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.
- 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.