About Wonder Years
The Wonder Years Nursery has two branches operating in the centre of Dubai, UAE. They opened their first branch in 2011 with their second opening its doors in 2018. Their ethos stands on the pillars of being inclusive, diverse, and celebrating all students from different backgrounds to support them to be happy, independent learners.
We interviewed Jessica Davies, Operations Manager at Wonder Years, on her experience using Blossom. Read what she had to say about how our nursery management solution helped to better parent communication, improve staff wellbeing, and take both her childcare settings to new heights.
Would you describe a few challenges that your nursery was facing when you first decided to search for nursery software like ours?
We were looking for one platform that had everything we needed under one umbrella. We tried a range of softwares but we realised that what we were using never met all of our needs. With Blossom, we felt that not only were we getting what we needed in terms of the curriculum, and support for our teachers with planning, observations, and recording children’s development, but it also proved very valuable to our management team as they can use it to see an overview of both our branches. We strive to give the same quality of care at both of our settings so having one software that manages both was easy to use and covered all our bases.
How was the implementation process of our product? Did it go smoothly? How easily did the staff adjust?
As with using any new tool there was an adjustment period. Once all our records were transitioned to the platform, it just became so easy to use. We had a lot of help from Blossom to set up the software. They collected all of our students’ details to upload to the platform, which took a big chunk of work off our shoulders as they dealt with an immense amount of data for us. And whenever we had any questions the Blossom team was there.
We also have Blossom on our WhatsApp so they are always readily available should we have any questions that need to be answered. We even had Sam, the CEO of Blossom, come visit us in Dubai. So we had a lot of training and support from the team which really helped us to deliver the software to our practitioners. It also helps that the app is very user friendly. I feel that anyone can just log on to the app, and find their way around easily.
How has the Blossom App helped with managing staff and keeping up their wellbeing? Is there a particular feature that has been valuable?
Gosh there are so many! Blossom definitely helps to reduce our staff’s workload. We previously had everything printed, cut, and then stuck on paper as we were entirely paper based. From our learning journals to hand written observations, so going digital was a big switch. And Blossom really opened up a lot of doors for us.
For example, being able to quickly capture a moment in the classroom and add it to the child’s learning and development is wonderful. And then you can share that with the parent straight away rather than waiting to show them the observations in person – when you found the time to meet face-to-face of course! Blossom has definitely helped with our staff wellness as they’re not taking work home with them anymore. They’re able to spend more time with children in the classroom because they don’t need to print, cut, and stick in all the photos like before.
Also for us as management, we’re able to see an overview of what the children are doing on a day-to-day basis. Thanks to daily diaries, observations and so much more, we can actually see what the staff are doing. Previously we had to go around and check the folders in each classroom which was very time consuming. So now I can log in and see everything. Also with having two branches, I can sit and view what’s happening in both settings without ever leaving my seat. It’s been an amazing change!
Has the Blossom App helped to get parents more engaged? Both while their child is at your nursery and at home?
Definitely. What we’ve noticed with our parents, especially by being in the UAE, is that they all come from different backgrounds. Before I think they didn’t get as involved with their children’s learning. And now with Blossom they get observations and Golden Moments sent instantly to their phone. They can also see how it links to the curriculum and they’re able to question us a bit more on how they can get involved at home.
What’s been valuable is that they can also pick up on areas where they may need more support. We even have parents sending in home observations which is something we’ve never had before! So these features are definitely getting the parents more involved. Previously we sent home a printed book but parents didn’t have time to sit and go through it every night. By having notifications come through directly to their phone while they’re at work, they can see what their child is doing. It really opened up our line of communication with parents.
In what ways has Blossom helped to maintain and grow your childcare business? Do you find that using Blossom has given your nursery business a competitive advantage?
In the city of Dubai we have many competitors. We have over 80 nurseries in just one city! So Blossom is a big selling point for us when we do our tours. With the parents, we go through what we can provide and we highlight that, thanks to Blossom, you can see your child’s development directly through your phone. For us it gives us a big advantage. They can see the general news updates, observations, diaries. And parents love to talk and compare! So Blossom has generated positive word-of-mouth marketing for us. It’s nice to know that our nursery is able to provide all this information and communication.
What teams/departments within your company use our product? What types of goals or tasks do you accomplish with our software?
It’s our go-to tool. It’s on everybody’s computer and iPad. We use Blossom for our admins and teaching staff. Our admins use it during registrations to add all the children’s information. Our teachers use it for the curriculum, planning, observations, and assessments. Our nurse uses it to report any accidents and incidents. And of course our leadership and management team use it all the time to oversee how both nurseries are getting on.
What is the feature or part of our product you or your team use most frequently? Why?
Each department will highlight a different feature as their favourite. For our teaching staff it would definitely be the digital diary. That’s used every day as it’s so important for the parents to see those updates. As part of the leadership and management team, I use the news feature all the time. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve had limited face-to-face communication with parents. I use this feature to send out as much information as possible especially if there are pandemic updates. Whether it’s newsletters or general updates I find this feature very valuable!
Are there any specific metrics or KPIs you track with our software? What are they?
I track the children overall to ensure that each and every one of them is getting the same attention and level of care across our two settings in relation to their observations and assessments. I use that to track on a monthly basis to ensure the staff are getting the relevant information regularly for each child.
Were you able to make any improvements to your business thanks to Blossom?
We didn’t want to bring in a software if it didn’t benefit our parents and staff. So we conducted many surveys to get parent and staff feedback when we first joined Blossom. And from the beginning of when we started using Blossom to now, we can see a huge difference in their feedback. Remember that nobody likes change, so in the beginning some parents may have said “I prefer the old software” or “I’m not too sure how to use this one” but doing these surveys now we don’t get any messages other than “Thank you so much for these updates!” and ‘We love this App!”