[Please note: I mean “burn” in the figurative sense. Your paper sheets are probably better off in the recycling bin. ] Do you have a love-hate relationship with daycare daily sheets or your preschool daily reports? The information they communicate is vital (how a kid’s day went, what they ate, her mood), but the way you share the information (on paper) is time consuming, outdated, and, well, kind of a drag.
Sometimes it is a daily behavior report or just daily notes to parents to let them know how things went. It takes a ton of time and you have to wonder if people even read them every day. There is probably stack of those reports in the center console of the parent’s car. Here are some signs that it’s time to recycle the daycare paper daily sheets and use technology to make your life easier.
Think about how many times a day teachers write down diaper changes and potty breaks. Or nap and meal start and end times. That’s a lot of time spent writing. It also can’t be good for the wrist and hands.
You see all your hard work filling out paper daily sheets blowing around your parking lot like tumbleweeds in a western movie. Paper daily sheets are easy for parents to drop or leave behind as they get their kids out the door and into the car. All of that effort is forgotten. In some cases they may want to read it but with the busy check-out / pick-up process they may not be ready to review it in that moment and the paper gets lost or shoved into a pocket or purse.
Reviewing & Accessibility
Furthermore, you can’t even look back on what has happened over time. If you wanted to see how things progressed over months it is a painstakingly manual process today. In some cases you are required by law to audit that information either for reimbursements, licensing, or even a custody case where the court orders it. Imagine going back and compiling all of those paper daily logs.
Changes over Time – Infant vs Toddler
The information you add to an infant daily log is likely different than a toddler daily log. As the information in your daycare daily sheets change with the age of the child you either need to different daily sheet forms to fill out or there are a bunch of blank places on the forms you have.
Tracking valuable process over time
With paper daily reports it is nearly impossible to easily pinpoint the transitions from one activity to another or improvement over time. This might be daily behavior reports or how they are napping over many months or what kind of meals they like. It could include their progress through various curriculum or early childhood development stages. The teacher might have it instinctively but none of it can be recorded or trended easily on paper or an excel spreadsheet. Aside from just being able to see this progress individually with each child and have PROOF of that progress if questioned by a parent, it also allows teachers to learn and fine-tune their strategies overall. They can see how entire classrooms progress using one method or teaching technique over another. All of that data is nearly impossible to track on paper.
Much of this information you need to keep anyway and if a center is audited it could take days or weeks to compile all of that data as you shuffle through filing cabinets. Worst case, what would happen if there was a fire? Years of information could go up in smoke. With a technology solution you could have all of it backed up, stored, and secured forever. Get rid of the filing cabinet and add a couch where you can relax. 🙂
Speed of Sharing
Your teachers love to take photos and videos of the kids in their care…but then spend countless hours uploading pictures, sucking the joy from the experience. Your teachers spend a lot of time caring for and educating the kids in their care. Teachers are proud of their work, and parents love seeing how their children learn and grow each day. Shouldn’t it be quick and easy to share these moments?
The truth is that every preschool and daycare of the future will be moving this direction anyway and many already are. Millennial parents and a social-based society demands easy communicate available on any device and on-demand. Adding this type of technology in the daycare does NOT mean teachers to sitting on facebook all day – you can lock all of that down. But it does mean they can record these wonderful moments faster so they aren’t sitting on clipboards all day. Young parents expect this level of communication. If you don’t offer it there will be someone else down the street who will.
If you’ve experienced any of these signs, it may be time to get technology in your center. tend.ly can tackle all these problems and more including billing & invoicing, check-in, scheduling, meal planning, lesson planning, parent newsletters, attendance and ratios, and even helps track pathways to higher accreditation.