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Do bumblebees swim or fly? 

Archive for February 2013

Responsive (phone-friendly) Design, Updated Navigation

Enhancements

  • New responsive layout (scales up and down to browser size, including mobile devices)
  • Updated navigation within location
  • Advanced schedule options (set list of days or times, etc.)

Fixes

  • Fix filtering of application notification emails to only send to admin users subscribed to the location
  • Show CSV report for all users (was being hidden along with reports designed for organizations using schedule options)
  • Security updates (routine maintenance)
  • Remove duplicate payments in Payments report

Real BumbleBees Making News: It’s Electric

Real BumbleBees Making News: It’s Electric

bumblebee-child-care-management-software-newsletter-april-2012-liftoff

Not related to child care management directly but, there was an irresistable piece on news radio this morning about how BumbleBee’s can detect electric fields (sort of like sensing static electricity).

When bees are flying through the air, just the friction of the air and the friction of the body parts on one another causes the bee to become positively charged

Check out the piece on BumbleBees on NPR’s website.

Credit Card Confusion for Child Care Centers

Credit Card Confusion for Child Care Centers
Child Care Centers Accepting Credit Cards

A lot of questions are being raised by child cares about new rules regarding credit card fees.

We have been working with a few of our customers to accept payment cards for application fees via BumbleBee indirectly. We are taking a “slow and steady” approach because of the significant issues involved in these additions. Our clients have been asking us and we have been asking our partners.

There are a lot of questions being asked by all sides: consumers, business owners, banks, technology providers. Changes to recent laws at a U.S. federal level and the ripple affects have for state laws are creating even more questions. From a consumer standpoint, I found this article in my hometown newspaper, The Oregonian, to provide a clear explanation of the recent changes to credit cards and rules regarding surcharges. It does not answer all of the questions a business owner or child care center might have.

Despite this, I think child care center owners, directors and administtrators will find it useful because it has some insights for business owners. The article points out the important fact that Dodd-Frank is having wide-ranging impacts on state laws. So the answer will likely depend on where you live. Definitely check in with your bank or payment gateway provider to see what changes your child care center may need to make if you are taking credit cards.

How are you handling the new rules regarding credit card fee? Are you adding a surcharge, raising fees for everyone or just absorbing the expense?

Early Childhood Education Plans from the President’s SOTU

Early Childhood Education Plans from the President’s SOTU
Source: Meggan Haller for The New York Times

I love this picture. It should win awards.

If you are like me, you are apathetic about watching the president’s state of the union, regardless of the president. I know I should, however, the constant applause, the endless anecdotes and the platitudes just do not interest me.

So it was with surprise and delight that I was accidentally listening to the State of the Union on the radio on the way home from our a Mardi Gras charity auction (it was fun but far tamer than it sounds). The delight part came when I heard the President mentioning investments in preschool and early childhood education.


Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.

Now I am not a trained or experienced educator and I am sure those who are could come up with better and bigger investments we could make in the United States, but I thought that a President making a connection between preschool and strong communities is a pretty big leap.

You can find some of the details here of President Obama’s proposal for early childhood education.

What did you think or feel when you heard President Obama’s proposals for early childhood education?

Be Yours: A Child Care Content Calendar

A friend of mine works for a small organization with an even smaller marketing budget. She was telling me about putting together a content calendar for 2013 for her tiny but powerful team. When she told me about all of her great ideas, I must admit, I thought, “Why would a small organization want a content calendar? Aren’t those just for well-funded, Fortune 500 marketing organizations and not small bootstrapped organizations like child care centers?”

The more she told me about it the more I realized I was wrong. Content calendars are exactly what small organizations with little resources like centers for child care need to be doing. So let’s start making a content calendar for your child care center!

Step 1 – What’s a Content Calendar?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. A plan to produce marketing material around a calendar. You might also have heard of an editorial calendar. The benefit of this to your child care center is your probably send out newsletters, you might tweet, you might put things on your blog, or newsletter.

The content calendar just sets a framework for you to fit your childcare center’s content into. It’s really just a great tool to keep you from procrastinating on marketing activities.

With the content calendar you can stay on the look out for relevant things and then stock them away until the right time. What do I mean, recipes, news articles, healthy tips

Step 2 – Look at Your Child Care Center’s Calendar and Create Some Buckets

Start your clocks because this will take no more than 2 minutes and don’t worry we’ll work through it together. Of course, I am assuming here you already know who your audience is: new families, prospective families, staff, alumni, etc. For this exercise, let’s say you are sending a newsletter to your childcare center’s current families.

  • January: New Years Resolutions for Parenting, Child care re-enrollment
  • February: Valentines Day Crafts and Cards and/or African-American history month
  • March: Spring is Here! Earth Day, Planning for Summer Camps and Family Vacations.
  • April: Safety Month, Gardening
  • May: End of school years in the US, Mothers’ Day
  • June: How ECE Changes Lives
  • July: Government and ECE
  • August: ECE Tech
  • September: ECE History Month, Harvest
  • October: Halloween crafts and the importance of storytelling
  • November: Being Grateful, Thanksgiving Holiday crafts
  • December: Best of and tops lists from the year
  • Congratulations! You just created a content calendar! Now that we have taken a first pass, you may want to go back and think about your child care center’s schedules. How does the content calendar square with your program year, open-houses, etc.

    Step 3 – Tools for Content Calendars

    The best tool is probably going to be your Google Calendar, Outlook calendar, or just a plain, old boring spreadsheet. Take the list we created above, copy it into your spreadsheet or add it to you calendar month by month. A spreadsheet is probably going to work best. Add a couple columns for placeholders. In my content calendar I added a column for the person responsible at the child care center, the format (e.g., child care newsletter) and a notes column (Free content calendar template).

    If you need to get more frequent communications with your audiences, you can. Break each on of the months into weeks and put more details into each on of those.

    Content calendars need not be restrictive. If something timely comes up like flu vaccinations and young children, feel free to override your calendars plan. Try it out and let me know how it works.

    Update: I saw this classroom resource on themes for different months of the year. Take a look and see if it gives you any ideas for building your child cares content calendar

    Please comment on whether you would or if you already use a content calendar.

    More Custom Fields, Location-specific Customizations

    Enhancements

    • Add custom fields to family, parent
    • Add public/parent-facing interest form option
    • Upgrade payments report to filter per location
    • Collapsible (plus/minus signs) statuses per location on new family form
    • Add Location-only user role
    • Location-filter option (special URL) for online applications to only show one location when the organization has several

    Fixes

    • Improve CSV export performance (avoiding request timeout error in some cases)
    • Fix bulk email compose when records are missing some fields

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