I am curious to know how you determined there is a desperate need for early childhood education (ECE) programs in your community. It sounds to me like you and your husband about the experience to build a business.
I am based in Washington, DC where we have had Universal Pre-k for 3 and 4 yr. olds in effect for 10 years. Our Pre-k system includes the traditional public school system, DCPS, Charter Schools and Community-based ECE programs. It's a parent choice system and is connected to legislation. As with any legislation, from my experience, we have challenges implementing the law, however, I believe, the system is improving. I found families are focused on selecting a quality Pre-k program, as their top priority, and then determine which program is convenient and best meet their needs as a family. During the 10 years, families seem to value the choices. Sometimes they choose a community-based program, approved by our state education department, because they believe their child isn't ready to be in a school with older children.
As one who had the opportunity to lead the implementation of 2 Pre-k classrooms in a community-based program, I found how you market the program is a key factor in the success of attracting and retaining families in the Pre-k classrooms. Also, identifying key indicators as evidence your Pre-k classrooms are high quality is important. For example, is your ECE program nationally accredited, what has been the outcome of your most recent licensing visit, scores on the Environmental Rating Scales and CLASS, etc.
The latest opportunity is DC Public Schools System and Charter Schools are partnering with Community-based ECE programs to have an infant/toddler program in the school.
For me, Reggio Emilia is an approach to use to create a high quality learning environment to provide evidence the children have the foundation they need to succeed in school and life. I also am aware of Reggio infused programs that incorporate this approach into an evidenced-based program for the children they serve. I think it is helpful to know how Reggio Emilia is viewed by your potential customers, the families, and if it is an approach they value enough to enroll their child in your program.
While some of our Community-based ECE programs has families choose a Pre-k classroom other than the one they operate, I think having a strategic plan and a marketing plan may have played a role in the families choosing another option. My experience, as a former administrator and director of ECE programs is that families select high quality programs that provide them with the evidence they want to know their child will be successful in school and life.
I would suggest contacting your NAEYC affiliate to find out what resources and support they have available to those who are interested in open an Early Childhood Education business. I would also suggested coming to the NAEYC Annual Conference in Nashville, TN in November to continue to learn about the field of ECE.
If there is anything I can possibly do to be of assistance to you and your husband, please let me know.
Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
Better Futures LLC
Sent: 08-10-2019 05:44 AM
From: Gina Bennett
Subject: New Early Learning Plaza
My husband and I are grandparents who have each had more than one career already. But we see a desperate need for childcare choices in our community and are thinking of opening a childcare center.
My background is in hospital fundraising and community engagement. My husband retired from 31 years of teaching middle school and has a M-Ed Admin. We've both had successful small businesses, but Early Learning Is new to us. That being said, we are passionate about the expertise needed for high quality preschool and daycare for our most precious resource. Therefore, we believe childcare workers must be recognized and compensated well for their contribution to our communities.
We understand the State of Oregon has committed $$$ to help the K-12 school districts start their own childcare programs 0-5 with an emphasis on kindergarten readiness.
My questions to you is how do you see K12 impacting current childcare options in your community? Do you think state funded preschool and daycare programs will be accepted by the parents? Would a Reggio Emilia approach be a viable alternative? What percentage of your clientele will you lose to free public programs?
Have any of you conducted parent surveys? If so can you recommend a service?
i am new to this forum. I appreciate your work and will welcome your comments.
Baker City, Oregon
Early Learning Advocate
Baker City, Oregon