Educator Resources

The Dos & Don’ts of Virtual Summer Programming

Consider summer as a testing lab for the school year to come — embrace your inner Bill Nye and start experimenting!  Even as in-person activities start to become possible and safe again, families might not feel comfortable returning to a completely in-person activity for some time. In the future of education, there will most certainly be a need for both in-person and online learning options in the future of education. 

For virtual options, it’s all about building ‘wow moments’ to ensure there’s a must-have-element to your online offerings. Let your activities shine by creating compelling descriptions and titles of your offerings so that families understand what you are offering and why they need to consider adding your program to their child’s schedule. Using the right photography is so important - while parents may not take the time to read your description, your image is the first thing that will stand out and encourage someone to learn more. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts as you review your summer offerings.


Simplify your registration process  

Audit your website and count how many clicks it takes to find and book summer activities. You want to make this process as easy as 1-2-3 to establish a clear purchase flow and call to action.

Extend in-person and on-screen learning

Consider sharing at home activity guides, worksheets, materials, and fun DIY projects for parents as a value add and as an alternative to overloading screen time. 

Think outside the box

Create wow moments that can only happen online - think special guests, spotlight video, guest readers, across country pen pals, etc. 

Encourage socialization

Zoom breakout rooms are a great way to encourage small group chats and sharing while online. You can also encourage snack time or shared lunch breaks for students to engage with their friends and meet new people.

Offer trial options

Offering a coupon code or free class for first time customers allows them to try an experience before fully committing to your program. 

Go above and beyond

Exceptional service stands out in uncertain times - you being kind and accommodating will be remembered and appreciated by customers. As the great Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Assume that longer is better

When in doubt, keep in mind age appropriateness of screen time just as you would assess in-person content. A good rule of thumb is to keep online programming digestible with frequent breaks, no more than 45-90 minute blocks of time or no more than 2-3 hour blocks of time for older children. Sitting at a screen for extended periods of time can be difficult for adults and even more so for children.

Overcomplicate options

Less is often more. Have a few friends and customers review your schedule and offerings. See what can be improved, what is too vague or complicated to understand, and when in doubt, keep it simple! 

Forget to post clear class instructions

Parents are overwhelmed juggling schedules on a regular basis. Make sure to add clear notes for parents and reminders on how to join class to mitigate stress. 

Argue with customers over refunds

That’s not to say you have to give a full refund to everyone but it’s never worth fighting a customer - disputes and misunderstandings are just a few of the things that can happen. 

Spread the word about your summer programming

Now you have the tools to perfect your summer programming. The Sawyer team is excited for the supportive summer of fun ahead. Our mission is for every child to have the opportunity to discover their own love of learning and it starts with you, our amazing network of educators.

We’ll be showcasing our provider community through thoughtfully curated options for parents throughout the summer so be sure to let us know what magic you have up your sleeve to be considered.

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