Owners of daycare centers, family daycares, and preschools are feeling the effects of our declining economy. While every childcare business is different news articles state that daycare enrollment rates have decreased as unemployment increases. This causes childcare center owners to lay off staff or cut staff hours and reduce services.
OwnADaycare asked childcare center owners and daycare business owners about how the economy affects daycare businesses to shed some light on the reality of the situation. Responses varied:
“The primary effect of a declining economy on child care providers is declining enrollment. Child care providers who were once full, and in some cases with a waiting list, now have to spend additional time and energy marketing their schools to maintain enrollment. Additionally, controlling costs without sacrificing high-quality programs and faculty is vital to remaining profitable. Schools should ensure that they remain involved in their communities and look for innovative ways to be the first preschool thought of by local parents,” says Joseph Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc.
“In my view, day care centers have been affected by the recession less than many businesses. Child care is a necessity for families with working parents. Even unemployed parents often feel strongly that their children attend preschool. Unemployed parents may cut back their child’s schedule, but generally do not have their child stop completely. The closer a child is to kindergarten, the more likely parents strive to keep their child in a program. Unemployed parents also need time to job hunt and will often keep their children in preschool to create that time and maintain a continuity for the children,” explains Jann Rudd, owner of Lily Pond Country Day School in Rivervale, New Jersey.
“The most obvious effect of a declining economy comes when parents actually lose their jobs. It is difficult for parents to afford the cost of child care when one or both parents are out of a job. We are finding that parents who appreciate the value of a quality preschool education will chose to enroll their children on a part-time basis vs. full time care. Kids R Kids has been able to avoid laying off any of our teachers or management in this economy. We are acutely aware that layoffs have occurred in our industry where school enrollment might be down,” says Julie Moye, co-owner of Kids ‘R’ Kids preschools in Cary, Morrisville and Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Parents struggling financially usually consider part-time daycare, co-op child care, or search for less expensive family daycare. If your childcare center has struggled because of our economic downturn, it is important to strive to maintain quality programming in order to keep the clients you currently serve.
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