Primrose Schools, which has been serving infants to kindergarten aged children since 1982, has been continually seeing its work pay off and is seeing demand for its brand of learning grow exponentially.
“Our approach to early education is time-tested. While we continue to innovate, the foundational values that the Primrose approach was built on remain the same today as they were 30 years ago, and we know it works,” Chris Goethe, Vice President of Franchising for Primrose said during a recent interview at the International Franchising Expo in New York. “As a result, demand is climbing and currently today we have more than 320 schools with several more planned to open this year. There is so much work to be done to fill this need for high-quality early education and care, and finding the right people and location is key for us.”
The Right Place
Primrose is particular about where it places schools, the company requires unique locations and real estate needs to deliver the nurturing child care environment it’s known for.
When deciding where to place a school, the vice-president of franchising said, Primrose will look at the demographics within a seven mile radius of a potential site. The demographics must meet the criteria of having at least 2,000 children under the age of four and with middle to upper household income.
The educational franchise prefers relatively out-of-the-way or unique places to maintain privacy and security for its students and families Parents appreciate that Primrose Schools aren’t in high traffic areas with big storefronts that just anyone can stumble upon.
Being in more hidden areas doesn’t impact enrollment he added, because while the schools may not be in obvious areas, parents typically hear about Primrose through word-of-mouth thanks to the strong Primrose network of parents, teachers, staff and Franchise Owners.
Typically, a suburban Primrose School will need one to two acres for a 12,000 to 14,000 square ft. building.
The Right People
To find Franchise Owners who will own schools in these sometimes inconspicuous locations, Primrose seeks the right people who are motivated by a higher calling that’s more than just making money.
“We know owning a franchise is a big investment and profitability is essential, but we offer more than that at Primrose,” he said. “Owning a Primrose school is incredibly rewarding, so we look for individuals who are passionate about making a true difference for children and families. When I talk to prospects, I ask ‘Why are you here? What are you on the planet for?’ and try to see if their values align with ours at Primrose.”
Because Primrose is in the business of children’s education, there has to be a certain trust factor with franchisees. The process of becoming a Primrose franchisee lasts for about eight months and involves a lot of interviews and background checks to ensure potential franchisees are not only in it for the right reasons, but also don’t raise any red flags for the company.
“Parents are entrusting us with the responsibility of educating and caring for their children and we take that very seriously,” he said. “We only recruit reputable people who share our commitment to delivering the best and most trusted early education and care to children and families across America.”
Primrose has about 60,000 children in its system today and its total occupancy is around 80 percent for mature schools that have been open for more than two years around the country.
The Right Lessons
Goethe describes Primrose’s Balanced Learning® curriculum as a nice balance between child-initiated and teacher-directed theme-based learning.
“For example, the theme one week might be living things. When the children go outside to play they will observe the grass, trees, insects and birds. Then they may explore the different stages of a plant’s life cycle at the Science Center, read a book about living things, or write a story or paint a picture based on living things,” Goethe explained. “There is this comprehensive and connected delivery of our approach that makes learning fun and natural for children and it’s pretty awesome to see.”
“The Primrose Balanced Learning approach is created from the best early education wisdom. Primrose has an Education Team that consults with the Primrose Early Learning Council, a panel made up of nationally-recognized early childhood experts, to regularly assess and continuously innovate its approach. This ensures Primrose is continuously improving to provide the best early learning experience possible for children.”
“At Primrose schools, children learn and practice concepts in language and literacy; science, technology, engineering, creative arts and math (STEAM); social studies; music; physical development; health; and compassion, kindness and life skills continuously throughout each day.”
In addition to the satisfaction of helping children get a great start on their education, Primrose Franchisees enjoy the benefit of stellar support from the early childhood education center.
It’s a great opportunity for anyone who has a calling for working with children.