Creating an Early Childhood Value Proposition
Growing early childhood enrollment is critical to the long term success of any school. The best opportunity to grow or stabilize enrollment is through the early childhood program. Because it is so critical, we encourage all schools to make early childhood enrollment growth an area of focus.
One of the first steps in growing early childhood enrollment is to evaluate your school in comparison to other area early childhood options. Take a look at this SWOT analysis as a guide to starting this process. Once you've completed the SWOT, here's our general value proposition document. This guide can be used to articulate the value of your early childhood program. You'll want to engage current parents, the EC teachers and other stakeholders in the conversations around your EC value prop.
Parents of children at the early childhood level want as much information as possible. Once you've taken the time to articulate your program offerings, it makes sense to create a few materials that are specific to your EC program. As with all of your school materials, it should be branded and look professional.
Taking these initial steps will help to establish your early childhood program as an anchor in your community and ultimately lead to enrollment stability and growth.
Ready to learn more about developing your Early Childhood Value Proposition? Join us for our AMEN webinar next Tuesday.
As you begin to think about your early childhood value proposition, here are a few early childhood philosophies. Please note these are just a few examples of philosophies. There is no expectation that your school would adopt a specific philosophy, but these examples can illuminate how other programs are structured and help you as you develop your EC value proposition.
Play Based Philosophy — Playing to Learn/Learning to Play
High quality early childhood programs teach children to think creatively so they may succeed in a complex and ever-changing world. Purposeful play is developmentally appropriate and a significant element of any early childhood program. The following emphasizes the importance of play in a child’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. Play is a way of learning for children. During a typical preschool day there will be structured and unstructured periods, enabling children to learn through at their own rate. Values that support learning through play include:
• Children are viewed as thinkers, reflecting about their world
• Purposeful play is when children learn through the process of their efforts
• Children gain knowledge by building on a path of ever increasing knowledge
• Children are encouraged to make choices and practice individual decision-making
Montessori is both a philosophy and a method of educating children created by Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy. It is based on the belief that children have a natural desire to learn and that, when they are placed in an enriched environment with specially designed materials and highly trained teachers, they learn quickly and easily through hands on experience. Maria Montessori began work in the slums of Rome and through careful observation of the children in her care she discovered how to help children learn about self-care, math, language, cultural studies and size, shape, colors, etc. Montessori traveled throughout the world introducing her systems to educators and parents everywhere. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize three times.
Reggio Emilia Approach
The Reggio Emilia Approach to education was started by the schools of Reggio Emilia, a city in Italy, after World War II and has become renowned as one of the best educational systems in the world. This approach places emphasis on the arts as children’s symbolic language and an engaging learning environment. The concept of equal collaboration is very important to the success of Reggio Emilia Schools. In these schools, teachers, parents, and children, along with the community are seen as co-constructors of knowledge. In Reggio Schools, parents are considered equal partners with teachers in their children’s education. They are respected and valued, and are expected to be involved with both the school and the classroom. Parents take part in discussions about school policy, child development concerns, and curriculum planning and evaluation. Because a majority of parents are employed, meetings are held in the evenings so that all parents can be there.
Cognitive Based Philosophy
In a program which is cognitive based, young children learn through active exploration in an environment which is rich in materials and opportunities to converse, socialize, work, play and negotiate with others. The classrooms are planned to encourage curiosity, exploration and problem solving in an atmosphere of warmth, affection and respect for each child. Teachers plan experiences based on children’s interests and appropriate educational concepts.
**This information was compiled from Childcare Network of Evanston. More info can be found here.
The Enrollment Management Newsletter is created by Maria Ippolito, Enrollment Marketing Consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Catholic Schools. Please direct any comments concerns or questions to email@example.com Thank you!