Center Name: Gateway Region YMCA | Location: St. Louis, Illinois
Meeting the needs and expectations of 21st century families
Children experience the fastest rate of development in their first five years of life. It’s when they take their first steps, form their first words, and start to build their identity. Needless to say, the quality of care they receive during these formative years matters, especially to the families who drop them off and say goodbye each morning.
Typically, drop off and pick up are some of the busiest times of the day in childcare, and they often last only a matter of minutes, leaving not nearly enough time for families and educators to engage in meaningful dialogue about the child and their day. So, where does this leave important communication? It often becomes rushed and to the point, with little time for more meaningful conversations and interactions between families and educators. Only having a few minutes of communication per day risks educators feeling like their hard work goes unnoticed and parents feeling disconnected and frustrated if they miss out on key milestones of their child’s development.
Sarah Rhodebeck, Executive Director at Gateway Region YMCA in St.Louis, Illinois, experienced this first hand when she sent out a survey to all her families and saw they were dissatisfied with the level of communication they were offered throughout the day.
Sarah wondered what she could do to showcase the value of the high quality care her educators were offering, and how she could meet families’ expectations for communication. As a professional leader in early childhood education, Sarah knows how important quality communication is, so she set about making a change.
“We were not communicating in a way that parents were satisfied with and it was impacting our quality of care. Parents were frustrated with having to wait until the end of the day to receive important information, especially if the lead teacher was already gone when they arrived. It created a break in communication”Sarah Rhodebeck
Use HiMama to improve center-wide communication and showcase the value of high-quality childcare
Sarah has been in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. She’s witnessed all the methods of communication, from pen-and-paper to Facebook, and even texting. Sarah realized that these systems were not meeting the needs and expectations of today’s families, nor were they showcasing the value of the care and education that she and her staff were providing.
Without a centralized tool, Sarah couldn’t see the communication that was happening between her educators and families. This also meant the educators were using their personal devices to communicate, right in the middle of the classroom.
“One of our biggest struggles was teachers communicating with parents on personal accounts. There was no accountability or way to trace the messaging that we could see. We also did not want our staff dealing with parent messages outside of working hours” – Sarah Rhodebeck
With pen-and-paper communication, families were missing out on some of their children’s most important moments. Not only were they feeling disconnected from their child, but they had no control over how or when they could review their child’s daily documentation.
To retain families, Sarah knew she had to find a way to bridge the gap between home and the classroom. She began her search for childcare management software and landed on HiMama as the most comprehensive edtech solution for early childhood education. With HiMama, families can access information about their children at any time, providing them with more opportunities to feel connected to their children throughout the day, and also allowing them to review documentation at a time and place that was convenient for them.
“I didn’t go with HiMama simply because I had heard good reviews. I also did my research on all the platforms, and HiMama really stood out. You offer so much more to your customers than just an app”Sarah Rhodebeck
100% improvement on parent satisfaction surveys
Since implementing HiMama four years ago, Sarah has been able to centralize all her center communications to drive more consistency, accountability and engagement from both teaching staff and families. Using HiMama has empowered educators at Gateway YMCA in their direct communication with families and built up Sarah’s confidence in her staff’s ability to handle everything from daily questions to sensitive issues consistently, within the guidelines provided by the administration. On top of the accountability that HiMama has created, there is a central communication history that she always has access to when questions are brought her way.
“This is exactly what parents want, especially parents who are separated. If they are only picking up their child once every other week, they still know they have access to daily communication and photos of their child. Our parent communication surveys improved to 100% satisfaction after we implemented HiMama.” – Sarah Rhodebeck
Sarah started to notice the value of HiMama for her families as soon as they started using the app. When the number of phone calls went down while the number of messages ticked up, Sarah could see how much they preferred this method of communication. Their sentiments were almost immediately reflected in her parent satisfaction scores.
“A big ‘Aha’ moment for us was when our center had to shut down overnight, and we had to get the message out to parents immediately. We sent a quick notification through HiMama, and the next day, not one parent showed up. That is when we knew all the parents were using it. Not to mention the time it saved us not having to call every parent in the early hours of the morning!”Sarah Rhodebeck
Effective parent communication is key to positive partnerships between families and childcare centers. When providers share meaningful information with families throughout the day, it builds trust and shared accountability in each child’s growth and development.
“I have not had one bad experience with HiMama and we have built such a wonderful relationship with you. If I were to ever leave childcare, I would want to come work for HiMama”Sarah Rhodebeck
Gateway Region YMCA is one of many HiMama customers who have improved their center quality and improved parent communication with HiMama! We are so appreciative of the work they do everyday. Fill out the form below to learn more about how HiMama can help you save time and improve documentation!