The first day of a new year or term at your child care center is both exciting and hectic. As a child care provider, chances are that as this day approaches you are busy getting the supplies you need, organizing daily daycare schedules for each class and age group, and coming up with activities that will engage and develop your students.
However, in addition to these child-focused preparations, there are a lot of logistical tasks that must be taken care of before the children arrive on their first day. When parents drop their children off on their first day at your child care center, they need to be assured that you and your staff are fully prepared to care for their child’s needs, and that they will be secure in your care.
As a result, they are required to fill out multiple child care forms for you and your staff to have on hand. In addition to child care forms, there are multiple personal items that parents should bring on the first day to ensure their child is healthy and comfortable while away from home.
The First Day of School: Child Care Forms & Other Items
Keeping track of all of the forms, information, and additional items that parents need to bring on the first day can be difficult. To make this easier, the Procare team has outlined a list of everything a daycare provider needs before the first day of the school year, including free child care forms and templates for child care providers to download and use.
This form should include personal and medical information for the child, as well their parent or guardian’s information. Child care providers should give parents plenty of time to fill this out, and arrange any doctor’s visits that might be necessary.
It’s important that the form includes information like the child’s birthday, medical information, and allergies. This ensures that arrangements can be made to accommodate each child’s health needs prior to the first day. For example, if a child has a peanut allergy, you might choose to make your care facility peanut free.
Following information on the student, this form should include the names and contact information, including home, mobile, and work numbers for primary and secondary guardians. Finally, this form will include the best person and number to contact in the event of an emergency, as well as any other people the guardian wants to authorize to pick up their child.
Child care providers have to know where each student is while in their care. That’s why attendance tracking sheets are necessary to manage each child from the moment they are dropped off in the morning until they are picked up at the end of the night. To account for this, child care providers will need daily sign-in sheets, roll call sheets, and bus run sheets.
Daily sign-in sheets can be filled in each morning by parents as kids are dropped off at school, while roll-call sheets can help you keep track of attendance between activities, such as if your care center has outdoor time during the day.
If your child care program uses a bus or another transportation system to pick up and drop off at the beginning and end of each day, daily bus run sheets can help you and your staff ensure each child is on the correct bus, gets on and off safely, and meets their guardian.
Child care meal tracking sheets are especially important if your child care center relies on the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) which requires centers to track how many meals are claimed at your centers. Aside from CACFP, tracking the meals each child eats during the day is an important part of reporting to parents at pick up. Tracking what they ate during the day will inform what they are served that night, while helping to notice strange eating patterns that might be indicative of health issues.
As these forms and the information stored on them need to be easily accessible at all times, and often on the go, a child care management software can provide value through offering accessibility and automation.
Other Items to Suggest for the First Day
In addition to having all of the necessary registration paperwork completed, there are a few other items you might want to suggest parents bring on the first to ensure their child is comfortable:
It is a good idea to have parents bring one or two sets extra clothes, as well as a smock for painting. Kids can be messy especially during crafts, outdoor play, and at meals. Having clean clothes will ensure your child is comfortable. Additionally, it is a good idea to have parents bring seasonal supplies, such as hats, mittens, and scarves in the colder months, and sunscreen when its warmer.
Depending on your child’s age, you may want to send them to their daycare center or after school program with a specific formula or snack. Make sure they also have their bottle or sippy cup.
Finally, have parents bring one or two comfort items that will help their kids feel more at home in their new environment. This might be a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or a picture of your family.
Make sure everything you send in with your child is labelled with their name, as they can easily lose track of their possessions.
As the first day of your child care program approaches, it is important to make sure you have everything you need to ensure each child is comfortable and safe. Following this checklist will give you the material you need to stay in touch with parents, track child check-in, check-out, and attendance throughout the day, and help your student to feel more at home while in your care.
Looking for even more child care forms? Access all of our free and printable templates here.
Interested in more tips on managing enrollment and back to school? Be sure to check out some of these related articles:
Procare Software, the nation’s leading child care management solution provides an automated tuition collection service called Tuition Express. During our frequent conversations with users and non-users alike, a common theme continues to surface, parents pay late.
The solution to this problem is to make automated tuition collection the only way you collect tuition and fees. With Tuition Express, child care providers make the service mandatory for parents and late payments become a thing of the past.
Automated and integrated tuition collection is easier, safer and more convenient for you and your customers. Today’s parent doesn’t carry a checkbook. They handle all their financial transactions online or set up automatic payments. Additionally, by processing payments automatically—transactions are posted to each parent’s account instantly.
How do you convince parents to accept automated payments?
Some families may be resistant, but directors are simply saying, “Our management software allows us to collect tuition automatically. That gives us more time with the children—and that’s important to all of us!”
Is it affordable and reliable?
Tuition Express is it’s own processor. This means substantial cost savings that we pass on to you with the lowest rates in the industry. We offer rock-solid reliability, handling more than a million transactions each month for nearly 200,000 families across North America.
If you’re currently a Procare user and you’re not using Tuition Express, or if you’re a child care owner or director and would like to learn more, call us at 1-800-338-3884. You can also click here to find more information online.
How do I find the best child care and daycare software program for my needs?
Choosing child care management software is an important investment of your time and financial resources. It requires research and careful consideration of the following items:
- Define your Goals: Which administrative tasks do you want to tackle? What parts of your center need improvement and streamlining? How can software simplify the management of your business?
- Features: Based on your goals, ensure the software includes the most essential modules and can grow with your business… Family Data, Family Accounting, Attendance Tracking and Employee Data are basic essentials which should be included in any package.
- Pricing: Make an educated choice based on value not just price. The smart decision will be the one that meets your goals and yields a return on your investment. Does the software include functionality to save time, money and improve operational processes? Be sure to get a complete understanding of cost, fees and contract obligations.
- Consultation: Knowledgeable software consultants will help you determine how you’ll benefit from automation. Being experienced with daycare and child care management issues, including billing and accounting, your consultant should clearly understand your goals and needs.
Ever wanted to have the teachers at your child care, daycare or preschool check in the children who attend their classroom? Using Procare Software it’s easy to do and there are a few different ways this can be handled.
Check in a Group of Children
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