3 Things to Keep in Mind When Opening a New Classroom
Is your center growing so much that you need to start opening new classrooms? Are you growing a wait list that could be used to open another location? As the economy reopens and many companies look to move employees back to the office, the childcare industry is getting a boost and this is such exciting news!! That said, growing your center is hard work and will not happen without intentionality.
Today I want to talk specifically about opening a new classroom in your center. At the center I led we increased our enrollment space to open new classrooms until we developed a waiting list, then we expanded to another location. Although opening a new classroom might seem simple, it can be challenging. Today I want to share with you some tips I learned along the way.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when opening a new classroom at your child care center:
Timing is everything when it comes to increasing your space. I suggest that centers only open a new classroom at the start of a new season. When you open a new classroom make sure that you have enough interest that you can fill it and maintain your breakeven point for that particular class.
For our center this was either in September at the start of the school year or January at the start of the new year. These are two times that people make changes and I saw a ton of growth and enrollment in our programs during these times. The biggest mistake is opening a new classroom that you can not fill. Make sure you have enough demand and have done a breakeven analysis so that you’re not just rolling the dice with your growth plan.
As you plan for your new classroom I suggest using an existing staff member if possible. Opening a new classroom in your current center is a huge undertaking and training new staff in the process isn’t the wisest move.
When you can, use this as an opportunity to promote one of your assistant teachers from another classroom. This way the teacher already knows your school culture and can help you with the process of getting the room and curriculum ready for the children as well.
Once you have decided you’re ready to open another classroom, the biggest decision to make is what age group the classroom will serve. If you want to consider the growth of your school long-term I suggest opening classrooms for the younger age groups. By adding younger classes, you will continue to feed your school year after year . Growing your school from the youngest age group will prevent you from having to seek out new clients you will naturally fill up older age classes as the years go along.
The only time I would suggest starting a class for an older age group is when you have enough interest in the class that you have at least 80% capacity signed up and enrolled prior to opening. Online registration and payment can make this process easier. Depending on the year and the trends sometimes this makes sense. You will want to make sure that you have enough interest and ideally have paid deposits before you actually open.
As the economy picks up speed, the childcare industry is poised for continued growth. Opening a new classroom is such an exciting part of growing your business! Make sure you plan for growth by choosing your timing, training the right staff, and being selective about the age group you choose. If your center is not in this stage, it may be time to create a social media strategy to boost your market presence.
If your center is in a growth phase, strap in and enjoy the ride. Once you open a few classrooms you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed!