Thinking of starting new pre-school saturday class.... opinions please :)(12 Posts)
I am a qualified teacher working within the EYFS and am considering starting my own learning based pre-school group.
I would initially aim to run the group for 35 minute sessions on a Saturday morning offering a 2-3 year old class and a 3-4 year old class.
I live in a commuter town and as a working parent myself, I have noticed the lack of local classes and groups running during the weekend.
The sessions would run with the same structure every week -
1- intro song and dance.
2 - activity 1
3 - activity 2
4 - story and close.
My activities would be planned to match the Development Matters guidance and for each activity parents would receive an outline of what that activity was designed to do for their childs development and why.
e.g. Decorating an animal mask - developing early mark making and pencil grip. Encouraging creative thinking and using colours for particular purposes.
The idea is that the classes would allow the parents to get involved in their childs learning and development.
I'm looking for advice as to whether or not you feel this would take off?
I cant find anything like it so am unsure as to why it has not been done before - am I missing something?
If you're only real quality time with your child is at the weekend I'm not sure why you would want to spend it doing a structured activity, rather than just hanging out with them. The child will surely have had enough of that in the week if they are in childcare.
Most children would get this type of activity throughout the week, in daycare if parents work and in toddler groups if they're cared for at home. I'm not entirely sure there's any real market for it. Would you not be better to pick something that kids don't regularly get access too (a language for example) as a basis?
Agree with others. You can't find anything like it because there are no demands. All those you describe, they do it anyway during the week.
If you'd like to attract customers, you need to do something that normal childcare setting doesn't offer.
I used to run pre school classes on Saturday mornings. They were very popular but they were drama/dance based.
There are lads of dance/sports classes that run for pre schoolers on Saturdays. You would be competing against those. The classes that are successful are those that offe something different to what children can get via their childcare setting.
If you are a qualified teacher, doing something more academic may attract some parents? Early phonics/ number sense, if the parents want their child to be ahead or worried about summer borns?
There are already so much choice for parents. I wouldn't pay for something you can do at home with minimum preparation and ability.
Going against the grain I bet you would get plenty of takers in a naice ham sort of area , where parents are working. To be honest when the kids were pre school I would have liked this sort of thing to fill a wet Saturday morning with. " quality" time and , especially with eldest I needed to " be taught" myself. We rarely did toddler groups together because of work.
Major on the music and singing not crafts. You can see from this forum there are many wNting to get pre schoolers into music but aren't sure how.
Please don't make it formal learning. Those who want that for 4+ testing already have tutors.
I think this sounds like a normal toddler group (bar the explanation to parents perhaps), it's certainly the sort of thing I've run for a couple of years.
I think it would have a market during the week but probably not during the weekend.
When DD was 2-3 (and younger), I would probably have gone for something like this. As you say, there are very few classes at the weekends, and I think working mums and dads would love a chance to do them with their children.
Now that DD is almost 4 and is much easier to entertain and hang out with (!), I probably wouldn't do a singing or craft-based class with her, since that's so easy to do myself. Also, she's in a school nursery now, so is doing lots of those things during the week. I would go for a more complex class with a particular aim. Languages are an obvious one, but you do need to be a native speaker. A science-based one would be good - look at 'house of science', or one of the construction/lego based ones for inspiration.
I'm going to disagree with the comment that these don't exist because there's no demand. I think it's rather that there's no supply because most people running these classes have school-age children. They want to run them while their kids are at school and have weekends with their own family (unsurprisingly).
Also, holiday activities are a real gap in the market for under-4s. If you can also continue during the school holidays, you'll get lots of extra people trying your classes because they're desperate for an activity during the holidays. Then if they like it, they'll carry on. I've seen this happen with the single class in my area which does carry on every week regardless of holidays.
I'd recommend making it a drop-in class rather than block-book, especially on a weekend. People will be reluctant to commit all their weekends. You could potentially offer a block-book discount or a pre-pay card (ie buy 10 lessons up-front, but use them whenever you like)
It's not something I would have been interested in, as we used weekends to do family stuff.
However, I have lots of friends whose husbands work at weekends (or play football/golf) who bemoan the lack of groups that they can take their pre-schoolers too - so I suspect there may well be a market out there! One thing to consider is if you would cater for parents with school age children. It might be that lots of your target market have older children that would have to tag along (or wouldn't come if this wasn't feasible).
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