What’s a welcome board?
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Everyone wants to feel welcomed and a part of something. It is a basic human need. As early childhood educators, we understand and practice this everyday. We greet the parents and children as they enter the school, we display photos, send videos of children to parents and try to make everyone feel they are part of our school culture.
One way to do this with your prospective parents is through a welcome board. After completing an inquiry call and before their scheduled tour, create a wipe-off board or chalkboard that has a personalized welcome message. Use the parent’s name, child’s name and what you want to accomplish at the visit. Keep it friendly or professional,
depending on the mood and tone of your school and the parent. Consider using friendly, welcoming images or photos of your hospitable staff. If it is handwritten, make sure it is legible and welcoming, or use a pleasant font.
From the initial phone conversation you might know a little about what is most important to the parent. Did the parents ask about your curriculum? Did the parents ask about lunch? Use their questions to develop a personalized message just for them.
Display the board as one of the first things that the parent sees at their initial visit. One place might be outside the building near the entryway so the parent knows they are in the right place and are welcomed to the school. Another might be as the parent enters the school in the lobby or on the reception counter.
First impressions and attention to detail are important. Make sure the parent’s or child’s name is spelled correctly. Is the board fresh and clean or does it look like it’s been erased, with old residue on the board?
Most importantly, develop procedures for keeping the board up to date. Who will be responsible for checking which tours are scheduled for the day? When will this be done? What is the back-up plan if that person wasn’t available to complete the task? If the board is not current, it can make someone feel the opposite of its intended effect - Un-Welcomed. “Why isn’t my name on the board?”
A welcome board is one simple, easy, first step for you to use with prospective parents that will help them validate your friendly school environment and, hopefully, register!