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If you’re reading this, you’re in the market for some new child care management software to help run your early education program. It’s a big investment. Where do you start?
Of course, you could start with the technical side of things — like whether the software’s reliable, easy to use, and efficient. After all, if your tools don’t fit the way you work, they can end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
But with child care software, we’ve got to look at it from a pedagogical angle too. How do these digital management tools help you enact the values you hold as an educator? Will all the features in a given platform make it easier for you to give children the experiences you value most?
If that sounds like we’re getting a little abstract, don’t worry. Down below, we’ll make these considerations concrete, as we walk through the questions and qualities you need to think about in order to pick the perfect platform for your program. Five minutes from now, you’ll be able to look at your options with a clearer direction and more confidence.
Let’s start by thinking about the different people that benefit from child care management software.
As an owner or administrator, you’ve got to remember that this software isn’t just for you. Child care software serves different needs within early education, and different people should expect different benefits. If the tools you’re using don’t consider everybody’s needs, that’s a sign you ought to keep looking for a better fit.
Here are the four key stakeholders you need to think about, as you decide which child care software fits you best:
“Values” can be a vague term, especially when big companies start throwing it around. But in this situation, values really do matter. Let’s put it this way — what a team believes in is going to affect the quality, functionality, and purpose of the tools they make. And in an area as critical as child development, you should be sure that those values match your own.
In the case of child care management software, it’s worth thinking about whether the provider is only invested in the technical aspect of things, or if they truly seem committed to early childhood education, too.
Take a look at their website, their social media presence, their blog, and user reviews. As you do that, keep an eye out for these key features:
Choosing a child care platform is bigger than the software. It’s a whole-package affair — what else do you get when you become a customer? Free articles and activity ideas? A bigger sense of community? That all in one solution is bigger than the software.
These sorts of resources can give you (and your team) new inspiration and ideas to use in your classroom, to develop your own early education services. But beyond that, they also speak to the software provider’s investment in early education. Are they here just to provide the system, or are they really thinking more about how children learn, and how we can give children the best early years experience?
Some of these additional resources might be:
As you research your options, it’s worth visiting each provider’s website to explore the whole range of what they have to offer.
Once you’ve found a child care software provider that seems promising, the next step is to book a demo. You can consider this your personal introduction to the platform — you’ll be able to speak one on one with a representative, ask questions, and see how these tools can work on the day to day in your own classroom.
But when you’re trying out a child care software, it’s important to come prepared. Asking these questions during a demo will help you get a better picture of what this provider’s about, and how they’ll help you in the short term as well as the long run.
With that, you should have what you need to make a confident choice on the child care software that’s best for you. And if you’re already looking around — why not start with Famly?
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.