Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  Marketing a new program

    Posted 10-07-2021 10:03 AM
    Hello fellow educators! My name is Ariana DiNielli and I recently opened a project-based Kindergarten (Rifugio Austin) in Austin, Texas. The majority of my students have come through families that I know personally and have worked with in the past. I am looking for any insight or advice or success/ failure stories of how you have marketed and brought in new families to your program. I am very grateful for your time and energy!!

    Ariana DiNielli
    Owner/ Operator
    Rifugio Austin
    Austin TX

  • 2.  RE: Marketing a new program

    Posted 10-08-2021 08:39 AM
    One way I find works well is using local "mommy groups" on Facebook. We have gotten quite a few referrals from these groups and once your enrollment grows, you can ask moms to help support you on their groups.

    Dr.Pamela McCullough
    Program Director
    Newtown PA

  • 3.  RE: Marketing a new program

    Posted 10-08-2021 10:35 AM
    Congratulations on opening your program. Enrolling your first students is always the hardest.  Be patient, establish your brand/niche, coordinate your brand across the program, create and keep working a marketing plan (as you're doing with your Hello post), and complete at least one marketing task a day.  Everything you do is a marketing opportunity, especially as you engage within your community and network/s.  After your first year or so, the word of mouth and program recognition you create will generate many inquiries that often lead to enrollment.  At this time, I would include several target businesses and market directly to their HR and Operations departments as businesses see the connection between their workforce and child care more clearly now.  You will have to create an account, but Indiana has free, on-demand courses on marketing for early childhood programs as well as many other operational topics.  You should also check out a company called Wonderschool and see if that works for your program model and business goals.  Best of luck,                    

    Martha Rae, M.Ed.
    Early Childhood Advocate and Educator
    Valparaiso, IN

  • 4.  RE: Marketing a new program

    Posted 10-08-2021 12:16 PM
    Congratulations Ariana, 

    I also have a relatively new program. Attracting admissions was difficult at first. I had been a teacher at prestigious local schools, but I didn't look to bring any students with me from those programs, so essentially I had no track record. It sounds like your situation is better, at least on that front. The parents you already have are your best marketing tool.

    The biggest issue I had, one with which I still struggle, is the percentage of children I have admitted who bite, kick, scratch, and hit frequently. At least 1/3rd of the children in my program could be described in this way. I had to alter my staffing ratio to 3:1 to maintain a quality program (I don't have children younger than 2 in my program, so quite a lot of staff). I did not budget for this situation when I set tuition rates.

    I needed the students when I enrolled them (and I'm not sorry I did), but I could have made the situation better for myself with a trial period for new admits, I could have used that period to form realistic expectations about what it would take for a student to thrive in my program without an unreasonable burden on other children. At the end of your trial period, if I had concerns, I would have been able to check in with the parents to ensure that they would commit to any support I anticipated needing. I would have reminded everyone, even when I did not anticipate issues, about the requirements of my behavior management plan.

    I could also have helped my business with wording in the contract that shifts responsibility for paying for things like specialists and shadows to the parent (I have those things now) and with super-strong communication about challenging behaviors from the very first time (even if it seems like the kind of thing children that age do). 

    I was confident that I could resolve the small problems at school. Most of the time I was correct. But parents deserve to know, and consistent messaging to the children on all fronts is essential to reducing these behaviors. Avoiding a situation in which you are financially responsible for all of the in-school intervention that might be needed is important for the success of your business.

    Best of luck,