1st August 2020 All Posts Insights

Connect Childcare – an alternative to Parenta

Connect Vs Parenta Comparison
Parenta Software Screenshot (left) is direct from Parenta Website - September 2020

What’s the difference between Parenta & Connect Childcare?

Both companies have been working with the childcare industry for a long time. Parenta focus on delivering childcare training and qualifications as well as childcare recruitment and website design in contrast to Connect Childcare who’s only focus is nursery management software. Let’s see how the two systems compare…

Let’s take a look at the company overview

Connect ChildcareParenta
Founded In20041991
Company focusSoftwareTraining, Recruitment, Website Design & Software
Cyber EssentialsYesNo
ISOYesNo
One log in for everythingNoNo
The SystemConnect Childcare iConnect & ParentZoneAbacus DayShare Footsteps 2 Fee Collection & Parent Portal
Cloud based storageYesYes

Take a closer look at the feature comparison

Both systems offer solutions to the key challenges of nursery management, with systems that cover bookings, bills, observations & parental engagement. But a closer look shows the differences in features…

FeaturesConnect ChildcareParenta
Child developmentObservations & AssessmentsYesYes
.Draft - publish safeguarding processYesNo
Parent EngagementParent AppYesYes
.View child observationsYesYes
.Make CommentsYesNo
.Request BookingsYesNo
.Parent signature captureYesNo
.Pay feesYesNo
Bills & FundingGenerate bills from bookingsYesYes
.Apply different funding ratesYesYes
.Bulk grant allocationYesNo
StaffingManage Staff, absence & holidaysYesYes
.Staff suitability weightingsYesNo
.Multi Site Staff RotasYesNo
.Payroll ExportsYesNo
IntegrationsWebsite Enquiry FormYesNo
.Direct DebitsYesYes
.Card PaymentsYesNo
.Funding LoopYesNo

Parenta’s Abacus software, along with it’s add ons –  Day Share, Footsteps 2 and Parent Portal provide a number of different features to save you hours compared to paper based systems. If your setting is totally paper based, it could be a good fit. 

However, if you use any other software to run your setting, you should consider a Nursery Management Software that integrates. After all, you won’t want to be entering information twice and need all of your systems to reflect the same accurate data.

ConnectChildcare offer direct debit and card payment integrations as well as a website enquiry form. They also offer imports and exports with Xero, Sage and Quickbooks so that your financial information is always accurate and consistent.

With everything connected you’ll save even more time, your processes will be slick and your data will be consistent.

Connect for time saving integrations

Parenta for isolated nursery software

Increasing convenience for parents

The rise of digital innovation has caused the ‘Amazon Effect’ - parents now want everything instantly, right when they need it. Nursery Management Software gives parents the ability to keep up to date with their child’s activities and achievements at nursery, through their phones, whenever they want it.

Parenta’s Parent Portal is available as a website or an app on iOS or Android. It gives parents a read only view of all of their child’s daily events and observations. 

ParentZone, from Connect Childcare offers a similar experience but with the addition of two way communication to help further develop a partnership with parents. It allows parents to comment on observations and even upload their own contributions to their child’s learning journey. 

With ParentZone, parents can not only view their bills and balance, they can also make payments straight from their phone. With the cheapest card payment rates available, this can have a big impact on cash flow at your setting. ParentZone users can also request new regular or ad hoc bookings from the app, helping to increase occupancy.

The recently added, ParentHub, shares great resources and activities to support parents to continue learning at home, increasing partnership with your nursery and improving child development.

Safeguarding your children and staff

There are a huge range of scenarios to consider in a nursery setting and it’s important to make sure the software that you use fits in with your best practices.

With Parenta’s Dayshare and Footsteps 2 platforms, posts can be shared directly to parents via the Parent Portal App, but it doesn’t look like any safeguarding measures are in place to check the data that is shared. 

Connect offer a similar set up to share photos and information with parents, but have measures in place to ensure that a manager or safeguarding officer sign off each post before publishing it to parents. So sensitive information is never shared when it shouldn’t be.

Connect Childcare also give you the ability to restrict access to the software outside of a staff member’s working hours, which can only be overridden by a designated safeguarding officer.

Intelligent Staff Management

Managing varying staffing requirements at a busy nursery setting can be a never ending task. Nursery Management Software will help you to understand your requirements based on occupancy levels and ratios, so you can deploy the right staff in the right places.

Parenta give you “staff management which is a pleasure, not a chore” with a staff rota & ratio feature. It gives you an overview of key information such as extra hours staff have worked, remaining holiday entitlement and dates of any absences and will flag up when staff training courses are due to expire. 

Connect’s latest module; StaffPlan, is a little more in-depth. Taking account of real time data and automatically calculating mixed ratios, it allows you to allocate the right staff to the right places. Their weighted criteria allows you to see which staff members are available to work and how suitable they are based on your preferred criteria. With the ability to deploy staff across multiple rooms and even multiple sites it helps growing nurseries to reduce their reliance on agency staff.

Future Development

It may not always be at the forefront of your mind, but understanding software companies development plans is an important step to make sure they’ll be a good fit both now and in the future.

Connect Childcare continually develop their products based on customer feedback. Updates are released regularly and a large development team work tirelessly to make improvements and release new features. 

Some of Parenta’s add ons were developed more recently, with Footsteps in 2014 and then Footsteps 2 in 2018. With a smaller team and a company spanning lots of different areas, their development work can take a little longer to get released. 

Connect for

Parenta for steady, static software

Parenta provide a decent system to save you time compared to your old paper processes.

Connect Childcare offer additional benefits that can save even more time when switching from a different software system. With ambitious future development they are consistent, reliable and committed to supplying a wide range of flexible features that can fit in with the many different ways of running a nursery setting.

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About the Author

Connect Childcare have been developing purpose built nursery management software for the past 15 years. Their missions is: To develop management software that improves the lives of children, globally.