Your church’s childcare/preschool arm is a crucial and practical outreach to the community. But, when you create barriers to parents finding you, you might have lost your opportunity.

As a new mom, I’m Googling things I never did before. How do I take my baby’s temperature? Color of ____(spit-up, snot, poo). Is that a bug bite? Last week I began Googling “childcare Indianapolis” and was upset at what I didn’t find.

In my search I found Primrose, Goddard, Abacus, Little Bear, Little Lamb, KinderCare - the standard list for the north side of Indy. But, where was the church? For years, hadn’t I driven by yard signs in church parking lots of “Now Enrolling” and “Preschool Available?” Who were they? Where were they? Why weren’t they coming up in my Google search?

The short answer is: because they don’t have new, relevant and keyword-rich content on their websites. They aren’t measuring up in the market of childcare options.

Now, I have the luxury of having worked with countless churches with childcare/preschool, so when I began thinking through my list of church clients within a few miles of our home, I came up with 10 in under 30 seconds! Score! One by one, I went to their sites (many which Fishhook built) to begin my research.

I was so disappointed and frustrated! I couldn’t find the simplest things - ages accepted, days and times of the week, staff, costs and policies. I’d find PDF forms, many of them outdated, with all sorts of information, but rarely anything streamlined and glance-able. Nothing web-friendly. They took another click. I couldn’t view them well on my phone. They left me with more questions than answers.

At a glance, I was simply looking for facts like:

  • Ages 6 - 18 months
  • Available year-round
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (2 day/week minimum)
  • 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. (with extended care available until 6 p.m.)
  • $42/day, extended care $7/hr.
  • Qualified, licensed and CPR/First Aid trained staff
  • 4:1 student:teacher ratio
  • Register online here (with a link)

Tip #1: Make it easy to find childcare/preschool on your church’s home page. Don’t call it a “ministry” or include it as a ministry in your navigation. If I’m not a church-going person I have no idea what a ministry is. Little Wings Childcare does it right! (Shout out and thanks to Kathleen Brandt at Little Wings Childcare for teaching Fishhook that they care for children, not days … get it? Childcare not Daycare?)

Tip #2: Take the time to put the vital and searchable information as content on your website page(s). Use keywords and bulleted lists. Don’t simply upload PDFs of your brochures and forms. And, make registration available online! It’s easy and often free with tools like Formstack, JotForm and Wufoo.

Tip #3: Show photos, bios and contact information for your staff. If I’m entrusting you with the care of my child, I’d like to know a little bit about you! Kingsway lists theirs under Contacts on the Preschool page.

Tip #4: Show me photos and videos of your preschool! Parents are looking for views of the classrooms, toys, sleeping/feeding spaces, playground, reading time, children having fun, etc.! Put these on your website or start a Facebook page like Cedar Creek did.

Tip #5: Blog, take videos, record interviews and give advice online about parenting. You work with kids every day and parents could benefit from your expertise! (To learn more about this, watch our video on Inbound Outreach.)

Your church’s childcare/preschool arm is a crucial and practical outreach to the community. You are meeting a tangible physical need first and then an amazing spiritual need too! Sometimes, you might be the only spiritual influence in a child’s life. But, when you create barriers to parents finding you, you might have lost your opportunity.

I’d be happy to help your church with communications strategy and coaching for your childcare/preschool. I’ll even give a discount to the church close-by that could accommodate my seven-month-old. Complete this form and I’ll be in touch!