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5 Ways to Simplify Daycare Tuition Collection

It’s no secret that collecting childcare tuition is one of the hardest things you have to do as an owner or director of a childcare center. Parents who pay late always have an excuse. The fact is, they are just paying you last (or not at all) and putting your business—your livelihood—at risk.

By creating policies (and adhering to them) you can avoid a lot of late payment situations. For example, charge a late payment fee and stick to it. To make sure parents know your policies, post them in an obvious place or give them a handout. Be aggressive about collecting on time. If you’re passive, you will have delinquent accounts.

Daycare Tuition Collection Made Easy

Daycare Tuition Payments

For many people who use Procare Software, the issue of daycare tuition collection is a thing of the past. By using Tuition Express, Procare’s tuition collection and payment processing service, centers can eliminate handling paper money or checks. Payments are received 5 different ways (outlined below) and tuition fees are deposited to your account overnight. Parents are automatically emailed receipts and can check their balance online at any time!

Easy Ways for Parents to Pay – And For You to Collect  

  1. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – Weekly or monthly payments transfer from each parent’s bank account directly into yours. Learn more about Electronic Funds Transfers for Childcare.
  2. Recurring Card Payments: Store encrypted parent credit card information to collect tuition payments when they are due.
  3. Card Swipe Processing for Childcare: Parents pay just like at the grocery store by swiping their debit or credit card at a card reader connected to a computer at your front desk (or a staff person may swipe the card for them) and you get the lowest card processing rates in the industry.
  4. Online Payments for Childcare: Parents can pay at their leisure–from work, home or on the go.
  5. Pay at Check-In: Parents see their balance as they check in and simply swipe their card to pay. The  Procare Touch Check-In Computer includes an integrated card reader, or an external USB card reader may be attached to any computer.

Since Tuition Express is fully integrated with Procare, payments and are automatically recorded to each family’s ledger card and deposit reports are created for you.

Final Thoughts

Tuition collection can be a time-consuming and unpleasant task. Tracking down parents to collect checks or remind them of upcoming payments is an inefficient use of time, but is necessary to ensuring regular cash flow at your center. With Tuition Express, payments can be automated—giving parents the flexibility they need, while ensuring your center’s tuition policies are adhered to and payments are received on time. That’s tuition collection made easy.

Learn how to enhance your childcare payment processing with Automated Tuition Collection from Procare.

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Using Immunization Tracking Software at Your Child Care Center

Girl Holding Teddy Bear while Getting a ShotHugging a teddy bear can help kids feel braver when it comes to getting a shot. And while they may have to endure a brief moment of pain in the name of good health, at least they don’t have to deal with the hassle of keeping track of immunization records and paperwork. Truth be told, neither should you.

As a child care professional, chances are you’re familiar with the recommended immunizations for young children and you’re careful to make sure every family brings in the child care immunization records for their children before they can attend. Next on your list is the question of how to efficiently keep track of all the immunization requirements, due dates and child history.

How to Track Child Care Immunizations

To help you simplify the paperwork, here are some essential features to look for in  immunization tracking software to keep your immunization records up-to-date.

Flexible Immunization Schedule

In order to track when the next immunization is due, you’ll need a way to define the schedule of required vaccinations. Since each shot requires a different schedule, you’ll want the child care database you choose to be flexible. For example, one immunization may have multiple doses due at specific ages, another may be due every 12 months, and a third may be due so many months after the last one, rather than at a specific age—such as when children are on a make-up schedule.

See Video: Set Up Immunizations

Allow for Exemptions

Children may be exempt from certain vaccinations for a variety of reasons.

  • If they’ve already had an illness, like chickenpox, the immunization (such as varicella) may no longer be necessary.
  • A child might have an exemption due to family philosophical or religious reasons.
  • Combo-vaccinations are another reason for exemptions. Families might choose (or their pediatrician might recommend) individual shots or a vaccine that combines multiple immunizations into one. Therefore, you’d need a way to exempt children from the “individual” shots or vice-versa.
  • An age exemption is another possibility. For school-age children you may not be required to track immunizations that apply to younger children.

Mark Child as Exempt from an Immunization

One final thought on exemptions: you’ll also want a way to indicate the reason why a child is exempt.

Alerts When Immunizations are Due

It’s good to know when an immunization or other requirement (physical, etc.) is due, but it’s even better to get advanced notice of when it’s coming due. In other words, you’d like the parents to know ahead of time, so they’re able to make sure they have the necessary doctor’s appointments arranged.

 

Immunization Due Alert

You may also want a way to:

  • Easily see on your director’s screen when immunizations are due or coming due.
  • Let parents see immunizations that will be needed soon, at the time they check their children in.
  • Generate reports and lists showing immunization information.

Immunization History

Beyond knowing what’s coming due, you’ll also want an efficient way to track the history for each child. In other words, what dates did a child receive each vaccination in the sequence? Typically, this information should be available on an immunization history report.

 

Immunization History Report
Final Thoughts

Making sure the kids attending your child care center are up to date with their immunizations is necessary to ensure the health of every child in your care. However, when the year gets underway and your schedule fills up, it can be easy to lose track of the multitudes of paperwork that go along with immunizations records. To mitigate these challenges and manage health records, child care centers should employ immunization tracking software with a degree of flexibility and customization that allows them to account for each child’s needs.

Learn how Procare can help you better keep track of  family health information at your child care center.

Interested in learning more about managing health information at your child care center? Check out these related articles.

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3 Methods For Simplified Child Attendance Tracking

Pretty soon the school buses will be rolling again. Perhaps they already are in your area. That likely means your childcare business will be busy with school-age children in a variety of before and after school programs.

The thing is, when a large group of children arrive or depart at once, how do you efficiently track their time and attendance? The bus arrives, the children hop off and you need to get the entire bus load checked in, pronto! This can be especially challenging as kids have varied schedules, some arriving earlier and leaving later.  Have no fear, Procare is here with a number of easy-to-use child attendance tracking options.

child attendance tracking

Child Attendance Tracking Basics

The most basic way to record child arrival and departure times is with a simple bus run sheet. You can print them out and have the bus driver or other staff person mark who is being picked up or dropped off.

If you’re already using Procare Software, bus rosters are built right in. You’ll find them under the “Tracking” section in the Family Data module. This makes it easy to automatically print the names of the children assigned to each bus.

If you’re not yet using Procare, print some of our free bus run sheets that come blank, and you can fill in the names yourself.

Child Care Bus Roster

Childcare Time Cards

Another option is to check children in so hours are automatically recorded on each child’s time card. With time and attendance tracking software there are several options.

 

Before & After School Time Card

  1. A staff person (teacher or bus driver, etc.) can quickly check all children in or out at once. This can be done at a regular computer or through a check-in screen. See: Let Teachers Check Children In
  2. If you schedule children in advance, you can use the batch post time card tool to check kids in and out based on their scheduled times for the day. You can even schedule them for both before and after- school time slots.
  3. You can assign the teacher or bus driver as a pickup person for each child and use the Receptionist Check-In feature to look up the pickup person and quickly check in the appropriate children. See: 3 Time & Attendance Methods for Your Daycare.

Mobile Child Check-In App

Childcare providers who subscribe to the Procare Cloud have access to a host of Procare mobile web applications, allowing them to access child attendance tracking features from any device and location with an internet connection. This simplifies attendance tracking, allowing staff to check students in as they get on or off their assigned bus using a tablet. See: Mobile Apps for Childcare Management 

mobile-check-in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Attendance tracking is necessary at any childcare center. It ensures that every child gets to and from the center or after school program safely. It also helps childcare staff to calculate accurate hourly billing rates, based on when each child arrived and departed. With Procare, there are several simple options to track child attendance, allowing staff to choose the option that best fits in with established processes.

Learn how Procare can help streamline child attendance tracking and other childcare tasks.

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Is Managing Your Child Care Enrollment like Playing Musical Chairs?

Musical Chairs © Ant Strack/Corbis

Musical chairs, it’s a great game with oh-so-familiar rules. Once the music stops, it’s all about who can sit down most quickly; who can claim that last vacant seat. Predicting child care enrollment at your daycare, preschool, or after school program might feel a bit like that too. You’d like to be sure every seat is filled with happy, smiling faces. You don’t want to take away a chair if you’ve still got room.

Recently, a question came up asking about tracking the date a child is expected to move to the next classroom. But this isn’t just about recording a date; it’s also about forecasting enrollment and revenue. What you really want to know is, “How is my enrollment shaping up for next month, this summer or fall?” In fact, it would be even better if you could project your revenue over the coming months as well.

So without playing any more musical chairs, let’s take a look at how your child care management software can help.

7 Ways to Better Manage Child Care Enrollment

Typically there are two types of children to account for —  those who are currently enrolled (and are expected to continue) and new children enrolling for the first time. With that in mind, here are seven ways to let Procare Software® help you know what to expect when the music stops.

#1 Schedule Ahead

A great way to plan for the coming months is to set up child care schedules for everyone who is likely to be in a particular class at that time. By doing so, you can print reports with names, counts, etc., for any point in the future.

  • For currently enrolled children, just add an additional schedule beginning at the point they would likely change to a new classroom. The ending date might be the end of the school year, or the point when they would age out of that program.
  • For new children, who are pre-registered or otherwise expected to enroll, set their enrollment status to “Enrolled” (as of their likely start date) and enter a typical schedule for them as well.

Hint: Use the online registration feature of MyProcare to gather data from parents through your website.

#2 Set Up Anticipated Fees

To get accurate revenue projections, place the typical weekly or monthly rates in each Child’s Billing Box and assign the rate to the appropriate schedule. Your Billing Box reports will include only fees that are effective as of the date you select.

child care enrollment

 

#3 Child Tracking for the Future

As an alternative to schedules, you could set up a Child Tracking Group called “Future Enrollment” and create items within the group, like “Infants – May 2017”, “Toddlers – Sept 2017”, etc. You could even have a group for “Summer Camp” with items like “Week 1: June 4” and “Week 2: June 11”. This is helpful to create quick rosters, but does not tie in with revenue forecasts.

#4 Child Care Enrollment Reports

Even without entering schedules, billing information or tracking items, you can still use Child Enrollment reports based on a future date. The first page includes the number of kids that will be enrolled, then just double-click to see their names. This report shows the primary classroom they are currently assigned to (not the class they will be in), but you’ll get a snapshot to help predict class levels.

#5 Enrollment with Data Viewer

You can use the Data Viewer to create your own custom enrollment lists. For example, you could make a list of children sorted by the age they will be as of a future date. If you are also using Tracking for future programs (as mentioned above), you can include only children assigned to a certain item, like Week 1 of Summer Camp and so forth.

#6 Calendar Reminders

Make a Calendar Reminder for each child, using the date they will move to the new class. You might even set the reminder a few days ahead, so you’ll know it is coming up. Of course, this isn’t really necessary if you’ve already pre-scheduled them, but it could help you remember to change their default Primary Classroom. Hint: If many children are changing classrooms at the same time (such as at the start of the school year) use the Classroom Graduation feature.

#7 Make Your Own Date Field

If you want to record the exact date a child will change rooms, another option is to create your own field (or box) to enter the date. This is known as a User Defined Field. It doesn’t have the benefits of scheduling into the future, but would let you print a simple list of classroom transition dates.

Final Thoughts

Having consistent enrollment at your child care center is necessary to plan programs and ensure regular cash flow. However, planning child care enrollment is not always easy.

With so many moving parts, balancing waitlists, enrolled students, graduating students, and more, it can be easy to lose track of enrollment numbers and be left scrambling at the beginning of the year.

That is why we’ve created this list of tips to help child care centers more accurately measure enrollment, and therefore revenue, to plan for upcoming programs. Here’s hoping every chair is filled at your center!

Learn more about how Procare can help your center better manage child care enrollment.

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How to Track Child Care Certifications and Trainings

Are your employees current on their CPR class? How many CE (Continuing Ed) hours does your staff have so far this year? Child care centers must know that employees are keeping up with periodic continuing education hours and health-and-safety certifications to provide high quality care for children.

It can be difficult to stay up to date on the child care certification and training requirements for each member of your staff, as well as how frequently they must be renewed. This is one area where child care management software can be valuable for your daycare center, after school program or preschool.

Child Care Employees

Tracking Child Care Certifications and Training  

Employee Data Software from Procare lets you track those types of requirements and training hours. To track employee certifications and continuing education hours, you can use either the Employee Requirements or Benefit Hours features, or both, depending on your situation.

Tracking Certifications with Requirements or Benefit Hours

Requirements are recorded much like immunization tracking. They may be a one-time or recurring event, such as a CPR certification. Benefit Hours, on the other hand, are entered on the Employee Time Card. They may be totaled based on the Benefit Code you assign, like “Training”.  Using benefit hours is appropriate if you need to know the number of training hours (during specific dates) for each employee.

Using a Requirement

An example of a requirement might be a CPR certification renewal that occurs every 3 years. You would simply record the date the requirement was met. The Requirements Due report will include only staff who are near or past the required expiration date.

Sample Requirements Due report

Using Benefit Hours

Recording training hours in the Employee Time Card lets you report specific hours for a certain date range. A quick way to post training hours is to enter them through the Batch Post Time Card feature. Once recorded, you can run benefit code reports grouped and totaled by the code (or the employee) for the period selected.

Bonus Tip: To track hours based on the employee’s hire date, create Employee Tracking items to match each hire month.  When you run reports, you can filter them by selecting only the hire month you’re interested in viewing.

 

Sample Benefit Hours Report By Employee

Sample Benefit Hours Report By Benefit Code

Keep in mind that you can use both of these methods together to give you the most flexibility in tracking your employee training and certification requirements!

Final Thoughts

To run a successful child care center, you need a staff that meets the training and education requirements of your center, as well as the various regulations required by the state. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of caring for children and forget when there is a training deadline coming up.

In order to complete child care certifications on time, child care centers need a consolidated view of each employee’s training status. The Employee Data module from Procare allows daycare centers, preschools, and after school programs to monitor these requirements seamlessly, ensuring the best child care experience.

Learn more about managing employee information and certifications with child care management software.  

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