Are you losing clients in your daycare to Head Start programs? A daycare provider asks: “What is the best way not to lose your daycare children to Head Start and the public preschools? I just lost another child.” We asked the fans of OwnADaycare on Facebook who are daycare owners for their opinions on this matter. Here are there tips and comments about competing with Head Start programs and keeping your clients.
- Make sure you have an educated program. Make sure you offer as much as Head Start if not more. Remember Head Start is FREE and some Public PreSchools are as well. You have to sell your business. I have noticed that more public schools are incorporating preschool into their systems which is hurting a lot of smaller home daycares.
- There isn’t much you can do to prevent that. While you may have a stellar daycare program, it isn’t preschool & some parents are strong believers in it. Your best bet it to talk to the parents well before and ask if they are thinking of putting their child into preschool or the like, then ask when. That way you can fill that spot about the time that the child is leaving.
- Offer whatever they don’t, better hours, preschool, special needs care, super crafts, organic meals, and a different language, whatever you can manage and have an interest in. Most of those tend to be half day programs 3-4 hours. I would boast about the hours you are open.
- I think there’s just a point where parents put their children in the school system. I run a daycare and I plan on putting my son in a school system for preschool!
- You will have to offer what those programs don’t have. You will have to make your parents feel like they are paying for something that outshines what they can get for free. Really, I think the most helpful tool to retain children from free programs is to create a very strong sense of community and also to foster a loving closeness with your families that they will probably not find in the other programs as they tend to be a little detached.
- You might want to offer before and after school for head start and other preschools I do.
- I think they will do it even when they know you have a good program. It’s discouraging to me, but it’s their children and their choice. I love working with that age. But I know it’s a good program.
- So in other words they are leaving at age 4 or 3? PreK is 4 here and all go to school at 4 which I think is good for them by then to be in an all 4 setting. I have a preschool program and have up to 3 year olds. I have my graduating 4s before and after school and school breaks. But if you want 4 year olds (again not sure at what age they are leaving your program) then you need to communicate with parents through a Curriculum Guide that you create to show them what they will be learning, make sure to include PE, Music and Art and set out how it all will be taught. Communication is key and something they can read just reinforces your dedication on the matter. Also draw up you month to month lesson plans and give them copies so they not only see the big picture of your curriculum but they see month to month or weekly lesson plans. You can also tie it back to the early learning guidelines for your state and make sure parents see to ELGs listed in each category. I do this with my families so they have something to refer to throughout the year.
- In our area it’s all day head start 6-6. I can’t compete with those hours, I am one person I am already worn out and I’m open 7-530. I feel we all do the best we can and feed them…very well. However, the bottom line is, Head start is a free program.
- It’s unfortunate for us providers, but with today’s economy most parents go to a head start program and leave child care centers/homes because of the cost savings. I agree with Daphne, we all do the best we can, but if a parent can save even $50 per week, 99% chance they will.
- I live in Richmond, IN. Our school system and head start are horrible!! I have my associate’s degree and the school system doesn’t require the teachers to have degrees. our head start is losing their funding and staff is quitting left and right…..my program is a level 4 and none of the head starts are…..sad really..
- This has effectively killed my business. I am a former pre-k teacher and 5th grade teacher and I do a written curriculum with the prek set, but I can’t compete with public education. But do this: create information on why your program CAN compete with Head start and be honest with parents that you get what you pay for. Head Start can be wonderful (I’ve taught it) but it also can be NOT good.
- Head start is an income based. Public 4-k is hard to compete with so is the 3k. You can try to organize your program so that you can take a morning and afternoon class which would (assuming you filled both shifts) give you maximum capacity and money. It’s hard to compete with free quality programs so my best advice is stop competing and start comparing by showing the parents that you can push their kids as much as their program can.
- Head start is free there isn’t much you can do. You can off the moon and back but If the program is free and all day it might be a no brainer for parents…. Communicating with them so you know what 4 year olds are leaving and advertise for 2 year old and/or babies
- I know my 4s will be graduating to public school PreK so I fill my spots about a year in advance. I watch birth to 4 (as some don’t turn 4 by September 1 cutoff date) and so for example right now I am advertising a 2013 Fall opening so I may contract with a family before space is actually open and know who my fall enrollment will be which also helps me lesson plan and adjust my curriculum according to the age group I will have.
- I have my own preschool curriculum and have not had any children taken away. In Sept i have them color their folders where they will keep weekly school work. . We start with alphabets, sounds and play sound games. This year i have 3 that are starting kinder next year and they will begin to reading by Jan/Feb. We take four letters every month have them write, write their names, teach them their address, 911 drills, and my 2&3 year olds are right beside the older group. At the end of the week we go over what each child has done and their little progress. I love the support I get from all my parents even the dads.
- I tell parents I am a preschool. I teach their children what they need to learn for kindergarten, I cost less than a preschool and I’m a full day not just a few hours. Out all of the years I’ve been in business, I’ve only lost 1 child to a preschool.
- Be the best darn caregiver in the world and to be honest keep a good relationship with the parents. They will always consider leaving but the majority will stay because they know that no one knows and cares for their child like you do and their child loves you. I agree with Snuggle Bugs Child Care’s answer.
- I send home monthly newsletters with themes and activities listed for the month and I am in the process of finding some low cost classes for the children to take. Classes like karate, cooking, or swimming.
- In addition to an age appropriate learning environment (I’m pretty strict on) I also have a strong bond with all my kids. A strong bond is something not everyone can give and certainly not a preschool at school. In my opinion a strong bond is essential to the mental growth of a child.
Image Courtesy of Arlington, Va
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