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daycare enrollment

Plan on Making a Good Impression

Smiling Mother & ChildWhen new families contact your child care or preschool program do you have a plan for what you’ll say, what you’ll do? Letting them know about your facility and what programs you offer is important, but there’s more to making a good first impression. Parents are trying to determine if your center is really the right place for their child. They want to be at ease with their decision; comfortable that little Johnny or Johanna will feel at home. After all, the children they place in your care will be spending a good deal of time with you, your staff, and the other children at your center.

Listen More, Talk Less

If you focus solely on what a wonderful place you have and tell the parents about your programs, you may be missing the key to getting the family to enroll. While some degree of talking is good, you’ll find that listening is even better. Your job, whether during a formal ‘intake interview’ or an informal phone inquiry, is to learn what you can about the child. Continue reading

Funnel Your Way to Increased Enrollment

Water Play: Girl with FunnelIt’s an extremely simple device. Shaped roughly like a rounded triangle with a large hole at the top and a small one at the bottom. You’ve probably got at least a couple of them in your kitchen. Perhaps there’s another in the garage. But what can you do with a funnel? More than you might have imagined.

For kids, a funnel can be great for water play. Try pouring some though a funnel. It’s sure to splash around a bit and rain down on your bare feet; perfect for a hot summer day. Sand works well with funnels too, especially in a centers-based play area at your child care, daycare or preschool.

For adults, it’s more likely you’ve used a funnel to help create a special recipe in the kitchen or perhaps add a quart of oil to your less than brand new vehicle.

But did you know funnels can also be used to track new inquiries and increase enrollment for your child care business? Not in the literal sense, of course, but here’s the idea: you want to move potential new families from the inquiry stage to the wait list, to pre-registered, to enrolled. You want to guide them through your enrollment funnel, whatever it may be. Continue reading

How to Track Daycare Marketing & Enrollment

Preschool Teacher & Child Playing with BlocksWith the current economy, maintaining a stable and profitable enrollment base, as well as an updated and active waiting list, are key ingredients to the prosperity of your child care, daycare or preschool. Maintaining records to track the success of various advertising campaigns, new contacts generated, referral sources, and how many contacts move on to  become customers, are all important ingredients to successful growth.

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at using Procare Software® to track these items so owners and directors can reliably see results.

Track Marketing Sources

Procare includes a very powerful database that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks, extending way beyond the scope of daily child care management. One of these is a Customer Relationship Management database, or CRM.

Set Up Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Create the marketing items you wish to track. From Procare Home screen go to  Configuration > System > Database Management > Tracking Items & User Defined Fields. See: How to Set Up Tracking Continue reading

Is Managing Your Child Care Enrollment like Playing Musical Chairs?

Musical Chairs © Ant Strack/Corbis

Musical chairs, it’s a great game with oh-so-familiar rules. Once the music stops, it’s all about who can sit down most quickly; who can claim that last vacant seat. Predicting child care enrollment at your daycare, preschool, or after school program might feel a bit like that too. You’d like to be sure every seat is filled with happy, smiling faces. You don’t want to take away a chair if you’ve still got room.

Recently, a question came up asking about tracking the date a child is expected to move to the next classroom. But this isn’t just about recording a date; it’s also about forecasting enrollment and revenue. What you really want to know is, “How is my enrollment shaping up for next month, this summer or fall?” In fact, it would be even better if you could project your revenue over the coming months as well.

So without playing any more musical chairs, let’s take a look at how your child care management software can help.

7 Ways to Better Manage Child Care Enrollment

Typically there are two types of children to account for —  those who are currently enrolled (and are expected to continue) and new children enrolling for the first time. With that in mind, here are seven ways to let Procare Software® help you know what to expect when the music stops.

#1 Schedule Ahead

A great way to plan for the coming months is to set up child care schedules for everyone who is likely to be in a particular class at that time. By doing so, you can print reports with names, counts, etc., for any point in the future.

  • For currently enrolled children, just add an additional schedule beginning at the point they would likely change to a new classroom. The ending date might be the end of the school year, or the point when they would age out of that program.
  • For new children, who are pre-registered or otherwise expected to enroll, set their enrollment status to “Enrolled” (as of their likely start date) and enter a typical schedule for them as well.

Hint: Use the online registration feature of MyProcare to gather data from parents through your website.

#2 Set Up Anticipated Fees

To get accurate revenue projections, place the typical weekly or monthly rates in each Child’s Billing Box and assign the rate to the appropriate schedule. Your Billing Box reports will include only fees that are effective as of the date you select.

child care enrollment

 

#3 Child Tracking for the Future

As an alternative to schedules, you could set up a Child Tracking Group called “Future Enrollment” and create items within the group, like “Infants – May 2017”, “Toddlers – Sept 2017”, etc. You could even have a group for “Summer Camp” with items like “Week 1: June 4” and “Week 2: June 11”. This is helpful to create quick rosters, but does not tie in with revenue forecasts.

#4 Child Care Enrollment Reports

Even without entering schedules, billing information or tracking items, you can still use Child Enrollment reports based on a future date. The first page includes the number of kids that will be enrolled, then just double-click to see their names. This report shows the primary classroom they are currently assigned to (not the class they will be in), but you’ll get a snapshot to help predict class levels.

#5 Enrollment with Data Viewer

You can use the Data Viewer to create your own custom enrollment lists. For example, you could make a list of children sorted by the age they will be as of a future date. If you are also using Tracking for future programs (as mentioned above), you can include only children assigned to a certain item, like Week 1 of Summer Camp and so forth.

#6 Calendar Reminders

Make a Calendar Reminder for each child, using the date they will move to the new class. You might even set the reminder a few days ahead, so you’ll know it is coming up. Of course, this isn’t really necessary if you’ve already pre-scheduled them, but it could help you remember to change their default Primary Classroom. Hint: If many children are changing classrooms at the same time (such as at the start of the school year) use the Classroom Graduation feature.

#7 Make Your Own Date Field

If you want to record the exact date a child will change rooms, another option is to create your own field (or box) to enter the date. This is known as a User Defined Field. It doesn’t have the benefits of scheduling into the future, but would let you print a simple list of classroom transition dates.

Final Thoughts

Having consistent enrollment at your child care center is necessary to plan programs and ensure regular cash flow. However, planning child care enrollment is not always easy.

With so many moving parts, balancing waitlists, enrolled students, graduating students, and more, it can be easy to lose track of enrollment numbers and be left scrambling at the beginning of the year.

That is why we’ve created this list of tips to help child care centers more accurately measure enrollment, and therefore revenue, to plan for upcoming programs. Here’s hoping every chair is filled at your center!

Learn more about how Procare can help your center better manage child care enrollment.

Looking for more tips on child care enrollment and registration? Check out these related articles.

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Classroom Forecasting – Sunny with a Chance of Savings!

Johnny Carson as Carnac the MagnificentWould you like to know how many teachers you need in a classroom in the future? Perhaps you want to predict an upcoming vacancy in the Butterflies room? Using the schedule reporting features of Procare Software® you can be your own Carnac the Magnificent and “divine the answer…” !

Setting Up Schedules

First you’ll want to enter your Classroom Ratios.  Then you’ll set up Child Schedules and Employee Schedules as well – in order to forecast accurate staffing needs to meet your child/teacher ratios. You can even use multi-line day schedules if children or employees switch rooms during the day, like a preschooler scheduled in the preschool room from 8:30 am to 11:30 am who then moves to the Bluebirds room from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Continue reading

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