Case Study

First Steps Children’s Centre

The Background

Elaine Wiliams and Julie Elsworth began working in the First Steps Pre-School in 1990, which at the time was a charitable group, run by a committee.

In 1997 the pair took over the group and ran it as a private pre-school from a rented Village Hall. When the opportunity arose to erect a new building in the school grounds, the pair jumped for it and a year later the pre-school opened up in its own building for 26 registered children. Having quickly outgrown their humble beginnings the pair expanded the pre-school over the years and today they have a beautiful 105 place day nursery in Newquay as well as a nursery in Porthleven and an Out of School club in Truro. Elaine and Julie are not stopping here, their dedication to providing quality care sees them continually investing time and money to ensure their outstanding settings are giving children the start in life that they truly deserve.

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The Challenge

The centre had used a number of different software systems over the years but found that none of them were proving to be helpful for the staff and the parents. Due to the growth and expansion they were experiencing, the pair began to look for alternatives.

Our previous system was not coping with the numbers of children on our books. We were unable to use it to email out bills, parents could not access their bills at home and the support was from only one person. I think we just outgrew it and we needed a software system that moved with the times.

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The Solution

After an online search, Elaine found Connect Childcare. It had all of the features the settings required and was already being used successfully by thousands of other nurseries.

Elaine made the decision to go ahead with the full Connect Childcare package and was immediately impressed with the implementation process and the training she received.

The training was very good and there were lots of resources online to read and watch including excellent videos which we could watch at home and re-visit parts that we were not too sure about. Our staff adapted very quickly. I sat and did training with them and they knew that they could phone Connect and get excellent help anytime that they needed it.

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The Result

Connect Childcare had a huge impact on the setting’s everyday processes, saving time and making administration efficient, fast and effective. Elaine explains that the Comms module has had a positive effect on the company’s cash flow;

I love the Comms in Connect Childcare. It has made my life so much easier as I can email all the bills. I also select all parents who owe money and it will filter them out and send reminders. We email our newsletters and alerts. I find I now get a quick response from parents when they have our emails land in their in-box. We are now getting our bills paid more regularly as we are able to follow up on unpaid bills with much more ease. This has saved us time which we can now put into other areas of the business.

It’s not just administration and finance that have been impacted by the introduction of Connect, Practitioners are saving time and parents are benefitting too.

We love being able to do observations now on the iPad, this has really saved our staff time and they can now spend more time with the children. Our parents love being able to view their bills and see their children's photos and observations on their computers and phones.

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Elaine is delighted with the decision she made and would happily recommend Connect Childcare to other growing nurseries.

We are very pleased that we made the decision to change to Connect Childcare. All Connect staff are very supportive and always have a friendly, approachable manner when we speak to them. We never feel that anything is too much trouble. It can be a bit daunting but this is definitely a change for the better and we would recommend it to any setting.

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