Does your youth activity center offer year-round student registration, where students can enroll in swim, gymnastics or dance classes anytime throughout the year? If you do, you know it’s a great way to ensure you’re not limiting your revenue potential. You also know that means your instructors need to be professionals at welcoming new students into classes.
Regardless of when you have a majority of new students entering your swim schools, gyms, or studios, here are four creative ways you can celebrate a new student, making them feel welcome.
4 Ways to Welcome New Students
Make a welcome packet
To help welcome new students into your youth activity center, create a welcome packet for the student and their family. Yes, an actual designed and printed packet of papers to make your new student feel special.
This could include:
- a welcome message from the teacher
- important rules to remember about your program,
- a list of things to bring to class every day, such as shoes, a water bottle, snacks, etc.,
- special dates for recitals, performances, spirit weeks, and events
- a coupon to host their next birthday party at your facility
If you’re not keen on a physical welcome packet, another resourceful way to welcome new students is through swag. Set up a station at your front desk with a cute welcome swag display. Car magnets, pens, buttons, and hair bows make great freebies for new students to take on their first day of class.
Assign new students a welcome buddy
You can’t make a first impression twice. That’s why assigning a new student a buddy in class or a greeter at the front desk is a great way to make them feel welcome at your youth activity center.
Where is the restroom?
What’s the coach’s name again?
Where do I put my bag?
A new student is bound to have simple questions they may be too shy to ask in front of the entire class, which is why the buddy system is key to making the first day of classes at your gym, swim school or dance studio a success.
Set up some photo fun
Do you have a fun photo wall at your youth activity center? A dedicated space for students and athletes to take pictures before or just after their first class can help newbies feel more at ease.
Hot tip: Make sure your photo wall is branded to your program. Why? Because parents and students will share their pictures on social media, which turns into free advertising for you!
If you don’t have a fun photo wall at your youth activity center, here are some things to consider:
- Invest in a step-and-repeat banner with your logo so that you can use it all year long and change out props and decorations seasonally.
- Don’t make it complicated. Hit the local craft store for colorful balloons, craft paper, confetti, and props that match your brand’s colors.
- Create an original hashtag and display it near the photo wall as a reminder for new students and parents to use it.
Get personal with parents
The first day of classes at your swim school, gymnastics gym, or dance studio should absolutely be focused on the new student. However, you shouldn’t forget about parents.
Train your front desk staff to say hey to faces they don’t recognize in the lobby and encourage them to ask if the new parents have any questions. Sometimes parents don’t know what they don’t know, so it’s okay to share things like what they should do if their kid is going to be absent one day and the best way to get in touch with your program.
Likewise, train your coaches and teachers to escort the new student into the lobby after their first class to share with parents how they did and how you’ll be sharing their child’s skill updates with them in the future.
Making new students feel welcome is a crucial step toward their success as a student at your youth activity center. It also adds to the overall happiness of all students. Students and athletes will remain engaged in classes and return season to season if they feel welcomed by teachers from day one.
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