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Your Wonderschool FAQs Answered

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about what we offer at Wonderschool and how we can help you start your own early child care home program.

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Who are we?
What does Wonderschool provide to teachers?
What are some examples of programs Wonderschool has helped start?
What types of programs can I start with Wonderschool?
How much does Wonderschool cost?
Do you work with existing daycares and preschools?
To what extent does Wonderschool tell me what to do compared to supporting me?
How much can I make with Wonderschool?
What if I need to stop running my program?
Why work with Wonderschool instead of starting on my own?
Do I need to live in an apartment, condo, or house to start a program in California?
Do I need to own my house to start a home-based program?
What type of applicants work best with Wonderschool?
How do I get started with Wonderschool?
What are the major highlights of the terms of use?
What can I do if I have additional questions?

Who are we?

Wonderschool is a network of early childhood programs. Our mission is to increase access to early child care education for all children.

We work with experienced educators and child care providers to help them start or manage their own child cares or preschools out of their homes, whether they live in apartments, condos, or homes that they rent or own.  We also support select nature-based programs and forest schools.

Check out the following short video in which members of our team talk about our mission and why we are so passionate about the work we are doing:

Who can partner with Wonderschool?

At Wonderschool, we are committed to ensuring all of our partners are offering safe, nurturing programs with enriching environments for children, and we vet each of our partners.

For those who are looking to start a new program, we provide an online assessment to help you determine if starting a program could be a good option for you. You can access that here:

All Wonderschool partners are excited about providing nurturing and enriching programs to children, are excited about creating and managing their own program, and agree to participate in on-going professional development and quality assessments with Wonderschool.

Wonderschool extends several requirements to all of its partners, with the goal of each partner having a similarly strong commitment to high-quality environments and offerings. These requirements include:

  • Becoming licensed per state regulations (in whichever state you reside)
  • Maintaining a liability/insurance policy (Wonderschool can help navigate this)
  • Consistently meeting health and safety standards per local regulations
  • Creating and following a daily schedule/rhythm of day
  • Providing an intentionally designed environment & interactions with children
  • Maintaining a level of professional commitment to program
  • Participating in Wonderschool’s 4 part mentorship and quality assessment program
  • Use of Wonderschool online tools and responsiveness to parent and Wonderschool communications

While we ask for each of our partners to commit to the same core facets of quality, we also celebrate the unique life experiences, love of learning, and joy of care and teaching that each of our partners brings to their programs.

What does Wonderschool provide to partners?

Wonderschool provides business, administrative, and marketing support and advice to help teachers as they start their preschool or child care. Our services include:

  • Program and space design: We match each partner with a mentor who can speak with you directly about your program goals and also consult with you on different opportunities for how to revamp your care and learning environment. We have numerous resources available to help individuals think about how to set up their in-home program (e.g. Video on setting up space for infant and toddler program:
  • Business consulting: We will help you figure out important business decisions, such as setting tuition rates and policies and developing a parent handbook and contract.
  • Marketing assistance to ensure a full program: We provide you with a website that is optimized for search engine results and tools to get you leads. We also provide you coaching and support to carry out your own marketing based on best practices.
  • Mentorship and professional development: We provide mentors to ensure your home environment is set up correctly. You’ll receive a $250 annual stipend for professional development activities. You’ll have access to our community of family child care providers just like you for support.
  • Technology platform for operations management: As a Wonderschool partner, you’ll have exclusive access to our online platform. This will be your home-base for setting up, marketing, and operating your program. It will provide you with a step-by-step checklist to guide you through our marketing process. You’ll be able to keep track of prospective families, schedule tours, send enrollment invitations, and store all information about your program and students in one place.
    We automate billing and payments and give you tools to more easily manage administrative aspects of running a program.
  • Licensing forms management: Parents can sign all of their licensing forms with our application to ensure you stay in compliance with local regulations.
  • Parent payments collection: We ensure parents pay on time and you are paid on time. Parents put their credit cards or checking accounts on file with us and we manage payments for you. We can also help you get set up with local government agencies if you would like to enroll children that receive government subsidies.
  • Insurance for your program: Wonderschool can help you access a comprehensive liability insurance policy.
  • Community: All Wonderschool partners are part of a community of educators and child care providers who support each other with ideas, encouragement, and inspiration.

For more details, check out our partner page:

What are some examples of programs Wonderschool has helped start?

You can check out some of our provider case studies here on the blog, which show how we’ve helped some of our partner providers open their own home-based programs.

Watch more case studies below to learn more about the programs we’ve helped start:

Sherie at Little Seedlings in Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA

Theresa at Little Nest in Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA

See also:

Karen at Open Minds Early School in Piedmont, Bay Area, CA

A feature from ABC Nightly News on Kristina at Little Robles Bilingual Preschool in San Francisco, CA

How much does Wonderschool cost?

There is no fee or upfront cost for working with Wonderschool. We sign a two-year agreement with each of our partners for revenue sharing.

Once we sign the contract, we start working with you immediately to get a license, build your website, and start the marketing process. On the first day that you have a student attending school and paying tuition, we start 2 years of revenue sharing.

We handle all the payment processing from parents and we share 10% of that revenue and pass the 90% on to you within a couple of days of receiving payment from families.

All of our services, including any fees associated with payment processing for tuition are covered by the 10%.

It is also important to note that the revenue share that Wonderschool receives is a tax-deductible expense for your program.

Do you work with existing daycares and preschools?

We do work with existing schools. We do not charge a percentage for any existing students. We charge a percentage only for new students that enroll after you have partnered with Wonderschool.

If you already have a program and are interested in partnering with Wonderschool, please email [email protected].

What types of programs can I start with Wonderschool?

Most of the people we work with get licensed for an in-home family child care (also known as an in-home preschool or home daycare).

You can also start a nature-based program school. There is no official license for this type of program but we have our own process to help you start a forest school.

To what extent do we tell you what to do compared to supporting you?

Our goal is to empower our partners to have a successful program that meets the needs of their families, themselves, and whatever they want to achieve.

We don’t have any requirements for the hours, pricing, or curriculum that directors offer. We do ask that everyone is providing an enriching program that includes a mixture of play, projects, and exploration.

We want to meet our partners wherever they are. In this way, we support all types of child care homes – from those that offer half day programs to full day programs; from child care to preschool to mixed-age programs.

We work with you to understand your income goals and what that means in terms of your offerings. Throughout the process, we give recommendations but it’s ultimately up to you to make decisions. Our goal is to give you better information and data so you’re always making informed decisions.

How much can I make with Wonderschool?

Your earning potential as you start your own school will depend on a few different factors:

  • Setting your tuition rate will depend on demand and competition in your area as well as your personal income goals.
  • Your program schedule will affect your potential earnings. For example, will you offer a full day or half-day program? How many days a week? Will it be year-round or will you take off summers?

In general, our partners that have left jobs working in child care centers or center-based preschools have been able to double their income by managing their own program.

We will discuss these decisions at length with you and make recommendations based on your program and your income goals.

What if I need to stop running my program?

Anytime we enter into a partnership, we hope to begin a long-term relationship where we can support you throughout the different stages of your career in owning and operating your own program.

But we also understand that life is dynamic and things happen. So we want to make sure that running a program works for you. If you have to move for a partner’s job or get started and then realize it’s not the best fit for you, we’ll work with you to help you close down or move your program.

Why work with Wonderschool instead of starting on my own?

Working with Wonderschool will save you lots of time, money, and frustration along the way. Many providers we’ve worked with rented the wrong home, charged too little, didn’t ensure they had the write handbooks in place, or simply didn’t ever open because they didn’t have support along the way. Those are just some examples. We find that by working with us and using our network, we can save a year of challenges and make your journey smooth and straightforward.

We are always open to schedule a call with you and anyone in your family to help with the decision and you can email us directly at [email protected].

Do you need to live in apartment, condo, or house to start a program in California?

Your home requirements will depend on which license you apply for. Anyone operating a family child care must have a license and in California, you can either have a “small” or “large” license.

The small license means you can care for up to 6 children from ages 0-5 and potentially 2 more school-aged children. The large license allows you to care for 12 children ages 0-5 and potentially up to 14 if you take two school-aged children.

There are very few home requirements for the small license. You can be in an apartment, a condo, or a single-family home. We ask that you have at least 35 square feet per child of space dedicated to your program as well as significant outdoor space. This could mean having a backyard or living near a park, ideally within four blocks.

For the large license, in addition to undergoing the inspection by Community Care Licensing, you will also need to pass an inspection from a fire marshal. They will ensure that your home has at least 2 exits to streets. One will likely be the front door and the other can’t go through a garage or kitchen.

For more information, check out our post on California Family Child Care Licensing: Qualifying for a Large License

Do I need to own my own house to start a home-based program?

No, you do not. This is a common misconception.

What type of applicants work best with Wonderschool?

We are looking for amazing parents or educators who are passionate about providing wonderful care and education to children. We provide a network of providers and mentors, as well as opportunities for professional development so you can continue to build your skills along the way.

Lastly, having comfort using technology is an important factor for success

How do I get started with Wonderschool?

  1. Read these FAQs
  2. Complete assessment: Complete an online assessment to understand your readiness to start a program:
  3. Gage interest: If you are interested in potentially starting a program, participate in a test with Wonderschool to gage interest in your area for your hypothetical program offering
  4. Confirm your space or location with Wonderschool: Email a video of your home to [email protected] with the subject line, “Wonderschool space”. Please try to send the video from the email address you used for your application. Please include your backyard, front yard, and the space you plan to use for your Wonderschool.
  5. Determine response: We will monitor response during the test and will also review your materials and location and get back to you about joining Wonderschool. While waiting please review our Terms of Use, which you will need to agree to as our partner.
  6. Receive invite to partner and start setup!

What are the major highlights of the Terms of Use?

You agree to work with us for two years and pay 10% of tuition. After the two years, the agreement goes to month-to-month and you can cancel at any point.

There is also an early termination fee: if you choose to end our partnership before the end of two years of revenue sharing but want to continue to operate your program without us, then we ask that you pay 10% in tuition for a year for each active child in your program at the time of cancellation. This is included because we invest thousands of dollars into every program we start and it takes us 2 years on average to recoup our costs with the 10% fee that we charge.

Cancelling enrollments: You can cancel a child’s enrollment if you deem you cannot support their needs. We ask that you check in with us before asking a family to leave (and we can even help advise on communications and the process for doing so). We have supported this process a number of times when a partner has a child who is really struggling to transition/adjust into a program.

Who is responsible for taxes: We take out the 10% and then pass the 90% on to you directly into your bank account each month. You will be responsible for taxes for anyone you hire, as they are your employee. Most of our partners use Gusto to do payroll for the teachers they hire as employees and that makes it really easy to ensure you are handling everything correctly.

What can I do if I have additional questions?

Email us at [email protected] or text us at 415-212-6076.

We’re excited about the programs we’ve helped thus far and are looking forward to bringing on even more great partners.

Chris Bennett

Chris is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wonderschool. He was inspired to start an education company by his parents, immigrants from Honduras who worked hard to ensure Chris had access to amazing educational opportunities growing up.