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Sizing-up Child Care Waiting Lists

Minimizing Waiting list Anxiety

We have been talking to parents, teachers and child care center managers about waitlistsBumbleBee Paper Cutout these past months. The top thing we learned is that waiting lists are stressful for parents, teachers and care center managers. Compounding the problem, managers and teachers have to juggle “age-outs”, transitions, and attrition. Multiply this by numbers of classes, time-slots, after school care, etc., and you have an equation that would make your high-school algebra teacher’s head spin.

Experienced daycare managers take wait-lists seriously. They keep logs, organize binders and build sophisticated spreadsheets to manage waitlists and age group transitions for potential and current students. It’s amazing how many of the directors we spoke with gracefully juggle the ages and maturity of dozens of students in multiple classes without picking up a pencil. Most can say precisely when they will have a spot available for a new child. (One director we talked to with over 20 years experience said she puzzles it out on the commute home, in her head!)

Nurturing Relationships Not Databases

Much of the software available today for assisting child care managers are very good at what they are designed to do: manage invoicing and billing of tuition. Today there is only token support for managing waiting lists in products that are focused on providing accounting databases. This is also why so many people resort to building their own mission-control-like, complex spreadsheets and wooly mammoth-size binders for managing wait-lists. “Houston we may have a problem…”

We think there needs to be more focus on helping teachers and directors manage and predict the operations side of their learning centers as demand for high quality child care continues, including waitlist management. We believe there is a large opportunity to assist day-care and education centers in providing quality child care.

Please comment freely with your thoughts on day-care waiting lists!

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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.

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