There are many reasons why you might want to start a preschool. Maybe you love working with children and want to help them succeed in school and life. Maybe you’re passionate about learning and want to help make a difference in the lives of very young children. Whatever your reasons, if you’re interested in starting a preschool, there are a few things you need to know. Read on for in-depth information on how to start a preschool.
Qualifications Needed to Start a Preschool
There are a few qualifications you need before you start a preschool. Before you obtain a required state license to open a preschool, depending on your state’s requirements, you may need to have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in early childhood education administration, early childhood education, or a related field. It is also highly recommended that you have several years of experience working in an early childhood education setting such as a preschool or childcare center. In addition, you will need to be familiar with state and federal regulations pertaining to Early Childhood Education (ECE). Be sure to check your state’s requirements before moving forward.
Once you have the necessary education and experience, you can begin taking steps to open a preschool.
State Licensing Requirements to Open a Preschool
Each state has different licensing requirements for opening a preschool. You will need to research the state requirements where you want to open your preschool. In general, all states require a bachelor’s degree in ECE or a related field to obtain a license. In nearly all states, you must also have three years of experience working in an ECE setting, with a handful of states requiring two years of experience. You will also need to apply and pay a fee. Once you are licensed, you can begin the process of opening your preschool.
How to Start a Preschool in 10 Steps
Congratulations! This is an exciting time. Opening a preschool can be a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding. With planning and preparation, you can set up a successful preschool that will positively impact the lives of children and families in your community.
Here are 10 steps to take to help you open your preschool:
- Choose a focus. What type of program do you want to offer? How will your preschool differ from other ECE options in your area? What type of preschool will you open?
- Develop a business plan. This will help you map out the costs, revenue, and profits for your business. It will also give you an overview of what it takes to run a preschool.
- Secure funding. Will funding come from personal savings, loans, grants, or investors?
- Find a location. This should be a safe, comfortable space that is large enough to accommodate your students and staff and remain in compliance with the licensing regulations. Which location will best set your preschool up for success? Will your preschool be in your home, a church, or an independent facility, or will you open a franchise, such as a Montessori school?
- Hire qualified staff. Your staff should have experience working with young children.
- Choose a curriculum. Explore and choose a curriculum to meet the specific developmental needs of your students. You can also create a curriculum.
- Set up your program. The spaces should be safe, organized, and inviting, with plenty of learning tools, books, visual supports, and learning materials. What does your environment need to help children succeed?
- Promote your preschool. Get the word out about your business by creating a website, flyers, brochures, and social media accounts. How will you position your preschool’s brand?
- Host an open house or other community events. These are great ways to introduce families and caregivers to your preschool. What else can you do to get involved in the community?
- Be prepared for challenges. Based on your experience in early childhood education, what challenges do you expect to face? By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure you’ll be better prepared to face challenges that come your way.
How to Open a Preschool in Your Home
Running a preschool out of your home can be a great way to provide quality early childhood education for children in your community. It can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Starting a home-based preschool takes planning and preparation, but it is possible with a little hard work and dedication.
Here are five steps for starting a preschool in your home:
- Choose a location. You’ll need a space in your home that will be dedicated to the preschool. This could be a spare bedroom, finished basement, or converted garage.
- Set up the space. Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll need to set up the space following state and local regulations. This may include installing child-proofing features, like outlet covers and stair gates.
- Choose a curriculum. Many great resources are available online and at your local library to help you develop a preschool curriculum. There are also many pre-made curriculum kits available for purchase.
- Promote your preschool. Get the word out about your new preschool by creating flyers, posting on social media, or talking to friends and family.
- Be prepared for challenges. Running a home-based preschool has its own unique challenges. Planning and preparation are key.
What to Consider When Starting a Preschool in Your Home
If you would like to open a preschool in your home, there are many things you will need to consider. Some questions to ask include:
- What are your state’s requirements?
- How much space do you have?
- How many children can you realistically accommodate?
- What age group are you targeting?
- What type of program do you want to offer?
- How often do you want to meet?
- How long do you want each session to be?
- What is your budget?
- How will you fund your program?
- Do you need to hire staff or volunteers?
- Who will create the curriculum?
- How will you manage behaviors?
- What safety precautions do you need to take?
- How will you promote your program?
- What are your long-term goals for the program?
- What is your educational philosophy?
- How will you support developmentally appropriate practices?
Answering these questions will help you design a preschool that’s realistic for your home. Include these details in a well-thought-out manner before pursuing the next steps, such as funding for your preschool.
How to Start a Preschool Co-op
A preschool co-op is a group of families who come together to run a preschool. This can be a great option for families who want more control over their children’s education or those who want to save money on tuition. Starting a preschool co-op may take less planning and organization than running a preschool but can be just as rewarding.
Here are seven tips for starting a preschool co-op:
- Find other interested families. You’ll need at least two families to get started. Ask around your neighborhood, church, or social groups to see if anyone else is interested in starting a co-op with you.
- Choose a location. You’ll need a space large enough to accommodate the children and families involved. This could be a home, church, or community center.
- Develop a schedule. You’ll need to decide how often you want to meet and how long each session will be.
- Create a curriculum. This can be done by finding resources online. There are also many pre-made curriculum kits available for purchase.
- Designate roles and responsibilities. Each family should take on responsibilities for running the preschool, such as teaching, providing materials, or cleaning the environment.
- Set rules and guidelines. Decide what behavior is expected of the children and adults involved in the co-op.
- Promote your preschool. Get the word out about your new co-op by creating flyers, posting on social media, and talking to friends and family.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Preschool?
One of the most important factors to consider when starting a preschool is the cost. The cost will vary depending on many factors, such as the location, type of facility, and curriculum. However, there are costs associated with starting a new preschool you can estimate in advance:
- Rent or mortgage payments for the facility
- Utilities such as electricity, gas, internet, and water
- Insurance for the facility and staff
- Salary or wages for the teachers and other staff members
- Supplies, including educational materials, furniture, and equipment
- Marketing and advertising (which may be minimal initially)
- Licensing fees, background checks for staff members, and other miscellaneous fees
How Much Does It Cost to Open a Preschool Franchise?
The costs of opening a preschool franchise can vary depending on the franchise you choose to invest in. Some franchises may have low initial investment costs, while others may require significant money to get started. Do your research before investing in any franchise business.
How Do You Start a Preschool on a Budget?
When you’re starting out, you may have limited funds to launch your preschool and spread the word. While bootstrapping and crowdfunding will get you part of the way, it is important as the owner you take control of your expenses and utilize every resource available.
- Look for free or discounted resources: There are many resources available online and through local organizations.
- Get creative with materials: Use everyday items around the house to create teaching materials.
- Partner with other businesses: See if you can barter services with other businesses in the community. For example, you could trade cleaning services for advertising.
- Find grants and scholarships. Many organizations offer financial assistance to those starting a preschool.
Depending on where you plan to open your preschool, there may be set educational requirements, and some states require the director of a childcare facility to have a certain level of education, such as a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Leadership. In some states, the director must have a bachelor’s degree in ECE or a related field. Additionally, most states require all staff members to have CPR and first aid certification.
What Skills Should You Possess Before Starting a Preschool?
Not everyone is cut out to open and operate a preschool. It takes a special person with a specific skill set and qualities to succeed in this field. A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education administration can provide you with the fundamental knowledge and insight, as well as the soft and hard skills you’ll need to succeed as an owner of a preschool.
Some of the key skills and qualities needed to open and operate a successful preschool include:
Patience: Working with young children can be challenging, so it is important to have the patience to handle difficult behavior.
Creativity: Preschoolers are very active and need to be engaged in order to learn. You should be able to think creatively to come up with new activities and lessons.
Flexibility: Things rarely go as planned when working with young children. Flexibility and being able to adapt to changes on-the-fly are key.
Organization: A lot of paperwork and administrative work goes into running a preschool. You must be organized and efficient to keep everything running smoothly.
Communication: Preschoolers are still learning to communicate effectively, so understanding what they are trying to say and helping them express their needs are important skills to possess.
People skills: Working with families and other staff members is essential in running a preschool. You should be able to communicate effectively and build positive relationships.
Marketing Your New Preschool
If you’re ready to open a preschool, you should also know how to market it. You will want to create a catchy name and brand for your business. You can also get involved in your community and host events to get the word out about your new preschool.
When you’re first starting, try to keep your costs down. You can do this by using free or low-cost marketing channels like social media or partnering with other businesses in your community. For example, you could partner with a local daycare center to promote your services to their families. As your business grows, you can invest more in marketing and advertising.
There are many ways to market your new preschool. The most important part is being creative and getting the word out about your business. With effort and commitment, you will be able to build a successful preschool that families and children will love.
You may want to create a website and social media accounts and develop marketing materials, flyers, and brochures. All your marketing materials should contain helpful information like:
- The benefits of your preschool
- Factors that make your preschool unique
- The curriculum offered at your preschool
- Testimonials from other families
- Contact information for your preschool
To keep costs low, you can stick to digital marketing materials versus print. For instance, a digital business card, email, social media channels, informative online articles, web calls, and more can replace many in-person and printed materials. Partnerships will be beneficial as well.
Some effective marketing channels for promoting your new preschool include:
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Your website
- Local publications (newspapers, flyers, brochures)
- Hosting in-person or digital events (open houses, family workshops, etc.)
When you are marketing your new preschool, it is important to be creative and to stand out from the competition. Families have many options when choosing a preschool, so you need to ensure they know about your business and understand what makes it unique.
Opening Your Preschool: Next Steps
Starting a preschool can be daunting, but with the right information, it can be a successful endeavor. There are many important factors to consider when starting a new school, such as your education, state licensing, curriculum, and marketing. Do your research and create a detailed business plan before you get started. Take the first step by earning your Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration from the University of Arizona Global Campus. Want to learn more? Contact an advisor today.
An online degree from the University of Arizona Global Campus does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state. If you want to become a classroom teacher, contact your state’s education authorities prior to enrolling at the University of Arizona Global Campus to determine what state-specific requirements you must complete before obtaining your teacher’s license.