Nursery software is one of the most effective methods to increase parental engagement, reduce administrative strain and maximise the profitability of your childcare setting. The growth of the use of digital communication methods for parents has been significant post-national lockdowns. With systems for two-way communications, nursery bookings and bill management being commonplace in early years settings, it’s becoming clear that software isn’t a craze- it’s the future.
And with the rise of the use of digital platforms comes confusion and myths about nursery software. In this article, we explore the top 9 myths you may have heard, and set the record straight on what you can expect when introducing or swapping your nursery software.
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Top 9 myths about nursery software
Nursery software is quite arguably the most essential tool for your business or setting to reach its maximum potential and profitability. There are so many parts of, and people in, your nursery business that are positively impacted by choosing to use a nursery software.
Mainly, it takes away the cumbersome administrative tasks that each member of an early years team has to complete, from observations to invoicing. As there are so many software companies, each with different features, processes and systems, it can be easy to confuse what facts about nursery software are true, and which are myths and hearsay.
1. Myth: your setting doesn’t need nursery software
This first myth is a biggie. Some settings can see nursery software as a luxury, continuing to use paper-based communication and management methods. Which may be functional but most-likely won’t be as effective as digital management methods. Reluctance to change any working methods can lead to stagnation and hinder the profitability of a setting. It is important to look at the current processes and systems, and evaluate how they can be improved. After all, isn’t that how progress is made?
Some childcare provisions may think they are too small to warrant needing nursery software, questioning the expense in comparison to the impact it will have on their daily processes. Even the simplest tasks take time; filling in and sending invoices, chasing up payments and booking information take hours of staff time. Nursery managers are constantly evaluating how staff time is best spent according to the value and skills provided. So why not give your team the most efficient administrative methods possible to give them more time to spend in the nursery rooms themselves?
2. Myth: you must be tech-savvy to use nursery software
Some nursery managers may be nervous about making a move towards using software, worried the level of technological understanding will be beyond their team’s current skills. The bottom line is that good nursery software has advanced features that help you manage your setting- yet remains easy to use for all levels of tech confidence.
It should be a pleasure to use for the generation Zers and Boomers on your staff alike! This is where choosing a package that is right for you comes into play. You might not need every feature under the sun (or at least at the beginning), so take some time to research which software will be a true support to your team.
3. Myth: your data isn’t secure using online nursery software
There’s another myth that online systems are more vulnerable to data leaks, and less secure for payment information and customer details. When, in actual fact, the majority of nursery software implements the highest levels of digital security.
For example, Blossom’s security team works with AWS (Amazon Web Services) actively protecting data and privacy at all times. All data is stored on secure servers and back-ups are made in real-time. Plus TSL technology is used to ensure there is a secure connection so only you can view your Early Years setting information. And all of your passwords are encrypted to ensure protection over your data as well.
And it’s no secret that using manual and paper-based methods make room for human error within a nursery. From incorrect information on invoices, to leaving child information outdated on paper files, and more. And with Blossom, private details and information is even further protected by allowing only authorised devices and staff members to access this sensitive information. It’s in the control of the manager who has access to what- and when! View Blossom’s child protection policy for more details on privacy and protection.
4. Myth: nursery software is too expensive for my small setting
One of the most common myths about nursery software is that small settings will struggle to justify the expense of quality software. Beginning at around £99 a month, software can revolutionise the way you run your childcare setting for less than a pack of sleep mats.
It is helpful to choose a software bundle that can be tailored to meet your budget while prioritising features that will be essential to your unique business. Evaluate the time you and your team spend on administrative tasks using your current methods. You may be surprised to find out that the hourly rate spent during this time could be more expensive than new software! Not to mention that it will help drain less energy from your staff by speeding up their admin.
5. Myth: the change over to a new system is too much hassle
You may think that the move from one software provider to another is a hassle. But this comes down to choosing a provider where they help make the switch quick and stress-free for you and your team. Choose a platform where you can move over the aspects of your software when it is convenient for you. And make sure that your chosen provider offers excellent, human support. As having a reliable customer support agent will be integral to a smooth transition.
6. Myth: you will be tied into lengthy contracts
Some nursery software ties you into lengthy fixed-contracts, limiting the flexibility most childcare settings need to manage their provisions effectively. With the unprecedented times we have experienced over the past two years, it is easy to see how inflexible contracts can not easily fit the needs of a setting.
Explore software providers that offer packages that don’t rely on lengthy contracts, giving your nursery the freedom to add, remove and alter your packages as you see fit. Blossom is available on a monthly rolling contract, with the ability to create a bespoke package that will be truly helpful to your unique setting.
7. Myth: customer support is just during set-up
Customer support is essential when familiarising your early years’ team with the new software. When choosing your software provider, research their customer service offered. Check out what people are saying about them on Facebook, Google, and more. This is where you’ll get advice from people with first hand experience using the product you’re considering for your team.
Ask yourself: does the support become inaccessible post-signup? Many providers claim to offer top-notch customer support, but ensure that this is actually true. You don’t want to be stuck in lengthy queues, and dealing with bots. Therefore, it’s worth choosing a provider that will continue offering free, human support and guidance throughout your journey. Especially as new features and updates are released!
8. Myth: using software takes away time spent with the children
We know Ofsted want to see that early years practitioners’ main priority is spending quality time with the children. But they also expect the children’s progress to be monitored and tracked. When using paper-based methods, it can take a lot of time for practitioners to fill in hand-written update forms for the parents.
This can result in practitioners missing important golden moments during the day due to ineffective recording methods. Or taking home piles of paperwork for them to complete at home, and coming in less-rested the next day than they should be. And maybe even less motivated due to having to work in their personal time!
Quality nursery software allows practitioners to add child observations within seconds, reducing the end-of-day task list for practitioners and increasing purposeful parental engagement. By being able to snap a picture and save it online to the relevant child’s education journey, this records evidence – without having to waste time printing, cutting and sticking hard copies in a paper journal.
And not only does nursery software help free up more time to spend with the children, it helps to make that time even more meaningful. For example with Blossom’s child profile, parents and staff can update the child’s likes and dislikes at any time. So practitioners and key workers know exactly how to engage with the child and explore their interests because that information is simply a click away.
9. Myth: new feature updates are only for new customers
As with some mobile phone contracts, only new customers get excellent deals and features. It is often thought that this is the same with nursery software providers. With Blossom, every customer gets access to all features at all times- previous and new. You’ll receive notification on how to use new features- plus the benefits and how to get the most from them.
If you would like to, sometimes you can even sign up to beta test a new feature. Giving you the very first taste of a new release, and also the forum to add your opinions to make it even better for your business!