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 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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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.
Want to learn more about keeping track of child and family data at your center? Check out these related articles.
Thinking of fingerprints at your daycare or preschool may bring to mind those wonderful, colorful creations that are always popular with the five-and-under set. Wide smiles and giggles are sure to follow when the finger paints and easels appear.
But there are other areas where fingerprints could benefit your child care business. Namely, preschool check-in and security.
Parents and child care providers have to know where their kids are and who they are with at all times. Incorporating a fingerprint-based daycare security system enables child care providers to know each child is being dropped off and picked up by an authorized guardian. This added layer of security gives parents and caregivers peace of mind, knowing each child is safe.
In addition to security, preschool check-in systems enable expedited and automated check-in on busy mornings when parents have to get out the door, and caregivers have multiple young children to watch and engage. Moreover, they can link with attendance tracking solutions to automatically create updated and accurate reports.
It’s easy to let parents check their children in using a small fingerprint device (also known as a biometric ID) connected to a computer with child care attendance tracking software.
The Best Preschool Check-In Systems for Security
If you’re currently using Procare Software® for child or staff check-in, you’ll especially appreciate the option to use a fingerprint only with no additional password required.
Built-in Fingerprint Reader
It’s easy to set up fingerprint recognition. One option is to choose an all-in-one computer with integrated touch screen and a fingerprint reader built right into the unit.
Another method is to connect a separate USB fingerprint reader directly to your check-in computer. All of the software needed for the reader to communicate with your computer is automatically installed along with Procare.
Optional Password Setting
You may choose to allow check-in using just the fingerprint of the parent, or other authorized pickup person. As an alternative, you may require a password to go with the fingerprint so a person would touch their finger, enter their password and choose the children to check in. Just check the Require Password box on the Check-In Options screen.
People often want to know if their actual fingerprint is stored or if it could somehow be used for any purpose besides checking their children in. The answer is a resounding “no.” The finger reader does not produce a picture of individual fingerprints. Instead, the system electronically scans hundreds of data points on the finger that are processed through two proprietary systems. Because this scan is simply a series of random numbers, there is no harmful (or useful) information that can be obtained from the data produced by the fingerprint reader.
Security and safety are some of the most important features of a successful preschool program. Just as parents need to trust that caregivers can pay proper individualized attention to their child and help to develop core cognitive and physical skills, they also need to trust that caregivers are paying close attention to their child’s location at all times. Preschool check-in systems offer this sense of security to parents and teachers, with additional administrative benefits.
Learn more about fingerprint readers and other preschool check-in systems for your child-centered business.
Want to learn more about incorporating a preschool check-in system? Check out these related articles:
- Time and Attendance: Batch Check-In
- Plan “B” for Your Child Care Check-In Station
- Mythbusters: Fingerprint Check-In for Child Care
Are you still keeping track of children on the waiting list at your child care, daycare, or preschool with paper and pencil, or perhaps a computer spreadsheet? Child care management software —specifically designed to help your center run more efficiently— makes it easier to manage your daycare waiting list and make informed decisions about how to market your business.
Manage Your Daycare Waiting List and Marketing
In this article we’ll show you how Procare Software® can help you both manage your waiting list and keep track of how people found out about your center.
Child Care Waiting List Categories
It’s easy to set up a waiting list by creating enrollment categories in Procare. You could use just a single status like “Waiting List” or create multiple items like “Wait List – Student”, “Wait List – Faculty / Staff”, “Wait List – Public” to categorize each person on the list. This may be useful if you have different levels of priority for each group.
- From the Procare Home screen go to Configuration > System > Data Management > Status & Relationships > Child’s Enrollment Status.
- Enter a new status on the top blank line, then click Save > Exit.
- Then look up a family and assign a waiting list status on the Child’s Enrollment screen.
Creating a Waiting List Report
In Procare’s Family Data module, you can use an enrollment report to find out how many (and which) children are on the waiting list, with these three steps.
- In Family Data & Accounting choose Reports > Family Data > Child Enrollment. To see a list of children whose status has changed (everyone new to the waiting list) choose Change of Enrollment Status. To include everyone at their current status (everyone on the waiting list) choose Enrollment Status Summary.
- Choose a Date Range then click Run Report.
- With the report on screen double-click a status (like Waiting List) to get a detailed list of all children assigned that status.
As an alternative, try the following report that lets you sort by name, age, or classroom. Choose Reports > Family Data > Filtered Reports > Child: Birthday – Age Summary. Use the Filter to select the Enrollment Status of “Waiting List” as of a date you specify.
Tracking Your Marketing Sources
Be sure to ask new enrollees and those on the waiting list how they heard about you. That way you can track each source and get a picture of what marketing sources are working best for your center. For example, you may wish to track how many people saw your add in the yellow pages, found you online, heard from a friend, saw your flyer, or found a coupon, etc. With Procare, this requires just a few simple steps:
- Create a tracking group called something like “Marketing” and items within the group like “Yellow Pages”, “Online”, etc. See the knowledge base article on how to Manage Tracking Items.
- Assign your marketing items to the Account Tracking screen for each family.
- Use the Account Filter to get a quick count of the number of families with each referral source.
- Print a report to get a list of families assigned to each category, like Reports > Family Data > Tracking Account: Contact Information. Then choose your “Marketing” category and Run Report.
Having a well managed child care waiting list is the best way to ensure consistent enrollment at your center throughout the year. Using child care management software allows your center to keep track of the families on your waiting list, get accurate and up-to-date reporting, and track marketing efforts to optimize your spend, while increasing efficiency at your center.
Learn more about how Procare can help manage enrollment and wait lists.
Interested in learning more about simplifying administrative tasks at your child care center? Check out these related articles.
Each month Procare Software selects a child care center, early education program, preschool or similar place of early learning as our Center of the Month. Centers are selected for this honor based on information provided for their Free “MyStory” Web Page.
For the month of August, Procare is pleased to announce Wildwood Baptist Preschool of Acworth, Georgia as our award winner! Continue reading
Each month ProCare Software® selects an early education program, preschool, child care center, or similar place of early learning as our Center of the Month. Centers are selected for this honor based on information provided for their Free “MyStory” Web Page.
For the month of July, ProCare is pleased to announce Lake Shore Schools of Chicago, Illinois as our award winner! Continue reading