Your staff has the power to convert prospects into enrollments or to drive them in the waiting arms of your competitors. Parents view your staff as the people with whom their children will be spending time while they are gone. Though the teacher’s first responsibility is to the children, the connection the teacher makes with the parents during a center visit has impact on the their decision to enroll in your center or elsewhere.
Whenever you enter a classroom during a center visit, there are three things you can do to help facilitate that parent-teacher connection.
1. Introduce the teacher. Even if the teacher is engaged in an activity, you can usually interrupt for a moment just for an introduction. Coach your teachers to smile and acknowledge the parent as they come in. If you will be introducing them formally, help your teachers feel comfortable responding politely and with eye contact. Be sure they make it a point to say hello to the child. Alert the teacher to the visit ahead of time, and the teacher might say something like, “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Gonzalez, and is this Amanda?”
2. Showcase teacher benefits. Briefly tell parents about any teacher strengths, such as tenure, special programs he/she helped develop, CDA work, education, ongoing training, etc. A nice touch is to have a teacher profile somewhere in or just outside each room. Profiles are usually a one-sheet with a photo of the teacher, some educational credentials, and a personal fact, such as family and hobbies. Even if parents have already seen a brief teacher profile on your website, this is a warm, yet professional way to visually showcase your teachers in the center.
3. Involve the teacher, if possible. It is impressive when a teacher can say something like, “I understand from talking to Ms. Jenny (director) that you want Joshua to have educational experiences as well as playtime while he is here. Let me show you how he will be able to learn valuable skills through play.” During this brief parent – teacher talk time, have prearranged with the teacher for you to take over her role with the children.
Making your teachers an integral part of your center visit presents you as a strong team of friendly professionals. That feeling relayed to a visiting parent can help them make the decision to become your next enrollment.