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Archive for July 2012

Graduation!

Graduation!
2008-01-08 David Michael Morris via Flikr Mortar Board The Hat Toss 250px wide

“The Hat Toss” by David Michael Morris via Flikr 2008-01-08

This summer is a time of milestones and transitions. My daughter Elise is graduating from Pre-school, and starts Kindergarden in the fall. She has spent about four and a half years in the same childcare center, from when she was an infant who could not so much as crawl, growing up to a big beautiful girl who is starting to read and write.

I am grateful to have had a place for her to grow and learn. The experience has provided many wonderful enrichment opportunities: visiting the fire station, watching the circus animal parade, visiting museums, the zoo, the aquarium, and many many trips to the library. While the experience in school has been great, the experience of getting in was extremely stressful.

Elise was our first. Finding quality care is always important, but with the first child, you feel the full weight of it. We were new to the parenting thing. Having heard horror stories about long waiting lists, we got on a list as soon as my wife was pregnant. Once we sorted out the financial stress of planning 6 months maternity leave, got used to the daily stress of caring for a newborn, and learned how to assemble and disassemble a pack-n-play in under 18 seconds, we still were unsure about the availability of care.

At the 4 month mark, then 5 month mark, we still had no information on when a slot would open up. We called all the time, and stopped by some. As two new parents, we were worried about who we can entrust our child to, worried about impacts to our careers of parental leave, and worried about being able to afford possible alternative care or further extended leave. We had little information, but lots of hope.

Fortunately, our situation turned out great. We did have to find a month of gap care with a wonderful neighbor who was both temporarily out of work and had a childcare background. However, the stress of that time stuck with me, and led to the founding of BumbleBee. Later, I learned that the process can be challenging for overworked childcare administrators as well.

We want to give the tools to childcare centers to help them build better relationships with parents over the entire lifecycle of care, particularly when searching for care. We want to make sure that childcare centers can do a great job of managing family information, whether it is someone just interested in your center, an applicant on the waitlist, or an enrolled family.

When a stressed out parent calls your center, I want you to be able to have the information at your fingertips to provide a professional and accurate response to their crazy, frequent questions. That is what we hope that BumbleBee will do for you.

Paper Tiger Safari

Paper Tiger Safari

One of the most rewarding parts of being associated with educators and care providers is that we sometimes get to visit clients on-site. It’s really great for a number of reasons. (1) we get to meet our customers face-to-face, (2) we get to see the fun places they have built to nurture children, (3) we can take snapshots of all the paper they use to manage their centers.

We don’t always remember to ask, but when we do, it always sparks a fun conversation where we talk about how BumbleBee Childcare Software can simplify and speed things up. Below are some of our favorites and they are representative of the many different filing systems that people use.

Child Care Enrollment Registration Applications Management

This montessori had a very tidy system for moving things from interest, to waiting list, to enrollment. But this one site was shuffling a lot of paper with approximately 10 applications per week.

Inbox Piles of Paper Child Care Administrative Nightmare

At this site, there was a getting things done approach with inboxes where applications would land before they would be more permanently filed.

Child Care Application Management with Sticky Notes and Binders

This one was pretty straightforward first-first-out binder approach, what struck us was the extensive use of sticky notes to organize follow-ups (e.g., phone calls, offer extended, calls to check on status). We introduced family notes to address this need. Now directors have one place to keep all notes records right next to the family record. Also, this is a multi-site organization, and this is their waiting list file for just one of their sites.

Paper Enrollment Processes Child Care

This locations was showing me how they figure out and tally up all of their openings. They have full-week as well as part-week children, so when someone calls to ask for an opening, they spread these out on the desk and manually find openings. We solved that in BumbleBee by providing you with dynamic tables that work just like it would if you built beuatiful custom spreadsheets.

Replace Paper with Online Applications and Registration

This client had to move from multiple binders, to one large file drawer. They have an extensive waitlist with sophisticated system for setting priorities. We take care of priorities automagically, so you don’t have to start taking class in library science to manage childcare enrollment.

Child Care Waiting List First In First Out

This one falls into simpler is better and would probably be what my waiting list system would be if I had the right stuff to be a childcare director. Admittedly, it is not fancy, but could get the job done if you had a small waiting list or needed a holding pool until you moved to a spreadsheet. Of course, we can keep everything organized for you so you don’t have to type all of those applications into BumbleBee.

Goodbye Paper Enrollment Applications Shredding BumbleBee Childcare Administrative Software

And I saved the best for last. It is a BumbleBee client throwing their giant pile of paper applications in the shredding bin!

It’s never too late for you to send us your shots. If you want to show off your system, please send them along to jeff@bumblebeehq.com

Webinar Materials

Webinar Materials

In preparation for the webinar, we found some great tools already available for child care owners and administrators. Where we did not find simple ones, we created our own. Please enjoy and let us know if you find errors so we can fix them for others.

A huge thanks and big hugs to Fran at Early Childhood Investigations for hosting the event.

Child Care Enrollment “Bowtie” Stages
Childcare interest log spreadsheet download

Family Profiles and Segmentation
Map zipcode boundaries
Family profile Excel template download

Marketing Over the Telephone
Child care telephone interest message sticky notes printable at Vista Print

Child Care Marketing and Demand Gen.
Using BCC blog how-to and video

Child care tuition pricing
Serious cost/break even spreadhsheet here
Competitive Child care tuition pricing example

Thanks!

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