Supporting and managing early childhood services for many years we’ve seen firsthand the dos and don’ts of managing enrolments. It is so important to make sure that you have families wanting to enrol (ultimately it keeps the Service open). One of the ways to do this is to make sure that the enrolment process is smooth and hassle-free. A smooth process helps families feel secure and comfortable with the centre and.
There are 5 main steps to managing a childcare centre’s enrolments like an expert – New Lead, Tour, Waitlist, Offered and Enrolled. Let’s have a look at the best way to manage each step of the process.
One: New Lead
A new lead is a parent who either calls, walks in, communicates through social media or email, it is ideal for this parent to be contacted within 24 hours from when they communicated, I suggest within the first 4 hours by phone if this can happen. It is amazing the amount of times a parent has said to me how amazing it was to get a response so quickly, this is the first impression parents have of the Service, making sure you have time for the family when talking with them as they will have lots of questions.
This is your second impression with families, this will be the make or break meeting. You need to make sure whoever is doing the tour has been trained and able to answer any questions the parents have. I would suggest also having a staff meeting where you can train all staff up with the most common questions families ask on tours, this is just in case a parent asks them whilst on a tour.
We need to also remember that sometimes we are dealing with first-time parents who don’t always know what they are doing and could be getting information from different sources that aren’t always correct. Having a cheat sheet for families to give them at the tour could be a great tool to separate yourself from other Services.
Knowing what documentation you need to be compliant is very important, a lot of the time I found that Service Managers or 2IC’s don’t always know what documentation is needed when families are enrolling, every state is different but letting families know what they need on the tour will help give them time to sort out all paperwork.
When placing families on the waitlist don’t promise them a spot in the future explain to them that you will keep in touch with them to let them know how availability is going. Have a set time frame that you are going to offer out to, this helps when communicating with families. I have had a lot of families think just by going on the waitlist this secures them a spot. Communication is key to make sure the enrolment process runs smoothly.
When following up with families regarding their enrolment forms, it’s best to follow up 48 hours after sending the forms, to make sure they received them and to check if they have any questions, reiterate how long they have to return the forms so as to not jeopardise their placement and let them know you are there to answer any questions they have.
Once a family is enrolled don’t forget about them, make sure to communicate with them before they start, make sure to organise an orientation session, this isn’t just for the child/ren this is also for the parents so they also get use to the idea of their child/ren being in care, this step will start the relationship the parent and child/ren build with the Service, also send them emails with useful information, this could be ‘What to bring for your first day’, articles on separation.
If the process runs smoothly through the 5 main steps of an enrolment this will assist with securing the enrolment and making the families feel safe and secure. This will also provide families with positive feedback and willingness to pass this information on to family and friends who might be looking at enrolling their child/ren into the Service.
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