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How to Plan a Successful Open House for Your Childcare Center or Preschool

How to Plan a Successful Open House for Your Childcare Center or Preschool

How to Plan a Successful Open House for Your Childcare Center or Preschool

Open house events can be a great way to market your childcare center or preschool to prospective families. Not only do they allow you to meet potential new parents face-to-face, but they also give you the opportunity to share about your program, educational philosophies, and lesson plans in a hands-on and personal way. 

A great open house can also make a lasting impression on prospective parents, helping to increase awareness about your program and boost enrollment numbers at your center. If you’re thinking of hosting an open house for your center, here are 5 tips for planning one that prospective families will love.

For stress-free planning, download our Open House Checklist for Childcare Centers and Preschools

1. Choose a strategic time and date for your open house.

The first step to hosting a successful open house is to choose a time that will be convenient for prospective parents. Think about what would be easiest for families with young children—typically, early weeknights work best. 

Make sure that your open house doesn’t overlap with any big local events either, such as festivals, major sports events, or school graduations. You’ll also want to avoid holidays, as many families may be busy or out of town during those times.

To give prospective families ample time to learn about and assess your program, you should hold your open house about 2 months before your enrollment applications are due. You can also consider hosting multiple open house events to accommodate more families’ schedules.

2. Spread the word about your open house through multiple platforms.

Actively promoting your open house is key to generating interest and higher attendance at your event. Consider all the platforms and networks your center has access to and how you can use them to spread the word about your event. 

For example, if your program uses social media, make sure to share about your open house on all your pages well in advance of the event date. You can also post a few reminders during the weeks leading up to the open house so families don’t forget to add it to their calendars! 

For more tips on how to use social media to effectively market your program, check out our blog post, 5 Ways Childcare Businesses can Boost Engagement on Social Media! 

You’ll also want to announce your open house on your website so families actively browsing your page will be sure to see it. Share about the event in an eye-catching place, such as a banner image at the top of your home page. You should also make sure that the time, location, and purpose of the event are easy to see at a glance so that interested families don’t need to search or click through for more details. 

Word of mouth can also be an extremely effective way to market your open house. Ask your currently enrolled families and staff to help you spread the word, and consider offering a referral bonus to anyone who refers a family that ends up enrolling in your program! If you share about the open house on social media, you can also ask your current families and staff to simply share the existing post with their followers. 

If any of your currently enrolled families or staff members are members of online groups related to parenting or early education, you can also ask them to share about your open house in those communities. More than ever, young parents are using the internet to research childcare options, so online recommendations can be extremely effective for generating interest in your open house!

  1. 3. Invite your staff and parent volunteers to attend. 

  2. You’ll want a small team onsite to help out during the open house, so ask your staff and families to volunteer, ideally a month in advance so they have plenty of notice. Prospective families will appreciate the chance to connect with your teachers and hear directly from other parents about their experiences with your program.

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  4. During your open house, make sure to assign a greeter (or a few greeters) so each family is properly welcomed when they arrive. If your center is larger, it’s best to have at least one volunteer stationed in each classroom and in your outside play area so visitors never have to look far if they have questions.

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  6. If you’re requiring guests to wear masks, remind the greeter to inform families of your COVID-19 safety requirements. It’s also a good idea to have extra masks on hand so you don’t need to turn any prospective families away. 

    1. 4. Prepare helpful materials for parents to take home.

    During your open house, families will be busy talking to you and your staff, touring your facilities, and taking in a lot of new and exciting information. Help prospective families easily access important details about your program by preparing handouts and packets for them to take home.

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  8. These materials can also help keep your center top of mind for families and encourage them to apply sooner, especially if they’re evaluating multiple childcare programs or preschools at the same time!

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  10. Here are some suggestions for helpful resources for prospective families: 

    • Brochures for your program
      • Enrollment packets
    • Sample schedules
    • Calendars 
    • COVID-19 FAQ pages
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  12. If you need ideas on how to update your family handbook, make sure to check out our free templates! 
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  15. Get your free family handbook templates! 
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  17. During your open house, organize your printed materials on an information table so they’re easy to find and all in one place. You might also assign a staff member to monitor the table so they can remind families to take the printouts they need as they’re leaving the event. 

    1. 5. Consider offering an incentive for attending families to enroll their children. 

    To encourage more parents to submit their enrollment applications, you can offer an exclusive incentive to attendees, such as a discounted or waived registration fee. For any guests who wish to submit an enrollment application during the open house, make sure to prepare a table with necessary tools—such as printed applications, pens, or tablets for submitting online applications—to make the process as convenient as possible for them.

 

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  3. You can also extend your special offer for a week or so after your event in case families need more time to make a decision. As a best practice, you should also follow up with all open house attendees via email or phone to thank them for attending and to ask if they have any questions.

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  5. Tip: with brightwheel, you can now easily message prospective families! With a click of a button, you can communicate efficiently with parents, share information about the enrollment process, and answer any questions that may arise—all within the brightwheel messaging tool!

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  8. We wish you the best of luck as you plan your next fantastic open house event. Remember to have fun and be yourself—your program has so much to offer, and the genuine excitement you have about your center will be contagious to prospective families!

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  10. Don’t forget to download our free planning tool, Open House Checklist for Childcare Centers and Preschools


Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at www.mybrightwheel.com.

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