How to build a strategic plan for your childcare service?

As we are nearing the end of the year, it is a great time to start reviewing the results of the past year and put in place a strategy for the coming year. The word ‘strategy’ can sometimes be overwhelming and paralysing to get started, so we have made our strategy planning process available for centres to use.

Every strategic plan starts with asking the question of ‘Why’ are we doing this, and what are we trying to achieve at a Vision and Mission level. This is the big visionary statement that will drive your plan and initiatives. Is your vision to change education, foster community or to build the most amazing centre the world has ever seen. This should be in plain language,and inspiring to you, staff, and the parents.

From there, Core Values are a set of guiding principles and fundamental beliefs that help a group of people function together as a team and work toward a common goal. Some Examples of core values. Core Values are important, as they craft the way you recruit new staff, how you treat staff and parents daily.

In order to know whether you were successful at the end of the year, you need to have a goal. All goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Based. Once you know your goal, you need to build out a strategy which will be a series of 3 – 5 bets that will get you to the goal, articulating specific initiatives that will help you realise that strategy. A goal could be to improve your NQS Rating to Exceeding, improve occupancy to 85%, or to improve parent satisfaction to 98%. The strategic pillars could be putting in a new pedagogical framework or launching a marketing campaign. The intitives that then flow from the pillar could be a detailed as sending out a survey to parents to assess the overall satisfaction.

We have provided a template and example strategy for download to help you get started on your next Strategic Plan.

It is a good idea to get all staff involved in the process to ensure that you have a wide range of views, but also to encourage buy in from the start. Once you have finished the document, communicating it to staff is crucial so everyone is on the same page and can start executing towards the strategy.