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How to Choose the Right Childcare App

Using a childcare software application helps you run your business toward success. It can improve the daily operation of your childcare center, encourage a better quality of care, enhance interpersonal communication, and skyrocket learning outcomes. If you’re trying to find the right childcare app, here’s how.

What is a Childcare Management Software App? 

Childcare management software is a set of digital programs that combine administrative, financial, and managerial support to childcare providers and daycares. It’s a streamlined database that saves time, gets you organized, and keeps important records of all things related to your childcare business. 

Many childcare software solutions operate in a consolidated app that teachers and parents can use with ease. Some of the benefits of using a childcare app include:

  • Improves communication between staff 
  • Increases trust in parent-teacher relationships 
  • Saves time during operation hours
  • Automates scheduling, emailing, and billing 
  • Organizes essential documents
  • Promotes consitent curriculum and learning 

Overall, a good app gives childcare directors and their teams a chance to spend more time with the kids so they don’t have to worry about paper forms or desktop scheduling all day long. You likely already know you need a childcare app— here’s how to find the one that’s best for you.

What to Consider in a Childcare App

When conducting your search, there are a few questions you can start with: 

  1. What are the immediate needs in your childcare business? 
  2. Does the app have the right features? 
  3. Will other teachers and staff need access to the app? 
  4. How easy is the app to use? 
  5. What is your budget for a childcare app? 
  6. Does the app support your education model and learning framework? 
  7. Does the app have positive reviews from other childcare providers? 
  8. How customizable is the app? 
  9. What level of parent-teacher communication does the app provide?
  10. Will you need a free trial?

Dive into each of these questions further in the next 10 sections.

1. Childcare App Criteria: What Your Childcare Needs

First, get clear on what your childcare business needs an app for. Are you switching to a childcare software for the first time or transferring from a previous software? For what purpose will you be relying on the app the most? For example, do you need an app to track learning outcomes, or do you need something more robust that can manage your payments as well as site-wide communication? 

Laying out the criteria your ideal childcare app must meet will help you vet the best options and make the right decision. It’s important to assess beforehand so you can properly judge which features and functions will be worthwhile.

2. Childcare App Features 

Search each childcare app’s website and study the features available. Some might have the right level of usability you’re looking for (such as an app for large preschool centers), but lack the right functions (such as parent messaging or cloud storage). 

Many childcare apps may have similar features. But now is your chance to consider what user interface (UI) you prefer to use those features in. It’s a good idea to look at app screenshots, read the company blog, and preview examples of how the app works. 

3. Teacher and Staff Access to the Childcare App

Does your staff need to access the childcare app? Whether it be checking daily attendance or sending DMs (direct messages) between parents and teachers, a childcare app can bring your team together for the better. 

Instead of communicating by walkie-talkie and rushing from classroom to classroom, in-app information sharing features can save everyone time and liability. Allowing staff access can enable team members to share signatures, worksheets, weekly snack plans, and anything else necessary to the day-to-day functions of your childcare center. 

4. Ease of Use

Not everyone who runs a childcare center is tech-savvy enough to learn a variety of complex software systems. Managing your daycare should be simple; using an app throughout your daycare center should be helpful, not a headache. 

Figure out how easy it is to use each childcare app. Some of these brands might be versatile for all levels or they may contain interfaces that take a little more detailed understanding of tech. 

5. Childcare Software Budget and Pricing 

Factoring your budget into your search for the perfect childcare app will prepare you to cover expenses and get the biggest bang for your buck.

Some childcare software apps offer different subscription plans and pricing tiers. A good suggestion is to create a shortlist of your favorite childcare apps based on features, pricing, reviews, and free trial opportunities. From there, you can investigate further or test out each app before you buy. 

Another thing to note about pricing is whether or not the app requires contracts or charges extra fees. To keep it straightforward, go with an app that is upfront about pricing and has a fixed monthly or enrollment-based price.

6. Childcare Curriculum and Learning Support 

Educating the kids in your care is a top priority. Finding an app that offers learning support and curriculum storage is a major component of this app search. Do you need help keeping track of the learning and assessments in your classroom? A childcare app can help you do that.  

7. Daycare App Reviews 

What are other childcare providers saying about the apps you’re considering? Before you make a final decision, read various app reviews. To see a good example of childcare software reviews, click here.

8. App Customization for Your Business 

Especially if your childcare staff is more technically inclined, consider an option that allows customization. This includes creating your own in-app report forms, learning framework checklists, parent email lists, payment processes, and more. If you have something specific you need in a potential childcare app, talk to the customer service team and ask. 

9. Parent-Teacher Communication 

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to parent-teacher communication in childcare. Not all daycare apps include a communication feature, so decide in the beginning whether or not this is a deal-breaker for you. 

It’s a good idea to decide on an app that includes parent-teacher emailing, photo/video sharing, or direct messaging. That way, your business has a record of all online communication between parents, including required documents, incident reports, and payment inquiries. 

10. Free Trial of the Childcare App

It’s rare for childcare software apps to offer a no-commitment free trial, but some do. If you can, prioritize an app that offers a free trial before committing to one for an extended period of time. This lets you and your team get a real feel for what you like and dislike about the app, and gives you insight on whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

Choosing the Right App for Your Childcare Business

It can take time to research all the childcare software apps available today, but hopefully, these tips help you find the best one for your business. Remember: choosing the right app depends on what matters most to you and what will work for your childcare center. 

To meet all the considerations listed in this article, look to Daily Connect: a childcare software for at-home daycares and established childcare centers. You can get started with a free trial today. 

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10 Steps to Opening a Daycare Center

Starting a daycare business is an ideal pursuit for anyone with childcare experience. Running a childcare center allows you to serve the families in your community while establishing your own clientele, schedule, and unique approach to teaching. If you’re considering opening your caring arms to the public, here are ten steps to opening a daycare center you should be aware of. 

1. Ask Yourself Why You’re Opening a Daycare Center

First, assess the meaningful aspect of your future business: why do you want to run a childcare center? There are many reasons why people open a daycare center, from financial independence to giving back to the community. 

Running a childcare center can be emotionally fulfilling, provide a decent income, and cater to childcare owners who want to include their own kids in their everyday life. You probably have a passion for teaching young kids, but it helps to have clear goals and know why you want to manage a childcare business

2. Learn Your Local Daycare Regulations 

Every state has a set of regulations, standards, and guidelines for operating a childcare center. Learn your county’s additional guidelines front to back, so you can have everything you need to open safely and in compliance with the law. 

  • Check with the Department of Children and Family Services in your state. Gather their guidelines for childcare service providers. 
  • Get licensed! This process ensures you’re CPR certified, have a clean record, and can adequately offer childcare in your area. 

You’ll need to get on the phone and talk with childcare agencies near you. Don’t skip any of these required steps. A great way to organize this process is with the help of childcare software, where you can upload all of your documents in one place. Some of these apps even provide you with a list of state requirements to fulfill. 

3. Find a Good Location

Once you get licensed and know what regulations to follow, start planning your daycare location. Do you want to rent a space to operate a childcare facility? Or are you going to run an in-home daycare? Location is important to families who will enroll in your childcare business, so take the time to properly scout ideal locations. 

4. Develop Childcare Policies, Procedures, and Contracts 

Here is one of the most important steps for opening a daycare center: craft and implement your policies/procedures. You need a plan for every scenario that may occur at your daycare. 

Examples of essential policies and procedures include:

  • Emergency plans
  • Health and safety procedures 
  • Daycare rules
  • Privacy standards
  • Mandated reporter processes (state and federal)
  • Parent handbook
  • Employee handbook 
  • Tuition agreements 
  • Enrollment contracts 

These policies and contracts help protect your students from harm and keep you safe from potential legal trouble. Establishing clear contracts and procedures upfront allows everyone— from staff members to parents to daycare supervisors— to maintain clear expectations in case anything goes wrong. 

This can result in a lot of paperwork. A digital filing system might be ideal for your business. Consider a daycare management system that keeps track of your contracts, policies, and incident reports. That way, you won’t lose track of any important information you might need in the future. 

5. Hire the Right Childcare Staff 

Unless you’re running a solo daycare operation, hiring is inevitable once you hope to expand your business. Taking on help gives you the time, energy, and extra hands you need to attend to more kids at your daycare center. It also helps you manage your business like a responsible childcare director. 

Recruiting and hiring childcare staff might seem intimidating, but it’s worth it if your daycare center needs help fulfilling a larger teacher:student ratio. Make sure you run candidate background checks, talk to each candidate’s references, and make smart hiring decisions. Your business and the families you serve all depend on the best care and education of your students. 

6. Create a Daycare Curriculum 

How (and what) are you going to teach the kids at your daycare? Come up with an early childhood education (ECE) curriculum that meets the needs of young children in your care. ECE curriculums can change depending on the season or developmental phases of your students, so look for a system that allows you to edit and improve your lesson plans over time. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to the required learning and assessment frameworks in your local area. A major part of your job is to observe how each child is on track for going into kindergarten after being at your daycare center. 

7. Set Up a Daycare Activity Schedule

Having a set schedule sets you, your staff, and your students up for success. When young kids know what the expected routine is, it can improve their behavior, attention span, and social development. 

Maintaining a fun, consistent schedule of activities and events at your daycare center isn’t always easy. But there are tools today that help childcare professionals make sure they stay organized and on track. With the use of digital calendars and childcare mobile apps, you can stay alert for every task of the day. 

8. Establish Daycare-Parent Communication Methods

Parents always want to know how their child is doing and what they learn at daycare. Improving parent communication at your childcare center is extremely important to keeping parents happy, and making sure leaders do their job at relaying information to the families you serve. 

Today, many daycare providers use childcare communication apps to send direct messages and instant updates to parents while their child is at daycare. Receiving cute photos, special moments, or learning milestones means the world to busy parents, and digital systems make it easy. 

9. Grow Your Daycare Enrollment 

Once you start enrolling the first few kids into your daycare program, it’s time to further market your business. You can grow your enrollment through digital marketing, local childcare listings, and word-of-mouth referrals from existing customers. 

There are many ways to easily attract new families to your daycare center. To learn more about growing your business, download this free resource: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Enrollment in Your Childcare Center.

10. Manage Your Daycare Business 

When everything is established, your next step is learning how to manage your daycare professionally. Management is an ongoing job, and there will always be room for improvement in this area. Whether or not you have existing management skills, get ready to take them to a whole new level. 

When you become a daycare owner, you become the manager of:

  • Daily childcare activities 
  • Parent communication 
  • Tuition payments and late fees 
  • Teachers and staff members
  • Scheduling
  • Bookkeeping 
  • Daycare marketing
  • And more

That’s a lot of details to keep track of. How do daycare providers manage their childcare business in a way that actually works? These days, it’s useful to set up an affordable daycare center platform. 

Bonus: Use a Childcare Software 

One way to manage your daycare business successfully is to use multi-featured childcare software that has a proven strategy for providers like you. A childcare software lets you track attendance, store official documents, manage your schedule, communicate with parents, encourage staff compliance, and more. 

Use a childcare software like Daily Connect when opening a daycare center. Daily Connect is an app that helps you every step of the way. To learn more about how a daycare management platform can help you when opening and managing a new daycare center, sign up for a free trial today.

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New Features Coming to Daily Connect This Month

This month, we’re excited to announce the launch of several new features on the Daily Connect platform. These features are now available across the Daily Connect web, tablet, and mobile apps, and are designed to make life easier for the childcare professionals who use Daily Connect every day. 

We’re confident that the addition of these new features will help our customers to run their childcare operation more smoothly. The new features save staff, teachers, and directors time, as well as helping childcare centers to better satisfy local licensing requirements.

We’ve released three new features. They are:

  1. Name to Face Attendance
  2. Sleep Check
  3. Customization for Food Entries

As always, these features have been added to existing Daily Connect accounts at no additional cost.

Let’s explore each of the new features in more detail so that you understand exactly how you can start using them in your own childcare setting. 

1. Name to Face Attendance

Our new Name to Face feature enables you to quickly check student attendance using individual pictures of each child – rather than just a list of names. 

You can use the Name to Face feature for taking attendance in the classroom after students have arrived for the day, at regular intervals during the day, or at special events, like a field trip. 

This makes it easier for staff to quickly take an accurate attendance for each and every child, meaning they can spend less time on administrative tasks, and more quality time with the children. 

The Name to Face feature is only available for users with a Premium+ or Professional+ subscription. To start using the Name to Face feature in your Daily Connect account, go to Settings, select Customize Home Page, and enable the Name to Face feature. 

Once this has been activated, your staff can then tap the Name to Face icon on their Daily Connect app, take a quick attendance for the classroom, and then save the entry. This is only visible to classroom staff and directors – not parents. 

2. Sleep Check

Nap time is an important part of the day at many childcare centers – it’s an opportunity for teachers to plan ahead, catch up on administrative work, and take a breather. But teachers are still responsible for children during nap time, and have to check in on them regularly. 

Classroom staff can now save ‘Sleep Check’ entries to document that they’ve checked on a child during their nap. You can use this feature to satisfy licensing requirements in your local area, or even just to record information about the child’s nap that you can share with parents. 

When you’re using the Sleep Timer function, just click ‘Save Sleep Check’ to save an entry. If you’d like, you can add an optional note which will also be saved. 

3. Customization for Food Entries

Tracking how much each child eats is important for childcare centers. It’s information that’s invaluable to parents, and also important for each child’s health. That’s why we’re making it easier for childcare professionals to accurately track the amount of food each child eats while at daycare. 

You can now customize the four different labels available for the quantity of solid food that a child eats. The default settings are shown below, but it’s possible to change these categories to anything you like. 

You can customize these labels by navigating to Settings > Customize Labels > Solid Food Quantity. 

More New Features on Daily Connect

These new features come in addition to a wide range of new features launched in late 2021 and early 2022. In case you missed them, here is a list of the new features that we launched on Daily Connect this past December and January:

  • Parent Billing: Faster ACH Transfers
  • Message & Incident Report Approval
  • Ability to Disable Video Uploads
  • Share Photos in Push Notifications
  • Combining Entries Saved for Multiple Children
  • Text/SMS Messaging Available Globally
  • Private entries and notes
  • Increased length of SMS messages
  • Improvements to observation and assessment reports

At Daily Connect, a lot of the ideas we get for new features come from childcare professionals just like you. If you have an idea for a new feature that would make a big difference in the way you run your childcare business, we’d love to hear it. 

You can reach out to us at support@dailyconnect.com with your ideas. We look forward to hearing them and continuing to invest in new features that make Daily Connect even better for our users!

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Common Daycare Challenges & How to Solve Them

Daycare centers are a pillar of their local communities. While there are plenty of larger childcare chains out there, some parents prefer the friendliness and homey atmosphere a small daycare center provides. But there are common daycare challenges that owners face, and it’s important you know how to solve them.

At-home daycares are often run by one teacher with minimal staff. Having less access to the help and supervision you need can get overwhelming, resulting in necessary administrative work being left aside. 

Here are some of the most common challenges home-centered daycares face, and what you can do to overcome them. 

Daycare Challenge #1: Creating Work-Life Balance at an At-Home Daycare

One of the daycare challenges for daycare owners who operate businesses out of their homes is how hard it is to separate work from personal life. Bringing your work into the living space—or vice versa—can become a problem. 

Without work-life balance, boundaries get blurred. It might feel like you’re always thinking about work: your childcare activities invade your “relaxation” space or affect your family relationships when the house is a mess from a daycare operation. 

Perhaps you feel like your level of professionalism as a business owner is overwhelmed by your messes at home, looming reminders to pay home bills, or completing other chores when you just want to focus on your childcare work. 

To solve this nagging issue, create designated areas of your home that are work-only. Store and organize everything you need on the side of the house that involves childcare. Keep your home life separate from work. Stick to a schedule that allows you to maintain healthy boundaries between your daycare, your family, and your time off. 

Daycare Challenge #2: Growing the Business

Depending on the location, size, and goals of your business, when it comes time to grow, new challenges may arise. For example, due to state regulations and standards, you may have a limit of how many children you can enroll. Or if you’re allowed to enroll new students, your home space may be too small to operate at a greater capacity. 

Running into limitations on growth can be discouraging and stressful, especially if you’re ready to offer more. The best part about running your daycare is the potential for serving more families while making a better income for your own. 

Knowing what it takes to grow your business is the first step. Create a business plan, set a goal, and reach out to local organizations that can help you explore your growth options. You might need to upgrade your home or hire a new staff member. Do your research and follow the plan step by step.

Want to learn more? Check out Daily Connect’s Ultimate Guide to Growing Enrollment in your Childcare Business

Daycare Challenge #3: Keeping Up with Administrative Requirements 

One great thing about being a home daycare provider is the close-knit community it allows you to nurture. You can provide more one-on-one attention to all your students and keep a closer eye on learning progress all year. But sometimes, being too involved in the everyday activities of the kids can distract you from more business-oriented requirements, like administrative tasks.

Admin work is not something you can afford to skim over or sweep under the rug. Your business relies on you to be a good manager and take care of all the financial and daycare management routines so nothing gets left behind. Tracking your expenses, maintaining accurate attendance records, writing detailed curriculum plans: everything needs a structure. 

If you’re missing out on this structure, get some assistance. You can hire an administrative assistant or teacher’s aid. If you already have enough staff members, you can set up a digital system that makes your job easier. There are plenty of effective childcare software tools available for small daycare owners just like you.  

Daycare Challenge #4: Parent-Teacher Confidence 

Because parents who enroll their kids in your daycare expect a healthy relationship with you as the owner, improving your parent-teacher communication methods can be a challenge. There might be a language barrier. Or maybe whenever a parent picks up their child, you’re too busy running around with the rest of the class at the end of the day. 

Parents want to know how their child is doing at daycare. They care about what they learned, how they behaved, and what concerns or struggles they may have. If you can’t communicate openly with each parent, they might start to feel ignored, or feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth. 

Open a better avenue of communication with parents by setting up new ways to talk to them. Write child take-home notes that summarize each child’s progress, setbacks, and fun memories for the day. You can also do this digitally with the help of a childcare messaging app, which helps make communication easier for everyone.

Daycare Challenge #5: Competing with Other Childcare Centers

Larger childcare chains can attract a lot of business in the area. They have corporate funding, better marketing teams, and easier accessibility when it comes to new families looking for childcare. Competing with these bigger companies might seem daunting, but there are several ways you can make yourself stand out. 

Communities need small daycare centers like yours— the big education centers aren’t for everyone. The great thing about your daycare is that you can specialize in a particular “niche”, such as bilingual education, under-earning families, or the addition of performing arts classes. You can leverage your unique teaching models to attract the perfect customers for your daycare.

It might be smart to establish an online presence with the help of a daycare website or social media. Post flyers or online announcements for open enrollment every year. This gives locals a heads up that your daycare exists and can sign up early. You can also offer referral programs, where existing families get a discount when they refer a new family to your school.

Bonus: Tools to Help In-Home Daycare Providers

As we’ve seen, there are plenty of ways to overcome these common daycare challenges. Automating and managing your business with technology makes life easier for you, your staff, and the families you interact with. Setting up childcare software helps you to more effectively communicate, manage, and grow your business on every level.

With Daily Connect, you don’t need any elaborate systems to address common daycare challenges. All you need is the app and the willingness to embrace digital technology. Daily Connect has everything you need to manage and grow your daycare center, from parent-teacher communication to automatic payments and more.

Get started with your free trial of Daily Connect software today, and see how you can overcome daycare challenges in no time. 

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Ten Best Childcare Software Platforms for Daycare Centers

These days, finding easier ways to run your childcare center means using technology. There are many software programs that daycare centers can use to help complete all the tasks that they need to carry out every day. Exactly which childcare software is best might be different for each childcare business: every childcare center is unique, and has its own set of needs. If you’re wondering which platform to use, keep reading.

Why Upgrade to a New Childcare Software?

Before you go on the search for all the childcare software programs available, ask yourself: what is the number one thing you want to improve at your business? Maybe it’s parent billing or staff communication; maybe it’s curriculum planning  or managing your finances. Whatever the reason, setting up some kind of software is the answer. Here’s a few key reasons to upgrade to a new childcare software platform:

Better Parent Communication

Using software that allows digital communication helps to keep parents and teachers informed. Instead of missed phone calls or lost notes, a quick direct message can be sent securely between families and childcare staff, making sure everyone is aware of any important information about a child.

Easier Attendance Tracking 

A childcare software lets teachers and staff easily view the attendance of their classrooms. Whenever a parent checks their child in or out, the status updates live on the computer, app, or tablet. That makes it easy for management to see how many children are in each classroom, ensuring they stick to regulated teacher to child ratios. Software like this also logs the exact sign in and sign out timestamp automatically, which is essential for documentation purposes. 

Administrative Task Automation

Comprehensive childcare apps can help the team manage projects and keep track of recurring administrative tasks. For example, custom cleaning schedules can be set to appear in the software so every staff member knows his or her responsibilities for the week.

Payments and Accounting

A childcare payment platform lets legal guardians make instant payments online using their credit card or bank account. Childcare providers can charge payments and late fees, send automatic reminders for upcoming bills, and keep track of bookkeeping throughout the year.

Aligned Learning Outcomes

Digital software can show leaders how students are learning and whether or not they’re meeting developmental milestones. Child assessments, routine testing, and individual reports can be recorded and viewed easily in the software. 

There are many other benefits of using a childcare management platform. Below we’ll explore some of them individually. 

Top 10 Childcare Software Solutions for Running a Daycare 

Whether you need an all-inclusive daycare app or simply a new payment method for your website, here are ten of the most easy-to-use solutions for your daycare business.

1. Daily Connect Childcare Software

Daily Connect is an affordable option if you’re looking for childcare management software with all the perks. More than just an app, Daily Connect performs as a complete childcare center management system. Employees and parents can both use this software to communicate, process tuition payments, review each child’s learning progress, and much more.

> Schedule a Demo of Daily Connect

2. Xero

If you need a straightforward childcare accounting software, a standard online platform like Xero is helpful. It’s affordably priced and allows legal tax support, preparing your business for what to expect come tax season. Nannies, at-home daycare centers, and small early education providers can especially benefit from Xero’s features. 

3. Quickbooks

Another accounting software for daycare businesses is Quickbooks. Similar to Xero, it has all the basic accounting features to keep track of payments, receipts, expenses, and more. Another helpful feature Quickbooks offers is plenty of integration options. It can integrate with various daycare scheduling systems or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools.

4. Zendesk

Sales, CRM, and customer service are often overlooked aspects of successful childcare businesses. With Zendesk, program directors and staff can bring a sense of calm to the childcare work environment. Manage student enrollment waitlists, send parent emails, start team discussions, plan events, and more. They even offer a free trial.

5. Connecteam

If you’re looking for a tool that provides employee communication and team collaboration via smartphone, Connecteam is your answer. Create and manage checklists, clock in and out, contact upper management and HR, allow employees to request days off— everything your childcare staff needs is all in one place, so everyone stays connected. 

6. Gusto

What if your team communication is great, but employee management is an issue? One of the best daycare software tools for handling HR and employee processes is Gusto. This HR-support platform gives employees access to the documents and tax information they need. It’s also important to childcare owners because— well— it manages payroll for you. 

7. Squarespace

While not an official childcare software in itself, hosting a website on Squarespace is an easy way to grow a daycare company online. From showcasing your service (childcare is a service, you know—an important one!) to optimizing your search ranking on Google, Squarespace helps you every step of the way. You don’t even need web design experience.

8. Hootsuite

If your childcare business is already active on the internet, getting on board with a social media management software is a good idea. Hootsuite adds value to your childcare business by posting content on, tracking, and managing all your social media accounts for you. Consistent posts help you reach your local community, keep parents informed, and share special moments. 

9. Zoho

Scheduling, sending notifications, and receiving direct payments are now possible with Zoho Bookings. This is a good choice if you’re a solo childcare provider (like a nanny or at-home daycare). Parents can view your upcoming availability and book daycare services with you, and you can manage several parts of your business operation in one place. 

10. Freshbooks

Freshbooks is an accounting software used by small businesses and independent contractors. Freshbooks saves time when it comes to tax season, keeping all your financial data organized. You can also view your annual reports directly in the app.

Finding the Best Childcare Software

When running a childcare center, it’s easy to get lost in the administrative details. When things get too hectic, it’s important to find help. Using tools that make your work easier on you and your team ensures you can get back to the real purpose of childcare: being present with the children you get to educate and care for. 

The most advanced childcare management software available will offer a combination of the various types of features mentioned above. When you need something that has it all, consider Daily Connect: a comprehensive platform made specifically for childcare centers.

Click here to get started with a free demo of the Daily Connect childcare platform today.

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5 Tips for Managing & Recruiting Staff for Your Daycare Business

Managing daycare staff is a top priority for any successful early childhood education business. It takes a lot of kindness, creativity, integrity, and dedication to run a daycare, and there’s no doubt that recruiting and managing staff is a rewarding yet ever-challenging part of the job. 

It’s not getting any easier to find and hire staff for your childcare center. In the US, the unemployment rate now hovers around 4%, significantly lower than the 14% rate seen at the outbreak of the pandemic back in April 2020. 

COVID mandates are lifting, people are going back to work, and those who lost their jobs previously are embracing new livelihoods. The world is opening back up, but if you’re managing a daycare center, it’s easy to feel like there aren’t enough qualified professionals to help you run your business. 

But regardless of whether your childcare center is overwhelmed with job applications or still struggling to hire new employees, some expert hiring tips can help you grow your business. Keep reading to learn how to recruit daycare teachers and manage staff in the “new normal”.

1. Start with a Clear Job Description

If you’re having difficulty hiring quality teachers, revise your job listings. Finding the best staff members for your daycare means you must first clearly state the values, mission statement, and job requirements at your center. 

A clear, attention-grabbing job description includes:

  • A brief overview of why your daycare is a great place to work, including your basic teaching philosophy
  • Specific job responsibilities and duties that are expected for the position
  • Required qualifications of childcare staff, including education, ECE certifications, background, experience, and more
  • Potential opportunities for staff to grow
  • Contact information or application form

Also, consider the length of your job listing. If it’s too long, applicants won’t read all of it; if it’s too short, both hiring managers and candidates miss important information about the job. 

2. Know Where to Recruit Daycare Teachers

The places you share daycare job opportunities can affect your chances of meeting the perfect hire. One reliable option is to share the word with colleagues and existing employees. Sometimes you can hire teachers already in your immediate social networks, so ask around.

For online recruiting, post the job listing on relevant websites. Local education community boards, classifieds, or job sites like LinkedIn or Indeed are great options. Consider posting on a site like Care.camp, a childcare job site specifically for daycare centers and preschools.

Pro tip: the best daycare centers are always thinking about recruitment — even if there aren’t any positions currently open. Stay prepared, know your ideal candidate, and build a healthy network in the local childcare community. If unexpected staffing issues occur, you’ll be ready to interview and hire in no time. 

3. Interview and Hire the Best Childcare Candidates

During the recruitment process, save the best applicants that meet all requirements and preferences for the job. Compile a list of contacts to call for a brief phone interview, asking key questions like:

  • What do you love about working with kids?
  • Why are you interested in becoming part of the team at this daycare center?
  • What education or experience do you have that would make you a great fit for this job?

Phone interviews are an easy way to weed out daycare staff applicants that aren’t a good match for your business. Narrow down your list of top candidates and then schedule in-person interviews. When meeting face-to-face, you can ask about childcare and education philosophies, get to know the candidate’s personality, and invite them to ask any questions they have about your business. 

When the final decision to hire daycare center staff is made, it’s time to start thinking about onboarding and management. Conduct background checks, observe how your new employee interacts with the kids at your center, and acclimate them with the childcare leadership team. Do all that, and your new staff member will feel right at home from day one. 

4. Learn How to Retain Childcare Staff

Recruiting is important, but managing daycare staff is what makes your daycare center run smoothly. Ongoing employee turnover can be costly, emotionally draining, and time-consuming. That’s why it’s so important to keep your teachers and staff happy while building your daycare business.

One-third of recent childcare employees surveyed claimed exhaustion and burnout are their main challenges. Creating and maintaining good working conditions, as well as ensuring healthy peer relationships, are some of the most important things you can do in your childcare business. 

Other ideas for better employee retention include:

  • Have clear expectations and share learning assessments across classrooms
  • Give employees breaks, time off, and work-life balance
  • Lead by example, make proactive changes when necessary, and always do the right thing 
  • Offer growth opportunities and career development resources to your staff
  • Regularly show appreciation, thanks, and recognition for your team, both internally and externally
  • Encourage good communication and listening between employees
  • Make use of digital management tools that keep everyone on the same page
  • Don’t forget to have fun! Allow your staff to enjoy their work and be themselves

5. Excel At Teacher, Staff, and Daycare Management 

Whether or not you’re currently hiring, managing daycare staff is your main responsibility. There’s always room for improvement in any business. Daycare businesses are a unique combination of professionalism, care, and play, where all types of personalities are involved in leadership. 

Good management isn’t easy, but there are some ways you can make your daycare better for everyone:

  • Establish consistency among classrooms, teachers, and staff. Discuss learning outcomes, stick to a schedule, and keep up with proper documentation
  • Equip staff members with technology that helps them do their jobs more efficiently. Some daycare management apps can help staff monitor class progress, communicate with parents, and send reports to other teachers with ease
  • Hold regular meetings with managers, teachers, and staff members, and make sure everyone has a chance to voice their successes and concerns. Listen to your staff, and consider their ideas to improve your business

With the right strategy and tools in place, your daycare business can be a pleasant facility for everyone involved. Parents, teachers, children, and directors can all benefit from excellent management systems across the board. 

Managing Daycare Staff – Tools for Success

Many childcare centers today rely on multi-featured daycare management software. With the advanced technology available today, it’s likely that running a childcare business without organizational software is holding you and your employees back.

If you need help improving the overall management of your childcare business throughout the year, consider a platform like Daily Connect.

Setting up a childcare management platform gives you and your team access to instant parent-teacher communication, classroom progress data, parent billing features, and more.

Reach out today to start developing the team your childcare center needs to thrive.

Featured

Using Technology to Improve Parent Communication at Your Childcare Center

As a teacher or daycare provider, you likely know that interacting with parents can be one of the most difficult parts of the job. Communicating with the children in your care is normal — you’re trained to speak, play, and encourage them with the lessons and care they need. But parent-teacher communication isn’t always something that comes naturally —especially throughout the pandemic. That’s why it’s important to embrace parent communication technology.

Educators were once limited to face-to-face updates, written notes, and phone calls to manage communication with parents. Whether it was urgent information you need to deliver to parents or an update on a child that’s falling behind in class, trying to balance the discussion between absent parents and the overly involved sometimes seemed impossible. 

With so many digital communication tools at our fingertips today, improving parent communication at your childcare center is possible. The parent communication technology on the market today is easy to use, and are rapidly becoming more popular: some incoming parents might even expect that you use them. Here are some of the ways you can use technology to boost the parent-teacher relationships at your daycare.

Build Trust with Parents All Year Long

How can childcare leaders build positive relationships with the parents who enroll their kids in daycare? At the beginning of the school year, schedules are busy. It can be hard to get to know parents. It takes time to build trust and camaraderie, especially when you only see parents for brief moments during drop-off and pick-up.

Parent communication technology helps schools connect with parents from the beginning of the year to end. It also lets staff easily get in contact with parents whenever a message needs to be delivered. You can send class-specific email updates, individual texts, or direct messages via parent communication apps that align with parent preferences. 

Consistent updates grow a solid foundation of trust and professionalism between teachers and parents, and help parents to feel closer to their children throughout the day. The last thing parents want is to never hear from the person who’s caring for their child! With the instant notifications that technology allows, nothing should be left unsaid. 

Share Event Calendars for More Classroom Interaction

Whenever there’s an event at your daycare like a field trip or special party, it’s important parents stay informed so they send their child to you prepared for the day’s activities. Consider creating a shared online calendar that enables parents to add your events to their own calendar. Your staff can send automated emails whenever there’s an upcoming event. Notify parents months, weeks, and days in advance so they never forget about a special date. 

Sharing event calendars is convenient for parents who want to be more involved with their child’s learning. If there are field trips planned, for example, they can sign up to volunteer as a chaperone. Alternatively, if a parent has less time on their plate, they can plan accordingly whenever there’s an upcoming day off of school. 

Calendar sharing lets parents see the year, month, and week at a glance. Instead of losing a paper calendar or penciling in changes for special events, being able to access up-to-date calendars online makes it easier for both teachers and parents. 

Shared Parent Calendar on Daily Connect

Send Real-Time Updates to Families

If a child gets injured, displays bad behavior, or makes a big accomplishment while at daycare, staff can send live updates to parents through a parent communication technology platform. Instead of waiting until pick-up to hear about how a child’s day is going, parents can know how their child is engaged throughout the day. For many families, getting these types of updates can be hugely important as they decide which childcare center to send their children to. 

Here are some examples of important parent-teacher updates made possible through a childcare app:

  • Teachers can send videos of a toddler taking their first steps, or saying their first words.
  • Parents can receive updated documents and instantly digitally sign necessary waivers.
  • If a child has difficulty sleeping, staff can inform parents of their naptime and mood.
  • Parents can see how their child is progressing at potty training while at daycare.
  • Staff can note milestones and struggles in daily summaries sent to each parent at the end of the day.

There are many ways to keep parents included in their kids’ daycare experience. When parents don’t want to miss out on precious moments while absent from their little ones, live update abilities offer greater involvement and peace of mind. 

Deliver Progress Reports and Developmental Assessments

Daycare leaders frequently conduct learning assessments for the classroom and individual students. These progress reports compare expected developmental milestones and educational standards with how each child is learning at daycare. 

Teachers monitor, assess, and log student outcomes so adjustments can be made when necessary. If a child is behind, teachers can use technology to keep parents updated and make them aware of what they should work on with their child at home. This helps ensure a more joined-up approach to early childhood development, resulting in better outcomes for children, parents, and childcare providers.

Customized assessments can be delivered to parents using teacher notes and visual graphs. With this information, parents can:

  • Focus on helping their child through learning challenges. 
  • Work with teachers to help guide a child to improve their behavior.
  • Encourage open dialogue about their child’s needs. 
  • Allow parents to see how their child improves throughout the year.

With online childcare management tools, teachers can help parents understand their child’s learning status and offer suggestions for extra developmental activities at home. 

Stay on Track with Learning Frameworks

Many parents want to be involved in their child’s learning, but might lack the time or initiative to voice their concerns. A Stanford University study found that parents who opted in to receive ongoing text updates regarding their preschoolers’ program noticed an improvement in learning overall. 

Technology not only helps teachers stay on track with learning frameworks, but also encourages parents to join the educational process. Each state has different standards for early childhood education. Instead of relying solely on childcare providers to ensure learning objectives are being fulfilled, parents can play a helping role. 

Online learning tools help bridge the gaps in these learning frameworks. Teachers can share state standards and student learning portfolios with parents, letting them see how their child is learning throughout the year. 

Make Childcare Billing and Payment Easier

For many childcare centers, talking about money when it comes time for parents to pay tuition can be uncomfortable. If it’s hard to get in touch with parents, crucial payments can go unpaid, and late fees can accumulate on a family’s childcare bill –– something that nobody wants to happen.

With online childcare apps today, parents can access payment portals that let them pay instantly online. Parent billing becomes easier for childcare providers and makes communication instant, direct, and secure. 

From payment processing to automated reminders, childcare centers can ensure proper invoicing, billing, and financial tracking, resulting in a better parent experience, and a more sound childcare business.

Daily Connect: A Leading Parent Communication Technology Software

Effective childcare starts with good communication. To keep up with our world’s online pace, parents need new options today. Parents are already online for everything else, from grocery shopping to paying the bills. Why not give parents the digital solutions they need to ensure their children are getting the most out of your childcare center?

Setting up a comprehensive childcare management software for your business can improve communication and bring greater satisfaction to the families you serve. It can save you time, money, and stress, while enabling you to manage your daycare center more effectively. 

To see how you can use technology to improve the parent-teacher relationships at your childcare center, sign up for a free trial of Daily Connect today. 

Featured

Using Childcare Learning & Assessment Tools to Improve Learning

A child’s formative years are one of the most important learning periods of their lives. Proper care, guidance, and education are crucial for every child to achieve well-rounded development as they grow. Childcare centers play an important role in helping children through this formative learning process, and it’s vital that early childhood educators have the right learning and assessment tools to maximize each child’s education. 

Identifying learning struggles early on can encourage parents and teachers to find the help a child needs in order to improve. But without the right learning and assessment tools, techniques, and response strategies, it’s possible that childcare centers can unintentionally hold back certain aspects of their children’s development. 

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure your daycare implements better assessment processes and embraces a comprehensive curriculum that covers every developmental area. Here are some of the ways that improving your assessment tools can better the teaching, operation, and learning at your childcare center.

Visual Learning Data Helps Teachers Improve Curriculum

One of the main benefits of utilizing assessment tools today is that teachers can use the resulting data to their advantage. Having a clear, visual analysis helps teachers and staff to better understand the direction their curriculum should go in order to achieve childcare learning goals. 

How do childcare directors track this type of learning data? With digital tools today, assessments can be logged into software that creates a visual scope of progress for your classroom and each individual child. Digital childcare software helps teachers manage this type of developmental progress with:

  • Progress and learning framework comparisons
  • Pointing out gap areas in your curriculum
  • Observation records of each child’s learning
  • Adding manual learning updates 
  • Logging child milestones 
  • Analysis of which children are behind, and which children are excelling at specific learning frameworks

Want to learn more? Here’s an example of what these assessments look like in Daily Connect:

Learn more: Observations & Assessments on Daily Connect

Learning & Assessment Tools Involve Parents in Their Child’s Progress

It’s one thing for teachers to access the observations they need, but giving parents the ability to view this information can be game changing for the development of each child. When parents send their children to daycare, they don’t often see how day-to-day learning works in action. If all goes well, they see gradual progress. But being able to witness their child’s milestones in real-time can be a huge encouragement, and access to this kind of information can help parents better match up educational activities at home with those at daycare. 

Learning and assessment tools allow families to access their child’s reports, assessments, and developmental progress online, whenever they need them. Teachers and staff can also send live updates to parents via direct messages or email. Some childcare software platforms include the option to create online learning portfolios for each student, so that parents and teachers can track their children’s greatest achievements throughout the year. 

Proper Assessment Maintains Learning Goals Across Classrooms

One struggle many directors face when it comes to running a childcare center is ensuring that the learning experience is consistent across different classrooms. Many larger childcare centers operate multiple classrooms, or even multiple locations, and it’s not easy to make sure each classroom and location is following the same curriculum to the same high standards. Ensuring this consistency is especially important as children move between classrooms and work with different members of staff. 

Ensuring this consistency is less complicated for smaller, at-home daycare centers, but it’s still important that every member of staff has access to learning and assessment tools: not just the owner of the daycare. When all staff involved in teaching the class have access to this information, it’s much easier to track development goals, lesson plans, and ensure a consistently high standard of care and education. 

No matter the size of your childcare center, getting a birds-eye view of the progress for every child and every classroom can let you know which areas of your business need the most attention. Many childcare directors use modern childcare technology to ensure these needs are met effectively. 

Digital Learning Records Improve Staff Communication

Today, teaching is an engaged, involved, and solution-oriented field respected by families who want the best for their children. Increasing numbers of childcare professionals hold four year degrees in early childhood education, and the quality of learning provided by the childcare industry as a whole has never been higher. 

Empowering childcare staff with tools that encourage in-depth communication is a revolutionary act for helping future generations learn. Making classroom learning assessment results available to staff improves communication because:

  • It gives directors the opportunity to hear from varying staff perspectives.
  • It lets teachers know how they specifically can improve their teaching.
  • It maintains a work atmosphere of openness, safety, and trust.
  • It helps employees understand their role in working toward common learning goals. 
  • It lets staff members know which children to offer more educational help to.
  • It prevents misunderstandings of yearly and monthly tasks that are necessary.

If your daycare center isn’t using a learning assessment system yet, look for one that enables different staff at your childcare center to communicate seamlessly and have access to information about the learning and development of each individual child. More communication opportunities make for a clearer workflow and ensure that important details never go unnoticed. 

Organized Progress Reports Help Align with Childcare Standards

In most parts of the world, your childcare business must meet certain national, state, and local learning standards. These regulations set the standard for learning during formative years. Failing to meet these standards can result in children falling behind, and in some cases, your business getting shut down. 

Equipping your daycare with the best assessment tools can align your operations with these requirements. It’s difficult to manually track how well your school is abiding by ever-changing health mandates and learning demands. With full-stack daycare technology, keeping everything in one place is much easier: you’ll be able to automatically create reports, back up important information, and ensure you have all the resources you need to be in compliance with your local childcare standards. 

Finding a Learning and Assessment Tool for Your Childcare Center

Is it time to upgrade the learning and assessment tools at your daycare? It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but it can have a major impact on the success of your childcare business. Learning outcomes significantly affect the overall quality and reputation of your childcare center. When something doesn’t seem to be going the right way, it’s time to turn to new solutions for help. 

At Daily Connect, we know how much work goes into running your childcare business every day, and our software is built to help you run every element of your childcare business in a more simple, streamlined manner. 

Our suite of learning and assessment tools are designed specifically for childcare centers, and Daily Connect supports more than 50 different learning frameworks from around the world. Our platform provides a range of digital learning and assessment tools, so you can help your daycare and its children thrive more than ever before. 

Start with a free trial today, or schedule a demo for a full tour of our learning and assessment features. 

Featured

New Features Coming to Daily Connect

At Daily Connect, we’re constantly working to improve our platform, making it easier than ever for childcare and daycare providers around the world to communicate with parents, manage their child development, and run their business. 

This month, we’re excited to announce several new features that are now live on the Daily Connect app and web app. These features add significant improvements to features like Parent Billing and Incident Reports, and also address several issues our users have flagged in recent months. 

Related: New Features on Daily Connect (December 2021)

If you’ve got an idea for a new feature that would make a big difference in the day-to-day operations of your childcare business, we’d love to hear from you. After all, many of our most popular features to date have been inspired by our users. Reach out to the team today to support@dailyconnect.com with your idea!

Here are the six new features that are now live on Daily Connect:

  1. Parent Billing: Faster ACH Transfers
  2. Message & Incident Report Approval
  3. Ability to Disable Video Uploads
  4. Share Photos in Push Notifications
  5. Combining Entries Saved for Multiple Children
  6. Text/SMS Messaging Available Globally

Let’s take a look at each new feature in a little more detail:

1. Parent Billing: ACH Transfers Now Deposited in Two Days

Since the launch of our Parent Billing Features last year, we’ve been working hard with our payment processing partner to improve the tools available to our users. We’re excited to report that Daily Connect now supports faster payment transfers. 

For ACH Transfers, funds will now take two days to arrive in your account, compared to five days previously. This is above industry standards. Credit Card payments are also deposited to your account after two business days.

What does this mean for you? You’ll get paid faster than before, boosting your cash flow and enabling you to run your business more efficiently. 

Don’t use our Parent Billing Features yet? Visit our Parent Billing page to learn more about them – we’re happy to provide a demo and answer any questions you have. Parent Billing is currently only available in the US.

2. Message & Incident Report Approval

Approving photos, videos, and other communications before they’re sent to parents is an important part of any childcare center director’s role. After all, mistakes do happen, and it’s important to ensure that you catch small errors before they’re sent to parents. 

Now, the approval tools that were already existing for photos and videos have been added to messages and incident reports. When this feature is activated, all messages and incident reports must be reviewed by a director, or other administrator, before they are sent to parents. 

This feature is only available to accounts with a Professional+ subscription. It can be activated in Settings > Childcare Settings > Approvals on the Daily Connect web application. 

Thinking about upgrading your subscription? Get in touch with the team at support@dailyconnect.com

3. Ability to Disable Video Uploads

Accounts with a Professional+ subscription can now disable the video upload feature for your staff. Disabling this feature is helpful for childcare centers who are dealing with issues related to privacy and regulation.

When this feature is disabled, only directors and administrators are allowed to upload videos. This can be done in the Settings > Childcare Settings > Approvals > Photo/Video Approval page.

4. Share Photos in Push Notifications

We’ve updated the way that notifications are sent to parents to make it easier for them to quickly get a snapshot of their child’s day, without even opening the Daily Connect app. 

The push notifications that parents receive when your childcare center adds a photo of their child are now ‘rich’ notifications. This means that the notification shown on the parent’s device will directly show a preview of the photo, without the need to open the Daily Connect app. 

We believe this new feature will boost parent engagement, both with the Daily Connect app and with your childcare center. By making it easier for parents to get a snapshot of their child’s day, parent satisfaction will grow, and a closer bond will be formed between parents and your childcare business. 

5. Combining Entries Saved for Multiple Children

When an entry, such as a photo or video, is saved for multiple children, the Daily Connect app will no longer list each duplicated entry on the web application. Instead, only one entry will be shown, with a small overlay image  on top of the icon to indicate that the entry has been saved for multiple users. 

We’re confident that this will greatly simplify the web application, reducing the need for multiple entries that essentially contain the same information and making the information easier to read for both teachers and directors.

6. Text/SMS Messaging Available Globally

Until now, the ability to send emergency text messages and SMS messages to parents has been limited to users in the United States. However, we’re pleased to announce that this feature is now available to all Premium+ and Professional+ subscriptions globally. You can access these features in Settings > Childcare Settings > Send Email/Text.

Text messages should only be used in case of emergency, or for urgent updates. One example use case would be the sudden closure of your childcare center due to sickness or bad weather.

Get Started with Daily Connect Today

We’re continuing to work on improvements to existing features, as well as completely new features, and we’re always open to hearing your feedback. 

If you’ve got an idea for a new feature, or even a slight tweak, that would make your life as a childcare director, teacher, or provider much easier, we’d love to hear from you. Just get in touch with the team by emailing support@dailyconnect.com

Don’t have a Daily Connect account yet? We offer a free 14 day trial for new users to try out all of our features and determine whether Daily Connect is a good fit for their childcare center. Start your free trial today, or set up a product demonstration to learn more.   

Featured

How to Write a Business Plan for your Childcare Center

In 2022, there’s all kinds of opportunities for new childcare centers. With parents in many areas around the world heading back to the office, families need new daycare providers in their area to help give care and supervision to their kids. The childcare industry has seen a lot of change in the past couple of years, and there’s huge opportunities for childcare businesses committed to improving their services to attract new families. To make the most of this, it’s important you have a childcare business plan.

The demand is greater than ever. Many families want extra childcare opportunities, and have the capacity to do so. Because of the Build Back Better Framework passed by the Biden administration, parents now have more childcare tax credits to spend to give their children a headstart in their social and educational development.  

Whether you run a daycare center or you’re thinking of opening up an at-home program this year, knowing how to write a childcare center business plan will help you succeed. Here’s how you can start the year off right.

Start by Researching What You Need

Successful childcare centers follow a thorough business plan that covers everything from financing to staffing. But getting started with a business plan can feel daunting if you haven’t written one before. To break down this task into more manageable chunks, you first need to know everything you’ll need to operate your childcare center properly:

  • Licensure: Research federal regulations and licensing requirements. You also need to make sure you comply with state and county licensing requirements, as they can vary depending on your location. 
  • Health and Safety: In addition to legal requirements, local safety, sanitation, and health measures are very important for childcare centers to abide by. This is more true now than ever as COVID-19 still has a huge impact on the childcare industry.
  • Location and Capacity: You need a location or facility before you can start welcoming families to your childcare business. Renting a childcare business space poses different challenges to providing childcare from your home. Make sure you think these through and choose the best solution for your business. 

Know Your Competition

It always helps to observe the other childcare centers in your area. As a business, you will be in direct competition with other childcare providers who want to keep their enrollment at maximum capacity while offering the best care around. More often than not, there’s enough demand for everyone to win, but by analyzing your competitors, you can build a great understanding of how to be successful.

Study other childcare centers and daycares in your area. What makes them stand out? What do their online reviews say about their service? How much do they charge for childcare? Is there a gap in childcare coverage for a certain age group, or for a particular area of your city? Aim to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. 

It’s helpful to log your findings in a spreadsheet or notebook, so you can start to notice trends and demands in your area. This information will help you adjust your business plan accordingly, and ensure you can meet the demands for families looking for childcare in your area. 

Get Clear on Your Business Operations 

Operating a good business means you need to be a good boss. Set yourself up for success by getting crystal clear about how your childcare center will operate. Here are some of the most common elements you need to consider when running a childcare business. 

  • Staffing Needs: Will you be working by yourself with a small enrollment number, or do you need to hire other teachers? If you need to hire, map out the type of employees you’re looking for so you’re not hiring blindly. Think about where to find the right staff members, how you’ll train them, and what amount of experience they need to provide care to the community. 
  • Marketing: Properly marketing your childcare business is key in the initial stages. Using websites, social media, and paid advertising, market yourself to the right demographic. Hire a marketer if you need help promoting your business publicly or online. 
  • Scheduling: How many days per week will you be open? Will you remain open during holidays and weekends, or will you be closed? Set a schedule for your daycare center and commit to it. Consistency is key for children to receive adequate care, and for parents looking for certainty as they plan out their schedules. 
  • Operations: Consider the day-to-day operations of your childcare center: how will you manage drop off and pick up, communicate with parents, and keep track of attendance? Consider using a childcare software platform to keep things running smoothly.

Financial Planning and Establishing a Budget

Crunch the numbers. How much money does it take to set up and run your childcare center? From tuition to supplies to expenses, having a budget laid out can guide you on the responsible path toward gaining revenue. 

  • Start Up Costs: Setting up a childcare center isn’t free. At a minimum, you’ll need to buy learning materials, play equipment, secure a space, and sign up for insurance and software to help run your business. Consider how much this is going to cost, and work on a plan to raise the funds – whether that’s from savings, a loan, or by seeking external investment.
  • Payment Processing: How will you receive payments from the parents who send their kids to daycare? Will you take cash, check, or set up an online payment system?
  • Pricing and Tuition: Knowing how much it’ll take to run your business will help you set your pricing structure. How many kids can attend your center, and how much will you charge for tuition? Be sure to pay attention to what your competitors charge.
  • Covering Costs of Supplies: Always track the supplies you purchase for your business, from snacks and learning materials to first-aid kits and classroom decorations. Having a digital tracking system can really help you maintain proper inventory. 

Update Your Childcare Curriculum 

Teaching your students is a number one priority at your childcare center. Planning a curriculum sets the stage for all the lessons, activities, and social opportunities the kids at your daycare will be involved in daily. 

Monitoring childhood development is key in their formative years. Learning and assessment tools can help you observe classroom and individual progress. Keeping track of curriculum and learning allows you to adjust your curriculum throughout the year. That way, the education of the children in your classroom can improve, and you’ll increase the overall satisfaction of your customers. 

Find the Right Technology for Your Childcare Center

With the use of modern technology tools, childcare centers have advanced to deliver progressive leadership and care for the communities they serve. From streamlined attendance tracking to instant parent-teacher communication, setting up the right technology can make the world of a difference.

Childcare software can improve the quality of operation throughout your entire business. A childcare software is one thing many successful daycare providers rely on today. With a childcare software, daycare providers are able to:

  • Offer contactless check-in and check-out for safety measures
  • Manage their childcare center finances
  • Monitor learning and development progress of their students
  • Automate parent billing and payment processing 
  • Communicate with parents using direct message, video, and image features
  • Stay compliant with all local and federal regulations
  • Easily access documentation with the click of a button
  • Keep track of lesson plans for different learning groups throughout the year

Without the right technology at your daycare center, you risk wasting time, money, and energy limiting your business to analog recording. 

Run a Successful Childcare Business in 2022 with a Childcare Business Plan

Hopefully, these tips help you plan out a constructive childcare business plan that will launch your business forward in the new year. By implementing the right plan and using the modern tools at your facility or home daycare, you’ll be able to deliver the best possible child care to families who need you most. 

To support you in your business planning and operation, consider a free trial of Daily Connect – a leading childcare software platform that has everything you need to organize the most important aspects of your daycare business. Get started with your free trial today. 

Featured

6 Reasons At-Home Daycare Owners Should Use Childcare Software

A home daycare center is a business that’s crucial to your community, supporting parents, families, and children. But it’s not an easy business to run: there’s a lot to keep track of, from childcare regulations to managing things like parent billing and enrollment. Today, there are digital tools that many established childcare centers rely on to assist their overall operations, parent communication, and business growth. Now, at-home childcare providers have access to these same childcare software, and can use them in the same way to help them make the most of their small business. 

Childcare is always in high demand, and where there is scarce or unaffordable care in a town or city, at-home daycare is a welcome alternative. Some families even prefer at-home daycare to larger childcare centers, valuing the closer, more personal relationships that they, and their children, build with their childcare provider. In fact, close to 30% of infants and toddlers receive childcare from at-home caregivers, nearly half of which are made up of paid home daycare providers. 

If you’re thinking about starting an at-home daycare or if you’re looking to improve how you keep track of the one you already run, here are six ways affordable childcare software can help. 

1. Track Attendance and Daily Routines

Once you have children enrolled in your home daycare program, you need to stay on top of their logistics and day-to-day routines. As a licensed daycare center, you’re responsible for the supervision, safety, and activities of the kids in your care. 

Childcare software mitigates the stress of misplacing attendance sheets and activity logs. With a childcare app, keeping track of who arrives and leaves throughout the day is as easy as tapping a button on a screen. These software platforms will log the timestamps, attendance reports, name, and sometimes even a picture of each child. It will update live whenever their parents check them in or out.

Logging daily routines or events is another helpful feature. You can make a note when each child:

  • Naps
  • Bottle feeds 
  • Eats snack
  • Completes a milestone
  • Uses the bathroom
  • Gets hurt
  • And more

Keeping track of how a child is doing with daily routines and activities also makes it easier for you to update parents on their child’s progress, strengthening the relationship between you and your customers.  

2. Improve Parent Communication with Childcare Software

A top priority of families who send their kids to daycare is receiving detailed communication from teachers. Childcare apps like Daily Connect let childcare providers and parents directly message one another within the app, encouraging responsible dialogue and daily reports. 

Parents may appreciate the option to use an app for managing their childcare scheduling, documentation, and communication. Having access to a digital tool also reassures parents you’re a professional who invests in ways to make your business more effective. 

With technology today, video clip sharing is a social norm. This can also delight parents while their child is in your care. Send videos or photos of memorable moments from the day, or document minor concerns like a child’s injury or challenging behavior.

3. Abide by Early Childhood Education Standards

Learning and socialization are major parts of early childhood development. Your daycare is a place where children get to experience new things that add to their growth. The best at-home daycares will follow established Early Childhood Education (ECE) standards for preschool. 

Childcare apps are designed to support state standards and help you execute learning frameworks. Documenting the requirements for your daycare and including developmental milestones in your lesson plans help you be the leader that parents are paying you for. It also helps the children learn at a healthy pace. 

Following ECE standards and detailing learning assessments within the app can also save you trouble if you ever get audited. With all your license forms, regulations, and guideline documents in one place, you’ll have the information you need to run your business properly while keeping local regulators happy. 

4. Use Childcare Software to Organize Lesson Plans and Activities

When planning, you no longer need to search your computer for last month’s lessons or confuse the playtime activities you had planned for next week. With daycare software, you can upload calendars and lesson plans in one place. This helps you and any assistant teachers remain organized and on task.

By logging lesson plans and activities digitally, you can always go back and update the curriculum in the future. You can also review each child’s learning assessments over the year, determining which developmental areas you should focus on with each child.

By looking back at your curriculum at the end of the year, you might notice topics you missed. When planning next year’s curriculum, you can use the data provided by childcare software to get a clear picture of what needs to be improved. 

5. Encourage Health and Safety

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, society has had to adjust its health and safety precautions. In large and small gatherings, such as daycare, mandates continue to change. 

When you have to log or report illness symptoms or positive coronavirus tests, using an app that supports you and your home daycare is a huge help. Request temperature reports or family surveys to be aware of any time there’s a sign of an outbreak in your class. Notify parents all at once with group emails directly from the app, if necessary. 

Childcare software tools give families the options for contactless sign-in, which is another solution for improving health and safety in your business. Parents and guardians have peace of mind with touchless tools for drop-off and pick-up. 

6. Manage Your Childcare Business Finances 

Another significant benefit of using childcare software for your at-home daycare is the ability to easily keep track of all the billing and payment processing required to run your business. Parents can set up automatic payments for tuition. You can instantly receive notices of late payments. Billing reminders can save you from ongoing financial frustration. 

When you’re able to log all of the billing and payment info from your home daycare, everything is in one place when tax season arrives. You can record expenses, income, and deductibles so your books stay clean. If you have an accountant, they can access everything they need. 

Daily Connect provides daycare providers with a range of parent billing services, including invoicing, online payments, and a simple dashboard that helps you manage the financial side of your childcare business. You can learn more about Daily Connect’s parent billing features in this post

Making the Switch to At-Home Childcare Software

If you’re ready to reap all the benefits of a new childcare software, it’s time to invest in your business and the families you support. Outdated computer software and free childcare apps can provide the most basic features, but there are affordable ways to take your daycare operation and administration tasks to the next level. 

For a small monthly subscription, Daily Connect provides at-home childcare leaders with the tools they need so that their daycare can thrive. While other childcare apps cost upwards of $15.00 per month on average, Daily Connect’s premium software starts from only $4.99/mo and includes a free trial period so you can determine whether it’s the right fit for you.  

To get more features when you switch to the full digital childcare app, sign up for Daily Connect today

Featured

2022 Childcare Industry Trends

The past couple of years have brought about many changes to the childcare industry, many of them driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many daycare providers have had to fundamentally change the way they operate in order to provide an environment that’s as safe as possible while still delivering the fun and learning experiences that make childcare so important. Childcare industry trends continue to evolve, and it’s important o keep up to date.

We’re turning our minds towards what’s to come in 2022. It promises to be an exciting year, with growth forecast across the childcare industry. If you run a childcare business or are considering what to expect when starting one in the future, here are five important 2022 childcare industry trends you need to be aware of. 

1. Increase in Demand for Childcare Services

Parents from all over the world are still experiencing changes to their work schedules and employment conditions. And while many companies are encouraging their employees to come back into the office, a lot of parents continue to work from home. Whichever situation a family finds themselves in, the demand for childcare is on the rise. 

Since 2020, nearly 20% of working adults have quit working because they couldn’t locate a feasible childcare option amidst work and school closures. The demand for babysitters, tutors, nannies, and visiting teachers increased more than ever before. Many public childcare centers saw devastating losses in business despite the need for childcare services, with the COVID-19 pandemic the key driver. 

But now, as our economy continues to reopen and more and more parents head back to work, centers are experiencing high levels of demand. With the Build Back Better Bill, eligible families may have the opportunity to receive more affordable, high-quality childcare. This bill expects to offer childcare for nearly 20 million children in the United States while providing even more jobs to new and upcoming childcare workers. If it passes, it’ll be a major boost for the childcare industry. This is one of the most important key childcare industry trends and points to a bright future.

Is your childcare center equipped to handle this increase in demand? With the right approach, 2022 could be a great time to operate a childcare center, with plenty of new enrollments and all kinds of opportunities to grow your business.

Want to learn more? Check out this article: 7 Tips to Run a Successful Daycare Business

2. A Focus on Flexibility

Flexibility will be key for childcare centers in 2022. So much has changed in the past couple of years, and with government guidelines, childcare best practices, and more continuing to evolve, it’s crucial that childcare providers remain flexible.

Social and safety routines are not what they used to be, as gatherings are required to follow social distancing practices. Childcare centers are coming up with new and creative ways to involve young children in activities without risking illness, and instructing classrooms to interact in ways that encourage safety.

Another way public childcare centers are remaining flexible is in giving parents more grace than in recent years. Consider giving families more flexible options, like the opportunity to schedule childcare three days a week, instead of five. It’s a challenging time as everyone tries their best to maintain schedules and livelihoods, but if you can provide that level of flexibility required by parents, you’ll build high levels of loyalty with the families you work with. 

To keep running a childcare center effectively in 2022, centers around the U.S. will also have to stay up to date on changing health advice from the CDC as it relates to children. Regulations change all the time, and it’s important you adhere to these to ensure you create a safe environment for families.

3. Technological Advances In and Out of the Classroom

The use of technology within the classroom will continue to evolve throughout 2022. The use of online communication, cloud document storage, and digital tools are no longer limited to higher-level learners: they’re increasingly being adopted by childcare centers. Technological platforms can help Early Childhood Education (ECE) students and teachers alike. 

In addition to changes in the physical childcare environment, advances continue in the online classroom as well. Some childcare centers now allow hybrid care, where children can continue to learn via Zoom while at home with their caregivers. Online activities are used in addition to hands-on learning, and interactive lessons help fill developmental gaps.

Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from technology— parents increasingly expect more consistent communication between teachers and staff thanks to parent communication apps. Instead of brief interactions upon child pick up, parents can receive direct videos, online messages, and notification reminders about their child’s activity at daycare. 

4. Analytics in Early Childhood Education Learning Assessments

Digital tools aren’t the only technological development contributing to upcoming childcare trends – the use of data and analytics is starting to play more of a role too. By utilizing online platforms specifically for childcare centers, teachers and directors can unlock useful insights that help improve the learning experience. 

Childcare center management apps can log the developmental and learning progress of each child, making it easier for teachers to communicate among themselves. During a learning assessment, online documents from throughout the learning year come in handy. Additionally, teachers can deliver thorough progress reports to parents backed by daily observations of their children’s development.

Comparing a child’s progress with the designated learning and assessment framework for your local area can help teachers to track how each child is developing. Center-wide data can reveal weaknesses and give insight into how teachers can adjust lesson plans to address any gaps and ensure a high-quality learning experience.

5. Health and Safety Regulations 

Following health regulations, parents and teachers limit direct contact with one another in many circumstances to prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses. New options like contactless check-in and check-out are easy to perform with the click of a button. Daily health requirements like temperature checks and health questionnaires for students are another way to catch any issues early.

Teachers now have another safety protocol to check off their do-to lists: sanitization of the classroom. The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, meal areas, play areas, and changing surfaces at least once per day. 

Parents play an integral role in the health and safety of not only their child but others at the childcare facility. It’s important they remain honest about any symptoms their child or household members may experience. 

With online parent surveys available at check-in, childcare staff members are able to maintain contact with a parent if any warning signs appear. This is an excellent way to take precautions in case anyone at the facility contracts the COVID-19 virus.

Growing your childcare business during challenging times is still possible. While many daycare centers experienced budget cuts and closures throughout the past two years, today, many are in a good position for next year and beyond. The childcare industry trends we’re set to experience this year are trending in a positive direction.

One way to ensure your childcare business is successful in 2022 is by using a digital childcare center management platform. Software such as Daily Connect can help you access faster, more affordable solutions to the everyday problems of your childcare business. 

From recording children’s health status to improving learning assessments and parent-teacher communication, Daily Connect was created to help childcare professionals focus on what really matters: the children.

Organize and automate the administrative tasks with the app so you can spend more quality time teaching your students and keeping them safe. Whether you want to focus on staying compliant or you simply need help delivering the type of childcare your community needs, it’s time to get on track with growing technological trends.

Take the first step towards a successful 2022 and get started with Daily Connect today.

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Childcare Center Billing: A Quick Guide

Done right, running your own childcare business can result in major success. You can provide an important service to your community, helping young children learn important skills, while also making a great living for yourself. But one of the most frequent difficulties business owners in the daycare industry face is managing childcare center billing.

With the right tools and practices in place, setting up a childcare center billing system can help the owners, staff members, and parents provide the best childcare possible. If you’re trying to improve the financial aspect of your childcare business, here is a quick guide to set yourself up properly.

Set Your Cost of Tuition

To bill effectively, you first need to know the cost of tuition for someone to enter your childcare program. If you’re running a daycare that is already well-established, you likely have tuition down, as well as all the details that come with it. 

Determining Tuition Costs

If you’re new to running a childcare business, here are some of the things to consider when setting up the cost of tuition:

  • Business expenses (rent, payroll, utilities, etc.)
  • Insurance and licensing costs 
  • Marketing budget
  • School supplies
  • Taxes and deductions
  • And more

Competition and Capacity

Your tuition rates will also depend on how much local competition charges, as the parents who are considering your daycare center will compare with other schools. Look at how much they’re charging and how they handle their tuition process so you know what to base your pricing on. 

Another thing to consider is the capacity of your facility. How much will rates change if you’re not at maximum capacity? Some childcare centers leave wiggle room so their maximum capacity brings in extra revenue. Others are comfortable always running at maximum capacity with a long waitlist. If you have specific financial goals for your center, you may have to factor in future gains in your tuition setup. 

Pricing Structure 

Once you know your tuition costs, you need to decide how to best structure your pricing. When parents sign their child up to attend daycare, they want clear expectations of how and when they’ll pay the bill. 

Some daycare providers charge hourly, whereas others run on a weekly or monthly payment plan. Other things to make clear in the pricing structure is special additional fees such as:

  • Enrollment fees
  • Late pick up fees
  • Special holiday prices
  • Late payment fees
  • Summer vacation childcare plans
  • Special deals for advanced payment 
  • Optional extras, like field trip fees

If there are any other specific details necessary to families in your childcare center, make sure that you outline them clearly in your payment policies. 

Childcare Center Billing: Payment Methods and Policies

Once the parents enrolling in your daycare understand the pricing structure, the next issue they’ll  have questions about is how to make payment. It’s best to create a set of client policies that clearly explain costs, payment methods, and tuition agreements. 

How to Collect Payment

Most daycare providers collect payments through online payments, using methods like credit cards or ACH bank transfers, but others will accept cash or checks. Having an online payment system is the most convenient option for childcare centers today, enabling payments to be collected on auto-pilot. Whether it’s through a payment collection page on your school’s website or a childcare center parent billing software, many parents appreciate the option to pay online. This way, they can monitor their bills and set up recurring options. 

Parent Policy Handbook

Instead of sharing a random collection of paperwork and documentation with the parents who enroll in your childcare center, most childcare centers offer a handbook. Whether it’s a paper handbook or a digital handbook, a parent policy handbook will make it easy for the parents to have all their questions answered in one place. If your daycare center accepts any form of financial aid, make sure you set up details about that in the policies as well

Tracking Billing and Accounting 

Every childcare center needs to keep track of parent billing and payments on an ongoing basis. With consistent accounting, you’ll save yourself the headache of losing track of late or missed payments, misfiling paperwork, and developing poor communication with parents

Billing Frequency

Determine how often you will bill at your childcare center. Will payments be due once a month? Bi-weekly? Weekly? Depending on your facility’s bills and expenses, make sure you’ll receive childcare payments in a timely manner so you have enough overhead to operate your business. 

Bookkeeping

How will your daycare center managers keep track of all the payments that come in and out of your business? It’s a good idea to keep track of all your revenue and expenses on a central platform. Some of the areas you should track are: 

  • Tuition from each family
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Additional fees
  • Online payment dashboard
  • Log of transactions 
  • Operational fees and dues

While some daycare center owners do their accounting and bookkeeping themselves, you can also consider hiring a professional accountant who is familiar with the childcare industry.

All-in-One Childcare Center Billing Software 

Having childcare software that handles all your parent billing needs will streamline your processes, and can make your life a lot easier. Some childcare software systems such as Daily Connect offer invoicing, parent payment tracking, and a variety of payment processing. All of these can be done within the app, saving you and your staff a lot of time and resources. 

Childcare software also allows your business to keep a close eye on payments and parent communication simultaneously. For example, you can set up an automated invoice that will be sent out on a designated date each month, so parents never miss an upcoming bill notice. It allows them to pay instantly through the app or online. Or, if they prefer to set up automatic payments, they have the option to do so. 

Other features of this type of software include: 

  • Sign-in and sign-out tracking
  • Student learning and assessment tools
  • Staff-teacher communication boards
  • Parent-teacher direct messaging 
  • Childcare center management software
  • Documentation and compliance tracking
  • And more

If you’re ready to implement a full-featured childcare software that can handle the billing for your childcare business, get started with Daily Connect today. See what Parent Billing can offer your center. If you have other questions about childcare software, set up a demo with our team to learn more

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New Features on Daily Connect

We’re excited to announce a range of new features are now available on the Daily Connect platform. Our users have been requesting these features for some time now, and we’re excited to share that we have now activated these features for all Daily Connect users.

We’re confident that these features will enable more childcare centers to run their business smoothly, with improvements to internal tools like observations and assessments as well as updates to parent communication via SMS. 

These new features can be grouped into four key categories:

  1. Private entries and notes
  2. Increased length of SMS messages
  3. Improvements to observation and assessment reports
  4. Parent billing suite

In this article, we’ll explore each of these features in more detail so that you know exactly how to start using them at your Childcare Center. 

1. Private Entries and Notes

Previously, teachers and other staff members were only able to mark Observations as private. We’ve now expanded this to enable the following activities to be marked as ‘Only visible to staff (private)’:

  • Incident reports
  • Child behavior
  • Messages
  • Health and temperature checks

When an entry is marked as private, only teachers and staff at your childcare center are able to view it: parents will not be able to see this information. 

To mark an entry as private, simply toggle on the ‘Only visible to staff (private)’ button, as seen in the screenshot below:

Private entries are displayed in the app with a lock icon, as pictured below:

It’s also possible to add a private note to public entries. You can share the public entry with the parent, and then add a private note to staff that parents are unable to see, for example, specific instructions or directions. 

2. Increased Length of SMS Messages (US Only)

We’ve extended the length limit of text messages you can send to parents from 130 characters to 320 characters. This means you can now send more detailed parent communications. 

The text message feature is designed to be used for emergencies or occasional communications to parents, not for every update. They are sent directly to parent’s phone numbers, not through the Daily Connect app. Any text messages you send will not be saved in the Daily Connect app. 

To send text messages to parents, visit the Settings > Send Email / Text page on the Daily Connect web application. 

3. Upgrades to Observations & Assessment Reports

We’ve taken onboard your feedback and made several changes to the assessment reports to make it easier for you to track, report and share development progress for each child you’re responsible for. Here are the key improvements:

Share Individual Assessment Reports with Parents

You can now easily share an individual assessment report to parents by clicking on the ‘Share with parents’ link in the Individual Assessment Report page, as highlighted in the image below.

When you select this option, a PDF file of the assessment report will be saved on the child’s timeline to be easily accessible by parents via the application. Teachers and administrators can also download the PDF file of the report for archive, or to send via email to families.

Before you generate the report, the app will also allow you to enter a specific message that will be included in the report. You can use this section to add personal comments highlighting the progress that the child has made during the period. 

Monthly Observation Reports

A new report shows the list of all observations saved for a classroom or a child during the month. 

Directors and administrators can use this feature to easily view the observations shared by each teacher in their classroom, and it’s also possible to easily edit any entries. 

The report can be accessed via the Settings > Assessment Reports > List Observation page.

Support for 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage Standards (UK Only)

The Daily Connect App already supports learning frameworks and state standards for many US States, as well as countries including England, Scotland, and Australia. All told, the Daily Connect platform supports more than 50 learning frameworks and state standards. 

In response to new laws in the UK, we’ve now added support for the 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Standards from the UK. Childcare centers and nurseries can record observations and assessments for children in accordance with the ‘Birth to 5 Matters’ framework, and there are several new reports specific to the EYFS framework available for administrators to use. 

For more detailed information, read our blog post on the new EYFS framework: Support for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Birth to 5 Matters Framework in Daily Connect

4. Parent Billing

Last month, we launched a suite of new parent billing features on the Daily Connect platform. Some of the key features include:

  • Customizable invoices
  • Online and offline payment options
  • Auto billing and recurring payments
  • Online dashboard
  • And more

The parent billing features have now been enabled for all accounts with more than 5 children actively enrolled. Interested in learning more? Read our blog post announcing the parent billing features in more detail, or schedule a demo to learn more about how your childcare center can start using Daily Connect to bill parents today. 

What Other Features Would Make Your Life Easier?

Many of our most popular features start with requests from Daily Connect users like you. 

If you’ve got an idea for a new feature that would make a big difference in your day to day work, reach out to the team and let us know. You can email us at support@dailyconnect.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Featured

Support for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Birth to 5 Matters Framework in Daily Connect

If you work in the childcare industry in the UK, you’re likely aware of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYSF) and Birth to 5 Matters framework. The Birth to 5 Matters framework is a non-statutory framework that serves as optional guidance to support childcare practitioners as they implement the statutory requirements of the EYFS in their childcare business. 

Produced by the Early Years Coalition, the Birth to 5 Matters framework takes the latest research in child development into account to provide childcare centers guidance as they support children’s progress in their early years. By following the framework, childcare professionals can ensure that all children in their care progress towards all of the statutory learning goals outlined in EYFS. 

At Daily Connect, we’re excited to announce that we’ve added support for the Birth to 5 Matters framework in the Daily Connect App, making it significantly easier for teachers and administrators to track children’s progress towards various developmental milestones

Our goal is to support practitioners in the fundamentals of observing, planning and assessing children to support and share their growth. With that in mind, we’ve made several updates to the Daily Connect app to best support our users in the United Kingdom. 

You can try them out for yourself by selecting the Birth to 5 Matters framework in your Daily Connect app, but for now, here is an overview of some of the key features:

Save Observations for Each Child

Teachers are able to save observations for each child and choose both an assessment (Emerging/Meeting/Exceeding) and a Range for each selected statement. For teachers, this allows easy saving of information and observations in the classroom, and eliminates the need to track evidence from previously used frameworks. 

An overview of the different areas and statements supported is shown below:

Reporting Features 

We’ve also added a range of new reports specially designed to help daycare staff and administrators track the progress of children against the Birth to 5 Matters framework. 

These reports can be used to track the development progress of children internally, but they also serve as a valuable resource for the EYFS reporting requirements. You can also use them to have higher quality conversations with families about the development of their children, and ensure a more joined up approach to development between home and daycare. 

There are three key reports available:

#1 The Individual Summative Assessment Report

This report shows the range and assessment for each statement that makes up the Birth to 5 Matters framework. It’s personalized to each individual child, and is colour coded to provide a quick and easy way for teachers, administrators, and parents to track and identify development areas for each child:

#2 The Group Summative Assessment

This report summarizes each child’s individual summative assessment report into an overall view that allows teachers and administrators to quickly view the information for every child in a classroom at once. 

#3 Assessment Wheel Report

The Assessment Wheel Report provides a holistic view of each child’s development in every area of the Birth to 5 Matters framework. This report makes it simple for teachers, administrators, and parents to get an overall picture of every child’s development against all important milestones. 

Other Learning Framework Reports

All of the reports and features detailed above are available in addition to the existing reporting features available in Daily Connect for all learning frameworks. These reports make it easy for teachers and administrators to easily view assessment levels for each statement, quickly view the number of observations and the date of the last recorded assessment, and easily enter new assessments.

Here is an overview of the key learning framework reports:

Individual Assessment Report

Group Assessment Report

We’re confident that these new features will help childcare centers, nurseries, and playgroups across the United Kingdom as they adapt to the Birth to 5 Matters Framework and EYFS. We’re excited to support childcare providers in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as they make these changes and commit to delivering a high quality of childcare for the families they work with. 

Interested in learning more about Daily Connect’s support for a variety of learning frameworks and state standards? Visit the Learning & Assessment section on our website, or start a free trial of Daily Connect to try it out for yourself

Featured

The 6 Key Elements of a Childcare Center Business Plan

Running a successful childcare business takes work. So much of your care, time, energy, and financial resources goes into making it operate at its best. But things can become scattered and confusing when there isn’t a solid childcare center business plan set into place. What exactly is a business plan, and how can childcare providers use one? If you’re looking to put your childcare center on the right track, here are the best childcare business plan strategies you should follow.

Why You Need a Daycare Business Plan

Having a business plan gives you the foundation you need to build your business. Ideally, before starting a business you have a thorough guide detailing everything you should expect. It includes your startup budget, success markers, legal requirements, employee processes, marketing strategies, and more. 

What Your Childcare Center Business Plan Should Include

Creating a business plan isn’t an easy (or quick) process, but it’s a must if you want to make your vision a reality. Even if you’re already in business but simply want to improve, coming up with a new plan can be helpful to reach future goals. 

1. Mission and Goals 

Start with why you’re running a childcare center in the first place. Who do you hope to help? What impact do you want your school to have? What’s your larger vision? Establishing specific goals will give you direction when making important decisions. 

When it comes to goals, here are some necessary subcategories to get clear on:

  • Unique Mission Statement – the best brands have a strong mission that reflects throughout their entire business. Form a unique, clear mission statement that’s specific to your daycare. What sets you apart? Why do you do what you do?
  • Location – location will determine how you approach your business model. If you’re in an area that’s considered a childcare desert (little to no daycare available), you’ll have an easier time setting up your business than a location that already has a thriving population of childcare providers. Make sure you scope out the competition.
  • Type of Daycare – is your daycare an at-home center, a facility, or affiliated to a private or religious organization? Is there a gap in your local market for a childcare center like yours?
  • Success Markers – what are the indicators of success in your daycare? How many students need to be enrolled to be at maximum capacity? How much money does your business need to make before it can expand?
  • Budget – starting a business isn’t cheap. If you’re considering starting a daycare, get clear on your budget. This includes rent/mortgage, utilities, payroll, supplies, licensing fees, tuition, and more. 

2. Operational Policies

Childcare is a regulated industry, and all childcare centers have to abide by policies set by local regulators and governments. Policies keep your childcare center safe and in good standing, and also help ensure trust between you and the families you’ll potentially provide care for. Failing to define and abide by a clear set operational policies can ruin your business, so make sure you’ve thought through the details and are aware of what’s required.

Policy requirements vary by state and county. Here are the main types of operational areas you should focus on:

  • Health, Safety, and Sanitation – to operate a daycare, you need to follow health and safety guidelines. Make sure you, and your staff, are well aware of all the legal regulations and site-specific protocols your center will follow.
  • Worker’s Comp – if you or a staff member gets injured on the job, having a worker’s compensation plan can save your business a lot of money and legal trouble.
  • Liability Insurance – insurance protects and helps cover your childcare business from disastrous accidents. 
  • Crisis Plan – what are your action plans if there’s ever a crisis or natural disaster during daycare hours?

3. Teacher and Employee Responsibilities

If you’re relying on staff members to help run your business, it’s vital to create clear expectations to encourage professionalism. 

At a minimum, plan these factors of employee responsibility:

  • Accreditation – what credentials do your teachers and employees need to have to work for you? 
  • Hiring Process – structure the hiring (and lay-off) process to meet legal requirements. Make sure the people you hire fit into the mission of your childcare center. 
  • Curriculum & Activities – how and when will staff members need to plan (or deliver) the necessary curriculum? What activities will happen on a weekly and daily basis? How will you track learning and assessment?
  • Staff Communication – there need to be defined methods of communication between all staff members. Utilizing technology will help lower the risk of error. 

4. Tuition and Payment Methods

It’s important to understand how your childcare center will make money. How will families pay for your daycare center? What will your tuition fees be? Know the financial requirements your childcare center needs to keep running (and thriving). You should consider:

  • Cost of Each Child – tuition costs should be factored into your overall budget and annual financial goals. This is what determines how much it costs for each child to attend your daycare. Many childcare centers have plans that parents can choose from.
  • Electronic Payment Methods – these days, it’s rare for adults to carry cash or check on hand. Setting up online parent billing will encourage on-time payments, easier billing, and better tracking of funds throughout your business. 
  • Additional Fees – clarify any fees that need to be paid by parents, such as late fees, onboarding fees, or special activity fees.

5. Parent Communication Strategy

Communication between parents and teachers is one of the most important aspects of running a great daycare. How you communicate with parents says a lot about the character of your staff and the priorities of the business.

Here are some key things to consider when improving parent-teacher communication:

  • Scheduling – do parents have a way to view their childcare schedule? Everyone’s busy, so it’s beneficial to provide some sort of digital calendar to help them stay on track.
  • Academic Reports – if you can provide announcements, updates, and milestones for a child’s academic progress, parents will feel confident they’re getting what they’re paying for. 
  • Daily Communication – having a way to consistently relay information to parents throughout the day is important. Consider using a childcare management platform with parent communication features
  • Digital Contact – beyond verbal communication, parents who receive real-time updates while they’re away from their child get the feeling of being present for their child’s special moments.

6. Marketing Plan

Effectively marketing your childcare center can help skyrocket growth and boost your reputation with local families. Most business plans pay a significant amount of attention to marketing strategy. Here are the key three things to map out:

  • Marketing Methods – how will you market your business? Will you focus on digital marketing, word of mouth referrals, or traditional means through newspapers and local ads?
  • Online Reputation Management (ORM) – maintaining your reputation online and in-person can take time, but with the right marketing plan, it can position you as an authority in childcare. 
  • Advertising – paying to display ads online can help target your ideal audience. By calculating your ad spend or hiring a marketing team, you can bring in the families who are looking for a childcare center like yours.

Tools for a Successful Childcare Center Business Plan

Whether you’re thinking of opening a new daycare center or already running an established facility, knowing your business plan inside and out will help you achieve your goals and guide you as you grow your business.

You can even streamline this process with childcare-savvy digital tools that can enhance your business plan. Apps like Daily Connect give you access to all systems and strategies you need when planning and running your childcare business. 

With customizable online learning tools, parent-teacher messaging, childcare center management, and parent billing features, Daily Connect helps childcare businesses run smoother than ever. Get a free trial today, or contact the team for a step-by-step demo of how Daily Connect can improve your business for years to come. 

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NEW: Parent Billing on Daily Connect

We’re excited to announce the launch of all-new Parent Billing features on the Daily Connect App. 

This has been one of our most requested features ever, and we’re proud to now offer a full suite of billing and payment solutions to the thousands of childcare centers and daycare facilities that rely on Daily Connect every day. 

The Parent Billing platform is found within your existing Daily Connect account, and it’s easy to use, with a simple online interface that helps childcare administrators ensure they get paid on-time, every time. 

Let’s explore the key features:

Customizable Invoices

When you’re running a business, it’s important that everything looks just right. That’s why with Daily Connect’s new Parent Billing features, you can add your childcare center’s name, branding, and logo to your invoices. 

But customization doesn’t stop with appearances. Customize your billing cycle to match your business, and add payments for tuition, meal plans, after-care, onboarding fees, field trips, and more. Whatever you need to charge parents for, Daily Connect has you covered. 

Online & Offline Payment Options

When you email parents an invoice, it’s up to you how you accept payments. And with Daily Connect, there’s plenty of options. You can accept credit cards, debit cards, ACH transfers, cash, or check, and record everything in the Daily Connect app. Parents can pay online in just a few clicks, direct from a link in your invoices, making it easier than ever for you to accept payments. 

All online payments are quickly routed to your bank account by our banking partners, and you can record any offline transactions with just a couple of clicks. 

With low, flat-rate payment processing fees, you can do business on your terms:

  • Credit Cards: 2.9% Fee. For example, on a $100 payment, the fee would be $2.90.
  • ACH Transfers: $1.25 per payment. 
  • Cash/Check: No fees. 

Auto Billing & Recurring Payments

Put your parent billing cycle on autopilot with auto billing and recurring payments. You can create weekly or monthly recurring invoices that send automatically to parents. Parents receive reminder emails for unpaid invoices, and it’s easy for administrators to view and follow up on any overdue invoices.

Parents can schedule payments, securely store their card on file for convenience, and access their billing records and receipts. 

Online Dashboard

Track all your payments in one place with a simple online dashboard that’s part of your existing Daily Connect account. You can view reports on revenue, fee payments, and overdue invoices, and view charts that show how your business is growing over time. 

Activate Parent Billing in your Daily Connect Account Today

The ability to invoice parents, accept online payments, and track revenue all in one simple online platform is a game changer for childcare providers. By automating all this time-consuming administrative work, you can free up more time to spend growing your business, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be sure to get paid. 

If you have an existing Daily Connect account with more than 10 children enrolled, there are no additional charges to create and send invoices, view reports, and accept payments offline, and your monthly payment will not change. You’ll only be charged payment processing fees when you allow parents to pay online. 

Interested in learning more? Visit the Parent Billing webpage, or schedule a demo with one of our Product Experts to get a tour. 

Featured

7 Tips to Run a Successful Daycare Business

Childcare is more than supervising and nurturing kids while their parents are at work. Childcare is also a business— a necessary, legitimate, and impactful one. To run a successful daycare business you need a good work ethic, a heart for children, and a smooth business model you and your staff can follow. 

When all the professional details are met, you can focus on serving the children and families at your daycare. In this article, learn the top seven tips to run your childcare center successfully.

1. Follow the Policies

Every childcare center is required to follow a set of policies. Policies include federal and state licensure, health regulations, financial agreements, and more. While there are certain policies that all daycare centers must follow, some of them vary depending on size and location.

Some daycare centers have specific policies unique to their facility. For example, you may have tuition fees, a schedule, and nutritional standards that look different than other local childcare centers. Maybe you have a curriculum that is different from others.

Set up your policies to be followed clearly. Make sure your daycare center strictly follows all of its policies! This will prevent lawsuits, avoid confusion, and allow your center to maintain a good reputation in the community.

2. Build Healthy Relationships

Parents send their children to daycare to enrich their development and encourage them to form bonds. An excellent daycare center is led by the understanding of what it takes to create healthy relationships.

Communication with the kids in your care is a vital part of childcare. Additionally, parents expect clear, professional, and friendly communication on a regular basis. Talking about their child’s behavior, discussing money, and resolving conflict are all natural parts of this industry. 

These days, some tools can help daycare workers build better relationships. While in-person communication is still ideal, digital communication can benefit the ongoing contact between parents and staff. 

3. Make Life Easier for Your Team

Another key to a successful daycare business is making sure your team is supported. It isn’t always easy working with children all day— emotions run high, accidents happen, and chaos can ensue. By giving your employees the help and expectations they need, you can all be successful together, even on difficult days.

To make life easier for your staff, you can:

  • Provide ongoing training and employee education 
  • Set up easier communication tools between classrooms
  • Hold monthly meetings where your staff can discuss and voice their feedback
  • Maintain a leader gratitude board
  • Upgrade routine administration tasks to electronic software
  • Remain open to the questions, concerns, and suggestions of your staff

4. Grow Your Daycare Enrollment

The more enrollment opportunities you have, the easier it is to run a successful daycare business. One of the biggest challenges daycare centers face is growing their enrollment. 

Encouraging new enrollment takes time and effort. By becoming more involved in your community, you can promote your business, help parents find your daycare online, and truly stand out from the other childcare centers in your area.

With the internet today, it’s easier than ever to promote your business online. Having a useful website people can visit builds trust from potential enrollees. Providing a virtual tour of your facility can make parents fall in love with your daycare at first sight. Partnering with local advertising agencies can help put you in front of the right audience.

To learn more about specific ways to grow leads for your daycare business, read this Free Guide to Increasing Enrollment.

5. Improve Childcare Billing and Payment

There is always room for improvement when it comes to receiving payments in your business. If you’re still running on checks, cash, or inconsistent credit card payments at your daycare, it’s time for an upgrade that will make your life a lot easier.

You can update your billing systems by going digital. If you’ve already gone digital but still struggle to keep up with the financial aspect of your business, there are payment processing tools designed specifically for you.

Switching to a childcare payment app helps daycare providers stay on top of their billing and tuition. That way, more time and energy can be spent on what really matters: caring for the kids.

6. Market Your Daycare Business

Marketing is relevant for all businesses today, even childcare. Because 90% of adults use the internet to find information relevant to them, a majority of parents are turning to search engines to find childcare services. 

If you can improve your website with local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can show up as one of the first results in your area whenever people search for daycare. Being active on social media can boost your credibility. Advertising on childcare resource sites can also connect you with parents who need care for their children. 

7. Hire the Right Staff Members

Who you hire to work for you can contribute to your daycare business’ success. You don’t want to hire someone with no experience, but you also don’t want to turn every imperfect candidate away. 

Seek qualities in employees that you see potential in. Even if someone doesn’t have the exact schooling units you’d prefer, maybe they have an awesome personality and real-world experience working in care situations that would benefit your business. 

Since several other ways to ensure success involve supporting and communicating with your staff members, hiring the right people will overflow into the other areas where trainability and attitude simply cannot be taught. 

Helping Your Daycare Business Succeed with Daily Connect

If you’re still wondering how you can run a successful daycare business, get organized with a childcare center app. At Daily Connect, we help daycare providers just like you get the services and administrative support they need to boost their business to the next level. 

With Daily Connect, you receive: 

  • Childcare Center Management Tools
  • Sign In and Attendance Options
  • Parent Communication Tools
  • Assessment Records and Digital Portfolios
  • COVID-19 and Health Safety Reports
  • And more

With digital tools and smart practices like these, you can improve the everyday demands of your childcare center. Get the help you need to finally grow your daycare business. Reach out and get a free demo of Daily Connect today. 

Featured

5 Essential Childcare Business Tools You Need

Every childcare business has its own set of operational needs. To run your childcare center effectively, there are systems and procedures that must be followed with careful attention. Sometimes, these systems require changes to adapt to significant growth or necessary shifts in the childcare industry. To be successful, you need to embrace childcare business tools.

To maintain the best possible procedures and routines within your childcare business, here are five tools you don’t want to operate without.

1. An Established Online Presence

These days, everyone uses the web when making decisions. Whether it be shopping for a new product, comparing the best services in the area, or scoping out new schools in the community, parents are especially internet-savvy when it comes to selecting what’s best for their child.

Where families send their children for childcare is not something they take lightly. They want to know what your program is about, who works there, and which curriculum standards your school is abiding by. Having an up-to-date, accessible online presence as a childcare provider is key to winning that positive first impression.

If your childcare center has a website, make sure it’s user-friendly and displays an accurate representation of your facility. In addition, posting regularly on social media can boost the validity of your brand because it shows that there are real humans who value communication with their community beyond the nine to five work hours. 

Keeping your childcare business active online is a great practice. It benefits your business in several ways, including: 

  • Captures the attention of local families interested in finding childcare
  • Shows that you value online communication with parents 
  • Proves your business is modern, relevant, and reliable 
  • Showcases the key features of your location, including pictures and amenities 
  • Shares updates, announcements, and special events people need to know about
  • Helps people find you online, with proper SEO and quality content on your site

The first step to attracting success within your childcare business is to get online. When a school or daycare doesn’t have a website set up, parents will be less likely to inquire about enrolling their child. 

2. Classroom Management Tools

Classroom management tools ensure your teachers can run their classroom smoothly, spending less time on paperwork and more quality time with the children. The most important features of any classroom management tools include attendance tracking, curriculum management, and incident reporting. 

These tools are usually software platforms that teachers and administrators can access from their computers, tablets, and even smartphones. They make it easy for teachers and administrators to quickly record observations, take attendance, and keep records. Before these tools became popular, teachers would have to record everything manually on paper, wasting time and money.

Some of the ways childcare centers can use classroom management tools include:

  • Taking attendance
  • Keeping track of teacher:child ratios in every classroom
  • Recording observations against learning frameworks
  • Planning lessons from pre-selected curriculums
  • Maintaining records required by local regulators
  • Recording minor accidents and incidents

3. Seamless Parent-Teacher Communication

When parents enroll their kids in your program, they expect clear, consistent communication. They want to know what their child is doing at your center, how their child is behaving, and what happens throughout the day and week. 

Gone are the days when parents would be in the dark about how their kids’ day is going. Now that smartphones are in nearly every parent’s pocket, direct messages and emails can swiftly deliver updates and important alerts.

There are apps that fulfill ongoing communication needs between childcare staff and parents. Send out instant notifications to guardians and let them know what is happening throughout the day in real-time. Deliver injury and incident reports as they happen. Ease the stress of a mom with a child with sleep regression by notifying her there was a quality nap today. 

Parent communication apps for childcare help both providers and guardians. These tools increase communication by:

  • Allowing instant, automatic updates throughout the day 
  • Tracking and recording important information
  • Notifying parents of special moments and achievements, not just concerns or issues
  • Confirming guest pickups (for example, if a grandparent is picking up a child)

4. Simple Payment Processing and Accounting

One of the challenges technology solves in childcare centers is the process of receiving and tracking payments. Without digital tools, it can be extremely difficult to keep up with accounting and bookkeeping. 

There are a large number of children and families to account for. Tracking enrollment, late fees, event payments, and more is simply not feasible without the right processing software. This is especially true if you’re operating a larger, more well-established childcare facility. If that’s the case, making sure you have everything you need in one place makes the world of a difference. 

Online accounting software helps your childcare business in many ways, including:

  • Organizing monthly or annual enrollment status for each child
  • Easy access to financial information and receipts for parents and staff
  • Tracking the overall funds of your childcare center
  • Legitimizing your bookkeeping for legal and tax purposes
  • Saving time and money all year long 

Get your childcare business on the right track with online accounting. It’ll save everyone the headache of missing payments, losing receipts, and forgetting which family paid for enrollment. 

5. Multi-Functional Childcare Center Management Software

Get the best of the best childcare business tools with childcare management software throughout your business. There are tools that deliver all of the above functions and more in a program-specific way, created specifically for childcare providers. 

Management software for childcare centers makes it easier to run your business. It helps your staff get on the same page and complete tasks, encourages parent-teacher communication, tracks important documents and compliances, and allows multimedia resources for everyone involved in your facility. 

Extra features of childcare management software include: 

  • Fully-functional mobile app for parents and staff
  • Contactless check-in and check-out for guardians 
  • Photo and video sharing of child activities throughout the day 
  • Individual learning and assessment records 
  • Staff checklists and safety protocols for important changes, such as COVID-19 regulations 
  • Parental surveys to continually update and improve your childcare programs 
  • Automatic payment options for consistent enrollment 
  • Incident reporting with detailed diagrams and written descriptions

How to Set Up Better Childcare Business Tools

Childcare centers all around the world are implementing all the beneficial features of digital management for a reason. It makes the jobs of childcare workers easier, ensures parents have access to the features they need, and allows leaders to focus on what really matters — being present and caring for students. 

See for yourself how digital tools can encourage the growth, maintenance, and positive reputation of your childcare business. To learn more about setting up a platform that helps you build a better childcare business, schedule a free trial of Daily Connect

Featured

New Features on Daily Connect

At Daily Connect, we’re passionate about listening to our users and adding features that make life easier for childcare professionals across the world. That’s why today, we’re announcing four new features to improve the Daily Connect platform for all our users. Here are the new features:

Video Sharing: As of today, childcare professionals can now send parents videos of their children directly through the Daily Connect app. 

Surveys: We’ve also added enhancements to the survey feature within the app, with powerful new customization features that help you run your childcare center more efficiently. 

Incident Reports: We’re adding the ability to attach a body map image to incident reports, helping satisfy regulatory requirements and providing more information to parents. 

Parent/Teacher Messaging Tools: We’re making it easier for administrators to access messages between teachers and parents.

All features have now been activated for Premium+ and Professional+ subscribers. 

If you’d like to upgrade your subscription to include these features, please contact us at support@dailyconnect.com

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each of the features, including screenshots and instructions for how you can start using them. 

With the new school year just around the corner for many childcare centers, we’re confident these features, in addition to our existing features, will give you all the tools you need to provide a memorable childcare experience.

Video Sharing

Since we launched our photo sharing feature, childcare centers across the world have shared more than 60 Million photos with parents. 

Users can now record videos of children and share them directly with parents. 

Parents view the videos of their children straight from the Daily Connect app on their phones, and will also receive any videos you share via the daily summary email. 

Videos can be up to one minute long, and are accessible in the system for one year. After that, they’ll be deleted, but an email will be sent in advance of this to give parents the opportunity to download the video to keep forever. 

The process for sharing a video is exactly the same as the process for sharing a photo. 

This feature is available on the mobile application to all Premium+ and Professional+ subscribers. 

Surveys

Previously, surveys were only available for the sign-in process. We’ve now added a number of improvements to the survey process, meaning you can use surveys in powerful new ways.

Surveys can now be sent to staff members, parents, and prospective families. Some ways you can use surveys include:

  • Sharing a staff checklist to ensure all required tasks are performed
  • Asking parents for their opinions on events, like field trips or celebrations
  • Sending a questionnaire to prospective families to learn more about them 

Everyone you send the survey to will receive an email notification, as well as an alert in the Daily Connect app. 

You can customize the survey to ask whatever questions you like, including questions with free text answers or questions with different choices. 

Users can pull customized reports with survey results, and use filters to view responses. This is helpful for applications like staff checklists, where the administrator only wants to see items marked ‘Not Done’. 

The survey feature can be accessed in the Settings > Surveys page. 

Improvements to Incident Reports: Body Maps

When an incident occurs, it’s important to record it quickly and accurately. We’ve now added body maps to incident reports so that users can better report any injuries. This helps parents to better understand what happened, and is also recommended (or even required) by your local regulator.

Parents receive incident reports via email and through the Daily Connect app, where they can sign the incident report. Administrators can then print and save the report for their records. 

Improvements to Parent/Teacher Messaging Tools: Administrator Access

We’ve made it easier for administrators to view messages sent between staff and parents. Instead of browsing through each classroom to see messages, administrators can now view all messages at once through the ‘All rooms’ menu item on the Daily Connect Web App. 

Administrators can also enable push notifications on their device to receive a notification every time a message is sent. 

We’re confident that these features will improve the Daily Connect experience for administrators, teachers, and parents alike.


If you have any questions about any of the features, or would like to upgrade to a Premium+ or Professional+ subscription so that you can access them, please contact our Support Team at support@dailyconnect.com

Featured

6 Challenges Faced by Childcare Centers and How to Overcome Them

Childcare center owners, and their teachers, give their time, energy, and skills to ensure that children in their communities receive the education and care they deserve. 

But sometimes working at a childcare center poses a unique set of challenges. Whether it’s administrators being buried in a mountain of paperwork, or teachers struggling to track a child’s learning progress against developmental milestones, there’s no shortage of challenges for childcare professionals to overcome. 

Thankfully, the development of technology in the childcare field is making it easier for childcare professionals to address these challenges. By embracing technology, childcare center owners and teachers free themselves to spend more time delivering high quality childcare and education to children, strengthening their business. 

At Daily Connect, we’ve been in the childcare technology business for 12 years now, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about the challenges faced by childcare providers of all sizes, all over the world. Here’s some of the most common challenges, alongside our tips to help you overcome them:

#1 Keeping up with licensing requirements and state standards

It’s important to always stay compliant with federal and state regulations for childcare. Licensure means a center is legally meeting the basic requirements mandated to safely and effectively run a childcare business. This is the foundation of any successful childcare business.

Maintaining all the necessary paperwork, safety routines, emergency protocols, and detailed records can get confusing without the proper levels of organization. 

Getting organized and setting up a system that ensures you’re meeting all standards will keep your childcare center running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. You’ll also have peace of mind, knowing that if inspectors ever do pay you a visit, you’ll have everything you need right there. 

Make sure you have proper tracking in place. Always keep up with license proof, renewal dates, and future requirements. Consistent checks are commonplace, and help to prevent issues with record-keeping down the road. Consider embracing a technological solution to help – particularly to store files and track legal documents you don’t use often.

#2 Too much paperwork distracts from spending time with children

Because of the need to track and record so many various factors, running a childcare center requires a lot of paperwork. Not an hour goes by without teachers and staff recording daily activity that requires some type of form.

Sifting through all the different forms and communication logs can take a lot of time. If a situation comes up where a child is in danger, the last thing a professional wants to focus on is finding the right form inside the filing cabinet. But it’s often required to have the proper documentation on file and to fill it out promptly to prevent liability issues.

Paperwork is time-consuming, boring (let’s face it), and distracts you from spending time with children creating meaningful bonds. That’s not to mention the cost. Many childcare centers spend thousands of dollars every year on paper and printing!

Whether it be a child check-in, taking supplies inventory, noting an accident, or filling out a behavioral slip, keeping all paperwork available and ready is a no-brainer. Consider switching from paper to digital forms that are handy to each staff member. This can save hours spent per week printing and looking for physical copies inside a folder, and it’ll also make life easier for parents.

#3 Incident reporting and the professional liability of staff

One major aspect of paperwork is incident reporting. If a child falls off the slide and sprains their wrist, providing an incident report to the parent is a must.

Incident reports include the time and date of the incident, what happened, symptoms the child showed after the incident, and how the incident was treated on-site (or off-site, like in a hospital, for emergencies).

Even minor incidents are required to be recorded, such as bathroom accidents, aggressive play with other children, or abnormal behavior. Staff must report these events to legal guardians not only to avoid potential liability but to maintain open communication that ensures safety and trust. 

What if there was a way to digitally record all incidents? Having all the documents filed and searchable within a software makes it reliable not only for staff members but parents as well. It also gives easy access to incident history for any mandated report cases.

#4 Trust and communication with parents & guardians

One of the biggest concerns parents have when finding the best childcare provider for their children is trust. How can parents trust the center to give their children the supervision, care, attention, and learning opportunities they need? 

The worst thing a childcare provider can do is fail to communicate fully with a legal guardian. Parents want to know how their child’s day was, what they did, and both good and bad moments they might’ve experienced. Radio silence causes parents to stress about their child, whereas quick updates can put their mind at ease. 

For staff working with multiple children all day long, it’s easy to forget the smaller moments that stood out for each child when pick-up time comes around. Most parents receive highlights and main occurrences of each day, but rarely do they get to hear about the child’s most memorable achievements. 

Now with technology, there are ways to update parents in real-time about what their child is doing throughout the day. Apps like Daily Connect allow parents to see photo and text updates – covering everything from what their child ate for lunch to photos of their work in art class. This brightens parents days, strengthens their relationship with you, and helps build high levels of trust with your staff.

#5 Ensuring the health and safety of every child

The safety, health, and well-being of children is the top priority. Childcare centers are a safe environment, but like everywhere else over the past year, dealing with the threat of COVID-19 has proved a major challenge to many childcare centers. 

When it comes to safely reopening your childcare center, the health of every child, parent, and staff member is on everyone’s mind. If one child is sick, they put everyone else at risk, including the families of other children attending. 

During COVID-19, childcare centers want to meet CDC guidelines to maintain a safe and sanitary environment for every child. This means regular cleaning, monitoring each child’s temperature, and watching out for any potential symptoms of illness.

Pandemic or no pandemic, the health of your child is crucial. Recording individual health signs is easier than ever. Some apps have features that allow teachers and parents to observe the status of their child, to put them at ease while knowing the site is being responsible and safe.

#6 Tracking behavior, learning, and developmental progress

With so many kids to guide each day, how can childcare professionals make sure every child is progressing? Childcare staff do not just supervise and play with children, they also play a critical role in observing and shaping their developmental progress.

Every licensed child care center conducts learning evaluations for the children they care for. The school and the child’s parents must know how he or she is meeting developmental standards. Giving each child the attention and evaluation they need can take time, become interrupted, or be unrealistic if the person doing the evaluation is not with the child every single day.

Using progress monitoring systems that include lists of long-term information collected over time is a radical improvement. Automatic reports can track ongoing progress, and keep everyone updated on the child’s progress towards key developmental milestones.
It’s important to note that different states and countries each have their own learning frameworks and standards. Daily Connect has a huge variety of learning frameworks from around the world built in, and makes it easy for teachers to track children’s progress against the relevant learning frameworks in their local area.

How technology and software can improve childcare centers for good

Automating parts of the administration and communication process within childcare centers is a smart move for any facility. Because everything is moving online, it’s growing easier to implement technology solutions in any industry – including childcare!

At Daily Connect we understand the importance of remaining compliant with safety standards and upholding top-notch communication between staff and parents. Using the power of technology to overcome challenges often seen within childcare centers, more children can receive better attention and care.

This essential childcare app is a win-win for kids, families, and childcare professionals. Daily Connect works for you so you don’t have to work as hard on the tasks that distract from childcare. 

See it for yourself. Try Daily Connect free for 14 days, or if you’re not sure yet, schedule a free demo to learn more.

Featured

Childcare Center Relationships: 7 Best Ways to Build Family Relationships

Building close childcare center relationships with the families of children who attend your childcare center is one of the biggest investments you can make in improving your childcare business. 

Closer childcare center relationships create better experiences for children – helping improve their overall experience, as well as their progress towards developmental milestones, building of social skills, and overall happiness. 

But healthy relationships with families are also a huge positive for your business. Happy parents can’t wait to tell everyone about your amazing childcare center, and will recommend you to their colleagues, friends, and families, bringing you new customers. 

On the face of it, building healthy relationships with families might seem easy. But there’s some steps you can take to go to the next level and stand apart from other childcare centers in your area. Here’s the seven best ways for childcare centers to stand apart: 

#1 High-Quality Customer Service

Your teachers and care providers are the face of your business, and it’s important they demonstrate high-quality customer service skills in order to build lasting relationships with families. Even before technological advances started providing smoother solutions, teachers knew they needed to:

  • Be engaging
  • Communicate clearly
  • Always share the good
  • Gently share the challenges
  • Check in consistently with parents

These days, providing high-quality customer service is more important than ever. Parents expect a seamless, professional experience. Using technological solutions helps build closer relationships with parents by giving them more visibility of their child’s day. Using technology to communicate also frees your staff to spend more time with the children, so everyone’s a winner.

#2 Share Children’s Accomplishments

When parents get more information on a regular basis, their ability to support their child increases. Let’s take an example of something children do all the time at childcare: art projects! 

Teachers can share artwork with parents by sending it home, but often, the child’s art gets displayed on the walls, is a temporary creation, or is the work of a team of several child geniuses! Instead of sending children home with their masterpiece, consider having teachers take a picture of the artwork and share it with parents. If you like, go one step further, and create a digital portfolio that collates everything in an online gallery

Once the child heads home for the day, families are able to have exciting, stimulating conversations with their child about their masterpiece – even if they don’t have the artwork in front of them. This creates a stronger, healthier bond, and also makes families feel more involved in their child’s experiences at your childcare center. 

#3 Reduce Parent Anxiety

Parents love getting consistent updates from their child’s teacher about what their child is up too. Children are the center of every parent’s universe, and many parents have anxiety about leaving their child at a daycare center. Whether it’s getting used to being apart from their first-born child for the first time, or worrying about behavioural issues, that anxiety is only natural.

Short, simple updates go a long way to reducing this anxiety. 

Whether it’s sharing the child’s work, photos of them playing, or an update on what they had for lunch, quick, frequent updates can dramatically increase a parent’s level of trust in you as a childcare provider. Parents will wonder less about what’s going on with their child when they know what they’re up to at key times during the day.  

#4 Create a Secure Environment

Every childcare provider has to pay attention when it comes to child pickup and drop off. This has always been an important issue, but it’s become more so in the past year as childcare providers do everything they can to ensure a COVID-safe environment.

Families are trusting you with the most important thing in their world––their child––so it’s vital you do everything you can to create a safe, clean environment that minimizes risks. 

One way of doing this is by introducing a touchless sign-in that lets parents check their child in using a QR code or a unique PIN. This ensures that only approved people are able to collect the child from your center. 

You might also consider taking extra measures including a COVID-19 screening survey that parents must take before checking their child in to your center.

#5 Bridge the Gap Between Home and School

Previously, parent-teacher communication occurred mostly around events like parent-teacher conferences, field trips, or even just a quick chat while picking up lost and found items.

But by making an effort to build closer relationships, parents, teachers, and even children can have a much better experience. 

Children can see positive support happening on a daily basis between the two most important areas of their life: home and childcare. And together, parents and teachers can find ways to help the child grow and blossom by identifying development areas. 

Frequent communication is the best way to bridge this gap and create positive childcare center relationships. Communication between parents and teachers on a regular basis goes a long way to building lasting, long-term relationships. There are a variety of online communication platforms custom-built for childcare centers. Our advice: look for services with a secure messaging system and customizable shared activity log that teachers can use to easily share quick updates on daily activities.

#6 Made Paperwork a Breeze

Nobody likes doing paperwork. Whether it’s filling out daily sheets, tracking attendance, or sending out newsletters, we know you’d rather be spending quality time with the children instead of being stuck in the office. 

You’re not alone. Parents aren’t big fans of paperwork either – often, it’ll just end up at the bottom of a pile of mail, or land in the trash. 

Simplify the process for everyone and start sharing important documents and information with parents digitally. 

You’ll make life easier for parents, ensure your important updates get read, and dramatically reduce your spending on paper and ink, potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

#7 Use Daily Connect

The most successful childcare businesses use technology to support child development and parent-teacher relationships, which in turn bolsters their reputation as a quality childcare business.

You want technology that’s easy to use, inexpensive, and takes care of the hard work for you, so you can spend more time with children and parents and focus on growing your business. Daily Connect is a simple yet powerful software platform that enables childcare centers to effectively communicate with parents. 

There are a range of features to support closer relationships with families, and an easy-to-use app that can be used by parents and teachers alike. Daily Connect is customizable to the needs of your childcare center, and prices start from just $4.99/mo. 

If you want to learn more about using technology to build better relationships with the families at your childcare center, schedule your free demo of Daily Connect today

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Childcare 2021 Trends: What to Look Out For

These days there’s a lot to consider when running a childcare facility. Many of the trends in the childcare industry have changed dramatically in the past year; some have accelerated, and other completely novel patterns have emerged.  As you look for childcare 2021 trends, there’s a lot to think about.

Overall though, it’s good news – the forecast for the future of the childcare industry is bright. Here’s the latest trends, and what they mean to those who serve and care for our future generations.

#1 Early childhood degrees are on the rise

More and more childcare centers are requiring their lead teachers to have bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE). The research shows this number has been on the rise for years, and shows no signs of slowing. 

While many centers accept teachers with an Associate’s Degree, or basic ECE units, the best childcare centers are increasingly looking for staff with a four year ECE degree. Existing teachers are adapting, with the rise of online education programs for ECE degrees making it possible for teachers to continue their education while they’re already in the classroom.

More educated teachers provide better quality teaching and assessment, aided by a clearer understanding of best practices. As parents assess childcare centers, they’re increasingly looking for innovative, forward-thinking providers, with an emphasis on education quality. Make sure you stand out from the competition with a robust focus on learning and parent communication

#2 Increasing awareness of the importance of quality Early Childhood Education

Childcare, as much fun as it is, is a business at the end of the day. As more universities launch ECE programs, the government continues to increase funding, and Head Start programs are multiplying throughout the country. 

Recent stimulus packages have included billions of dollars in funds for early childcare programs. The most recent–the American Rescue Plan– includes a significant increase in childcare tax credits, making it easier than ever for parents to afford childcare. 

Additional funds are being directed to childcare centers who need COVID assistance. Many states have early childcare initiatives with extra funding for centers who can demonstrate their successes through quality assessment.

All this points to an increased need for childcare centers to have their business set up for success. Many parents might be in the market for childcare services for the first time, and it’s important childcare centers understand how to differentiate themselves from their competition. Primary ways to stand out include a higher quality of care, better parent communication, and offering a safe environment.

#3 Best practices in ECE assessment

As awareness of the importance of ECE continues, so does the attention focused on assessment tools that measure the development of individual children as well as the productivity of the center itself. Most states have developed standards for ECE centers, and the NAEYC also have their own set of developmental milestones. 

When teachers keep abreast of the latest trends in assessment, they’re able to provide parents with a better understanding of how their child is progressing. This is much easier for teachers when they have digital tools to record observations and assessments, and can prepare lessons and activities to help their students hit developmental milestones.

Related: Daily Connect Learning Frameworks & State Standards

#4 Resurgence of Play

Classic early childhood theorists have expounded the benefits of play for years, and now, ECE professionals are finally catching up. In 2021, more and more childcare centers are focusing on getting children outside and playing, driven by both COVID-19 and recent childhood obesity trends

Children are spending more time outside while in childcare, and there’s an increased focus on organized physical activities like yoga, running, and even sports that involve throwing and kicking balls. 

While many parents focus primarily on education, it’s important to remind them of the importance of play. Physical activity makes for healthier children, and aids development of large motor skills. Make sure to track physical activities and share important developmental milestones with parents to build that all important human connection with families.

#5 Increasing use of technology

Many early childhood facilities are introducing technology in their lesson plans. Allowing children to utilize a tablet or a computer stimulates different parts of the brain, and allows for the development of necessary skills to function in today’s society.

Likewise, new technologies are emerging that can boost the productivity of centers and improve the teacher – family connection that is so crucial to the success of each young child. 

Positive relationships with parents and families can sometimes be the hardest component to running a center – probably never more than the past year. One of the biggest trends for 2021 is the increasing use of technologies that enable better interactions between childcare centers and parents. 

As both parents and teachers become more technologically-savvy, it’s becoming almost expected that childcare centers make use of technology to foster better relationships with their parents.  

How to make the most of these trends for your childcare business

If you want your childcare business to continue to prosper in 2021 and beyond, it’s important to take note of these trends and consider how your childcare business is positioned in relation to them. 

Business has changed a lot in the past year, and while some things will go back to the way they were, others have changed forever. 

Software like Daily Connect that can help you move with the trends of 2021. Embracing technological solutions can improve your productivity, and offer a better way to communicate and engage with families throughout the day.  

It’s not just families – teachers will benefit too. They can update information real time for doting parents: eating habits, bathroom trips, socialization, and more can all be shared from teacher to parent in seconds. There’ll be no more writing out notes for every child at the end of the day.

Easily accessible assessment tools are incredibly important for parents to see how their child is developing in relation to developmental milestones. Through technology, parents can view a portfolio of their child’s work, photos of their activities, and track their development against benchmarks – giving them the peace of mind they desire.  

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Embracing the trends of 2021 will help your childcare center stand out from the competition. Not only that; you’ll provide a better experience for parents, children, and teachers alike, building a strong childcare business well-positioned for future success. 

We recommend you consider Daily Connect as a low-cost digital platform that will help you create unforgettable childcare experiences for children and parents alike.  

Thousands of childcare centers across the world use Daily Connect every day to communicate with parents, track compliance, and provide a higher quality of childcare. It’s easy to use, completely customizable to your practice, and is loved by parents, with thousands of 5 star reviews. 

Start your free trial today, or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.