Are You Missing Out on Higher Enrollment In Preschool?

Preschool students sitting down and raising their hands with text overlay that reads: Want to increase preschool enrollment? Do this one thing! | Truth Tree knows schools. | Truth Tree knows digital marketing.

By Trevor WaddingtonPrincipalTruth Tree

Your takeaway: Ensure that prospective parents know the earliest age you serve.

Why it’s critical: If even one parent of a rising 2-year-old assumes your school begins at age three, you could miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition revenue.

Preschool, kindergarten, and ninth grade are the most popular entry points at independent schools in the United States. 

When someone says kindergarten or high school, there’s little confusion about the referenced age and grade. Children who turn five are eligible for kindergarten, and the start of high school is grade nine.*

And then there’s preschool. Or is it prekindergarten? Nursery school? Early childhood center? No, wait, transitional kindergarten?

Preschool is the catch-all term for the naming variations of formal education geared to children under five. 

But who attends preschool? #HowOldIsTooYoung

Five preschool-aged students are being picked up or dropped off by their parents in a school hallway.

To find out, I posted a poll on LinkedIn and Facebook and asked: In your mind, at what age does preschool start?

I was excited to get 91 responses, and here are their responses.

      • Age 2: 15%

      • Age 3: 71%

      • Age 4: 14%

    As I suspected, the vast majority of respondents said age three. However, what should alarm school marketers is that nearly one-third stated preschool begins at age two or four.

    The poll was conducted after reviewing numerous school websites, where I, like all users, was met with an ambiguous term and no age requirement for the youngest enrollees. 

    Here are some examples.

    Actual School's Website Description Youngest Age Served (upon further research) Suggested Description
    School #1
    Pre K-12
    Pre K 3 - Grade 12
    School #2
    Early Childhood - 8th Grade
    Age 2 - 8th Grade
    School #3
    Transitional K through 12
    TK Age 4.5 through Grade 12

    Simple fix: Change the school description on your website and marketing materials.

    Words and their definitions can be subjective—even the word kindergarten. Numbers are not. Therefore, make sure it’s immediately apparent who your school serves in the most universally understandable way possible.

    Bonus tip: Your homepage or landing pages should include the ages and grades served, along with other programmatic information that would disqualify a candidate (e.g., girls’ school, LD school, etc.).

    *Yes, there are exceptions, but you get the idea.

    Does your school need to reach more searching families?

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