Child Care Franchise Growth Soars

Child care-related franchising is hot-and has been for several years. No wonder: the continuing trend of working mothers, as reflected in U.S. Census data. In 2003, about 65 percent of mothers with at least one child under age six worked year-round, compared with 56.8 percent in 1993. More than 70 percent of single mothers have jobs outside the home, and 59 percent of mothers with children under one year of age work outside the home. Furthermore, with rising birth trends showing about four million babies are born every year in the U.S., the population of children under age five is expected to grow from almost 19 million today to more than 21 million in 2015, and close to 30 million in 2050.

These numbers guarantee a growing segment of children who will need not only basic child care, but also learning and enrichment programs, and other child care-related services. And even though parents are working more, they still want quality care for their kids. Franchises that specialize in offering child care services can help parents meet that need and should continue to experience profitability into the foreseeable future.

"The U.S. child care market is very highly fragmented, with the largest player holding only three percent of the market. This means there is tremendous growth potential for companies to expand their customer base," explains Steve Blahunka, Learning Care Group vice president of franchise operations. Some of those franchises providing child care solutions are Tutor Time, The Learning Experience, Kiddie Academy, Children's Lighthouse, and the Primrose School, among others.

"Studies have shown that high-quality early experiences can have outstanding impacts on future academic success," says Bill Davis, chief executive officer at Learning Care Group, which operates Tutor Time and Childtime. "The next few years will be an exciting time for Learning Care Group."

Tutor Time recently developed a new curriculum that integrates research on "multiple intelligences" pioneered by Howard Gardner of Harvard University, says Richard Cohen, the company's vice president, "We recognize that all young children need to build foundations in traditional content areas, like reading and math, and we continue to provide children with the they need to be successful in these areas. However, research tells us that some children, for example, have higher musical, interpersonal, or reflective skills than others," he says.

Childtime's curriculum, Cohen adds, also seeks to provide children with opportunities for self-expression and connections to the natural world. "We introduce them to skills that will help them become responsible members of the community, creative problem-solvers and life-long learners," he says. The rollout for each curriculum began last fall in the and pre-kindergarten classrooms, and the program will be fully introduced over the next three years.

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