This ‘Airbnb For Pre-k’ Startup Wants To Disrupt Preschool (HBO)

A new startup in San Francisco is trying to disrupt early childhood education. Wonderschool’s online platform looks like an Airbnb for pre-K. But the company also provides a series of services – with the goal of making it easier for people to create a preschool in their own home. The company helps with credentialing, setting up programs, launching websites and boosting enrollment.

The startup recently received $20 million in venture capital funding. They now have more than 140 partner centers in New York and California. Wonderschool’s business model works because licensing requirements for in-home preschools are often less strict than center-based ones.

For example, to open an in-home program in California, you don’t need much more than vaccines and to pass a background test. To work at a center, you need months of early childhood education. And studies show kids who attend centers do better at math and reading in elementary school.

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47 thoughts on “This ‘Airbnb For Pre-k’ Startup Wants To Disrupt Preschool (HBO)

  1. with directors that have no early childhood training, how do they expect any preschool or child care center to be high quality and justify the cost? this isn't serving the profession (which they say in the video is underpaid and that's true) nor is it serving the children it's claiming to be educating. Hire better educated and EXPERIENCED center directors and you won't have to shut down centers because of parent complaints. If their center directors are not experienced, it makes me wonder about the quality of their teachers. Early childhood educators will get paid more when more is demanded of them in terms of education and experience. The profession is not easy nor does it simply require a couple trainings, especially if you want to be a director. With a masters degree in ECE and 10 years of teaching preschool, I'm more qualified than the CEO in a lot of ways. I think he means well but there's a lot of flaws in this idea from an educational standpoint.

  2. The incentive is that parents trust more professionals who have education and professional experience with small children and children’s education. So in other words, the incentive is the market’s needs.

  3. I'd like to hear the parents perspective. Wonderschool seems like a welcome alternative to the franchise daycares/PreKs that charge the same, but provide less value relationally or culturally. There's more to explore here .. But, good start VICE

  4. Apparently Wonderschool has never heard of QRIS. We need to push parents (community outreach, working with community partners, parks and rec, anything) to learn about using the QRIS system to find QUALITY childcare centers, not just ones that look nice. $2,800 a month is a LOT of money to spend for what is essentially just in-home childcare that is not accredited by any nationally recognized body of early childhood standards and expectations. The fact that there is ZERO previous experience or training required for anyone to open a Wonderschool is a slap in the face to early childhood educators who are as underpaid as it gets and have spent years working on their education to give children their best start in life using research-based methods and constantly improving their practice under QRIS. Shame on a platform for not having ANY reason, even a vision statement, for having each of it's childcare centers commit to regularly improving quality. QRIS should absolutely be a requirement for these "schools," especially with the rate of tuition that families are paying at them.

  5. Anyone noticed how long it took the guy to answer what would be the incentive to get early educator training? Obviously there is no competition so they don't think they need to know anything about child development etc. (Much like the school I am working in a developing country, for middle class customers – and lamenting every day the management's lack of understanding of even the practical the needs of children and their carers.) I'm not saying that a piece of paper will make you better educator than a parent but the game changes once the numbers grow.

  6. I know SF is one of the most expensive places in America, but let's be honest here. He is making six figures a year doing what basically amounts to Daycare. And now he is expanding to multiple locations. And he is charging nearly 3k a month per kid and calls it affordable.

  7. This is day care not preschool. Also, he’s now doing what air B and B does which is take away housing for non living usage. I mean good for him at the end of that day he making bank. It’s also interesting that he’s doing so much Spanish. At that price point those are white peoples kids who are only ever gonna use it to talk to the house keeper.

  8. The answer the CEO should of gave about incentives is they will pay for their employees certifications and ECE classes so that they have highly trained and experienced staff, that feels appreciated, and can in hopes one day be a director of franchise their own wonder school. He basically just says you need no skills for child care. Yes let me enroll my children in your program of employees that have no skills , education or experience. But don't worry, they have several in home locations! I certainly hope this is not the case, but this is how they came across.

  9. This video makes no sense? Why is wonder school so special? Because it's an in-home preschool /child care? However how is this CEO obtaining licenses to run several in homes? I am in this field and in my state you can only have one license per child care/person. Is he putting them under different peoples names? There is so many loop holes here. They are saying you don't need much training or education to do in home preschool? That is untrue. We have to do annual trainings, background checks, CPR, first aide, medical admin, universal precautions, immunization , safe sleep, reporting abuse and neglect, fema, food training as well as 15hours of continuing outside eduction or trainings. Anyone left alone with children has to have all these certifications for in homes. That CEO is a dumbo, his really makes his program sound unappealing when there is a good concept going on here. However, not sure how he's getting all these homes and licenses.

  10. "Pre-k in home" do you mean… daycare? Something that's been around for decades? What my mom did in the 90's? This isn't new, it's just commodefying women's labour.

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