5 Ways to Save Time as a Childcare Centre Owner

Childcare Teacher

Being a childcare centre owner means juggling a million different things at once. From dealing with suppliers and budgets to recruiting staff and keeping parents happy, there often just doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get to the end of that gargantuan to-do list. 

However, there are a number of ways you can claw back time, without cutting corners when it comes to your service. In fact, boosting your own efficiency and productivity — as well as that of your centre — often comes hand in hand with improving the service for parents, their little ones, and your team.

With this in mind, here are our top ways to save time as a childcare centre owner. 

1. Electronically Track Attendance

These days, there are so many easy-to-use tools that can streamline the essential day-to-day tasks of childcare centre staff. Using an electronic system to keep accurate records of attendance is one of the easiest ways you can save yourself time. 

A great example is iCheck-In, which allows both childcare centre staff and parents to electronically check their children in and out of the centre via a handy platform which is accessible via tablet, mobile, and other touchscreen devices. It also gives you a handy overview of attendance at a glance, with real time classroom ratios that deliver peace of mind. 

2. Streamline Communication

When you’re running a childcare centre that caters to a large number of children and parents, the level of communication that needs to happen can feel astronomical. There’s the urgent communication about sickness, injury, or bad behaviour, and the general reports of what the little ones have been up. 

Then there’s the logistical communication — pick up and drop off notes and booking amendments — as well as communication around events or wider centre news. Whatever method of communication you prefer, the most important thing is to decide on a system and stick to it. This way, you won’t miss important messages from parents, and you’ll save precious time. 

3. Manage Bookings and Payments Online

Perhaps the most admin-intensive task for any childcare centre owner is managing bookings and payments. With so many children to take care of — all with differing schedules — using a digital booking platform that incorporates payments too is a huge time saver. 

If this sounds useful, take a look at iParentPortal. Parents can use this platform to manage their child’s booking, payments, and documentation from their phone. As well as making bookings, they’re able to amend them and notify staff of absences, while you can send invoice reminders through the tool too. As well as massively slashing your administrative burden, the platform makes it super easy to manage bookings and services based on ratios. 

4. Use a CRM

There’s a reason that pretty much every big business in the world relies on a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. While childcare centres may feel a lot more personal than corporate giants, CRMs can work wonders when it comes to bringing new families to your website and registering. 

iEnrol is a powerful pre-registration CRM specifically designed for childcare centres. It works to drive parents to your business, and then allows them to complete registration and view waitlist information online. 

This gives childcare centre owners a deep understanding of the level of demand for their service, allowing them to forecast and make big business decisions — such as recruiting more staff or moving to a bigger premises — with confidence. On a more day-to-day level, this tool is designed to save you time, while also helping you to accurately resource your centre.

5. Delegate Effectively

Sometimes you just can’t do everything that needs to be done by yourself. Give yourself a break, and delegate some of your tasks to your team. Look at each staff member’s skills and personality and work out which tasks they’d be most suited to. 

A friendly, bubbly member of staff should be great at taking over communication duties, for example, while a logical, methodical person could help you with bookings. Remember, they’re there to help you out! 

Running a childcare centre demands a large time commitment, but with these tips, you’ll be able to streamline your process and get back some precious time. For more information on how a tool like Kidsoft can help you achieve this goal, contact us to schedule a demo.

5 Ways To Improve Time Management In Your Childcare Centre

Female Teacher with young children

Time management is a common pain point for childcare centre managers: it just feels like you’re never going to reach the end of that lengthy to-do list. 

But the issue of time management is bigger than just your personal schedule. By utilising the latest time management tools and techniques, you can optimise your whole childcare centre, upping your productivity without hiring any more staff.

Here’s how. 

1. Keep a Time Log 

When it comes to tackling time management, there’s only one place to start: find out where all your time has been going. After all, you’ll only be able to organise your time once you have all the facts and stats of how long all your different tasks take, and where you’re losing time. Ask your team to record where they’re spending their own time too, so you can get an overview of the whole childcare centre. 

2. Prioritise

What are your priorities? The tasks that absolutely must get done in your childcare centre? Consult with your staff and make a list of these priorities. Assign them to yourself and members of your team. If you’re all accountable for one or two priorities each day, they’re much more likely to get completed. Once this is done, look at the next most important tasks, assign them between your team, and so on and so forth. Consider also whether there are any tasks that are surplus to requirements that you could cut or reduce the frequency of? 

3. Schedule Each Day

At first, scheduling may feel like it’s taking up more time than it gives you, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll begin to feel its myriad benefits. Scheduling doesn’t have to be a headache — it’s less about huge books filled with indecipherable scrawl, and more about slick apps that make scheduling a cinch. 

Google Calendar is a great option: not only can you fill up your own calendar with tasks, but you can see each of the team’s own calendars. It’s super easy to assign workers to different rooms or tasks, and gives you a handy overview of where everyone should be at every point in the day.

4. Use Tools To Streamline Processes

We’re lucky enough to live in a world with numerous productivity tools that supercharge our manpower. Before you decide which is the right one for you, examine the current jobs and processes within the centre. Which are taking up too much time? Which could be streamlined? 

Often, the tasks taking up the most time include the endless admin that comes with running a childcare centre — such as registering children or taking bookings — and communicating with parents, whether due to an emergency, a change in plans, or simply to let them know how their little one got on that day. 

Tools like iCheck-In and iParentPortal tackle these admin and communication time drains by streamlining registration, booking, payment, and communication processes. 

5. Block Out ‘Do Not Disturb’ Time

If you’re the sort of childcare centre manager who is always on hand to help, this one can be tricky. But it is important. In many centres, while the team is busy caring for the little ones, the boss is sat in an office dealing with the business side of running a childcare centre. Wrapping your head around the myriad tasks that come with running a business is hard enough — and it can be near impossible with babies crying in the background or constant interruptions by staff asking questions. 

Set aside a day or two every week where you shut yourself away and stick a big ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door. Assign a different member of staff to man the phones and answer emails from parents. Delegate staff questions to the next most senior member of your team, and set out the exceptions to the rule — for example, if there is a genuine emergency, you will want to be disturbed. Not only will this help you get through your trickiest paperwork, but it will make you a better, more present manager the rest of the time. 

Interested in learning more about how tech can further help you improve your time management? Reach out to us at Kidsoft today!

Five reasons why Kidsoft?s partner integration strategy is a winning solution for the childcare sector

Kidsoft, the Australian early learning sector’s leading childcare software platform, offers a unique integration model that enables customers to integrate some of the sector’s best-known software solutions into their existing Kidsoft platform. 

In recent weeks the number of integration partners has jumped to eight with the inclusion of leading workforce management software provider Human Force and compliance management platform 1Place Childcare joining a host of other providers such as Storypark, ChildcareCRM, KindyHub, KindyNow and more.  

Unlike other childcare management platforms, some of which offer all in one solutions, Kidsoft has an integration ready platform that drives better outcomes for owners, managers, children and families, and is the go-to destination for providers who want the ability to choose what features their platform offers.

Kidsoft’s integration strategy is dynamic and constantly evolving and provides the following key benefits to service managers looking for a ‘best of breed’ solution.

1. Empowering customers to make their own choices

As the number of all-in-one CCMS software providers continues to increase, Kidsoft stands out as the only leading platform that remains committed to providing its customers with the ability to choose which software partners they prefer to partner with, as opposed to being forced to use features embedded in an existing all in one solution. 

Choice is key to the Kidsoft integration strategy and remains a decisive factor as to why partnering with Kidsoft ensures better outcomes for owners, managers, children and families.

2. Facilitating the creation of curated ecosystems

With the ability to choose from a range of integration partners comes the ability to curate a customised ecosystem across each service that reflects specific priorities and ensures the best outcomes are achieved for children, families and team members. 

For example, a service that is particularly focused on improving occupancy metrics would welcome the opportunity to connect their Kidsoft platform with a leading lead management solution enabling them to streamline the customer journey more effectively.

A service that is less focused on occupancy but particularly focused on parent engagement would see the multiple benefits of connecting their Kidsoft platform to their parent engagement platform of choice.

By utilising Kidsoft integrations owners and managers can take control of their software solutions and ensure that what they have is precisely what they want.

3. Ensuring only sector leading solutions are being accessed 

Another key benefit of the integration ready strategy is that it ensures that customers not only have choice but are also guaranteed quality. 

Only the ECEC sector’s leading providers are included on the Kidsoft integration partner list having undergone rigorous due diligence and testing by the Kidsoft integration teams. 

The result is the best of the best can be accessed by the Kidsoft customer community, a benefit that an all-in-one platform could never match.

4. Guaranteeing new innovations are included in real time 

The importance of innovation has never been as paramount as it has during 2020, with changes forced upon the ECEC sector by COVID-19 having created a range of new organisational and operational imperatives that are ‘must haves’ to ensure outcomes continue to improve. 

The Kidsoft integration strategy supports the customer’s ability to remain connected to important innovations through their integration partners, all of which are 100 per cent focussed on ensuring their products are ahead of the innovation curve, and providing users with the best solutions on the market.

5. Removing the need to engage separately with multiple service providers 

By connecting Kidsoft directly to other platforms a streamlined eco-system is created across which information can flow freely and with ease.

As a direct result users will not need to enter information into one system and then re-enter it into another, instead benefitting from synchronisation functionality that automatically transfers information across platforms.

And finally, not only will the integrations improve outcomes and productivity, they could also save money as discounts and incentives are now available for Kidsoft users opting to sign up new integration software partners through the Kidsoft platform.

“We are really proud of our commitment to providing our customers with choice through our integration strategy,” Kidsoft CEO Di Girvin said, outlining that giving customers the ability to connect to the best of the best solution providers in the childcare sector from the Kidsoft platform “is essential to ensuring they are fully supported to meet their objectives and priorities.”

To learn more about Kidsoft’s ‘best of breed’ integration strategy, its integration partners and what incentives and discounts are available for new sign ups please click here.

5 Ways To Improve Customer Relationship With Parents At Your Childcare Centre

mum and dad with happy toddler

Maintaining good relationships with the parents who bring their children to your childcare centre can prove a tricky balancing act. 

When it comes to ensuring that their little ones are safe and happy, parents can be (understandably) somewhat demanding. 

So when things get tough, try to remember that they’re trusting you with their most precious possession, and use the tips below to improve your relationship with them. 

Highlight Good Behaviour as Well as the Bad News

Days at childcare centres are busy and often full of micro-dramas, as kids, fight, cry, and throw tantrums. An inevitability of being rushed off your feet is that often, the only phone calls or emails that a parent will receive is to tell them that something bad has happened. It makes sense: these are the things that parents must be informed of, and so those conversations are unavoidable. 

Yet if every piece of communication with the centre means bad news — for example, that their little one is sick, upset, or behaved badly — parents will dread picking up the phone. Instead, try to contact them to tell them all the good stuff their little one got up to that week as well. Opening with a story about their child doing well will also soften the blow when you do have some negative information to impart. 

Make Transactions Easier With CCMS Software

The parents of children who attend childcare centres are undoubtedly going to be busy — that’s why they’re using your service in the first place. So lessen the admin burden on them with a CCMS software like Kidsoft

This software includes features such as a payment gateway, an enrolment gateway, an attendance tracker, and communication platforms. Not only will parents appreciate having all of the information relating to your childcare centre in one place, but it will also lessen the admin burden on your team, boosting productivity.

Encourage Feedback 

Parents will want to have their say — so give them an outlet for their opinions in a structured way. At the end of each quarter, consider sending out a parent feedback survey. Alternatively, try installing a suggestion box on your reception desk. Make sure parents know who they should contact if they have an urgent complaint or concern to report. This will make them feel valued and listened to, especially when you take steps to adapt to their feedback.

Involve Parents in Events

While your team needs to maintain professionalism around parents, remember that they will also want to get to know the caretakers they regularly leave their children with. Holding events when it’s safe to do so — and involving parents — is a great way to allow them to get to know your team in a professional setting. Whether you throw child-friendly parties, put on shows, or hold bake sales, the more you involve them, the more brand loyal parents will become. 

Ensure Your Centre is Always Clean, Safe and Hygienic

Maintaining a clean, safe, and hygienic space is the absolute minimum a parent will expect of you. Yet, with everything involved in looking after a bunch of children every day, sometimes things can get a little messy. Leaving some spilt food on a table for half an hour, or having an overflowing bin may not seem like a health hazard — but it will look bad to parents. If you run a large childcare centre, it may be worth employing cleaners throughout the day to keep the place spick and span. 

Running a childcare centre and keeping parents happy is no easy feat, but it can be truly rewarding. With these 5 tips in mind, you’ll be able to strive for the best possible customer relationships with parents.

Dial back the drop off drama! Simple tips to help children and families to settle in to care

Man and woman with two young children playing with blocks

For some children and families, the ‘daily drop off’ is a simple and quick process – a kiss on the cheek, and the child runs off to play. For other families, however, dropping children off for a day of fun can be anything but. 

For a number of different reasons, navigating the big feelings of drop off time is a complex mix of feelings, bribes, distractions, and long long looooong goodbyes!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! These easy to implement tips can turn drop off from drama to dream.

Consistency

When children first start attending childcare, drop offs are crucial in helping them transition to care. If parents are anxious, and hovering ready to jump in at the first sign of distress, children will pick up on this. 

The aim should be for low key departures and excited reunions. If parents and families are able to consistently use the same routine and messaging when dropping their children off, putting all the emotional energy into a happy reunion, children will settle in to care much more quickly. 

Using the same language each day (“Mum is leaving for work now. Shall we stand at the fence and wave goodbye?”) can help children to feel more comfortable with transitions. 

Educators have a part to play here too. Wherever possible, educators should be consistently rostered in the same rooms at drop off times, so that the child and family have a familiar face to connect with. 

Keeping one or more activities or areas of the room the same can also be very calming for children – they then know where they can go in the room to engage with something comforting. 

Don’t be sneaky

While it can be tempting for families to “sneak off” once their child is engaged with an activity, this can do more harm than good in the long run. 

When parents sneak off, children respond by being hypervigilant the next time drop off happens, perpetuating the cycle of anxiety by clinging even tighter. 

Parents and caregivers should give children a warning that they will be leaving soon. Simple words on the journey to care, such as “First I’ll drop you off at childcare, then you’ll play with your friends. After lunch and a nap, I will come to pick you up again, and we will have spaghetti for dinner” can orientate the place of care in the child’s day. 

When it comes time for a parent to leave, the same technique can be used to create a smoother drop off process. 

“I’ll finish this puzzle with you, then I am going in to work. Do you see someone here you’d like to play with when I go?”

Communication

Communication, on both sides of the fence, is a really important component of the drop off process. 

Parents should communicate with educators, letting them know about any changes for the child since they were last in care.

Educators can communicate with children about what exciting things the day holds, and everyone involved can communicate with each other through tools such as Storypark, which gives parents a “real time” window into their child’s day, alleviating worries. 

Nothing soothes a worried parent mind more than a photo or video of the child they left crying 10 minutes ago happily engaged in play. 

Parents can also use resources such as Storypark to share more about their child’s world beyond childcare, making the transition from home to care even smoother. 

For more ideas on how to tackle drop off drama, see the further resources below: 

Settling your baby into childcare

How to deal with separation anxiety at childcare

Leaving your child for the first time: tips to help with the dropoff  

Introducing ChildcareCRM, a Kidsoft Integration Partner

Two ladies smiling at young girl

Did you know that Kidsoft has partnered with the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform and that all Kidsoft users can access their full suite of CRM tools through a seamless and easily completed integration? 

Kidsoft and ChildcareCRM recently announced a new partnership that will bring together two of the sector’s best known brands with the intention of creating a more efficient childcare ecosystem to support services in their family lead management processes. 

ChildcareCRM has a long history of working in the Australian ECEC sector and pioneered the sector’s first dedicated lead management software solution. 

Working on the premise that effective communication and engaging and building relationships with parents and families, right from the time of initial contact with an ECEC service, has always been a crucial element of maintaining high levels of occupancy and customer satisfaction, the company has helped hundreds of services across Australia improve their operational performance. 

Through an intuitive and easy to use interface service managers are able to gather new leads from a range of different sources ensuring that all opportunities to engage with families are maximised, which then empowers them to more effectively coordinate the parent’s journey to enrolment.  

The collaboration leverages ChildcareCRM’s trusted platform to engage those parents and build relationships, as well as using the power of Kidsoft’s CCS Childcare Management solution, which offers a range of integrated tools including parent solutions, secure payment gateway, enrolment tools, attendance tracking and booking management.

By bringing the two platforms together service managers can be confident that they have an end to end solution that will not only improve the parent experience, but also the experience of educators by creating more time to focus on other important tasks.

So how does the integration work? 

Connect to ChildcareCRM Using an application program interface or API, the Kidsoft team will connect your account to your ChildcareCRM account. 

Data Imported – Kidsoft will then automatically sync all of your ChildcareCRM waitlist data, creating records that are ready to be offered as an enrolment to enrolling families. 

Parents enrol Kidsoft will then prompt the enrolling family to create a secure iParentPortal account in its online enrolment facility iEnrol, and then request an online enrolment form to be completed. This will then be sent back to Kidsoft and the enrolment will be processed. 

Leads tracked – All leads that are captured can be tracked using the live insight dashboards in both Kidsoft and ChildcareCRM enabling service managers the ability to evaluate conversion rates and enrolment progression.

“It’s imperative that to build longevity and to create ‘best of breed’ childcare centres that put children first, a collaborative approach with experts in this space is used.” Di Girvin, Kidsoft CEO, explained. 

Childcare CRM CEO, Matt Amoia, agreed, sharing the team’s excitement about joining with Kidsoft “to streamline the technology a service uses to engage and communicate with families, while also creating efficiency in their day-to-day operations on the backend.”

To learn more about the ChildcareCRM integration and their exclusive sign up offer visit the Kidsoft integrations page on the Kidsoft website by clicking here or contact your Kidsoft support desk representative. 

Batteries not required – the magic of repurposed play

Two young girls playing arts & craft

Do you remember the magic of Play School presenters delving into the useful box? 

Cardboard boxes would become all sorts of things, from buildings to beds, and cardboard tubes would be binoculars, wands and all sorts of other imaginary props. With a little bit of glue and a lot of imagination, items from the recycling pile were turned into meaningful additions to learning. 

While children and families nowadays may be tempted by numerous toys that light up, do tricks, play music or have interactive apps, there is a lot to be said for open-ended play resources. A toy phone, for example, is a great way to pretend to talk on the phone, but the function of the toy is so specialised that it limits the imagination of what else it may be used for. 

A toothpaste box could be re-imagined as a phone, a remote control, a toy boat, a car… the opportunities are endless! 

Open-ended materials have an infinite number of uses, limited only by a child’s imagination. When children are given open-ended materials to play with, not only are their imaginations sparked, but sustainability lessons are learnt as well. 

Here are some suggestions for everyday materials which could take on a new lease of life in your service: 

Gift wrap and paper towel rolls

Many things can be created from cardboard cylinders. They can be used in a bowling game, crafted into telescopes, or even used to paint with. Things can be poured through them, or they can be joined together with tape to make a tower or a tunnel. 

Egg cartons

Egg cartons – perfect as a means to support children with a transportation or sorting schema to explore, the humble egg carton offers a world of possibilities for play. Egg cartons are also great props in small world play when cut up – they can be tables, stools or a roof. (Please consider egg allergies in your space before implementing this suggestion).

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles – many educators have cottoned on to the idea of using plastic bottles to make sensory and self-regulation tools for children, but there is so much more they can be used for. Plastic bottles can be cut into mini greenhouses, used in water and sand play, or help with experiments about sinking and floating. Plastic bottles can be repurposed in many ways. 

Cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes the adage that children love the box more than the toy that is housed in it is true! Big boxes can become cubbies, cars, towers and so much more. Smaller boxes have a plethora of uses too – beds for baby dolls, a new pair of shoes, a letter box – the possibilities are endless. 

By taking a look through your recycling collection, at home or in the service, you may unlock a world of possibility. 

For more ideas and inspirations on working with recycled materials, visit No time for flashcards, Recycle and Play or Playgroup WA

7 Tips for Keeping Your Childcare Centre Safe from COVID-19

Little boy with Coronavirus sign

Ensuring that your business stays safe from Covid-19 is hard enough in the current climate, but it becomes ten times trickier when you add large groups of children into the equation.

However, if you take sensible precautions and put safety and cleanliness at the heart of everything you and your team do, there’s no reason you can’t continue to ensure that your childcare centre stays a happy, Covid-free haven for little ones during these uncertain times. 

Here’s how to keep your childcare centre safe from Covid-19. 

1. Require Sick Staff and Children to Stay Home
Ensuring that staff and children who are obviously unwell don’t attend your childcare centre sounds like it should be easy, but that’s unfortunately not the case. Staff presenteeism and parents who need to offload their children so they can get to work may mean that concerning symptoms are overlooked. 

Set out your Covid-19 sickness policy in two clear, easily accessible documents — one for staff and one for parents — and make it clear that you will not permit anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms to enter the building.

2. Ensure That Staff Are Following Guidance
As the pandemic rumbles on, it’s easy for people to get complacent when it comes to things like hand washing and mask wearing. Yet to protect your childcare centre from Covid-19, it is essential that staff stick to the rules.

Help them out by providing PPE such as masks, creating hand sanitising stations, and hanging up posters reminding them of social distancing and hand washing guidelines. 

3. Separate Children and Staff Into Bubbles
If your childcare centre is relatively large, it’s worth separating children and staff into separate bubbles. Assign children to childcare providers who will take care of them each day, and ensure that the separate bubbles stay in different rooms throughout their time at the centre. Stagger their time outdoors and in the lunchroom to prevent crossover. 

4. Stagger Arrival and Pick-Up Times
Prevent large groups of parents and children mingling at the centre by staggering drop-off and pick-up times. Where possible, set up a safe arrival and pick-up zone outside the centre that is manned by your staff so parents don’t need to enter the building at all. 

5. Screen Children Upon Arrival
Covid-19 does not always manifest in obvious symptoms — particularly among little ones. Where possible, screen children’s temperature upon arrival. Ensure that the screening area is clear of other staff and children, and make sure the staff member carrying out the screening is properly protected by PPE. 

6. Regularly Clean and Disinfect
While it’s always vital to keep your childcare centre clean, cleanliness in 2020 needs to hit a whole new level. Develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting that ensures that frequently touched surfaces and objects — including toys and games — are routinely cleaned, sanitised, and disinfected. It’s also important to ban the use of toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitised. 

7. Cancel and Postpone Planned Events
The fluctuation of national and local lockdowns means that it’s very difficult to predict whether any planned events will actually be permitted to take place. However, in order to keep your childcare centre safe from Covid-19, it’s sensible to cancel and postpone these events anyway. 

While it’s unfortunate to deprive your community of children and parents of the usual yearly events, they’ll enjoy them a lot more once the pandemic is over — and you won’t have to worry that a coronavirus outbreak is in the cards. 

To find out more about how software like Kidsoft can help you manage your business operations now more than ever, contact us to book a demo.

6 Ways To Make Your Childcare Centre Well-Known In Your Area

Male teacher with young boy

Every childcare centre owner wants to work out how to pack their waiting list with parents desperate to secure their little one a place. You want to ensure your centre is the number one choice for parents in your area, and that it has an outstanding reputation within your community.

Of course, this is difficult to achieve if only the parents of children who currently attend your childcare centre are aware you exist. 

It’s so important to work towards establishing yourself more broadly in your area, so that prospective clients — such as soon-to-be parents or grandparents — are aware of your childcare centre before they even begin to seek one out.  

Here’s how to go about it.

Hold Events
Community events are a fun and effective way of announcing “we’re here!” to the people in your area. Make the most of your building to host events for the children, their parents and — where it’s appropriate — the wider community. 

For instance, an exhibition of the children’s art, a festive show, or a summer fair could be great fun for the little ones and their families. Yet, for other events — from themed discos to fundraising soirees — there’s no reason not to get the whole community involved. 

Marketing Outreach
Sometimes you just have to get down to some traditional marketing. Platforms such as Toddle or Care for Kids are great resources for parents. Ensure you’re putting your best foot forward for your service’s listings.

Email outreach is a highly productive way to connect with prospective clients. Consider building a newsletter list that people can sign up to on your website to share a little about what’s going on each month at your daycare centre and to advertise events. 

Go further and offer those who sign up to your newsletter tours of your centre or meetings to answer any questions. Both of these tactics will help to build trust and get your name out there. Once prospects are engaged and want to find out more, you can begin using phone calls and text messages too, for a more personal feel.

This might sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, Kidsoft integrates with ChildcareCRM, which helps daycare centre managers to coordinate all of the above activities. Using this integration, you can connect with new families at the right time and engage them through emails, calls, and text messages on the tool’s easy-to-navigate sales and marketing platform. 

Build Your Social Media Presence
Given that many of your prospective clients will spend hours on Facebook each day, your email outreach efforts should be accompanied by a strong social media presence. Create a private Facebook group that parents whose children are members of your childcare centre can join. 

Additionally, consider launching another group to share news and events with a wider range of people, and to interact more broadly with the local community. It is of course important that you don’t share any information on social media that could put any of the children who attend your daycare centre at risk.

Incentivise Referrals
When it comes to developing a strong local reputation, it’s hard to beat word of mouth. Some of this will happen naturally as parents chat to their friends about the benefits of your daycare centre. But why not speed this process up by offering incentives for referrals? 

For example, if one family successfully refers another family, both parties could get a day or a week at your childcare centre for free. Other rewards could include gift cards, children’s’ toys, or indulgent hampers for the parents.

Engage in Smart Networking
Networking can be time consuming and take you away from your day-to-day tasks, yet face-to-face interaction with your community is instrumental for reputation building. This is why it’s vital to be smart about how and when you network. Where will your time be the most valuable, and where are your prospective clients most likely to hang out? Consider attending groups for new mums and dads, going to events run by businesses catering to children, or collaborating with local primary schools. 

Try these five tips to get the word out about your centre, and for even more support in streamlining your business, check out how Kidsoft can help.Pla

The Christmas Conundrum: Planning for celebrations that reflect and respect diversity

Girl with Christmas decoration

Almost without fail, year on year, six weeks out from Christmas a debate will kick off.

Some commentators call this debate “the war on Christmas” with strong and emotional arguments on both sides, both in favour of, and against “traditional” celebrations. 

These debates can be challenging for those working in early childhood settings – after all, celebrations are important markers on our calendars, and families, staff and children will often all have their own ideas about how they should be acknowledged. 

How can childcare services make sure that all children, families, and staff feel respected?

How can services make sure children and families join in with celebrations in a way which respects the diversity of families? 

One size does not fit all
Some educators and leaders will remember an experience from their childhood of eating dinner, or spending the night at a friend’s house. In those moments, many of us remember the mind-blowing feeling when you realised that not everyone eats dinner with a knife and fork, that some families let their dogs sleep on the bed, or that in some houses, shoes are not to be worn inside. 

What those moments teach is that all families, and all homes, have their own little differences. The same is true for celebrations – not all people celebrate or acknowledge all holidays, and few do it in the same way. 

In most settings, because of different beliefs, biases and experiences, some negotiation will need to happen in relation to special celebrations and holidays. Even within groups that all acknowledge the same holiday, such as Christmas, how individual families celebrate will reflect both similarities and differences. 

For holidays such as mothers and Father’s Day, which families are included, and which are excluded? How could this practice be made more inclusive? 

What’s the why?
Each community is composed of members of many different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Knowing the origins and the meaning behind each holiday may support your service in making decisions about what, and how, to celebrate. 

The Early Years Learning Framework encourages educators to think about how they authentically embed culture into environments, practices and programs, describing cultural competence as being “much more than awareness of differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures.”

When educators look at how they work with children and families, as guided by the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics, they are guided to learn about, respect and respond to the uniqueness of each family, their circumstances, culture, family structure, customs, language, beliefs and kinship systems. 

Honouring this uniqueness also means recognising that each group has a right to their traditions, and that the program should not favour one group of families over another. 

Key ideas for celebrating the holidays… fairly

  • Learning, not celebrating: celebrating a holiday makes children active participants in a culture or tradition, and assumes that all families believe in the premise behind it. Switching that thinking to learning about a holiday means teaching children about what it means to some, and how some choose to participate in it, emphasising the uniqueness of all traditions. 
  • Power of language: choosing to use words that focus on the history of celebrations, and which highlight the range of beliefs, can support a diversity of beliefs in a service. Avoiding phrases such as “but EVERYONE here…” as this may or may not be the case. 
  • Start something new: a unique celebration for a group of children, or a setting, may have more meaning to children and families, and includes everyone, building connections with families and communities. In this piece, the team from KU Ourimbah share a reflection on how they moved from ‘graduation’ to a celebration of learning, led by the children.
  • Support children in understanding why: If a child or family chooses not to participate in a celebration, work with the other children to understand why, explaining that all families have different ways of acting, and that this is not consistent in every home. 

Further resources: 
Celebrate!: An Anti-Bias Guide to Including Holidays in Early Childhood Programs

Holidays and Anti Bias Education 

The Anti Bias Approach in Early Childhood