Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

  • 1.  First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-22-2021 03:10 PM
    Hi Everyone!

    My name is Monica and I would like to start my own preschool in Houston TX.  This dream institution will be based around multiculturalism, multilingualism, and music education for infants through kindergarten.  I already have a mission statement and a thorough structural outline.  I have a partner in a fantastic teacher friend of mine who will help me build this program, design the curriculum, and be a lead teacher and I plan to get certified to be the director.  I am currently in a Child Development Associate-Administration Certificate Degree Program to fulfill the remaining requirements needed to eventually apply for a director's license.  But the major question now- is what do we do first?? Do we find a space? Do we find preliminary investors? What are the very first steps we should take?  I would really love to hear from others who have started their own independent preschools.

    Thank you so much for your help!
    Monica

    ------------------------------
    Monica Isomura
    Head Teacher/Co-director
    HCRJ Preschool
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-22-2021 03:50 PM
    Hi Monica,
    I too am starting a preschool here in California.  I found that I am searching for the correct zoning to open a preschool.  At the same time estimating and finding funding. So I think the building and the funds to start up will be the first hurdle to cross.
    Thank you

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-23-2021 11:12 AM
    Hi Monica!
    Congratuations on starting your own preschool!  It sounds like you have a clear vision of the school's philosophy and curriculum which is fantastic.  Having a partner is also key- this is great news!

    From idea conception to the first day of school, it took me 9 months to open a cooperative preschool.  As you are at the beginning of this journey, I highly recommend you create a detailed business plan to include your target market, budget, staff and family recruitment, etc.  I worked with a small business counselor at the local community college (for free!) who helped me explore these details at length.  I also collaborated with the local chamber of commerce and county early childhood office who were vital to my understanding the legal requirements for starting such a venture.  Also, I had a mentor who was the director at another preschool that provided referrals for insurance agents and an organization that helped me apply for non-profit status.  As you are well aware, the the profit margins in early learning programs are razor thin, so being attuned to the business aspects of your school is essential for its initial success and longevity.

    If you have any questions or want to talk more, please reply privately.
    The intersection of entrepreneurship and early childhood is my passion!

    Warmly,
    Kate McKenney, EdD
    www.linked.in/in/katehmckenney

    ------------------------------
    Kate McKenney
    Founder
    Launch
    Dpo AE
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-23-2021 04:46 PM
    Hi Kate!

    Thank you so much for your detailed message! I would really love to talk more with you and ask you some more questions.  This is all so overwhelming. Starting up a school in only 9 months is absolutely remarkable and I'd love to hear how you did that.  I'll be able to write more on Monday when my kids are back in school:) Thanks again!

    Monica

    ------------------------------
    Monica Isomura
    Head Teacher/Co-director
    HCRJ Preschool
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-24-2021 10:36 AM
    Hi, Ms Kate, 
    Congratulations on starting your preschool. I am in California and very interested in opening one in the fall / winter2021.
    I really need help and resources. I will appreciate if you can give me these and tips. Thanks. 





  • 6.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-23-2021 10:25 PM
    Hi Monica. Congratulations!!  So excited for you.  I own my own preschool for children 2 and a half to 5 years of age in PA.   It was a lifelong dream I had and I am in the middle of my 16th year of owning the preschool.  It has been such a rewarding and amazing experience.  I was lucky enough to have found an existing private preschool whose owner was looking to sell.  I met with her in September and everything lined up for purchase by December.  I shadowed her January throuugh May and when the school year started in September,  I had everything in place including registration (which I did in January),  was able to get licensed through the summer as I had my staff lined up by then as well, and made revisions to mission statement, and curriculum.  We also had the time to shop for the insurance, etc...  The preschool i purchased actually leased space in a church, who decided when they found out owner was selling, not to re-new lease to me.  Thankfully the church down the street did offer me the classroom and extra spaces I needed and here we are 16 years later.  So, I think starting from scratch,  you may want to find a "home" keeping in mind your state's requirements for space for licensing.  From there you can figure out each classroom capacity and begin developing your budget/tuition/salaries.   I highly recommend church spaces as most are willing to lease out their space as long as you are taking the liability from them.  So glad you have a friend joining you and finding the right staff who share your vision is key as they will want to see you succeed and go above and beyond in providing their students with the warmth and nurturing they need in the early years.  It seems overwhelming in the beginning but honestly if you take one step at a time, it's really not hard and there are so many resources out there,  which I can assist you with but being in PA I know the requirements and regulations are different.
    Best of luck to you.  You're going to have a wonderful program.

    ------------------------------
    Karen Patton
    Owner/Director
    Love 'n' Learn Christian Preschool
    Garnet Valley PA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-24-2021 06:10 AM
    Congratulations Monica on your decision to open your own Preschool with your partner and friend.  I know you all will do great.  Just a little advice on starting your own business, the best and first start is your local Small Business Development Center.  They will help, and guide, you in writing your business plan for you and your partner, and possible future investors, or a bank in order to do it on your own.  While working with your local SBDC, they will direct you to also register your business name, once you have a unique name that is yours alone, with your Secretary of State as a LLC, Corp, or Inc.  your physical address can be your residence until you secure your physical building & get a P O Box for mailing address.  Please don't forget to secure your EIN from www.irs.gov; they will give your several options based on the entity chosen LLC, etc.  select the one that you would use to open a bank account . (for business account payables, receivables, payroll, etc..) You also want to complete IRS form 2553 to select S-Corp to minimize your tax liability; download it and mail separately as your entity structure. Also go to Dun & Bradstreet to get a DUNS number for your business.  You can use your business EIN & DUNS number to establish each of your business account with the bank, vendors etc...  and it also helps to build your business credit and minimize any personal financial risk/liability.

    The above are the basic steps; your SBDC with help and guide you the rest of the way.  Again I want to say congrats.

    Brenda H.

    ------------------------------
    Brenda Hardaway
    A Great Place 4 Kids
    Suisun City CA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-24-2021 07:28 AM
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

    ------------------------------
    Julia Davis
    Bradenton FL
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-24-2021 09:10 AM
    Hi Monica,

    What a great dream and goal to open your own preschool. Also, I appreciate the focus on multiculturalism, multilingualism, and music education. Our program is Los Ninos Services. We have 2 large special education preschool like programs and we are one of the larger home care providers in NYC. If I were starting again I would be as clear as possible about my goals and ask important questions, like the ones you had in your email. I would consider franchise, Head Start as the effort to start from scratch is large. My very first steps would be to ask myself the critical questions as the answers will help you with the practical steps and decisions to follow.

    RESOURCES:
    I have used our small business centers in New York. They not only have a blueprint but they usually have mentors (successful business owners with experience) to guide you through your journey. If I were starting again the first thing I would do would be to connect with a mentor or mentors to help guide me through the process in order to have a greater chance to be successful. There are also entrepreneur organizations such as the Entrepreneurs Organization which have people and programs to help smaller organizations grow. I can share more on those.

    A main small business development center in Houston is
    https://www.sbdc.uh.edu/sbdc/Houston_Center_SBDC.asp

    Some Important Questions 

    - WHO do you wish to serve? Low Income, Middle Income, High Income? English speakers wanting their children to learn another or other languages? English Language Learners. Your answer to these questions will affect where you locate, whether you set up as a nonprofit or for profit, who you will ask on your board of directors (and you might have a separate board of advisors)

    - What are the potential benefits & potential issues in running a business as a partnership with this potential partner? (dig deep on this one to try to anticipate potential issues later)

    - If you decide to partner, and later decide not to partner, strongly consider setting up a partnership agreement so the exit can be as graceful as possible.

    - Non profit or for profit there are advantages/disadvantages to each

    - Funding requirements, source of funding, profit split (if for profit)

    - Finding investors or funding sources that are a good match overall including money and how they will exit

    - Financial goals for the center and your financial goals. Including planning for several projections/possibilities - such as being prepared if the center would make money and also if it loses money.

    Ping me if you wish to chat about initial steps and questions. 


    ------------------------------
    Scott Mesh, PhD, CEO
    Los Niños Services (NYC) www.losninos.com
    Young Child Expo & Conference www.youngchildexpo.com
    scott.mesh@losninos.com
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottmeshnyc/
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-24-2021 09:30 AM
    Hi Monica,
    Congratulations on starting your preschool.  I just went through the process of getting my basement licensed.  However, I am looking for a space outside of my home to operate my preschool. Maybe we can share information,  although some regulations will be different, I am in Michigan. I'm researching business plan and zoning.
    Good Luck to us both!

    Michelle
    Beyond the Bell Preschool

    ------------------------------
    Michelle Cook
    Associate Teacher
    Advanced Technology Academy
    Dearborn MI
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-25-2021 10:00 AM
    Hi Monica,

    What an exciting undertaking! Others in the thread have mentioned the importance of a business plan. While specific to establishing a nature-based preschool, we have a free business plan outline on our website that might be useful for you. You can find it here. The document is titled "Guidance for Nature-based Business Planning."

    Good luck!

    Rachel

    ------------------------------
    Rachel Larimore
    Chief Visionary
    Samara Early Learning, LLC
    Midland MI
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-25-2021 12:20 PM
    Hi Rachel,

    Thank you so much for sending that.  I just read through the guidance for business planning document and it was extraordinarily helpful- eye-opening really.  It made me really question where in the world I would get the funds to cover just the business planning stage.  I certainly do not personally have the money to do it, so I feel I need to find investors or grants.  Is it possible to get investors to give funds up front before the business plan is even created? Just based on an exciting mission and curriculum overview?

    Thank you for your help,
    Monica

    ------------------------------
    Monica Isomura
    Head Teacher/Co-director
    HCRJ Preschool
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-25-2021 12:54 PM
    Dear Monica,
    My name is Linda Draper. I have much experience and am actually in HOuston and would love to share my knowledge and to support you as you make the leap to begin your own program. If you want to reach out you can find us at www.blossomheights.com or you can call me and we can meet. I know lots of people in Houston and have in the past benefited greatly from the help of others who had gone before me, and i have been in the position of helping so please reach out. So exciting for you as you start this journey.

    ------------------------------
    Linda Draper
    Director
    Blossom Heights Child Development Center
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-25-2021 01:06 PM
    Hi Linda,

    Wow, thank you so much for your generous offer.  That means a lot to me and I would absolutely love your guidance.  Would you be able to meet on zoom sometime in the next few days?

    Thank you again!
    Monica

    ------------------------------
    Monica Isomura
    Head Teacher/Co-director
    HCRJ Preschool
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-25-2021 01:22 PM
    Sure- i am available for either Thursday or Friday this week if you'd like to talk.


    ------------------------------
    Linda Draper
    Director
    Blossom Heights Child Development Center
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: First steps in starting my own Preschool??!

    Posted 01-26-2021 09:53 AM
    Congratulations, Monica! You are embarking upon a huge, but of course, worthwhile, endeavor! I would offer another suggestion. If you can get some grant money or an SBA loan, which during this time of COVID, is entirely possible, especially with your vision and focus, you might look into hiring an Early Childhood Consultant to get your program off the ground. Someone to help you do a Needs Assessment or someone in your area that would be familiar with zoning and licensing requirements and could help you write and submit your application. Maybe even someone who has experience as a grant writer (they might be willing to write their services into the grant). Check out Early Childhood Consultants Directory at https://eceexperts.com/index.aspx. And as another tip, definitely take some business, computer, and accounting classes at your local community college. It will be information you use from here on out. Good Luck!

    ------------------------------
    Amy Gottschamer
    Executive Director
    Googols of Learning Child Development Center
    Lawrence KS
    ------------------------------