6 Things You Need to Do For Preschool Registration
Although in some ways time in 2020 has seemed to slow to a crawl, November is finally here. That means fall weather, pumpkin spice lattes - and the end of the year is just around the corner!! Depending on your preschool program, this could mean re-enrollment is also just around the corner.
We all know that as essential as enrollment time is, it can also be a busy time of year that stretches time management skills and raises stress levels, making your head feel like a pumpkin on the way to a pie bake. Yikes!
At my center, we enrolled children in January for a September start. By May we normally had about 90% of our spots filled up. This made it super easy to plan for the year ahead because most of the enrollment was complete and we knew more or less what we were getting into.
For this reason, whether families will be re-enrolling for your program or enrolling for the first time, it is important to manage this season well to get the most families enrolled and secured as early as possible while avoiding being crushed by the increased stress and workload.
Today, I want to share 6 specific things we did at my center during the enrollment period to help set us up for success. Let’s dig in!
1. Advertise Early and Often
The key to anything is planning ahead, right?! Most families also like to plan ahead, so I suggest advertising re-enrollment to current child care families at least a month in advance (and about the same for prospective families). This gives them time to plan, research, and prepare before they enroll. There are many ways to advertise with a range of costs, but some things we tried include Facebook ads, a local banner, and google ads.
If you’re on a tight budget, a great way to increase exposure is to simply put a pop-up banner at the front desk or design your own local mailer to hand out in your neighborhood. Once you’ve caught someone’s eye, it’s good to get an information packet in their hand before they move on.
2. Build an Information Packet
No matter how much we moved our business online, many parents seem to want something in print to look through. During an enrollment period, I always make sure to update all the information in our information packet and have them ready to hand out. This is great for current families as well as ones that just walk in asking for info. This shows them that you are ready for them and that they’re not the only families to walk in your door!
3. Prepare Your Team:
Although you or the admin staff might know all the details, in my experience parents talk far more to their child’s teacher than to the admin. It’s so important that you keep your team in the loop about important enrollment information, dates, and specials, or at least make sure they can point parents to people who can help. Parents will often ask teachers first, and it speaks to the professional nature and superior communication of your center when teachers are ready with the answers.
4. Set a Start Date
By having a specific start date for enrollment, you create a sense of urgency for families to help them get the ball rolling. It’s important to communicate with them ahead of time when enrollment is coming up and how they can enroll. Depending on your center you may fill up on day one so it’s important to let families know so they can prepare to get their application in on time and avoid disappointment.
5. Host an Event
Hosting an open house is a great way to showcase your center and the high-quality services you provide to a large number of people in a short amount of time. In today's climate there may be restrictions depending on where you are located, but don’t be afraid to improvise.
If group sizes are limited in your state or region, explore the option of hosting a virtual open house where you can give parents a live tour without them having to come to the center. This will provide a safe experience for parents, while still allowing you to give them the information they need.
6. Offer an Early Bird Incentive
Especially if your center is not on a waiting list it’s important to have an early enrollment incentive. At my center, we would waive the registration fee for all families who signed up at our open house event (which was usually the first day to enroll).
This adds to the urgency to enroll and gets your enrollment started early, while giving your families a small financial break which they will love! It also adds a bit of excitement to the open house, where prospective families can feel that you value their interest and will treat them fairly in the future as well.
As you enter into the busy enrollment season I hope you find that advertising early, and setting a start date helps create some urgency, while hosting an event, and offering an early bird incentive will help you increase exposure for your child development programs.
The key to any successful event is always PLANNING, so plan well ahead of time for this season and make sure your staff is in the loop as well. By reading this blog you are already showing initiative and foresight, so I hope you try these tips to grow your center and make your life easier.
If you aren’t using software yet (or aren’t happy with your current provider), an affordable, easy to use childcare software like Sandbox can help make the enrollment process at your center a breeze. Use quality software and the tips above to take your preschool center to the next level.
Get started free today or book a tour with us to see why childcare centers across the globe have rated Sandbox Software #1 in value, ease of use, and customer support!