What we’re building here at HiMama is inspired by all the hard work from educators, owners, administrators, and everyone in childcare. We believe that hard work deserves to be celebrated and that those who have dedicated their lives to working in early childhood education deserve recognition for all that they do– not just for the children and parents, but for the community as a whole. Here are just a few of the stories that inspire us.
Supporting educator’s mental health: Champagne at Uni-Vision Childcare
Champagne Domingo opened the doors of Uni–Vision Childcare, five years ago in Lancaster, PA with high hopes but after the first three years, the Spanish immersion center was struggling. As a new childcare owner and director, Champagne was shocked at all the paperwork that was required of her educators, especially for centers that participate in keystone stars, and other quality rating systems. Champagne could see her team becoming overwhelmed and, in a field with such a high burnout rate, she wanted to do whatever she could to help.
The educators’ priority are these children, and whatever I can do to make their work as educators as easy as possible I will do. Being a teacher nowadays is extremely overwhelming.”Champagne
Educators had to write out their observations using pen and paper for each child, then go and find the learning standard, then write out the learning standard to the associated observation. They were working overtime to get this all done!
Champagne realized her educators were overwhelmed with how to get all their documentation done, while still providing the highest quality education and care for their children and families. Finding the time for them to effectively hand-write all the necessary documentation was almost impossible. Either Champagne would have to step away from the phone and put her own work on pause to go into the classroom, or she would be paying her educators to stay overtime. As an advocate for her educators and to support their mental health, Champagne set out to make sure they were not working overtime and that the time they did spend working could be spent doing what motivates them – being with the children. It was also critical to Champagne that her staff have time to relax and prioritize themselves outside of working hours, giving them the highest chance of coming back to work happy and strong each day.
Eliminating the demands and the extra steps that were required with pen and paper documentation, Champagne has been able to give her staff time back to focus on what early childhood education is all about – caring for and educating young children. As all early childhood educators know, there is nothing more valuable than quality time spent with the children in your care.
Achieving parent satisfaction: Jennifer at Summerfield Childcare
Jennifer Schuierer has been with Summerfield Childcare since 2000 and has been in the field of early learning since she was 15 years old. Jennifer took over the position of director before ultimately purchasing Summerfield Childcare and becoming the sole owner in 2007. When she initially became the director she found herself in a challenging position. The previous director had been adored by the tight-knit community for many years and she realized she had some big shoes to fill when it came to keeping educators and parents happy at her center. Her biggest challenge from the start was going to be “winning over the educators and the parents.”
When Jennifer joined Summerfield they had no internet and a simple typewriter in the office. At the time, all communication going to parents was done on paper. She knew right away that there were big changes to be made, and when she became owner and gained authority to make these changes, it became an intimidating challenge. Jennifer took an open communication approach, sharing her goals with the educators and the reasoning behind the changes she was bringing in. She created handouts for the staff, and for the parents, that explained her pedagogy and philosophy of early learning, and how she was planning to improve the quality of the center for everyone involved.
I shared the changes I wanted to make to professionalize the center. The staff who agreed with it were on board, and the ones who didn’t left. I lost some old school teachers, but that’s okay, if they did not want to change that was up to them. I have other educators today who have been with me for 22 years now.”Jennifer
Jennifer guesses that 90% of parents did not read the paper reports at all, “It was very frustrating to see that waste of time and waste of money,” she said. She reasoned that the pen and paper documentation was a waste of energy and money for her center, and it was time to go digital.
“I noticed a change in our center right away. It brought a new structure to the classrooms and parents were noticing we were more professional.” – Jennifer
Save over 3 days per week of admin time: Melissa at Grimsby Co-Operative Preschool
Grimsby Co-Operative Preschool has been operating in the Grimsby, Ontario community for the past 50 years and has held a strong foundation in the town and its community. As current Executive Director, Melissa McLauchlan describes it as “a hard place to leave because it just feels like home.”
For the last 49 years, Grimsby Co-Operative Preschool has collected payments with cash and cheques and tracked payments through spreadsheets. When Melissa took over as Executive Director six years ago, she thought to herself, “How can we simplify everyone’s day?”
It was clear to Melissa that things were changing, the world was evolving and she wanted to find a way to keep up. Not only was the world becoming more technologically advanced, but with most young children having been born during COVID, it was requiring a shift in how they taught and communicated. Melissa noticed children demonstrating different needs than they have seen in previous years, requiring a different type of teaching. This shift has led to more constant, and sometimes challenging, communication with families. Melissa wanted to improve this communication for families and make their lives as easy as she possibly could.
Celebrating Educators Like You!
On September 17, 2022, HiMama hosted our first Customer Celebration: a virtual event that included a keynote from our CEO, a workshop on lesson and curriculum planning, an exclusive HiMama Academy course, a meditation and wellness session, and the chance to connect with other members of the HiMama family.
We also announced more than 50 product feature updates, including:
- Center address, phone, and Tax ID are now included on the child’s Tax Receipt Report
- A Search bar on the Credit Ledger page
- Directors can now see at a glance the tuition plan status and if a billing contact has Autopay enabled
- The ability for Director to re-send the account invitation to all parents in one click
- Video file size limit increased from 20 MB to 75 MB
You can get the full details about these updates from the HiMama Help Center.
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