It’s no secret that it’s a challenging time for preschool gymnastics. If you’re looking at your numbers, and quietly (or not so quietly) feeling anxious about preschool enrollment, you’re not alone.
Here’s the thing: we’re preschool people. We are tough. We know this is not a time to sit down, it’s a time to step into your power as a gym leader and keep. moving. forward.
The first step to increasing enrollment is knowing what objections are happening in your community. Knowledge is power, even if it’s tough to hear. When you know what your family’s objections are, you can address them.
Right now, objections are very region specific.
Kids in virtual school present different challenges than if your community is going back to school full time. Knowing the objections for your specific area will give you the power to adapt and meet the needs of your community.
The general parent objections of the gym owners and preschool program directors I have talked to are new and old at the same time. Here is what we are seeing…
This is happening, but it’s not new. We’ve been seeing this since March(ish), when the shut down happened.
There are two types of preschool parents right now: ones that are comfortable with sending their child to activities and those that are not, or can not because of an immunocompromised family member. You can serve both!
Step Forward: Keep your virtual class option going or at the ready!
Maintaining a virtual option for families who are staying closer to home is not going to compete with your in person option. You are serving two completely different audiences seeking two different services.
You’ve done virtual curriculum, so consider keeping it as an alternate revenue stream for your preschoolers who aren’t coming to in person classes. To ensure amazing value, the classes should have as much interaction as possible, but pre-recorded videos are also an option to service these clients.
Oof- this one’s a big hit for daytime classes. With parents having to stay home and help with virtual school, it’s affecting the daytime preschool class enrollment (something that’s already a struggle for many gyms).
Step forward: Schedule more late afternoon, evening or weekend preschool classes.
Keep your daytime classes for the families that can make it, but consider adding more late afternoon, evening and weekend class for families that fall into this category. Not running Sunday classes? Try them! It’s a great option to overcome this scheduling objection.
Like objection one, this isn’t new, it’s just taking slightly longer for people to figure out their schedules with kids in virtual school.
This is also connected to many parents still feeling weary of commitment right now.
It always takes some time for your families to get into their fall rhythm, but this year it may take a little longer. This is the first time they’ve started school (either in person, or online) with the virus, and everything might take a little longer to drop into a rhythm.
Step forward: Address the commitment objection by keeping your messaging consistent!
You know you’re still cleaning and exceeding the safety protocols for your area, but parents still need to see it. Make sure you’re adding those images to your socials and newsletters.
Keep your messaging bright and warm, ready to welcome families back to preschool. Slow and steady wins this race.
In an effort to decrease exposure to anything, some families have made a commitment to limit the amount of after school activities so they can keep their classes or pod going for as long as possible.
Step Forward: Offer preschool pod classes!
This is a perfect time to modify what you’re offering, and offer your families preschool classes with the kids in their pod. It’s a win-win for everyone because they get to do gymnastics without new children, and you get to add classes.
Your work is important and your service makes an impact on kids, don’t forget that! Stay nimble, listen, and keep your messaging consistent. Parents are going to be so appreciative that you’re adapting to their needs! You’ve got this!
*Dance Party Note: I know that P-Diddy song is in your head now, so take a dance break while thinking about your plan to move forward! #notsorry #yourewelcome