Wonderschool, the network of boutique, high-quality child cares and preschools that combines the standards of the best institutions of early learning in the world with the warmth of an in-home program, today announced $2.1M in new funding from Omidyar Network, Be Curious Partners, Rethink Education, Edelweiss partners and Learn Capital. The funding allows Wonderschool to expand in New York and continue to grow in the greater Bay and Los Angeles areas.
Developed by veteran entrepreneurs, Chris Bennett and Arrel Gray, the Wonderschool platform helps experienced educators and child care providers start and run their own in-home businesses while providing a much-needed and more affordable service to families in their communities. Wonderschool has brought together top technologists with world-renowned educators to realize this mission, including Mia Pritts, Head of Early Care and Education.
“In a city like New York, it’s never been more challenging to be a parent or educator where the cost of early childhood education can exceed $3,000 a month and full-time salaries do not allow educators to live in the neighborhoods where they work,” said Ben Newton, head of partnerships for NYC and former founding team member of Avenues: The World School. “Wonderschool aims to change that, making it possible for educators in New York City to vastly exceed earning potential by building the program of their dreams while simultaneously providing more affordable child care and preschool education to families in their neighborhood.”
Partnering with Wonderschool, educators don’t have to find, lease or build a new space. They are taking the sharing economy principle of putting to use an underutilized asset, a provider’s own home, to enable an individual to quickly start up with minimal overhead. The company provides assistance with licensing, program setup, marketing, payment processing, and everything in between. When overhead is limited, the cost of full time child care or preschool education can drop as much as 50 percent when compared to stand alone preschools and daycare centers. Educator salaries can increase through reducing administrative costs and optimizing enrollment. The company is also facilitating the development of networks of caregivers, freeing them from isolation and creating a community of practice that allows for the best ideas developed within these programs run by professional educators to spread.
“Wonderschool is responding with better quality and more flexible solutions to meet the needs of early learners, their parents and child care providers,” said Isabelle Hau, U.S. education lead at Omidyar Network. “By using Wonderschool’s technology platform, early learning educators get to focus on what they are best at, which is caring for and teaching young children.”
Wonderschool’s software platform allows teachers to manage their program, students and parents from one place, while also providing parents a real marketplace to search for Wonderschool programs, schedule visits, enroll their children and make payments. Wonderschool collects a percentage of monthly tuition fees from each program to help cover costs of the software and services.
With a proven track record on the West Coast, Wonderschool currently has more than 140 early childhood programs in its network in California, where it has created job opportunities for teachers and has helped educators take care of their own children while earning more money.
“Wonderschool helps me so I’m able to focus on teaching. The number one thing that attracted me was that they take care of the finances, advertising and pricing,” said Theresa Marino, director and head teacher at Little Nest Learning Space in Highland Park, California, a Montessori-inspired homeschool for children ages 20 months to 5 years old. “I know what I do and Wonderschool knows the business side.”
Currently, Wonderschool has partnered with 16 programs in Greater New York City and plans to expand to 150 partner programs by the end of 2018. Today’s announcement brings total funding to more than $4M in the last year.
Based in San Francisco, California, Wonderschool is a network of boutique early childhood programs that combine the quality standards of the early learning institutions in the world with the warmth of an in-home program. The company makes it easy for teachers to start and operate their own programs and for families to easily find them. Working with Wonderschool, educators can focus on what they do best — teaching, and parents can have peace of mind knowing their children’s early education is in good hands. Founded by a team of successful entrepreneurs with a background in edtech and SaaS technologies, Wonderschool is funded by Omidyar Network, First Round Capital, Cross Culture Ventures, SoftTech VC, Lerer Ventures, FundersClub, and Edelweiss. To find out more, please visit www.wonderschool.com.