Operating a childcare center in today’s world becomes a whole lot easier when you choose the right childcare management software to streamline your operations. Whether you run one center or an entire group, a childcare management solution makes it possible for you to spend more time on the children and less on paperwork.
Manually tracking attendance, tuition payments, staffing certifications, and licensing documentation introduces a high possibility of errors. It takes up valuable time that is better spent growing your business and engaging with parents and their children.
If you are choosing childcare management software in 2021, here are some things you need to consider.
Why You Need Childcare Management Software
Providing childcare services requires you to respond to each child's physical, emotional, and intellectual development. You must also handle parent communications, documentation, authorized guardians, staff scheduling, and more. In addition, you have to keep your systems in compliance with state standards for operating a childcare center, including meal standards from organizations like CACFP.
When you provide quality care while meeting these requirements, technology helps to organize and automate your back-office processes, core activities, finances, and parent communication.
If you run a multi-site childcare organization, you need a cohesive platform to manage the business from a single dashboard.
High-quality childcare management software automates repetitive, mindless tasks while providing fast access to any information you need at any time. You can reduce errors, improve your finances, and save tons of time to spend with the kids.
Here are six areas where a childcare management solution can make the biggest difference.
These days, if you don't offer online enrollment, you miss out on a lot of business. Parents expect to be able to do everything using their smartphones, tablets, or home computers. That includes enrolling their children in pre-school, daycare, childcare, or afterschool care.
Online enrollment saves everyone time. With customizable forms, you can gather all the information you need quickly, without the need to transfer the information to one or more ledgers or computer programs.
Online enrollment allows parents to fill out forms with required and optional fields, attach documentation such as immunization records, and pay tuition. The data they input is stored in a central database accessible by the other applications of the software. Required form fields help you gather all the information you need without following up with parents.
Look for these enrollment features in your childcare management software:
- Customizable online enrollment forms
- Customizable class lists
- Customizable class schedules and calendars
The move to contactless interaction is made possible by automated attendance tracking. No paper or touching is involved as you check children in and out of your center.
Using barcodes or other methods, you can record drop-offs quickly while keeping everyone safe. Parents aren't milling around looking for the correct sign-in sheet. The children enter their classrooms quickly instead of crowding into the entrance.
Automated attendance is not only physically safer, but the data is also more secure and accurate. Paper forms that must be stored in file drawers or boxes are too easily stolen or lost. If the information is transferred to a computer program, you risk introducing errors into the system.
Automated attendance provides a complete record of when a child arrived and who is authorized to pick that child up at the end of the day. Absences are tracked without human intervention, and you can pull an attendance report with all the information you need anytime.
Look for these attendance features in your childcare software:
- Contactless attendance recording
- Tracking options for absences
- Illness reporting
- Health screening options
Parents need to know their child is not only safe, but also happy. They want to be as engaged as possible during the early years when children learn and change so much. Their satisfaction with your services is directly dependent on your ability to provide quality communication.
You understand that your primary customers are the parents who pay the fees. They demand constant reassurance that you are taking care of their child’s well-being, educational performance, meal intake, and so much else.
An online parent portal provides a platform to keep parents in the loop as their child reaches for milestones. It also ensures everyone can access current policies and procedures, see photos and videos of their child in action, and any emergency notifications you send.
Look for these parent communication features for your childcare management solution:
- A parent portal or other communication application from management to home
- Communication from the teacher or classroom to the parents
- Photo and video sharing capabilities
- A way to share newsletters, snack calendars, or curriculum updates
- Notifications for immunization or profile update notifications
Manually tracking staff attendance, payroll, and certification requirements takes a lot of time. On top of that, staff retention depends on management performance. Good management allows staff to spend less time on busy work and more in their classroom. Use software to monitor staff hours and payroll, gather and store certifications and continuing education credits, and smooth the way for your teachers to work.
Look for the following when selecting childcare management software:
- Monitoring for staff requirements and hours
- Payroll tracking
- A staff email list
- Staff contact information storage
- Training reminders
As a licensed business, you have several challenges to meet, from recording enrollment to managing meal records. With manual forms, you have no way to obtain a snapshot of your daily operations or easily gather the documentation needed to keep your license current.
Consider all the forms you store:
- Admissions and enrollment
- Child profiles
- Inquiry forms
- Records for children and parents
- Health records for children and staff
- Classroom records
- Authorize pickup information
- Meal records
It's much too easy to lose paper forms and create errors when digitizing them. You can't react quickly to issues as they come up, and your monthly filing and storage take up valuable resources.
Look for the following features when automating your reporting:
- Billing reports
- Staff hours
- Enrollment numbers
- Class lists
- Attendance reports
- Meal reporting
Parents want to pay their bills online. You want to quickly process payments and place the money in the correct accounts. With childcare management software, both are possible. The software makes it easy to collect payments on time while automatically charging late pickup and late payment fees.
Online billing also makes it possible to offer services and activities at an additional charge and collect at the time of enrollment.
Look for the following when considering the billing features of childcare management software:
- Automated billing
- Paperless invoices
- A parent portal for easy access to billing information
- Tax receipts and statements
- Agency payment handling
- Automated fee tracking
- Flexible billing for discounts and other offers
Childcare management software automates your most challenging tasks while mitigating errors and saving you tons of time. Reduce the time you spend on administration and data entry. You and your staff can spend more time doing what you love while providing parents the peace of mind they crave.