Scheduling Management – Unless all children and staff come for the same hours every day, a daycare center can benefit from computerized schedule management system offered in some daycare software programs. Typically this involves entering a schedule for children and staff and allowing you to analyze and report on these schedules. Most daycare software programs allow you to maintain some form of recurring schedule that repeats each week (or sometimes several weeks). In addition, the more sophisticated products allow you to apply these recurring schedules to a calendar which factors in holidays, vacations, temporary schedule changes, etc.
The main benefits of this area are in the ability to better match staffing levels to anticipated child attendance, thereby better managing the greatest expense in every center: payroll. In addition, for those centers whose fees are based on the child’s schedule, the information should also be usable for calculating fees automatically.
Attendance Management can encompass everything from simple attendance sheets that provide an opportunity for parents (or staff) to mark attendance to sophisticated computerized time-clocks that allow parents and staff to clock-in and out on the computer. This technology in daycare software programs might use bar-codes, pin numbers, or even touch screens to allow sign-in. Each technology has its advantages and software that supports a variety of input mechanisms is usually best. Although not cost effective for daycare centers today, soon parents will be identified by fingerprint, voice or other biometrics.
Effective attendance management in daycare software can:
- Increase revenue by ensuring that fees for extra hours, late pickup, etc. are charged.
- Provide accurate information for payroll calculations.
- Enhance the center’s ability to evaluate staffing efficiency.
- Anticipate future staffing needs.
- Support parent communication by displaying messages as part of the check-in process.
- Improve center professionalism.
Access Control – By interfacing the time-clock function to an electronic door strike, some products provide a low-cost mechanism to control access to the daycare facility. In today’s security-conscious world, access control of this nature is appreciated, if not demanded, by cautious parents in daycare software.