As summer approaches, this is often the time schools are accepting enrollment and applications for the coming Fall school year. Before this pandemic, it wasn't unusual for a parent to get the paperwork to fill out and bring back to the school to get their child accepted into their desired school. COVID-19 has prompted school closures as well as advising social distancing, so what does this mean for schools looking to grow their registration numbers for the new school year?
Schools must incorporate new ways to retain and gain business as a whole. Online enrollment is no longer an option! As parents start looking into how schools are dealing with recent changes in protocols, they want to be assured their children are safe in your organizations. Start by showing a contactless way of enrolling new and existing students to your school through the ease of a sign-up link via Curacubby.
In episode four of Curacubby podcast, we speak with an Early Childhood Education Expert, with over 30 years of experience, Susan Wolfsen. Susan is currently the director of Corte Madera Montessori in California, where for the past ten years, enrollment has not been an issue for a much-desired school. This year, with COVID-19, the number of registrants is unpredictable, and for the first time in a decade, Susan is faced with uncertainty over enrollment. While the school can't predict how many students will enroll for the coming Fall, they can ensure a safe process for families to sign up through their website on Curacubby's "Family Sign Up Tool." This feature enables families to register or enroll their children all through the safety of their homes.
While the period of registration can often be stressful for both families and school directors, having a seamless and automated process in collecting student information is a no brainer when it comes to wanting your business to flourish.
Susan advises that during this time, it's vital for existing families, as well as new families who plan on attending in the Fall, to feel involved and up-to-date on changes happening at the schools. Communication is essential for a school to succeed truly. She recalls the weekend before shutting down, how easy it was for her to relay information to her staff and parents. "We used Curacubby's "Reach Out" tool to notify parents about what was happening and how we were moving forward with Distance Learning. We've also continued to use it weekly to communicate updates on when we'll be returning and on lesson plans and check-ins with the families."
With the challenges COVID-19 is bringing, it's important to note that many families may feel uncomfortable sending their children back into a classroom this coming Fall -- no matter the amount of communication. Susan suggests always validating the parents' feelings towards this, as we all have different challenges and situations at home (grandparents at home, family members with underlying conditions, etc.) It is important to remember that schools are used to being around a lot of germs and viruses. Before the virus, teachers already spent a lot of time cleaning and disinfecting the environment for young children, making sure kids were washing their hands, keeping their hands to themselves, etc. In the end, Susan suggests listening to your gut, "parents know what best for their family and their children."
COVID-19 has brought uncertainty for business owners across the education sector; it's crucial for school owners and directors to focus on staying connected with your student as much as possible, being compassionate, and validating people's feelings. Outside of staying connected, start planning for re-opening in the Fall.
While the future is uncertain, education for children is not. As a school director, it may be easy to feel trapped in an emotional mindset of "now, now, now," and thus be missing optimistic outlooks for the future. Take this time away from parents and children to set up your school for a successful lifetime of business ahead!