Management

Get set for the start of term

June 20, 2022

Don't wait for September! Start ticking off your start of term to-do list now.

Don't wait for September! Start ticking off your start of term to-do list now.
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In a rush? Here's the quick run down.
  • Set your goals
    Create expectations of the great things your setting can achieve. Shared goals unite your staff team and help everyone progress in the right direction.
  • Support settling in
    Whether it's planning staff rotas so you have an extra pair of hands or adopting a new nursery management software to stay in touch with parents, start planning now to support your new starters.
  • Plan for parent partnerships
    Although parents are customers of your nursery business, they are your partners in caring for the children. Take the time to consider the needs of all the parents in your setting.
  • Get information in advance
    Start the year off right by having children's data prepared in advance. The right software will lay out children's information in an easy-to-access profile, so parents can keep it up to date.
  • Take your forms digital
    Rather than spending the next few months printing medication forms to last you until Christmas, just keep them online. Save paper and space in the office.

The smell of fresh wellington boots. New names to be added to the self-registration board. Displays waiting for the first paintings to be proudly mounted. It must be a new year at nursery.

But the start of term in the Early Years isn't always the calm beginning to the year it should be.

There are new families to meet, new children to settle in, new permissions to be given, and new allergies and medical conditions to support. There are emergency contacts to list, observations to be made, and fees to manage.

Busy parents, busy staff, and busy managers. So how can you make it easier on everyone?

Easy! Get started now.

Take stock of the year

Before getting ready for the new term, it's always worthwhile taking time to reflect on the year just gone. Consider the 'wow' moments, make a note of what's worked really well, and celebrate the progress you've made as a setting. Take the time to show your staff members you appreciate their hard work keeping everything on track and give yourself a pat on the back.

Now you're ready to focus on development and get stuck into getting ready for September

A group of four nursery staff having a meeting. One, a man, is holding an iPad.

Set your goals

Knowing what success in September looks like means having a clear idea of how you want the year to start. Perhaps you're looking to focus on sustainability, streamline admin tasks, update your learning journals, or improve parent partnerships. For inspiration, you could take a look at what other settings in your area are doing.

Whatever you're looking to achieve, setting clear objectives now means more time to plan the changes you need to make, evaluating the next steps as you go.

Support settling in

Starting a new setting (or coming back from a long break) is a big transition for children and their families, which you can help to navigate smoothly. Take the time now to evaluate how you settle new children, as well as welcome children back from the summer break.

  • Do staff members have the time they need away from admin tasks to build a solid relationship with children?
    You can free up staff by using nursery management software to take care of the paperwork, so they're free to focus on the children.
  • Are staff spending hours on the phone to reassure parents, instead of interacting with the children?
    Utilise a nursery software with a messaging system, so staff can share photos at the quick click of a button, rather than leaving the room for a long phone call.

A father kisses his young baby on the cheek. The baby is smiling and holding the father's face.

Plan for parent partnerships

A professional, caring, friendly team is a must, but are they able to spend time to really getting to know new families? Forming strong, trusting parent partnerships, right from the start, is key to children thriving at your setting.

Use the summer to consider how you could super-charge parent partnerships by giving your staff the support, time, and tools they need.

  • Can parents easily contact their child's key person?
    If parents have to ring the office and wait to be put through they might not feel confident enough to reach out. Offering parents the option to send a quick message in a parent app, directly to their child's key person or room leader, saves time and stress.
  • How do you reassure anxious parents that their child is happy?
    Do parents have to wait for the end of the day to know how their child got on? Celebrate children settling well by sharing real-time updates and photos in a secure app. Parents can then use these photos to start positive conversations about nursery with their children at home.
  • Do parents have access to their child's activities and daily diaries?
    Feeding back at the end of the day, especially when children are new, should be a positive experience for everyone. Don't talk over children's heads about how much they ate or used the toilet. Give parents digital access to daily diaries, so that precious end-of-the-day conservation can be used for the real wow moments!
  • How do you engage parents in the child's learning journey?
    Are your learning journals tucked away on a shelf in your setting, only to be opened by families twice a year at parents' evening? Parents can feel a range of emotions about their child's development, especially if this is their first time entering Early Education. From anxiety about whether their child is 'keeping up' to pride about how well their child is learning, parents deserve to share in their child's progress reports and learning journey every day.
  • Are your updates to parents about child wellbeing?
    You know how it goes, the newsletter starts out as an exciting list of what's happening in the setting but turns into a to-do list, as the term progresses. I know, I know, it shouldn't be that hard to just write a name in a pair of shoes, but parents are busy and they want the good news. Think about whether your parent communications just to remind, tell, nag, and (let's face it) beg parents to do something? Instead, focus on child development, achievements, wellbeing, and how to connect childcare with effective learning at home.

Get all the information in before the children arrive

There's nothing more stressful for a parent dropping off for the new year (or for the first time) than being hounded for information while they're trying to settle their child.

Instead of adding to your parent's kitchen table pile and your paper files, get the data you need digitally. Parents can access information, fill out permissions, emergency contacts, allergies and other important details before term starts through a parent app, meaning you have all the information you need to provide the best care, ready to go.

Just be sure to use specifically designed software that keeps children's data safe.

A father enters information for his child's nursery on a laptop. The son is sitting on the father's lap at a table, which also has breakfast foods on it.

Take your forms online

Having that newly-printed folder of forms was once a start-of-term staple, but think about the time (and trees) you could save by simply having them online.

While cuddling that warm stack of medication forms and accident forms, fresh from the photocopier, is one way to hold onto the summer heat, in reality, it's just more filing for you. Using the right nursery management software means saying goodbye to hours of time-consuming printing and handwriting sheets of paper. Plus, parents get instant updates and can acknowledge forms online.

And the best part? Digital documents can't get crumpled up and lost in the bottom of backpacks.

And breathe...

Starting to prepare for September now, means that first day can then be used to greet and spend more quality time with children and parents, welcoming them calmly to their new setting.

The big ideas

Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

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

Picture of a Guidance document
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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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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“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.

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.

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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