Connect Childcare chats to Goldhanger Community Nursery
With over 3,400 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 new, regular Q&A series, it’s over to Jessica Whiteley, nursery manager at Goldhanger Community Nursery, to tell us more about her workplace, job role and experience using nursery management software.
- How long have you worked in the nursery sector?
I’ve worked in the sector since leaving college – that’s 14 years in total. I studied Level 3 childcare at college and then went on to university to do a BA in early childhood studies. After that, I gained work experience abroad – and one of my posts was on the Disney Cruise Line, it was great fun!
Upon returning to the UK, I got a job in London and joined LEYF Nurseries – where I spent four and half years as a deputy nursery manager and then a nursery manager. It was always my dream to start my own business, so I took the plunge to start my own nursery and have never looked back.
- Sum up your typical working day in three words:
Busy, rewarding, and engaging.
- Why did you choose Connect Childcare?
I knew about Connect Childcare from my time working at LEYF, so while the first two years of business were all about getting the building set-up and all our processes established, I knew we needed a solution to help streamline the more admin-intensive sides of operations, as we started to grow.
Manually typing up the registers and bills each month used to take a few days to complete, which became too difficult to juggle alongside other priorities. Now, the software allows us to have all our important documents in one place – occupancy charts, registers, bills, emergency contact forms, and enquiries – so it’s such a time-saver!
Another element I really like is that it enables us to keep track of our prospects – including dates for showarounds and where parents are in the communication process – and any staff member can pick up the conversation.
- Describe our nursery management software platform in one word?
- And your favourite feature?
The automated billing – it saves many manhours.
We have 67 children on roll at the moment, and without the software we’d have to manually change each invoice number and date and calculate the fees for each child – taking around five minutes for each one. Doing the maths, it helps me recoup a healthy chunk of time to dedicate to other areas of the business.
As we have grown, I realised that having everything in my head wasn’t sustainable – especially when recruiting and training up new staff.
- What’s your biggest challenge as a nursery manager?
In recent times, operating during a pandemic. We didn’t close our doors at all – remaining open for key worker families and vulnerable children – and the stress of that has been challenging at times, but we’re into a rhythm and continuing to adapt to each day’s ‘new normal’.
- But what do you love most about your job?
For me, it’s all about seeing the children happy, settled and enjoying nursery – alongside parents being content and safe in the knowledge that their little ones are having lovely time learning and developing their skills.
Being there for parents and children when we can, is a really important part of our ethos.
- Complete the sentence: ‘Connect’s technology has enabled us to’… (and explain why)
Streamline internal processes and have everything in one place – all staff can use the system to access every child’s records, which is really helpful and helps to keep operations running smoothly.
- When you’re not at work, how do you relax?
When I’m not buying stuff for the nursery, I love to spend time with family and friends, go to the gym and also indulge in a spot of shopping.
- Finally, what advice would you give to nurseries considering investing in management software?
To not dismiss enquiring because you think it’s going to be too expensive, out of budget, and only an option for the larger organisations – it’s definitely not the case!
Also, to not feel daunted about making the move from paper to digital. Connect has a wonderful support team on hand to help with any questions both during and after the onboarding process, so you definitely won’t be left to work anything out on your own.
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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 email@example.com – and she and the team will take it from there.