How to start a preschool? A complete guide
Education plays a vital role in developing a sense of understanding to distinguish between right and wrong. It has been seen as a trend in the last few years that parents tend to send their kids to preschools. They always search for the best preschool to keep their kids safe and inculcate good habits and values in them. The number of enrollment in these preschools is increasing subsequently. If you wish to start a preschool, you should be aware of the prerequisites of starting a preschool. We live in the 21st century, where we have childcare management software and preschool management software to help you run your preschool effortlessly.
Before starting your preschool, first, you should know the actual meaning of a preschool. A preschool is the first place a kid goes for the day after being taken care of at home. It is a place where a kid learns by doing various engaging activities. Here, a teacher’s prime duty is to observe the child’s behaviour and figure out their area of interest and nurture it. Preschool offers both indoor and outdoor learning experiences. Both should be included in the curriculum.
Indoor activities include:-
Playing with blocks
Puzzles and funny games
Dancing and singing
Learning music instruments
Speaking and interacting with others
Outdoor activities include:-
Playing with sand
Hide and seek
These are some examples of activities, but you have to ensure that the activities should be engaging and attract a kid’s attention as the kids who come to preschool are between 3 – 5 years old. So you have to keep this in mind while including activities in the curriculum.
It should be noted here that starting a preschool requires lots of funds. Without adequate financial assistance, it won’t be easy to run the school smoothly. Starting from security to paying salaries, especially during the initial stages, you require funds. However, you can find various ways to get funds like banks, sponsors etc. In case you lack funds, then you can approach a bank and can apply for a loan. You can also invite sponsors so they can contribute. The US Department of Education has been deploying Preschool Development Grants for some particular states – you can check if your state falls into those grants and apply for those grants. Thus the financial aspect of preschool cannot be ignored or disregarded. These days crowdfunding is becoming very famous. You can raise funds through crowdfunding as well. There are various crowdfunding organizations in the USA like Kiva, Funding Circle, Kickstarter etc.
Like many other businesses, the playschool business is also on the rise. It is not only a respectful business but also brings prestige. A preschool’s success depends on various factors, which we will discuss further in the article in a more elaborate way. Since running a preschool is an uphill task full of responsibilities, you need to hire people who will be handling various activities of the preschool efficiently and numerous other things. You also have to find a suitable location and place considering multiple factors. After everything is done, then focus on advertising your preschool. We hope this article will assist you in running your preschool profitably.
Points To Remember While You Start A Preschool
You need to keep in mind the following points before starting your preschool:-
Naming your preschool
The name plays a vital role in popularising your preschool. You should be very careful while selecting a name as it should not be similar to anyone else. Otherwise, you may have to face legal consequences. So it is paramount to choose a perfect name. The name should have the following characteristics:-
Simple and best
Don’t choose too much of a professional name. It should connect with the students and should be visible in the market. Although naming your preschool does not seem to be a big task, it is the first step towards starting a new business. Some good name examples include Over the Rainbow Childcare, Kidcave Preschool, The Children’s Cloud etc.
Select an appropriate type of preschool
There are different types of preschools, and they run various programs according to their type. The types of preschool based on the curriculum and educational philosophy are:-
1. Montessori preschools
The curriculum and activities are different. Here, a personalised curriculum is made for each student according to their interests. It is self-paced and individualised learning.
If you don’t want to start a preschool of your own due to a lack of sufficient funds, then you can also take a franchise. You will get lots of benefits from taking a preschool franchise such as brand name and recognition. It will help you to understand how a preschool works. It will save you money, and you can invest them in some other activities. You can visit various websites to know more about preschools offering franchises.
This curriculum is based on the teachings of Austrian writer Rudolf Steiner. Here, the curriculum is designed in a way to develop a child’s eagerness to learn and develop talents with the help of creativity. Every teacher must be Waldorf certified. This program focuses on developing the mind, body and soul of the child with the help of rhythmic repetition of activities.
3. Reggio Emilia
Developed in Italy in the 1940s, the concept of Reggio Emilia focuses on the holistic development of the child with a focus on the intellectual, creative and emotional capabilities of the child. Here the curriculum highly encourages teamwork and collaboration with the help of arts, projects and other activities. The teaching pedagogy is more about progressive learning rather than some already set up benchmark rules.
Highscope curriculum is crafted in a way to make children not only study but also experience and learn life skills like crisis management and problem-solving. The curriculum is based on the child’s progress and performance of the present compared to the past. In order to provide a holistic learning approach, children are taught about how to start and work on a project and how to finally analyze the results.
5. Parents Co-op
Parents co-op is a cooperative organization where parents play a major role in management. This is a good way to directly understand their child’s needs both intellectually and emotionally. The curriculums can include any of the other teaching philosophies.
6. Bank Street
This curriculum is based on the educational philosophy developed by John Dewym which gives importance to the holistic development of a child. The idea here is about collaboration rather than competition and focuses on the active participation of the child. Activities like building blocks, clay crafting etc. can be a part of this curriculum.
These preschools are run by religious authorities like churches and can follow religion-based education philosophies or may follow the above mentioned educational curriculum.
The following are the types of preschool based on the timing demarcation:-
These preschools open just for two to seven hours per day or just a couple of days in a week. The fees and expenses of such preschools are less.
Long day preschools
It opens for the whole day and also provides lunch facilities for the students. The fees and expenses are high.
First of all, you need to train yourself if you don’t have prior experience managing any educational institution’s day-to-day activities. You are also required to pre-plan your business objectives concerning affiliations, teaching style, and many other things. Formulating a business plan is a crucial aspect that demands due diligence and includes many other factors that cannot be overlooked. The success and failure of preschool will wholly depend on this plan only, so you need to be very careful to avoid any mistakes.
Different countries have different rules and regulations for starting a preschool. Registration and securing a license is mandatory. You even need to comply with numerous legal formalities. Different countries have different rules for licensing. The following basic things that you should do to get the license to run a preschool:
Approach various agencies that provide support regarding licensing.
Before giving the license, the government officials may visit the campus to inspect the area and check your staff’s background.
Different states in the US have different regulations for preschools. For example, the student-teacher ratio in the state of California cannot be more than 12:1. Likewise, you will have to contact the specific State Department of Education to understand the laws effective in that particular state. If you would like to gain more information based on child care resources for each state, you need to visit this official website.
You can even appoint a lawyer who can look after these rules and laws as the common man fails to comprehend these laws and makes a mistake. It is better to do extensive research before proceeding further.
The Departments to approach for licensing are different for different states. For example, for the state of Illinois – you will have to contact the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Family Services. You can get all your licensing information from the US Government’s official website on childcare licensing regulations.
Selection of Location
Choosing an appropriate place is paramount, as you need to consider many factors such as transportation facilities, area, etc. If you wish to start a preschool in a rented building, you need to check whether the building is safe for little kids. All safety measures need to be taken to avoid any mishap. Government rules regarding safety should be obeyed. Good infrastructure is also vital in the administration of a preschool. Interior designing should be done in such a way that is appealing and attracts students. The following things need to be taken into consideration before choosing a space for your school.
You have to ensure that the place is near a police station, hospital, and fire station. So in case of any emergency, immediate help can be sought.
Space should be spacious. So it can accommodate maximum students and staff as small places can create suffocation and breathing issues.
Apart from the inner space, the building should also have some open area where students can play, and outdoor activities can be performed easily.
Whether that area has any preschool or not, and if it has any preschool, how many preschools are there.
How many preschools in that locality are famous and successful.
If you don’t wish to take any building for rent and want to build yours, then take help from a good architecture. They will tell you everything that suits an ideal preschool.
Pro-tip – Always use light, kid-friendly colours to paint the walls like peach or light turquoise.
It is not a matter of concern which preschool you choose to open, but business insurance is a must. There are two types of insurance which you may require.
General liability insurance
Professional liability insurance or commercial property insurance
You can also seek assistance from a small business administrator’s website if you are in the US. However, various preschool licensing rules govern the type of insurance policy you can take. You can choose from various daycare and preschool insurance providers like Trusted Choice, Diamond Cut Insurance Group, etc.
Insurance is helpful in case of loss. Depending upon the size and capital investment, you can take an insurance policy. It is common knowledge that the risk is higher in running a business. So taking insurance will be best to safeguard yourself from any unexpected and sudden loss.
Form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
This will be the best thing to do if you are taking a bank loan to finance your school. The most significant advantage of an LLC is that your personal property will not be attached to pay off your debts in case of any legal case. It will be useful only when you are taking a large amount from the bank to run your school. But it is to be noted here that you have to pay a much higher tax in the case of an LLC. Also note that as per each state, the name end of the company registered with LLC will differ (Limited Company, Limited Liability Company, LLC, etc.)
The hiring process demands your time and alertness. First, you have to figure out how many teachers you will hire. You have to set eligible criteria before inviting the application for the job. The minimum qualification should ideally be something like the following:-
Must be a graduate; preference may be given to the applicant having a bachelor’s in education.
The minimum age should be 22yrs.
But have at least one or more years of teaching experience in preschool.
Must have excellent communication skills.
Must have a basic training certificate, and any additional qualification will be appreciated.
These are some basic qualifications. However, you may modify it as per your need. Since this is a preschool, you cannot entrust any random person with responsibilities. You need sensible and trustworthy individuals. Before hiring anyone, you need to first thoroughly check their background. Properly trained teachers need to be hired so that students can have the best learning experience. Provide them with the required training so that they can give their best in serving your preschool with full devotion and dedication. You also have to maintain a proper record of all the teaching and non-teaching staff.
Proper security personnel, maintenance staff, and other helping staff need to be hired simultaneously. After getting potential candidates, you have to check the following things before interviewing them:
He or she should not have any criminal history.
He or she should not be an offender.
Any case in the court is pending or not.
Apart from hiring a workforce, you need to purchase some necessary supplies such as books, puzzles, toys, and soft toys. The preschool should be colorful so that students can learn and play without any hesitations.
Pro tips:- Always focus on quality than quantity
Curriculum Design and Development
After the appointment process is over, you should immediately start with the formulation of the teaching curriculum. Some well-known teaching curriculums you can choose from are based on the educational philosophies like Monterssori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Highscope, Bank Street. The curriculum should focus more on the practical approach than the theoretical one. It should teach them basic English and manners with the help of poems or stories. Never burden them with the heavy bag. Sometimes the government mandates few things that should be included in the curriculum. You have to thoroughly research this before finalizing any curriculum. You can take the help of education agencies in your locality. Attend various workshops and get an idea. If you are a newbie in the education sector, then you have to take support from any professional in mapping out the curriculum. There are various preschool curriculum options and resources for homeschooling which you can refer to easily and get some idea from – an example being, Oak Meadow, Time4Learning, Horizons etc.
Your curriculum should include:-
Proper assessment process
Both indoor and outdoor activities
Teaching basic manners and etiquette
Once the curriculum is carved out, you need to update it regularly as per the need. You can either create a curriculum on your own or take any pre-made regular curriculum used by other preschools. However, it’s your call.
Pro tip:- Curriculum will be the heart of your preschool. Formulate it with caution.
Use of Advanced Technology
Undoubtedly, technology has made our lives easier. Nowadays, you can get the best preschool apps that will help you manage preschool affairs. For example, the daycare software by Illumine has numerous great features, such as offering CCTV access to parents; allowing parents to access CCTV streaming from the app without any additional cost. This uses intelligence to control access based on attendance. Schools that offer pickup/drop services can allow parents to track vehicle location in real-time and get alerts for pickup, drop, etc. Schools don’t have to spend extra money on buying tracking devices as it works with GPS tracking.
Schools can load standard assessment frameworks like EYFS, Montessori, or country-specific frameworks with the help of preschool software. It has many more unique features which you can use. One of them is that the school or parent can share any document from the app instead of printing and sending it. Many schools request vaccination cards and allergy reports, which can be easily uploaded through an app. It will help teachers to create new lessons or use existing lessons to create a weekly lesson plan along with learning material. They can download this plan and print it also if they want to put it in the class. It will be a great way to optimize the operations of your preschool.
Promotion and Marketing
New preschools require a lot of branding and advertising to make others aware of the school. You can list your preschool on some preschool database of the government or any website to boost your preschool as it will draw the parents’ attention. You can also organize a big inaugural function. Design hoardings, pamphlets, and create a website of your preschool and circulate it to the public at large. You can contact any professional of your network to give his or her recommendations and testimonials. You can also send a few emails to your targeted audience. These small acts will render a favorable outcome. You can even start your preschool with your relatives or friends. It will be of great help.
If you are financially strong, then you can also approach an advertising agency to promote your preschool. The result of such promotion will be fruitful. To get quality ratings and accreditation, you need to register your preschool with the local authorities to make it credible and to ensure maximum admissions. You can also request the government for grants. You need to write an application to the education department stating the reason why you want grants and why you deserve grants. The government, after determining itself that the grant demand is genuine, will sanction the grant.
Here is an amazing example that you can refer to, to get a creative idea on how to promote your preschool according to your budget. UNICEF conducted a “Preschool for All” campaign in 2015 which was quite impactful.
Take One Step Ahead with Illumine
Starting a preschool can be rewarding as you will be educating children to become responsible citizens of a country. However, it requires you to be passionate, responsible, and most importantly, hard-working. But it is safe to say that the process has been made easier with the advent of tech. We have preschool software such as Illumine that will take more than half of your responsibilities. You need to update, renovate, and improve your preschool so that students can utilize it to its fullest. It will result in setting up a benchmark for other preschools, and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of healthy competition.
Illumine app is one of the best daycare management software. It is user-friendly and among the most trusted software used by around 300 preschools to manage their everyday operations adroitly. Some of the features of this app are mentioned below:-
It sends daily plans and activity reports instantly to parents or guardians with the touch of a button. Document meal and water intake in real-time. It records nap times & nappy changes with a click.
It records child progress and informs parents about the activities performed at school with personalised feedback.
With unlimited storage, you can send any number of photos, videos and tag students with one click. You can also share and download photos & videos with your school branding.
You can manage all billing transactions, payments, refunds & credits through the app. It also creates and sends an invoice to parents easily.
You can also reach out to the parents instantly via call, message, text, or email.
Parents can ask queries through messaging, and any teacher can answer them; instead of sending it to a specific teacher Illumine sends it to all teachers of that class so anyone can answer it.
Schools can use staff communication to message any staff directly or as a group. Staff can also communicate with each other instead of using Whatsapp or email. This has also helped during current times when everybody is working remotely.
Staff can apply for leave and get approval. Permission & Role system, which is unique in Illumine, allows fine-grain access control for any user. They can enable and disable any operation for any staff.
Preschool owners can assure parents of their child’s safety while coming to preschool by letting them track the bus route in a simple way similar to any other cab service using our school bus tracking system. Get alert when the bus picks up the child. Get updates when the bus is about to reach the pickup point on your bus tracking app.
Schedule virtual classes with parents, invite parents, use the whiteboard to present & collaborate. Record the classes and share them with the parents. Allow parents to share questions using the comment thread. Parents can also share kids’ work back to school.
Illumine has got amazing reviews from happy and satisfied teachers, parents and preschool owners. Almost 3-4 hours per teacher monthly and save paper cost, which is a big saving. These were some of the app features, and by using this app, you can reduce the consumption of paper and protect the environment as well. But make sure to take parent’s feedback so you can improve your services. We hope that this article answers all the questions pertaining to running a preschool profitably. Good luck!
Also if you would like to check out the Illumine app, request a demo now.
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