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Customer Friendly Characteristics for Early Childhood

Brainstorm a list of customer friendly characteristics you would like to see outside an early childhood program which may both; invite families in to the program and inform families about the program.

First impressions count, paying attention to how the program is presented, even before a person enters the building, is important.

Solution Preview

Marketing an ECE Program

Brainstorm a list of customer friendly characteristics you would like to see outside an early childhood program which may both; invite families in to the program and inform families about the program.
First impressions count, paying attention to how the program is presented, even before a person enters the building, is important.

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Everything about the front of an early childhood center should inform family members that they are welcome, inform them about how they can be involved, and should help to tell them what programs are there for them to take advantage of.
The facility itself should also speak to what the children are learning within its walls. All different types of children's work should shine as a part of the display for the front of the center and should reflect all different types of learning.

The first customer friendly characteristic that I would like to see outside an early childhood program would be a clear and inviting entrance. A brightly colored and clear entry point will invite families into the program.

The way that entrance is decorated will also help to inform families about the program inside. There should be brightly colored trim around the entrance, and also images of children and/or images for children close to this entrance.

Many of these images should be placed at "children's height" to denote that the most important people here are the children in the early childhood program.

There should be playful curves and bright colors at each and every entrance.

The circulation and flow of the space should lead all who enter into the space.

The entrance environment should be further enhanced by the columns or railings or fences that will gently guide people toward the entrance and into the facility. There should also be primary colors on the sidewalks, door frames, and columns, railings, and fences as you continue toward the main entrance of the building.

The entrance should have a sign(s) telling you what the building is and who uses the building. Sign(s) should have large letters and be easy to read. Sign(s) should have child-like writing and images to further clarify their main purpose.

Sign(s) should welcome parents and family members and should include hours, phone numbers, and other important information that will make family members feel more comfortable and welcome.

Windows throughout the building should be the height that allows the children to look out at the new playgrounds and outdoor play equipment and tricycle and bicycle paths. This is another way to suggest to those who are looking at the building, who is within it.

There should be wide concrete sidewalks in a double circle pattern, one circle on one side of the main walkway to the entrance, and one circle on the other side of the main walk-way to the entrance. The walkway then goes right through the middle of the two circles. Each side of these circles should be connected to a road that goes all of the way around the school and connects to the circle on the other side, which will then be a huge tricycle and bicycle path for outdoor play. The columns or railings or fencing will run around the outside edges of both circles and provide a curved path that is inviting you to the front entrance, and preventing you from being run over during outdoor play time.

In a grassy area off to each side of the entrance, you should see swing sets, and other types of outdoor play equipment, all around the center.

There should also be a bulletin board for family events that is either somewhere along the path to the entrance or right near the entrance. This bulletin board should be large and have a way to display large lettered event notifications for family members. There should be another type of bulletin board sign like this one near the busiest street next to the early childhood center, so parents and family members will have information about events they can attend, or when they can come to read to the students there, or when they can volunteer, or when there will be parenting classes, or when they can come and get help with financial aid, or taxes, or when they come and use the parent library. The sign should have dates, days, hours, etc.

The main entrance should be inviting and playful

The entrance must contain a means of alerting the teachers and children of visitors.

As you enter the center a security sign-in station sits attached to the wall immediately in front of your path. This security measure provides a means of tracking all visitors entering the center. There should be a security sign-in center at every unlocked and welcoming entrance.

The primary colors provided on the sidewalks, doorframes, and columns, railings, and fences should alternate as you continue down the corridor leading to the entrance, making you feel drawn in.

Playtime regarding the exterior is important and it should contain new equipment, large play equipment, and a series of new swing sets. Underneath all of this equipment it is important to install a safety surface for the children's protection.

There should be many, many windows for students to show their work to the outside world. There could also be outside display cases for student to display work as well. These could also be placed on the path to the entrance.

There could also be an outdoor theatre area for plays and musical activities that would demonstrate learning.
There could be billboards for plays, musicals, speeches, that would demonstrate the learning taking place in this area.

There could also be gardens for children to help cultivate, both flower gardens and vegetables gardens would be great displays of essential learning. These gardens could have signs with projects listed and the names of children working on them.

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This resource will give you many different ideas.

EARLY LEARNING FACILITIES

Information on early learning environments, including design guidelines, quality indicators, and safety requirements, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

http://www.ncef.org/rl/earlychildcenters.cfm

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Early Childhood Centers
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
at the National Institute of Building Sciences
1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005-4905 888-552-0624 www.ncef.org
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education ©2009, National Institute of Building Sciences
Dan Butin and Jennifer Woolums
2009

Early childhood centers have become a common and necessary part of millions of Americans' lives. More
women in the workforce, longer workweeks, and educational research supporting the importance of early
education have all contributed to the rise of early childhood centers throughout the United States. ...

Solution Summary

Everything about the front of an early childhood center should inform family members that they are welcome, inform them about how they can be involved, and should help to tell them what programs are there for them to take advantage of.
The facility itself should also speak to what the children are learning within its walls. All different types of children's work should shine as a part of the display for the front of the center and should reflect all different types of learning.

Early childhood centers have become a common and necessary part of millions of Americans' lives. More
women in the workforce, longer workweeks, and educational research supporting the importance of early
education have all contributed to the rise of early childhood centers throughout the United States. Today,
more than 30 percent of children under the age of three and almost 50 percent of children between the ages of
three and five attend an early childhood center for some part of their day (Children's Defense Fund 1999).
An early childhood center is considered a nonresidential facility that provides care for at least 13 children. This
digest focuses on how design can improve the quality of such centers, where quality is seen as the health, safety, and appropriate development of the child (see NAEYC 2000 for comprehensive accreditation guidelines).

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