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How to Optimize Your Daycare Schedule for Staff, Parents & Children

Daycare centers are nothing without the caring staff that run them. A committed staff of instructors ensures your child care business can thrive, as staffing is of critical importance to daycare owners, parents, and children.

As a business owner, you need these qualified professionals to provide high quality care to the students that attend your center every day, as well as to ensure your center is meeting state licensing requirements for student-teacher ratios.

Staffing is also critical to enrollment, as parents will be assessing the level of care their child can receive, ensuring that staff is qualified and available to provide their child individual attention. Also, children build a trust and relationship with the caregivers they interact with each day, meaning a level of consistency is important.

How to Optimize Your Daycare Schedule

There are a variety of reasons why keeping an organized, informed daycare schedule is integral to the long-term success of a childcare center. As daycare centers plan out staffing schedules to ensure consistent care and sustainable hours for staff, while maintaining a reasonable budget, here are essential tips to consider:

Track Daily Attendance

To ensure your daycare is not spending money unnecessarily, it is important that only the required number of staff is scheduled each day to meet student-teacher ratio requirements. This means that staff will need to have some flexibility, as there may not always be the same number of children in attendance each day.

For the most part, your center will be able to establish its peak hours and schedule staff accordingly. To do this, centers need to keep accurate attendance logs. Each day at check in and check out, have parents record the exact time their child arrived and left. From there, you will be able to determine when you will need to schedule more staff. Make sure to do this for each enrollment cycle, as peak and off hours may shift.

Once these hours are established, try maintain consistency with the day’s and hours you assign to each caregiver. This will help them plan their week, and will ensure they are available when needed. It is also a good idea to have a staff member on standby, in case there is unexpectedly and greater number of students.

Track Employee Hours & Off Time

Of course, there will be time when your staff needs to take time off or is sick. It is important to try to track planned vacations and other employee off time so that schedules can be altered in advance. This will save you from scrambling to find a substitute at the last minute.

Keeping employee records for hours and off time will also help you to accurately calculate payroll.

Centralize Communication

If hours change, someone calls in sick, or more children are dropped off than usual, your center should have a central hub for communication so that all staff remain updated and on the same page. When leaving coverage up to individual staff members, centers risk being understaffed or having too many employees arrive for the shift, which is inconvenient for them and you. Having a central email or central document can ensure this does not happen.

Be Consistent

In addition to providing a more manageable week for your staff, it is important that there is a level of consistency in your scheduling for the children at your center. It is important for children to develop a relationship and comfort with their caregiver. Therefore, centers should try to ensure that the same instructors are paired with the same children each day when able.

Final Thoughts

Having a consistent organized daycare staff schedule is integral to running your business as well as to the happiness of your staff, parents, and children. Following these tips will ensure your center is always properly staffed, meets ratio requirements, and remains within budget.

Learn how Procare can how you track staffing and daycare schedules.  

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The Child Care Management Checklist

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

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.

Receive Payments

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.

Track Meals

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.

Final Thoughts

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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Plan “B” for Your Child Care Check In Station

Mom Checking InMaybe the Check In station at your daycare center or preschool has temporarily failed, or you don’t even have a Check In station at all. What is your “plan B” strategy for an alternate way to record attendance times for children if a Check In computer is not available? Computers can be down for a variety of reasons and it’s a good idea to have a strategy in place at those times, to reduce stress and keep your workflow going smoothly. With Procare Software® and the Attendance Tracker program you have a nifty alternate way to get kids checked in or out using the Receptionist feature. All you need is a working Procare computer available and a staff person to operate it. The Receptionist will let you quickly record times with the authorized person’s initials and the current date and time. Continue reading

The Best Preschool Check-In Systems for Security

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.

Fingerprint Check-in

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.

Preschool Check-In

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. 

Video: Procare Check In

Separate Fingerprint Reader  Fingerprint Check-In Pad

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.

Fingerprint Security

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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3 Time & Attendance Methods for Your Daycare

If you need to print daycare time sheets or keep track of time and attendance hours for your preschool you’ve probably found that manual time sheets are inefficient and time consuming. By using Daycare Software specifically designed for Attendance Tracking you can greatly simplify time keeping tasks and dramatically cut the administrative time involved.

In this article we’ll take a look at how Procare Software® can be used to check children in and out in several different ways, depending on what works best for your child care business.  Continue reading

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