6 Fun Ways to Use Photos in your After School Program

6 Fun Ways to use Photos in your After School Program

 

You do not need to be an expert or have an expensive camera to have fun with photography in your after school program. All you need is simply one digital camera, or even a smartphone, and you will be on your way to discovering the world of photography in the classroom. Fill your program with enriching and academic photography activities that your students, staff, and parents will love.

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 1. Put Together A VIDEO YEARBOOK

Schools are not the only ones who can have yearbooks. After school programs spend tremendous amounts of time with their children. It’s always a little bittersweet when the school year comes to an end, and you must say goodbye to your graduating students. However, a video yearbook is a fun and affordable way to celebrate the end of the school year and commemorate your children that are moving on.

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Create a video yearbook by using pictures taken through the year at holiday events and fun activities. Put the pictures together and create something that your children, parents and staff will love. Either show your children and parents the video at an end of the school year event, or burn DVDs of the video as a farewell gift.

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2. Create a Photo booth

fun-649463_640Try creating your very own photo booth for your after school program. Throughout the month have your students work on planning, drawing, coloring, decorating and creating props for your photo booth.

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Look up wacky weird holidays such as World Penguin Day or Watermelon Day for a photo booth theme, and get creative! If you are still not sure where to start, check out photo booth ideas for kids on Pinterest for a little inspiration. Your children will have a wonderful time creating and taking pictures in the photo booth, and parents will love to see the photo booth pics.

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3. JOURNALISM CLUB

Creating a journalism club is not only a great way to use photos in your childcare program, but a great academic alternative that captures almost every student’s interest. Students can become writers, interviewers, photographers, comic strip creators, or even take on leadership roles. Help your students create a quarterly journal where they can discuss their interests, concerns, and what is going on in your after school program.

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Be creative with your journal, and cater it to your children’s interest. After your journal is put together, you’re students will have something tangible they can be proud of and show off to their friends and parents. Check out these school newsletter ideas to help you get started.

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4. PHOTOGRAPHY WRITING PROMPTS

samsung-691035_640Coming up with academic activities that students enjoy can sometimes seem impossible. Thankfully, photography does not simply have to be a fun hobby or after school club, but a way to fully engage students in academic alternatives.

Have your students take a few pictures. You can either give students the freedom to take pictures, or give them a guideline on types of pictures to take. Use these photos as a writing prompt. Have your students tell a short story, write a poem, or describe how the picture makes them feel. Students will be much more likely to engage in a writing prompt when they took the pictures themselves.

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5. Take a Stand

Photography is an incredible tool for assisting social change movements and non-profit organizations. With the help from your students, come up with a way you can use photography to make a positive impact on the world. Which problems in the world do you feel most impact your students and your after school program?

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Create a photo contest that asks students to take a photo that demonstrates “taking care of the planet,” “kindness,” or anything else you and your students want to take a stand on. Create a collage of your student’s photos to help spread awareness of how to be “green” or “kind.”

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For older students, use this activity to teach your students the negative and positive uses of photography. Teach students not only how to stay safe when using photos on the web, but how to use photography as a tool to make the world a better place.

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 6. Parent Communication

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Photos are not just for kids. They can be a great tool to keep parents updated, and let potential parents learn more about your program. Use photos you or your students snap during program, and post them to your program blog or website.

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Don’t have a website? Use these photos in your monthly newsletters. Parents will love seeing their child having fun and representing your after school program. Just be sure to have each parent sign a photo permission form before taking and posting pictures for the public to see.

 

Have you tried any of these fun photography activities? How do you use photos in your after school, child care, or daycare program?

Check in Software for your Daycare

check in software for your daycare

Over the last few years, Kinderlime has been the check in software of choice for preschools, daycares and after school programs. The Check In-Out app can be downloaded on an iPad or Android tablet and used as a Sign In-Out kiosk.

Starting with the program is easy.

1. Install a tablet kiosk and enter the students on the website. Alternatively you can send us a spreadsheet of your roster for easy upload. Each parent and care giver on the pick up list is assigned a pin code when they are entered into the Kinderlime system. You are then ready to get started!

2. The parents can sign in using their 4 digit code. If you run an after school program, then your staff can sign in students in bulk by selecting kids on the electronic roster in Kinderlime.

Kinderlime Sign In-Out sheet with signatures

Sign In-Out sheet with signatures on check in software

All the reports are available on the Kinderlime website. There you can do billing, send newsletters, and access attendance reports. Additional services like daily sheets, lesson plans and menus with templates are available. To learn more about what we do, please email us and we’d be happy to schedule a demo.

9 Must Have Child Care Management Tools

Child Care Management Tools

Managing a child care is no easy task. The first time I ever stepped into a child care program I thought all I needed to know was how to work with kids. I quickly learned that while taking care of children is important, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Child care directors, administrators and supervisors at times have similarities to superheroes. They are multitasking wizards, creative, energetic, and intelligent. They not only care for children, but manage parent communication, billing, budgets, attendance reports, staff, paychecks, programming, and so much more!

As many other child care providers have learned, we can’t always do everything ourselves, and can use all the help we can get. Thankfully, there are a few tools that help make child care management for any type of program a little easier.

 

Top Child care Management Tools

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1. QuickBooks

quickbooks- child care management toolsWhether running a small or large child care program, properly keeping track of the money being put in and out of your program is absolutely necessary. In a small business environment this can become overwhelming. Thankfully, QuickBooks is a lifesaver when it comes to bookkeeping for successful small businesses.

QuickBooks provides an inexpensive small business software to help you keep track of every aspect of your child care program. This program provides a manageable way to keep track of your programs expenses, vendors, customers, staff payroll, and any other financial aspect of your program. And it’s easy to roll up your finances during tax time.

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2. Kinderlime

kinderlime- child care management tools

The paperwork and time that goes into managing a child care center can seem endless. Kinderlime is a child care management tool that will make your life much easier. It helps child care providers easily manage billing, attendance tracking, staff time sheets, daily infant sheets, parent communication and more. Kinderlime is an extensive and flexible tool, making it perfect for almost any type of child care program.

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3. Paychex

paychex- child care management tools

When it comes to running a child care program, payroll is just another task that takes away from the time you would like to spend with your customers and kids. Paychex helps simplify payroll for small businesses. They provide the option of doing payroll online anywhere at any time, or working with your local Paychex team.

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4. SurveyMonkey

surveymonkey- child care management tools

SurveyMonkey is one of the best tools out there to gain feedback from participants, parents, teachers, staff, and anyone else who is involved in your programs success. Survey Monkey provides their own customer satisfaction survey templates, or lets you create your own. It allows for individuals to easily respond to your survey anonymously, giving you wonderful feedback that can greatly improve your child care program.

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5. HelloSign

hellosign- child care management tools

Whether you are running a childcare, preschool or after school program, you will likely deal with the daunting task of getting paperwork and documents signed. HelloSign provides a highly secure and easy to use e-signature service. E-signatures make hiring new staff, completing program applications, and signing monthly reports much easier.

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6. LinkedIn

LinkedIn- child care management tools

When you think of LinkedIn, you may simply think of a place to network or find a new job. While LinkedIn can help in those areas, it also is a great tool to help improve your program’s success. Join child care groups to share ideas with other thought leaders in the child care field. Groups can also be a great opportunity to propose questions on challenges you may be facing within your program.

Aside from the strong support system you will find on LinkedIn, you also can explore and find insight into trainings, classes, articles and more about the child care field. LinkedIn has the potential to be an effective tool not only for networking, but for personal growth.

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7. Scanner Pro

scannerpro- child care managment tools

As a supervisor of a child care program I found myself constantly scanning and faxing documents. The fax machine was often being used by someone else, and the scanner was always seeming to give me problems. Thankfully, I finally discovered the ScannerPro.

The app turns your phone into a portable scanner. To use the app you simply need to take a picture of the document you would like to send and the app formats the document into a PDF file that is easy to send and read. This app is not only helpful for running a child care program, but one that you will find using in your everyday life as well.

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8. Pinterest

pinterest- child care management tools

Pinterest is a childcare provider’s best friend. Not only is it extremely addictive and fun, but it is also a helpful resource for childcare providers. By searching childcare keywords, and following your favorite boards, you can discover ideas for activities, classroom setup, parent communication, classroom management, and practically anything else you may need some extra help and inspiration for. Easily organize your favorite ideas by creating your own Pinterest board.

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9. Google Drive

Google_Drive- child care management tools

Google Drive is an incredible tool for file storage and collaborating. As a child care director or administrator you may find yourself traveling from site to site. With Google Drive you can be assured that you can access your important documents from wherever.

Google Drive is also a great tool for collaborating on ideas. Share Google Docs or Spreadsheets to collaborate on your programs activities for the next month, plan spending, or to figure out staff availability. Along with Google Drive, you will find many other useful Google tools, such as Google calendar. These Google tools are easy to use and absolutely free.

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Have you used any of these child care management resources? What are your favorite tools to use?

What Type of Daily Sheet Should You Be Using?

Daily Sheet

Parents entrust their littlest ones to our care and it’s important to keep them informed of the child’s progress and activities in our child care center through a daily sheet. There are so many amazing developments that the child is experiencing at an early age; it’s important to monitor patterns of behavior. Many times, a change in routine simply signals a new growth spurt or the achievement of a developmental hurdle.

Parents love to be a part of these achievements as much as they can. Sometimes a change in the everyday routine can be a warning sign of a possible problem or issue that, if addressed quickly, could be lessened or even eliminated. It is for these reasons that it is important to have a thorough Daily Report for young children.

This can be a time consuming task that takes away quality interaction time between the teacher and student. Finding the balance between “quality” and “speed” can be tricky. We’re going to look at a few different daily sheet systems with examples of each kind of daily report and then leave it to you to decide what works best for your children, staff, parents, and program.

Types of Daily Sheets

Shorthand

Teacher uses a short “code” system. It is quick in the classroom but must be transcribed to a different report as the parents don’t know the code.

Daily Sheet Shorthand

Daily Sheets Shorthand Download

 

Multiple Choice

Very quick and easy to fill out. Doesn’t seem as personal, still needs some space for notes or open ended topics since a report that covers all possible details with multiple choices might be several pages long.

Daily Sheet Multiple Choice

Daily Sheets Multiple Choice Download

 

Highly Detailed and Open Ended

This full page daily sheet report leaves mostly blanks that require the teacher to write out the complete report with little more than prompts to guide him/her. This requires a lot of time and there is often strain on the teacher to be original and verbose day after day.

Daily Sheet Detailed

Daily Sheets Detailed Download

 

Balanced Approach

As you can see, the extremes of “easy and quick” and “detailed and thorough”, leave a lot to be desired. The following are examples of how a school can make certain things faster through multiple choice options, while also allowing for a comprehensive daily sheet report of the child for that day if needed.

Daily Sheet Balanced Approach

Daily Sheets Balanced Approach Download

 

When it comes to picking out a daily sheet or sign in-out sheet for your child care center there is no right or wrong person. Each childcare program is different. What works for one may not work for the other. Hopefully, this guide of daily sheets will help you in creating the daily report that works best for you and your program.

6 Ways to Increase Attendance in Childcare Programs

Increase Attendance for childcare programs

You have worked hard all year to create a childcare program that is safe, welcoming, and encourages your children to learn and grow. Yet, your attendance numbers are still down!

Attendance in childcare programs can often seem just as important as having a quality program. Attendance increases funding and can give an overall representation of the value of your program.

With this in mind, why is your attendance staying the same when you feel you are doing everything right? Making a few small changes can turn your good program into a great program, and get your attendance back on the upward track.

#1 Spend less time on paperwork, and more on programming

Attendance tracking. Sign in-out sheets. Billing information. In the world of childcare it seems as if we are dealing with paperwork and reports constantly. While it is important to stay organized and on top of paperwork, you do not want it take away from the time spent on improving how the program runs daily.

Maintain a proper balance between reports and billing, and creating a quality program. Attendance, billing, and sign in-out software like Kinderlime can help alleviate the time spent on your piles of paperwork. The extra time spent on quality programming will show, and help increase attendance in your program.

#2 Keep parents happy

Parents often DO have a choice when it comes to childcare. This is why it is immensely important for you and your staff to maintain good communication and a welcoming environment for your parents. Do your best to find new ways to make your parents happy. Each program is different, but here are a couple of ways to maintain a healthy relationship with parents, and increase attendance numbers:

  • Train staff to always greet parents immediately upon entering
  • Create an environment of open communication with parents by making them feel welcome
  • Keep parents informed through monthly newsletters
  • Find new ways to keep parents updated (photos, e-mails, events etc.)

#3 Cater to your community

Each childcare program is a little different as each program is catering to a different community. What works for one program may not work for another. If you are having problems with attendance numbers, one of the first things you will want to evaluate is if you are providing a program that fits the needs of your community.

Through surveys, talking with your community, and creating open communication, you will be on your way to learning more about what your parents and participants hope to see from their childcare program.

#4 Stay ahead

The world of childcare is constantly changing. As a program director, it is important to stay on top of the ever changing trends of childcare. What does programming look like? What tools are being used for the Sign In-Out process? What training is provided for you staff? It is important to not only look at the needs of the community you are providing childcare for, but also looking at what other childcare programs in your community are providing to their clients.

A great way to stay ahead is actually talking to other childcare program directors, and even tour other childcare sites. Observe what other sites are doing differently, and bring your favorite ideas to your program.

Also try attending after school program conventions to see what tools, ideas and resources other programs are using to stay ahead. After attending conventions, and talking with other childcare leaders, write down and brainstorm what ideas could benefit your site the most. If you are unsure about changing certain aspects of your program, see if there is any way you can sample an idea, training or product. At Kinderlime you have the opportunity to schedule a demo, and find out more program specific information on how Kinderlime’s software could be beneficial for you.

Staying on top of the continual changes in childcare will help you stand out as a quality program to parents and your community, ensuring that your attendance will continue to grow.

#5 Hire Quality Staff AND Use Them

You could be the best childcare director on the planet or a multi-tasking king, but if you do not have a great childcare team then your program numbers are doomed to drop. Some childcare positions can have a very high turnover rate. If you find yourself desperately needing to hire a new staff, you may find yourself hiring the first decent person that walks in the door. While it is tempting to hire someone quickly, you will regret later not taking the time to hire a quality staff.

By taking the time to hire quality staff, you are not only making your job easier down the line, but also increasing the success and attendance of your program. However, hiring is not the only important element when it comes to staffing your childcare program.

Know how to use your staff. Find out what they can bring to the table. Try giving your staff a survey of their interests and hobbies. You may learn that you have hired not only childcare staff, but artist, dance instructors, or organization wizards.

It is important to give staff the training and resources they need, as well as show them support, encouragement, and appreciation. Investing a little extra time and energy into your staff will help create a program that participants will never want to leave. Great staff can literally make the difference from a good program to an incredible program, and increase attendance in no time.

#6 Don’t forget your biggest marketing tool… your participants!

While parents ultimately decide if their child will attend the program, your participants have a huge impact on this decision. If your children enjoy the program, then there parents will most likely keep them in the program.

But, what has an even greater impact is the influence your participants have on their friends. By creating a childcare program with quality staff, supportive parents, and well planned programming, you will create a program that your children look forward to everyday. Your attendees will then tell their friends about the program, helping to spread the word. By putting your efforts into creating a quality childcare program you are not only creating a place that your participants enjoy, but are also marketing your program and attracting more attendees.

Have you tried any of these attendance increasing tips? What tips and tricks have you tried to increase attendance in childcare programs?

5 Tips to End the School Year with a BANG!

End the School Year with a Bang

I started the new school year excited and ready to implement my new ideas and plans. But, before I knew it, it was already time to end the school year again. Some of the plans worked tremendously, and some were simply better in theory.

By the end of the school year I was ready for it to be over. It was challenging to stay motivated. But, I’ve learned it is important to keep putting in 100% and end the school year with a bang! These tips will not only help you end the year on a great note, but also set your program up for success for the following school year.

1. Get feedback from parents

In the end, it is the parents decision to send their child to your after school program. Without them, you would have no after school program. This is why it is important to give parents a way to express their thoughts, concerns, ideas, or words of appreciation. An anonymous end of the year survey is a great way to allow parents to give you this feedback. It not only lets parents know that you care about their input, but also helps you in planning and implementing any changes for the next school year.

2. Don’t forget to say Thank You

There are many people who help make your program possible. Your staff, teachers, volunteers, parents, school principal, maintenance staff, and other members of the community can all play an important role. The end of the school year is the perfect time to let those who have helped you know how much you appreciate their support. Your thank you can be as simple as a thoughtful card.

Taking this time to reach out and say thank you helps build a stronger relationship with your community helpers. As the new school year starts again, they will be more likely to continue to help and support your programs success in the future.

3. Keep your students engaged

As May and June come around, staff and students are ready for the school year to come to an end. While this is the time staff may want to put less effort into planning activities, it is incredibly important to have great activities that keep students engaged. By keeping children moving with fun and engaging activities you will avoid behavior problems. Children will leave the program with great memories, and be excited to come back the following school year.

4. Celebrate!

As much as we love working in after school programs, there is nothing like the end of the school year! Plan an end of the school year party to celebrate a successful year. Use this time to show how much you appreciate and care about the most important participants in your program, your students! The end of the school year can always be a little bitter sweet as you say goodbye to some of your students, but, before you know it, the school year will be starting up again. So celebrate and enjoy the end of the school year as much as you can.

5. Reflect

When it comes to after school programs the days are long, but the years are short. During the hectic school year it can be a challenge to simply take a step back and look at all that you have done and accomplished. While the school year is still fresh in your mind, reflect on what areas you would like to improve and focus on for the next year. Evaluate your Sign In-Out process, parent communication, staff growth, hiring process, and any other important aspect of your program. Observe what worked and what didn’t’ work. Be sure to record your end of the year reflections.

Over the summer look over these reflections, and evaluate if there are any tools and resources that could help your programs success. Could your staff use additional training? Would Kinderlime’s Sign In-Out App improve your after school programs billing process? Ask yourself these important questions so you can go into the next school year more prepared than ever.

While it is important to reflect on how you want to improve, don’t forget to give yourself credit for all that you have done. Think about all that you have accomplished since day one of the school year. Look at how much you, your staff, and students have grown and changed. Even if the school year did not go perfectly as planned, be proud of yourself and everything you did accomplish!

The world of after school programs is rewarding, exciting, and never dull, but, it can also be exhausting. That last month with your after school program is a challenge, but by taking the extra steps to end the school year strong, you’re next school year will be that much easier.

To find out more information on tools and resources to help improve your Sign In-Out process, parent communication, or billing for the next school year, check out Kinderlime.

Sign In and Out: Paper vs App

Signing In and Out: Paper vs Apps

Life is full of paper that gets filed and saved for years wasting both time and resources.  We have to keep track of our students as they are signing in and out every day.  Think about how many resources are wasted: cases of paper, printer toner, wear & tear on the printer.  Where and for how long are you storing all these records? It takes time to deal with all of that paper too!  You need to track a students attendance and you end up searching through binders full of paper.  Will there ever be an end to all that paper?  Well the answer is YES!

The Kinderlime Sign In-Out App specializes in stopping waste.  Each parent/guardian is assigned a unique PIN number that records and saves all of those sign ins/outs.  The app is also helpful for us administrators. You are able to access plenty of reports almost instantaneously on your screen through the app.  The app is also super simple for parents to use.  On average, it takes our parents 3 seconds to complete the signing in and out process.  They enter their unique PIN number, and press a button to drop-off or pick-up.  SIMPLE!

As the office administrator for our preschool, the Sign In-Out App has become a MUST HAVE in our school! I am constantly interrupted by parents and staff, and find it challenging to stay on top of administrative tasks. With the app I am able to spend more time on creating meaningful relationships with parents and staff, and less time dealing with administrative paperwork. I find the answers my parents need in just a few seconds. Rather than having to say, “I’ll have it for you next Tuesday” and spend an hour digging through records, I am able to look access everything in seconds with the Kinderlime app.

As always, please feel free to share comments and ask questions about anything I’ve written about.  I am here to help!

Best Practices for After School Billing

After School Billing

Are you constantly chasing down parents to collect bills? Do you have endless piles of paperwork? After school billing can be time consuming, challenging, and harmful to a programs budget. There are many aspects and methods to consider when deciding what the best practices are for your after school program. Thankfully, by implementing a well thought out after school program billing processes, your program can run smoother and more efficiently.

The billing process is very much tied to the after school offerings you have. For public programs, which are funded by the state, it is not required. But, if you run a private program for families – then the attendance tracking and billing is integral to the bottom line of your program.

Most programs try to do what is best for families. However, in doing so they compromise on administrative overhead and create unnecessary burden for themselves. Since your focus is to have a high quality after school program which your students love, the work for attendance tracking and billing needs to be thought through.

Method of After School Billing

One of the hardest and most important decisions to make is the method in which you bill families. As each after school program varies, so will the billing method. Not one single method is right for all programs. These are a few of the most common methods used for after school billing, each with its own pros and cons. It is important to evaluate what the needs of your program are, and then decide which billing method will be the most effective for your program.

Hourly

The hourly method looks at the daily usage of participants, and charges families based on how long a participant attends the program each day. Usage is calculated based on the check-in and checkout time of the students in the program.

Billing hourly is great for a program that wishes to give parents flexibility on when their child attends the program. However, calculating the amount to be billed can be much more time consuming with this method. Kinderlime combines into one system a timeclock app, and billing and online payment software. This streamlines calculating and billing parents, making the hourly method much more manageable.

Flat Fee

Many programs also use a flat rate fee that can be charged monthly or quarterly. This method makes the billing process more straightforward, and eliminates the possibility of parents arguing over the amount of time a child attends the program. If a parent needs to take a month off from the program, this can easily be done with Kinderlime’s billing software. Kinderlime will keep track of a family’s account history so you can easily add a previous participant back into your program.

However, some parents who simply need the program once a week may not want to pay a flat rate fee. If parents decided not to have their children attend the program due to this payment method, it will not only cause lower attendance, but also could result in children staying at home alone instead of attending the program.

Tiered Rate

This method has parents predict at the beginning of the year their usage of the program, and bills them at a set hourly rate. Programs can decide if they would like to bill parents monthly, quarterly, or in addition to their school tuition. Parents who do not predict their usage, or will only need the program on an occasional basis, can attend the program with a higher hourly rate.

This tiered rate approach is very beneficial when it comes to budgeting for a program as well as safety. By having parents predict when their child will be attending, administrators can be sure to have the proper amount of staff, and plan spending accordingly. Although this method may be slightly more confusing to explain to parents in the beginning, taking that extra step will prove worthwhile in the end.

Discounts

A lot of programs want to make it easy on families by offering discounts for siblings, or subsequent hours after the first hour. Some other programs will bill based on quarter of an hour. While these practices are well intentioned, they pose a lot of burden on the administrators and business offices of schools. Calculating discounts is a big headache and takes a lot of time. Simplicity in charges is key – it’s easy to understand for parents and easy for you to calculate.

Late Fee

In order to deter consistent families from taking advantage of your staff, it’s important to charge late fees. Staff should never waiver these fees, as parents need to take this seriously. Kinderlime’s very accurate time tracking is here to help. There is no contention as you can show parents their electronic pick up records. Make late fees very simple by having a flat rate fee based on every 5 minutes they are late.

How to Bill Families

Set Clear Expectations

One of the largest challenges for after school program billing is ensuring that parents are paying on time, and are following all rules set in place. It is key to set clear expectations for parents on how your programs billing process works, and any other important program related information.

It can become time consuming going through program paperwork with parents, but the time you take to discuss your program with parents will often become helpful down the road. Instead of simply handing parents paperwork to turn in, have your program set up an orientation or parent meetings at the beginning of the school year. Making a designated time to discuss the program and go over paperwork will allow parents to address any questions or concerns, and allow after school programs to clarify how the program is set up.

Make the Billing Process Simple and Easy

In general we have seen that hourly billing at the end of the month works best for most programs. As recommended earlier, don’t have discounts based on additional hours or siblings. When billing families, make the process as simple and easy as possible. This will not only help ensure that parents are paying in a timely manner, but also help make the billing process easier for your staff. Here are a few ways to simplify the billing process for families:

  • Electronic Invoices: E-mailing electronic invoices to parents makes it easy for them to access how much they owe. One of the many features of Kinderlime’s billing software is e-mailing invoices to parents, which also keeps track of any outstanding balances. The easier it is for parents to access their invoice, the easier it is for them to pay.
  • Multiple Payment Options: Continually collecting parent bills through check or cash is tedious for both parents and staff. Kinderlime offers secure online payment features that gives parents the flexibility to use the payment option of their choice, whether that’s credit card, bank account, check or cash.

Going Green

Unfortunately, after school billing can require a large use of paper. The continual use of paper is bad for the environment, costly, and often time consuming. Moving to an after school billing process that is electronic helps save money, makes the process easier for parents and staff, creates more satisfied parents, and helps with the retention of participants.

Kinderlime’s software not only allows parents to pay online, but creates paper free sign in and out sheets, easily records parent signatures, and can even send out paper free monthly newsletters created on the Kinderlime app. Kinderlime helps after school programs everywhere become more environmentally friendly, as well as reduces the billing process by over 40 hours a month.

If you are interested in maintaining the best practices for after school billing, please head over to the Kinderlime website, and request a demo or Sign Up.

Why Attendance Matters in After School Programs

shutterstock_59277880As supervisor of an after school program, the words high attendance were engrained into my vocabulary. I often centered my program on the importance of keeping the number of participants high. The reasons this mattered seemed obvious. By maintaining a high attendance we would receive more funding. However, I quickly learned that while program funding is important, there are far bigger reasons attendance matters in after school programs.

Hedy N. Chang and Phyllis W. Jordan describe in their article, Building a Culture of Attendance: Schools and Afterschool Programs Together Can and Should Make a Difference, how research has proven that good after school programs can and do improve school-day attendance. After school programs are not simply a place for students to go until their parents get off of work. They are an extra opportunity for students to grow academically, explore new interests, and create a sense of belonging.

The beginning of the school year sits vividly in my mind. Students came to the program because their parents made them. Many of the students were nervous or scared (some were crying). Other students struggled, and sometimes downright refused to do homework. As the year went on, I watched how my after school program helped these scared students make new friends and become confident. I watched the students who struggled with school work start to improve and succeed. These students may have come to the program because their parents made them, but the stayed because they wanted to.

Now, am I saying that funding for after school programs does not matter? Absolutely not! The funding you receive for higher attendance goes right back to the program’s success. By maintaining a high attendance, you are not only ensuring your students wellbeing, but also have the ability to use the funding to provide helpful resources to your students, creating a successful program.

An increase in attendance is often a sign of a successful program, which makes it important to keep track of. Kinderlime’s Sign In-Out app is an easy and stress free way of tracking attendance. We offer the ability to use completely paper free and electronic sign in/out sheets. With Kinderlime, you have the ability to see how your attendance is for the day, how it has changed over time, and how long students are staying at your program. This information can help your programs be aware of how they are growing, and what areas they may need to improve on.

Do you need assistance with attendance tracking? Request a demo, or contact us at 408-658-0030.