What is Child Care Software?
What is Child Care Software?
June 21, 2018 | Ron Spreeuwenberg
Childcare software is used to manage childcare centers, preschools and early learning environments, from learning and development updates to employee management, billing and invoicing and child portfolios.
Child care software is used by early childhood professionals to communicate with parents, track a child’s development and manage staff.
Benefits of using childcare software
In the past, many child care centers have opted for completing daily reports using paper and pen. Some early childhood professionals communicate with parents using social media or website updates. The benefits of using child care software are numerous. Early Childhood Education experts have pointed to parent communication as a critical component to a child’s developmental success. There are significant research and resources on the importance of family engagement in early childhood education from sources such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
80% of brain development happens before a child is five years old. It is critically important that parents and child care providers work together to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for children. One way that parents can be actively involved in their child’s child care program is through the use of child care software that keeps parents informed with high-quality specific updates about their child.
Time Savings for Everyone
Child care pick-up and drop off can be a hectic time. Even though it is often the busiest time of day, this pick-up tends to be when parents check in about their child’s development and ask for an update. It can be difficult for an early childhood professional to provide a quality, in-depth answer to “how’s it going?” when there are children coming and going. Child care management software allows educators to send thoughtful updates to parents, who can read and respond to the report in their own time, away from the listening ears of children and with specific comments.
Safety and Security
Child care software engages families in a child’s learning and development while keeping their personal information secure to only their educator and parents/guardians. Some centers who do not subscribe to child care management software may choose to share updates over social media (through a Facebook or Twitter feed) or by updating a website. Others may have installed a webcam video feed that parents can access remotely. The challenge to altervate parent communication methods like social media and video feeds is they are not secure or personalized to the unique needs of a child. With blanket video feeds, parents should consider:
Privacy of children: Webcams will show a live feed of all activity with all children in the classroom. Child care software updates are specific to their child, providing increased privacy for both families and staff, as well as relevant information for parents.
Context of information: Webcams stream video for parents to observe. Child care management software provides specific information to inform parents about their child’s health and behavior and educate them on their child’s unique learning and development with photos and video through a secure log-in. An Early Childhood Educator can provide the context around what is being learned through play and what the portfolio updates means for their child.
Why software is important for parent communication?
Child care software can provide real-time updates that include learning and development reports, meal and eating recaps, sleep updates, calendar and health information that allow early childhood professionals and parents to stay in constant communication.
We know that parent engagement is critical to a child’s success in early childhood education.Parent involvement in early childhood education can extend the experiences that a child has in the classroom to real-world activities that happen in the home. A parent who understands what their child is working on at preschool has a better sense of their child’s competency and which areas they need to work on to improve confidence and ability.
Senior Lecturer Karen Mapp at the Harvard Graduate School of Education helped to design the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships to highlight the importance of parent communication. An outcome Mapp cited in regards to the framework is: “Staff who can honor and recognize the wealth of knowledge that families possess, which can in turn assist schools with pedagogical priorities; and families that can negotiate multiple roles — as supporters, monitors, advocates, and decision makers for their children.”
What are the typical prices for childcare software?
Childcare software can be purchased for monthly or annual subscriptions, often billed by enrollment, or number of children, and by the number of classrooms at a center. Typically, childcare software is a subscription service with a fixed contract length. Child care software can be downloaded from mobile app stores and accessed through any web browser, most commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS).
Why is child care software important for employee engagement and staff management?
In the 2017 North American Child Care Sector Benchmark Report we learned that labour and reputational risks ranked the highest for child care organizations. In this article on why employee engagement matters in early childhood education, 41% of employee reviews referenced a "pro" of their role as working with parents to help raise their children during their formative years of development. This finding speaks to why people in the field of child care and early childhood education in the first place; passion for the work itself.
47% of employee reviews referenced a "con" of their role as their satisfaction level with leadership and culture at their organization. The top issue that employees have with their child care employer is related to leadership and culture. If educators are rushed through their day, swamped by paperwork reports and disengaged parents, it will have significant impact on culture and ultimately team satisfaction. The result is higher turnover growing costs associated with recruiting and hiring new talent.
Child care management software is important for helping to maintain a cohesive center atmosphere with engaged parents and thriving children, who can practice what they learned during the day at home with their family. The stress and anxiety that can accompany mountains of paperwork can be lifted with the use of child care management software that focuses on less tedious, more insightful updates to parents.
How can centers install child care software?
There are two common methods for installing childcare software: web-based, or browser based applications and one-time computer installations (via CD or application download). Childcare software is most commonly used as a web and mobile based application that can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.
How can centers install child care software?
Child care management software provides a comprehensive list of features for educators, directors and owners and parents. Features are often related to daily operations and parent engagement, and also can include staff management and payments. The features most commonly included in child care management software are:
- Attendance check-in and out
- Classroom calendars
- Daily reports and portfolios
- Billing and invoicing
- Staff management and scheduling
- Meal and snack updates
- Supplies requests
- Lesson planning
- Learning stories
- Photo and video sharing
- Payment Processing
- Private messaging with parents
- Email updates and newsletters
- SMS Messaging
- Emergency alerts
- Wait list management
- Health and immunization records
Who uses childcare software?
All child care and early learning programs - preschools, early learning academies, Montessori, Reggio-inspired, NAEYC accredited, home daycares, regional and national child care providers.
Why Employee Engagement Matters in Early Childhood Education
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