Some parent/child programs stay perennially full. (YAY you!)
Some go through cycles as families come, stay for several children, and then "age out."
Some programs struggle to find families (or teachers! or directors!).
There are building and re-building years, years where you are only able to offer a fraction of what you'd like to (usually because of either space, staffing, or finances), and hopefully many years where your program THRIVES!
As we (Beka & Jen) gear up for another season of ECFE programming we find ourselves always working to make sure we are "getting the word out" about the great investment ECFE can be for families.
Here are a few of the methods we've used over the past couple decades in our communities to promote ECFE. Maybe some will work well for your community, maybe some would be a horrible fit! As with anything C2L, your professional judgement is key in knowing your community!
Check your local newspaper and any local newsletters for their ability to run a free announcement about your classes.
Invite a local reporter to come learn more about your classes. (If class is in session, ensure you have the correct permissions in place from participants).
Team with your local ECSE home visiting team to equip them with info about your classes they can share with families.
Create a flyer to give to local childcare providers. Be generous (if your budget allows) and make copies for them to hand out to the families they serve.
Equip any local medical providers with info on your class offerings. Some clinics offer "Lunch & Learns" for their staff. They may let you have some time at one of these meetings!
Work with your local WIC clinic to provide information about your offerings.
Check in with your local social services department, they are often looking for resources to support struggling parents.
Create occasional stand alone events. These can be simple (art in the park) or involve many in your community (transportation night with trucks, police cars, etc).
Create a simple referral system for your current enrolled families. For example, each family the current enrollee recruits to your program, both parties get $10 off registration, or a small gift, you get the idea!
Team with your local birthing centers to offer info for new parents. Some programs even offer a "home visit" to the hospital for parents who request this.
Check out local church events/faith center events that reach families with young children. Equip the churches/programs with info regarding your classes or offer to be a guest speaker on a parent education topic like child development.
There are truly ENDLESS ways to promote your programs for little to no money!
What have been your program's most impactful ways to get the word about what YOU offer?
PS. Just a reminder that Connecting to Learn Curriculum Guide: Vol One increases in price SOON. Sept 1st, the introductory price will leave and the regular price will kick in.
PPS. Want more ideas for stand alone events? They are included in Volume One!
PPPS. Our T-shirt order is now closed. Thank you to those who have ordered. We are SO EXCITED to get these ready to print and ship out to you! You can expect them at your address in mid-September.
Click HERE for more info or to order