The key to building a solid student body base is to constantly be finding ways to increase the pre school students. Pre school classes are generally held during the morning or early afternoon hours, both times that are not used for classes for the older children. The more you are able to build those classes, the more likely you are going to build a client base that will sustain you for years to come. Very often, children who begin to study with you at an early age will remain with you for their entire childhood and into their teens. Parents who bring their children to you at a very young age often become your most loyal clients. So, all in all, to increase those pre school students is a win - win situation.

The key to building a solid student body base is to constantly be finding ways to increase the pre school students. Pre school classes are generally held during the morning or early afternoon hours, both times that are not used for classes for the older children. The more you are able to build those classes, the more likely you are going to build a client base that will sustain you for years to come. Very often, children who begin to study with you at an early age will remain with you for their entire childhood and into their teens. Parents who bring their children to you at a very young age often become your most loyal clients. So, all in all, to increase those pre school students is a win - win situation.

When we first bought our studio, we had a very small number of young children studying with us and we probably ran four or five classes a week. Currently, we offer classes six days a week in Ballet and Tap with numerous classes each day. It really is true that, If you build it they will come. What we discovered, was that when we only offered a few classes each week, peoples perception was that pre school training was not our specialty. The moment that we put classes on our schedule six days a week they just started to fill up. Were they all full immediately? Some were and some took a little longer to build. Did we sometimes run those classes with only three little children in them? Yes we did. By doing so, the word started to get around, and before we knew it, we needed to close classes and add more of them.

Over the years we have devised ways that work to strengthen that very important side of our business. Here are some of our ideas.

Contact your local young mothers clubs and online resources in your area. Join their newsletter mailing list and let them know what events are coming up at your studio. Most online parent information websites offer calendars of special events in the area that are geared for young children, be sure to get your special dates added. Create opportunities for their readers to come and visit the studio: free classes, free event or special day just for them. Suggestions for free events will be listed below. Try to have a listing on their calendar at least once every two months, so that parents keep seeing your name. Buy a banner ad on their website. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can buy a one time ad, one every few months or twelve months out of the year. Generally speaking, these ads are extremely inexpensive and enable you to constantly be on peoples minds. To find these websites just do a Google search for parenting websites or one for childrens activities in your area.

Contact all the pre schools in your area. Offer to do a free class during their students regular class time. These schools are always looking for different events to offer their young children. Make sure that you take your calendar of events and any brochures or information regarding the programs you are offering at your studio. Many times, when we have had a teacher go to the pre school events to teach they have ended up with an offer of a paid position to go once a week because the students enjoyed it so much. Even if it is a one time situation, try to make the most of it. Most importantly, develop a good relationship with the director and work towards an agreement that they will hand out your material from time to time and especially to new students.

Buy a mailing list from one of the mailing list companies. If you work with a local printer, find out if they have a mailing list that will target specifically the pre school age group. There are a number of good mailing list companies out there. One that we can recommend is InfoUSA.com. We would also recommend that you have a postcard designed for this age group with a specific call to action listed on it such as a FREE class or a FREE t-shirt. Also give a specific time frame for them to bring the postcard in to you by. Postcards are an inexpensive way to get your message out. Put pictures on them and only talk about what you offer for that particular age group. People generally become confused if you give them too many messages at the same time.

Events at your studio that are free and fun are a must for building a good relationship not only with the pre school students but more importantly with their parents. These events do not have to cost a lot of money, whatever the costs are you simply build them into your advertising budget at the beginning of each year. The goodwill that you will be spreading is invaluable and the word of mouth advertising will increase each time you run one of these events. Some that have worked really well at our studio are:

Ice cream social with free hip hop classes, face painting, arts and crafts to make ,bun making classes for parent and most importantly, ice cream sundaes made to order!

Halloween party outside your studio. Set up music and dancing. Enlist the help of your older dancers to dress up and dance with the little ones who come trick or treating. Have a dance competition with prizes. Ask everyone who comes to your table for the free candy you give the children to fill out a card to enter a raffle. Offer a session of free classes for the winner that is drawn. This will help you to build your mailing list. Make sure that anything you hand out has the name of your studio with the phone number and website address.

Hold a Valentine party with one of your dancers in an animal character costume that the young ones are familiar with. Show them a dance. Have them make a valentine card for their parents. Take pictures or video and post them on your website.

Children love the Easter Bunny. Invite your students to bring their friends and family to the Easter Bunny Dance. Make cards, play games. Learn the Easter Bunny dance.

Have a party at the end of your semester. Hand out pizzas or do a barbecue. Invite your whole student body, family and friends as a thank you to them for the year. Show some small sections of your year end show. The key is to make it free and fun.

These are just some ideas of events that will please your customers and keep them talking about you to their friends for the rest of the year. Once your regular season is over, make sure that you have as many of those young children signed up for your summer pre school programs as possible.

We have had success since we started offering one week programs that last two and a half hours each morning, Monday thru Friday from 10.00 to 12.30. Our programs contain our fantasy ballet classes which include a regular ballet class for that age group with the addition of stories from Ballets and also Fairy Tales to stimulate these young dancers imaginations. Tiny tap classes, a little Hip Hop and each day something special. Face painting, making an item with colors and sparkles, a traditional tea party with tiny sandwiches and cookies. Try to think of things to do that will make their time with you special and memorable. On each Friday, the dancers put on a short performance for their families who are thrilled and delighted at what their children have accomplished in one week. Very often a parent will sign their child up for one week and will end up signing them up for additional weeks because the children had such a good time.

All of these ideas have worked for us in a very positive way. Put your own twists to them and watch your pre school program grow beyond your wildest expectations.