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  • magdelize

  • Published on

    November 15, 2021

  • Reading time

    10 Minutes

Should You Have to Pay for an Advanced Childcare Management Software?

Childcare Management

Is Childcare Management Solution Even Worth It?

“Communication and Trust are the two main ingredients for a healthy relationship.”

Few people involved in the Child Care industry today will disagree that it is becoming more pressurized and challenging by the day. There are many reasons for this, but let’s look at only a few:

  • Our children are growing up in a rapidly changing world characterized by new technological breakthroughs – see the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we mentioned in previous articles as an example – which place new demands on not only children but also teachers. Not to even mention “keeping up with the Joneses!”
  • Time pressure – so much to do within so little available time. Teaching children, writing reports, cleaning up, engaging parents, engaging your peers and principals – and then there is your own private life to also manage!
  • So many competing curricula to take note of – literally every day there is a new teaching approach or a new curriculum that someone wants to sell to you. How do you know what is best? Am I keeping up with the latest developments, or are my children falling behind? This means you have to be a permanent student yourself, reading up all the time on the latest research and developments in Child Care.
  • Parent pressure. As parents, we all want the best for our children – the best Child Care facility, the best teachers, the best ecosystem1 for them within which to develop – and it absolutely HAS to be aligned with best practice!
  • Communication – everyone wants a piece of you! Some days it feels like all you do is communicate – with peers, children, parents, cleaners, maintenance staff, governing bodies, etc., etc. Be this verbally, or via e-mail. And if you are in the “lucky” position to be part of management or administrative staff, then there is still all the other software that you have to update, like invoicing and/or stocktaking packages.

 

We could go on, but you get the picture. Child Care Centre staff are definitely not in it for the money!

They do this work for the love of it.

For the privilege of being involved in raising the next generation – for being involved in getting our children school-ready.

 

This is their primary outcome.

But somewhere within this new and challenging environment within which Child Care Centers operate, something must give.

It just cannot carry on being business as usual.

The few points we listed above should make that abundantly clear.

One of the tools at our disposal to make life easier for all stakeholders – teachers, parents, principals, administrative staff – is the use of Childcare Management Software like the Parent™ app to set carers free of day-to-day burdens by automating and managing the amount of paperwork and adherence to regulations as the early years’ education industry...

Most of these solutions cost money (some are free, but as mentioned in our last article – be careful of those offerings). So, the obvious question begs: “Why should I, as a school/parent, pay for such a communication tool?”

 

Aim

The aim of this article is to explore the benefits of using a childcare management solution, in the process of answering the question as to why child care centers, and by implication parents, should pay for such a tool.

 

The Best Childcare Management Solution for Childcare Teachers

Hey, Teachers: We’ve Found the Best Parent Trust Builder on the Planet

As teachers, we know you try your best. You’re working with little, tiny people who sometimes seem unmanageable.

They have to go to the bathroom, they want to ask a hundred questions, they need to do better at learning math.

And you have a whole room of these kids, all who deserve your attention. And you’re giving them all the best version of you that you can. But do their parents know that?

Sometimes parents have a skewed version of what’s going on in their child’s life in the classroom. All they might hear at the dinner table that night is, “My teacher said I couldn’t go the bathroom and I don’t know how to do the math.”

Yikes. That certainly wasn’t translated well. That’s where Parent™ can be the ultimate tool for parents, teachers, and children to streamline their lives, virtually.

The Parent App. allows parents and teachers to interact seamlessly to see how a child is progressing in the classroom, with activities and much more. It’s the ultimate trust builder.

Parents will be relieved to know that you’re giving their little on the individual attention they deserve, and teachers will be thrilled to have an all-in-one childcare solution to communicate.

So, stop with the little scraps of paper notes back to your student’s parents. Don’t worry about late-night text messages from a parent wondering if their child did well on a test.

Parent™ is truly a teacher’s best friend. It lets you stay organized, streamlined, engaged – and on top of what your students’ school life is all about, so you can get back to being the awesome teacher you are.

But yes, the kids are still going to ask to use the bathroom a thousand times a day. We can’t fix that.

Save Time (and Sanity) with Software that Gives You Your Time Back!

For decades, Kindergarten teachers have been fighting an endless battle against mountains of paperwork. Between managing children, documentation, news, communication with teachers and parents, and everything in-between, finding time to breathe can feel like finding a needle in a…well…pretty large pile of needles.

Digital technology is making an incredible impact in kindergartens all across the world. The secret lies in embracing a comprehensive yet simple system that’s well-structured for better learning, less admin, and more fun for everyone involved. 

We get it. You love what you do, and you wouldn’t change your career for the world. Still – you deserve support from people (and a state-of-the-art system) that lightens your load so you can focus on doing what you do best.

The right Kindergarten software solution can save teachers hours every day, so they can focus on spending more quality time with their little students.

Here’s what you should look out for in a digital childcare management system:

  • Streamlined communication. Parents have questions, and you have answers. The right solution should deliver instant messaging capabilities to host live chats with parents, teachers, and everyone in-between – strengthening early childhood education. Everything is private, safe, and secure, meaning parents’ contact details are never in danger.
  • File sharing. Parents love seeing their kids in action, and there are various important documents you need to share with them – as well as teachers. The right management solution lets you share pictures, videos, documents, and more – all at the click of a button. No more manual paperwork, reports, sick notes – nothing. It’s time to move online.
  • Profiles. The organization is the key to a thriving institution that runs like a well-oiled machine. World-class childcare management systems allow you to create detailed profiles for every learner and teacher, under one centralized roof – so you can check statuses at a moment’s notice.
  • Calendars. No more bits of paper floating around and getting lost in translation. The right digital childcare management solution means you can access, create, and adjust events, activities, holidays, and more – with results that reflect across the board.
  • Cost-efficiency. You shouldn’t have to pay an arm or a leg (or another leg) to access the convenience your institution deserves. The right solution puts the power in your hands, with life-changing solutions at an affordable price. Parent™ offers a wide range of packages for all kinds of nurseries, depending on your goals.

 

So, what kind of solution can give you all of this and more?

Relax – not everything that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true. 

Parent™ is a world-class Kindergarten management system, designed exclusively for busy childcare professionals and specialists in early childhood education.

Parent™ childcare management app works (and looks) like a dream, fusing cutting-edge software with ease of uploading, efficient communication systems, an intuitive design, and so much more.

Honestly, we could talk about the Parent™ app all day, but the only way to experience the difference is to try it out yourself. So go ahead! you’ll never know unless you give it a go.

Why the Need for Childcare Management (Mobile) Technology?

We wrote previously is technology really a taboo in childcare? about the pros and cons of using childcare managing software. Our aim is not here to repeat those points, but the following bear mentioning:

  • Mobile Communication brings parents and Child Care Centers closer together. It is an excellent way to make the relationship between the parents and the center more meaningful, providing an avenue for real-time communications and updates.
  • Updated Parents. Sending all messages between the center and parents to a mobile device is an excellent way to make sure parents are updated constantly with important school information, like enrollment times, reminders for holidays, changes to policies, etc.
  • Benefits for School Administrators. Paperwork is decreased, reports are updated by teachers and administrators can update their portion quickly and efficiently
  • Other Benefits for Parents. Parents often find it difficult to find the time to speak to teachers directly. Online communication enables teachers and parents to discuss a child’s performance in their own time. Informal communication can also sometimes reduce the stress and worry of more formal meetings.

Apart from the above, many child care systems also have the following capabilities, as does the Parent App:

  • Check-In Functionality. Track children and staff attendance using automated tools.
  • Document Sharing. Share documents with staff anytime and anywhere using your smart device. This can also be done for selected documents with the parents.
  • Smart Calendar. Create, manage, and share events and holidays. Send invites with RSVPs to parents and staff.
  • Permissions. Assign role-based access to each user from a centralized console.
  • Manage Lists. Create, modify, and manage allergy lists, immunization lists, and more.
  • Food Plans. Create daily menus and upload them to the app for everyone to access.
  • Children’s Attendance. Quick sign-in tools for children.
  • Working Hours. Track employee working hours and get insightful reports on their productivity.
  • Billing and Invoicing. you can track each family’s balance and complete invoicing history all from one place.
  • Reports. Generate reports on children’s performance – moving away from paper.

So, the benefits are quite clear, and to most teachers, principals, and parents the benefits of using some sort of automated communication system are intuitively evident. But the nagging question about price remains, and with this article, we are happy to address that.

Still – Why Do you Have to Pay?

Firstly, most of the available child care management system (CCMS) software packages – basically all of which operate as some sort of App – must be developed. Software engineers do not come cheap.

But perhaps the most expensive part of the process is to capture the intellectual capital within the processes that a Child Care Centre operates according to.

A business analyst typically must first scope the processes before designing an application.

Second, it is quite tricky to develop a system that is generic enough to be useful to all Child Care Centers, but in the same breath unique and tailorable enough to be suited to your establishment’s specific needs. Parent App is an excellent example of a package that fits the bill, and that can be adapted to your needs.

As to cost? Well – we cannot speak on behalf of all software packages, but we think that adding between $2 and $4 (less than the price of a Big Mac burger) a month to the price of a child’s enrolment in a Child Care Centre, considering the benefits that the school and parents get from this, is really not pricey. And in most cases, vendors are quite prepared to negotiate around economies of scale to suit your specific needs (and your pocket).

So, adding between two and four dollars a month per child is not likely to break the bank. And there are options as to how this may be introduced in your Child Care Centre:

  • Negotiate a discount with the supplier, i.e. either per number of children that you may have on the system (economies of scale typically kick in when you have more than 50 children), or in the way that it is implemented (could be phased in).
  • Absorb the total cost of the new software yourself as the school, although that would probably be a bit shortsighted, considering the thin margins at which most of you already operate.
  • Let the parents absorb all the cost, i.e. increase the child’s enrollment fee by that amount per month. This would in most cases be acceptable to parents, once they are privy to the advantages that the new system will provide them. We suggest going this route.
  • Do it in a phased approach – for instance: split the costs 50/50 (or 25/75) between yourself and the parents for the rest of the school year if you purchase a system during the year, with the understanding by the parents that they will have to shoulder the total burden of the cost come the new year.

As you can see – there are various options with which to absorb the new cost item, but rest assured – the relatively short-term burden will be more than offset by the long terms gains, once the system is properly implemented and running (an organization like Parent™ will gladly assist you in training and onboarding all your children and parents’ details as well, should you require it!).

Conclusion

We think that with this and the previous articles that we have produced, we have made a succinct case for going the childcare management software (CCMS) route. In our case, we of course promote Parent App as the optimal solution. Whatever software solution you should choose though, there is likely to be some cost involved.

In this article, we have further illustrated that (a) the costs that we are talking about will not break the bank even for a price-sensitive environment like a Child Care Center, and (b) that there are various options for absorbing this cost, the preferable option is adding this to the child’s enrolment fees.

Whatever approach you should want to consider – talk to us! We at Parent™ are ready to receive your calls or messages and will gladly assist! Parent™ is here to set carers free.

Parent™ is a lead childcare management solution. Our platform has been embraced by childcare providers across seven countries, supports multiple languages and curriculums. We are committed to creating positive partnerships between parents and their childcare centers, allowing you to spend more time nurturing each child in your care.

References

selecting the right child care software for your setting 750px*560px
  • magdelize

  • Published on

    October 15, 2021

  • Reading time

    9 Minutes

How to Choose the Right Child Care Management Software

Childcare Management

Why it is Important to Select the Right Child Care Software

Parents deserve the peace of mind of knowing their children are in good hands. By investing in early childhood educators, we are supporting nurturing child care environments where children can thrive.” –Kathleen Wynne

So – you’ve decided to take the leap and join the future of early years education. To join the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – see our previous article on this subject. Maybe you are the first child care center in your suburb to make this decision. Perhaps not. No matter.

Just know that you’re heading in the right direction. Automation, management information system (MIS), Software, child care management system (CCMS), child communication system (CCS) – call it what you like.

It is the future of early years education, and the sooner you catch up to the trend, the quicker your adoption rate, and the shorter your learning curve.

Choosing a Child Care Management Software

“What software do I purchase? I mean, there are so many options!” We hear you, and it can be pretty daunting to flip through them all. Of course, you can just Google a few search terms, and we guarantee you – you will come up with 20 to 30 options at least.

What to do? What to do?

We’ll tell you what to do – you use a scientific approach to decide; one that fits your budget, your teachers, and your primary stakeholders – the children and parents. In this article, we will show you how to do exactly that.

Identifying Your Selection Criteria – What to be Aware Of

First, we need to ask why you should use child care management software? Can you run a preschool, child care, or daycare center without the use of any software or apps at all? Well, the answer is up to you.

There are many types of software available within the child care management solutions space. In fact, the challenge is not to find software; the challenge is to identify the correct software that will suit your Purpose (We accept that you have a Strategy for your Child Care Center, with a Vision, Mission, and Objectives in place, so your Purpose should be crystal clear. If not, we can assist with that).

Why may some software packages not be suitable? Some potential explanations could relate to the following:

  • Too Pricey. Price is always a consideration in most Child Care Centers. So yes – you should be price-sensitive. Be careful though for packages that are offered as “free.” One invariably finds that the basic functionality is, well, very basic. You eventually end up paying for proper functionality anyhow.
  • Too Complicated. Who wants to be saddled with complicated software that takes ages to master?
  • Not Pitched at the Right Level. This is an important one to keep an eye out for. Some packages focus on the primary school level, and some even only at the secondary school level. Some vendors may not point this out to you when they do their sales pitch, resulting in your purchasing a package that has many functionalities that you will never use!
  • Not Pitched at the Right Functionality. Coupled to the previous point – some packages, even for Child Care Centers, are marketed as CCMS packages. But in essence, what they are, are teaching aids. In other words. They include games, songs, and other things that may be curriculum-related, but that’s it. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but if that is what you want, try to find an all-inclusive package, rather than purchasing two separate systems, which is what you will likely end up doing.
  • Scale-ability Comes at a Price. Some packages only provide add-on functions at an additional price.
  • Data Security Issues. Some packages are stand-alone only, with nowhere for your data to be stored, but on a hard drive or local area network (LAN). If that should crash, you could lose all your data. If you can select a vendor that is also ISO (International Organization for Standardization) accredited as far as its information management approach is concerned, so much the better.

Other Considerations to Keep In Mind

You can’t be too picky when it comes to what software your child care center deserves. Being critical is a gift in situations like these, and these are only a few suggestions as to what you should be asking.

  • How simple is the look and feel of the software? How easy and quick is it to use, and how intuitive? Some packages’ look and feel are very outdated.
  • Does it really save time, money, and effort, or is it just a fancy-looking tool?
  • Is the interface modern or outdated? In other words – if we use basic systems like Microsoft Office and e-mail daily, will we be able to quickly adapt?
  • How easy will it be to overcome resistance to change by my personnel if I select this system, considering that they are not all equally PC-literate? This is a key factor.
  • What is the extent of after-sales service? Are there present users that I can contact to check on this? Will my onboarding by the salesperson include assisting me in loading all the relevant data on the system to start with?
  • What are our parents likely to think of the system? Will they think that we are being very progressive, or that we just want to add costs?
  • If we have elements of STEM in our curriculum, will this software support that? We all realize that children at this age should learn by playing, and not be forced to learn complicated scientific technology. However, we also all realize that children’s exposure to tech is inevitable. If so – how cool will they or their parents view this app to be?
  • Will this software assist us as a responsible institution to contribute to our CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – by saving paper?
  • Is my software provider’s primary business Child Care, or is it just an add-on solution that they have among many other packages that they provide? This is an important consideration because it may indicate how serious this vendor is likely to take your problems, and how much time they are prepared to invest in you after the purchase.

So – deciding which package to select is an indispensable decision to make if you really want to optimally ride the 4IR wave. Because, let’s face it – going paperless (and by implication automating) your processes, is not a question of “if,” but rather of “when.”

Identifying Your Selection Criteria – How to Go About It

When selecting your CCMS, there may be many reasons for picking the specific option that you do. Above we listed some potential considerations. But in the final analysis, what you really want to achieve is to realize the following benefits:

  1. Automation of Routine Tasks.
  2. Improved Communication.
  3. Better Analysis of Learner Performance.
  4. Increased Transparency.

To ensure this, we would suggest that you list the following criteria (at this stage not in any sequence of priority, and – your criteria will be largely determined by your setting, your strategy, and of course, your budget):

  • Does it have a billing and invoicing function?
  • Can it assist with classroom management?
  • Is it cloud-based with ISO 27001 information security standards?
  • Will it assist with managing my employees?
  • Can we use it to communicate with parents?
  • Can I add documents, like curricula or lesson plans?
  • Will it provide detailed reports, internally and to parents?
  • Does it have permissions (who can see what, who can pick up the child, check-ins, etc.)?
  • Is it intuitive and easy to learn?
  • Can it accommodate food plans and menus?

You may add other criteria, like affordability, but the above ones are to our way of thinking the most important.

The Planning Phase

To decide which system to purchase, we will use an approach called a Weighted Scoring System. This is a technique for putting a measure of objectivity into what is really a bit of a subjective process.

 

Using a consistent list of criteria, weighted according to the importance or priority of the criteria to the school, a comparison of different products can be made. By assigning numerical values to the criteria priorities and the ability of the product to meet a specific criterion, a “weighted” value can be derived. Then, by summing the weighted values, the product most closely meets the criteria can be determined.

So, let us say that we have reduced the number of possible options to three – Products X, Y, and Z. You can have more, but we use only three for ease of illustration.

The Decision Phase

Next, we decide which of our options are the most important.

This is, granted, a bit of a subjective exercise, but maybe determined by your specific priorities.

For our example, we listed them as follows in priority order:

  • Does it communicate with parents?
  • Can I add documents, like curricula or lesson plans?
  • Will it provide detailed reports, internally and to parents?
  • Does it have permissions (how can see what, who can pick up the child, check-ins, etc.)?
  • Does it have a billing and invoicing function?
  • Can it accommodate food plans and menus?
  • Will it assist with classroom management?
  • Is it cloud-based with ISO 27001 information security standards?
  • Will it assist with managing my employees?
  • Is it intuitive and easy to learn?

 

Next, we give each of the above criteria a point out of 10 (eventually, all the scores should tally up to 100). This is done in the following table:

Table 1: Weighted Criteria

Weighted Criteria

 

Next, we populate the table. For each criterion, we give a score out of 10 and then multiply it with the weight given that criterion.

The results are to be found in Table 2.

Table 2: Completed Table

Completed Table

 

From the above, it would seem as if Option Y would be your best choice.

Subjectivity Aside

There is however still a degree of subjectivity involved in this table. For instance – deciding on what score to give a criterion out of 10 is to a large extent subjective.

You can decrease the level of subjective bias in this exercise by using one, or all, of the following methods:

  • Involve your whole team in deciding (a) the weight for each criterion, and (b) the actual score assigned to that criterion for each option.
  • Compare the options per criterion, in order words – rate each option at the same time per criterion, and do not do each option isolated.
  • Maybe there are certain criteria that are not negotiable as far as you are concerned. Highlight them in bold and decide on a minimum figure for each. If an option does not achieve that figure for the non-negotiable criterion/criteria, it is automatically discarded. For example – you may decide that the ability for the software to also communicate with the parents is non-negotiable, and you may assign that criterion a weight of 9. Any option that does not allow for this is automatically eliminated (note that we only list three options above for ease of illustration – you can develop a table with 20 or more).
  • To further reduce uncertainty in awarding the scores, you can, beforehand, draw up a table that indicates how each value is defined. The following is an example:
    • Ten out of 10 = Absolutely meets this requirement 100%.
    • Nine out of 10 = Meets the requirement, but we need further clarification.
    • Eight out of 10 = Meets requirement, but one or two functionalities not.
    • Seven out of 10 = Meets the requirement to an extent.
    • Six out of 10 = Just meets the requirement.
    • Five out of 10 = Does not meet the requirement but can be developed for free (by vendor).
    • Four out of 10 = Does not meet the requirement but can be developed at a price.
    • Three out of 10 = Does not meet the requirement and is not likely to be added.
    • Two out of 10 = Does not meet the requirement.
    • One out of 10 = Absolutely does not meet the requirement.

So, What Kind of Solution Can Give 10 Out of 10?

Relax – not everything that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true. 

Parent is a world-class child care management solution, designed exclusively for busy child care professionals and specialists in early childhood education.

Parent works (and looks) like a dream, fusing cutting-edge software with ease of uploading, efficient communication systems, an intuitive design, and so much more.

Honestly, we could talk about Parent features all day – but the only way to experience the difference is to try it out for yourself. You’ll never know unless you give it a go – so go ahead!

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right software for your setting is an important, but ultimately very personal and subjective decision, related to many criteria/variables, as we indicated above.

At the end of the day, your Child Care Center Strategy and the purpose for which you require it will determine which system you will pick.

We have also illustrated that there is a method – the Weighted Scoring System – using which you can largely reduce subjective bias in your decision-making process.

At the end of the day, the software should suit your requirements and should provide the best trade-off between the daily operational needs of your establishment, and satisfying your primary stakeholders, i.e., children, teachers, and parents.

Whatever approach you should want to consider – talk to us! We at Parent are ready to receive your calls or messages and will gladly assist! Parent is here to set carers free.

Parent is available on Google Play and  App Store for smartphones, tablets and online via our portal.

References

https://www.iso.org/isoiec-27001-information-security.html (accessed on 01 February 2020).

https://www.parent.eu/ (accessed on 01 February 2020).

Karen. Preschool Inspirations. https://preschoolinspirations.com/parent-teacher-communication-apps/. June 2017. (accessed on 01 February 2020).

Unknown. Software Advice. https://www.softwareadvice.com/school-management/ (accessed on 01 February 2020).

Unknown. Successful Software. https://successfulsoftware.net/2011/05/26/evaluating-software-product-ideas/ (accessed on 02 February 2020).

Unknown. Child Care Software. https://www.capterra.com/child-care-software/ (accessed on 02 February 2020).

the importance of child care software for centers 750px*560px
  • magdelize

  • Published on

    September 15, 2021

  • Reading time

    11 Minutes

Is It a Necessary to Use Childcare Software in The Kindergartens?

Childcare Management

Daycare Centers and Childcare Management Software – An Absolute Sine Qua Non?

“The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create.” – Leonard I. Sweet, Writer, Teacher & Preacher.

“Software in our creche? But of course, we use software,” I hear you say. “After all – we use Microsoft Office, e-mail, and we even have a financial management and invoicing package!”

In fact, if you are sufficiently large and successful as a preschool or childcare center you may even be using some modules of a more sophisticated (and expensive!) enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, like SAP, or Oracle.

Is this sufficient? Well, employing childcare management software like Parent™ is a better choice that sets carers free. But to answer that more thoroughly we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Firstly, you can probably run a childcare center without any software at all. I mean – that’s how it worked 20 or 30 years ago, right? Especially if you’re running a small setup, it should be quite possible. Difficult, but possible. We’ll return to this a bit later.

Second, we are right in the throes of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, or then 4IR for short. What exactly is the 4IR? The Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, succinctly elaborates on this concept in his recently published book on the subject.

He defines the four industrial revolutions as follows:

  • The first industrial revolution took place between about 1760 and 1840, triggered by the invention of the steam engine.
  • The second started in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, triggered by electricity and the assembly line.
  • The third industrial revolution began in the 1960s with the computer/digital revolution, culminating on the Internet.
  • The fourth industrial revolution started within the last ten years or so, and is characterized by mobile Internet, the IoT (Internet of Things – everything is connected), smaller and more powerful (and cheaper) sensors, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It is within this new, and sometimes scary, world that most Childcare Centers find themselves operating in nowadays.

Furthermore, as Schwab states towards the end of his book:

The fourth industrial revolution renders technology an all-pervasive and predominant part of our individual lives, and yet we are only starting to understand how this technology sea-change will affect our inner selves. Ultimately it is incumbent upon each of us to guarantee we are served, not enslaved by technology. At a collective level, we must ensure that the challenges technology throws at us are properly understood and analyzed. Only in this way can we be certain that the fourth industrial revolution will enhance, rather than damage, our well-being.“.

So, this is an exciting and challenging time to live in, but also a time where one has to ensure that one is not overwhelmed by all the changes coming at one, especially as far as the management of information and data is concerned (not to mention fake news!).

And this is where the proper application of the software is so important, especially within the child care environment.

It is a tool, or as the heading of this article states – a sine qua non for effectively and efficiently running our child care centers within the era of the fourth industrial revolution (sine qua non is just a fancy Latin saying for something that is essential/that we cannot do without).

Let us, therefore, take a closer look at the concept of software (and management information).

Aim

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the importance of utilizing proper software to optimize the productivity4 of your childcare center.

Childcare Management Information and Software

To start with, let’s quickly look at two words in the preceding paragraphs that you may just have quickly glossed over, perhaps without even noticing them – effectiveness and efficiency.

For the rest of this article to make sense it is important that we get a good handle on what these two terms really mean.

Effectiveness, in short, means doing the right things. In other words, it is having a good strategy and pursuing the correct objectives to make your organization work. For a daycare center, it means, for example, having a proper health and safety approach in place, well-trained teachers, and a proper management information system.

There may be many other objectives for your daycare.

Efficiency, on the other hand, means doing things correctly. So – you may indeed have a proper management information system in place; you may indeed have well-trained teachers, and you may have a proper health and safety approach in place.

BUT – are these “things” working properly?

How do you know whether they are?

How do you measure and track performance?

Do you have proper management information (that you can trust in terms of accuracy) that you may access in real-time to see where the gaps in your establishment are, or in people’s performance?

And what about the parents? Are they happy, or do you manage them by exception – in other words, you accept they are happy until somebody complains?

Many companies over the last century have gone out of business because they ASSUMED their customers were happy, just because they did not receive complaints.

Silence does not equal a satisfied customer! At best, it equals a complacent customer or one who is scared to disturb the status quo because he/she has no other option (nowhere else to take their child, for example).

It is especially with ensuring efficiency that we need proper management information in our Child Care Centers. So, what then is a Management Information System (MIS)?

Management information systems are tools used to support processes, operations, and IT. MIS tools (software) move data and manage information.

MIS produces data-driven reports that can help preschool, child care, and daycare centers make the right decisions at the right time. The concept includes what computers can do in this field, how people (teachers and other role-players) process information, and how best to make it accessible and up to date.

The earliest forms of management information software were usually spreadsheets, like Excel or the old Lotus 1-2-3, and many organizations still rely on only that. The environment has, unfortunately, become too complex to manage by spreadsheet only.

It (managing data) has become a science in its own right, with many categories and associated software.

In fact, it is our contention that to maximize the total value eco-system (within which the daycare operates), software within the early years’ education center environment must deliver better management of child care processes, experiences, personnel, and relationships with parents and other end-users.

Such systems need to offer proactive, service-centric approaches that reflect, support, and improve the organization’s strategic objectives, brand, culture, and workplace productivity across the entire range of the Care center’s activities.

 

Categories of Management Information Systems

The major categories of systems include the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Executive Information System (EIS): Management use an EIS to make decisions that affect the entire organization. For your Childcare center, this may involve tracking the extent of your strategy implementation, using perhaps a tool like Balanced Scorecard (strategic planning for Child Care Centers is a topic by itself, and one which we will address in the future).
  • Marketing Information System (MIS): Marketing teams use MIS to report on the effectiveness of past and current campaigns. Child Care Centers may use this to market their services to prospective parents – there are many software packages available.
  • Customer Relationship Management System (CRM): A CRM system stores key information about customers, including previous sales, contact information, and sales opportunities. It is very important for a Childcare center to manage its parents’ information, but some modern Child Care Management Systems (CCMS), like Parent App, incorporate this within their suite of offerings. Other centers may just use a package like Excel.
  • Human Resource Management System (HRMS): This system tracks employee performance records and payroll data. Some Child Care Centers use this, but in general, the staff complement is not big enough at most centers to justify the expense.
  • Supply Chain Management System (SCM): Manufacturing companies use SCM to track the flow of resources, materials, and services from purchase until final products are shipped. Not really suited to the Child Care environment, although can be used if the organization is sufficiently large.
  • Transaction Processing System (TPS): An MIS that completes a sale and manages related details. Employees can use the data created to report on usage trends and track sales over time. This is not generally used by Child Care Centers but can be done.
  • Financial Accounting System (FAS): This MIS is specific to departments dealing with finances and accounting, such as accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR). Most Child Care Centers use some software package, like Sage, FreshBooks, QuickBooks, etc.
  • Child Care Management System (CCMS) – Sometimes also called Preschool Communication Systems: There are many variants on this, ranging from pre-school systems which are optimized to link teachers, principals, administration staff, and parents together to enhance everyone’s situational awareness regarding the progress of the child (like Parent App), to systems that monitor babies, and systems optimized for tracking the performance of school-going children right up to Grade 12.

In the next section, we look at specific advantages of management information systems within the Child Care center environment.

Advantages of Management Information Systems

There are many benefits that come with applying MIS. Some of these benefits help make work easier for principals, while the rest of them help the organization and other stakeholders, like teachers and parents.

Let’s take a closer look and see what you stand to gain from having an MIS.

  • All stakeholders in the center – teachers, principals, admin staff, and parents (if it is a CCMS) – have access to one single database that holds all the data that will be needed in day-to-day operations. Running the center will be smoother because the information will always be readily available and data collection methods like forms or questionnaires will be standardized.
  • Teachers and other stakeholders in the center will be able to spend more time doing productive tasks. Time is saved thanks to the more efficient information system. This time would have otherwise been spent setting up or retrieving traditional information recording systems such as forms and files. This is after all what we as parents really want – more teacher facetime with our children!
  • Owing to the flexibility that is brought using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, MIS ensures that teachers have easier interaction with information about the progress of any process within the center. This also ensures a higher degree of accuracy in data collection since it will be possible to record the progress in smaller milestones throughout the day on mobile devices as opposed to the recording once at the
    end of the day.
  • Inputs and modifications are logged, and the authors noted. The time when the change has been made is also recorded for future reference. This means that the center can achieve a higher degree of accountability since all the actions can always be traced back to the individuals who initiated them.
  • MIS help reduce the amount of paperwork that Child Care Centers must deal with thanks to the central database that’s accessible from the network (nowadays cloud-based, to ensure redundancy).
  • Reports make it easy for Child Care Centers to easily identify their strengths and weaknesses in carrying out various tasks. Management Information Systems provides revenue reports, performance reports for teachers, expenses tracking reports, and many others.

However, with introducing new technology within your Child Care center comes new challenges, not least of which may be some level of resistance to change by some staff members.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when selecting the right childcare management software and implementing any new system, but especially new software is resistance to change by employees. And hey – even by parents, where relevant! After all, we are not all equally PC-literate.

This is of course becoming less of a problem nowadays as we are all immersing ourselves deeper and deeper into the 4IR.

The noted Belgian author and speaker, Jeroen de Flander, elaborates on this to a large extent in his book, The Art of Performance.

Now, the aim of this article is not really to talk about overcoming resistance to change – perhaps that may be the focus of a future article, but there are some important pointers that we get from De Flander in this regard.

The one thing that De Flander says, and which he firmly believes in, is that talent – knowledge, and skills – are developed.

So, as far as the nature versus nurture argument is concerned, he firmly believes in nurture. It, therefore, means that ANY skill can be learned! This includes software.

And to do this he promotes a scheme that focuses on three areas:

  • Developing your passion and purpose.
  • persisting in learning this skill always.
  • And practice, practice, practice.

When all three of these elements are adhered to, as indicated in the below schematic, it leads to Greatness!

The-3-engines-of-greatness

 

So, how do you overcome this resistance to change?

Firstly, by developing the passion and purpose in your people, and let’s face it – most pre-school teachers have this passion and love for their calling.

One only must illustrate how much easier an MIS will make their lives, allowing them to focus primarily on their first love, i.e. interacting with children. Then it is just sticking with it (persistence) and practicing.

The reason why most people are loath to try new software is that they think (a) it is complicated, and (b) that they will break something.

By telling them that they cannot break the software by practicing, and by also taking the lead (as the principal) in adopting the software, they are likely to come around quickly.

Most MIS systems are actually very simple and intuitive to operate nowadays.

Conclusion

In the opening paragraphs of this article, we posed the question of whether you can run a preschool, child care, and daycare center without the use of any software at all. Or then, without any sort of MIS.

I think we have illustrated throughout this document that, yes, it may technically be feasible if you are a small setup, but even then, considering the demands that the 4IR places on us, the demands to be competitive with other centers, the demand to satisfy our primary stakeholders, i.e. parents optimally, and quite frankly, based on the demand to continually improve on our own levels of productivity and the need to provide society with children that are school-ready – all these factors make for an increasingly cogent case for using proper MIS and related childcare management software within your daycare center. In fact, we see this as a non-negotiable imperative within the next five years for ALL child care centers (yes – a sine qua non).

Maybe you need to keep to a tight budget when you begin, but you should eventually invest in some quality tools as soon as you have the funds. If this is where we are all heading anyhow, why not get in on the action as early as possible?

quote

Anyway, whatever approach you should want to consider – talk to us! We at Parent™ are ready to receive your calls or messages and will gladly assist! Parent™ is here to set carers free.

Parent™ is a lead childcare management solution. Our platform has been embraced by childcare providers across seven countries, supports multiple languages and curriculums. We are committed to creating positive partnerships between parents and their childcare centers, allowing you to spend more time nurturing each child in your care.

References

Cummings M. and Haag S. Management Information Systems for the Information Age. 2013. McGraw-Hill Professional.

De Flander, J. The Art of Performance: The Surprising Science Behind Greatness. 2019. The Performance Factory. Brussels, Belgium.

Flavin, B. How to Run a Daycare: 9 Tips to Make Your Life Easier. February 2017.
https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/how-to-run-a-daycare/ (accessed on 31 January 2020).
https://www.cleverism.com/management-information-systems-mis/ (accessed on 30 January 2020).
https://bizfluent.com/list-6772957-management-information-systems-tools.html (accessed on 30 January 2020).

ISS 2020 Vision: New Ways of Working – The Workplace of the Future. 2013. Denmark. Schwab, K. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. 2016. Penguin Random House, UK.

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  • magdelize

  • Published on

    August 15, 2021

  • Reading time

    3 Minutes

Is Technology Really A Taboo in Child Care?

Childcare Technology

The State of Modern Child Care

Nurseries, daycare centers, and pre-schools can no longer ignore the benefits of using technology inside and outside the classroom. The traditional methods of teaching and storing documents waste money and most importantly time. The quality of the teaching and communication with the parents and other role players degrade if the focus is on paperwork instead of providing fun learning opportunities to young children.

Draining Rules

If we look at the job descriptions of teachers and managers within the child care industry, very few industries require the amount of paperwork and adherence to regulations as the child care industry. The requirements range from Governmental guidance to keeping the parents happy and feeling part of their children’s learning journey every day. The amount of paperwork these requirements demand from management and teachers is robbing the children of quality time and interaction with their teachers.

It’s fair to say that specialized child care software is still relatively new to the industry, but if educators and other role players in the sector are realistic, this is one of the most important changes that need to modernize the sector – not only changes to the way that they teach children.

Waning Engagement

The child care industry has one of the lowest engagement percentages in the use of effective technology to improve quality provision to their clients. Logically, it can benefit from specialized software to cut down on operational costs, and adhere to regulatory requirements by using technology to ease administrative tasks. Things such as billing and invoicing, managing staff and staff ratios, monitoring and observing child development according to frameworks and more can easily be managed on one platform. This allows teachers and managers to teach and not push around papers.

Connectivity is vitally influential in the era we are living in, why not use specialized software to connect and involve parents in their child’s learning, get permission from them, and inform them about events and happenings in your setting?

Tech for Tomorrow, Today

The possibilities to effectively use technology in this sector are endless, specialized software can help managers and teachers to develop and connect with other professionals to monitor their work and their own professional development.

We think it’s time that we looked at alternatives as to how we can provide better learning and development. Not only for the children in our care, but the staff and people working in the sector – how can the sector grow and keep up with the modern era if we don’t?

There are many benefits of specialized software for the industry, which include:

  • Efficient and better workflows within the child care center.
  • Improved Learning and Development for the children in the child care center.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the Learning and Development of the children in the child care center.
  • Improved communication and effective connectivity with families.

 The next question is…

How Do You Choose the Best-Specialized Software for Your Setting?

You need to start by asking and answering why you need specialized software. Does this software need to:

  • “Take over” some functions.
  • Complement your current system.
  • Make your setting more efficient.
  • Add quality outcomes and help you manage your staff, engage your parents, and be shaped around the client – the children in your child care center.

The features must include the following:

  • Be compatible and be able to function on multiple devices.
  • Provide a sign-in and sign-out function to staff and children.
  • Provide online document accessibility and storage.
  • Provide around-the-clock connectivity.
  • Provide a customized parent or family portal.
  • Provide billing and invoicing.
  • Provide a link with Governmental Early Learning Frameworks.
  • Size of the server storage and size of server storage.
  • Monthly versus annual fees.

Taboo? No.

One of the key points to remember is that if you choose well, the child care management software will pay for itself in time and operational or administrative costs.  Another key point is to familiarize yourself with the technical service and support the company will offer you, your staff, and parents using the software.

Do your homework and determine your needs before you start to look for a software solution. 

Coincidentally, that’s why Parent is here: to set carers free of all these things that are robbing teachers and children of quality time.

Parent is a world-class child care management solution, designed exclusively for busy child care professionals and specialists in early childhood education.

Parent works (and looks) like a dream, fusing cutting-edge software with ease of uploading, efficient communication systems, an intuitive design, and so much more.

Honestly, we could talk about Parent’s features all day – but the only way to experience the difference is to try it out for yourself. You’ll never know unless you give it a go!

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  • magdelize

  • Published on

    June 26, 2021

  • Reading time

    8 Minutes

How to Find Quality Time as a Childcare Teacher

Teaching Guide

Quality Time and Teaching – a Contradiction in Terms?

So, you’ve decided to become a teacher at a childcare center. Or perhaps you just want to move to a new preschool. Or, you may be moving to another town and must find a new job.

There could be many reasons for a change in career, or in location. Regardless though – this time you’ve decided!

“Enough! I’m tired of working my fingers to the bone and not having enough spare time for myself! Or not enough quality time to spend with my own family.”

“This time it is going to be a work/life balance!”

Yeah, right…

The best-laid plans of mice and men…We all know how it goes. You start off with the firm intention to spend more time on yourself and your family, and then – POOF! Two months down the line and you have become so involved again in your day-to-day activities that it is just business as usual! “Where has my day gone?” 

Just like the story of the Grinch who stole Christmas, just so easily routine tasks within a childcare center can suddenly steal your joie de vivre. But there is a way around this. A way to again capture the indomitable power of optimism that you used to feel! No worries, dear, Parent™ is here to set carers free.

How – as a Teacher – Can You Use Technology to Your Advantage

Aim

The aim of this article is to illustrate how using proper childcare management software (CCMS) in your school can save you time (and money) and set you free to also allow more time to yourself.

What Keeps a Child Care Centre Teacher Busy?

“What?” I hear you say. “Is this a trick question?!”

No – we realize that as a childcare center teacher, you are a UNIQUE person. Let’s face it – this type of job is not suited to everyone. Not everyone has your love for children, your passion for seeing children grow and develop, your drive to make sure that the little ones will eventually be school-ready, and last but not least – your absolute devotion to looking after other people’s children, welcoming them in the morning, treating them like your own during the day, and then setting them free again towards the evening.

Not to even mention the skills that you require. These include effective and efficient communication (remember what we said in a previous article about the difference between effective1 and efficient2?), the ability to instruct a group of children, and of course having an affinity for young children.

It is a selfless job, and often a thankless one as well. There are so many competing priorities for your time – let’s look at only a few (yes, yes – we know; we are preaching to the converted…):

  • Provide materials and resources for children to explore and use, both in learning activities and in imaginative play. Read books to classes.
  • Attend to their basic needs by feeding them, dressing them, and changing their diapers.
  • Teach basic skills such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, and social skills.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior, and procedures for maintaining order.
  • Organize and lead activities designed to promote physical, mental, and social development, such as games, arts and crafts, music, storytelling, and field trips.
  • Observe and evaluate their performance, social development, and physical health.
  • Identify children showing signs of emotional, developmental, or health-related problems, and discuss them with supervisors, parents or guardians, or child development specialists.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children’s progress and needs, determine their priorities for their children, and suggest ways that they can promote learning and development.
  • Enforce all administration policies and rules governing students.
  • Serve meals and snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet children’s varying needs and interests.
  • Arrange indoor and outdoor spaces to facilitate creative play, motor-skill activities, and safety.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Prepare reports on students and activities as required by the administration.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops in order to maintain and improve professional competence.

There are many other tasks, but we know you get the message – and a sense of déjà vu

A golden thread that links many of the above points together, and that the astute reader would have picked up on by now, is the issue of communication: communication with children, with peers, with parents, administrative staff, and many others.

So, we must look at a way to prioritize our communication and other routine tasks if we want to save time.

Ways to Prioritize

Parents always appreciate the efforts you make to keep them updated about their children’s progress. There are various ways to go about this:

  • Face-to-face interactions always remain the best, but parents do not always have the time.
  • You can create a website for interaction, and most Child Care Centers have such. It takes time to update a website though, and is normally a dedicated resource.
  • A newsletter is also a great idea, but again – what medium are you going to use? The website? E-mails? Both? Again – somebody must do it.
  • Regular parent conferences, for instance once a semester, is also a good idea, but again – you are unlikely to get all the parents together at any given time.

This is not to say that the above methods and tools are not of value. Of course, they are! And if you can implement them – great!

However, what we are talking about here is how you can prioritize routine tasks, as well as routine communications. The obvious answer is automation.

Now as far as non-routine tasks are concerned – there are many tricks and tools that you can use, and we will in the future also talk a bit more about these. For instance – a “quick and dirty” method to prioritize tasks can be found here. This is more suited to tasks related to for instance a project. There are many other approaches, like Affinity Diagrammes, Brainstorming, etc.

Again – we will deal with these in future articles.

But when we talk about automating routine tasks and communications, there are very few better approaches than using a Child Care Management System, also sometimes called a CCCS (Child Care Communication System).

Parent App as the Ultimate Timesaving Tool

Parent App’s strengths reside in the following capabilities of the software:

  • Track Attendance. Attendance of children and teachers can be tracked. Review working hours and leaves of employees to assess performance. Keep track of when children are present or absent due to sickness or a vacation. Saves time for principals, teachers, and admin staff.
  • Monitor Staff-Child Ratios. Parents enter the expected pickup time when they drop their kids. The system predicts the expected attendance throughout the day and projects the staff-child ratio, which principals and admin staff can access at any time. Schools can meet regulatory requirements and identify staffing shortages and excesses and take immediate actions. Saves time for principals, teachers, and admin staff.
  • File Incident Reports. Teachers can send digital incident reports to parents with photographs and videos. Parents can then acknowledge picking up their child in the condition mentioned in the report. All the records are stored digitally. Saves time for teachers.
  • Manage Parental Permissions. Centers can easily manage parent permissions by creating consent forms on the platform and sending it to all involved. Parents also receive automated reminders until they reply to the permission request. Saves time for teachers and admin staff – no repetitive emails or calls.
  • Document Management. Manage all formats of documents in one place. Conveniently share them when needed while choosing different views and editing permissions for every user. Saves time for teachers and admin staff – once it’s done, it’s there! This goes for curricula as well!
  • Attendance Registration. The app allows parents to check in their children when they are inside the center’s perimeter using the in-app attendance feature that uses geo-location. Saves time for teachers – no attendance registers to maintain.
  • Create Customizable Lists. Users can create ultra-specific, auto-updated lists. When new students with allergies are registered, they are automatically added to the allergy list. When they leave the childcare, they are automatically removed. These self-updating lists help childcare centers to keep their records current without active staff intervention. Saves time for teachers and admin staff.
  • Children Management. Aligned with the previous point – have all the child’s information in one place and keep up-to-date records of important health information such as allergies, immunization, and doctor’s information. A detailed daily report for each child that can be easily filtered to show the statuses you want to view such as food consumption, nappy changes, moods, and much more.
  • Real-time Reporting. Create records of sleep timings, meals, toilet visits, diaper changes, moods, and other daily activities. Make instant entries to create comprehensive and centralized records. Saves time for teachers – no reams of paperwork.
  • Class Overview. Be informed of the attendance, nap times, meal times, birthdays, and more information of all kids in each class. It Saves time for teachers – once captured it’s done.
  • Graphics. A detailed graph lets you know how many days the child was sick, on vacation, or had a planned holiday. This will help you assess if the child’s performance is affected by the number of days missed. Can be useful for reporting by teachers, without having to draw graphs separately in Excel or similar.

Conclusion

A better work/life balance is the way of the future, and the way in which most developed countries and businesses are heading as far as managing employees is concerned.

Because let’s face it – one day when you retire you don’t want to talk about how much time you spent at work – no matter how much you loved it! You would rather talk about how much time you spent with your loved ones.

But having to work is unfortunately for most of us a necessary fact of life which we have relatively little control over. What we DO have control over though, is HOW we do it.

For Child Care Centers, implementing advanced childcare management software like Parent App is the way to go to get the most out of your staff, and to allow your teachers time to let them realize their capabilities best – both at school and in their private lives.

Parent™ is a lead childcare management solution. Our platform has been embraced by childcare providers across seven countries, supports multiple languages and curriculums. We are committed to creating positive partnerships between parents and their childcare centers, allowing you to spend more time nurturing each child in your care.

References

  • Elizondo, M. Effective Parent and Teacher Communication for Preschool: Tips for Teachers

https://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-preschool/38070-effective-parent-and-teacher-communication-for-preschool-tips-for-teachers/ (accessed on 09 February 2020).

https://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/careers/preschool-teacher/ (accessed on 08 February 2020).

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  • magdelize

  • Published on

    June 10, 2021

  • Reading time

    5 Minutes

Qualities to Look for When Hiring Educators for your Daycare

Daycare Job

When it comes to recruitment, finding the right talent for your business is no easy feat and hiring talent that has enough experience and skills to properly work with children is definitely no walk in the park either.

As a daycare owner, you may find that one of the most challenging tasks that your job entitles is managing staff.

That’s why you shouldn’t overlook the importance of securing top talent, to begin with.

Here are some qualities to look out for when hiring educators for your daycare.

Education and Experience

Qualified early childhood educators should have a solid educational background in early childhood education, teaching, family psychology, or a similar field.

Working with young children is a career path that one without sufficient experience in rarely excels.

With education being at the top of the checklist, certifications and licenses can also make or break a candidate’s profile.

Follow your local laws and regulations to determine the minimal education, experience, and licensing required, and always reference check to ensure they are credible.

Several factors to keep in mind when contacting references are a potential employee’s track record of absences, dedication to the job requirements, and how they treat the children, among many other requirements.

Behavioral Qualities

A potential educator’s behavioral qualities should never be overlooked. It is extremely important that a candidate fits into your company culture.

The most effective way to get the first impression is to have a list of prepared questions to ask applicants about how they would react when placed under certain circumstances that are bound to happen during the day.

For example, “How would you react to a child making racist comments?” or “What would you do if a child still isn’t understanding the difference between shapes after you’ve explained it dozens of times?”

Several important behavioral qualities to look for in early childhood educators include:

Patience

Kids ask countless questions and their curiosity knows no limits. Successful early childhood educators encourage curiosity and don’t give children a reason to shy away when they don’t have the answer to something.

A sense of humor

Children are … children. They are young and free and look forward to playtime.

Having a good sense of humor is an often-underestimated skill when it comes to the job. It’s essential to a certain extent but educators should also know their limits.

Authority

As important as a good sense of humor is, educators also need to show authority and be strict to a certain degree so kids actually listen to them and take them seriously.

Attentive

In most cases, educators are the only rational ones in the room. They must be attentive to detail and always alert, especially if a child’s life is at stake.

They must be quick on their feet and make rational decisions in a split second if necessary.

Effective communication skills

They should know how to effectively communicate with young children to help explain concepts and lessons at their levels of understanding.

At the same time, they must have the knowledge and confidence to carry out a professional conversation with a parent or other staff members.

Believe in diversity

They should not only show respect to children and parents of different backgrounds, lifestyles, and ethnicities, but they also must promote the collaboration of children from different backgrounds and help open their eyes to a world of diverse cultures starting from a young age.

Understanding of Childhood Development & Early Childhood Education

The best way to ensure an educator has sufficient understanding and experience in working with children in selecting those that are aware of the demands of young children and how crucial the first few years are on the rest of their lives.

Teachers should have a solid understanding of physical, cognitive, social, and behavioral childhood.

While arts and crafts, proper nutrition, and playtime are important, daycare employees also need to guide young children to meet developmental milestones at such a critical stage.

A Clean Record

Since working with children is a highly delicate field, all potential candidates should undergo a thorough background check and proper training.

Screening shouldn’t be taken lightly and it doesn’t hurt to undergo background checks more than once.

There are very few things worse than allowing a potentially incompetent or harmful caregiver to be around children.

This could, unfortunately, lead to traumatic events for the child, abuse and negligence, negative reviews from parents, malpractice, and in critical situations, even lawsuits.

Ability to Adopt your Teaching Methods

Since you’re looking for experts in the field, the potential educators you’re considering recruiting will more than likely have experience working with children.

While many teaching methods may be correct, it’s understandable to prefer hiring teachers that will help keep your educational system and teaching methods consistent.

That being said, it’s important while recruiting to keep an eye out for talent that is more likely to bring creativity and ideas to the table, but more importantly respect and adopt your specific teaching methods.

How to Recruit Early Childhood Educators

Now that you’ve grasped the requirements and have a clearer picture of what you’re looking for, it’s time to find the right early childhood educators for your business.

Placing job listings under the Careers section of your website is a great place to start.

You also may have some luck finding qualified applicants through your daycare social media channels, namely LinkedIn and Facebook.

Local directories will help spread the word fast, as candidates flock to directories in masses to check new job posts daily.

One of the most effective ways to target potential talent is by simply asking staff if they know anyone suitable for the job.

Offer a referral program with perks to get the ball rolling. Chances are they have connections with like-minded educators or know someone that knows someone that meets the requirements.

But it doesn’t stop there…

Finding and hiring the right talent is only half of it. The onboarding is just as important and requires new teachers to

  • Familiarize themselves with the daycare’s mission and vision
  • Work in line with the rules, regulations, and teaching procedures set forth by the daycare owner
  • Get to know the children they’ll be responsible for, including everything from their names and parents, to their learning styles, health concerns, and everything in between.
  • Understand the approved activities used by the center
  • Adopt the centers’ meal plans, nap times, and more
  • Be familiar with the center’s Childcare Management System

It’s essential to continue to provide educators with proper training and educational opportunities. These can include regular workshops, seminars, and opportunities for additional hands-on experience, licenses, and certifications in the field.

Striving to handpick the best of the best for your daycare educators makes recruitment a daunting task for daycare owners everywhere.

Keeping an eye out for the patient, enthusiastic, properly educated and well-trained prospects will help you bring on board early childhood educators your enrolled children and their parents are sure to love.

Stop bullying in childcares 1024px*465px
  • magdelize

  • Published on

    May 25, 2021

  • Reading time

    4 Minutes

5 Ways to Prevent Bullying at Your Daycare

Child Welfare Teaching Guide

No matter what stage of life our children are in; bullying is bad, and it can heavily affect the quality of early childhood education.  The values that children learn and the habits they pick up during their primary years have a significant impact on the personalities they develop in later stages.

At Parent, we consider it one of our duties to promote anti-bullying activities throughout the early years of education, and we’re here to show you how.

Why Children Bully One Another

A Boy Getting Bullied by Classmates Inside the Classroom

Before getting into prevention measures, it’s important to understand why kids bully each other.

Problems at home, lack of sleep and self-esteem, peer pressure, and a number of other factors come into play when determining the reason behind a child’s aggressive behavior.

However, not getting enough attention or having a history of being bullied themselves by older peers or siblings greatly contribute to a child’s chances of bullying others.

As difficult as it may seem to understand the implications behind bullying, preventing students from acting out is no walk in the park either.

Here are some tried and true ways to fill your daycare with much more harmony and collaboration and a lot fewer threats and insults.

1. Be Observant

Young children usually find a corner to hide in when they’re doing something wrong.

Keep an eye on the hidden areas throughout the center to make sure everything is under control and no one is in danger.

Pay close attention to behaviors linked to bullying.

  • Have children been calling each other names?
  • Are toys and resources going missing?
  • Are children’s attitudes and moods shifting?

All these can be signs of tension building up between children and many incidents can be stopped even before they have started.

2. Use Positive Reinforcements

As caregivers and teachers, you can start by modeling the desired behavior, monitoring young children closely, and praising them when they’ve successfully practiced friendly behaviors.

Alternatively, once a child is seen behaving inappropriately, it’s also the job of the caretaker to explain to him or her, the faults in his or her actions, as well as the consequences.

The consequences of unwanted behavior are equally as important as the praise when it comes to teaching young children right from wrong.

They can include decreased playtime, less TV time, or being paired to collaborate with the children they’re having problems with.

Whatever the consequence, it should be displeasing enough to encourage children to behave properly without terrifying or traumatizing them.

3. Set Clear Ground Rules for Behavior

Just as employees start a new job and go through orientations, and probation periods, children must also receive a proper onboarding experience when starting at daycare.

Chances are, most of the children that enroll at your center will not have been to a previous daycare center before coming to you, so there’s a world of difference between the attention their parents give them as an only child and how they’re expected to behave around other children their age.

Teach them the ground rules upon entering and inform their parents in order for them to follow up at home as well.

It’s important to clarify which behavior is desired within the daycare center, but it’s just as important to monitor a child’s behavior outside of the center.

Don’t wait for unwanted incidents of bullying before consulting with a child’s parents.

Schedule regular meetings to discuss how their child is behaving at home and don’t underestimate the impact a friendly follow-up phone call can have on a parent-teacher relationship.

Parent’s* Instant Messaging feature allows for seamless communication with parents at all times, where users can share a child’s observations, behavioral changes, and regular daily updates.

4. Teach Them Right From Wrong

Most young children don’t know what bullying means, let alone the difference between a friendly or unfriendly gesture.

Draft charts, create activities, encourage collaboration, and inform them about unwanted behavior in order for them to truly understand the difference.

Using puppet demonstrations, videos, and tutorials can all give them a clear visual idea of the types of behaviors that are acceptable and looked down upon both at the daycare center and in life in general.

5. Show Children They Can Talk to You

Most children are too ashamed to consult an adult when problems arise.

It’s your responsibility as a daycare provider and educator to pave the way for open communication.

Educate the youth on ways to express themselves and the importance of avoiding bottling up emotions and problems.

Scheduling one-on-one time with each student is a great place to start making them feel more comfortable letting their guard down.

Why Prevention Bullying is Important Early On

Early social skills play a tremendous role in how young children behave at later stages in life.

This includes how well they interact with their peers, how sociable they are, and how well they perform academically.

The first few years are crucial in the development of social skills.

Now that you’re aware of some ways to prevent bullying in your daycare, there’s no reason to delay making it a friendlier place.

Start by demonstrating and reinforcing desired behavior and meeting unwanted behaviors with suitable consequences, monitoring behavioral changes, and be sure to consult with a child’s parents so they encourage their child to practice friendly behavior at home in parallel.

Child being bullied at daycare 1024px*465px
  • magdelize

  • Published on

    May 10, 2021

  • Reading time

    9 Minutes

How Can You Tell That a Child is Being Bullied in the Daycare?

Child Welfare

Bullying at the Daycare Happens!

Bullying by, and of children, especially of preschool age, is a sensitive subject in most societies. Fact is – it happens.

It happens at all ages, and it happens with all genders. Figure-1 illustrates the breakdown per gender in the United States in 2017, undertaken by the Child Trends Organization (data may be less representative of societies that are not as technologically advanced, but the correlation will probably not be far off).

Figure 1: Bullying Breakdown per Gender

Bullying among students in US schools by gender 2014-1024x744

In 2017, males and females were equally likely to experience physical intimidation (being hit, slapped, or pushed), as well as Internet or cell phone harassment.

Females were more likely to be the targets of relational aggression (teasing or emotional bullying).

However, in terms of lifetime exposure, females were more likely than males to have experienced all types of bullying.

The risk for bullying peaks at different ages for different types of bullying.

In 2014, physical bullying was most often reported by children under 10 years: its prevalence was 19% among children ages two to five, and 18% among children ages six to nine, compared with 9% among children ages 10 to 13, and 5% among children ages 14 to 17.

Relational aggression peaks later, with 23% of children ages two to five reporting it in their past year, compared with 33% of children ages six to nine, 48% of children ages 10 to 13, and 39% of youth 14 to 17.

Internet and cell phone harassment was most common at ages 14-17. See Figure 2.

Figure 2: Differences by Age

Bullying among students in US schools by gender 2014-1024x741

So, it is clear that… (a) there is a difference in gender, and (b) also in bullying types per age.

For the purposes of this article, we are particularly interested in how this phenomenon manifests itself with preschool children, and how to address it.

Aim

The aim of this article is to identify the bullying risk factors for preschool children, in the process also suggesting a coping mechanism for parents and teachers.

 

What is Bullying?

Relatively little focus has been paid to bullying in preschool children, mainly because bullying is difficult to measure among youngsters.

One of the reasons for this is that they often exaggerate behaviours as bullying that may only be occasional rowdiness – more about that a bit later.

The most obvious forms of bullying in preschool children are hitting, shoving or threatening.

Other forms include name-calling, teasing, telling lies, excluding (from a group) or taking another child’s belongings.

Is there a difference between playing and bullying?

Play is important because it develops physical coordination and teaches roles and responsibilities. Occasional roughness between young children is quite normal when playing. Aggressive behaviour, especially if uncommon or for a short period of time, could be the result of things like hunger, anger, fatigue, illness, or some tension at home.

Bullying is different as it is repeated roughness or repeated planned intimidation. The intention of bullying is to cause deliberate hurt or to gain more power and control. Bullying normally occurs consistently between the same children, with each usually playing the same role as victim or aggressor.

Bullying, therefore, has three elements:

(a) It is an act that is aggressive and intended to do harm.

(b) These are repeated over time.

(c) They occur within the context of a power imbalance.

As far as the last point – a power imbalance – is concerned the targets of bullying are often perceived as being different from or less powerful than peers because of:

  • Gender identity.
  • Learning disorder.
  • Minority status ethnically, racially or religiously (normally with older children).
  • Physical disability.
  • Physical size or strength.
  • Social or economic status (normally also with older children).

Bullying Consequences

Bullying can take many forms. As indicated in Figure 2 bullying can take a number of forms. A further subdivision is as follows:

  • Physical. This includes hitting, tripping and kicking, as well as the destruction of property.
  • Verbal. This includes teasing, name-calling, and taunting.
  • Psychological or social. Spreading rumours, embarrassing him or her in public, or exclusion from a group – mainly among older children.
  • Electronic. Cyberbullying involves threatening or harming others through the use of email, websites, social media platforms, text messages, or videos and photos shared electronically – also mainly only seen among older children (and another reason why children younger than five years of age’s screen time1 should be limited).

Symptoms of Bullying

Warning signs of bullying. If a child is being bullied, he or she might remain quiet out of fear, shame or embarrassment.

Warning signs may therefore be vague, and sometimes may actually be considered mental issues.

It is therefore important not to jump to conclusions as a teacher or parent. If in doubt – get expert advice.

Some symptoms to look out for:

  • Lost or destroyed clothing or other personal belongings.
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.
  • Poor school performance or reluctance to go to school.
  • Headaches, stomach aches or other physical complaints.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Feelings of helplessness or low self-esteem (admittedly difficult to measure in young children).

Is your child a bully? Characteristics of a potential bully are:

  • Failure to engage parents for a hug or touch in a strange situation.
  • Consistent refusal to follow directions.
  • Cruelty to other children or to animals.
  • Impatience.
  • Indifference to having hurt someone.
  • Insistence on always getting his or her own way (the younger they are the less of a characteristic this is).
  • Low self-esteem (difficult to determine with young children).
  • Multiple temper tantrums in a day.
  • The use of anger or threats to achieve goals.

Especially with very young children, many of these things could just be part of growing up, so one should be careful of overreacting.

Bullying Risk Factors

A risk factor is a behaviour or other factor that increases the risk of developing a certain condition – in this case of becoming a bully.

The general consensus among researchers is that bullying is in part driven by children developing social skills and behaviour.

These skills are very fluid among young children, with the result being a range of challenging behaviours, which may include bullying.

As children build social and regulatory skills, challenging behaviours and bullying tend to decline.

During the first three years of life, the brain is developed based upon a child’s early experiences and interactions with people.

By age six, the necessary neurological layouts have been established inter alia emotional control, ways of responding, language and literacy, and perceptions of symbols and relative quantity.

When a child faces insecurity and stress, more neural networks form in the lower brain, where animal-like responses like the flight-or-fight instinct reside.

When a child is surrounded by familiar structures and support, more neural networks form in areas of the brain that support long-term memory storage and retrieval.

Those in general. Some specific potential risk factors include:

  • Victimisation? Is the child being picked on herself and taking it out on someone else?
  • Routine changes? Does the child feel out of control due to frequent changes in routines?
  • Can the child hear properly? This can be a source of great frustration.
  • Is the only way to get your attention to act out? Provide plenty of attention, smiles and hugs for good behaviour to address this.
  • Violence at home? Is there violence in the home which the child is carrying over to other relationships?

Remedying some of these problems might help. If it doesn’t, you need to look further and may even need to seek outside help.

What to do About It

Programmes that focus on building children’s social skills are often considered to be one broad bullying prevention measure. There are also other strategies to prevent and address bullying.

Keep communication open. Talking about bullying before it happens sets the stage for preventing and addressing the problem. Consider asking your child (you may have to tailor this according to the age of the child):

  • What things happened today at school?
  • What do you consider bullying? Have you seen bullying at school?
  • What is it like at lunch, breaks or on the school bus?
  • Who are your friends at school??

Have a plan for responding. Talk to your child about plans for responding to bullying. These may include the following actions (again, these may have to be modified for very young children):

  • Avoid places that don’t feel safe.
  • Tell the other child directly and calmly to stop.
  • Talk to a friend about what happened.
  • Talk to a teacher at school.
  • Try to spend time with friends who are safe and supportive.
  • Walk away and remove yourself from the situation.

Encourage your child to be a defender. With older children, you may encourage the child to:

  • Enlist friends to question bullying behaviour as a group.
  • Model empathetic and kind behaviours.
  • Question bullying behaviour when it happens.
  • Report bullying to a trusted adult.
  • Sit or walk with kids who may be a target of bullying.
  • Talk to the person being targeted privately.

As mentioned – the above points may be more relevant to older children. One could hardly expect a toddler to act in this way.

But if you suspect your child is being bullied or your child has reported bullying, take the following steps:

  • Ensure safety. Support your child by explaining that you want them to be safe and that you will take steps to protect their safety and end the bullying.
  • Learn details. Ask your child to describe what happened.
  • Contact the school. Contact the school counsellor, principal or other educators as indicated in the school bullying policy (which they all must have).
  • Follow up. Work with the school to develop a plan to respond to bullying, agree on steps to address the problem and follow up with the school to ensure bullying has stopped.

 

Some specific coping strategies for teachers.

The first year.

The best approach for discouraging unwelcome behaviour is to distract the child.

During the first year, the word “no” barely registers on infants; they may understand that you are angry but do not understand the link between actions and their consequences.

Give them lots of attention, affection and security.

 

The second year.

At this age, children tend to play independently even when they are together, and they tend to imitate each other rather than interact. Even so, conflicts can arise.

Usually, though, aggressive behaviour is the result of frustration and misperception, not the intent to hurt. They want to own everything they see, including things that belong to other people, and they cannot comprehend concepts like sharing.

 

Three to five years.

Children can follow stories, grasp new ideas and talk about them.

They are ready to learn about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and about other people.

There are still limitations, however. At this age, children understand that hitting hurts others.

Even so, they may not always be able to stop themselves from aggressive or hurtful behaviour.

A last note on television and aggression. A number of studies have identified links between television viewing and aggression.

Because children learn from their experiences, it seems reasonable that the experience of viewing violence, arguments and aggressive behaviour on television provides children with mental notes on how to behave.

In general, we view limiting the screen time of any sort for children younger than six to be important.

This is the age when children learn by playing, and so it should be, rather than to be distracted by electronic media.

Thinking that you may be calming the child down by parking him/her in front of the television may over the longer term have the opposite effect.

Conclusion

As we said in the introduction to this article – bullying is a sensitive subject for parents and teachers.

No parent wants their child to be bullied, and no parent wants to hear that their child is a bully.

The teacher sits in-between this situation and is often in the best position to make an objective assessment.

Doing such an assessment with preschool children is however fraught with difficulty considering the developmental cycle through which children of this age go.

It is therefore incumbent upon teachers and parents to obtain as many insights into this phenomenon as they can get, so as to always be able to make an objective assessment.

If in any doubt it is always better to solicit the assistance of an outside expert help.

 

References

Child Trends. Trends in Bullying.
https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/bullying (accessed on 23 February 2020).

Mayo Clinic. Bullying: How Parents can Help.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/bullying/art-20044918
(accessed on 22 February 2020).

Snow, K. Bullying in Early Childhood. 27 October 2014.
https://www.naeyc.org/resources/blog/bullying-early-childhood (accessed on 22 February
2020).

Schroeder, J. Preschool Bullying: What You can do About it. 2000. The Alberta Teachers’ Association. The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities. The Room 241. A Teacher’s Role in Bullying Prevention. 10 October 2012.

https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/a-teachers-role-in-bullying-prevention/ (accessed on 23 February 2020).

Wheeler, R.B. What Does Bullying Look Like?
https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/children-bullying-school#1 (accessed on 22 February 2020).

choosing the appropriate childcare center 750px*560px
  • magdelize

  • Published on

    April 15, 2021

  • Reading time

    10 Minutes

How to Choose an Appropriate Childcare Centre for Your Child

Learning Environment

So – it’s time for little Sally (or Johnny) to go to creche. Or should that be a daycare? Maybe it’s a preschool? Nursery, anyone?

Not to be pedantic, but there is of course a difference between these concepts. The differences not only relate to what ECD (Early Childhood Development) educators say about the matter, nor what amounts to best practice but often the meaning behind the terms differs from country to country.

So, let’s dispense with definitions first – at least as far as some sources would have it:

  • A creche is considered a secure facility where children of ages from just after birth to four are dropped off to allow parents to go to work. In most instances, there is no fixed curriculum (this also differs).
  • A preschool, by some sources, is defined as an educational institution that prepares children between the ages of three to five for formal education. Preschools are of many variants such as a nursery, or kindergarten.
  • Others define a preschool as a facility that prepares children during their last year before formal schooling. In South Africa, as one example, this is typically referred to as Grade R.

 

So, although there are different viewpoints about terminology and age-related requirements, it would seem as if the primary difference is that a preschool has some sort of formal curriculum in place, whilst a creche may not. (This is also not a panacea – in South Africa, there is the well-known Play, Learn Win curriculum, promoted by the similar-named company, which in fact makes provision for curricula-based training for children already from zero to eighteen months – but because their focus is on play-based interventions – more on this later – the term ‘curriculum’ may be somewhat of a misnomer).

In order to avoid confusion as far as terminology is concerned, for the rest of this article, we will use the term Child Care Centre, to include reference to any and all the types of institutions mentioned above, accepting in the same breath that there may be different approaches between different ‘schools’ of thinking in this regard.

Aim

The aim of this article is to discuss the various options available for child care centers, whilst also considering the requirements that a facility may have to fulfil to ensure a seamless transition path to the first level of formal education in the child’s school life, i.e. to Grade 1.

 

What to Look for in a Child Care Centre

This is of course a highly subjective matter which is influenced by several factors. Some of the most important considerations for parents are the following:

  • Quality of Care. This relates to whether my child will be looked after properly and treated kindly. Nowadays one finds that an important consideration for parents here, especially for the traditional preschool center, is the type of curriculum that is followed and whether the child will be properly prepared for Grade 1.
  • Cost – always a consideration, although often not on the critical path of parents’ decision-making process – most parents are prepared to pay a significant premium to ensure their children are looked after properly.
  • Convenience Factors – distance from home/work, ease of pick up, ease of parking, ease of communication with the school, etc.

However, this need not be a daunting undertaking, even if approached in a quasi-scientific manner!

Important Considerations

Generally speaking, there are four things that need to be considered by parents – this may be broken down into simple steps:

  • Step 1: Consider the Basics.
  • Step 2: Consider Teaching Methods and/or Settings.
  • Step 3: Do Some Further Research.
  • Step 4: Narrow Down the List and do Visits.
  • Step 5: The Functionality of the Childcare Management Software

 

It is important to understand that the undertaking of the above four steps must be done within the broader Context – one may consider this to be the fifth Step. The Context involves factors like considering the specific cultural factors at play within the environment, the Grade 1 requirements for children, the regulatory environment (who ‘governs’ the facility, regularity of inspections), etc.

The interplay between these factors is illustrated in Figure 1. This may be termed the Child Care Centre Decision Ecosystem – a consideration of all relevant factors at play when selecting a child care centre.

 

The Child Care Centre Decision Ecosystem

Figure 1: The Child Care Centre Decision Ecosystem

Let us investigate each of the steps mentioned above in more detail.

 

Step 1 – Consider the Basics

Think about how the child care centre will fit into your family’s daily life. Here are some questions parents could consider:

  • Is it important for the location to be near my home? Also, consider your mode of transport.
  • Is it important for the location to be near my workplace?
  • Is it important for the facility to offer childcare services in the morning, afternoon, or both? This would of course depend on your specific circumstances but remember – your circumstances may change! It is therefore important to think long term/strategically about this matter.

 

Step 2 – Consider Teaching Methods and/or Settings

This issue can sometimes be a minefield for parents, especially because there are nowadays so many options available. And not only are there ‘formal’ curricula out there, but there are also other ‘educational philosophies’ which may be relevant, depending on the country that you are living in.

Teaching Methods, Approaches, and Settings

I list these terms in alphabetical order, with no specific preference – these are methods, approaches, and settings. one could of course have a specific method/approach followed within a specific setting:

  1. Bank Street Approach: This approach places an emphasis on learning through multiple perspectives, both in the classroom setting and in the natural world.
  2. Child-Centred Setting: These settings offer opportunities for children to choose activities throughout the day depending on their interests. So, for example, are classroom activities based on the interests of the children, and not on pre-scheduled topics chosen by the teacher.
  3. Child-led Setting: Very similar to a Child-Centred Setting, but here each child initiates or asks for new activities and experiences, fostering individualized learning experiences rather than group experiences.
  4. Co-operative Setting: These settings often ask parents and families to assist in the running of the center. Parents and family members may assist in the day-to-day management of the facility as well as helping with advertising, upkeep and fundraising.
  5. Developmentally Appropriate Method: This term means the center plans the curriculum and activities based on activities that are appropriate for the age of the children in the class. Like the Play, Learn Win Method discussed below.
  6. Faith-based Approach: This term is used to describe programmes that are run through faith organisations such as churches or synagogues, according to their faith’s philosophies.
  7. High Approach: This approach focuses on letting children oversee their own learning. Children are taught to plan for what they would like to do each day and participate in a review session to discuss the success of their plan and brainstorm ideas for the next day.
  8. Montessori Method: Focuses on maintaining the individuality of each child in the learning process. This method believes each child learns at their own pace and educational progress should not be based upon comparing students to one another.
  9. Pre-kindergarten Approach: In general, a Pre-kindergarten programme is one that has children enrolled in the year before kindergarten, usually at age four. These settings are often more structured than traditional preschool settings.
  10. Play, Learn Win Method: This method flows an early childhood education and development approach from ages zero to four, by focusing on play rather than formal learning to develop a bias towards life-long learning. The programme is however curriculised.
  11. Reggio Emilia Approach: This approach focuses on providing opportunities for problem-solving through creative thinking and exploration.
  12. Teacher-led Approach: The opposite of a child-centred setting is a teacher-led setting. Teacher-led means that curriculum and supplemental activities are implemented based on a set schedule developed by the teachers in the setting. This type of setting usually provides children with a structured learning environment.
  13. Waldorf Method: This method places an emphasis on imagination in learning, providing students with opportunities to explore their world through the senses, participation and analytical thought.

 

Step 3 – Do Some Further Research

Once you have a good idea of what type of philosophy would best suit your child as well, as of the Context that it is important, there are a few things you can do to help narrow down your options:

  • Contact Other Parents: Ask your friends, your neighbours, or your older child’s teacher – ask people you trust for recommendations for quality settings in your area. Most people will be happy to share their insights. One also often finds school listings in towns that are ranked as to their suitability.
  • Do Internet Searches: It is easy nowadays to find information on child care centers on the Internet, and even sites that rate these facilities. This can also be a useful starting point, even before Step 1.

 

Step 4 – Narrow Down the List and Visit

Now that you have narrowed down your choices and come up with two or three settings you are interested in, schedule a time to visit each setting. You can learn a lot about a setting by the way staff approach introductory visits with you and your child. During your visit ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I feel welcome here?
  • Does my child seem interested in what they have to offer?
  • Do the children in the setting seem happy?
  • How do adults and children interact?
  • Is the setting clean and safe?

 

Other things which you may consider, are the following:

  • What is the turnover rate for staff members?
  • What percentage of staff hold degrees in early childhood?
  • How does the setting handle discipline? Are there formal policies in place?
  • What are the safety procedures for picking up and dropping off children?
  • Is the setting accredited?
  • How do they manage communications with parents? Nowadays all modern childcare centers have an App for mobile devices to interact with parents.

 

It is a useful idea to draw up a checklist before such visits. If you want to go about this in a scientific manner, you could even rank these criteria, by means of a weighted average instrument for every facility as indicated in Table 1:

 

Table 1: Weighted Average Checklist

Weighted Average Checklist

Remember, as you go through this process, to continually revisit the Context. A good example of the importance of this is if you are living abroad as an expat. Will my child fit into a specific cultural environment? As an aside – early years multi-cultural exposure can be of great benefit to a child in later years.

Other questions to consider here are – will he/she be properly prepared for reintegration back home one day? Are the teachers properly qualified? Are there proper health and safety regulations and inspections?

Step 5 – The Functionality of Childcare Management Software

The right Kindergarten software solution can save teachers hours every day, so they can focus on spending more quality time with their little students.

Here’s what you should look out for in an advanced childcare management system:

  • Streamlined communication. Parents have questions, and you have answers. The right solution should deliver instant messaging capabilities to host live chats with parents, teachers, and everyone in-between – strengthening early childhood education. Everything is private, safe, and secure, meaning parents’ contact details are never in danger.
  • File sharing. Parents love seeing their kids in action, and there are various important documents you need to share with them – as well as teachers. The right management solution lets you share pictures, videos, documents, and more – all at the click of a button. No more manual paperwork, reports, sick notes – nothing. It’s time to move online.
  • Profiles. The organization is the key to a thriving institution that runs like a well-oiled machine. World-class childcare management systems allow you to create detailed profiles for every learner and teacher, under one centralized roof – so you can check statuses at a moment’s notice.
  • Calendars. No more bits of paper floating around and getting lost in translation. The right digital childcare management solution means you can access, create, and adjust events, activities, holidays, and more – with results that reflect across the board.
  • Cost-efficiency. You shouldn’t have to pay an arm or a leg (or another leg) to access the convenience your institution deserves. The right solution puts the power in your hands, with life-changing solutions at an affordable price. Parent ApS offers a wide range of packages for all kinds of nurseries, depending on your goals.

Also, a good child care management system must have the following features:

  • Check-In Functionality. Track children and staff attendance using automated tools.
  • Document Sharing. Share documents with staff anytime and anywhere using your smart device. This can also be done for selected documents with the parents.
  • Smart Calendar. Create, manage, and share events and holidays. Send invites with RSVPs to parents and staff.
  • Permissions. Assign role-based access to each user from a centralized console.
  • Manage Lists. Create, modify, and manage allergy lists, immunization lists, and more.
  • Food Plans. Create daily menus and upload them to the app for everyone to access.
  • Children’s Attendance. Quick sign-in tools for children.
  • Working Hours. Track employee working hours and get insightful reports on their productivity.
  • Billing and Invoicing. you can track each family’s balance and complete invoicing history all from one place.
  • Reports. Generate reports on children’s performance – moving away from paper.

So, What is the best childcare center management software on the market right now? Which also has these features?

I believe that Parent™ childcare management solution can give you all of this and more?

Parent™ ApS: A Revolutionary Childcare Management Software and App
Parent app is the best childcare management software that allows you to manage everything you’ll ever need for your daycare, preschool, and nursery.

Parent™is a world-class Kindergarten management system, designed exclusively for busy childcare professionals and specialists in early childhood education.

Parent™ childcare management software works perfectly for home childcare, daycare centers, nurseries, and preschools. It’s fusing cutting-edge software with ease of uploading, efficient communication systems, an intuitive design, and so much more.

Go ahead and try it out yourself! you’ll never know unless you give it a go.

Summary

The above guidelines hopefully provide some sort of indicator of what to look for when deciding on a proper child care facility for your child. There are probably many more questions that one could pose, and more factors to consider.

At the end of the day, there is no alternative but to get feet on the ground and investigate the various facilities in person. Getting there well-prepared is however very important, so that you may be able to ask the correct questions.

In the final analysis, no amount of questions or checklists can replace the ultimate indicator of the best fit between the establishment and your child – is he or she a happy and fulfilled child, and will he/she be properly prepared for ‘real’ school…

 

References

https://sg.theasianparent.com/the-preschool-curriculum-conundrum

http://www.getreadytoread.org/early-learning-childhood-basics/early-childhood/choosing-a-preschool-simple-tips-for-parents (National Centre for Learning Disabilities)

https://www.babycenter.com/0_preschool-director-teacher-interview_1450420.bc

https://www.lotc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Benefits-for-Early-Years-LOtC-Final-5AUG09.pdf

https://www.locusassignments.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-montessori-education/

https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/supporting-transitions-brief-one.pdf

http://www.differencebetween.info/difference-between-creche-and-preschool

https://lifefamilyjoy.com/preschool-vs-nursery-school-exactly-difference

Janse van Vuuren, I. Child Care Centre Decision Ecosystem. Doha. 2019.