Daycare Doctor – Working with Parents as Partners
New technologies are making it easier for parents and nurseries to work together as partners, explains Catriona Nason, founder of Daycare Doctor, a one-stop shop for nursery owners and managers.
Picking children up from nursery at the end of a busy day can leave little time for parents to properly discuss their child’s day and achievements with their key worker. Traditionally, nurseries have solved this by sending children home with paper copies of their daily learning journey, but these are often left in the child’s bag and not looked at in detail by parents.
A new approach
Leading nursery management software providers have been working hard to use innovative new technologies to solve this problem and to stop nursery practitioners duplicating their notes in different paper formats.
By enabling nursery staff to directly upload observations to an electronic learning journey, the information can easily be duplicated to records needed by the nursery and the government as well as providing parents with an easy to access and read summary of their children’s daily activities. Ofsted places huge emphasis on recording data in a way in which it can be tracked and monitored against targets, so using these innovative forms of nursery management software could help nurseries as they attempt to be awarded outstanding grades.
iConnect from Connect Childcare is a fantastic example of this because it allows observations to be uploaded onto a tablet based in the room with the child; daily sheets can be produced from this as well as feeding into tracker reports to monitor a child’s progress against government targets. The biggest advantage of this is that staff are cutting down on the time they spend preparing children’s files, meaning they can spend much more time planning new activities and helping children to learn new skills. Nurseries using software like iConnect could save up to 100 hours a week on file time, meaning they can commit more time to improving the quality of their childcare provision. As a nursery manager, this gives you added value over your competitors and makes your nursery more financially efficient.
Using new technologies in everyday situations
Around 20% of nurseries currently use tablets in their learning environments and this is expected to increase to 80% in the next five years. By using these technologies, which are now readily available, in conjunction with software such as iConnect, nursery managers can streamline their administration processes and work closer with parents. Whilst a small initial investment is required by nurseries who don’t currently use tablets, using them with the latest nursery management software could in fact save the nursery up to £200 a month on printing of daily updates, invoices and other administrative paperwork.
Cutting down on administrative time
By recording EYFS observations and tracking children’s progress, iConnect has been proven to reduce the observational admin burden on nursery staff by half, and in some cases by two-thirds. That’s about five extra hours, per member of staff, per week, which is now spent looking after a child instead of doing admin.
Additionally, research announced by Ofcom this year shows that the number of adults using tablets to go online has almost doubled from 16% in 2012 to 30% in 2013. 62% of adults used a smartphone in 2013, an increase from 54% the year before. These increases in the use of mobile devices mirror an increase in the range of mobile activities that people are doing. Over half of mobile users send and receive emails on their mobile and visit social networking sites or apps.
Easy to use apps
As adults increasingly rely on mobile devices to keep in touch with family, friends and work, the development of parent apps in nursery management software will become incredibly valuable. By enabling parents to access learning journeys on the go, wherever they are, apps such as iConnect’s ParentZone will ensure that parents keep up to date with their children’s progress whilst they are at work. ParentZone uses a familiar Facebook style timeline to record children’s achievements and photos of their day, allowing parents to comment to the nursery in response to the posts. These apps have had a significant impact on the involvement of fathers in their children’s development because they are some of the biggest users of mobile technologies.
By combining technologies such as smartphones and tablets with the latest developments in nursery management software, nurseries and parents will be able to strengthen their relationships which will be fantastic for the development of pre-school aged children.
Connect Childcare, founders of iConnect, are specialists in the provision of innovative technology solutions to the UK childcare sector. Their nursery management software is an industry leading system designed to take the headaches out of all aspects of nursery administration.