- Childcare & Education
Little Learners is a multi award-winning children’s activity provider which offers educational messy play classes for babies to preschoolers across over 30 locations in the UK and Australia. It was created and founded by a qualified primary teacher who designed an innovative mark making programme following the journey of four fun characters – ‘The Mark Makers‘. Children focus on one character each week at Little Learners classes.
Messy play, painting, play dough, scribbling, dance and more are used to encourage children to mark make and learn early writing skills through play. Classes, parties and events are offered and Little Learners also undertake work in schools and early years settings.
At Little Learners your child will be encouraged to use hands, fingers, feet and toes to make marks which will help to strengthen their core muscles and develop their gross and fine motor skills. These skills are vital for holding and controlling a pencil and letter and number formation when they reach school age.
Our aim is to make writing fun and encourage every child to MAKE THEIR MARK!
In 2015, Rachel Fay, a former primary school teacher, created Little Learners to help children to develop a love for early writing and learn how to mark make in a FUN and unique way. She wanted to offer parents and their under 5s fun, educational classes that facilitate learning to write through play. The classes, which are now available around the UK and Australia, also help and encourage parents to continue the learning at home. Targeted work with local authorities also enabled classes to be held at children’s centres for disadvantaged families. Our early writing programme ‘The Mark Makers’ is now award-winning and is in the early stages of animation for a pilot tv show helping children to write. This is alongside our story and activity book range which is licenced by a large educational manufacturer and offers support to schools’ early year’s programmes and also sells to retail stores.
Little Learners was founded on maternity leave in 2014 after Rachel had her son, Oliver – who’s just started his third year at school! How time has flown! She’s since welcomed over 30 franchisees across two countries. We’re delighted to have six franchisees selling out classes in Australia across four states. The potential in Australia is incredible – we have a lot of volunteers offering to ‘pop over’ to see how they’re doing! However, our virtually exclusively online systems have been pivotal here. It’s truly a global market for us!
We’re proud that Little Learners has won multiple national awards now, including achieving ‘Highly Commended’ for Franchisor of the Year, Woman Franchisor of the Year and Young Woman in Franchising.. Furthermore, we won Business Growth of the Year, New Woman Franchisor in EWIF Awards and Best Newcomer in Top Franchise Awards
We were over the moon to receive a ranking in the prestigious EF100 2020 & 2021. Last year Little Learners also achieved Highly Commended Best Academic/Creative Activity and Best Kids Party Activity in national awards – however – we’re immensely proud to be recently awarded 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction in 2021 – with a 97% score!
The franchisor is extremely ambitious for the Little Learners brand and all our franchisees. She’s proud of our offer – to parents/carers and their little ones in our classes and to prospective franchisees. We are always evolving as a brand and are very excited to be now rolling our our Little Learners Playspace venues across the UK with our flagship store currently in Darlinngton.
We’re all excited at the impact that our classes are having on children’s ability to write and ENJOY writing and we’re also excited at the impact that our franchise opportunity has on parents seeking a more flexible career. As one thing this pandemic has taught us is how important family is so we believe more people will be seeking a better work-life balance now.
Our training package includes access to our E-Hub which contains online training videos, files, manuals, downloadable documents, marketing materials and more. This is found in the back end of our website and is fully accessible to all franchisees.
We have an in depth operations manual and our online training videos which touch base on every aspect of running your own business. From how to apply for DBS checks to the planning and running of classes. We are always learning and expanding, so therefore ensure to update all franchisees on any new training or business ideas there are. This is often done via facebook live stream, in our private group, and webinars.
Our annual conference gives our franchisees the opportunity to come together and share ideas. We invite speakers from different areas of business to come along and provide training and information to help the growth of our franchisees business. Our regional coordinators are always on hand to help with training and continued help and support.
Our franchisees will mainly focus on marketing, advertising, planning and networking on days where they are not physically running classes, parties or events. They will need to ensure that their classes are active for sale on our website and that they are taking calls and replying to queries from current/potential customers.
They will need to plan out each term, ensuring they are diversifying classes and events to give our customers originality and new experiences. Advertising by leaflet dropping, creating advertisements in local magazines/newspapers, local playgroups, social media and more.
We have an amazing social media following and franchisees would need to ensure all of their business platforms are up to date, and they are regularly posting and interacting with the public. Networking with other small businesses and companies can also help to further their business and provide opportunities for business growth.
I’ve been a Little Learners Franchisee for just over a year now and can honestly say it’s been the best year of my working life! After 21 years of teaching, I needed a change and a job that would give me more time with my family. Little Learners has given me this and so much more! I thoroughly enjoy working for myself, choosing my hours to fit around the school run etc. What I didn’t expect was to be part of such as amazing and supportive team who are there with you every step of the way! To say Little Learners has changed our lives, as a family, would be an understatement. I only wish I’d done it sooner!
I am a year into my Little Learners franchise journey and it has completely changed my life. I now have my own little business which I LOVE and a job that fits around my family life for a change. The network of franchisees is truly amazing and one of the main reasons I love it. I thought I’d be lonely being a sole trader but I talk to the other girls every day. You get out of it what you put into it and if you’re like me and determined to have a job which suits your life and your family, then it really is perfect. If you’re considering buying a franchise then please go to a class and see one of us in action! It will be love at first sight I guarantee it!
I joined Little Learners almost 3 years ago. I was a Primary School teacher for 15 years, but getting more and more disillusioned by the education system as the years went by. When I discovered Little Learners on a chat thread on Facebook, I knew immediately that this was my way out. Little Learners lets me do all the great fun bits of teaching without all the rubbish bits. I get to be with the kids, plan and set up activities that excite them and are also educational. I love seeing their little excited faces when they come into a class and see what I've set up for them. The progress they make over the terms is really rewarding and you really get to know those families that come back term after term.
The Little Learners team are amazing. Rachel and the head office team guided me through the first few months of setting up which made it feel really doable. You never feel alone because the rest of the franchisees are soooo supportive and friendly (and also a right laugh!) Although I've only met some of them a handful of times, they all feel like friends and I feel I can ask them anything.
The Little learners programme is brilliant and really does make a difference to children's early writing and fine motor skills. Parents are always complimentary about sessions which makes a welcome change from Ofsted and lesson observations!! The possibilities are endless and it is such a flexible job to fit around your family. I have run sessions for special needs groups in schools and in partnership with an art gallery. I love that I can pick and choose and do as little or as much as I like.
I am one of those people who truly LOVES my job! How lucky am I? I even enjoy the cleaning as I pop my tunes on and dance about! I have never regretted leaving teaching and am excited about what the future holds for me and my new Little Learners van!