If your childcare center is experiencing slower business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer season, or any other circumstance there are ways to make the most of it. Check out these five tips to take advantage of this downtime and improve your business.
Prioritize ECE Training and Professional Development
Now is a great time to get ahead on your state’s training requirements for operating at your childcare center, especially since many training programs are currently virtual. This makes accessibility easier and gives you more flexibility as to when you can complete your training. Starting June 1, NAEYC began offering a six-week virtual institute full of presentations regarding the latest research and best practices in early childhood education. For an additional resource, check out webinars from Hinge Brokers.
Additionally, prioritize professional development beyond formal training requirements, too. “Consider this an opportunity to dig deeper into topics you’re curious about or to learn more about those essentials you just haven’t had time to follow up on yet. You likely have a file full of handouts and notes from past conferences or training sessions – reviewing them can ignite a spark that motivates you to take action.” – Christina Fecio, Educational Consultant
2. Review Marketing Techniques
If your center is experiencing a slowdown, try reassessing your marketing techniques. Start by asking parents for referrals and reviews. It helps to offer a reward or incentive to encourage their engagement. Next, you can work on your online presence. If you haven’t already, create social media accounts for your business and start planning the content you’re going to post for the next few weeks. This could be children’s activities, program offerings, upcoming events, etc. During this time, it’s also important to place a heavy emphasis on reassuring parents that your center is safe. Promote low-contact operations, small-group learning activities, sanitizing procedures, and any new policies you’re implementing. By giving parents peace of mind, you’re helping to establish your brand as a reputable and proactive childcare center.
3. Plan and Prepare New Activities
Get ahead on your curriculum and plan out new, fun, and safe activities for your children. Prioritize outdoor activities as much as possible to keep children distanced and reduce their exposure to germs. For indoor play, think about activities that will allow you to practice social distancing and allow children to have their own individual toys and objects. For additional ideas and insight into rebuilding your curriculum during a pandemic, watch this webinar by Shira Leibowitz, CEO of Discovery Village Childcare and Preschool.
4. Reassess Procedures
To ensure the safety of your staff, families, and children, reassess your operating procedures to keep them as safe as possible. Along with these new procedures, implement new cleaning and sanitization schedules to help you keep track of when items and areas were cleaned. Dani Christine recently joined us for an informative webinar to discuss the “Best Practices For Health & Safety Procedures For Your Childcare Center” which will give you tips when reopening your center. As an additional resource, Kangarootime has compiled a list of ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 at your center. As always, make sure your childcare center is complying with CDC guidelines while your center is reopening and implementing changes.
5. Research Grant Opportunities
There are a number of grants and emergency funds available to childcare centers due to the pandemic. Now is a great time to research and apply for any your center might qualify for. Child Care Aware has pulled together a list of resources for centers that may be struggling financially because of COVID-19. The list below covers different grants and financial resources for childcare centers.
Special thanks to Christina Fecio, educational consultant, for providing insight on this blog post. Christina has 20+ years of diverse, practical experience in organizational leadership, program development, and communications & engagement strategy. She also serves as the Advocacy chairperson for the WNY Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) and chairs the WNY Behavior Collaboration.