A playschool is meant for kids under the age of 5 and is primarily aimed at providing quality education for kindergarten kids. So if you love kids then starting a playschool may be a good idea.
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So what is the advantage of starting a play school?
You get a high degree of satisfaction working with kids and contributing to their growth and development. You help nurture a positive environment for kids where their physical and mental growth takes place seamlessly.
As Anjana Sen, Director of Kidzzone pre-school puts it,” When 500 kids pass out of my play school and join different schools and I see their mothers smiling, I feel glad that I was in some way responsible for their development and growth.”. And she further adds,” When I see their younger siblings coming back to our playschool I feel satisfied that we have succeeded in our goal of keeping the kids safe and happy”.
Steps involved in setting up daycare
Setting up a pre school does not require any legal permission in India. This means you are free of legal hassles and can get down to the nitty-gritty of playschool setup. But once your playschool is established it is a good idea to get your playschool registered as a Trust or society in the office of Registrar.
Planning for daycare
You have to plan for all expenses like Franchisee fees if you are taking the help of a franchiser, lease or rent fees for building, furniture, curriculum, staff salaries, teacher training, office stationery, marketing etc. These are only the minimum requirements. So keep cash in surplus as other expenses may turn up once you start school. Anjana Sen recommends that a minimum of 50000 to 2 lakh rupees be kept handy when starting this venture.
Once a year you may have to set aside 20000-25000 rupees for annual maintenance like replacing broken toys, paint, books etc. Also things like medicines, laundry, food items like biscuits, cereals, water etc also needs to be planned for every month and the appropriate budget kept aside as monthly expenses.
An area which is quiet and safe is the ideal location for a playschool. A residential layout is preferred with adequate space. Consider the following rooms in your playschool; play rooms, dining room and activity room along with a playground. If you are staying in apartments you can also consider using common rooms, community halls or un-leased flats as playschool.
To attract kids and parents a playschool should be colorful and the ambience joyful. For this consider
- Colorful children furniture like plastic chairs, tables, and play equipments like rockers, slide etc. Also book racks, wall hangings and staff furniture needs to be considered.
- Indoor activity games like puzzles, towers, alphabets and other board games.
- Art craft supplies like finger paints, clay, ribbon, glitter, paint brushes etc
- Office supplies like pencils, pens, and stationeries like CD’s, bags, markers etc.
All these are subjected to your budgetary limits. You can start small and expand later. Facilities like lunch, transportation, full day care etc can be added later.
You can follow the Montessori Method of education. The Montessori Method of education is a methodology emphasising the natural learning of children and focuses both on social interaction and academics. There are other less popular education methods too like Reggio Emilia Approach and Waldorf education.
Playschool consultants are professionals who guide you in setting up educational institutions. By consulting such a person a playschool owner can get help in choosing staff, location, curriculum, equipment for a limited period of time.
One can look up Just dial, yellow pages etc for consultants in their area. There are some groups like http://www.thepreschoolsource.com/consulting.htm, www.sunbeameduserve.com,http://www.saieduserve.com etc which may help too.
For choosing a good curriculum you can get the advice of playschool consultants, pre-school teachers or owners of established playschools.
As Renuka Nair, founder principal of FUN N LEARN, with more than 15 years in working with younger children puts it, ‘a combination of education approaches like Montessori and Kindergarten (methodology focusing more on visual materials and play) ensures that all aspects of a child’s education is taken care of. This enables the child to successfully transit from a play school to a regular school.”
You can also take the help of internet to decide on curriculum and books. Whichever curriculum you follow make sure it is competitive enough and enables the kids to adjust to the school’s education board like CBSE/ICSE or state board.
On your own? Or Franchisee?
You could start a playschool independently or go with a Franchiser. There are plenty of well known Franchisers in Bangalore like Shemrock, KidZee etc. The advantages of going with a Franchiser are that they support you in selecting location for playschool, hiring trained staff, developing good curriculum, marketing, purchasing school equipment etc. You also start with a brand name which means parents associate your school with quality.
But on the downside you will have to shell out franchisee fees and royalty. Apart from this there are also few known issues in going for Franchise like poor business model, inadequate training for teachers, unkept promises etc.
If you do not wish to be a franchisee then you can take the help of playschool consultant to advice you on location, curriculum, equipment etc. You can also talk with established playschool owners to help determine your budget.
If you are starting on your own it is best to have some kind of early child hood training like Montessori training. In fact Renuka Nair, who is herself trained at Norte Dame, asserts that having a child psychology degree and teacher training helps you tremendously during the initial planning phases of playschool. A degree in child psychology also ensures that you can understand, help, accept and appreciate children better.
School forms and stationery
Like schools, you will have to arrange for report cards, admission forms, transfer certificate, diary, fee receipts etc. If you go for a franchise option then the franchisers will provide all these materials.
You will have to recruit teachers who have undergone Montessori or Nursery training. You may also have to seek out assistant teachers and aayas who love kids and have the experience to handle kindergarten kids. The number of teachers will depend on teacher and child ratio. Some playschools stick to National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) methodology and opt for 1:4 ratio for infants and 1:10 for 3-5 olds.
Once the basic infrastructure is in place you can think of ways to promote your school. Banners, newspaper ads, internet etc are some of the ways to garner attention to your school. But the best marketing is word of mouth which is one of the trusted and reliable ways of spreading awareness about your school.
Generic tips for starting of a playschool:
Having a child psychology degree and teacher training helps you tremendously during the initial planning phases of playschool. A degree in child psychology also ensures that you can understand, help, accept and appreciate children better.
- A playschool should always use paint that is lead free and which has no odors.
- Make sure that all electrical sockets have plastic prongs in them. This prevents kids from sticking their fingers in to the sockets.
- Have a child proof lock in rooms so that you can store unsafe materials like medicines, chemicals etc behind it.
- The toys should be safe and hygienic to use and should be made of non toxic materials which can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
- If you are providing lunch or snacks keep all hot pans and pots out of reach of kids.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for fire safety.
- Keep a first aid kit handy and have tie ups with doctors or clinics in case of emergencies.
Challenges if any?
Along the way you are sure to encounter challenges unique to your venture. One of the biggest challenges in a playschool according to Anjana Sen is meeting a mother’s expectation. A mother always thinks the world revolves around her son and satisfying her is the mammoth task. Another typical work related challenge which you are likely to face is making a toddler trust you. It is difficult to anticipate the needs of a toddler and it is necessary to form a bond with them to make them comfortable.
Handling difficult children can also be a very challenging task. “Here a degree in child psychology is a major benefit”, states Renuka Nair categorically.
To round off take up this venture only if you are passionate with kids. Otherwise it is difficult to succeed. As Anjana Sen asserts,” Love for kids is a must in this field. If love does not come from heart kids will no longer wish to come to school everyday and will feel uncomfortable.” The result gets reflected in their personality and work reports.
So care and unconditional love for kids will get you a long way in this undertaking. Though the investment could be anywhere between 50000 to 200000 rupees in this venture the returns can also start as high as 50k per month, a few months down the lane.⊕