ACT Free 3 Year Old Preschool

ACT’s Free 3 Year Old Preschool Made Easy with Kidsoft’s Free Calculator

Simplifying the Early Childhood Education and Care experience for both ECEC Services and families is at the heart of what we do here at Kidsoft. 

In a significant development, the ACT Government is set to roll out the Free 3-Year-Old Preschool Program from the beginning of 2024, offering Canberra families 300 hours of free preschool per year. This initiative, supported by over $50 million in funding over four years, represents the largest investment in the early childhood education sector to date.

Participating Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services will play a crucial role in delivering this program, ensuring that families across Canberra have access to quality early childhood education.  

Off the back of our hugely successful Queensland Free Kindy Calculator, we recognised the need to tailor support for the unique circumstances of the ACT Government’s initiative. Understanding the complexities of childcare funding, particularly within long daycare centres, is crucial for both families and services, and we recognise the challenges that may arise in long daycare settings concerning the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and how the new funding impacts the cost to families.  

To address these challenges, we’ve developed an easy-to-use calculator specifically designed for the ACT Free 3 Year Old Preschool program. This free tool aims to empower long daycare services by providing a seamless way to determine the gap fee for each child within their preschool program under the new ACT Government initiative. 

Our commitment to supporting the ECEC sector is further demonstrated by offering this calculator free of charge, in collaboration with the ACT Government. 

If you’re an ECEC service in the ACT and require further assistance or have questions about implementing the Free 3-Year-Old Preschool Program, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Kidsoft is here to help and support you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth transition and a bright start for all children in the Australian Capital Territory. 

Download your complimentary ACT Free 3 Year Old Preschool Calculator

Konnect dashboard

Kidsoft Konnect: The future of childcare management software is here

 

 

Konnect is here and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!  

Kidsoft Konnect isn’t just an update; it’s a revolutionary shift in childcare management. This transformative solution has been designed to make managing your ECEC service even more intuitive, efficient, and powerful. Konnect transforms Kidsoft into a comprehensive full-service solution, building on the foundation of our existing iCheckin feature. 

What’s Under the Hood?  

Kidsoft Konnect features a fresh and user-friendly design, ensuring a smooth experience for both staff and guardians. But it’s so much more than that! A wave of enhanced features will be built into the platform, making Kidsoft your ultimate childcare management solution. 


A Glimpse into the Future
  

Get ready for an exhilarating roadmap ahead – here’s a sneak peek of some of what’s to come: 

Incident Reporting: A brand-new feature to Kidsoft, Konnect will encompass a comprehensive incident reporting solution. Coming in Q1, 2024! 

Child Management: Access child medical details and emergency contacts, providing critical information at your fingertips. Coming Q1, 2024! 

Enhanced Security Clearance: Purpose-built security clearances with custom checklists, ensuring compliance and peace of mind. 

Staff Sign In/Out: An eagerly awaited feature adding an extra layer of security and efficiency to your operations. 

 

 

What’s Next? 

We’re not stopping here! These innovative features are just the beginning. Throughout 2024, we’re committed to transforming Kidsoft into an even more comprehensive and integrated solution that exceeds your expectations. 

Transitioning from iCheckin  

Konnect is set to replace iCheckin on March 31, 2024. The transition is seamless— no new logins are required for your staff or guardians. Just use the new URL, enter your Service PIN, and you’re good to go! 

Ready to explore the power of Konnect?  

 

free kindy banner

Navigating Queensland’s “Free Kindy” program with Our Free Calculator

At Kidsoft, we’re committed to simplifying the Early Learning landscape for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Services and families across Australia.  

The Free Kindy program introduced by the Queensland Government is nothing short of fantastic. This initiative ensures that every child in Queensland has the opportunity to access quality early childhood education, setting the stage for a bright and promising future. However whilst this initiative is brilliant, the details can be a little complex, especially when children attend kindy within long daycare centres. The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) adds another layer of intricacy, as it varies from one family to the next. In essence, when a child participates in a kindergarten program within a long daycare setting, families may need to cover the cost of care before and after the kindy program. Determining the precise amount of this cost can be a challenging task.

To support the wider ECEC sector, Kidsoft with the support of the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA QLD) has invested significant effort and expertise in creating an easy-to-use calculator. This tool is the culmination of extensive work, aimed at empowering long daycare services to determine the gap fee for each child within their kindergarten program once “Free Kindy” takes effect. Our commitment to simplifying this process underscores our dedication to the sector, ensuring both services and families can navigate the transition with clarity and ease.

We believe in giving back and assisting the sector whenever we can. That’s why we’re offering this calculator alongside ACA Qld free of charge to the Queensland Government, and all ECEC services throughout Queensland.

If you’re an ECEC service in Queensland and need further assistance or have questions about implementing Free Kindy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ACA Qld or contact us. We are all here to help and support you every step of the way. Together, we can provide the best possible start for all Queensland children.

Download your complimentary Free Kindy Calculator

Parent Portal bookings

Exciting Enhancements Coming to Kidsoft Booking Platform

At Kidsoft, we are constantly striving to provide early childhood education and care (ECEC) service providers with innovative solutions that simplify and elevate their operations.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce some exciting updates coming to our Kidsoft Booking Platform, designed to enhance your childcare management experience. These changes (launching early September) will empower you with greater flexibility, efficiency, and customisation options, making your daily tasks even more streamlined

What’s New in the Kidsoft Booking Platform

 

Empowering Guardians with Enhanced Flexibility
In response to your needs, we’re introducing the ability for guardians to select specific booking types associated with the room they choose.

Not only can they select a booking type, but they can also add descriptions and view cancellation periods for better decision-making.

 

Empowering Guardians with Enhanced Flexibility
In response to your needs, we’re introducing the ability for guardians to select specific booking types associated with the room they choose.

Not only can they select a booking type, but they can also add descriptions and view cancellation periods for better decision-making.

 

Custom Surcharges for Personalised Experiences
Personalisation takes centre stage as guardians can now select custom surcharges linked to specific rooms.

This feature adds transparency and convenience to the booking process, ensuring families have a tailored experience

 

Custom Surcharges for Personalised Experiences
Personalisation takes centre stage as guardians can now select custom surcharges linked to specific rooms.

This feature adds transparency and convenience to the booking process, ensuring families have a tailored experience

 

Streamlined Routine Booking Patterns
Creating routine booking patterns for multiple children has never been easier. Our updates ensure that the process is seamless and accurate, allowing you to manage routines effortlessly. 

Simplified Booking Creation for Multiple Children
Managing bookings for multiple children is getting simpler. You can now create multiple casual bookings for different children in a single transaction, saving you valuable time.

 

Streamlined Routine Booking Patterns
Creating routine booking patterns for multiple children has never been easier. Our updates ensure that the process is seamless and accurate, allowing you to manage routines effortlessly. 

Simplified Booking Creation for Multiple Children
Managing bookings for multiple children is getting simpler. You can now create multiple casual bookings for different children in a single transaction, saving you valuable time.

In addition to these exciting features, we’ve also made significant changes to our booking process based on your feedback. You and your guardians will soon be able to create more than two bookings per day for a child. Our improved booking panel offers enhanced flexibility while maintaining a user-friendly experience.

We’re committed to providing ECEC service providers with tools that simplify their daily tasks, streamline processes, and create even better interactions with families. These updates reflect our dedication to continuous improvement, as we aim to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

To learn more about these enhancements and how they can benefit your childcare service, get in touch with our Customer Success Team on helpdesk@kidsoft.com.au. 

We’re excited about the positive impact these changes will have on your service operations. Your success is our priority, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Stay tuned for more updates as our team continues to enhance your Kidsoft experience!

Blog tile

Meet Kidsoft’s newest integration partner, ECX

Kidsoft blog banner

Kidsoft has teamed up with customer experience leaders ECX to provide an exclusive and first of its kind offering.

You probably already know this, but the no.1 deciding factor on how parents and staff choose a centre is how they feel about it. Your reputation is built on how people feel. every. single. time. they interact with your centre. And this drives your: occupancy, referrals, reviews and staff longevity and commitment.

So how do you know how people are feeling at your centre? Are they loving things? If so why? Is there something bothering them? Are your team feeling valued?

Introducing ECX, the early education sector’s first done-for-you customer experience program. It uncovers and shares how people are feeling so you can focus exactly where you should to improve your reputation and ensure you don’t lose enrolments.

ECX delivers you a:

  • Cutting edge continuous family feedback program
  • Insights and benchmarking dashboards and reports
  • Testimonial collection and Google review drivers
  • Employee experience program
  • And so much more

With ECX you’ll

  • Achieve a competitive advantage
  • Continually uncover how your families are feeling
  • Uncover how your team feel
  • Drive real improvement-occupancy, retention and satisfaction
  • Uncover key insights on where to improve
  • Compare your performance against the industry
  • Get more and better reviews

Here is how you can integrate with ECX in a few easy steps:

  1. Apply and Sign Up

Complete the straightforward application form on the ECX website

  1. Import Data

Kidsoft connects relevant data to the ECX platform ready to deliver surveys to the right families at the right time.

  1. Receive valuable feedback ++

The ECX program will deliver family feedback to your inbox in real time, week after week as well as testimonial lists, detailed analysis, employee feedback and much, much more.

Elf on shelf

Count down to Christmas…with Elf on a Shelf!

Today, marks the first day of December, this means in some families, the Christmas tree is up, the carols are playing on repeat, Santa letters have been sent, the shops are busy and ‘Elf on the Shelf’ returns

The Elf on the shelf has become such a popular tradition for the count down to Christmas. Children enjoy waking up to find what their Elf has been up to and parents are frantically setting alarms to remember to move the Elf after they have found their latest idea on Pinterest.

Elf on the shelf has also become a popular game in school classrooms and childcare centres. If you have never done Elf on the Shelf, there is no better time than now to get involved.

For those that do not know how Elf on the Shelf works, the concept is each night the Elf flies home to the North Pole and reports to ‘Santa’ how the children were. Every day until Christmas Eve, the Elf finds a new place and the children must find him, often the Elf is getting up to mischief, the children seem to like when the Elf is naughty! The Elf is magic and can’t be touched or else it loses all its magic.

Positives of having an Elf

  • It creates a feeling of excitement for children each day
  • Siblings or classroom peers can brainstorm and create a name for the Elf together.
  • The Elf can be used to encourage good behaviour by reporting daily updates to the North Pole

Kidsoft has 4 fun ideas you can use in your classroom, childcare service, or in your family home.

Elf on shelf

Covered in stickers

What you need:

  • Stickers

Instructions:

  • Cover the Elf the stickers (you can use any type of sticker)
  • Place Elf somewhere, where it can be found
  • Leave sticker sheet on the Elf.
elf on shelf

Do you want to build a snowman?

What you need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Black/Orange cardboard

Instructions:

  • Stack toilet paper rolls
  • Using the cardboard, cut out shapes for eyes, mouth & nose
  • Place Elf through the top of the toilet rolls
elf on shelf idea

Warm and Toasty

What you need

  • 2 pieces of toast
  • a plate
  • a small piece of paper to create note

Instructions:

  • Cook toast
  • Put the Elf inbetween the toast on a plate
  • Create note (see image)
Elf on shelf

How many copies?

What you need

  • A photocopier
  • Paper

Instructions:

  • Using the photocopier, take different copies of the Elf
  • Hang the photocopy pages around the house or classroom

Time to say goodbye…

The Elf becomes apart of your life for several weeks, whether this is in the classroom, childcare centre, or your family home and therefore it is always nice to do a proper send-off.

Depending on family traditions, the Elf either says goodbye on Christmas Eve, leaving room for Santa to arrive or on Christmas morning after helping Santa deliver the toys.

Although it seems most parents sigh over Elf on the Shelf, it certainly brings families lots of joy and laughter during the festive season.  So, if you haven’t yet got an Elf, why don’t you join in on this tradition.

Happy Elf on the Shelfing…only 24 more sleeps to go!

Tanda x Kidsoft Partnership

Meet Kidsoft’s newest integration partner, Tanda

Kidsoft blog banner_Tanda

Kidsoft has teamed up with workforce management software Tanda to leverage the best of both worlds so that you can collaborate with staff in a smarter way and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. Tanda’s integration helps you make time for what matters the most – the children. 

As a global market leader in workforce management, Tanda is committed to changing the quality of work in childcare centres with an industry-leading compliance system which can automate your awards, payroll, and certificates. Say goodbye to having to spend hours double-checking for complex Children’s Services Award compliance. Plus, get notifications when your centre licenses and qualifications expire so that your blue card and first aid certifications are always up to date. 

With a helping hand from Tanda, centre leaders can easily nail the NQF ratio requirements. By cleverly compiling insights from attendance and booking data, Tanda supports centre leaders with better managing educator-to-child ratios and staying within budget based on your centre’s specific service and labour costs. This partnership also expands on current Kidsoft offerings with the introduction of an intelligent rostering system, ‘selfie’ time clock, attendance-to-payroll integration, shift swapping and much more. 

Here’s how you can integrate with Tanda in a few easy, simple steps: 

1. Connect Tanda to Kidsoft
Contact the Kidsoft Customer Success team to coordinate the connection of your Kidsoft account to Tanda.

2. Import Data
Kidsoft connects to Tanda’s API and automatically syncs your demand data or bookings, and attendance data.

3. Create Data Driven Rosters
Use Tanda’s Predictive Workforce functionality to clearly identify compliance risks, and optimise your roster to stay within budget.

4. Optimised Compliant Rosters
Control your staff expenses by knowing how many employees are needed to meet your educator-to-child ratios.

5. Automatic Roster Creation
Automatically generate the ideal roster based on ratios, wage cost, employee availability and more using Tanda’s Cognitive Rosters.

6. Cloud-based Live Insights
Accurately report on your educator-to-child ratios using Live Insights, which tracks your compliance in real-time and determines your under-roof and room ratios to eliminate risk of understaffing.

Together with Tanda, Kidsoft is taking the next step in creating an even more seamless user experience to best support our community. We strive to help simplify the compliance process for childcare centres so that you can spend more time with the little ones in your care.

To learn more about our Tanda integration, or contact our friendly customer success team to discuss connecting your service please click on the below links.

Social Media like with man

4 Social Media Engagement Strategies for Childcare Businesses

Social Media like with man

When running a childcare business, you’ll have a million and one tasks to get through every day. Whilst you may know that social media is an important aspect of your business, it can feel daunting. 

That said, how you engage with existing and prospective parents will be paramount to the success of your business. 

Here’s how you approach your social media engagement with some tried and tested strategies that really work.

First things first
Before you start, it’s worth doing some groundwork.

First of all, identify your goals. You know you want to boost engagement, but what does engagement look like to you? It may come in the form of:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Hashtags
  • Click-throughs to your website
  • Mentioned (tagged or untagged)
  • Increased followers/audience growth

Get a current snapshot of your data so you can measure success later on. 

Secondly, get familiar with your audience, as this will determine the strategies you choose. 

One audience type — or persona — might be existing parents; another might be prospective parents. Others might include current staff, potential staff, governing bodies, other local community groups, schools, and so on. 

Work out who you really want to be engaging with on your social media so you can target your efforts into that specific audience. 

Thirdly, being a childcare business, you need to be very clear on your privacy policies. There are clear safeguarding concerns around consent and sharing information and images on social media, so make sure these are fully understood. 

Fourthly, determine the platforms you want to use. Identify where you’re more likely to get engagement from the audience you’re trying to reach. You may consider some of the following:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok 
  • YouTube

Engagement Strategies that Work
Now you’ve done the groundwork, you can start to plan out your engagement strategies. Here are 4 of the best for a childcare business: 

1. Create and share valuable content
The best thing you can do to build engagement is to create and share the kind of content your audience wants to see. 

Some ideas of great shareable content might include: 

  • Videos of activities such as games, sing-alongs, dances, craft sessions, outdoor play
  • Photos of artwork created by the children
  • Instructions for games or crafts — make this a downloadable pdf for parents to print out and use at home. 
  • The lyrics to a special song they’ve been learning at childcare
  • Event announcements
  • Funny anecdotes or quotes from the children. 
  • Competitions — ask parents to upload their child’s artwork and the best one gets to be shared on social media the following week. 

2. Ask Questions
Use your social media to encourage interaction between you and your audience.

When you post or share your content on social media, follow it with a question to prompt a comment. For example “Here’s what we’ve been singing today. What’s your family’s favourite song at the moment?”

3. Respond to comments and questions
It’s easy to put out content on social media and forget to check whether your followers are engaging with it.

Keep the engagement going by responding to every comment you get. It may seem like a lot of extra admin, but you’ll be rewarded by even more engagement going forward. 

4. Join in the conversations that matter
Many businesses make the mistake of using social media to broadcast. Rather than use it as a platform purely to show off who you are (although a bit of this is important too), use it to build relationships and foster a sense of community. 

Reach out to fellow childcare providers. Share their content; the chances are they’ll reciprocate and share yours too. Use hashtags that resonate in the childcare industry. 

By engaging in the broader conversation beyond your business, you’ll demonstrate to your audience that you’re tapped into what’s important and that you have a strong sense of community. 

In Summary
When you next sit down to post to social media, don’t panic. Follow these strategies, and you’ll see your engagement soar in no time. 

Don’t forget to measure success, tweak your strategy and keep going!

Toddler gardening

6 Advantages to gardening at your childcare centre

Toddler gardening

We all know how important it is for children to get outside for fresh air and exercise on a daily basis. But what are the specific benefits of gardening for young children? 

Here, we’ll explore what gardening can do to support young children in their key learning milestones and in their social and behavioural skills. 

1. Gardening helps build fine and gross motor skills
Gardening is a fun physical activity. 

It involves all sorts of tasks such as scooping up dirt, laying new seeds, watering plants and raking dead leaves. These tasks require hand-eye coordination, balance, manipulation of objects — all helping young children develop both their fine and gross motor skills. 

Through gardening, children also develop their sensory skills through touching the earth, listening to the sounds of the garden, observing the different colours, smelling the flowers and herbs, even tasting the fruits and vegetables they’ve grown with their hands. 

2. Gardening supports key learning milestones
Not all early years education happens in structured sessions within the four walls of a childcare centre. 

Gardening is an activity that supports all areas of early years learning: counting seeds, measuring and pouring, using words to describe sights and sounds in the garden, and developing an early understanding of science (weather systems, seasons and how things grow). 

3. Gardening teaches good eating habits
When children get involved in growing fruit and vegetables, it’s been proven to have a positive impact on their eating habits. 

So, while they’re first learning about textures and flavours, there’s a definite upside to introducing horticulture into the mix.

4. Gardening teaches responsibility
Gardening activities introduce a real-life (yet low-risk) application of taking responsibility. 

When children plant new seeds in the ground, they need to nurture and care for those seeds so their roots develop, their shoots grow, and the plant develops into maturity. 

They’ll be taught how to water the plant, give it enough sun or shade, and do whatever it takes to keep that plant alive.

5. Gardening teaches patience and planning
We all know that gardening doesn’t bring instant gratification. Instead, it requires a lot of initial planning and hard work, and the benefits are reaped over time. 

Each season brings a new set of challenges and opportunities. Certain seeds need planting at certain times of the year; different plants need specific types of care depending on the season. Gardening requires categorising, planning and organising, which will stand children in good stead in other areas of their lives. 

The concept of patience is notoriously difficult for young children to learn, especially in the fast-paced, instantaneous culture of the modern world. But activities like gardening help children operate in a long-term framework, where careful planning is paid off over the course of time. 

6. Gardening teaches social skills
When done in a childcare setting, gardening is a great social activity. It invites children to work together, discuss their activities, share a sense of excitement about what they’re growing and when the first shoots might appear.

It’s these social and interpersonal skills that translate into self-confidence and a great sense of achievement that they will take with them into the classroom later on. 

In Summary
Gardening is a fun outdoor activity that all children will enjoy. It gets them out in the fresh air, fosters a sense of the world around them, and builds their self-confidence. 

But gardening can also support young children in achieving their key early years milestones. From maths, science and English, through to social and behavioural, physical and spatial skills, gardening is a perfect setting to provide a whole catalogue of benefits to young children. 

A Childcare Centre Equipment Guide

Children Furniture

Providing the right childcare equipment is important because it will help keep the children in your care secure whilst also helping them:

  • Reach their developmental goals
  • Develop their curiosity
  • Promote their desire to learn
  • Enrich their experiences

Whether it’s for a centre-based service or any other kind of family daycare setting, here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of equipment needed. 

Furniture and Storage
Any furniture installed in your childcare setting needs to be accessible to children so it’s crucial that you get the right size and height from the floor. It’s also important to ensure that heavy furniture is safely secured to the walls so that it doesn’t topple onto children. 

Basic child-focused furniture includes: 

  • Child-sized table and chairs suitable for both mealtimes and activity times. 
  • Bookshelves and storage units that are within easy reach and at appropriate height.
  • Soft furnishings such as cushions and rugs for children to sit on. 
  • Appropriate sleeping furniture such as beds, mattresses and bedding for nap times.  

Learning Resources
The range of learning materials will need to cover all age groups in the early years setting, anywhere from first skills to preparation for primary school. 

First Skills
Appropriate equipment includes soft developmental toys, teethers, push-and-pull toys, gym playmats and walkers. 

Manipulative and Developmental 
Manipulative play encourages children’s coordination of hands, muscles and eyes. 

Suitable equipment includes tactile and sensory materials such as play-dough, cutters and lids, sorting and posting, mazes and puzzles, stacking and nesting, and lacing and threading games. 

Building and Construction
Building blocks are a great way to encourage children’s creativity and problem-solving skills. They also help to develop their hand-eye coordination, language and logical thinking. 

Literacy and Numeracy 
In early years childcare settings, children begin their understanding of words and numbers. 

A wide variety of books catering for different age groups is essential, as well as a mixture of board books for children to explore and longer story books that can be read to children during story time. 

Other useful literacy and numeracy materials include magnetic numbers and letters, flashcards, wipe-clean writing practice books, and, of course, pencils and paper. 

Role-Play and Home Corner
A well-equipped home corner will allow children to develop their confidence and self-expression, and help them make sense of the world.

Dolls with clothes and blankets, play kitchens with utensils, tool sets and dress-up costumes will all promote imaginative play. 

Music
Music promotes both physical and social confidence. Equipment should include musical instruments for all ages (shakers, tapping sticks, bells, xylophones), as well as CDs or playlists that expose children to a variety of music styles.

Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts lets children develop their creativity as well as their fine motor skills and concentration. 

Arts and craft supplies should include: 

  • Drawing materials including pencils, crayons, felt-tip pens 
  • Scissors
  • Glue, brushes and collage materials such as coloured paper, buttons, beads, fabric, ribbons
  • Paint and paint brushes

Outdoor Play
Not only does outdoor play promote physical activity, but it helps children improve their coordination and social confidence. 

Equipment includes: 

  • Balls of various sizes
  • Push-and-pull toys like prams, cars and lawn mowers
  • Boxes and blocks for construction
  • Ride-on toys such as scooters and tricycles
  • Sand and water play materials, including a sandpit, spades, scoops, funnels, large water containers, floating objects and sponges

Health and Hygiene
Health and hygiene equipment is necessary to ensure that the childcare setting adheres to health and safety standards.

Basic health and hygiene materials should include:

  • Cleaning solutions and sprays
  • Paper, towels and tissues
  • Soap and hand sanitisers
  • Dispensers and waste bins
    Gloves, wipes and nappies
  • Feeding equipment, including bowls, spoons, forks, cups and bottles

Staff Resources
In any childcare setting, it’s important that staff have the appropriate equipment. This should include:

  • Appropriate furniture including chairs, desks and storage
  • First aid kits
  • Teaching resources such as miniature whiteboards, tablets, stationery, reward charts and bulletin boards
  • Visual resources such as white or blackboards and weekly planners

In Summary 
It’s essential for childcare providers to equip their centre or other childcare setting with the right materials to promote learning and development, while ensuring that children are kept safe from harm. This useful checklist provides the fundamental items but keep in mind that it’s by no means an exhaustive list.