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Good nursery software helps nursery practitioners to carry out those vital admin tasks so they can do what attracted them to the job in the first place - interact with and care for the children.
There are a growing number of apps and digital tools available to nurseries which can be fitted into a daily routine making nursery life easier and more efficient.
Famly which is based in Denmark and is fairly new to the UK, has developed a nursery management platform which is very user friendly.
This includes a number of administration tools which monitor workflow and help ensure there are the right number of staff at the right times of the day.
It also has a Parent App giving parents an insight into what their children are doing at nursery through messages and pictures sent by the staff. Parents can also use it to report that their children are sick and unable to attend nursery, making communication quick and easy.
Jonas Gundersen, senior business advisor at Famly believes that “the future of nursery management and parent communication evolves around software and that definitely comes with great responsibility for software providers such as ourselves”.
He adds: “The nursery industry is such a vital thing in our society today and we really feel it's been left behind with solutions that are not up to par with today’s expectations. The philosophy at Famly has always been to build the most intuitive, beautiful and user friendly nursery management software in the world, simply because we believe the practitioners deserve the very best.
“We're a rapidly growing team of seasoned technology entrepreneurs, but at the same time, we are parents that have experienced and seen the stress and vast amount of administrative tasks that surrounds running a great nursery.”
Mr Gundersen recommends that all nurseries start using software because of the many benefits it can give. He adds however “I can't stress enough how important it is to find a solution that both parents, staff and managers love to use, no matter what kind of technology experience they already have”.
Nursery Genie is an innovative software system helping make the day to day running of nurseries simpler and smoother.
It can be used to record daily activities such as meals, nap times and nappy changes and the information can then be compiled into a daily report to be printed or emailed to parents.
It also stores staff records, rotas, child and family records, register forecasting, daily menus and EYFS observations.
A countdown timer displayed on screen reminds staff when a child’s medication is due with staff and parent signatures captured digitally via the touchscreen.
There is a body map for accurate recording of accidents with signatures recorded digitally. In addition touchscreens can be integrated with access control allowing CCTV to be viewed onscreen and the door release disengaged via the tap of an onscreen button.
The device can even monitor the temperature of the fridges and order your shopping from Tesco.
Connect Childcare also specialises in nursery management software designed to ease the burden on nursery managers by storing all of your data in one place. It integrates seamlessly with iConnect for observations and ParentZone for parental communication.
ConnectChildcare allows you to manage registers, invoicing, finances, bank reconciliation, automatic allocation of grant funding, communication and extensive reports.
“It was clear that the Connect Childcare software was easy to use and would enable us to do so much more than we were currently able to with the data we had,” reveals Ruth Pimentel, chief executive of Toad Hall Nursery Group.
iConnect is observation software which means observations can be done instantly on tablets in the rooms, and all of the information is stored safely, ready to access again when needed for assessments and checks. Observations and assessments can be linked to the EYFS, Curriculum for Excellence, Pre Birth to Three and many other frameworks.
Daily activities like sleeps, meals and nappies are recorded quickly and easily and online learning journeys can be sent straight out to parents and carers via ParentZone.
ParentZone is an easy access communication tool enabling busy parents to check in and view their child’s daily activities and wow moments at a time that suits them best. Parents are encouraged to comment on observations posted to their child’s learning journey so can directly communicate with the nursery. They can even upload their own observations, contributing to their child’s learning journey and strengthening their bond with the staff and setting.
Parent Natalie Smith has found ParentZone is clear and easy to use and says: “I can comment on the learning journeys and add my own photos which makes me feel like I'm really working together with the nursery and helping them to get the whole picture about my children.”
Butler Safe Technologies (BST) has been developing, manufacturing and installing its fingerprint access control system to hundreds of nurseries across the UK since 2007.
BST technology allows nurseries to identify a person by who they are rather than through a PIN code or a key or swipe card.
This gives a high level of security to the nursery with only registered staff allowed access to the premises with the possibility of giving specific time slots to different staff or contractors.
Additionally the technology offers a comprehensive management tool as the system can be used as a time and attendance solution. Some nurseries have enrolled parents onto the system but only allows them to have access at certain times in the day.
Ewa Wosik, manager at Abacus Ark Nursery School in London left a review of the product on daynurseries.co.uk, saying: “Before we were using a key to open the door and the bell so that parents can ring when they are in front of the door.
“Now we have the fingerprint reader at the entrance. It’s much easier! We don’t need a key, for example when the staff are leaving for lunch. They just need their finger to open the door during the time frame where they have access to the door.
“The main benefit for us is of course security! You can track the staff activity, see at what time they arrive in the morning, check if they are on time or late.
“The parents like the system, it gives an image of quality and security. Because the first thing they think of is security, they think their children are safe in this nursery.”