May 22, 2019 8:38:15 AM

Preschool Schedule Ideas to Structure Your Day

Preschool | Schools & Daycares | Teacher Resources | Preschool Management

Regimenting a day at preschool is all about balance: quiet time and play, flexibility and routine, structured lessons and free choice. While it may take you a while to find the formula that works for you and your group, the basic elements will remain the same.

May 16, 2019 11:46:54 AM

Preschool Assessment Forms and How They Shape Your Business

Preschool | Schools & Daycares | Teacher Resources | Preschool Management

 Finally, as a more objective form of valuation, they form a cornerstone of parent-staff communication along with other child assessment tools such as developmental portfolios.

When you invest in this lifecycle of preschool assessment forms, your whole program will benefit overall. At each stage, there is the opportunity for improvement and growth — not just for children, but also for your staff, curriculum, and parent-teacher relationships.

Stage 1: Creating a preschool assessment form

The first stage of the lifecycle is creating your assessment forms. To do so, you'll draw from expert guidelines on developmental milestones.

We strongly recommend checking state regulations or guidelines to start. While you want to be sure you are meeting your own state's requirements, take a look at other state materials as well, as they can contain valuable information and tips. Look at resources such as:

 

Then, identify the primary categories you will assess (e.g., literacy, math, fine motor skills, emotional development) and what criteria you will use to determine a child's stage of development. Put these into a template with a standardized rating system, like the one available for download at the end of this article. And remember to check state guidelines every year — they may change!

Stage 2: Filling out your assessments

Stage two of the lifecycle is conducting assessments of the children in your care. Observe each child over a predetermined period of time to determine whether or not they've reached certain milestones outlined on your assessment forms.

May 7, 2019 7:50:07 PM

9 Essential Features of Child Care Manager Software

Child Care | Childcare | Preschool | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Teacher Resources | Preschool Management

 

Whether you are looking for billing solutions or enrollment management, there's a lot to sort through. That's why we've broken down nine essential features of child care software you can use in your program, and how each one can help you inside and outside the classroom. 

Apr 16, 2019 8:13:19 PM

How to Make the Best Child Care Sign-In Sheets (+ Free Templates)

Child Care | Childcare | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

 By optimizing your sign-in experience, you can make things easier for parents and staff both during the hectic check-in time and when you review any child's attendance. This will save you time, money, and frustration across the board.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of traditional sign-in methods, and explore the benefits of moving to a more modern, digital solution for child check-in and attendance tracking.

Apr 1, 2019 8:04:50 PM

7 Child Care Forms You Need to Run a Better Business

Child Care | Childcare | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

 

Rather than hiding them in a file cabinet, use them as an opportunity to put your business a step ahead. How you write and present your forms is a direct reflection of your business and its values. The perceptions of staff and parents are influenced each time they fill out a form, so maximizing your forms has a host of benefits.

Nailing these forms and using them correctly helps you build a better business.

Just want the forms? Head to the end of the article for links to 7 essential child care forms. 

Mar 21, 2019 8:44:48 AM

Managing Child Care Daily Report Forms (and How to Make Them Better)

Childcare | Preschool | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.

Child care forms, especially daily report forms, are an integral part of the workings of a child care center for staff and parents alike.

Communicating with parents on a daily basis about the milestones and activities children are experiencing is an essential part of the connection between staff and parents. Staff members use each daily report to identify any changes in a child's behavior and to keep a record of how each child is progressing. Parents, too, benefit with daily report forms providing insight into what their child did each day and how they're feeling when a parent is not around.

Despite the upsides, keeping on top of child care daily report forms is often more difficult than it has to be. This is because many child care centers still use paper forms and processing these forms manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Moving away from paper to digital is the best way to make handling your child care daily report forms easier. Here's how using technology can help improve communication with parents, lower your administrative costs, and enable your staff to work smarter.

Mar 19, 2019 7:21:54 AM

9 Child Care Interview Questions Every Employer Should Ask

Child Care | Childcare | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.

Hiring is a chance to raise the quality of your child care program. Finding a great addition to your staff makes your program a better place for the children in your care and for your current employees. The interview is an especially important step in your hiring process because it's during this exchange that you can get the best feel for candidates.

Sitting across from someone and hearing them speak about themselves and their experience gives you a rounded view of a candidate and how they will fit in with your child care center. To maximize each interview, be methodical about which questions you ask. This will help you evaluate each candidate fairly and make sure you get to know each applicant.

Here are nine child care interview questions that you should ask in every interview to find people that you trust to work in your child care program.

Mar 11, 2019 7:19:32 PM

Child Care Application Forms That Work for Administrators and Parents

Child Care | Childcare | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.

Child care application forms are a necessary part of the childcare business, but not all child care forms are made equal. Because handling child care application forms can be time consuming for administrators and parents alike, streamlining the process of applying makes life easier for everyone.

Mar 6, 2019 6:43:50 PM

Essential Guide to Child Check-In Software

Child Care | Childcare | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

 Child check-in software is a great way to employ technology to make your life easier and keep your modern families happy. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve gathered a quick guide to follow, from choosing the software through implementation. Let’s get started!

Mar 5, 2019 9:46:31 AM

How to Manage Your Child Care Waiting List

Child Care | Childcare | Preschool | Schools & Daycares | Daycare | Preschool Management

This post is part of our series that covers all the basics you need to create or update your program's administrative paperwork. Read more at 7 Child Care Forms You Need To Run A Better Business.

For child care centers, managing a child care waiting list is a necessary and time-consuming part of business — but it's also an area of opportunity.

If you run a child care center or preschool, making child care forms, including waiting lists, easier to manage will reduce internal stress over maintaining a waiting list and fielding queries about it. At the same time, you can put your best foot forward for your business by using waiting lists as a chance to establish the excellence of your program.

Child care waiting lists can be frustrating for parents, and being proactive about managing your waiting list will build your reputation as a program that puts the needs of parents first. 

Be up front about your policies

Getting a child into child care can be a long process for parents, and making your wait-list procedures transparent is a great way to appeal to parents searching for child care. Being up front about what happens to applicants on your waiting list makes life much easier for parents trying to make costly and time-sensitive decisions for their children. It can also mitigate time spent managing the wait list internally, especially responding to parent inquiries.

Being clear and transparent about your policies will also help parents get a feel for your program. The way you treat your waiting list is an extension of the philosophy with which you run your child care center and sets the tone for parents as they search for an opening for their child.

In the enrollment section of your website and in your program handbook, address the possibility of being placed on a waiting list, including:
  • Fees: What are the fees associated with an application? Are they refundable?
  • Enrollment periods: When are your enrollment periods? Can parents fill out an application at any time? What is the likelihood that a child will be accepted in between enrollment periods?
  • Waiting list order: Will parents know where on the waiting list they are? Do you operate on a first-come, first-served basis or fill spots by other criteria? What age groups typically have the longest/shortest waiting list? How long are children kept on the list?
  • Communication: If parents have questions, how should they contact you? Should parents expect updates on the waiting list?
  • Enrollment offers: If a child on the waiting list is offered a spot, can the parent(s) defer until the next year? Do you have a policy for sibling enrollment? How many spots open up, on average, for each new enrollment period?

 

Be proactive about giving parents information regarding your child care waiting list policies when enrollment paperwork is filled out. Parents should have a good understanding about the process of being on and getting off the waiting list before they fill anything out. 

Make your waiting list forms work for you

Child care waiting list forms are different from enrollment forms in that you only need a limited amount of information from parents in order to put their child on a waiting list. For example, asking who is authorized to pick up a child doesn't need to be on a waiting list form.

But what can be helpful is crafting your waiting list forms to not just capture the necessary information — like parent names, child's name and age, contact info — but also use them as an opportunity to help your business run more smoothly.

One of the easiest things you can do to streamline your waiting list is attach FAQs with your child care waiting list form or add them to your waiting list webpage.

Although you have outlined your policies, parents may wonder why another child got in before theirs, whether there is anything they can do to be moved up or off the waiting list, whether or not they can come for another tour, etc. Head off these questions based on what you actually experience as FAQs. It can help lessen the number of queries you receive.

Circle back with parents

Periodically, you need to check in with parents about their place on the waiting list. First and foremost, this keeps your list up to date and keeps parents in the loop on what is happening. Even if you don't have a spot open, this communication helps build your relationship with parents in your community. If someone is still waiting for a spot for their child, an update assures them they are still on your list and helps mitigate parent calls and inquiries. It also builds trust. Parents are likely on multiple wait lists, and a periodic check-in lets them know you haven't taken their money and forgotten about them.

An easy way to check in is to send an email to all parents on the wait list. If you use a digital system to keep track of your waiting list, it is easy to communicate with parents via email or text. Tell parents that their child is still on your list, and ask them to respond if they would like to be taken off. Noting how many children on the wait list have been offered a spot in the past enrollment period can manage expectations, but resist trying to predict whether or not spots will open up.

When you check in, another good thing to do is ask parents to update contact information in case anything has changed. Taking a child off the wait list happens only if you can contact their parents, so keeping this up to date is critical. Make sure to ask parents to update their information once they get off the wait list as well. With brightwheel, parents can update their own profiles after their children are enrolled, reducing your administrative load. Brightwheel can also help with everything from implementing your child care curriculum to managing your child care billing. 

Make your child care waiting list process as painless as possible 

Getting children into child care can place an enormous amount of stress on parents. Running a wait list can be time-consuming for staff who are corresponding with stressed-out parents on top of day-to-day tasks. Make your child care waiting list as painless as possible for yourself and for parents interested in your program by being up front about your wait list policies, making your forms a rich source of information for you and parents, and communicating regularly.

To get started with your new child care waiting list forms, download our sample form here.

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