving time, and maximizing earnings for home-based child care providers while making many options available to parents.

When providers, networks, and employers join us, they become a part of a comprehensive child care business partnership. We collaborate and co-design child care pipelines that will have a lasting impact for years to come.

“Wonderschool does an amazing job listening to their clients and takes their feedback very seriously. Not many companies actively do that. You can tell it is part of the Wonderschool culture and vision” – Patricia Koon (ChildSavers).

We’ve already populated the child care landscape with some of the most creative and loved programs in the nation.

Our team-also spread out across the country-knows intrinsically well how to create more child care growth opportunities for providers, states, and businesses.

Let’s build the future of child care pipelines together!

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Image: Little Aprendiz Wonderschool