When you’re ready to start your online preschool, you need to first understand how to run your online preschool business.
HOW LOCAL PRESCHOOLS TRANSITIONED TO ONLINE PRESCHOOL
In 2020, we found ourselves at an unprecedented moment in the history of the world. Small businesses everywhere were forced to close, with no reopening date in sight. Of the many industries that were forced to close, daycares and preschools were among them.
Local Preschools Shut Down
One day, children were attending preschool; the next day, without warning, preschool owners were calling their preschool families, saying they had to close temporarily but would hopefully be reopening in a week or two. That week or two came and went; and local preschools remained closed for three full months until summer came.
Inside our preschool community, though, a different conversation was happening. We had already been preparing for a possible COVID-19 outbreak in our schools for a month before the shutdown happened. The concept of preschools being forced closed by the government wasn’t even on our radar, but that didn’t stop us from taking immediate action.
Local Preschools Transitioned to Online Preschool
As soon as the shutdown was announced, we jumped into creation mode and brainstormed how -we- would start an online preschool. Within a week, the content was finished and our preschool owners were welcoming their preschool families into their online classrooms without missing a beat. Many had been on Spring Break during that first week of the shutdown so after some quick emails and Facebook Lives to explain the new process of online preschool, the entire process was smooth.
Tuition kept flowing to the preschool owners… and preschool families felt supported during the entire pandemic. While the entire world was in upheaval, their preschool children were able to maintain a sense of normalcy by still seeing their classmates and teachers every week online. The world was being torn apart, but these preschool families were growing closer than ever. Preschool owners offered them more than just preschool. They gave them reassurance that everything would be okay one day, education on how to protect their families and keep them safe, and a lifeline to a community so they never felt alone. Truly, they were showing what it means to be part of a preschool FAMILY.
By following the “Local to Online to Local” strategy, preschool owners are able to feel confident that they can handle anything the world throws at their preschool. Government shuts you down? No worries. Go online. You can reopen? Awesome. Go back to local.
By following this strategy, preschool owners retain control of their financial stability and aren’t left at the whims of local school districts, health departments, or city governments to decide if they can or cannot be open. Rather, they can be open 100% of the time by knowing how to “go online” in an instant. In fact, our preschool owners no longer operate around their school district’s schedule. They set their own schedule regardless of the district.
Local Preschool Families Loved the Online Classes
- Becki Reed transitioned all 35 of her local students to online preschool so she could keep her income to pay her rent and staff!
- Sam Clemens quickly moved her 100+ local students right into online preschool taught by her teachers!
- Anita Gerber successfully shifted her 48 local students right into online classes and even used that online time to renovate her new preschool building!
- Denise Shields moved her 10 local students to online preschool and now does both local and online preschool!
- Rita Farina moved her 18 local students to online preschool so her teachers didn’t lose their jobs!
- Starr Jerry transitioned her local preschoolers immediately to online and now she teaches 40 online and local students!
Now, most preschools have resumed as normal and the majority of our local preschool owners have full classes with growing wait lists. They know that, if needed, they can immediately move their preschool classes online without a disruption in income or stability in their business. That knowledge brings confidence during this upcoming school year.
As time goes on, however, we hear more and more reports of other preschools closing their doors for good, because those other preschools didn’t follow our strategy and didn’t move their students online, so they’re now either too scared or too financially unstable to last another school year. As sad as it is to hear of decades-old preschools closing down for good, we are reminded of one thing, we are so thankful for the opportunity to lead our preschool owners, as we have proven that together, we can thrive in any situation… even during a global pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And if we can overcome that, we can overcome anything!
HOW BUSINESS OWNERS STARTED NEW ONLINE PRESCHOOLS FROM SCRATCH
On top of helping local preschool owners transition their preschools online, we realized that a huge opportunity had just opened up. With families everywhere being more open to virtual learning, we realized that there was a new demand for online preschool that never existed before. And without the local regulations and licensing requirements, the market was wide open for mothers everywhere to start an online preschool WITHOUT a specific degree, any experience, a location, start-up costs, or even licensing!
Truly, online preschool leveled the playing field and allowed any mother to start an online preschool as long as she was loving to children, committed to learning and implementing NAEYC’s developmentally appropriate practices, dedicated to following our training step by step, and wouldn’t give up! We saw a huge increase in our preschool owners finally starting their preschool businesses. You see, some of them had struggled to start a local preschool for whatever reason, but when given the opportunity to start one online, they found success!
They loved the fact that all they needed was a computer, an internet connection, and a WALL to create a successful preschool business… and it was a lot less time commitment as well. While most local preschool classes are 2.5 hours long, an online preschool class was only 30 minutes long! Several mothers decided to do both local and online preschool at the same time this school year, while others are still working other jobs and decided to add a few online preschool classes into their schedule. If we’ve learned anything in this process, it’s that online preschools are pretty much the easiest and most flexible preschools to create!
HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR ONLINE PRESCHOOL
Our preschool owners offer their preschool parents a REAL PRESCHOOL TEACHER to teach their children in a Teaching Time lesson plus provide the students with REAL PRESCHOOL FRIENDS to socialize with during a Preschool Pals class. (Later, you’ll see why that’s so important.)
While online preschool owners differ in their exact approach on how they run their online preschool, the most common online preschools run as follows:
- Ages: 3-5
- Online Classroom Platform: Teachers meet with students on Zoom or Google Meet.
- Days: Parents can choose to attend a Preschool Pals class 2, 3, 4, or 5 days/week.
- Cost: 2-day classes are commonly $47/mo., 3-day classes are $67/mo., 4-day classes are $97/mo., and 5-day classes are $120/mo. (These rates vary; we’ll teach you how to research your competition.)
- Teaching Time Lesson: Teachers record a 30-minute Teaching Time lesson and email the video to preschool families the night before the scheduled Preschool Pals class so that children can watch it before coming to class.
- Preschool Pals Class: In the afternoon, teachers hold a 30-minute Preschool Pals class time with 10 students per class where the students can interact with each other, socialize, make friends, and discuss the Teaching Time lesson.
- Curriculum: Each teacher chooses her own curriculum, but generally the curriculum promotes kindergarten readiness, is highly engaging, and supports NAEYC’s developmentally appropriate practice.
For your Teaching Time class, there is no class size requirement because you will be sending pre-recorded lessons.
For your Preschool Pals classes, you’ll want to have no more than 10 students in each class so you can easily manage your preschoolers during class. You may feel more comfortable teaching smaller numbers at first, and that’s okay, but I would feature in your marketing “Small class sizes of just 10 students each for maximum 1-on-1 participation and attention with our teacher and friends!”
That way, you might start off with smaller classes of six students, but as you feel more comfortable teaching you can add more students into your classes up to 10 per class. You’ll be holding your Preschool Pals class in a Zoom room, so you’ll be able to easily mute and unmute students.
If you remember, you would create one Teaching Time lesson that you could send to all of your Preschool Pals classes on Tuesday; you would need to create a separate Teaching Time lesson that you could send to all your Preschool Pals classes on Thursday.
Please note that because you’re pre-recording your Teaching Time lessons, you can record them anytime. You could batch record an entire week’s worth on a Sunday during your children’s nap time. It’s entirely up to you and works with your schedule!
While you can structure your online preschool classes with any variation of a schedule that you choose, my recommendation is to hold your Preschool Pals class during the late morning to mid afternoon period, so they can generally span the 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. time zones (10am PST, 11am MST, 12pm CST, 1pm EST).
That way, people don’t have to wake up early to attend, and if their child still naps, they can take a nap afterward. Of course, you can schedule your classes at any time to work with your family’s schedule. If you were going to teach four different T_TH classes of 10 children each, here is one example:
- T_TH 12-12:30 p.m. (Class A)
- T_TH 12:30-1 p.m. (Class B)
- T_TH 1-1:30 p.m. (Class C)
- T_TH 1:30-2 p.m. (Class D)
I realize that not everyone starts off with teaching four classes, however, so I’ve shown a few different examples below. Notice that even if you double your classes, you’re not actually doubling the time you teach because you can record your Teaching Time lessons once and then send them to all classes.
Weekly Schedule for 1 Online Preschool Class per Week
Total Time Required for 1 Class: 2 Hours (10 Students Total)
In this example below, you would be teaching just one class on T_TH for a total of two hours of work each week.
Weekly Schedule for 2 Online Preschool Classes per Week
Total Time Required for 2 Classes: 3 Hours (20 Students Total)
In this example below, we added one more class on T_TH which only added one more hour of work each week.
Weekly Schedule for 4 Online Preschool Classes per Week
Total Time Required for 4 Classes: 5 Hours (40 Students Total)
In this example below, we added three more classes on T_TH which only added three more hours of work each week.
Now that you can see how to structure your classes to add multiple students without doubling your workload, let’s dive into the numbers of how you can actually make money teaching online preschool.
The most common prices are shown below, but please note that depending on how much value you add into your preschool (and how niched down your preschool is) will determine how much you can charge. We’ll teach you that later.
- 2-day/week class: $47-$97/mo. (very popular option)
- 3-day/week class: $70-$120/mo.
- 4-day/week class: $97-$150/mo. (popular option)
- 5-day/week class: $120-$200/mo.
Again, remember the reason you decided to start a preschool. If it’s so that you can work less hours and spend more time with your family, an online preschool might be a great option for you because you can hold so many classes without it taking up a lot of your time! If you’re looking to scale your business and teach several classes per day, you can also do that!
Truly, there is no ceiling to this business. If you max out on your own time (or even if you don’t even want to teach in the first place), you can always hire a teacher or two and keep growing your business! In the examples, for simplicity we will add in the most common classes to the schedule: T_TH -and- MWF class. Each class will hold 10 kids.
Monthly Tuition for (2) T_TH Online Preschool Classes per Week
2 CLASSES = $940/mo. (20 children x $47 each)
If you taught two classes on T_TH and charged $47 per child, with 10 children in each class, you would multiply $47 by 20 children. That equals $940 for working just 12 hours per month.
(You would be making $78/hr.!)
Monthly Tuition for (4) T_TH Online Preschool Classes per Week
4 CLASSES = $1,880/mo. (40 children x $47 each)
If you doubled your classes and taught four classes on T_TH and charged $47 per child, you would make $1,880 each month by teaching just 40 children for a total of 20 hours.
(You would be making $94/hr.!)
Monthly Tuition for (4) M-TH Online Preschool Classes per Week
4 CLASSES = $3,880/mo. (40 children x $97 each)
If you offered a 4-day class on M-TH (instead of just T_TH) and charged $97 per child, you would make $3,880 each month by teaching four classes for a total of 40 hours.
(You would be making $97/hr.!)
Monthly Tuition for (4) M-TH Online Preschool Classes per Week
4 CLASSES = $6,000/mo. (40 children x $150 each)
And lastly, if you offered that same 4-day class on M-TH (see example above as the class schedule would stay the same) but increased your tuition to $150 per child, you would make $6,000 each month by teaching four classes for a total of 40 hours.
(You would be making $150/hr.!)
If you’re not sending a physical package in the mail, I don’t see the need to charge a registration fee. However, if you’re going to add in massive value into your preschool, you can charge a registration fee of $25-$100 per child while still offering the free trial.
We’ve seen great success with a combination like that, as parents are wowed by the physical materials they get in the mail and will usually stay past the free trial simply for the amazing up-front experience.
In this instance, even when you charge a registration fee (that covers the up-front costs of some of the physical items being shipped to them), you won’t say that the registration fee is paying for the physical items. You would say that the registration fee is simply a registration fee, and everything they get in the mail is “free” or a “bonus.”
LENGTH OF PROGRAMS
We recommend a 9- to 10-month preschool school year and a 2-month summer camp.
AGES OF CHILDREN
AGES OF CHILDREN
You’ll typically teach children ages 3-5, however sometimes you might get “almost 3-year-olds” (make sure they can handle separation easily and they are mature enough to handle preschool) and “older 5-year-olds” (whose parents want to hold them back another year.)
We do not recommend splitting your classes into exclusively 3-year-olds or 4-year-olds. That’s opening yourself up to a 4-year-old wanting a morning class, but they can’t enroll because it’s only for 3-year-olds, so then you lose a student.
While you can set up your online preschool business in just a week or two, we recommend marketing for at least 2-4 full weeks so you can actually have multiple students in your classes, not just one or two. The great news is that you can start your online preschool literally any time of year, as it’s less time sensitive than a local preschool. The best times to start are August, January, and June.
We’ve seen preschool owners transition their local students online in as little as one week, and we’ve seen them create an entirely new online preschool and enroll students in as little as two weeks.
Most online preschool owners choose to do activities that use materials commonly found at home (so there is no need to supply them) while a few choose to mail out kits each month with the materials.
An online preschool can be run inside your home, as the only thing you need is a wall behind you that you can decorate with bright items such as preschool posters, letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. If you don’t have an actual wall you can use, you can create a portable wall.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to run your online preschool business, so be sure to check out this article next: Start A Preschool: The Complete 50-Step Guide (Local & Online!)