How childcare software technology adoption in 2021 will look more like 2030
As the economic recovery from Covid-19 – and the race for a vaccine – presses on, many nurseries and childminder settings still find themselves not quite at full capacity as they continue to tackle the challenges of administration, staffing matters and budget control.
And while occupancy is on the rise – albeit at a slow incline – 2020 has witnessed a rapid shift towards many parents and sector managers utilising technology, in order to keep up communication and provide further learning support for child development.
This has never become more apparent as to how vital such collaborative tools proved to be – especially following England’s first lockdown of this year. In April alone, Ceeda figures revealed that only 33% of day nurseries and pre-schools and 52% of childminders, remained open for vulnerable or key worker children.
Since then, thousands of families have tapped into their Early Years’ childcare software technology apps to receive advice and learning and development support throughout the challenging climate. And we expect that the adoption of these apps – alongside the rolling out of more intuitive features – to show no signs of slowing down.
How the global crisis increases the need for smart technology
Today, parents expect to be kept up to date with how their youngster is doing during their day at nursery or with the childminder. They want to know what nutritious meals their child has eaten, what activities they’ve been doing and which development milestones they’ve hit.
It’s becoming the ‘norm’ for childcare software app users to have everything they need at their fingertips. Right now, parents are signing their children in and out of nursery via the app – without even picking up a pen! Not only is this providing a quick and stress-free solution for busy parents, but it’s ensuring settings are reducing the spread of germs throughout the crisis and managers are able to track attendance swiftly and accurately.
The same can be said for taking payments – contactless is proving to be the way forward for many families and now users can simply tap to access the latest invoice.
And as we continue to see more video calls and updates with parents and practitioners conducted online, settings are providing virtual tours so that families can become settled with their chosen environment.
Additionally, for managers, it’s becoming clear how technology is enabling leaders to do their jobs more effectively, as well as empower and evidence their business-critical decisions.
Throughout 2020, their workloads have been further impacted by the challenge of furlough and bringing back employees. This has been something completely new for our sector, as we all continue to navigate the staffing issues that the global crisis has caused.
There has been no doubt that nurseries and childminders have feared for the future of their businesses – and continue to do so. Being able to rely on accurate data reporting has enabled them to make more informed choices too.
In many ways, the pandemic has sped up a lot of things for settings as they continue to manage their return to some form of ‘normality’. And it’s this greater level of smart technology that’s empowering workers and families – providing them with more opportunity to continue the development of children in their vital early years.