As with any business decision, the choice to add extracurricular activities to your child care program should be evaluated on the basis of profit (revenue vs. cost.) Of course, there might be other reasons why you would want to add extracurricular activities but you should at the very least know the financial impact that it would have.
If you are considering adding new activities or classes, you need to think about how much it will cost you to get it started and keep it running. The reality is that you will be able to advertise these programs and discuss them during parent tours. You will likely see an increase in enrollments when parents are made aware of extracurricular activities. It is generally a huge selling point.
So, ask yourself, “Will this new class generate more revenue? Will it encourage parents to enroll their children?” If you think that it will, then it is worth giving it a shot.
And here’s the good news: extracurricular activities don’t have to be expensive or require a lot of time!
Now here are some ways that you can start an enrichment activity for little or no money:
- Start a program based on a hobby of yours (or someone in your staff). Such programs could include cooking, dance and movement, gymnastics, sculpting, painting, gardening or bird watching. You wouldn’t need to buy many (if any) supplies for such activities. You likely have many of the supplies at your home or center already. Most importantly, you won’t need to hire any new employees or pay anyone to come in and run the program.
- You can actually make money for starting a class at your center. Plenty of outside companies will be glad to come in and run a program for a small fee to parents. Then, they will give you a portion of their earnings. Such programs might include sports, art, music or social science programs. The parents will love that the kids are getting enrichment at preschool and won’t mind being charged a small fee. You will actually earn money for letting someone else run the whole thing! It doesn’t get better than that! A great example of such a program is Soccer Shots.
- Consider bartering services with another business or parent of the center. For example, if you wanted to start a soccer program you might ask a parent that you know coaches soccer if they would mind loaning balls to the school and possibly help with coaching. In return, you might give them a discount on child care. If you were to barter with a local business, you might not be able to offer discounts but there are other trades you could make. Perhaps you could offer a local restaurant a free ad in your weekly newsletter in exchange for equipment and tools to run your cooking classes.
- Try partnering with local charities. If, for example, there is a local children’s charity looking for help with simple tasks like sorting clothes or canned foods, you can have your students help with this job. Another great example might be a food kitchen for which the children could prepare baked goods. This is a great way to teach young children to appreciate what they have and parents will be thrilled at the idea of their children starting charity work at such a young age! This type of program would be inexpensive, if not free.
- Have the older kids help as teaching assistants or instructors. If you have any older classrooms at your center, or if you run an after-school program, you might have the older children help. Of course, there would always be adult supervision but allowing older kids the opportunity to take on leadership roles is a key to their future success. They could simply help around the rooms or they could run their own little activities. For example, they could put on puppet shows for the younger children or engage them in an outdoor game. This, again, would be very cheap if not totally free.
Parents want to know that their kids are getting the most out of their time with you. It is an enormous decision to leave their child with you for so many hours a day and they want to know that they can expect the very best from your staff and teachers. They will be beyond pleased to hear that you have these types of programs at your center.
Many of the programs could be free to you or even end up bringing in money for your preschool. The ones which would cost you can be very inexpensive and you should expect to see a return on your investment by getting more enrollments. The most important thing to understand is that these programs do not have to be elaborate, costly or take up a great deal of time.