What’s one of the best ways to bring in more revenue, excite your enrolled families, and build awareness for your school? If you answered enrichment programs, you’re 100% correct.
Enrichment programs are nice to have for any school but absolutely vital for private schools.
Let’s look at how enrichment programs improve your school and what best practices to follow when running an enrichment program. We’ll also discuss program ideas you can implement. Let’s get started.
The Benefits of Enrichment Programs
Produce More Rounded Students
Because you operate a Montessori school, there’s no doubt that you indeed offer a complete and engaging education to your students. So, why the need for extra programs?
The answer is coded into the Montessori DNA. One of the most important tenets of the Montessori Method is recognizing and respecting individuality. Students learn differently and have different aspirations. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” lesson plan. And this is precisely why you need to offer a variety of non-essential programs that cater to the individuality of your students.
Your extracurricular program will enhance the lives of your students. You can expose your students to new ideas that they may never have considered before. Enrichment programs encourage creativity, independence, and set the stage for lifelong learning. They can also be used to enhance what your students are already learning.
Another Marketing Opportunity for Your School
As a private school, you need all the marketing opportunities you can get. Telling your community about your new enrichment programs is a great way to promote your school (without feeling scammy or spammy).
Here’s the fine print: Don’t make your enrichment opportunities only available to currently enrolled students. Open doors to anyone in the community who would like to participate.
Families in your community, even those who aren’t currently enrolled in your school, will be interested to learn about your enrichment programs. Most parents want the best for their children. They want to expose their children to as many educational opportunities as possible. By offering extracurricular programs at your school, you’re making it possible.
Even if the family only participates in the enrichment program and does not enroll students in your school full time, you can still benefit from a marketing perspective. While the family may not sign up for your school, that family will be more likely to tell their friends and families about your school. (That’s because they now know that your school exists.)
The odds are in your favor that someone in the family’s social circle will want to learn more about your school. Perhaps they’ll enroll their children in your enrichment program. Maybe they’ll attend an open house. Maybe they’ll fall head over heels in love with your Montessori program and enroll right away.
And that’s just one scenario.
When you offer enrichment classes, it’s easier to market your school to prospective families. It shows that you’re giving students access to a rich and diverse educational landscape.
Extracurricular programs are a great selling point for your school. Include this selling point in your promotional materials, within local magazine ads, and on any printed flyers that you hand out. Share it on your website, on your social media pages, and via your email newsletters.
If you open your classes to anyone in the community (and I highly recommend that you do), offer a free community day/open house and invite all to take a peek. Be ready with promotional materials for marketing your school. And make sure you have someone there who’s ready to process registrations.
Ability to Raise More Money for Your School
Enrichment programs increase your revenue, as they can provide another stream of income for your Montessori school.
Depending on the program, you can and should charge an activity fee. How much you should charge will vary. Here are three questions to ask when figuring out the right fee:
How much do other, comparable programs in your area charge for a similar activity? Call around and find out what’s the going rate. You don’t have to compete on price, but it’s good to know what the community accepts.
How much do you think your community can afford to pay? If you operate in an affluent area, you may be able to charge more for such programs. This can also allow you to offer scholarships or assistance to students who can’t afford to pay.
How much will it cost you to run the program? Consider how much you’ll need to pay for staffing and utilities. Also, factor in costs of materials when coming up with your total.
You can also partner with a third party company to offer these enrichment classes in your school. You’ll provide the space, and then get a share of the profits with no extra work on your end (other than advertising).
Types of Enrichment Programs to Add to Your Montessori School
Let’s discuss the different types of enrichment and extracurricular programs you can add to your school.
Art (Drawing, Sculpting, Painting)
Coding and Computer Skills (Typing, Coding, Programming)
Fitness (Tai Chi, Crossfit, Running Club)
Music (Band, Choir/Voice, Guitar, Music Theory, Opera, Piano)
Photography (Composition, Photojournalism, PhotoShop)
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)
Sports (Archery, Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Fencing, Golf, Horseback Riding, Horsemanship, Martial Arts, Skating, Skiing, Swimming)
Speech and Presentation
During Summer Break
Although you can run the following programs year round, they can also be converted into a camp or a clinic and offered during the summer months.
Community Service and Outreach
Dance Camp (Modern, Tap, Ballet)
Movie Making (Animation, Film, Cinematography)
Sports (Tennis, Soccer, Track and Field)
Best Practices for Running an Enrichment Program
Here are a few best practices to follow when incorporating an enrichment program in your school:
Allow Multiple Opportunities to Pay
If you’re only accepting cash, checks, or credit cards, you could be alienating families who prefer to pay through PayPal.
Accept as many payment options as possible—and in as many ways as possible. Allow customers to pay online through your website. And, allow for payment plans. Not all families are able to pay a huge chunk of money upfront for your year-long after school program. Make it possible for them to pay as they go.
Make Registration Easy and Accessible
Don’t make registrants jump through a series of fiery hoops just to sign up for your enrichment class. Offer registration on your website through Hubbli’s Digital Forms. Parents can pay right through the form and even sign digitally with their fingertip or the computer mouse.
Take plenty of photos of your students engaged in your enrichment programs. You’ll need to get written permission first, of course. Be sure to include this on your registration form.
Use these photos to advertise your enrichment program (and your school). Photos are visually compelling and particularly persuasive at recruiting new students and program participants.