What are some of the challenges facing smaller childcare settings?
Our CEO, Chris Reid, recently shared his thoughts with ChildCare Club surrounding how the right technology can help childminders, after school clubs, and small-scale nurseries streamline operations, and recoup more precious minutes in the day.
If you missed the original article on p32-33 in the e-magazine, you can catch up below…
No matter whether EY childcare settings are large or small, the sector is fast-paced for all professionals trying to juggle business management, child development, parental communications, and a work-life balance.
Add the uncertainty of a pandemic into the mix and the already high treadmill speed at which these practitioners and managers were once working is more elevated than ever before.
But while challenges surrounding lengthy admin tasks and there not being enough hours in the day have been exacerbated by the numerous lockdowns and social distancing measures, they’ve always existed for the sector. It’s a battle that’s been going on for many years.
Yet while many of the same hurdles exist for both nursery chains and childminders alike, the focus here is on the smaller providers – which often feel more neglected in an already left behind sector.
So what are some of the main barriers to change facing these settings, and how can technology help to bridge the divide?
Operating with minimal budget
It’s no secret that childminders and smaller nurseries usually operate on much lower budgets than bigger childcare chains, and as a result, feel less able to embrace digitalisation – for fear of escalating costs. But this isn’t always the case.
Finding the right childcare software which offers a free version – not just for a trial period – alongside the features required for the effective running of the setting is crucial.
Finding enough time in the day
For providers logging child events and observations on paper, this is more time-consuming and less flexible than a digital solution.It’s not easy to complete these tasks when not at a desk, and this means it’s an ‘end of the day’ job for any activities carried out outside or during forest school sessions. Whereas a tech-based system would allow practitioners to access all management and observations quickly from their mobile phone – going completely paperless for a more streamlined setting and greener environment, too.
Feeling the administrative burden
Working through the daily pile of paperwork could be a full-time job in itself for childminders – often seeing them spend many hours per month carrying out invoicing tasks, registers, bookings, and observations.
The idea of implementing a centralised system in which all these to-dos are accessible in one place, and at the click of a button – instead of multiple spreadsheets or paper-based books – can feel like an unreachable reality without the help of technology, too.
Communicating quickly with parents
When observations and updates are sent manually – usually via text or email – this not only takes time for practitioners to pull all the information from multiple places into one area, but it’s also less time-savvy for parents to engage with.
Everyone leads busy lives and replying to emails can often feel like a chore at the end of a hectic workday, but if families don’t share their little one’s learning journey at home, it can leave childminders with a gap in their child development log. Being able to communicate in real-time with parents about what their children have been up to – sharing photos and resources – not only helps to foster better relationships with them, but actively engages them in their youngster’s education, too.