Top 10 Children's Franchises Help educate the wee ones--and some older kids, too--by opening a children's franchise.

By Laura Tiffany

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The desire by parents to give their children a head start on life starts from the womb these days. Parents want their kids to do well in school, and high-school students are under pressure to get into a competitive college. And many of these students--from preschool through senior year--need help in reaching their educational goals.

That's why in our list of the Top 10 Children's Franchises you'll see many supplemental education franchises that teach everything from math and reading to Korean and SAT prep. If you're looking to have an even bigger impact on children's educational lives, consider preschool franchise opportunities. And let's not forget that physical fitness is as important as mental prowess: One franchise offers fun programs in physical education activities like karate, dance and gymnastics.

Even if you don't have a teaching background, if you like kids, have good business sense and want to contribute to education in your local community, one of these franchises may be right for you.

#1 Kumon Math & Reading Centers
Supplemental education
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #18

Created in 1958 by a math teacher in Japan, the Kumon method focuses on daily practice and self-paced advancement to improve children's math and reading skills, from simple addition and letter sounds to differential calculus and literature. There are more than 1,400 U.S. franchises and 24,000 international franchises, and you can search on the Kumon website to find if a franchise territory is open in your area. The company seeks franchisees who enjoy working with children, have some prior business experience and have a four-year college degree.

Complete franchise profile.

#2 Sylvan Learning Center
Supplemental education
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #64

Sylvan Learning Center is a nearly 30-year-old franchising system that provides personalized instructional services for students in grades K-12. Franchisees can provide tutoring services in their main center, online and in students' homes. There are almost 800 franchises in the United States, and 76 in Canada. You can search for new territories or for already established centers that are for sale on the Sylvan Learning Center site.

Complete franchise profile.

#3 Huntington Learning Centers Inc.
Children's educational services
Franchise 500 rank: #108

Founded in 1977, Huntington Learning Centers focuses on helping K-12 students with reading, writing, math, study skills, phonics, SAT/PSAT and ACT prep, and more. All tutors are certified, having undergone an intensive training program on one-to-one tutoring methods and test-prep strategies.
Complete franchise profile.

#4 Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services
In-home tutoring services
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #131

Unlike some tutoring/supplemental learning franchises, Club Z! allows tutoring services to take place at the student's home, library, school or after-school facility. The startup costs are lower ($32K to $65.5K), and subjects vary from the core three (reading, writing and arithmetic) to foreign languages, computers and music.

Complete franchise profile.

#5 Goddard Systems Inc.
Preschool/child-care center
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #132

Goddard School is a year-round educational facility for children from six weeks to six years old, and it includes after-school and summer programs for older elementary school students. Each school is a licensed childcare facility and staff members are trained in Early Childhood Education or Childhood Development. The owner is on site to take care of business tasks, while an Education Director focuses on the children and curriculum. As a full school, the startup costs for this franchise are significantly higher--about $645,000.

Complete franchise profile.

#6 The Little Gym
Children's development/fitness program
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #145

Created by a grade-school teacher with physical education, psychology and motor development degrees, The Little Gym offers programs for infants through age 12. Its non-competitive curriculum, which focuses on improving motor skills while also enhancing emotion, intellectual and social skills, includes karate, dance, cheerleading, gymnastics and sports skills. An educational background isn't necessary, but strong people skills and a love for working with children are.

Complete franchise profile.

#7 Tutoring Club LLC
Individualized instruction for K-12 students
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #154

Tutoring Club offers instruction for K-12 students on math, reading, writing, SAT/ACT prep and study skills with the guarantee that, after 32 hours of tutoring, the student's skills will improve at least one full grade level. The company offers its franchisees TutorAid software that manages each student's information, creating, monitoring and updating lesson plans daily.

Complete franchise profile.

#8 Primrose School Franchising Co.
Educational child-care facility
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #164

With more than 180 preschools in the United States, Primrose focuses on a blend of "teacher-directed" education and "child-initiated" activities, where children explore their own interests through play and exploration. Many subjects are covered by this Balanced Learning blended curriculum, including language and literacy, physical health and development, math, science and technology, social studies and the creative arts.

Complete franchise profile.

# 9 Enopi-Daekyo North America Inc.
Supplemental education
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #179

The Enopi supplementary education program provides students with workbooks, which they must complete with a perfect score to move on to the next workbook, allowing students to advance at their own pace. The center, which costs less than $100,000 to open, focuses on math, English and Korean.

Complete franchise profile.

# 10 Mathnasium Learning Centers
Math learning center
2008 Franchise 500 ranking: #197

A relative newcomer on the list, Mathnasium Learning Centers has been franchising since 2003. Mathnasium offers an after-school program where kids, from pre-K through high school, can boost their math skills. Members pay monthly and attend once or twice each week. The curriculum, developed by a teacher and math consultant, offers a time-tested, personalized program that uses diagnostics, instruction, worksheets, manipulatives and games to build math skills and encourage a love for the subject.

Complete franchise profile.

Ready, Set, Research
Use this list as a starting point for your search, and then continue it in the children's products and services section in our Franchise Zone to learn about even more franchises.
When one catches your eye, begin your research. Due diligence includes thoroughly reading a company's literature and its Franchise Disclosure Documents, calling and visiting the existing franchisees, and consulting with an attorney and an accountant. Use our thorough how-to to guide you on your journey.

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