Choosing your perfect child care software in 5 minutes or less

March 2, 2023

Find the best fit for your child care center

Find the best fit for your child care center
Choosing child care software is fast and easy with this guideEY Playbook Blog Badge LogoEY Playbook Mobile logo
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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.

The 4 perspectives child care centers need to consider

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:

  1. Parents want to feel closer to their children when they’re away in your care. A good platform should make parent engagement easy, and help families feel involved in their child’s learning. Video sharing, online payments, and a good parent portal will be key features here.
  2. Educators deserve digital tools that take care of the tedious, stressful parts of their day. Your pick of software should contribute to staff wellbeing and development, so your team can focus on the parts of the job that bring them joy. Your child care software should make employee management easier for your child care professionals.
  3. Children need a learning environment that treats their growth as a holistic process, not a series of boxes and milestones to tick off. Your choice of platform should make it easier to put your own teaching philosophies into practice. Here, features like nutrition planning and child development observations will be important.
  4. Administrators need to keep the ship on course. They’re looking for a software that gives them a better handle on your financial processes, so that you’ve got more money in the account at the end of the month, and you can be sure your doors stay open. You'll want completely automated billing processes, easy data management and a clean, simple user interface.

A team of educators can communicate better with child care software

Qualities to look for in your child care management software

“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:

  • Clear communication about future updates, and features in development 
  • Connects with a community of engaged educators who use the platform
  • Asks for user feedback on what to improve, and where to go next
  • Shows an investment in pedagogy, and sharing child development knowledge
  • Offers easily accessible, online resources with articles and advice for educators
  • Expresses clear values on the importance of early childhood education
  • Supports customers in the long term, not just when getting started

What other resources does this child care software provide, beyond the platform itself?

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:

  • Blog articles
  • Newsletters
  • Webinars
  • An activity library
  • Downloadable guides
  • In-person events
  • A digital community for users

As you research your options, it’s worth visiting each provider’s website to explore the whole range of what they have to offer.

Child care management software can make educators' jobs easier

The top 5 questions to ask during a child care software demo

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.

  1. Who can I contact if the parents at my program have any issues with the platform?
  2. How long does it take to get fully onboarded?
  3. What kind of learning and development resources does this platform offer for my educators?
  4. What types of payments can I process through this software, and how easy is it to collect tuition?
  5. Can I configure the platform in a way that makes sense for my center, and the way I run my program?

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?

The big ideas

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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.

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Find out below how Famly ensured the Alphabet House team felt well-supported in communicating with parents about finances and bookings, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

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“We can pop parents messages and for staff to log for children, it used to be quite time consuming taking time away from the children to sit and write feedback or approach parents and give a lot of feedback." - Shanice Hollier, L&D Manager, Alphabet House

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Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly ensured the Alphabet House team felt well-supported in communicating with parents about finances and bookings, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

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Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly ensured the Alphabet House team felt well-supported in communicating with parents about finances and bookings, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

Sign up now

Learn more about Famly

Find out below how Famly ensured the Alphabet House team felt well-supported in communicating with parents about finances and bookings, and see what we can do for you in a personal demo.

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