Open houses are a great way to start engaging with your community. At your open house, you will meet prospective families, show them your environment, and tell them about your program. We recommend having an open house every 2 - 3 weeks until your program is at least half full.
Here are different types of open houses you can host:
General Open House
Wonderschool has found that for your first event, it’s best to do a simple house with no other activity or entertainment.
You can think of this event like a real estate open house if you are going to rent or buy a home. Families will come and go during the duration of the open house. You can show them around your environment, and if possible, do a mini tour. Most importantly, you’ll want to answer their questions. Wonderschool will prepare a short presentation deck for you that will help you answer any questions.
We recommend having a friend there to help greet new people walking in if you are already engaged in conversation with another family.
Sometimes we consider your first open house a “practice” event. It’s not uncommon for these events to be poorly attended, because for some programs it takes time to find what marketing channels work best and for word of mouth to start building in the community.
This event goes well if 1 family shows up or if 30 show up. Even if no families show up, you should still consider it a success because you have made progress toward spreading the word about your program.
Open House & Play Date
This is a easy but enticing addition to a general open house. For this event, you should set out a few easy activities or prepare a few play areas that children can engage with while you answer questions from adults. If possible, spend some time interacting with the children, too. Parents like to see how you shine doing what you do best!
We recommend having a friend there to help greet new people walking in if you are already engaged in conversation with another family or interacting with the children.
Open House & Arts and Crafts
For this event, you’ll set aside 10-15 minutes or so during the open house to lead the children through a craft activity.
Make sure to have a friend there to help greet any families that may enter your home while you are leading the craft activity.
Open House + Music Circle
For this event, you’ll set aside 10-15 minutes or so to have a music circle with the children and parents. If you have musical instruments suitable for children, you can use those and lead the children in a few songs. Or you can teach them to sing a few simple songs.
Sometimes directors like to do music that is relevant to their cultural background. For example, Tamara of Turquoise Dolphin Wonderschool led a Brazilian music and dance circle at one of her open houses.
Make sure to have a friend there to help greet any families that may enter your home while you are leading the music circle.
Open House + Reading Circle
For this event, you’ll set aside 10-15 minutes or so to have a reading circle with the children. Pick a short children’s book that you love and enjoy your time reading it to the kids!
Make sure to have a friend there to help greet any families that may enter your home while you are leading the reading circle.
After you have experience hosting your first or second open house, feel free to get creative! Make sure to include “Open House” in your event title!
Here are a few examples from other Wonderschool directors:
Open House & Guacamole Making
Gloria of Banana Fana Preschool hosting an open house where she led parents and children through making traditional guacamole. She also read a children’s book about guacamole in Spanish written by a local author.
Open House & Stone Soup
Devon of Little Lemon Tree showcased her outdoor-program by reading the book “Stone Soup” and then getting parents and kids together stone soup using items found in the outdoors. She also had some magic, fragrant ingredients such as lavender and fresh lemons!
Open House & Folk Celebration
Karen of Retoños Schoolhouse hired a few live folk performers to dance to Latin-American music. You can have a folk celebration without the expense of hiring performers; just decorate your home and set out a few themed snacks. Turn on some music and teach the children a few songs or dance moves!