Primrose Schools® Dedicates 40th Year to Serving More Children Through Expansion of Early Education and Child Care
Child care is an essential service, and the pandemic has elevated awareness of the importance of quality early education and care to maintaining a thriving economy.
One in three households are struggling to find the child care they need to return to work, according to a recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Equally alarming, ReadyNation and Council for a Strong America estimate this unmet demand costs the U.S. economy $57 billion each year in lost productivity, earnings, and revenue.
As working parents struggle to access this essential service, Primrose Schools is kicking off its 40th year dedicated to helping both new entrepreneurs and veteran franchise owners meet the early education and care needs of families in their community by opening schools and expanding access to Primrose’s time-tested and award-winning Balanced Learning® approach. A premier early education and care leader with nearly 475 locations, Primrose Schools is projected to open an estimated 25 new schools in 2022, several of which are in urban locations like New York City.
This growth comes on the heels of a successful 2021. Primrose Schools maintained its trusted reputation for safety and service excellence throughout the pandemic, which led to positive financial growth and several important development milestones. The company awarded 27 franchise agreements, opened 22 schools and experienced a 340% increase in potential franchise owner inquiries compared to 2020. Pre-pandemic inquiries from 2019 were outperformed by 142% as well. Enrollment also remained high over the last year, with many locations continuing to have waitlists for students. Building on this momentum, the company is poised to reach its milestone 500th location by this time next year.
“Primrose Schools revolutionized early childhood education through its proven model, continued innovation and tireless commitment to supporting its franchise owners and the children and families they serve with the guidance and tools to thrive,” said Steve Clemente, President of Primrose Schools. “We have expanded access to premier early education and quality child care significantly over the last 40 years. But as demand for these essential services continues, Primrose remains focused on empowering entrepreneurs to create a brighter future for all children and families by bringing new schools to communities across the country.”
At a time when families are returning to the nation’s largest cities, new Primrose schools are opening in critical financial centers that are experiencing some of the greatest child care shortages due to the pandemic, like New York City and Chicago.
Similarly, migration of young families during the pandemic has been a major boon to secondary cities, but they need a vitally important service to sustain their growth – access to quality early education and child care. Primrose is working with new entrepreneurs, as well as veteran franchise owners, to help the nation’s fastest growing areas, like Austin, Boise, Reno and Nashville, meet the needs of its residents.
Child care shortages in Silicon Valley, Milwaukee and other tech hubs grew significantly as they transitioned to remote workforces at the height of the pandemic. As many businesses begin their call for a return to the office, Primrose has plans to open schools in these communities in the upcoming years to provide parents with the quality early education and care solutions they need.
In addition to experiencing rapid growth, Primrose Schools has been recognized for its dedication to franchise owners and advocacy efforts alongside the Early Care & Education Consortium and other national partners to expand access to early education and create meaningful child care solutions.
Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® awards, the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking, named Primrose Schools No. 1 in the child care category and No. 65 on the overall list of best franchises for 2022. This is the sixth consecutive year Primrose Schools received the honor of claiming the top spot in the child care category. Primrose also received the top ranking in the child care services category of Newsweek’s 2022 America’s Best Customer Service list and outperformed all child care competitors on the latest Franchise Times Top 400 report, earning the 108th spot overall.
As lawmakers continued to debate the child care funding provisions to be included in the Build Back Better bill, Primrose Schools CEO Jo Kirchner worked alongside the Early Care & Education Consortium (ECEC) to advocate for a comprehensive public-private partnership and mixed-delivery child care framework benefitting all children.
Likewise, Primrose continued its collaboration with partners AdventHealth, Lift Orlando, Purpose Built Communities, West Lakes Partnership and the Bainum Family Foundation at the revolutionary West Lakes Early Learning Center in Orlando, Florida. The innovative center combines high-quality early education, child care and comprehensive health, wellness and social services for children and their families. Looking to replicate this model in other communities in the future, the West Lakes Early Learning Center offers a unique opportunity for understanding the relationship between access and receipt of high-quality educational early learning programming and local provision of healthcare, housing stability and mobility, and family employment in the context of community transformation.
Primrose also became the first national system of preschools to have their teachers and parents utilize evidence-based screening tools for their children aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The tools offer the unique ability to assess seven areas of social and emotional development alongside learning milestones, highlighting strength areas and opportunities for individualized student support. The pandemic has made clearer than ever before the need to address social-emotional development in early learning, as children have had to adjust to remote learning and greater social isolation. Launching the program in all schools nationwide has allowed Primrose to further support franchise owners with the innovative resources they need to offer the highest-quality standard of care.