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How to Start a Preschool at Home

Is Starting an In-Home Preschool Right for You?

There are so many great reasons to start a preschool in your home. If you’ve been considering opening your own preschool business, you may be excited about the opportunity to do what you love while also spending time with the people you love.

But even if you have many years of teaching experience, opening your own business can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to it in terms of the ‘business side’ of things that many people don’t have experience with when they first start out.


What You Need Before You Start a Preschool at Home

Here are 11 steps with everything you need to know.

Preschool licensing requirements

The first thing you’ll want to do is look into the family child care licensing laws and procedures for your state. Each state is different and uses slightly different terminology. Generally, you’ll have to meet certain requirements in terms of age, education and teaching experience, background checks, home safety, and capacity, amongst other things.

To start a preschool in your home, you will need to decide what type of business entity you will operate as. This will determine how your business is treated legally in terms of liability and taxes. For example, will you be a Sole Proprietor, LLC, or Corporation? If you’re not sure, you can start by checking out our post, Sole Proprietorship or an LLC? How to choose what type of business entity to form for your family child care.

Some states may require you to get a business license to operate. You will want to research the laws for your state and look into the process for getting a business license if you need one.

A preschool business plan

Now you’ll need to create a business plan for your home preschool. A business plan is a written document setting business goals and the strategies you plan to use to reach them. For example, you’ll want to answer the following questions within your business plan, amongst others:

  • Who is your target market and what is the competition like?
  • What is the financial forecast for your business?
  • Who will be a part of your team?
  • How much will you charge for tuition fees?
  • What are your expenses, including salaries, materials, licensing fees, and rent or mortgage?

Here’s a more detailed article about how to create a preschool business plan.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to write something super long or detailed. The business plan is for your own reference. However, the more detailed and thought-out your plan is, the more useful it will be for you in starting your preschool business.

A safe and welcoming location for your preschool

Of course an important part of this is having a location. It is important to know the local and state laws and regulations for where a preschool can be (type of building) and what the location needs to have (outdoor space, multiple exits). Wonderschool can provide assistance and guidance with ensuring your space meets required regulations.

Within your location, the next step is designing a safe and welcoming space. This includes safety measures (reducing hazards, fire safe furniture), open layouts, cleaning stations, diverse toys and books, decor to create a stimulating and joyful atmosphere and more. While the details of your learning space will reflect the philosophy and curriculum of your program, there are four ‘interest areas’ you should include no matter what philosophy you choose.

Check out our tips on how to turn any space into a home-based preschool with before and after pictures from real directors’ homes.

While this part of the planning process is exciting for many, it can cause anxiety over budget if you need a lot of new materials or renovations. If you don’t have a big budget, there are many ways to keep your in-home preschool startup costs low, such as buying toys secondhand.

Insurance for your preschool

Make sure you get liability insurance to cover any injuries that might happen and to adhere to licensing requirements. Here at Wonderschool, we offer access to a discounted insurance policy to child care providers who partner with us.

Otherwise, you can contact your state’s licensing department or CCR&R for more information or if you have questions about insurance.

Prepare your preschool curriculum

You may already have an idea of the type of early care and education philosophy you want to use in your preschool. The following are some common types we see:

Some directors choose to combine different philosophies or aspects from a few together to create a unique program. Deciding on the philosophy and curriculum of your preschool will help you with the next few steps of designing the learning environment and writing up the handbook.

Starting Your at Home Preschool

Hire staff to help you run your preschool

Depending on the specifications of your family child care license, you might be required to hire staff. Or you might want to hire an assistant to lighten your load.

You’ll need to…

  • See if your license has any age or education/training requirements for staff/assistants
  • Decide if they will be part- or full-time
  • Establish a salary or rate per hour

Once you have all of this figured out, you will need to look for and interview qualified candidates for the role. You can try word-of-mouth firstly or post on your social media pages asking if anyone knows someone suitable. There are also sites like Craigslist and Indeed where you can post looking to hire.

Run a background check on staff members

To run a background check on preschool staff, first understand the legal requirements in your area, such as checks for criminal records, child abuse, and sex offender registries. You will need to inform and get written consent from the staff member to complete a background check. Next, you need to choose a reliable background check service. The check should include criminal history, child abuse and neglect records, sex offender registry, previous employment verification, and reference checks. Carefully review the results and maintain records of all checks and actions taken. Regularly recheck staff and ensure they are trained and aware of child safety policies. This process is crucial for maintaining a safe and trustworthy environment in a preschool.

Prepare and train your preschool staff

As part of training your staff, provide a comprehensive orientation that introduces them to the school’s policies, procedures, and facilities. Ensure all staff are well-versed in health and safety protocols, including first aid and CPR.

Emphasize professional development through training in child development, classroom management, and curriculum implementation. As part of their employment, continue to support them through ongoing development with mentorship programs, regular performance reviews, and opportunities for continuous learning, such as workshops and conferences.

Lastly, implement a way to get feedback from staff as a way to continually improve the training process, so that your team can always provide a high-quality learning environment for young children.

Develop policies and procedures

You’ll need to decide on some basic operating policies and procedures for your school before you open. You can write it all up and use it as a parent handbook. Here are some ideas of what to include in the handbook:

  • Hours of operation
  • Holidays and days off
  • Meals and snacks
  • Payment schedule
  • Daily flow
  • Capacity
  • Children’s ages
  • Late pick ups or after school
  • Parts of the home that are off-limits
  • Sick day procedures
  • Emergency procedures (e.g. severe weather)
  • Discipline
  • Field trips
  • Parking

Some home preschools put their handbook on their website. You can search Google for examples and inspiration.

Explore preschool management softwares

As you’ve probably realized by now, running your own business, whether it’s a preschool or not, takes a lot of organizational and administrative work behind-the-scenes. Plus, you’re caring for parents’ most prized possessions – their children – so you’ll need to be within reach and constant contact with parents.

Handling all of this plus caring for children all day is a lot to think about and can become disorganized very quickly. Luckily there are online platforms out there specially designed for home-based preschool directors.

For example, the Wonderschool software allows directors to manage their students, parents, and program from one dashboard. Along with this, we have built a marketplace for parents to search for child care, schedule tours, fill out enrollment paperwork, and make payments.

Market your preschool and seek new families

You’re finally in the home stretch of starting your home preschool! Still, this step is extremely important. You’ll want to decide on a name for your program if you haven’t already and a plan to market it in your neighborhood.

Will you post online in Facebook or mom groups? Put flyers up in your neighborhood? Get word-of-mouth referrals? Do you need a website and nice photos? What kind of open houses or tours will you host? These are just some things to think about when it comes to marketing your program to bring in your first students.

Start a Wonderschool

Let Wonderschool Help You to Start and Run Your Preschool at Home

Once you’ve started your preschool in your home and marketing it to your community, it’s finally time to enroll your first family. Congratulations, pat yourself on the back for all your hard work to get to this point. And good luck with your new business!

Learn more about how Wonderschool can support you in opening your own program today.


Wonderschool is a network of quality in-home early childhood programs. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a home away from home that helps them realize their full potential. We work with experienced educators and child care providers to help them start their own child care or preschool out of their homes, whether they live in apartments, condos, or homes that they rent or own.