Starting an afterschool program is an incredibly exciting decision. The world of child care and child programming can be extremely rewarding, but there is so much to consider when getting your business up and running—the budget, the employees, the scheduling! It can all become time-consuming and stressful without the right planning. Once your goals and objectives are in place, your program can be ready to launch with the right research and assistance that can help your plan become a reality.
What makes a good afterschool program?
There’s no one cookie-cutter prototype for what a successful afterschool program looks like. Programs with an established vision, sufficient funding, a willing and invested staff, and a great community around them tend to find the most success. No matter what activity or care you are providing for your students, as long as you bring the hard work and passion as the head of the program, your program can help create positive experiences for kids.
What do parents look for when considering afterschool programs for their children?
In order for your afterschool program to meet its full potential, you’ll need reliable families to utilize and support your service. First impressions are crucial when trying to “sell” your program to kids and families. For parents, Entrusting anyone to look after their child is a potentially stressful, and even scary decision to make. Parents will trust afterschool programs that have responsible, caring, and most of all friendly adults, who can provide support and guidance for their children. Do your research and consider hiring as perhaps the most important step in developing your program.
Parents also trust spaces that are clean and safe. Are healthy snacks provided? How easy is it to schedule a session and is it cost-effective? Can parents easily reach you when their child is in your care? Parents want the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that their child is in a safe, enriching environment.
Be sure to take the perspective of a parent when making decisions about your program to drive up your business and your impact on the community around you .
Here are some more tips and tricks that we have picked up on that can help you and your afterschool program become the best that it can be.
1. Put in the time to plan out an accurate budget
Whether it’s finding the start-up funding to put your program into operation, or calculating your daily or monthly operating expenses, every good afterschool program needs to have a solid grasp of the financials. Don’t forget licensing or permit costs, and the cost of training for other employees. Be as detail-oriented as possible when first making your budget to see what is attainable for your program. Doing the work on the front end will eliminate any tricky financial situations later down the road.
2. Provide training over time
Building an amazing staff doesn’t stop after your initial hiring process is complete. Continue to evolve and adapt to new research and never settle for the “same old routine.” Training will not only bring you closer with your coworkers and employees, but will allow for other voices to chime in on important decisions and place their own stamp on your afterschool program.
3. Pay attention to licensing and regulations
Depending on where your program is located, afterschool programs might be regulated by national, state, or local agencies. Before you begin planning activities or the finer details, getting a handle on the legalities will ensure that your program can operate.
4. Be present and remember your passion for child care
You’re likely in the child care business because of your underlying passion for educating and impacting young ones. Even if you are the one in charge of operating the business that is your afterschool program, remain attached to the education. Meet and interact with your students as much as possible. We promise—it will be the most fulfilling part of your day!
Sawyer can help you run your business!
Whether you’re just getting started or looking to expand, Sawyer will help you manage your scheduling, registration, and outreach through easy-to-use online tools and a massive Marketplace that will reach thousands of families everywhere. At Sawyer, we’re here to help you power your business! Thousands of educators have trusted Sawyer to grow their business and have found great success through our dynamic and usable class management tools. Get a demo or find out more today.
Starting and owning an afterschool program can certainly feel overwhelming. Sawyer can help your business grow with our variety of resources including onboarding, training, scheduling, and more. As a startup ourselves, we know the challenges of growing your idea. By planning diligently and using the resources around you, you can impact your community and provide a true service for parents and children near you.