Daycare Business Success

3 Lies About Daycare Teacher Evaluations

No one cheers when you announce there will be a staff evaluation soon. There’s no party, no clapping, and certainly no smiles. That’s because there are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and outright lies about the evaluation process. If you want to make the process go smoother, there are a few things can do, starting with explaining what an evaluation is, and addressing those myths.

What Are Daycare Teacher Evaluations?

For your staff, it may feel like a chance for you to find out what they’re doing wrong and hold it over their head. That’s not the reason behind a teacher evaluation, however, so it’s best to explain what an evaluation is, why you need to do it, and how it’s going to affect their position at your daycare. An evaluation is a tool to see where your staff and school as a whole are currently at. It also helps you decide how you want to progress, and helps you decide the best way to get there. It’s really that simple. Evaluations are also something you shouldn’t avoid doing, even if it is stressful to both you and your employees.

Daycare Teacher Evaluations are Important

An evaluation is a great way to get to know your employees. They aren’t clones, obviously, which is a good thing. By doing an evaluation, you learn the teaching style of your staff. Some teachers may be focused on having fun and doing crafts while others are far more structured. As you have new children come in and kids moving to a higher age classroom, putting them with the right teacher is important. One child may thrive in a room where they get to do messy art projects every day, while it would cause another child to have a meltdown. The teacher with a more structured classroom may be a better fit for a child who learns better when they have a set schedule that is followed every day. Evaluations are also important for learning where a teacher may be struggling and getting them the help they need. If a teacher is great at reading but struggles with discipline, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Give them tips on how to maintain discipline, without being judgmental about it. It will help your staff members grow, as well as helping you to improve your daycare center.

3 Lies About Daycare Staff Evaluations

1. Only certain employees will perform well because they’re the Director’s buddy

It’s been said you get the score you earn, and that should be especially true on a staff evaluation. This fear can be combated by being upfront about what you’re going to evaluate. If your teachers aren’t meeting a certain standard, they should feel comfortable talking to you about it beforehand, so they can improve.

2. All reviews are negative

No staff evaluation should be all bad. Your staff shouldn’t walk out the door feeling like they can’t do anything right. While Harvard Business Review reports that most people don’t like feedback, your employees should feel like they’re at least doing something correct when they leave your office.

3. Someone is going to get fired, and I think that someone is me

That’s a fear everyone has when it comes time for evaluations. While there may arise a time when this is necessary, it certainly isn’t going to be every time an evaluation takes place.

6  Ways to Make Daycare Evaluations Less Stressful and More Collaborative

  1. The first step in helping your staff become less stressed out is to explain to them why you’re doing this evaluation. Make it clear that you’re not head-hunting. Then live by what you state. Meet with your staff individually, or have a meeting. An individual meeting might be better, because your staff can ask questions without fear of being judged by their coworkers.
  2. When you go in the room to begin the evaluation, start with a smile. Then have open body language, and make it look like you’re relaxed. If you come in with a scowl, throw your things down, and are angrily jabbing your tablet, your staff members are going to think they’re doing something wrong even if they’re not.
  3. When you go over the report, be honest with your employee. State what they did right, and then discuss how they can improve.
  4. If you want your employees to collaborate with an evaluation, then give them a reason to. When you give them feedback on how to improve, then back them up on it. There’s nothing worse than being told you did something wrong, but when you ask for advice, the person just shrugs and say they don’t know. If you don’t have a solution or advice, perhaps hold off on bringing it up until you do some research.
  5. Collaboration is crucial to making an evaluation effective, so give your teachers a chance to speak. According to Entrepreneur, you should encourage your employees to speak up. They may have some great ideas that you could incorporate to take your daycare center to the next level.
  6. Build the relationship. It takes time, but it’s worth it. If your employees know they can trust you, then an evaluation will be less stressful for everyone involved.

Prime Software Can Make Life Easier

While paper copies worked for several years, it’s far from efficient. There are many risks involved with relying on paper copies that range from copies being lost to posing a security risk. Prime Software helps eliminate many of these risks by keeping all your files at your fingertips. The days of losing an important document are over. All you need to do is open up the correct file, and download the information. Prime Software is perfect for using in a staff evaluation because you can easily view the current evaluation versus past evaluations. You’ll be able to see where each staff member is struggling, and more importantly, where they are excelling. Simply look under the teacher profile, and you’re good to go. Prime Software also allows you to perform HR actions, create your own mobile app, and streamline your payment process. Contact Prime Child Care for more information about what Prime Software is and how it can help streamline your daycare center.

4 Ways Your Daycare Franchise Can Be Successful in the New Normal

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business in virtually all industries and sectors, perhaps forever. With seemingly no end to the coronavirus crisis and its ravages, daycare franchising and businesses worldwide are fighting for their survival and shifting their operations to accommodate the new normal.

In nearly every economic sector today, the businesses that survive the pandemic will need to change how they operate and interact with consumers. The coronavirus has forced every daycare franchise across the U.S. to rethink its operations. Survival and success will require franchisors to support their franchisees and their customers by pivoting their business models and processes to suit the changing marketplace.

Moving forward, daycares centers should formulate and implement both short-term and long-term strategies for recovery. They should also address what consumers require right now – protection from the virus and a safe place to take their kids as they work – and position their brand to meet those needs.

Ways Daycare Franchises Can Achieve Operational Efficiency in Uncertain Times

While the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc globally, things must go on as the need for products and services resumes – although reshaped by the crisis to some extent. As such, businesses and franchises should remain open to new opportunities and re-evaluate their operations to ensure efficiency, survive the pandemic, and even thrive. Here’s how:

1. Adapt for Change

After the initial lockdown imposed across the U.S., daycare franchises had to navigate reopening at the height of the pandemic and ensure parents that they were taking all safety measures to safeguard children’s safety. They took steps in compliance with government COVID-19 prevention guidelines and new regulatory requirements. These included:

  • Ensuring social distancing in daycare centers and during pickup and drop off points
  • Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and indoor fixtures
  • Practicing good hand hygiene among all children and staff members
  • Wearing facemasks at work
  • Keeping small group sizes of about six kids in home-based programs and eight in centers
  • Symptoms screening

These are some of the changes that daycare franchises should implement moving forward. But to survive the crisis, attract more business, and quell parents’ fears, centers need to adapt for change moving forward.

Therefore, rather than trying to upgrade their old systems and processes, they now have the chance to implement new and more impactful digital strategies and solutions. For example, franchise businesses can opt to implement center-centric solutions like Prime Childcare Software built for multi-center chains and franchises.

Daycare franchises that openly address how they keep staff and children safe will most likely win during and after the pandemic winds down.

2. Connect with Customers

Right now, it’s vital to strengthen connections with existing customers – in this case, parents. As habits and preferences rapidly change in response to the pandemic, you must show parents that you are willing and able to meet their new reality regarding safety measures. Connecting with parents and other stakeholders remotely must be at the center of your strategy.

3. Create Synergy

Examine your existing business infrastructure and plan and identify what other services you can offer to diversify or expand your business now. What existing resources, such as trained staff, transportation network, equipment, and more, can you adapt to offer new, different services. Find one or more needs that fit your current daycare operation and fill them.

4. Give Peace of Mind

Look at your daycare business through your customers’ eyes and identify what they need presently to give the added assurance and increase their peace of mind during COVID-19. Think of how you can alter your web presence, marketing, and branding to bolster that reassurance and trust. Parents require assurance that their children are safe with a pandemic-prepared daycare center like yours.

How Prime Can Help Franchises Run More Efficiently

Prime Childcare Software has an enterprise solution that allows franchise businesses to combine centralized and local management seamlessly. It makes it easy for the owners and executive management teams of multiple centers to stay connected to their locations. Prime allows you to view critical management and operational processes across a broad array of functions inside all your locations.

For example, you can view the check-in and check-out procedures implemented and followed by your child care locations to ensure child safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also view expenses and profitability, manage resource loading and scheduling, and oversee invoicing and tuition collection from a central location.

Prime also provides the following operational capabilities:

  • Payment processing using an enterprise payment module
  • Hassle-free registration and enrollment
  • Fluid parent communication to help build and retain their clients
  • Human resource payroll management
  • Automated billing and online payments

Prime offers all these and more child care franchise services on a single cloud-based commercial site with a super-convenient mobile childcare app. Contact us today and schedule your appointment to get started.

6 Ways to Estimate Your Cash Flow During Fall and Winter

Cash flow refers to the movement of money in and out of your daycare business during a specific period. Managing your cash flow is critical for a daycare business’s success, especially after the long holidays and plans for expansion or market share growth. Cash flow is king for all businesses. It keeps your daycare business healthy and enables it to accelerate during busy months and withstand lean ones. There are different ways to estimate and measure cash flow. Each has its merits and weaknesses, depending on your operational goals.

Projecting Cash Flow

It helps to project your daycare’s cash flow accurately before you can properly manage it. Cash flow projection or estimation means knowing how much money will come into your business and how much you have to pay in expenses. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to estimate your cash flow with certainty. Unexpected expenses almost always arise, kids will come and go, government grants may change, and parents will pay late. However, if you are organized and diligent, you can get a good idea of how much cash you need for a specific period and know how much money is in your accounts. Below are six ways of estimating your day care’s cash flow.

1. Make a Cash Flow Budget

Developing a cash flow budget requires you to estimate your daycare’s income and the expenses it will payout. Base your estimates on past performance to make them verifiable and help determine your financial projections. Furthermore, base any new program assumptions on carefully-conducted market research of other similar daycare businesses. Assumptions to consider include:
  • The vacancy rate
  • The number of kids served
  • The fees you charge
  • The number of hours and days the business is open
Developing your budget requires considerable time and planning. Below are some of the activities involved:
  • Establish the budget period – annually, monthly, quarterly, or biannually.
  • Estimate the number of kids you will serve based on your licensing standards, space available, the number of kids already enrolled, and the number of staff you have (if any).
  • Estimate anticipated revenue. It could come from parent fees, public subsidies, food programs, sponsors, etc.
  • Estimate anticipated expenditures. Make sure to include:
    • Fixed expenses like rent, insurance, utilities, mortgage, and telephone
    • Salary expenses if applicable
    • Program or funder requirements, for example, associated costs of a grant program like obtaining accreditation
    • Everything else such as food, equipment, supplies, advertising, staff development, and liability insurance
To get your ending cash, you must add your starting cash (the amount you have in your daycare accounts) and anticipated revenue (money coming into the business). If the number is positive, then your daycare has a positive cash flow for fall and winter.

2. Free Cash Flow

Free cash flow is a standard method of estimating and measuring cash flow. The FCF metric tracks the cash you have leftover after making capital expenditures like mortgage and equipment payments. To determine your FCF number, you must examine both your capital expenditure and operating cash flow. Free cash flow is essential because it’s the money available to build your daycare business, expand your product offerings, and carry out other activities that increase your business’s long-term value.

3. Cash Flow from Financing Activities

Cash flow from financing activities shows your business’ financial condition by showing how you raise your capital and repay investors. These activities include taking on new loans or paying investors, if any. Therefore, if you consistently take on new debt for your temporary cash shortages, it is an indicator of financial problems down the road. Cash from financing activities tells you what percentage of your money is from financing instead of operations revenue. It is also an indicator of your expansion readiness.

4. Cash Flow from Operations

It is one of the best indicators of your daycare business’s overall financial condition. The term operation refers to your core business activities. In your case, it’s providing care and supervision to the children under your care. Cash flow from operations shows how much money goes out and comes in from your core business functions. It’s the cash flow available before you finance anything. If it’s thin, you must consider outside financing to pay your bills.

5. Levered Cash Flow

Levered cash flow (LCF) refers to the free cash flow you have remaining after taking care of your debt obligations. It tells you how much money you have available for distribution and investment. To determine your LCF, you must first figure out your un-levered cash flow and subtract any outstanding remittances, including interest payments. Levered cash flow is a suitable indicator of your business credit record, as well as your ability to repay debts and manage business funds.

6. Use of a Spreadsheet or Software

In most cases, the best way to estimate your cash flow and keep track of it is to use a spreadsheet or software. Today the market contains excellent software to help childcare and daycare businesses manage their budgets and daily operations. One example is Prime Childcare, a cloud-based childcare management software, plus a supporting mobile childcare app. Prime Childcare can help you simplify your finances, automate your back-office processes, optimize your communications, and streamline your compliance reporting. Such software leaves you enough time to take care of the kids and communicate with parents and prospects.

Over to You

While it may take some time and experience, if you properly manage your cash flow and keep good records, you can make accurate cash flow projections and estimates. You can also anticipate when things get tight. One best practice to help your cash flow budgeting is to lower your cash in (anticipated revenue) projections and raise your cash out (expenses) estimates. At Prime Childcare software, we pride ourselves on technical innovation and providing comprehensive, easy-to-use technology supported by humans. We remain dedicated to empowering childcare centers to manage their routine functions so that proprietors can spend time nourishing relationships and doing other core business activities. Contact us today to get started.

3 Ways to Ensure Parents and Guardians Are Reading Health Notices and Policy Changes

Now more than ever parents need to stay up-to-date with your daycare center. Getting them the information is easy. Getting them to actually read it, though, tends to be much more difficult. Busy parents might grab the latest flyer from your entrance but forget about it by the time they get home. Staff can remind them, but with all the demands on their attention they can’t track which parent is reading the info and who still hasn’t.

So how do you make sure important information is getting to parents? The key is to increase parent engagement and know the best ways to reach them. Here are three strategies you can put into action right away to help ensure parents are reading important information sent by your daycare center.

How to Reach Parents So They Actually Read Your Notices

Ditch the Paper and Put Technology to Work

Paper is inconvenient. It’s also expensive. Printing notices costs your center paper and toner, and over time that can take a big bite out of your operating budget. It’s also not great for the eco-footprint of your childcare center. After all the effort of printing them, it’s very likely that more of your paper notices are getting lost than getting read. So eliminate the problem by replacing your paper newsletters with digital ones.

Digital newsletters, notices, and announcements are a much better way to communicate with parents and guardians. When you move to a digital platform, you make it easy to access, to share, and to update the newsletter at any time. You’ll also see a much higher engagement rate when it comes to parents actually getting the information.

The Best Part of Going Digital

  • Digital information is easy to update on a minute-by-minute basis if necessary. When illnesses break out, the local government calls for quarantine restrictions, or a natural disaster is happening, you need to keep parents informed. A digital format is a perfect way to do this so everyone has the latest information instantly. 

Meet Parents Where They Are At (Hint: It’s Their Smartphones)

Parents are busy. Really busy. So you need to give them information in the place they are most likely to see it. That’s on their smartphones. 81% of American adults now own a smartphone, a rise of nearly 50% in a decade. They’re spending more time on them, too, with the average adult spending about three and a half hours a day on their phones. If you are going to get information in front of a parent’s eyes, their smartphone is the place to do it. 

Thankfully, that’s easier than ever. You can post your health notices and policy changes on social media, send it in an email, or even do a text blast. Consider using push notifications through an app to the parent’s phone, too. Push notifications can give parents the necessary information or direct them where to go for more info right on the lock screen of their phone. So they don’t even have to open their phone to get vital information.

Branded apps for your daycare center can do a lot more, too, but simplifying parent communication is one of the big ones. 

The Best Part of Using Smartphones

  • Parents are looking at them anyway, so there is a much higher chance they’ll actually read your message. Encourage parents to follow you on your social media accounts and look at branded apps as a way to increase parent engagement. It’s often cheaper, easier, and more effective than other means of communication.  

Make It Easy to Access Anywhere

Parents are on the go, so they need to be able to access your communication anywhere. That’s easily done thanks to the internet. But you also need to make sure parents can easily find and read older notices they may have missed. Keeping a centralized library of notices online can be really helpful for both you and your parent community. This increases the chances that parents will read the information because they’ll know where to find it and can reference back to it if needed. When it’s convenient and easy, it’s more likely parents will have a look.

The Best Part of Using a Central Place for Information

  • A central place for information means there is no confusion about where to find it and no one misses out. For instance, if you are relying on social media, you might forget to make a post for your Instagram followers. They miss out on vital information while your Facebook fans are in the know. But if you require each parent to have your daycare’s app on their phone, the info is always there and accessible to everyone.

Other Top Tips to Get Your Daycare’s Notices Read

  • Get straight to the necessary information. Parents don’t have the time (or energy) to read lengthy notices. Give them the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the information in the first paragraph. That way they get the meat of the information right at the beginning, then you can go into detail for those who want to know more.
  • Don’t spam parents with info. While it’s good to maintain consistent communication, you don’t want to overwhelm them. They are busy enough (and interrupted enough) as it is. If they feel like your updates aren’t important, they will start to dismiss them without reading them. That results in giving you the opposite effect of your final goal of increasing engagement.
  • Follow up. While using tech to communicate with your parents is great, nothing beats an in-person follow-up. Chat with them at pick up and drop off times to make sure they’ve seen the important news. If they haven’t, you can gently direct them to the appropriate channels to get all the latest news.

Fostering parent engagement is key in many areas, including getting them to read the information you need them to have. A personalized daycare center app is a great way to reach parents and encourage them to stay up-to-date on policies and health notices. These apps can also make transfers more secure, your billing easier to manage, and records quicker to update. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation call with the Prime Child Care Software team today.

How to Stay on Top of Parent Communication During the Back-to-School Season

The back-to-school season of 2020 will provide more distractions than ever for parents with school-age kids. Whether your daycare facility serves school age children, or many children with school-age siblings, you’ll face more challenges communicating with parents. A new school year always brings about schedule changes, extra tasks, and a deluge of communication from schools and teachers. This year adds to the confusion with schools that have been closed for extended periods of time, vastly different school schedules, and additional precautions brought about by COVID-19.

As daycare centers struggle to safely reopen or continue their efforts to serve essential workers, communication with parents is more important than ever. Your facility is likely following a variety of state regulations to maintain the health of both children and employees. Back and forth communication with parents is an important part of avoiding the spread of germs. Still, when parents are distracted, and little face-to-face communication is permitted, it can be difficult to provide vital information in a way that gets noticed.

Offering a variety of communication techniques can help. Parents are often working, running errands, and struggling to balance the schedules of children through a combination of school and daycare. Here are a few methods you can use to stay on top of parent communication during the busy back-to-school season.


While paper handouts are often the standard in communication to provide important information to parents, they can also carry germs. Email has long been an accepted form of communication between teachers and parents, so it’s really not a stretch to think it would be convenient for daycare facilities as well. Emails can also include attached documents and permission slips for parents to sign electronically.

Text Messages

Since smartphones became a staple of communication, most parents are very comfortable communicating through text. It’s quick and easy, and perhaps most importantly, immediate. Sending out text messages in conjunction with emails or only for emergencies is a great way to get immediate attention. Additionally, parents can often dash off a quick response right away.

Online Portals

Many businesses provide customers with an online portal to access important information, pay bills, and even receive documents. As many daycare centers limit the amount of visitors allowed inside, certain information gets harder to pass along. A parent portal will allow parents to make no-contact payments, access and sign important documents and permission slips, and stay up to date with relevant information.

Mobile App

A mobile app gives parents a convenient way to access all childcare related information and communications in one convenient place. Busy parents are often en-route to one activity or another and depend heavily on smartphones. Since 81% of American adults own a smartphone, you can expect the majority of parents to be familiar with downloading and using an app. A mobile app can provide you with the ability to offer parents a variety of communication option whenever and wherever they are. Convenience is the number one way to make communication easier for busy parents with a variety of responsibilities.


While most parents appreciate the convenience of technology, there are some parents and grandparents that don’t have the option. Parents who don’t have internet access or reliable services need alternative options to stay in touch. When you’re implementing new contact options, provide a sign up sheet for parents who won’t be able to use the new technology. For these parents, set up a convenient phone number and call time for the exchange of information. Additionally, you could offer to set up a weekly face-to-face meeting outdoors to provide important information updates and documents.

A Variety of Communication Methods in One Convenient Place

A variety of ways to communicate with parents is the most effective way to ensure parents get all the information they need. More importantly, multiple techniques provide daycare centers with an open dialogue that allows parents to communicate during the timeframe most convenient for their busy schedules. However, your daycare facility already has a full plate of tasks to accomplish each day and having the funds to hire a full-time administrator to oversee this communication is unlikely. Luckily, there is a way to supply a variety of communication methods without taking on another profession.

Prime Childcare Software provides a variety of software options to empower you to streamline your childcare center management and communication techniques. Instead of personally taking the time to learn about the various communication methods and adapting them to the childcare industry, you can simply choose the solutions you need for your facility.

Prime’s parent engagement tools provide you with a variety of communication options that you can personalize to fit your unique daycare center. Our software automates daily communication activities, so you can get the feedback you need. Instead of working through several companies to get the communication tools you need, get all the software you need in one convenient place. Our parent engagement tools include the following options.

  • Online Parent Portal: Includes easy billing options, access to documents, calendars, updated information, and more.
  • Custom Branded Mobile App: Provides the ability to access all daycare information in one convenient place. The app is even fully customizable to include your facility name and logo.
  • Push Notifications: Enables you to send out important information and announcements quickly and efficiently.
  • SMS/Text Messaging: Provides a great way to get into immediate contact with most parents and supplies 2-way conversation on the fly.
  • Mass and Single Emails: Allows you to send out important information or make direct contact with certain individuals. Emails often coordinate with other forms of communication.

Remote communication is more vital now than ever before. Providing parents with a variety of options is one way to ensure you can communicate with all parents on a timely basis. Instead of trying to adapt retail software to the childcare industry, find the exact programs you need from Prime. To learn more about how we can empower you with great parent communication options, get in touch today. To get started right away, watch our demo and schedule an appointment online.

How to Know If It’s Time to Hire Fewer (or More!) Daycare Teachers

Finding the right balance with staffing numbers is always tricky, even in the best of times. Like most businesses, though, day care centers are making tough financial decisions to keep their doors open. Dwindling enrollment numbers due to unemployment, the work-from-home movement, and concerns about the global pandemic are all rocking the childcare industry. When it’s time to make cuts, it’s often staff who are the first to go.

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment found that of the 2,000 California daycare centers surveyed, 78% of them have already made staffing changes in response to the current economic climate. That story is repeating itself all over the United States, but it may not last forever. As concerns about the pandemic ease and more parents go back to work, enrollment numbers could shoot up. That could leave many daycare centers grappling with the question of when and how many new staff to hire.

So what’s the best way to make these tough staffing decisions? Here are some key metrics to help you determine whether it’s time to reduce your staff numbers or put out the “now hiring” sign.

Key Metrics For Achieving the Right Number of Staff in Your Daycare Center

When it comes to making a staffing decision for your daycare center, data is key. Of course, when it comes to your business, it’s good to have a healthy amount of gut-instinct sprinkled in, too. We’ll cover both of these. 

Looking at the Hard Data

  • Year-over-year student enrollment. Look back into your records and see where student enrollment was a year ago. How about two years ago? Collect data on the year-over-year changes in your enrollment. Where does it currently stand and how has that changed over the last five years? If the numbers are down drastically, then it may be time to make some cuts. If the numbers are the same or rising, then it may be time to hire new staff and grab an opportunity to grow your business.
  • Student-to-staff ratios. You probably know your ratios by heart. After all, the government publishes its ratio recommendations online. It’s probably the first question a lot of prospective parents ask you, too. While it’s pretty easy to calculate the current ratio, what you really want to look at is what happens if you change that ratio. For instance, if you lose one or two employees, will it mean you’ll need to drop any children from your enrollment? If you increase your staff numbers, could you also increase your enrollment numbers? Make sure you know your local, state, and federal guidelines for staffing requirements, too. You don’t want to make cuts and end up violating any rules.  
  • Know your counts. What time are parents arriving for pick up and drop off? How many kids do you have on a typical Wednesday? You need these numbers. They will inform you about what kind of coverage you need and when. That can be a clear indication of when you need more staff and when you have a lot of people standing around (and getting paid for it!).
  • Staff hours and scheduling.  Take a look at the total number of hours you are scheduling versus the total number of staff. Are you giving everyone the hours they want, or are you cutting them short to spread the available time around? Make sure you aren’t giving out more hours than you really have to give. Labor is usually one of the biggest expenses in a business, so being generous with hours is a surefire way to kill your bottom line. If you have more people than you do hours, it’s time to make cuts.
  • Cash flow. Expenses in child care centers are on the rise, with new requirements for PPE and cleaning supplies. You need to know the current state of your financials and how current changes are impacting them. Hiring a new person will be a big drain on your cash flow. You need to be reasonably certain they’ll bring a return on your investment, so proceed with caution. If money is starting to get tight and you can’t cover costs, though, then cutting staff is usually the most obvious (although painful) choice.

Your Gut Feeling on the Current Climate

While you can get the metrics above from data, you’ll also need to do a gut check when it comes to hiring and lay-offs. The biggest gut check you need to make is to consider the current climate you are operating in and whether those factors are here to stay.

For instance, is enrollment down because a large employer laid off a lot of workers? If the job economy is strong in your area, then your numbers could go back up rather quickly as parents find new jobs. Or is enrollment down because of a global pandemic? A lot of parents pulled their children out of daycare because of concerns over infection rates. They may have seen keeping their kids home as an easy to way cut their own expenses. But as the infection rate goes does, more children will need to go back into childcare.

So can your business weather the storm or is it time to make changes? It may be you need to have a few lean months but can avoid layoffs. Or it might mean starting to make those job cuts in anticipation of a long-term decrease in the number of students. Talk to parents, communicate with staff, and trust your instinct.

Making the Right Decision With Better Data

Many of the metrics you need to make these staffing decisions will come from data collected from your child care management software. If you aren’t already putting a good software package to use, now is the time. The reporting from good child care management software can help take the guesswork out of decision-making. Instead, you’ll have hard numbers for data-driven decision-making. That helps take the emotion out of it and give you a clear roadmap for the future of your child care business. Not using child care management software yet? Check out Prime Childcare Software. The intuitive interface allows you to simply point and click to get the information that you need. Your hours become more productive, your parents are more informed, and you’ll have the information you need to make the best decision possible. Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn more about our software package and how it could help your child care center thrive.

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An Owner’s Guide to Opening a New Daycare Location

Parents are eager to return to work but face a child care dilemma. Many states ordered daycare centers to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, others stayed open for essential workers only. If you have an established facility and want to expand to meet a demand for quality care, there are some steps you can take to set up your new facility efficiently. Below, we reveal the roadmap for opening a new daycare location.

Research the Local Licensing Requirements for Childcare Facilities

While you may know about local licensing requirements (particularly if your new location is in the same region as your current facility), keep in mind that different regulations may apply if you set up a location in another town. It’s important to maintain compliance at all times, which you can do by consulting the licensing guidelines at ChildCare Aware of America.

To learn about your state’s licensing requirements, be sure to check with your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency.

Create a Business Plan for Opening a New Daycare Location

Your current facility may already have a unique mission statement and on-site policies, but you should also consider creating a separate business plan for your new location. For instance, consider developing a plan that covers all the necessary elements that go into daily operations. You should also determine how you’ll finance the building of your new facility, either through government grants or a private loan.

Consider using your local CCR&R as a resource to learn about federal financial assistance for opening a new daycare location.

Choose the Appropriate Location

When selecting a new location, there are certain aspects to consider. For example, rather than building a new facility, you may want to rent an existing facility if it’s more cost-effective. You may also have to comply with certain child care zoning laws, depending on the location. These zoning laws may restrict the number of children you can have in your daycare. Again, your local CCR&R should have information about this.

Get Everything You Need for Opening a New Daycare Location

Once you’ve decided on a location, it’s time to prepare the facility before opening. Consider all the equipment and furniture your facility will need, including certain safety supplies such as first-aid kits and fire extinguishers. Also, learn about national accreditation and whether your state has a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). If your facility meets or exceeds federal standards for quality, this can be a key differentiating factor when you advertise your new facility.

It’s also important to develop the necessary policies and contracts for your facility. Make sure your staff and parents have handbooks, and develop crisis management plans for emergencies, discipline issues, safety, nutrition, and data privacy. However, make sure your policies adhere to federal and local guidelines.

Select the Right Staff to Run the Facility

You can have all the best equipment and policies in place at a perfect location. However, none of those elements will matter unless you hire the right staff. When hiring employees, be sure to do comprehensive background checks. So, before you put out that job ad, read about the federal background check requirements for daycare providers.

It’s important to conduct thorough background checks and ensure that all references are verified. You can’t afford to make mistakes when it comes to ensuring the safety of your young charges.

Have the Right Insurance Policies in Place

It’s also important to ensure that your new location is insured, based on its specific type and size. A child care facility will require different types of insurance, including property, workers’ compensation, business, and liability insurance. These policies will help protect your business, facility, employees, and students.

Read more about the types of daycare insurance before you decide on the policies for your new facility.

Market Your New Location Through an Advertising Campaign

Once you have everything in place, you can advertise your new location through a marketing campaign and begin posting listings. Make sure you market your facility via social media and local newspapers, as well. To cater to your local community, consider ads targeting your region. You can also promote your old and new locations through industry-relevant child care blogs, including websites that cover early education topics.

Leverage Prime Child Care Software for Optimal Control and Efficiency

As you may know, there are many aspects involved in opening a new childcare location, which means there’s much to keep track of to ensure success. If you’d like to maintain transparency and keep everything organized throughout the opening process, consider investing in daycare management software.

How You Can Use Prime Child Care Software to Your Advantage

With the right child care software, you can perform many tasks to facilitate the opening process for your new facility.

For instance, our software maintains accurate digital records you can use when applying for insurance coverage. Our platform also integrates seamlessly with other third-party software, which will ensure that your facility benefits from the same services available at your current location.

When it comes to hiring staff, the software can also help you select the right candidates based on background checks and reference verifications. 

Setting up your facility will be easier than ever with the help of a comprehensive solution. Once your facility is up and running, you can further manage your new location by using the software to:

  • Track attendance and check-ins
  • Measure parent engagement to help optimize care
  • Manage billing and liability-related expenses
  • Facilitate online enrollment for parents
  • Manage the curriculum and classrooms
  • Manage staff and payroll
  • Keep track of electronic payments

Opening a New Location While Reducing Time Spent on Administrative Tasks

With the right child care management software, you’ll get total control over the opening process from start to finish. From the development of your new facility to HR policies, the right platform will provide the tools needed to measure the success of your efforts. As a result, you’ll be able to spend less time managing manual-intensive administrative tasks. And, you’ll be able to focus on building relationships with staff, parents, and children.

Taking the above steps can help ensure that opening a new daycare location is a successful experience. In turn, you’ll benefit from the efficient processes you put in place when you’re ready to build another location.

If you’d like further help in opening a new daycare location, contact us. At Prime Child Care Software, we’re focused on your success.

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Children In a drop-in program.

Adding a New Revenue Stream With Drop-In Childcare

Day-cares are struggling more than ever. You’ve heard whispers about it, but can you really save your business with a drop-in childcare program?

The ebb and flow of employment is often influenced by social and economic factors beyond our control. As a childcare business owner, you understand this first-hand. Birth rates change, wages plummet in light of a pandemic, and workplace practices evolve. This all leads to uncertainty, making it difficult to determine the long-term viability of your business.

In June 2020, the economy added 4.8 million jobs, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 11.1%. But, will these promising job numbers help daycares? In light of COVID-19, the daycare industry may well lose 4.5 million childcare slots.

That’s a sobering statistic. Added to that is the increasing trend towards working at home. Between a growing work from home movement and social distancing considerations, employees with families may not need full-time child care services. In addition, many parents have lost their jobs and find themselves in straitened financial circumstances.

Thus, your success may depend on the economy, social climate, and local career opportunities in your region. If a big employer shutters its doors in your town, you’ll probably see a decline in your attendance numbers.  Below, we talk about ways to shore-up your bottom line by offering drop-in childcare as a new revenue stream. We’ll cover details like logistics and marketing, and the flexible technologies needed to manage your program well.

But first, let’s talk about the changes in traditional daycare. These are the driving factors that create a need for drop-in care.

Reasons for Offering Drop-in Childcare in 2020

Many parents must choose between spending a significant portion of their wages on full-time daycare or finding a cheaper but potentially lower-quality care option. Others wind up leaving the workforce altogether. Whether it’s high costs, limited availability, or low-quality services, these challenges influence the choices parents make about daycare. 

Consider these statistics:

  • In 2016, roughly two million parents made career sacrifices due to problems finding adequate child care.
  • Between 1985 and 2011, the costs of childcare increased by roughly 70%, though wages did not, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  

It’s not entirely clear why the cost of childcare has skyrocketed. However, the usual culprits are strict labor laws, high regulatory standards, and excessive legal liabilities. Still, wages among caregivers have remained stagnant; childcare workers make an average of $10/hour. And, their responsibilities have increased. It’s no longer enough that children are fed and kept happy. They must make new strides daily in high-quality early learning programs. 

Historically, low-income mothers ran informal, home-based childcare operations. However, in the early 1990s, a range of government-funded childcare programs like Head Start sprang up. This led to many informal childcare providers formalizing their offerings.

How the Work-From-Home Movement Could Affect Child Care in America 

The work-from-home movement (WFH) continues to grow in 2020. With the realization that telecommuting can reduce overhead costs and increase productivity, employers overwhelmingly support the movement.

  • As working from home becomes more popular, there’s a good chance full-time childcare centers will experience declining enrollment.
  • Some parents may decide to permanently work at home while caring for their children.
  • Meanwhile, others may seek to offer informal home-based services in their neighborhood. 

By offering — and advertising — drop-in services, child care organizations can build their client base. Working parents still need access to quality child care, though probably not on a full-time basis. For example, they may need quiet time to focus on quarterly reports or a few hours to run errands. By offering drop-in care, providers can also reduce overhead expenses.

Marketing a Drop-in Childcare Program to Parents With “Four-Walls Marketing”

Whether your childcare business is a “big fish in a small pond” or one of many in a bustling marketplace, one of the best ways to market to parents is through Four-Walls Marketing.

Today’s full-time care customers are tomorrow’s drop-in care customers. So, offer drop-in services, if possible. In addition, leverage digital and social media marketing strategies to increase your enrollment. 

We think this Columbus Business First article says it well. “Many business owners and managers spend money on advertising campaigns to bring customers in the door only to have them disappointed by their experience within the four walls of the business… advertising creates short-term customer traffic. Four-walls marketing… creates long-term customer loyalty, assists in building customer frequency, and creates a solid reputation for your business.”

To put it another way, expending resources to attract new business is futile if certain elements aren’t in place. You’d be better-served making facility and operational improvements and giving your signage a facelift as you make a move towards offering drop-in care. 

Drop-in Childcare Logistics

Regulations for drop-in child care arrangements are far less stringent than those for full-time facilities. Presently, drop-in care isn’t regulated by any federal or state program like the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE).

Although there are no educational or nutritional requirements for this type of daycare, you’ll still need to post a notice that you’re not required to be licensed, as required by GS 110-86(2)(d)(d1) and GS 110-99(c). 

Ultimately, the shift towards telecommuting may be permanent. Large tech companies like Twitter and Facebook announced permanent work-at-home policies in May. Meanwhile, the 94-year-old Nationwide Insurance closed five regional offices in Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The Ohio-based company intends to increase its telecommuting staff to 50% of its workforce.

Work With Prime Childcare Software to Achieve Business Resilience

Recent upheavals caused by the COVID-19 crisis have transformed how we work, and many parents are facing evolving changes in the employment landscape. While some employees will choose to telecommute, others may decide to try the hybrid-remote approach. Thus, they may only head to the office once a week or alternate between remote and office work. These considerations make the childcare industry a shifting landscape. 

At Prime Child Care Software, our goal is to provide you with flexible technological solutions to help you run a daycare center successfully. You’ll be able to focus on customer experience and engage in projects that will establish your business as a trusted source for childcare. 

By spending fewer staff hours on issues like data privacy management, meal planning, and billing, you can focus on finding more creative ways to diversify your income stream and place your organization at the forefront of your market. 

If you’d like to learn more about building different sources of income, check out our enrollment guide for attracting parents and increasing your enrollment numbers, or reach out to Prime Childcare Software. We offer working solutions to help you achieve business success.


Related Reading & Resources:

The Centers for American Progress: The Child Care Crisis is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce

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Daycare teacher and children; classroom ideas for July.

6 Delightful Classroom Ideas for July

Summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. While we bask in air-conditioned rooms, it’s time to reinvent our favorite classroom ideas for July.

We know that coming up with new playtime activities and lessons isn’t always easy. Childcare teachers in America spend seven hours a week looking for instructional materials and spend more time teaching children in the classroom than in most other countries. So, we called in a little help from the authors of 365 Days of Classroom Fun to come up with some amazing classroom ideas for July.

Sit back and relax; we’ll take the wheel. Here are six activities to keep children engaged and entertained without spending long periods outdoors.

1) July 4th: Independence Day

Supplies needed: Patriotic foods, music, and American flags

Suggested Activities: Introduce children to the rich history of Independence Day! Hot dogs on the grill, patriotic music on the radio, and fireworks blazing across the sky all have an important meaning. Luckily, there are many activities in the Fourth of July playbook to share with your young students. You could print out an American flag coloring page, write thank-you letters to members of the military, or chow down on some festive Fourth of July foods. Who doesn’t love hot dogs and hamburgers?

  • Teach students about the meaning of independence and the core principles America was founded upon. Simple values like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression can highlight valuable lessons.
  • Invite your students to share what being patriotic means to them.
  • Celebrate the founding of America and the principles of freedom.

2) July 8th: Math 2.0 Day

Supplies needed: Calculators and math books

Suggested Activities: National Math 2.0 Day celebrates both math and technology. The math that goes into making cars, computer programs, and phones is obviously too complex for young children. However, calculators aren’t. This page offers a wide variety of calculator math games for children. So, play on — your students will never look at math the same way again!

  • Teach children about the importance of math and how everyday objects were built with it. Create some simple math lessons that revolve around technology. Remember, teaching math to young children will boost their math comprehension later in life.
  • Inspire children to enjoy mathematics. Math is consistently ranked as the least favorite subject in school. Use crayons, fun stories, and interesting games to keep students engaged and entertained.
  • Celebrate by playing math-based games or telling some funny math jokes. Why was the math book sad? Because it had so many problems!

3) July 14th: Shark Awareness Day

Supplies needed: Shark books, photos, or coloring books

Suggested Activities: The theme from Jaws is what many of us hear in our heads when we think about sharks. But, did you know that your chance of being attacked by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million? You’re over 20 times more likely to get struck by lightning.

Shark Awareness Day is the perfect time to teach children about sharks and how they’re a vital part of our ecosystem. Despite the frightening depictions in the media, we rely on sharks to maintain the habitats of underwater plants and coral reefs. Teach children about the dangers of sharks but also emphasize their value in their diverse underwater habitats.

  • Teach children about the different types of sharks. There are over 400 unique types. Angel sharks, hammerhead sharks, and goblin sharks are all fascinating creatures that spark children’s imaginations.
  • Invite children to take an interest in the beautiful world of sharks. Of course, you can show them this video. Not that they haven’t seen it already!
  • Celebrate by sharing photos, names, and habitats of various sharks. Print out some shark worksheets or dive into shark books.

4) July 19th: Water Balloon Day

Supplies needed: Water, balloons, and a change of clothes

Suggested Activities: Water balloons aren’t just a fun way to spend an afternoon; they teach kids valuable sensory-driven lessons. Sensory play is a vital component of brain development. So, have children bring along a change of clothes and get to work. This one is a little messy, so feel free to use the playground. Make sure to keep things fun, engaging, and friendly.

  • Teach children to celebrate their senses. Let them handle the balloons, fill them up, and pass them around. The simple act of playing with water balloons can help children boost their creativity and become more attuned to their senses.
  • Invite your children to describe their senses. What do the balloons feel like? What happens when you drop them?
  • Celebrate fun and play! Try to keep things organized and cooperative (rather than competitive). See who can fill up a balloon with the most water before it pops. Have your students toss a water balloon back and forth with one another. Or, play an old-fashioned game of “hot potato.”

5) July 21st: Junk Food Day

Supplies needed: Healthy food and/or junk food

Who doesn’t love a little junk food? It tastes great. However, many children develop unhealthy food preferences during their early years that can carry over to adulthood. On national Junk Food Day, celebrate the avoidance of junk food. Make healthier versions of favorite snacks.

Or, bring in junk food and talk about the dangers of over-indulging. Moderation is key. It’s perfectly fine to share and enjoy some “junk foods” during the lesson. But, bring in “healthier” options to share, like fruit popsicles, corn chips & salsa, dark chocolate treats, popcorn, or fig bars. Whatever you do, try to teach children the importance of keeping these types of foods to a minimum.

  • Teach children about nutrition and junk food. Let them know that healthier alternatives won’t just help them stay in shape, but they will also reduce their chances of getting sick and increase their energy levels.
  • Invite children to share their favorite junk foods. Then, talk about some alternatives that are equally tasty without all of the added sugar and fat.
  • Celebrate by eating healthy snacks and playing food-oriented games.

6) July 31st: World Ranger Day

Supplies needed: Paper, pens, and books about national parks, animals, or park rangers

Park rangers protect our national parks from illegal activities like poaching. They also assist visitors in learning more about the beauty of nature. In fact, park rangers are so important that they have their own day — World Ranger Day. July 31st marks the anniversary of the founding of The International Ranger Federation (IRF).

So, take this opportunity to teach children about the importance of park rangers and our national parks.

  • Teach children what it takes to qualify as a park ranger and how rangers protect our natural treasures daily. Often, the idea of being outdoors all day fascinates young children. So, you may already have several students who desire to become park rangers. You can also take this opportunity to discuss some of our more popular national parks and the type of wildlife they host.
  • Invite children to talk about their dream jobs. What do they want to be when they grow up? And, do any of them want to be park rangers?
  • Celebrate by writing thank-you letters to park rangers or baking up some delicious outdoor snacks (like trail mix).

Discover Other Classroom Ideas for July in the Book

What are your top ideas for the classroom? As can be seen, July is filled with holidays that can be used to inspire curiosity and creative thinking in your young charges.

To make learning fun again, get your copy of 365 Days of Classroom Fun today. Written by industry experts, this user-friendly guide offers 365 unique classroom ideas that will inspire greater engagement in the learning process. With your copy from Amazon, you’ll get classroom ideas for July and beyond!

365 Days of Classroom Fun

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The COVID-19 Childcare Dilemma: Encouraging Parents to Send Their Kids Back to Daycare

Babies and toddlers often find social distancing an overwhelming experience. They may cry excessively or display regressive behavior if forced to stay apart from their playmates. This has prompted the CDC to release guidance on coping with the stress of social distancing. In that light, how can you encourage parents to send their kids back to daycare?

It may be easier than you think. In Q1 2020, millions of workers transitioned to remote workspaces. And, parents suddenly found themselves juggling work and domestic responsibilities in close quarters. In addition, they also became full-time tutors to their children. An Osmo study shows that 80% of parents now have a newfound respect for teachers.

However, the experience of adjusting to new remote work arrangements has taken a toll on parents: 75% are experiencing difficulty balancing their work-life and children’s educational needs. Meanwhile, 68% worry about running out of ideas to keep their child engaged in learning. And, the elephant in the room: 85% of parents are concerned about their child’s screen time usage — which has surged by 500% as a result of prevailing stay-at-home orders.

As a childcare center, you’re in a perfect position to alleviate these pain points. Chances are, with the economy lagging, your admission numbers are dwindling. And, you’ve been making sensible cutbacks by leveraging technology to gain new revenue streams. However, the rising friction between domestic and work responsibilities is a fantastic opportunity for your facility.

Focus on Safety

During (and after) pandemics, safety is top-of-mind for everyone — especially parents. In light of COVID-19, two in three parents are concerned about their child’s mental wellbeing. At the same time, 42% of parents are worried about their child’s education.

Finally, the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous. Unemployment currently sits at 13.3%, albeit a decrease from 14.7% at the height of the crisis. According to a study, a four-week school closure in New York City would result in an economic cost of $1.1bn. Meanwhile, a nationwide closure of 12 weeks would cost 1% of GDP. So, there are obvious frictions between safety, financial, and educational considerations in the current ecosystem.

If you’re thinking of reopening, the CDC has guidelines on how to create a safe environment for children. And, we recently outlined several steps childcare centers can take to reassure parents that their facilities are safe. Obviously, there are costs associated with these changes. Maintaining smaller child-to-staff ratios while implementing hygiene-based improvements will exert a downward pressure on profits. So, be sure to highlight the investments you’re making to keep children safe.

In addition, safety should be a key component of your marketing campaigns and social media updates. Sure, parents are facing challenges on multiple fronts.

But, you still have to convince parents to entrust their children to your care and to see your facility as the solution to their work-at-home challenges. Below are some marketing ideas to highlight the steps your facility is taking to keep children safe.

  • Use social media to remind parents that you’re following CDC guidelines on social distancing and hygiene practices.
  • Assure parents that their children’s safety is your top priority.
  • Put the words “health” and “safety” in your advertisements.
  • Post social media updates every time your facility is sanitized.
  • Send out notices (either via an app notification or email) that you have implemented the right safety protocols.

Branch Out From Full-Time Enrollment to Encourage Parents to Send Their Kids Back to Daycare

We know that many of you are struggling financially. The National Association of Young Children surveyed childcare providers in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. It found that 42% of providers wouldn’t survive two weeks without federal assistance. In response, the CARES Act has helped soften the impact of financial hardship.

And, in keeping with the continuing needs of small business owners, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which was signed into law on June 5, 2020. Now, companies can delay payroll tax payments even though they took out a PPP loan, and they can also obtain full loan forgiveness in two specific circumstances. Still, chances are high that you could use some incoming revenue.

But, instead of focusing all your efforts on increasing day-to-day enrollment, consider setting up a process to attract parents who aren’t necessarily looking for full-time assistance. Since many parents now work from home, they may be looking for ad-hoc childcare assistance — not full-time care. For example, childcare centers are a great solution when parents attend interviews, run errands, and attend conferences. You can take in children for a day (or even a few hours) while the parents are busy.

Think of this as a new line of business, since it may involve setting up new procedures. However, it can help you bring in some much-needed income. In addition, many of these parents may become full-time customers once they see the benefits your daycare offers.

Unemployed Parents Still Need Daycare Services (and Can Pay For It)

As childcare centers struggle to stay afloat, it’s important to refrain from ignoring unemployed parents. The truth is, work isn’t the only demand parents face. They may also be responsible for the care of aged parents. In addition, they must navigate a competitive hiring landscape and an increasingly crowded gig economy. Still, being unemployed shouldn’t be equated with being “unable to pay for childcare.”

Unfortunately, many childcare centers leave unemployed parents out of their marketing campaigns. They avoid creating programs for unemployed parents and even revolve their social media messages solely around working parents. If you’re doing this, you may be missing out on potential leads. Between childcare subsidies, extended unemployment benefits, and the provisions of the new Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, many unemployed parents still have the financial means to pay for childcare. And, they may need these services more than ever.

Providing Critical Services to Encourage Parents to Send Their Kids Back to Daycare

The challenges are real. Parents must navigate new remote work schedules or hunt for new jobs in an increasingly competitive job market. Meanwhile, the continued closure of camps means that children must forego many traditional summertime activities. As a childcare center, you’re in a perfect position to offer solutions to these pain points.

By focusing on hourly care as a new revenue stream, you can pad shrinking profit margins. Be sure to include both employed and unemployed parents in your overall messaging and marketing campaigns. Times may be tough. But, childcare centers aren’t going away anytime soon. Parents will always need a helping hand — and your facility can step in to fill the void.

Do you need help navigating the aftermath of COVID-19? At Prime Child Care Software, we’ve built COVID-19-centric features directly into our center management software — including temperature checks. We’re dedicated to bringing you the latest, cutting-edge solutions to help you survive during and after the crisis. So, let us be your post-crisis bounce-back solution. Contact us to begin your path to a successful reopening today.

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A little girl at a Montessori school; how to increase Montessori enrollment.

5 Social Media Marketing Ideas to Increase Montessori Enrollment

Montessori programs offer a valuable educational experience for young children. And, parents get peace of mind knowing their children are thriving in a safe, friendly environment. As a program director or facility owner, you have much to offer your young charges, but how can you increase Montessori enrollment seamlessly? Below, we discuss the role social media marketing can play in helping you reach your enrollment goals. 

What Are The Benefits of A Montessori School?

A Montessori program focuses on leveraging innate childhood traits to develop a child’s full potential. These traits include curiosity, creativity, self-discovery, the need for order, and the desire to respond to sensorial input. Montessori education is child-centered, with curriculum developed around the needs and abilities of the child. Specifically, it focuses on four planes of development:

  • The First Plane: Birth to Age 6 (Early Childhood/Infancy) “The Construction of Individuality and the Absorbent Mind”
  • The Second Plane: Ages 6–12 (Childhood) “Conscious Imagination”
  • The Third Plane: Ages 12–18 (Adolescence) “The Development of a Social Identity”
  • The Fourth Plane: Ages 18–24 (Maturity) “Maturity in Philosophical and Moral Values”

The History of Montessori Learning

Maria Montessori opened the first Montessori school in 1907 in an impoverished region of Rome. She named her school Casa de Bambini. In her work, she observed that the children (ages three to seven) enjoyed responding to sensorial input. They loved puzzles, gaining mathematical and cognitive skills through hours of play.

When given the opportunity to teach themselves, they thrived. Maria also noticed that, when playing, children focused on processes rather than specific results. Within a few years, Montessori schools opened throughout Western Europe. In America, Montessori made its debut in 1911.

Instead of standing in front of the class and teaching, a Montessori teacher lets students learn at their own pace. In this way, children develop a sense of community that can help them navigate interpersonal situations later in life. 

All things considered, a Montessori classroom is highly organized, with each space having a specific purpose. For example, spaces can be dedicated to cultural, language, or practical considerations. The American Montessori Society shows what classrooms should look like at every stage of childhood development.

Leverage the Right Social Media Marketing Strategies to Increase Montessori Enrollment

The benefits of a Montessori education are clear, so it makes sense to want to increase your center’s enrollment. When creating a digital marketing strategy, one of the main areas of focus should be social media. The latter allows you to connect with your audience on a platform that inspires engagement.

Below are five great tips on how to increase Montessori enrollment with social media:

The Platform You Use Matters

Think about what platform your potential customers are using and the type of content that works best for that platform. You may find that many of the millennial parents you’re looking to attract use Facebook or Instagram to keep in touch with friends and the brands they love.

In addition to optimizing your facility’s “About Us” page and posting fun, engaging content, you can use advertisements as a tool to attract more parents. If you’re thinking about advertising on social media, make sure you’re using the right ones in order to get the best reach and the largest return on your investment. 

Try Facebook Ads

Facebook has an intelligent advertising platform you can leverage to reach specific age groups, locations, and interests. With Interest Targeting, you can reach specific groups of people based on their interests and the pages they liked. For example, you can target Millennial parents (those aged between 25 to 45 who have liked pages relating to Montessori schools or alternative education).

Make sure your ads have a concise call to action, like “click here to schedule a consultation” or “sign up to attend our upcoming open house.” Those who click on your ad should be taken to a specific landing page providing more information about your event or promotion. Including a call to action can increase your click-through rate exponentially!

Create Engaging Videos

Video is an extremely effective tool in getting the attention of parents, with the demand for video content increasing annually. What better way to show off your beautiful classroom space, introduce your friendly staff, or send parents a message than with videos?

Specifically, videos under two minutes are great for engagement. So, keep it short to tell parents what you have to offer. Video is a chance to be creative. You could give parents tips on learning at home or explain the benefits of a Montessori education. Videos work great on highly visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

Recoup Lost Traffic Through Facebook Remarketing

Facebook remarketing gives you another chance to reach out to parents who may be interested in your program. The fact is, somewhere around 96% of the people who visit your website will leave without taking action. With Facebook remarketing, you can get the attention of previous site visitors with targeted ads.

Specifically, Facebook’s tracking pixel allows you to see who left your site without converting.

We know parents have a lot on their minds. In the wake of COVID-19, parents have struggled to balance work, childcare, and ongoing stresses. Perhaps, they were interested in your Montessori proposition but got distracted and didn’t follow through. Or, they lost your contact information. Remarketing is the best way to get them back and potentially turn them into leads. In fact, research shows that people are 70% more likely to take action after they’ve been retargeted.

Use Social Media to Spy on Your Competitors and Increase Montessori Enrollment

90% of brands use social media, so it’s a pretty competitive space. It never hurts to take a look at what your competitors are doing on social media. You’ll get an idea of what’s trending in the Montessori space and gain insight into how your business is actually doing.

First, identify your competitors by conducting general searches on Google or other search engines. From there, find out which platforms they’re using and explore how they use those platforms. You can spy on local and global competitors by using Combin for Instagram. Be sure to look at what kind of content your competitors are posting, how often they post, and how they respond to inquiries. You can also see the specific strategies they use to drive engagement and increase conversions. Both Facebook and Twitter have ad transparency tools that let you see your competitor’s ads.

Finally, study your competitor’s brand voice: what works and what doesn’t. Do a brand analysis or audit. Perhaps, it takes your competitor a while to respond to comments or its “About Us” page is lacking. Essentially, look for weaknesses you can capitalize on.

Work With Prime Childcare to Increase Montessori Enrollment

When you implement new marketing strategies, it’s important to track your progress to gauge their effectiveness. Make sure your goal is clear, concise, and actionable. Instead of saying that you’d like to increase enrollment, make your goal something more specific. This can be increasing your enrollment by 10% in three months or decreasing your churn rate by 5% in two months.

Thus, you can know exactly when your goal was met, how long it took, and what strategies worked best to help you get there. This makes it easier for you to create effective marketing campaigns you can leverage over and over again. 

Sure, it may take a little time and experimentation to learn exactly what works. But, as long as you’re keeping track of your efforts and following the above tips, you’re bound to find creative ways to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn more about how to increase Montessori enrollment, contact us today. We can show you how to combine our leading-edge mobile app and the above social media marketing strategies to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

Recent Articles from Prime:

How to Attract Parents and Increase Childcare Enrollment Guide

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What's Inside?


Never underestimate the power of collecting and showcasing positive testimonials from happy parents!

Informing Parents

Keeping parents informed about the daily activities is one way to keep your relationships with them in tip top form. 

Competitive Edge

There are so many ways for you to show your edge over your competitors, from pricing to the technology you use.


Promoting your center out in the community can help your enrollment tremendously, from pricing specials to digital advertising and more.

Digital marketing strategies for daycares.

7 Top Digital Marketing Strategies for Daycares

How do you get parents to choose your daycare? If you have an online presence, how can you increase your search engine rankings and show up on the first page of local results? To complicate matters, there are as many digital marketing strategies for daycares as there are experts touting them. But, how do you know what works? Most importantly, where do you start?

When it comes to childcare, parents prioritize quality over cost. Research shows that 62% of parents worry about neglect and inadequate supervision when choosing childcare facilities. And, they are willing to pay for reliable care, shelling out more than $9,000 per child annually for the service.

Sure, the marketing focus should be obvious for facility owners. Yet, challenges abound. The marketing rule of 7 says that consumers need to hear about your business seven times before they make a purchase. In that light, digital marketing can substantially increase that engagement level. According to Retail Dive, 87% of consumers search for products and services online before they make a purchase. Therefore, ignoring digital marketing may be a disservice to your business.

Though disasters like the COVID-19 crisis have hit businesses hard, these digital marketing strategies for daycares are some of the smartest tactics in the marketplace. Let’s start with the basics.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Daycares: Local SEO

Local search engine optimization is the customization of your online presence to increase the visibility of your brand in your local region. Most customers of daycare centers are area residents. So, be sure to implement digital marketing strategies that target this group specifically.

Add your location to the titles of your webpages, including the city and state. Since searchers will be looking for local daycare facilities, search engines will direct them to your pages.

You can also use Schema markup, a type of microdata that provides more details about your webpages. It lets search engines display your address, days and hours of operation, acceptable payment methods, and more. Improved visibility on search engine pages can increase your leads and conversions.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Daycares: Email Marketing

Studies show that the return on investment for effective email marketing can be as high as $42 for every $1. It involves building a mailing list and sending emails to potential customers. For a daycare facility, the prospects are parents below 50 years of age.

A good start is collecting the email addresses of parents whose children are already enrolled in your daycare. You can also obtain more contacts through opt-in forms, where you ask your website audience for permission to add them to your mailing list.

Next, be sure to segment your email list. Segmentation is the practice of dividing your email subscribers into groups based on factors like age, income, purchasing behaviors, values, and motivations. Read about the four types of market segmentation here. Monitor your open rates to determine if segmentation is working. The email open rate is the percentage of subscribers who open your emails.

Most importantly, know the difference between open rates and click-to-open rates. Open rates reveal the percentage of subscribers who opened your email. Meanwhile, the click-to-open rate shows the percentage of recipients who opened your email and clicked on your CTA (call-to-action) link. If you want to know how effective your email campaigns are, look for the click-to-open rate.

You can also look at the click-through rate, which shows how many emails you had to send out to get a desired rate of response. For example, you sent out 10,000 emails to get 100 subscribers to click on your CTA link for a coupon promotion. This amounts to a CTR of 1%.

Finally, consider using an email marketing platform that automates the task of sending out emails and provides analytics reports.  Try MailChimp or these affordable MailChimp alternatives to get the results you want.

Online Reputation Management for Daycares

Studies show that about 82% of people read online reviews for local businesses. Therefore, maintaining a good reputation is critical. You need to know where parents are talking online and join in the conversation.

Your daycare service should have a system that leverages technology to get 5-star reviews. Examples of reputation marketing solutions include ReviewTracker, Reputation Loop, and, among others. The system should gather reviews ethically using proprietary feedback.

Virtual Tours of Business Premises

These tours highlight your business premises using images, video, sound effects, and music. They portray reality on video and are especially helpful during crises like COVID-19.

With videos, you can showcase your center to parents from the comfort of their homes. Most importantly, you can impress them with crisp pictures of play, classroom, and dining areas in your facility.

Virtual tours are unique in that they can also resonate with children. Little ones can watch videos and form an impression of your facility, even before they step foot in it. For many children, a sneak peek before attendance may help reduce the anxiety of leaving home.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Daycares: Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms are the best places to find parents with young children. According to Edison Research, 92% of mothers in the United States use social media; 81% especially favor Facebook. In fact, mothers with children below five years of age are more likely to use social media than others.

Thus, visibility on Facebook is vital for daycare centers that want to reach parents. But, Facebook marketing requires a strategic approach. Be sure to contribute to online conversations where parents of young children are active. Familiarize yourself with the different types of Facebook ads and learn how to create a retargeting campaign on the platform.

To track the success of your ad campaign, use Facebook’s conversion tracking tool. If you don’t know who your audience is or who you want to target, start with Facebook Audience Insights.

Your Facebook page should also keep parents updated about your services, offers, and facility developments. Be sure to create compelling content that parents will enjoy reading. If they like what they see, they’ll share your posts with their friends, thereby increasing your leads exponentially.

Online Directories for Daycares

Regardless of whether you have a website, consider listing your daycare facility on several online directories. They help consumers find local businesses like yours. The web has a plethora of free and paid online directories. Get your daycare center listed on as many as possible.

Online directories also help to increase your online visibility and build citations. An SEO citation is a reference to your business details in an online directory and can help increase your search engine rankings. Not sure which directories to list your business? Start with these 21 web directories.

Pay-Per-Click Ads for Daycares

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can help with ranking. You pay each time someone clicks on your ad. According to studies, brand awareness can increase by about 80% through PPC.

You can also run PPC campaigns on various social media platforms. For example, a Facebook retargeting ad is a type of PPC ad. An advantage of PPC is that it’s measurable in terms of your SEO efforts. Additionally, you only pay for clicks, meaning you’re paying for visitors who show interest in your childcare services.

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Strategies for Daycares

There are many more digital marketing approaches to add to this list, and many factors will influence the outcomes of each. However, the above constitutes the key strategies to put into practice.

Whichever digital marketing line you take, rankings are critical. The top links in search engines get about 28% in click-through rates. Websites at the very top get 42% of the traffic, while the third link down gets only 8% of the traffic. And, of course, the most influential search engine is Google. So, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with its ranking factors for 2020.

Cloud-Based Daycare Management and Digital Marketing: Twin Forces for Success

From finances to student data privacy, there are many aspects to running a successful daycare program. To reduce the time spent on administrative tasks and to eliminate the risks of cyber breaches, our groundbreaking cloud-based childcare management tool can help. Combined with targeted digital marketing strategies for daycares, you’ll be well on your road to success. To learn more about what Prime Child Care can do for your business, contact us.

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Daycare class in session; classroom ideas for June.

6 Inspiring Classroom Ideas for June

Summer has arrived. What are your favorite classroom ideas for June? And, how important is playtime in early childhood education?

Undoubtedly, all children enjoy playtime. From poverty-stricken war zones to the streets of suburbia, the drive to play is so deeply ingrained in children that the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights considers “play” the fundamental human right of every child. In fact, a plethora of research shows how childhood play helps develop brain function, promotes mastery, improves motor skills, and increases happiness.

As we embrace the month of June, childcare centers may be struggling to find indoor activities that capture both the imagination and interest of young children. Still, there are many ways to incorporate the ever-important “play” factor into early childhood education.

Below, we share several fun playtime activities for June. You can use these activities to increase enrollment, bring in new leads on social media, and encourage engagement from parents and children.

June 6th: Yo-Yo Day

Suggested Activities: Life is filled with ups-and-downs. But, so are yo-yos! The beloved yo-yo dates back to 440 B.C. While yo-yos are certainly engaging toys, they also help teach critical hand-eye coordination skills and the basics of physics in a way that’s accessible to young children. There are multiple ways to approach Yo-Yo Day.

  • Provide your students with yo-yos or have them bring their own to class — we personally recommend the latter.

  • Yo-yos can teach children the basic idea of gravity. Ask children why the yo-yo falls when they let go of the base.

  • Teach children the basic “sleeper” trick. You can have a competition to see who can make the yo-yo “sleep” the longest, or just let children have free time to explore some of the unique tricks based on the “sleeper.”

  • June 6th is also Gardening Exercise Day and Drive-In Movie Day. For the former, teach your students the name of weeds and have them pull up a few. And, for the latter, have your students decorate boxes to look like “cars” they can sit in. Watch a short movie, and serve popcorn!

June 8th: Best Friend Day

Suggested Activities: There’s an old Irish proverb: “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.” On June 8th, celebrate Best Friend Day with your class. Being a best friend is about more than just wearing the same brand of shoes or clothing.

The positive power of friendship cuts across social and economic lines during early childhood development. Teaching children how to pick “best friends” can help them make smart relationship decisions later in life. In addition, teaching them how to develop the positive traits of a “best friend” can help them achieve lasting happiness and success.

  • Best Friend Day can be a little tricky. You don’t necessarily want to center the day around having a best friend, since many children may not have one. Instead, use this time to teach children what qualities a “best” friend should have.

  • Honesty, integrity, loyalty, compassion, and trustworthiness are all important traits that can be difficult to explain to young children. So, use stories and movies to teach these concepts.

June 12th: Superman Day

Suggested Activities: It’s a bird. No. It’s a plane. No. It’s Superman! June 12th is Superman Day and one of the most engaging classroom ideas for June. So, it’s time to have some fun with Superman-related activities. You can also make it Supergirl Day or even Wonder Woman Day.

  • Invite your students to dress up as Superman, Supergirl, or Wonder Woman before class. It’s time to save the world. While dressing up as a superhero may seem corny, it allows children to explore ethical dilemmas, develop personal identities, and even form friendships based on shared interests.

  • Take the opportunity to talk about the creator of Superman, the positive values of superheroes, and the traits that make a person “super.” Studies consistently show that imagination-fueled playtime is crucial for developing social and emotional skills. Young children often feel small and vulnerable. Superhero play offers opportunities to gain a sense of mastery and resilience, which are both critical skills children need to explore and internalize.

  • Encourage your students to make up their own superhero personas and come up with origin stories for their superheroes.

June 17th: Eat Your Veggies Day

Suggested Activities: Brussel sprouts…do we hear groans? Why should children eat them instead of piling more chicken nuggets on the plate? It’s time to take nutrition seriously on Eat Your Veggies Day.

  • On Eat Your Veggies Day, focus on teaching children the importance of a nutritious diet. Bring trays of diverse selections of veggies and let your students sample all of the unique, exotic, and delicious vegetables of the world.

  • Studies show that offering children a variety of vegetable options increases both the consumption and acceptance of veggies. You can also bring some of the more popular vegetable dips to class (Ranch dressing, hummus, Green Goddess dressing, to name a few). Remember to check dietary needs before serving all those delicious crudites and dips. If you’re using Prime Childcare Software, you’ll have access to the student nutrition and allergen database as well as digital dietary notes left by parents.

June 22nd: World Rainforest Day

Suggested Activities: Monkeys, lizards, and the gorgeous birds-of-paradise all come from one place: the rainforest. This plant-packed, diverse animal biome is one of planet Earth’s most incredible marvels. June 22nd is World Rainforest Day.

  • For a ton of free, virtual educational resources, The Rainforest Alliance has you covered. Have your students explore a virtual treehouse. Talk about the crops rainforests produce, and read stories about the rainforest. For a fun time, build a rainforest terrarium together or play rainforest bingo.

  • Watch an episode of Wild Kratts or Zaboomafoo. This is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy some arts and crafts. Print out rainforest pages for coloring, draw pictures of plants, or divide students into groups to design the perfect treehouse.

  • World Rainforest Day is a great time to talk about the basics of plant biology and discuss the consequences of rainforest deforestation. Undoubtedly, this special holiday is one of the most popular classroom ideas for June!

June 30th: Log Cabin Day

Suggested Activities: What do Abraham Lincoln, lumberjacks, and campers have in common? Answer: They all love log cabins!

  • It’s time to jump into the time machine. Have your students bring their favorite set of Lincoln logs from home. Be sure to provide a supply of logs for students who don’t have their own sets.

  • While Lincoln logs may seem like an “old fashioned” toy, studies show that playing with Lincoln logs and Legos can help children develop important organizational skills. On Log Cabin Day, teach children about the wonderful and diverse history of log cabins and have them make their own log cabin village from Lincoln logs.

How to Keep Students Engaged Throughout the School Year

As can be seen, these great classroom ideas for June can be used to teach a range of core values. If you’re looking for more kid-friendly activities for your daycare or childcare facility, check out 365 Days of Classroom Fun: Early Childhood Development Activities & Supply Lists for Every Day of the Year. To get this resource, order your copy from Amazon today.

365 Days of Classroom Fun

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Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best Childcare Management Software

Enter Your Email to Get a Free Copy of this comprehensive guide

Buyer’s guides tend to be promotional content disguised as a resource, more concerned with promoting a certain product than providing clear information for buyers.

Instead, we’ve built a thorough comparison chart that will allow you to evaluate the software tools on your shortlist and the features they provide. We hope that this enables you to make a well-informed buying decision.

Alan Gunn

COO @ Prime child care software

What's Inside

What should the software do?

What was once scattered across forms, files, sign-in sheets and paper checks can be smoothly transitioned into a cloud-based administrative platform.

Key Considerations & Questions to Ask

We outline a few other key considerations and questions your should pose to yourself when evaluating software and their features.

Side-by-Side Software Evaluation Scores

We’ve completed a breakdown of the must-have features with scoring tables for you to rank what is most important to you.

Cost Considerations

After creating your short-list, remember to inquire about pricing tiers, fee structures and other items before making a commitment.

3 Reasons to Utilize a Dedicated Daycare Mobile App

Running a successful facility requires consistent and open lines of communication with parents. Let’s face it: parental involvement is a crucial component of a wholesome and holistic child care ecosystem. But, what happens when they ignore your attempts at communication? Will a dedicated daycare mobile app solve the problem?

According to research, the average American receives 126 important emails a day. Yet, they only send out around 34 emails during the span of 24 hours. That means they’re probably ignoring over 90 emails sitting in their inboxes. In traditional settings, child care facilities rely on strategies like newsletters, emails, and websites to reach parents. But, do they actually work?

The truth is: not really. Parents already get too many emails, text messages, and newsletters daily. And, despite using personalized subject lines and engaging CTAs (calls-to-action), you find it harder than ever to reach parents. In addition, consumers get over 6 billion “junk” emails each day. Even in professional settings, the majority of office workers completely ignore work emails. Plus, about 50% of them believe that receiving fewer emails would increase their overall satisfaction in life.

That said, what if there was a way to create a direct channel to parents that built your brand, increased accessibility to your programs, promoted better satisfaction with your services, and helped generate higher revenues?

Here are three reasons your child care facility needs a mobile app and why they may be a better investment than previously thought.

1. Mobile Apps Let You Communicate With Parents on Their Terms

The average American spends around 5.4 hours a day on a mobile device. Do you know what users do during that entire time? They’re generally using apps. That’s right: around 90% of mobile time is spent on applications — not checking emails, replying to texts, or making phone calls. In child care, communicating with parents and fostering parental engagement can be a challenge. When you aren’t leveraging communication channels that parents are familiar with, breeding a culture of open communication can be next to impossible.

Millennials probably make up the majority of your clientele. Around 50% of your children likely have Millennial parents (and the numbers are growing yearly). In addition, around 70% of those mothers and fathers work outside the home. To reach them, you must meet them on their own terms.

To put it simply, Millennials don’t check their emails regularly. In fact, browsing the Internet and checking social media networks are the top two activities on smartphones. In other words, people prefer to check Facebook and Instagram messages than emails. The latter falls to sixth place in terms of how Millennials use their cellphones.

Yet, although Millennials tend to ignore emails, phone calls, and texts, they don’t necessarily deserve the “anxious generation” label. In fact, Millennials probably communicate more than any other age group — they just communicate differently.

In all, 1 billion Facebook messages are sent per day, and 500 million tweets are created. Also, the average person has over 80 apps installed on their phone. If you want to reach parents in today’s ever-evolving market landscape, you need to rethink your strategy. A dedicated daycare mobile app may be the answer.

2. Mobile Apps Can Be Part of Your Daycare’s Branding Strategy

There’s a reason 89% of marketers say that brand awareness is their primary goal. Your brand is the single most valuable thing your business has to offer. Unfortunately, only 60% of businesses think their brand is well aligned for future success. As a child care provider, creating a thoughtful, holistic, and relevant brand is the single best way to capture the attention of new parents.

There are over 850,000 daycare operations in the United States alone. If you want to square up against your toughest competitors, you need to connect with parents on a deeper level than fragmented digital ads on Facebook. Fortunately, creating your own mobile app can help you drive your brand deeper into the consciousness of all those exhausted parents in your area.

Apps also help you build instantaneous and direct relationships with parents through hyper-accessible interfaces. They provide two-faceted benefits. First, mobile apps help you provide amazing services to parents that, in turn, breed trust and loyalty. Second, they also help you occupy an important place in their minds. You’ll have a prominent place on their phones, which allows them to connect with your brand in ways that websites, ads, and marketing campaigns can never accomplish.

3. Mobile App Data Can Be Used to Gain Key Insights and Increase Student Retention Rates

The benefits of mobile apps aren’t merely front-facing in nature. Sure, an app offers massive value to parents. But, it can also transform your back-office, marketing, and sales pipeline. For starters, apps give you the ability to measure reactions to announcements, acquire critical user data, and analyze parent information. This can help you create smarter operational frameworks.

People spend more time on mobile apps than websites. They interact and engage with apps with more purpose and interest. This makes mobile apps exceptionally valuable for data acquisition. For example, what activities do parents like? Which ones do they dislike? What types of meal plans do they look for — gluten-free, protein-rich, veggie-friendly, or something else? Which parents are viewing daily reports? And, which ones aren’t?

All of this data helps you understand parents better, which you can use to create actionable strategies to increase satisfaction with your services.

But, Wait! Isn’t a Dedicated Daycare Mobile App Expensive?

If utilizing a dedicated daycare mobile app sounds like a pipe dream, we understand. Many providers think that only large childcare facilities can afford such an app — not smaller facilities in local communities. However, much has changed within the last five years. Today, developing a mobile app doesn’t have to lead to a budget shortfall. In fact, it may be quite affordable.

Typically, smaller childcare facilities rely on mobile apps that are integrated with their childcare software. This provides a more holistic, connected experience that allows you to share data between the core technologies that drive your facility.

Often, these apps are built on common frameworks. So, you can quickly get a personalized, hyper-branded application built without significant investments or headaches. In addition, a branded daycare mobile app can increase brand recognition and decrease student churn.

Is Your Facility Ready for a Daycare Mobile App That Can Transform Your Business?

Research tells us that most people use apps on-the-go. In fact, many rely on apps to make travel, shopping, and dining decisions. According to a travel survey, 45% of consumers get frustrated when they can’t access travel apps on their mobile devices 24/7. Meanwhile, more than 50% of travelers like to add incidentals to their flight bookings on-the-go.

Essentially, people want data at their fingertips at the time of their choosing. If you’re looking for a daycare mobile app to transform parental engagement and take your branding to the next level, read about the successes Buccleuch Montessori and The Boys and Girls Club of Delaware have achieved. Then, when you’re ready to take the next step, contact us. Let’s talk about how we can help your daycare center realize an incredible future with the right mobile app technology.

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A man disinfecting a classroom as part of reopening daycare facilities post-COVID-19

Considerations for Reopening Daycare Facilities Post-COVID-19

Will you return to work tomorrow? More importantly, will your daycare facility be open for business? And, if so, what will reopening daycare facilities post-COVID-19 entail?

In a recent NAEYC study, 30% of daycare providers said a closure exceeding two weeks long would result in financial devastation. The term “new normal” has been thrown around a lot lately. Yet, despite the social and economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, many of us have started to contemplate the future. And, inevitably, that involves going back to work.

But, how will your facility navigate reopening? What steps should you take to comply with social distancing guidelines and new regulatory requirements? While some childcare centers were able to keep the lanterns burning during the height of the crisis, others were forced to close — generally due to a lack of enrollment.

But, as parents begin to return to work in many states, a safe reopening is crucial. At Prime Child Care Software, we’ve been paying careful attention to federal guidelines for facility reopenings. And, as we listen to your concerns, it assists us in developing the technical solutions you need. For example, we recently added temperature checking components to our software. Both the CDC and The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest temperature screenings of all staff and children at check-in.

If you have plans to reopen soon, below are top considerations to keep in mind before you swing your gates open to eager children and exhausted parents.

Screening Procedures for Reopening Daycare Facilities Post-COVID-19

Federal guidelines recommend screening children before they enter your facility. While that may seem like a scenario from a dystopian B-movie, it’s sadly part of that “new normal” everyone is talking about. One sick child can spread the virus to other children and your staff.

Recently, we added temperature check features to all of our clients’ Prime platforms. So, if you’re using our software, you have the means to document temperature readings. But, that’s just a start. You still need to implement procedures for screenings.

The CDC strongly recommends that child care facilities implement one of three scenarios:

Scenario 1: Promote Social Distancing During Check-In

The CDC’s current recommendation for social distancing is six feet. In other words, you should stand at least six feet away from others (parents and children) during the check-in process. In this scenario, you would ask parents to take their children’s temperatures. You would also inquire if a child has been sick recently. Also, instruct your staff to observe children for any signs of illness (fever, flushed face, rapid breathing, fatigue, or fussiness).

This is recommended for child care centers that don’t have adequate supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) — which is in demand just about everywhere.

Scenario 2: The Barrier Method

Another option is to set up an entire station for temperature screenings. This is ideal for facilities with high headcounts. In this scenario, you would construct a temperature checking station with a glass window partition that employees could stand behind. This protects employees from airborne respiratory droplets (from coughs and sneezes).

Employees would still need to regularly wash their hands with soap and water — or use a bottle of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Like the previous method, employees would do a visual check for symptoms, then proceed to record the child’s temperature (ideally using a temporal thermometer).

Scenario 3: The PPE Method

If you’ve managed to acquire enough PPE, then this method may be the simplest. Your staff will wear PPE (gloves, masks, or goggles) to check each child’s temperature with a temporal thermometer. Then, employees would replace their gloves and wash their hands after checking each child.


  • The CDC has an entire guide on how to properly don PPE.
  • Children who have fevers over 100.4 F should not be admitted to the facility.
  • Note that children between infancy and 10 years old often have higher temperatures than adults. The average temperature of children in this age range is 95.9 – 99.5°F.
  • Since children are often asymptomatic, it’s important to implement social distancing and hygiene control practices during the screening.

It’s Time to Rethink Traditional Drop-off and Pick-up Processes

In most child care settings, pick-up and drop-off is a relatively simple process. But, that’s about to change. Ideally, you should stagger pick-up and drop-off times. For drop-off, have volunteers stand outside to usher parents out of their cars when it’s time for their child to enter your facility.

For pick-up, you can assign dedicated volunteers to walk children from your facility out to their cars (and waiting parents). Ideally, volunteers should be a parent or sibling. Consider using the same volunteers every day. However, politely and firmly decline the help of grandparents or parents with pre-existing health conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, immunocompromised and COVID-19 positive, etc.).

Cleaning 2.0: The Return of the Disinfectant

While you likely already have robust cleaning practices in place, you’re certainly going to have to ramp them up, even in a post-COVID-19 world. We’ve talked about the value of hygiene-based improvements to promote learning, but you’ll need to intensify your efforts with best-of-breed social distancing practices and hygiene control.

The CDC has extensive recommendations about this, but we’ll point out the basics:

  • Daily, wash and disinfect all surfaces touched by children.
  • Staff should use soap and water after diaper changes and classroom activities.
  • Children should be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day.
  • Pay careful attention to toys, since young children tend to mouth items as a way of exploring their world.
  • Invest in wipes for high-touch surfaces.

Tips to Create a Safe, Clean Environment

  • Here are some guidelines for disinfecting community areas in case you run out of wipes. These can be a challenge to find right now, and hospitals are getting priority purchase rights.
  • The EPA has a list of cleaning products that work against COVID-19.
  • The CDC recommends that children and adults wash their hands for 20 seconds at a time. Be sure to show children this video to help them understand the process.
  • The CFOC is a great starting point for basic cleaning processes.

Social Distancing Should be Part of Reopening Daycare Facilities Post-COVID-19

For many childcare centers, social distancing will be a challenge. How do you maintain the necessary physical distance in an environment that thrives on social interaction? For starters, you can’t separate every child. It’s just impossible. However, you can separate children into groups. Ideally, you’ll also limit each group’s interactions with the other groups.

Like drop-off and pick-up times, you should stagger meals and playground times, as well. Allow each group the same privileges, but only let one group at a time play or eat together. If your facility is too large for that to be feasible, try to keep the same groups on the playground every day.

Obviously, you want to cancel any large gatherings that you previously planned. Fun 4th of July activities and field trips may need to be put on hold, and you certainly don’t want to host any “parent’s weekend” activities. Social and emotional learning will still occur but in more controlled settings.

Prime Child Care Software Has Solutions for Reopening Daycare Facilities Post-COVID-19

Is your child care center on the verge of reopening? And, are you unsure about what strategies to leverage during this trying time? If so, we can help. Our mission centers on facilitating the safe reopening of daycare facilities post-COVID-19. At Prime, we’re working on developing social distancing features for our software. Within weeks, we launched critical features like temperature checks, and we plan to continue adding features as the need arises. For help navigating your facility’s reopening, contact us today.

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A father talks to his child's daycare teacher. Increasing parental engagement in early childhood education.

3 Ways to Increase Parent Engagement in Early Childhood Education

The benefits of parental engagement in early childhood education are many. In fact, strong collaborative partnerships between parents and childcare providers can transform the learning environment.

Of course, parental engagement confers obvious benefits from an administrative standpoint. Parents pay tuition, after all. And, in the United States, they spend an eye-watering $42 billion dollars annually on early childcare. In all, the typical American family shells out about $6,000 a year for childcare costs. Yet, the real benefit of parental engagement is social in nature.

Studies consistently show that parental engagement fosters positive learning environments, raises test scores, and decreases negative behaviors. Parental engagement in early childhood education has far-reaching effects on children. According to research, children who enjoy high levels of parental involvement are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors later in life, less inclined to abuse substances, and more likely to excel in academics throughout adolescence.

However, creating an environment that promotes parental engagement isn’t easy. In a previous post, we discussed how child care providers can navigate relationships with demanding parents, but the simple truth is: most parents want to be involved in their children’s education. According to Pew Research, over half of parents believe that they can “never be too involved” in their children’s education.

In the past, child care centers have looked for ways to improve parental engagement by trying to create best-in-class activity programs. Those “bring-your-parents-to-daycare” days and “family field trips” are certainly powerful tools to increase parental involvement. But, today, we’re going to focus on the big picture.

Essentially, how can you facilitate parental engagement holistically? We won’t focus on classroom activities and special projects. Instead, our strategies drill deep into the core of the education framework.

1. Leverage Mobile Apps to Engage Parents on Their Terms

Almost everyone in America owns a cellphone or smartphone. Pew Research puts the figure at about 96%. In all, the average person spends about 3 hours a day on these mobile devices. Smartphones are the de facto form of communication for many. So, when it comes to involving parents in childhood initiatives, leveraging a highly-functional mobile app is the key to success.

But, first things first. One of the biggest barriers to parental engagement in early childhood education is work. According to Pew Research, working parents are generally less satisfied with their level of involvement in the classroom. Mobile apps keep parents informed about their children’s progress without having to be physically present.

But, what about emails and newsletters? Many childcare providers find that parents often ignore those. According to a study, millennials and, by extension, millennial parents actually prefer text to any other form of communication. More significantly, open rates for SMS texts (98%) dominate those of emails (20%).

If parents can access information regarding current programs, field trips, and projects, they gain the power to engage on their own terms. After work, they can connect with their children from a position of awareness — and understand what’s happening in class.

  • Tip: There are backend benefits of mobile apps for parental engagement. It’s easier for parents to pay tuition, enroll in extra activities, and review critical future activities that may require a parental buy-in.

2. Create a Two-Way Channel of Engagement

In traditional settings, child care providers almost always facilitate conversations with parents. They send out emails, notifications, or texts regarding potential issues or upcoming events. And, parents respond to those messages with comments. However, this leaves a communications gap. You always initiate, while parents passively wait for word from you.

Instead of relegating parents to the background, give them more options to initiate conversations with you. By setting up mobile messaging boards, two-way text chains, and email channels, you can receive more parental feedback. The exact methodology you use to set up two-way channels of engagement is largely preference-related. You can create a Facebook group, offer video calls, or even share a dedicated mobile phone number with parents. Essentially, the actual channel matters less than how you communicate the value of that channel.

Parents should know that feedback is welcomed. In a sense, you want to create an atmosphere of trust and inclusivity. A feedback-centered culture empowers parents to stay abreast of their children’s education.

  • Tip: Encourage parents to drop feedback on these channels. 33% of adults admit that they will consider leaving a brand after just ONE negative experience. Worse yet, you probably won’t know what those negative experiences are until it’s too late. 91% of people part ways without voicing their concerns. While two-way channels of communication make excellent parental engagement tools, they can also help you reduce churn and keep children enrolled in your program.

3. Focus on Daily Engagement

Ad-hoc classroom activities don’t directly increase parental engagement. Also, some studies show that parental involvement in the classroom alone has little to no impact on learning. That said, consistent communication is the key to facilitating greater parental engagement. So, you need an engagement framework that encourages consistent and holistic communication.

Again, this can be unlocked by mobile phone apps or superb multi-channel communications. However, it’s also achieved by re-framing the way you approach parental engagement. Instead of encouraging parents to participate in fractured, ad-hoc settings, give them the tools to consistently engage with their child’s learning.

Sending parents daily progress reports through mobile app push notifications is a great start. You want to keep them informed about their child’s daily progress. Beyond basic homework and class projects, giving them the ability to view photos and read daily announcements helps them stay fully engaged.

All things considered, you can’t directly control how involved parents are in their children’s lives. But, you can give them the tools to make it easier for them to do so.

Create a Holistic Parental Engagement Framework With Prime Child Care

We know that galvanizing parental engagement can be a challenge. You signed up to deal with children — not parents. But, the truth is this: creating a best-of-breed parental engagement program can help you improve your learning ecosystem, reduce student churn, and keep the lights on.

At Prime Child Care Software, we believe that parental engagement is a core component of a healthy child care ecosystem. That’s why we have parental engagement features built directly into our all-in-one child center management solution. With a handy mobile app and plenty of unique engagement features to keep parents in-the-loop, we can help you facilitate a stronger and more robust learning environment.

Also, having a mobile app with the same name as your center increases brand prominence and customer loyalty. If you’d like to learn how Prime Child Care can help with a customized mobile app that specifically targets parental engagement, contact us today.

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