Goodman Oaks is a free, Thursday-only childcare service that has been operating for 30 years. Children ages 3-5 attend the program to get acclimated to the school environment before kindergarten. They have been, and continue to be, a staple in their community. In several cases, generations of families have passed through their doors, showcasing the trust they have built within their community.
We have had the pleasure of working with Goodman Oaks going on 5 years. Program Director Alan Underwood was kind enough to share his experience with Kinderlime.
Like most schools, Goodman Oaks was using standard paper sign in-out sheets along with a paper list of approved guardians. The process was tedious. Teachers were forced to take additional time to properly store and track attendance information at the end of every month.
The list of approved guardians also proved to be time-consuming. It involved asking all unfamiliar faces to show proof of identification with a photo ID. This would delay the sign in-out line while distressing grandparents and close family members. The children’s safety is and has always been a top priority; however, this process may have made some feel unwelcome, which is far from what Goodman Oaks represents.
While struggling with these problems, Goodman Oaks received a recommendation for Kinderlime from another childcare program. After a brief demonstration of the product, they decided to give it a try.
A few app downloads and a quick webinar was all it took to get started. Alan and the teachers now had the ability to track attendance with the push of a button.
Parents also downloaded the Parent App, enabling them to see updates for their child, to view their pin code and to communicate directly with teachers.
Benefits from Day One
When asked how the Sign In-Out app helped change their program, Alan highlighted how Kinderlime established a sense of security as parents dropped off and picked up their children. Referring to issues around maintaining a parent list, Alan prefers the simplicity of the unique 4-digit PIN codes given to all parents and guardians. As pin codes are entered on the Sign In-Out app, student attendance is tracked and recorded. Parents also receive a notification when their child is picked up by anyone other than themselves. Parents LOVE the added security. They know exactly when their child was dropped off or picked up, and by whom.
Kinderlime’s attendance tracking is in real-time and viewable by parents, the teachers, and the administrators. Alan can now easily monitor trends and ratios, or track which child has missed multiple weeks in a row. In several such instances, Alan calls to check in on the child and family. “It enables me to be more actively engaged with the families we serve.”
An added bonus was the ability to clearly dispute any potential disagreements with evidence, should any come about. In fact, not too long after implementing Kinderlime, an issue arose with the dispute between a child’s parents. Luckily, Kinderlime was able to track pin codes and ensure the potential problem never escalated.
We are happy to serve the Goodman Oaks Thursday School and many others in our customer community. We strive to make our childcare app easy to understand and ensure that our customers have an enjoyable experience.
The Neighborhood Christian Center team prides themselves on providing the highest quality education and care to their preschoolers. When you walk on the campus it is immediately apparent that NCC puts an incredible amount of thought and care into how their preschool and childcare center is run.
As the office manager at NCC, Paul’s job is to ensure the administrative side of NCC meets their high standards. If an issue or problem arises, Paul is determined to find the solution. However, Paul knows he not only needs to find a solution to the problems that arise, but find the right long lasting solution that works for them.
When Paul first arrived at NCC the billing process was a nightmare. It became apparent early on that something needed to change with how they invoiced their families.The school had a billing software already implemented, but they found it still took 15 days and 4 staff to complete the billing administrative work. The software they used was not user friendly, time consuming, and prone to mistakes.
With manually having to create invoices and collect payments each month, they were bound to have data entry mistakes come up. Not only did the billing process take enormous amounts of time, but the NCC team also found themselves spending hours fixing small billing errors. Paul needed a system that would greatly reduce the time spent invoicing families and help create a billing process that was error free.
With the old system they spent hours doing error checks and fixing mistakes, but with Kinderlime the billing process was practically error free. Instead of manually creating invoices and recording payments, they now could create and send all of the invoices at once. However, what truly made Kinderlime amazing was its ability to bulk charge families online. Families quickly set up their account with automatic online billing, and at the end of each month, NCC was able to collect all of their families tuition at once. Data entry mistakes and late fee payments became practically extinct.
They went from 4 staff spending 15 days, to 2 staff spending 2 days to complete the billing process for all 200 of their families. The difference was night and day. Kinderlime made the lives of the NCC staff much easier, and families loved the new system as well. Parents no longer needed to worry about remembering a check book, or having to look through emails and papers to find how much they owed. They simply logged into the Kinderlime parent portal and could access how much they owed, their yearly statements, and manage all of their billing online. The school was getting their tuition payments on time, and parents were avoiding obnoxious late fees.
Paul and the NCC team were amazed at how large of a difference Kinderlime made to their billing process, and began to wonder what other problems Kinderlime could help the NCC team solve. They had been using a staff clock in-out system made for all types of companies, but Kinderlime’s staff clock in system was made with preschool programs in mind.
Soon NCC had all 50 of their staff clocking in-out on Kinderlime. Staff simply needed to remember a 4 digit pin code, and enter it on the Kinderlime sign in-out app. Kinderlime made it easy for NCC to collect and report staff hours, but what made the system truly special was its ability to report ratios. Kinderlime’s live ratio report allowed the NCC team to easily view the staff to child ratio at any given time, helping ensure children were safe and each group of children always had the perfect amount of teachers.
Kinderlime was incredibly simple for staff and parents to use, and made a huge difference in the everyday processes at NCC. It became obvious that Kinderlime’s complete child care software was the right fit for them. In one software Paul and the NCC team were able to easily manage child sign in-out, attendance tracking, billing, staff clock in-out and parent communication.
Kinderlime helped NCC continue to be a preschool that staff and parents could be proud of. There is no other preschool quite like NCC, and this is all due to the amazing thought and care the NCC team puts into everything from the childcare software they chose, to the nurturing and thoughtful care they provide.
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.
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 preschool software 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.
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 preschool software, specifically 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’s preschool software, the preschool has become an incredibly successful program that continues to serve more and more families each year.
Mayfield is in its second month (September 2016) using Kinderlime afterschool 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.
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!
The Berkeley School’s extended programs have been an instrumental part of the school, giving children the opportunity to continue their growth and learning after school. The talented extended day staff have not only provided a safe oasis for children to play and learn, but have offered everything from woodworking to dance classes! In spite of the amazing programming, there was one very large problem.
When Jose first started working as The Berkeley School’s Technology officer, he knew one of his first project’s would be finding a more efficient way to manage the school’s Extended Day programs. The extended care team was spending at least 2 hours a day on accounting! They wanted to be spending time with the children, not on tedious paperwork.
As Jose began to search for a solution, he quickly found that spending time on paperwork was only a part of the problem. Paper sign in-out sheets were inefficient and inaccuracies of time tracking were much more likely to happen. This made billing families for extended care an absolute nightmare. The school tried their best to bill parents precisely as possible, but using a pen and paper to record attendance made it a challenge.
Jose knew the problem, but now he needed a solution. He began to research and talk with numerous tech companies that promised they could solve his problem. As he continued his research it became clear he needed to work with a system that fit the following criteria:
Easy to use– Jose did not want a system that would require extensive training. He needed something that could be used by anyone!
Quick to setup– He had no time for an extensive set up process. It needed to be seamless, quick and easy.
Low startup cost- He did not want to invest in costly hardware. He wanted something that had a minimal cost, and easy maintenance.
That’s when he stumbled upon Kinderlime. There were no startup fees, no hardware that needed to be installed, and the setup time was minimal. But, what truly sold Jose on Kinderlime was the customer support. From the first time he spoke with Kinderlime he was hooked. He felt less like a customer, and more like a collaborative partner. The Kinderlime team was always there to answer any of his questions, and more importantly, they listened to him. If he had a suggestion or wanted advice, Kinderlime was always there to listen and help.
It was a week before school, and Jose had officially made a decision, they would go with Kinderlime. Within a couple days his account was setup and student information was imported. Kinderlime’s simple interface made it a breeze to train and prepare staff. Now came the true test. How would the parents like Kinderlime?
Some staff worried that less tech-savvy parents might struggle with the new system, or forget their parent sign out pin codes. After only 2 days the parents not only had the process down, but loved it! Jose described how “everyone just got it.” The sign in-out messages that confirmed that their child had made it to extended care gave parents such an ease of mind, and made it easy for families to coordinate pickups.
Once Kinderlime was up and running it was hard for The Berkeley School to imagine how they ever lived without it. The extended day staff had more time to focus on activities with the children, there was never a debate over parent pick up times, and most importantly, the business office no longer spent hours upon hours calculating bills for families.
To the school’s amazement, billing and administrative work went from 2 hours a day, to an hour a month! Gone were the days of illegible parent sign out times, manual calculation of attended time in extended day, and file boxes full of paper attendance records. Jose described how simple and easy it was to start using Kinderlime, but the long lasting effect it had was vast.
It’s been a couple years now since The Berkeley School started using Kinderlime, and the experience only seems to improve. The school’s preschool now also successfully uses Kinderlime, and Jose feels proud knowing that the extended day program is in good hands!