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. 

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. 

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.   

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. 

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

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.

Changes to our free version

Today we’re announcing changes to our free version. Effective Monday January 17th 2022, the free version of Daily Connect will not have the ability to save new entries anymore. Users without a subscription will no longer be able to save activities unless upgrading to a Premium+ account, with usage-based pricing starting at $4.99 per month. This does not apply to parents linked to a childcare center or a nanny with a subscription.

Existing users will have a two month free trial period of the Premium+ subscription, and will be able to continue using Daily Connect free of charge until March 17, 2022. We’re confident this will give everybody time to explore the new features and make a decision about the best path forward. 

To continue using Daily Connect after March 17, 2022, you’ll need to add payment details to your account. You won’t be charged unless you opt-in. After that, your payment card will be charged on the same day each month. There is no long-term contract, and you can cancel at any time without penalty. Only one subscription per family is needed.

Click here to start your Premium+ trial subscription

At Daily Connect, we appreciate users choosing our app to help them run their childcare business more smoothly. We also know that many families use our app to coordinate childcare between parents, grandparents, nannies, and more. If you purchased the in-app extension in the past, this one-time purchase will not give you free unlimited subscription but it’ll give you a total of three month free trial period, ending on April 17 2022. 

If you do not upgrade your account, your Daily Connect account will move to a read-only account on March 17 2022. After this date, you’ll be free to download and export any data, but you will not be able to add any new observations, communicate with parents, or use any other features.  

The change to a subscription-based business will allow us to:

  • Invest in our cloud infrastructure to provide seamless data synchronization, unlimited storage, and maximum data privacy and security
  • Continue to provide same-day customer support
  • Add new features to the application, and support new platforms and devices
  • Keep providing an ad-free application
  • Continue to provide free accounts for parents and families
  • Remove all usage limits on your account, enabling you to share unlimited updates and photos with parents

You’ll also get access to premium features, including the ability to share videos, set up a shared parent calendar, and create digital portfolios for every child. You can learn more about these premium features here: Daily Connect Premium Features

We’re confident that with these changes, we’ll be able to make Daily Connect better than ever before, and help you take your childcare business to the next level. 
If you have any questions or concerns, our team is here to help. Please visit our Help Center, or contact support@dailyconnect.com

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

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!

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