Building an awesome and dynamic curriculum can be ROUGH. It takes a lot of time to organize and it takes a lot of knowledge. Having done it quite a few times for preschool programs, recreational gymnastics, team gymnastics, and now our unique NINJA MONKEYS program, I can confidently say that having a clear and consistent curriculum is a cornerstone to keeping kids enrolled in your classes.
After all, the classes you offer are the product you sell, and what sets your product above the rest is your attention to the details. If a kid is bored, or a parent doesn't understand what their child is learning, you will lose that client, and your under-performing curriculum is probably the culprit.
It's so important that your program be concise and transparent so that kids and parents fully understand the journey they will take with you. The more they understand, and the better the material is, the happier your clients will be and the more likely they will sing praises to everyone!
Not sure if your curriculum is doing its fair share of the work? Let's dig a little deeper! Here are some things to keep in mind when constructing/revamping your programming:
1. ARE YOU AN EXPERT ON CURRENT TRENDS? and experts ask questions...
Clean slate... do you know what's up in our industry right now? Who can you ask?
So often we think we know the answers to things, and maybe we do! What I've always found to be true is that when I ask more people's opinions the better my ideas become, because perspective and alternative experiences add flavor and insight to my own material. So ask questions; of your mentors, of google, of your staff, even of your patrons!
Check out SURVEY MONKEY for an easy way to "poll the parents"! Email them a link and get some answers!
2. ARE YOUR CLASS CATEGORIES EXCITING? No one wants to be a "beginner" gymnast..
Is there a Theme to the level names? (I like colors and animals). Your curriculum can be an opportunity to further build your brand identity and excite your students, so get creative!
Check out my THEMES blog for more ideas!
3. WHAT ARE YOUR MUST HAVES? Don't get lost in all the things they could learn...
A kid graduates from your first level... what 3 or 4 things MUST they have on each event?! This is different than what could they have, or even what they should have. This is, "if a kid left my business and couldn't do x-y-z then my program is a failure!" These items should be the focus of any great curriculum.
4. HOW DO YOU CHALLENGE THEM? Keep boredom at bay...
Some kids learn some things fast! How do you keep them excited, even if they've learned the must haves on an event but aren't ready for the next level?
5. ENCOURAGEMENT: Keeping everyone excited everyday!
Some kids need challenges, but ALL kids need constant encouragement. How do you keep kids engaged when repetition is the name of the game in gymnastics (and all sports)? My suggestion is to find a way to celebrate CHARACTER every day.
The ACHIEVE SLEEVE is our proven answer, and you can use it too! Peel and Stick badges designed to celebrate creativity, caring and so much more! Kids have stayed in class longer because of it, and now it's available for every gym. Check it out here!
6. HOW DO KIDS MOVE UP? Mobility time!
Do you have a clear and exciting way of testing kids that are ready to move up to the next level?
BE AWARE: Communication and Consistency are the keys to success here, so get specific with your curriculum and have a detailed way of explaining it to kids and parents! (see #7)
7. EDUCATION: your curriculum isn’t a secret!
Now that you've got your system in place EVERYONE needs to be an expert. Your "secret sauce" isn't what you teach, it's how you treat your customers, and giving them all the information is going to build trust and brand loyalty, which directly turns into REVENUE!
The best programs promote ongoing curriculum education for:
The Coaches: through constant training
The Front Desk: through constant training
The Students: in class and in the lobbies
Then Parents: Signage, Emails, Conversations, Encouraging kids to tell their parents all about class
8. IF IT'S NOT WORKING, CHANGE IT!
Take a hard look at your curriculum. Is it lacking excitement and fun? Does everyone "get it" or is it overly complicated? Do it stick to methods of the past? Then CHANGE IT! Don't lose kids because of a dull curriculum!
In fact, don't be afraid to change it often! Your clients are going to change, so why should your program stay the same? As you learn new things, adapt! As you get new staff, adjust! Don't be afraid to make bold moves, like adding levels or opening new programs when your clients ask for it. You never know when you're going to hit on something that your students go bananas for!
Learn more about how the NINJA MONKEY curriculum accomplishes this list AND MORE to grow gyms, making it the SMARTEST way to Ninja. Click HERE!