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Bringing the Cloud to Your Preschool

Girl Swinging Up to the CloudsHave you ever swung so high that it felt like your toes could nearly reach the sky? There’s something uniquely fascinating about clouds that can spark your imagination (what does that cloud look like?) and make you wonder what it would be like to touch them.

Clouds can be inspiring and mysterious, two words which could describe the clouds in our sky or the concept of cloud computing, but the similarities don’t end there…. Continue reading

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Running the Payday Race at Your Preschool?

Race to the Finish LineCross the Finish Line with Direct Deposit

You know the routine. It’s payday at your preschool or child care business, but it feels like “race day” both for you and your staff. As the owner or director you’re pressing to get payroll checks calculated, while your staff is antsy about hurrying to the bank to deposit their earnings.

Wouldn’t you like to stop racing around and create a win-win situation for everyone? It’s easier than you think! By finding the right tool to streamline the process of doing payroll and handling direct deposit for your employees, you’ll cross the finish line without even running the race. Continue reading

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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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Procare Software: Top 5 Articles for 2012

HourglassAs the hourglass winds down on 2012, I’d like to thank you, our loyal readers in the child care field, for helping the Procare Software blog to have a record year in 2012. With over 76,000 visits (208 each day) our annual viewership has more than doubled since our first post back in 2008.

A traditional way to end the year is to highlight the most popular posts over the past twelve months. I know I’m always curious to see which articles you found most interesting and helpful. Perhaps you’re curious too?

So here they are, in reverse order, the TOP FIVE articles for 2012. Continue reading

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How to Calculate Full Time Equivalency (FTE) at Your Child Care Center

If you’ve ever played piano or most any musical instrument, you may be familiar with the metronome. It’s used to help you keep in time with the music; that is, to play at a steady tempo and consistent pace.

Likewise, Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) is a way to help your child care business keep each classroom filled in a steady and predictable way.

The beauty of FTE is that it allows you to compare classrooms in a reliable manner, regardless of the types of programs offered. This is possible because FTE uses a single measurement to account for daycare schedule variations, like full-day, part-day, or before and after school.

 

Daycare Schedule

 

Here’s how it works. One child with a full-time, 5 day a week schedule would have a FTE of 1.0. Two children each scheduled half days, all week long, would have an FTE of 0.5 each, but combined they would also have an FTE value of 1.0. In other words, together they would be equivalent to one full-time child.

Managing FTE Calculations

If all the children in your care are full-time you may be able to do the calculations by hand or with a simple spreadsheet, but if some children are scheduled on M-W-F or Tue-Thurs, or a few hours here and there, the calculations get complicated quickly. That’s where daycare scheduling and tracking software can help. By scheduling children in a management system, like Procare Software, you’ll be able to easily print reports showing the full-time equivalency for each classroom. This can be especially helpful when projecting enrollment for future weeks, and help with decisions about which programs need a marketing boost.

How to Calculate FTE at Your Child Care Center

FTE calculations are determined one child and day at a time, then added together for the week. Let’s assume you’re open 5 days a week and consider a full-time day to be 8 hours. For a single day, the most a child could contribute toward the weekly total would be 1/5 of a week, even if they were scheduled over 8 hours. Since 1/5 is the same as 20% or 0.20, a child scheduled 8 hours (or more) would have a FTE value of 0.20 for that day. A child scheduled less than 8 hours would contribute less to the total; for example, a 4-hour schedule would have a value of 0.10 for the day.

Example 1: One Full-Day Child, 3 Days/Week

Let’s say McKenzie was scheduled 8 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, her FTE would be 0.20 for each day and 0.60 for the week. That is, she would be equivalent to 60% of a full-time child.

FTE: One Full-Day Child, 3 Days/Week

Example 2: Five Full-Day Children, 3 Days/Week

If 5 children (including McKenzie) had the same M-W-F schedule, their Monday FTE would be 5 children x 0.20 = 1.0 for the day and 3.0 for the week. In this example, none of the 5 children are full-time by themselves, but added together they are the equivalent of 3 full-time children for the week. A quick glance at the report shows we need to do a better job of getting the word out about our Tuesday and Thursday programs.

FTE: Five Full-Day Children, 3 Days/Week

Example 3: Add Five Half-Day Children, 2 Days/Week

If we add some children on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 hours per day, each of them would have a FTE value of 0.10 per day (half of the full-time value) and 0.20 for the week. In other words, half-day kids scheduled two days a week are equivalent to 20% of a full-time child. Adding 5 children with half-day schedules on Tuesdays and Thursdays would give us FTE values of 0.5 for each of those days (5 children x 0.10). And, adding that to the 3.0 we already had for M-W-F children gives us a full-time equivalency of 4.0 for the week.

FTE: Add Five Half-Day Children, 2 Days/Week

FTE Graphs and More

Some software packages let you print graphs to get a feel for your FTE numbers in a more visual way. You may even wish to run reports by department, rather than classroom, especially if you have multiple rooms for each age level. For example, you might have two classrooms called the Blue Whales and Green Turtles, but they are both part of your preschool department. Breaking it down this way provides an additional layer of organization to your daycare scheduling process and data organization.

FTE Pie Chart Graph

Final Thoughts

Having a clear understanding of your enrollment numbers and schedule availability is necessary to optimize operations at your child care center. By calculating the FTE of your students, you can better understand the resources and staff you need day-to-day, as well as days or time slots that can be improved upon.

Depending on how many students you have enrolled and the variation in their weekly schedules, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by FTE calculations. Using a child care management tool can keep track of FTE calculations and reports for you and your staff automatically. We hope this introduction to FTE helps you better manage enrollment in a predictable way, just like the steady beat of the metronome.

Learn more about how Procare can help you keep track of daycare schedules and enrollment.

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Want to learn more about daycare scheduling and enrollment management? Check out these related articles:

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