29th November 2021 All Posts Insights Expert Advice

Ask The Expert – Caldecote Day Nursery

Connect Childcare chats to Caldecote Day Nursery

With over 3,500 nurseries in our portfolio, we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on a different one each month, to get to know them a little better!

So, as part of our Q&A series, it’s over to Pamela Sheppard, nursery manager of Caldecote Day Nursery, to tell us more about her workplace, job role, and experience using our nursery management software.

1. How long have you worked in the nursery sector? 

Since 2014, I have been managing the family business that my mum, Mariana, started in 1995. Prior to that, I was a primary school teacher, so I have been in education for approaching 20 years. 

2. Sum up your typical working day in three words: 

Busy, rewarding, and enjoyable. 

3. Why did you choose Connect Childcare? 

Because it had everything we needed for our staff and families to be connected.

I really liked the way that iConnect, ParentZone, and the Connect management system all worked in collaboration – which allows for better communication and reduces the time everyone used to spend on paperwork. There was so much to the package and such a variety of functions that it seemed a comprehensive piece of software.

Having used it for five years now, I’m not sure how we managed before!

4. Which software did you use before and what was your reason for switching? 

None. We started using Connect in 2016, when we decided to move away from paper-based working – and we haven’t looked back since!

5. Describe our nursery management software platform in one word? 

Fundamental. We couldn’t function as efficiently without it.

6. And your favourite feature?

Invoicing and registers – the fact that everything is calculated for you, just takes hours of work out of invoicing at the end of the month. 

7. What’s your biggest challenge as a nursery manager?

Having the hours in the day to achieve everything that I want to! The time just flies by but having the software from Connect means that I have the opportunity to get out of the office and into the rooms to keep in touch with the children and parents, and to be there for the staff. 

8. But what do you love most about your job?

The people – that’s the children, their families, and the staff.

The team is the most valuable resource we have, and the children and their relatives are at the heart of what we do every day. I am lucky to have a very strong team around me and some lovely families!  

9. Complete the sentence: ‘Connect’s technology has enabled us to’… 

Work smarter, not harder.

Using Connect’s technology has allowed us to spend more time with the children and less time on completing lengthy paperwork. At the same time, our parents are more informed than ever about their little ones’ learning and progress.

The simplicity of the software means that even our staff who are not as confident with technology can use it with ease. We have recently invested in ‘StaffPlan’ – which is a bolt-on feature – and this is now helping me to organise employee rotas more efficiently and see, at the touch of a button, where resource is needed. 

10. When you’re not at work, how do you relax?

I like to spend time with family and friends. 

11. What advice would you give to nurseries considering investing in management software? 

Don’t hesitate – do it. There are so many benefits to the system. Apart from saving valuable time to do other things within your nursery, it improves communication with families – which is something that our parents love. It may take some adjusting to if you’re transitioning from a paper-based model, but the small amount of time invested in learning how to use the software is well spent – and you will benefit from this in the long run.  

12. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the sector in 2022 and beyond? 

I think as a sector we are under-funded and have been for several years, so it would be lovely to see even more investment in the early years.

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If you’re a Connect Childcare client and you’d like to take part in our Q&A, complete the form by clicking the button or drop a quick note to our PR manager – via amy@scribapr.com – and she and the team will take it from there.

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Imogen is our Content and Social Media creative