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6 Tips for Running a Business Teaching Kids Art Classes

by Rachel Withers
October 29, 2019

Do you teach art classes for kids or host an art group? Maybe you’re looking to grow it into a business? Ana Dziengel of BabbleDabbleDo and Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry  share 6 tips for successfully starting a business teaching kids art classes.

Kids art class painting a collaborative recycled mural

I started hosting a toddler art group (inspired by Jean) two years ago. My son was 18 months and our original group was mainly comprised of friends and their kids. 

That year was a huge learning process for me of what projects worked well, how to effectively prep, order supplies, plan lessons, etc. And I loved it!

My daughter came along a year later and the art group went on hold temporarily. After resuming and running a session, I decided to widen my audience and expand my options for getting the word out to new families.

I created an Instagram account and started regularly posting our projects and building a following. Some local families contacted me this way.  Also, I found that Nextdoor was a great way to connect with new families nearby for free.

During the summer I ran three themed art days and opened it up to a wider age range. My goal was to connect with new families for my sessions throughout the school year. Word of mouth also started to work for me.  This fall we expanded and I host a pre-k, toddler and baby art classes. 

Splatter painting for kids

6 Tips for Starting a Business Teaching Kids Art Classes

During the process, I found myself unsure how to go about it. And I’m still in the midst of it!

Here at The Artful Parent, we think this might be a familiar scenario for some of you. Fortunately, there is an amazing group of teachers and resources available to us.

Today two successful business owners share their top three tips for running a business teaching kids art classes. This is the beginning of a three-part series that I’m so excited to share with you!

Ana Dziengel of Babble Dabble Do

Ana Dziengel, BabbleDabbleDo

1. Enthusiasm rules!

Probably the biggest hurdle to getting started teaching art classes is in your mind. If you aren’t a trained educator you may think you don’t have the training or skills to work with kids on creative projects.

What I found is the most important skill you need is enthusiasm.

Sure there are other important things to know, but if you are passionate about working with kids on creative projects, that excitement will shine through and your classes will be successful.

2. Learn from the best!

One thing I did to learn how to work with kids on art and other creative projects was to partner up with a teacher friend to run a couple weeks of summer camp.

I learned so much from my friend Emily Stuver about setting up the right environment, offering encouraging words, classroom management, and how to stage projects just by working alongside her.

3. Build a buzz first.

Before and while we started our after-school program I set up project booths at our school’s annual fair, family nights, kinder playdates etc.

We were able to show parents the types of projects we would be doing, talk with prospective families, and gather up email addresses.

Megan Schiller of The Art Pantry

Megan Schiller, The Art Pantry

Marketing/Word of Mouth & Online Sharing

I relied heavily on word of mouth for marketing. Keeping a blog allowed me to document the classes, but also gave parents a concrete way to share with friends and family.

Social media can help in the same way. I know someone who grew her art classes mainly from everyone sharing on Facebook.

Think Like a Teacher

I created a basic curriculum for each session and would tweak it or build on it depending on the age of the kids or the length of the session.

I chose the top 5 techniques or mediums I wanted to share with the kids and we would explore one per week.

As a former preschool teacher, I also made it a priority to share with the parents about the benefits of what we were doing in regards to child development.

Put on an Art Show

One of my favorite things I did for my classes was to put on an art show every spring. Even when my classes were held in my back cottage, I turned my backyard into a gallery and invited all of the families to see the kids’ work from the year.

Not only were the parents blown away by the collective creativity, but the kids were so proud to see their work on display.

Stay tuned next week as Erin DeThomas shares her personal experience of how she started an art studio for kids art classes

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