ANOTHER AMAZING CLIENT!
Helen Keller once said, “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” This quote doesn’t ring any truer than it does for the team at Sonshine Preschool in Granville, Ohio.
Each and every day, this staff is greeted with the smiles and enthusiasm of 130 students who are eager to play, learn, and grow! So when a new website was in order for their long-standing and ever growing business, the project required a look that was full of life and passion, just like their organization.
The team at Woodchuck Arts met Sonshine with that familiar child-like enthusiasim when they approached us to develop their new website. This week, Woodchuck was able to connect with Suzanne McMillan, Co-Administrator at Sonshine Preschool. Take a look at another Woodchuck client as they share some usable business and marketing practices, as well as a couple of fun pieces to running a preschool!
WCA: So, we all know the basics of a preschool, but tells us what makes Sonshine different from other schools in your area?
Sonshine Preschool is unique because we have been in business for almost 30 years. And our business continues to thrive despite increased competition. God has blessed us with such an amazing staff and that makes all the difference. We have a low turnover rate because we all get along and help each other out. We hire staff that love God and love children and truly love to educate! Anyone can be a teacher but only a few truly love it and those are the people we look to hire.
WCA: What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love being around people and children! Those sweet precious kiddos always cheer me up. It’s never boring! Ever!
WCA: What is one thing that might surprise people about running a preschool?
How rewarding it is! My favorite part is being able to help parents out by just being a listening ear. Parenting is difficult and parents need lots of love and encouragement.
WCA: Describe your typical working day.
Nothing is typical with preschool children. You never know when you may have to talk with parents, help out in a classroom, deal with a sick child, etc…there is never a dull moment with 130 students.
WCA: Like many other businesses, Sonshine has probably encountered obstacles along the way from conception to development. What keeps you moving forward?
You never know what each year is going to bring. Our business can change from year-to-year based on birth rates and the economy. If we are in a down economy then preschool is definitely something some families have to sacrifice. We just roll with our registration numbers and make adjustments to staff from year to year.
WCA: Without getting into deep specifics, how do you deal with a disgruntled parent that might help other people when they’re working with disgruntled clients/customers?
Face-to-face meetings are always the best interaction! We really focus on listening to our parents’ concerns. Then we give them our feedback and try to make adjustments when we can. We don’t give negative feedback at pick-up and drop-off times when other parents are around. We make sure to speak in private and never email negative or difficult information.
WCA: We know that sometimes kids say the darndest things. What is the funniest thing a child has said/asked you?
We had a student that was a geography genius! Last year he went as Romania for Halloween. This little guy could name all the states in alphabetical order and their capitals and show them to you on a map. He knew all the countries of the world, where they are on a map, and their flag! One day I gave him a child’s atlas from my house and I didn’t realize how out dated it was. In the book it talked about the country of Yugoslavia which is no longer a country. His parents filled him in on Yugoslavia and how it was no longer a country. For about a week he kept saying “I miss Yugoslavia.”
Last week at our music program we had about 60 kids on stage and two of the students began dental flossing on the stage with one of the little girl’s hair. Front row too! Oh kids you never know what they are going to do or say!
WCA: We also know that sometimes working with kids can add a little chaos to your day. How do you keep things organized and running smoothly?
Definitely can be chaotic! Injury and illness interrupt my day quite frequently! Since our year is cyclical and we do similar things at similar times each year I have a document that details what needs to be done each month and for our busy times of the year like the beginning of school and registration times its broken down by weeks. Then I also have my own weekly/daily to-do list. But running a school is busy and constantly changing. Most days my daily to do list changes based on what the day brings.
WCA: What is one piece of marketing advice that you have found successful/useful along the way that you’d like to share?
Word-of-mouth is the best advertising and it’s free! Our goal is to provide our students with the best teachers and a great educational experience. When parents are happy they spread the word. Also, you have to change with the times. We make sure to keep our website up-to-date and looking great (thank you Woodchuck Arts). And, social media is the best place for us to spend our very limited advertising dollars.
WCA: What is the number one thing you look for when hiring new staff?
Someone that is positive and open to new ideas. We also look for teachers that are Christian since we are a Christian preschool.
WCA: What is the number one thing you want the kids from Sonshine to take home with them each day?
That God loves them!!!
WCA: What is one thing that you want our clients to know about Sonshine that we haven’t covered?
It’s a lot of work but it’s very rewarding!
Thanks Suzanne for taking a few minutes to share some great business advice and insight. Please tell that little geography genius that we miss Yugoslavia too (we thought WE were alone)! Woodchuck appreciates the opportunity to work with clients like Sonshine Preschool and we hope that sharing a little piece of our world helps in a little piece of yours!