Being a child care director is both a challenging and exceptionally rewarding job. The nuances of combining physical care and education in a nurturing environment requires a special person, because there is so much to do.
More than providing high quality care for each child, building curriculum and working together with parents to ensure development, you are also running a business. This means taking care of time consuming administrative tasks to ensure the continued success of your center, such as collecting tuition, calculating payroll, managing supplies, and more.
Of course, there are also state licensing requirements that must be addressed to ensure your child care business complies with legal standards. These include attendance and meal tracking, monitoring employee training and certifications, and assuring that proper teacher-student ratios are met.
Child Care Management Checklist
Here we have created a mini-checklist to guide you through the many management tasks in your center, as well as solutions to help streamline the process.
While receiving just one payment might seem like a small thing, accepting the check, writing a receipt and recording it in a ledger or spreadsheet can be a 5 minute task. Easy, right? If you have 60 families and you’re handing payments this way twice a month, you could be spending up to 10 hours on managing payments alone. That is once you have tracked each payment down. Parents are busy and can often forget when their next payment is due, leaving child care providers to track them down at check-in time or the end of the day.
Procare’s Tuition Express® gives you easy options to process all payments at once or let parents pay at check-in and online. Since it’s fully integrated with Procare, each payment is automatically posted to the the family’s ledger.
Maintain Room Ratios
Juggling teachers, aides and children between rooms is an all-day, everyday chore. If one teacher goes on a break, you could go over your limit. In addition to licensing requirements for each age group that dictate a certain number of staff members must be present per child, ratios can also affect your finances. Having too many teachers staffed on a day when there are fewer students means you are spending money unnecessarily. That is why an accurate view of how many children are in your care on a daily basis is necessary.
Procare’s dashboard offers you at-a-glance classroom counts and shows any that may be understaffed.
You know the drill—climbing a mountain of paperwork each month to compile your meal reports. If you’re participating in the CACFP and you’re not using Procare’s Meal Tracker to handle meal counts and help with reporting, you’re working too hard.
Laugh at Your Bottom Line
Weekly and monthly financial tracking by itself, is a full-time job. If you don’t have a bookkeeper on staff, you know that tracking, reporting, and reconciling takes time. Procare’s Expenses and Ledger module handles these tasks and more… tracking expenses, generating overall financial reports, and helping you manage your budget all year long.
Child care management is a dynamic job that requires interpersonal skills as well as business acumen. With this checklist, child care professionals can ensure they are maintaining their business, while saving time.
Learn how Procare helps child care providers complete administrative tasks everyday.
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Hugging 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Immunization Tracking – Looking Forward
- Tracking Child Allergies – Part One
- Move Daycare Records to Your Smartphone, iPad, etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Interested in learning more about employee data management? Check out these related articles.
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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.