2016: Kinderlime Childcare Software in Review

It’s amazing how 2016 went by so quickly. We had a lot of fun making Kinderlime even more awesome for our customers and hearing your feedback.

Let’s celebrate what we achieved together over the last year. With thousands of Childcare Programs using Kinderlime, we have a lot to feel thankful about.

  1. Billing: We extended our Billing program to do weekly billing along with monthly billing. The powerful financial reports that we put together for Balances, Invoices and Payments enable childcare directors to get good insights into the fiscal health of their program. You can even export this data to Quickbooks.
  2. Parent app: Innovation never stops at Kinderlime. We became the first and only childcare software company  to allow parents to pay through the app using their credit card and bank accounts. With push notifications for photos, daily sheets and billing, parents appreciate the app more than ever.
  3. Daily Sheet: If you are a technophobe, this is the app for your daycare. Now you can tag multiple children to the same activity (saving more time for your staff). Setting up lesson plans for each of your classrooms became easier with our Daily Sheet Templates feature. And photo sending experience became quicker this year.
  4. Sign In-Out: Our Sign In-Out app kept getting better. We added a Carpool feature and Ratio tracking to the app. The Carpool feature allows parents to use their own pin when added to the authorized pickup list for other families. We also introduced meal tracking and CACFP reporting.
Kinderlime: The Best Childcare Software

Kinderlime: The Best Childcare Software

Holiday Tips for Childcare and Afterschool staff

Holidays are a busy  but fun time of the year. With so much going on, it can be stressful. Here are some tips that’ll get you thinking about things you can do in your daycare and afterschool programs.

Holiday Tips for Childcare

 

1. Plan Holiday Gifts for your Daycare Staff. No better way to appreciate your staff than to give them a gift to let them know that you care. You can even engage your families in this gifting. Here are some suggestions – (a) A $10 giftcard to Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts or a Target Gift Card (b) Giving them a surprise paid time off. As your attendance starts to reduce because of the holidays, there are opportunities for you to give your staff surprise time off during the afternoons.

2. Encourage parents to give, it’s a time to Thank the care providers. Parents sometimes are very innovative in thanking the teachers. So, give them that freedom to thank your staff in their special way ((Don’t forget to remind them that there are office staff that need their love as well).

4. Have a Holiday Party. Have your staff and their significant others join you for an evening dinner. To make it inexpensive you could do it in the daycare center by having the food catered.

5. Holiday Activities for Kids. Parents love to see what their kids have done during the holidays. Here are some craft activities for children.

6. Staff planning around Christmas. This is a time when you have to plan your staff because attendance will be significantly lower. You can have your parents signup for the holidays specifically so that you can plan better. Have them tell you which days they plan to have their kids in your care.

7. Thank your parents. Give your parents a gift of time by giving them an opportunity to have a parent night.Throw a pajama party for the older kids party in their pajamas . Also, there is crafting, face painting, pizza and games.

8. Winter programs. Parents look forward to these. It’s a reflection of how your students grew during the last few months. These are great memories for you and your parents. Encourage your teachers and reward the classrooms who work hard towards these winter programs

9. Start your next year planning. Time goes by quickly. So, (a) start planning for next year staffing, (b) growth of your program, (c) marketing plan and the next school year enrollment.

 

Cross of Christ Preschool: Childcare Software Grows Enrollments

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In 1992 Cross of Christ Lutheran Church opened a preschool that was dedicated to creating a nurturing space where children could grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. When the school first opened it was a tiny program of only 10 children. Throughout the years, the preschool’s popularity grew and their enrollments began to increase more and more rapidly.

Amy Lauria, the project and admin coordinator of Cross of Christ, saw that while the increased enrollments were exciting, they were also starting to take a toll on the amount of administration and paperwork needed. They had massive amounts of paper sign in-out sheets they needed to store, and reviewing those attendance sheets was a tedious process that required a large amount of manpower. However, the real challenge arose when it came to billing their families.  they spent hours upon hours creating, sending, and collecting family invoices.

The school was able to find a few volunteers to help with the increase of paperwork, but this solution only worked for a small amount of time. Once the school hit 60 children, they could not grow anymore. They either had to slow down enrollments or find a solution.

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Hiring a new staff member was too expensive, so they started looking into other methods of managing their preschool’s paperwork and family billing. The preschool team kept their eyes peeled for a solution to help them manage their growing enrollment. They tried various methods and software programs, but they all fell short. Nothing seemed to truly fit the needs of their preschool program.

After searching and searching, Cross of Christ finally came across Kinderlime. Finally, here was the solution they needed. They went from struggling with paperwork and limiting their total enrollment, to enrolling over 100 students and still having more time than they ever had before.

Kinderlime’s preschool sign in-out system was incredibly easy for staff and parents to learn and allowed them to say goodbye to their piles of paper sign in-out sheets. Parents and staff loved the accountability and safety Kinderlime provided with its ratio reports and sign in-out messages to families.

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However, where Kinderlime truly made a difference was in family billing. They went from manually billing their families one by one, to an electronic billing system that made creating, sending and collecting payments easier than ever. Parents loved how easy and convenient Kinderlime’s online billing made paying for tuition, and Cross of Christ no longer had to deal with collecting and recording large amounts of cash and check payments.

The days of spending hours going through attendance sheets were over. They were able to use Kinderlime’s time tracking system to easily calculate how many additional hours children stayed in their aftercare program, and send out all of their family invoices with the click of a button.

Today, Cross of Christ continues to provide quality care and education to preschoolers. They now have over 130 students, and their numbers keep growing. Thanks to the dedication and innovation of the Cross of Christ team, and a little help from Kinderlime, the preschool has become an incredibly successful program that continues to serve more and more families each year.

Daycare Timesheet and Payroll tips

Recording Payroll hours has always been a challenge for daycare owners. The key to speeding up your payroll is to be organized and to track the clock-in and clock-out time of the staff . Here are few things that will help you spend less time on payroll.

Payroll reporting for Daycare

Payroll reporting for Daycare

1. Compliance from Staff: Enforce that the staff always clock in and out either on a timesheet or an electronic software. Oftentimes, staff does not see the value of being consistent with clocking in and out each day. With so many distractions during their busy day, they sometimes forget to punch in the clock. However it poses additional burden on the staff to prove that they were present and the bookkeeper to add those work hours later.

2. Set clear expectations about work hours: You need to set clear expectations for start and end times of the employee’s work day. The whole schedule (both for students and other staff) is dependent on everyone being in place at the right time. Needless to say your planning for the daycare classroom ratios is dependent on this. Impress on your employees to request vacations as soon as possible and call in immediately if there is a reason for an emergency absence. This advance planning allows your to bring in additional staffing during these difficult times.

3. Use a Timeclock: Technology has given us great flexibility and organization. Kinderlime and Timesheets are considered the top two timeclock software in use. Kinderlime allows your employees to clock in or out using a 4 digit pin code. A daycare timesheet report for payroll is available at the end of the pay period. Kinderlime has an advantage over Timesheets with respect to tracking ratios, as it is a complete Sign In-Out, and Daycare Management software. With Kinderlime, you’ll be able to track childcare ratios in real time. With the visibility of knowing 15 minute counts, you can plan your staff in advance.

4. Use a Payroll software: There is some very easy-to-use software from Gusto or Intuit which helps your bookkeeper spend less time on payroll. With these easy to use software, generating payroll is a breeze. You can even track employee vacation and sick hours in these payroll processing systems. A direct deposit facility is also available.

We have gone through some common tips to help you better manage your payroll and staffing better. Hopefully you already have implemented some or all of these tips. If not, adding them to your goals for this school year will help your school continue to grow and improve.

Mayfield Junior School Uses Kinderlime

Mayfield Junior School

Mayfield is in its second month using Kinderlime software for its Extended Care program and it’s working so well! We’ve had a great parent response and the staff loves it.

Mayfield’s Extended Care program is a drop-in after-school program for students in our K – 8 school. Prior to Kinderlime, we used a custom-made application to fit our unique billing rates.

We wanted to move to Kinderlime to achieve these two critical advantages:

  • Digitized sign-in and sign-out. We wanted this to be done electronically and captured automatically. This was manual in our old system, requiring transcription, which was time-consuming, and error prone.
  • Easy online parent payment, via EFT and/or credit card. Kinderlime lets the parent pay a portion of the balance or the entire balance. When the parent receives their statement, there is a Pay Now button – easy for parents and encourages them to pay promptly, which is important to us as we bill at the end of each month.

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While Kinderlime was a cloud-based system, we needed some modifications to make it work for us. We needed the system to allow Mayfield to absorb credit card and transaction fees and to have reliable accounting reports to monitor parent billing and payments. Luckily for us, Kinderlime saw these changes as beneficial to other users and was willing to make them. And they were willing to get them done so that we could begin our new school year with a new system! We were willing to compromise too. We changed our billing to a simple hourly rate, which we now see as an advantage, and have opted to use a discounted rate for Faculty and Financial Aid students rather than take the extra effort to apply monthly credits.

The process of getting started with Kinderlime was easy. We had a month free trial period which we used for testing and training. Kinderlime also uploaded our 500+ students during this trial from a simple excel file we provided.

We used Kinderlime’s help text and our own research and screen prints to develop guides for our parents and staff. A parent email went out with our weekly Maywire announcing the system with brief instructions on using the new system and a link to the guide.

Our biggest worry was how parents would react to having to remember a 4-digit pin code required for student sign-in/out, but this has not been an issue. Parents seem able to remember the pins; and staff are always on hand to provide them if necessary. Parents really like the automated sign-in/out procedure and that they have detailed attendance information on their computer dashboard and mobile device.

We choose to send monthly statements rather than invoices, so parents always see the total amount due. Parents got their first statements in August, which included details of August billing and, in some cases, a prior balance from our previous system. We did the August invoicing on the first of September using the bulk process, added adjustments to select accounts for late fees and credits, and then created and emailed statements, again using the bulk process. All electronic with no paper! We received many of our first payments the same day.

We are now approaching our second month and have Back-to-School night where we will provide student care (along with pizza and drinks). We created a separate room to capture and report attendance for this event separately. We also have a separate room for Enrichment Classes. Having separate rooms allows us to track and evaluate attendance for these events.

The Business Office uses the family billing reports to record monthly charges and payments and accrue the accounts receivable balance. The Extended Care staff follows up with parents as needed. We are finding that parents are paying more promptly by being able to pay via their phone when they get their statement. A definite added plus!