Below are eight ways you can increase the public awareness and opinion of your program along with some tools to help you support and illustrate your goals and desired outcomes.
8 Tips for Improving Before & After School care Occupancy
1. Build strong partnerships
Partnerships between your before & after-school program co-ordinators, the local schools and parents build important pathways for guiding youth toward more positive life outcomes. The best and strongest partnerships are built with a variety of stakeholders including:
- Families of the students
- The school district and facilities
- Your Coordinators
Open communication between all stakeholders and the program is essential to building these partnerships. At the family level, an online parent portal provides parents and guardians with real-time access to information about their children as well as about opportunities available for different activities.
Parents can access newsletters, activity updates and booking calendars describing your various programs when they’re available, and other pertinent information of interest to both the students and the family.
Educators and other stakeholders can urge parents and students to check the portal for options that interest them and enrol in those options immediately if desired.
Xap’s after school care software management solution will allow you to streamline the engagement between multiple stakeholders a breeze. Request a demo today.
2. Analyze Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Ask yourself, are you providing children and parents with a well-rounded program? If not, some improvements might be needed to improve attendance & occupancy.
A before & after school programs is a place for further learning, socializing and, perhaps most importantly, having fun. Understanding where your after school program stands is invaluable.
Every program has their strengths and weaknesses, but child care providers that are continually looking for new ways to provide more value for everybody involved with the program are going to be the most successful in the long run.
Those are the programs that will continue to develop, and attendance will rise as a result.
3. Build a Culture for Learning & Fun
Nothing can improve occupancy at before & after school program quite like a fun, constructive, and laid-back culture.
If you make learning and socialising fun, children will want to be in attendance. When the results start to show, parents will also pick up on the value of your after school program.
As a child care provider, you should focus on supporting the natural path for early childhood development, while applying the necessary course corrections along the way.
In some ways, an influential, positive culture will make that more natural than ever, and you will be able to keep students engaged daily.
Use the best OSHC management software program that handles the learning and program planning. Publish the plan on the guardian portal and send out push notifications, which will encourage parents to book their children even if they can provide care at home.
4. Increase participation
Students make larger gains if they participate in the program on a regular basis.
Tracking attendance can give you the data you need to learn about the frequency of student participation and how to build a program that promotes sustained attendance.
Attendance tracking and reporting are simplified with the proper technology, saving you and your staff time during arrivals and departures as well as determining the average number of days each student has come to your program each week.
The ability to obtain a report that shows attendance graphically and automatically calculate key attendance measurements can help you justify the use of your program and gain continued support.
Xap’s “OSHC management software solution” supports advance business intelligence engine which will provide you with smart insights into your program, booking patterns for the children and allow you to structure your program in a best possible way to help you increase the occupancies in your OSHC program.
5. Track Attendance digitally & Be Proactive
If you are relying on a system of manual attendance tracking, with family files spread out across your facility or office, gaining visibility into your program will be a long road.
Striving to improve attendance at your before & after school program starts with an understanding of where you currently stand.
Tracking data and family records and analysing what it all means will provide you with insights and visibility into the health of your program so that you can make informed decisions to improve attendance.
Use Xap’s innovative OSHC management software solution to handle your attendance digitally and manage family and children profile online through our web portal, staff app and guardian app.
6. Offer Unique Experiences
Building up your OSHC program so that it’s fully optimized to provide the best experiences possible for children might take time. While you are travelling down that winding path, focus on making each day a unique experience.
Whether it’s a learning situation or an opportunity to socialize, recognize that each child is different, and provide activities that appeal to a diverse set of interests. It’s on you to make everybody feel at home.
7. Connect on Social Media
The most direct way to improve attendance at your after school program is by finding new ways to connect with parents. Sharing updates with parents of the children in your program will keep them involved and encourage attendance.
If you are providing unique, valuable experiences for children at your after school program, social media can help boost your attendance numbers just by making your work more visible and keeping parents updated.
8. Integrate Parents Into the Experience
Providing elite care for the children at your after school program is the main focus. However, parents are your customers and decision-makers, and integrating them into the experience will improve attendance.
That starts with communication. By eliminating any communication issues, your after school program will become an integral part of not only the child’s day but their parents as well.
Leveraging capabilities like online enrolments, accepting the bookings online, digital payment processing will put the bill at their fingertips on their mobile device, and engaging parents with daily reports, photos and activity information will make them feel a part of your program.
Early childhood development will have a lasting effect on children under your care, and you have an opportunity to improve their skills each day.
Your after school program will provide students with opportunities that might not be available during the school day. However, there won’t be as many valuable experiences if attendance numbers are low and you won’t get the most out of your effort to enhance their after school experience.