Tell me more… Pre-school groups are for children under five and usually held in village halls or community centres. They help children play, learn, have fun and interact with other children and include:
- Messy play
- Arts and crafts
- Music and dance/movement
- Speech and communication
- Baby yoga and massage
- Languages, including sign language
You might also like to consider becoming a tutor.
What are the benefits?
- You may be able to take your own children with you, although it will depend on the group and the age of your children. Caring for your own toddler while setting up and clearing away could be hard work!
- You can run as many or as few sessions as you want.
- You might be able to start your own franchise.
- You could diversify e.g. you could also run children’s parties or produce a CD.
- If you don’t want to start from scratch, there are several franchises you could buy.
- If you have a background in childcare or education but fancy a change from school or nursery, this could be a rewarding new career.
Things to consider…
- Parents may encourage you to charge on a per-session basis as it’s more convenient for them. But you’ll have costs to cover such as the hire of a hall, so you may need to charge on a termly basis. You could make this more appealing by offering a the first session for free or the first three sessions to be paid on a per-session basis.
- Demand is likely to be term-time only, so will you need to find other ways of earning an income for the other 12 weeks in the year? Or does term time working suit you?
- Many Sure Start centres have opened up over the last few years offering free pre-school sessions. You can compete with this, but you will need to think about what you have to offer that the Sure Start centres don’t have. Alternatively, you could ask them if you could run sessions for them. If you can’t beat them, join them!
- When working out how much you could earn from running a pre-school group, don’t forget to include the time you won’t be paid directly for, e.g. setting up and clearing away, administration, lesson planning and preparation.
- Check out the legal requirements, which will be different depending on the group you run. For example – do you need a Criminal Records Bureau check? What are the health and safety requirements, do you need to be inspected by Ofsted? The Pre-School Alliance leaflet (see below) is a good place to start.
- If you’re looking at buying a franchise, how long will it take you to earn back the franchise fee? What do you get with the franchise? Is this good value for money?
- It may take you a couple of years to get a full group of children.
- Franchises available include Talking Tots, Musical Minis, Artybobs and many more.
- There are lots of mums who have set up their own groups without a franchise, check these out for some inspiration – Jelly Beans Music, Singasaurus, Tots Play, Messy Mob.
Not convinced that running a pre-school group is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.
7 Replies to “Business Ideas for Mums: Running a pre-school group”
Thanks for mentioning Jellybeans Music – I love what I do, but I’d be lying to not say that it is hard work, physically & mentally, and it can be lonely being an independent. However, I wouldn’t change my career for anything as it gives me the flexibility to work around my 3 children and keep their needs as my priority.
Thanks for your message, Elizabeth. Loneliness is always a risk when you’re self employed and I guess it was part of the reason I went back to employment just over three years ago. This time I hope to build a better support network of other Mums, so far it’s going pretty well.
Hi Helen, I run Tots Play, thanks for the mention. I am independent now but used to run a franchised music group so have seen both sides. I started the franchise when my daughter was a baby and it gave me the confidence I needed to get started in what was a completely new area for me, it also fit great around her and still does now she is in school, as all my classes run within school hours. I love being independent now as it gives me the opportunity to try out new things and really tailor my classes to the needs of the children attending. The most challenging part of the business for me is the marketing aspect. Due to the nature of the business the turnover of children is constant so there is always the need to keep promoting your business, although word of mouth is a great source of advertising once you have been running a while. I am also trying to add extra value to my classes, and partly inspired by yours and other blogs have just started my own at http://totsplayextra.blogspot.com with ideas of how to adapt some of our activities to do at home. Happy to chat to anyone interested in starting pre-school classes – its a great business to be in!
Thanks for leaving a comment, Helen. I may be in touch at some point – as someone who has been independent and has bought a franchise, you’re in a unique position in that you can compare the two. Very interesting point about the marketing, I think that marketing is one of the more challenging parts of any business and the turnover you mentioned must make this even more tricky. Good luck with your blog!
Great piece Helen and thanks for the mention! Lisa x
Smart Talkers Pre-school communication groups have a special offer until the end of september; half price franchise fee as a celebration of the year of communication. We have different classes for different ages using puppets, games, stories and songs