Is tech important in the early years sector?
In 2023, tech is so enmeshed in our everyday lives that it’s hard to imagine life without it. However, there are still some settings that are slow to adopt digital advancements, and therefore run the risk of being left behind.
But why is it so vital that the early years sector continues to adapt with technology and how will it help nurseries become thriving businesses in the long term?
Technology supports nurseries to seamlessly communicate with parents
The majority of parents of nursery-aged children can’t really remember a time before the internet, and therefore they expect a high level of digital communication — with instantaneous real-time updates.
In this fast-paced world, parents can’t always spend time at pick-up or drop-off receiving a full brief of their child’s daily activity, and therefore need access to ongoing information that they can review at a time that suits them best.
That’s why technology can facilitate great parental engagement, which in turn promotes the best possible outcomes for children, as well as commercial success for the nursery. And while face-to-face communication will always remain crucial, digital updates have a number of advantages — including increasing the reliability of information.
Additionally, online communications can’t get lost or destroyed in transit in the way that paper can, meaning that guardians won’t miss out on essential updates about their young ones.
There are several channels that nursery staff can harness the power of technology to promote parental engagement, including:
- Email newsletters
- Facebook groups
- WhatsApp chats
- Parent communication apps
Connect Childcare’s app, Parentzone, focuses on ease of use for both parents and care providers, and supports instant updates about a child’s day, from food intake, to sleep, to activities that contribute to their development based on the EYFS framework.
Technology ensures information is stored securely
Data security and compliance should be central to a nursery’s operations, ensuring that the data they hold is safe from unauthorised access.
However, in 2019 the education and childcare sector was named as the second worst offender for data breaches, in a report by the ICO, accounting for one in seven cases. This evidence shows that it’s more important than ever for early years settings to ensure information security policies are robust — or risk prosecution.
And while it’s true that online records are only as good as the data that’s entered, it’s much more secure than using a paper system. Missing hard-copy files can be a huge source of stress for childcare providers, especially during inspection time, whereas digitised information is easily retrieved.
At Connect Childcare, we understand that our clients need reassurance that the most vigorous security measures are in place for our platforms. That’s why we hold ISO 27001:2013 accreditation and are the only nursery management software provider to do so.
Technology reduces staff administration time
No practitioner would prefer to be doing endless administrative tasks instead of working directly with the children, but it can often seem to early years practitioners that they are chained to paperwork.
But this doesn’t have to be the case, technology can reduce the need for staff to spend huge amounts of time on admin, meaning they can focus on where their true passion lies — providing quality care and ensuring children have a fantastic experience while they are at nursery.
Connect Childcare’s iConnect platform can help shorten the time spent on documenting learning journeys, observations, and assessments from 11 hours on average — without using any software — to just 1.5 hours a week.
What’s more, this has the extra added benefit of minimising staff workloads, in turn alleviating pressure and reducing stress levels, resulting in improved staff morale and retention rates, promoting a more positive environment for all.
To summarise, embracing technology in the early years sector is the key to success, and those who are slow to adopt when it comes to digital transformation will be left behind by the competition.
Want to see it for yourself? Get in touch to book a demonstration of our platforms.