Should I add a part-time preschool to my daycare? It sounds like a great way to add value to your preschool and provide a service that parents want. Right?
No! Don’t Do It!
Preschool and daycare don’t mix. They’re like oil and water. If you’re going to be a daycare, then be a daycare, but if you’re going to be a preschool, then be a preschool.
One reason for this is that children who attend a preschool program in a daycare don’t feel like they belong there. All the daycare children hang out together all day long, usually five days a week, and some of them may have even been together since they were babies. Then along comes a preschool kid who’s only there for a few hours two or three times a week and they feel left out. It is hard for them to make friends.
A second reason why a preschool in a daycare is a bad idea is that the target market for preschool programs is stay at home moms. Most women who work full time and have their kids in daycare don’t look for a separate preschool program because of the logistics of having to find someone to transport their child to and from the preschool class several times a week. Stay at home moms don’t need daycare because they stay home with their children, so the thought of putting them in a preschool in a daycare does not appeal to them.
Why Is It So Challenging To Transition From Daycare Into Preschool?
If you’ve been doing daycare for a while you likely have built up your clientele and have a steady income. You’re probably terrified at the thought of losing that income, so it seems easier to add in a preschool rather than completely transition to a preschool. You may hate your 12-hour days and cringe at the thought of changing even one more dirty diaper, but it pays the bills so why rock the boat?
You Need To “Burn The Boats”
Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, tells a story about conquerors landing on the shores of some distant land. They can see there are treasures to be had there, but first they’d need to conquer the people of the land. It’s okay if they don’t succeed, though, because if necessary, they can retreat to their boats.
So, they don’t conquer the land, they sit around and do nothing. That is until their leader burns the boats. Say what?! Now they have no escape, it’s do or die.
That may seem like a dramatic story when we’re just talking about preschool and daycare, but if you really do want the shorter days, easier work load, and more time freedom that teaching preschool will allow you to have, you must burn your boats. Make the switch. But DON’T put a preschool in your daycare.