In order to provide the best standard of education and care for the children in your nursery, it’s important you choose the best nursery management software.
As a nursery owner you have a vast amount of responsibilities, and using software can help you manage some of these.
Furthermore, using software is a great way to overcome issues and deal with everyday admin, so you can spend more time providing quality care, and creating an enabling environment for the children at your nursery.
This post will detail exactly what you should be looking for when choosing the right nursery management software, taking into account time management, parental interaction, and the security and wellbeing of the children.
What Is Nursery Management Software?
Nursery management software takes control of tasks for you, offering one place to store important information., This means you have more time to devote to the children in your care instead of worrying about different manual tasks.
This might involve:
- Daily paperwork
- Staff planning
- Observation storage
- Communication with parents
Ultimately, the learning and development of every child should be the priority for you and your team of nursery staff. Therefore, using software to take care of admin tasks and paperwork, allows you to provide the very best standard of education.
Nursery Management software options are varied across the UK; that’s why it’s important to know exactly what you are looking for before you sign up to one platform over another.
As the learning and development of children is the main priority for both practitioners and parents, this should be the priority of your chosen software too.
For example, platforms should facilitate observations of children, store data securely, improve home to nursery connections, and most importantly, save you time.
Learning Journals is an example of a software built by childcare professionals that helps to streamline important daily processes within nurseries around the UK.
We know that every second that you aren’t spending with the children, is a second of their education wasted, therefore our platform makes it easier than ever to capture observations of every child, for you to share with parents.
Why Is Nursery Management Software Beneficial?
Now that we have outlined the role nursery management software can play within your nursery setting, it’s important that you understand how this software can benefit both staff wellbeing, and the learning and development of the children.
Aside from helping to reduce your workload, and helping to manage your time, there are various benefits which have outlined below:
- Less paperwork – transferring documentation and observations to a software platform maximises your time with the children in your care, and streamlines your processes which means less paperwork. This is music to any nursery practitioners’ ears!
- Improves Parent Partnerships – nursery management software helps to strengthen the home-school connection, as parents are more actively involved and can view observations and development milestones, as well as keep up with admin in a few easy clicks. For example, with the Learning Journals platform, you can record an unlimited number of observations which keeps parents informed every step of the way.
- Staff Wellbeing – nursery management software can take care of staff rota’s and paperwork to take the pressure off and help you to run your nursery in the most efficient way possible.
- Better Security – rather than having paperwork all over your office where it could get lost, nursery management software helps to keep information and data safe, as it is all in one place and requires staff and parents to log in to gain access.
- Stores Everything In One Place – Similar to the point above, nursery management software allows you to access all of your nursery’s information, from business data, to child development observations, to parent contact details.
- Saves Time – the software can take control of all of your admin tasks concerning both your staff and the children, giving you more time to focus on providing quality education.
What to Look For When Choosing Nursery Management Software
There are certain things you should always consider before choosing a nursery management software.
For example, it will be useful to make a list of software requirements that are important to you as a nursery owner, so that you can make sure it caters to your needs.
Perhaps this is:
- Software training for staff and parents
- Secure data storage
- Streamlining processes for staff
- Ease of use
Ultimately, before implementing and paying for nursery management software, you need to be sure it is safe and secure, as you are dealing with the privacy and security of confidential information. This will involve information about children, their parents, and your members of staff.
In order to ensure the software can provide for your nursery’s needs, it’s important to:
- Chat with staff and parents about the different software packages and platforms
- Ensure parents feel involved and can use the software
- Find a software that is easy to navigate and use
- Ask for demonstrations of the software to see it first-hand
- Ensure you can stop using the software without added fees if it isn’t working for you
Once you have a list of requirements that are essential for you, and you have conducted some initial research, there are 3 categories of elements to consider for when it comes to nursery management software:
- The Basics
- The Useful Added Extras
- Unnecessary Features
Whilst you need your chosen platform to perform and make nursery processes easier, you should avoid too many added extras that aren’t necessary. In fact too much fuctionality could possibly confuse staff, and parents who will be using the platform on a daily basis.
You need to ensure that the software you are considering covers the basics first, then you can compare each software against one another, based on which added extras will be useful for your nursery.
Ultimately, the main purpose of your chosen nursery management software is to make your life easier, and to make the running of your nursery smoother.
Let’s start by taking a look at what we mean by ‘the basics’…
Using a nursery management software should make your processes streamlined and save you time. It should not confuse users and make things more difficult.
That is why it’s important to consider the basics first, which are the core elements of the system that keep you in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) of children’s learning and development.
Arguably, the most important aspect of your job is to facilitate and encourage child development, and this can be recorded and achieved through nursery management software.
Platforms such as Learning Journals allow you to show development overtime through historical tracking, as well as providing the material within your framework to reference easily and digitally.
Using a nursery management software can help to strengthen the line of communication between you and parents at home.
This way parents can get in touch with you easily, and this helps to keep them involved and part of the development process, meaning they don’t miss any milestones. For instance, if their child manages to sit independently for the first time, they don’t want to miss out on this precious moment only because they’re not physically present.
However, with nursery management software, you can bridge this gap by sharing key observations throughout the day.
Nursery management software can also be used to help streamline staff processes, saving your staff time which they can dedicate to the children.
Using software makes it easier for staff to create observations or snap moments rather than filling out paperwork for an observation, or spending a lot of time on a well-presented folder that gets little attention.
Individual Child Logs
Tracking and monitoring the progress of children can be made easier by using a platform such as Learning Journals, as the platform holds all of the relevant information for each individual child.
This could be their progress within certain topics such as literacy and numeracy, or in the form of daily diaries including what each child ate at nursery that day, or if they had a nap.
Whilst nursery management software must prioritise the learning and development of children by facilitating the recording of observations and key milestones, the platform must also be easy to use.
It’s important the layout and navigation is simple, and the software company should provide articles or contact pages to help answer your most burning questions.
At Learning Journals, we have a dedicated page on our website for ‘How To Videos’, which lists a range of clips walking you through any problems you may come across, such as signing in or taking observations.
Transferring the personal data of the children in your care and their parents to an online platform must be done in a cyber secure way, to protect privacy and confidentiality.
Before you consider a management software, it is part of your role to check that the company prioritises information security, and has the relevant certifications.
Another way to know if the software is protected is to check if they require all users to have separate log in’s, as this is a good way to restrict access to only parents and nursery staff with personal login details.
The Useful Added Extras
On top of these basics, nursery management software should offer some extra useful features to help the running of your nursery become even smoother.
For example, this may include extra elements that other platforms don’t, such as adaptable content, or home learning pages, to help further improve your processes and allow you to capture the learning and development of children with ease.
No limit to storage means you can create observations again and again for every key moment of development, without the worry of running out of space for other children.
This means you can capture endless observations for each and every child as they develop in various different areas of learning, therefore parents don’t have to miss a thing.
At Learning Journals you can record an unlimited number of observations so that parents have a complete view of their child’s progress.
Customisable Content and Frameworks
Nursery management software is only useful if it is designed to work alongside the framework or curriculum that you use in your nursery.
Whether that is the EYFS, the Curriculum of Excellence, or any other statutory framework on the list, the software you choose must be right for the education you are providing.
A useful feature of the Learning Journals platform is that we will add new curriculums for you, tailoring the platform to your needs, rather than the other way around.
Home Learning Features
Facilitating learning for children in every environment is particularly important, so children don’t leave nursery with any gaps in their learning.
That is why the link between nursery and home is so important, as it keeps both nursery practitioners and caregivers in the loop.
Providing a section of the platform for parents to record observations or activities that the children have taken part in at home, is a great example of a useful added feature.
Features such as complicated designs, confusing navigation, and huge costs should be avoided when choosing nursery management software.
This is because these features can complicate your processes further rather than keeping things simple, and they end up wasting more of your time.
This is not the goal, as the platform should be making your life easier. So when weighing up different options, refer back to the list of requirements you made earlier and try to avoid features that won’t benefit you, parents or your nursery staff.
Software Separated into Different Applications
Nursery management software contains all of your relevant data and information in one place, so it is easy to access and keep track of.
Therefore, signing up to a platform that splits parental observations, nursery staff records, and historical development tracking into different applications, only complicates the system.
Choosing a software that is split over several applications or sites leads to problems, as staff may enter the same data twice but in different folders, and parents may become confused about where to find the information for their child.
As we have outlined in this post already, sometimes keeping things simple is better.
Having access to endless features isn’t always a positive, as your priority is increasing the quality of support and education provided for the children in your nursery.
In order to avoid confusion, choosing a platform that is simple and not too overcrowded with information and complicated design features, will make navigation easier.
Large Upfront Costs
The priority for all caregivers is of course, the learning and development of children at nursery, so that shouldn’t come at such a steep price upfront.
Large upfront costs can tie you in and make it difficult to leave if you find the platform isn’t working for you.
Here at Learning Journals, we understand that the platform you use for your nursery should be simple in terms of finance too, therefore our monthly fees are low, and everything is included.
This means you can take unlimited observations, store them on the platform, give access to all staff and parents, and receive training in one easy monthly instalment.
However, if paying annually is better suited to your nursery we have that option too. So, either way, you spend less time worrying about finances and more time helping to shape the future of children in your care.
Facilitating the capturing and sharing of observations should be central to any nursery management software.
Therefore, when choosing your platform, keep in mind that staff and parents want to be able to snap and go. They do not want to spend time going through extra steps just to start recording.
This could result in frustration among users as they miss an opportunity to capture an important milestone, such as a child sharing toys, or experiencing their first outdoor water play experiment.
How to Choose the Best Nursery Management Software in the UK
Nursery management software can be a useful tool to help reduce time spent working on admin, to allow for more engagement and play with the children in your care.
Not only can platforms such as Learning Journals help to save you, your staff, and parents time, but they are a great way to store all learning and development data all in one place.
This way, children are provided with a solid support system between home and nursery, as all caregivers can stay up to date on learning progress. At Learning Journals we are proud to say that both parents and nursery staff have found our platform easy to use.
Not only does our platform benefit the users, but also children, as nursery staff and parents can pinpoint gaps in learning and put the necessary steps in place..