As center directors begin to apply the lessons learned from their CD Academies to their Back to School plans, ONE editors asked Best In Class CDs for their tips on preparing for the busiest season in the Knowledge Universe year.
Val Vazquez from Carol Stream, Ill., encourages her teachers to communicate with parents about the fall program. Her teachers host curriculum nights for their current families and potential families who will transition into those classrooms. “This allows the teachers to really introduce our amazing curriculum and answer questions [from] our families so they know exactly what to expect come fall.”
Update classroom rosters frequently
Keeping these forms up-to-date means it’s easier to determine a classroom’s availability and to hire and schedule staff ahead of the busy season. “Then I am aware of how many openings I have and what options are available for touring and current families,” said Kristie Woodward from Fredericksburg, Va. In El Paso, Rebecca Robles posts her classroom rosters in her lobby to show parents classroom availability and to inspire them to pay their fall registration fees early to reserve a spot. Kelli Watson in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., encourages her families to pay their fall registration fee before they leave for summer break.
Adjust your conversations with families
Kelli looks through previous inquiries in FamilyBuilder and calculates children’s birthdays. “I adjust my conversations, voicemail messages, or emails based on what age their child will be this upcoming year,” she said. She also doubles up on tour and enrollment packets so her staff are prepared for tours in advance.
Gather the little stuff now
Providing teachers with supply lists, program materials, and updated forms early means they get a head start on planning. In places where school starts early, this allows teachers to tackle potentially time-consuming tasks (like cleaning closets and organizing portfolios) one at a time without feeling rushed.
Customize the community social
Val and her team host monthly family nights. “This allows our current families to do special projects with their children and as potential families tour they see the amazing relationships our center has with our families,” she said. As Back to School season approaches, they use that time to emphasize the fall program. Kristie has parent liaisons at her community social events – offering touring families an insider’s view of her center. Kelli and her team host Orientation Nights in August – tailored to each age group – so parents can learn about parent teacher conferences, Learning Adventures, licensing requirements, and “…the most important: show & tell!”
Be active in your community
Kristie works with her contacts in the local public schools to promote an easy transition to kindergarten for her students. She and her team also attend Back to School nights to further strengthen their relationship with local schools and bolster their center’s reputation in the community. Kelli reaches out to local newspapers in advance of any event at her center and invites reporters to join in the festivities.