Business development

Effortless staff management with a preschool scheduling software

Full-time, part-time, substitutes, sick, vacations… it's a lot to manage. But, it's no problem when you go digital.
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February 6, 2024
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In a rush? Here’s the quick run-down:

  • A preschool management software digitizes all staff schedules and staff management, all in one place. 
  • Learn how a preschool scheduling software can help you feel more in control by providing an easy overview of all staff schedules, availability, hours and payroll. Some tasks will even be automated, like exporting hours for payroll. Plus, improve staff-staff communication with direct and group messaging.
  • Still, your staff may be hesitant to switch to a new scheduling routine, or to hop on the digital bandwagon and learn a new software. So, how can you get them on board? 
  • Let’s discuss various benefits of making the switch to these preschool software solutions, along with how to gently win over any staff members who may feel resistant to the change.
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It’s no secret that childcare management software is central to high quality early childhood education (ECE) programs and childcare centers

Automated payments, automated reporting, digital attendance tracking, and efficient and accessible parent-teacher communication are just a few of the features that streamline your day-to-day tasks and improve the quality of your childcare business. 

Today, I want to talk about one specific benefit when using a preschool management software: staff management

Think scheduling of all types of staff - part-time, full-time, substitutes - vacation and time-off requests, classroom ratios, trainings and certifications, direct messaging, and so much more. All information you need for accurate and easy staff management can be all in one place with a preschool scheduling software.

Let me explain more.

Effective time management in preschools is not easy. That’s where a preschool scheduling software can help. 

No more spending hours on staff scheduling

ECE teams are commonly made up of full-time, part-time and substitute teachers. Juggling all of these different schedules and remembering who comes on what day, and at what time, is taking up too much brain space, and too much time, that you could be using elsewhere. 

With a preschool scheduling software, all staff and all schedules are all in one place - in one platform, with a clear overview. 

  • Weekly schedules - Create weekly schedules as far in advance as you want, and easily make edits and updates anytime you need with just a couple clicks. 
  • Always be in ratio - In one dashboard, you can see all classrooms and make sure they all have the correct teacher-child ratio. Plus, you will be instantly, and automatically notified if a classroom is not in ratio.
  • Time off and vacation requests - Staff can request time-off, which you can easily see and approve. Once you know a staff member will be off, in just a few clicks, you can replace that staff member with a substitute cover in the schedule. 
  • Always up to date - No more frantically trying to remember when you need coverage, or being caught off guard one morning without having a substitute. By using a digital platform all time-off requests, availability and scheduling are updated in real time.

No more spending hours on staff administration

Childcare management software can also streamline and organize administration around staff management. And it is still all in one place! 

  • Hour tracking - Each staff member checks in and out digitally. This allows both you and your staff to easily see actual working hours against scheduled hours. Thus, you can optimize staff hours, avoid under-staffing, reduce overtime, and ultimately, boost your revenue. 
  • Direct export for payroll - No more manually tracking hours and filling out payroll for every staff member. Directly export the hours that are automatically tracked in the platform for payroll.
  • Document storage - No more loose papers or different versions of the same file in various spots. All necessary documents, certifications and other information will be stored, organized and easy to find anytime you need - from any device. 
  • Document sharing - Have a center safety plan? Have information from the FDA on allergies? Easily send it to all of your staff and save it in a place where they can easily access it when needed.
  • Customize each staff’s access - I know that as a director, you may have some information that is confidential, or that you just don’t want to have as easily accessible to just anyone on the team. With the right preschool management software, you can customize each staff’s roles and permissions, so they only have access to and permission to do what you feel comfortable with.
    But still - having the right permission settings in the preschool software means your staff can still help out with their paperwork and administrative tasks, without having access to critical info that only you should be able to make changes to. 

Reach your staff easily, any time you need

Finally, a preschool management software can also make the communication between staff members easier and more efficient. Finding a time that works for everyone to meet is almost impossible. Save that time - when it actually happens - for important topics and discussions. No more wasting quality in-person time on running through a grocery list of announcements and updates - just send them anytime during the platform.

  • Staff-staff direct messaging - Need to send a quick note to a teacher, but unable to find them in the hallways? Just send a quick direct message through the software. 
  • Staff-staff group messaging - Need to send a reminder or message to all the staff? Or just some of the staff members? Choose which staff members, or all staff members, and send a message through the platform. 

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How can I get my staff on board with a new preschool scheduling software? 

Hopefully the points above - at the minimum - peaked your interest, and you may be more seriously considering a preschool scheduling software for your childcare. 

However, I know that your team may be a bit hesitant to pick up a new software, especially if they are accustomed to the way things have been done, like pen and paper, spreadsheets, or even a different type of software.

Change is hard, but I think your whole staff will be amazed at how much a scheduling software can help with their time management. They’ll notice the benefits instantly. Their day-to-day will feel less chaotic and they can spend more time doing what they do best - spending time with the children and supporting their development.

Foster a collaborative and supportive team

Trust is fundamental to implementing change in your center. If you haven't taken the time to build that foundation and foster an open, supportive and collaborative team, it's going to be more challenging for your staff to truly embrace your new ideas.

When your staff believe that you will do what is best for them, and the childcare center as a whole, they are more willing to accept changes, trust that you will handle any difficulties in a respectful way, and work together to adapt to new processes.

Clearly explain why you have decided to use a preschool scheduling software

Change isn’t easy, and so it’s natural for people to want to understand why the change is worth it. What will get better if we change? What’s wrong with how we’re doing things now?

Take the time to explain to your staff why you are implementing a new tool and processes. 

Here, you should think about the preschool software from the perspective of your staff. How does it improve their day-to-day? What gets easier, faster, or less confusing?

For example, a preschool scheduling software will save them time by giving them a clear overview of their schedules so they can plan ahead, as well as ensuring that their room ratios are correct. It will be easier for staff to submit their leave requests for their well-deserved time off! Also, it will streamline many of their busy admin tasks so that they can do what they wanted to do when they chose a career in ECE - spend more time in classrooms with the little ones. 

Increase retention by emphasizing how the software will benefit them 

These days, staff retention is tough. Every child care director and administrator is thinking of more ways they can help their staff feel supported and appreciated. 

As the director, you can frame the preschool management software as something you’re implementing for the benefit of your team - to enable and support your staff best. 

  • For example, imagine a scenario where a teacher needs to request time-off, but is never able to find you in the hallway until 2 days before to let you know. Or what if they are feeling sick but couldn’t get in touch with you during the night, so you’re only finding out right when childcare starts the following morning. Both of these situations are stressful for your staff and you.
    However, with preschool management software, staff can let you know as early as possible by messaging you through the platform, so that  you don’t have to frantically find a cover for their shift at the last minute. This is a small, but meaningful, function that not only removes stress from your life, but also your staff’s. 
  • Rather than using staff’s personal email addresses or Facebook profiles to contact parents, a software allows you to  keep all parent communication in one place. It’s just another significant way to help your staff  keep their personal and professional lives separate so that they can fully enjoy their own time when the work day is over.
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Make it a two-way conversation

So, how do you even have this conversation? 

Your staff may be a bit resistant to the change if they’re simply told you’re making the switch to a new way of doing things, and then are expected to adapt to it on their own time. 

Your team might not be wild about learning the ropes of some new tech platform - especially if you've never used a preschool management software or digital tools at your center before.

Help your team get set up and familiarize themselves with the platform. Demonstrate that you’re making the time to work through the change together, clear up any misunderstandings, and invite questions on a running basis. 

Make it a collaborative learning experience. Hold a workshop, bring some snacks and go through it together!

Also, remind them that if you are not available, there is a support team that they can reach out to with any questions.

Encourage continued dialogue

No matter how user-friendly the software may be, it always takes time to learn something new. Remind them that there is not limited time that they can ask questions. They should reach out for support whenever they need. 

Also, encourage your staff to share feedback - what do they like, how has it helped, but also, what is still confusing or not as intuitive? Give them opportunities to share their thoughts and experiences, and maybe even put out a box that they can share their feedback anonymously to increase participation. 

The big ideas

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Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

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UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

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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