How to impress potential parents
Often parents will ask to have a look around a setting before they decide whether or not it is right for them and their child. This is also a great opportunity for parents to ask any questions they might have and for a setting to really sell itself as the best in the local area. The pressure felt by managers and practitioners can sometimes be high with nursery spaces needing to be filled in order for the business to be successful and stay open. Managers may, therefore, inform other practitioners that a visit is booked in and request that the room is nice and tidy and the children settled and quiet. However is this really what parents want to see? On a show round managers or practitioners may point out key selling points, routine or things they are proud of in their settings such as we have a mud kitchen, children access their own paints or crayons, messy play is always available etc…. This is a really important element however it is important to consider that as an outsider and a parent these need to be seen and evidenced.
What do parents really want to see?
- Toys, resources and activities – Asking practitioners to tidy up before a visit may be a big mistake. This doesn’t showcase what the children get up to or how they engage with their environment. Parents may not like the idea of their children being unable to play with what they like or spending periods of the day with little or nothing to do.
- Evidence – Its is wonderful to point out key aspects of your setting but there must be evidence that this actually happens and you are not just saying it to impress. If you say there is a mud kitchen it should be a mud kitchen with mud, pointing out the bug hotel which should be at children’s level for them to engage with not high up on fences or in trees where the children cant see it, if messy play is available daily have the messy play out during the visit, if children can access the paints then allow them to do this during the visit. It doesn’t reflect well if you suggest paint is always available and then there is no evidence of this actually happening in practice.
- Noise – Parents may not want to see a room full of children shouting and screaming at each other but there should definitely be a gentle buzz of children engaging, talking, learning and enjoying. It may be tempting to have story time during a visit but if the children are not fully engaged this may not be the right approach to take.
What would be your top tips for a successful show around?