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Center management software

  • 1.  Center management software

    Posted 17 days ago
    Hi, I am researching a software program which can bring our Center into the digital age. After having to introduce my staff " quickly"  in using  "ZOOM" classes for summer  and connect them to the digital world for virtual resources, it has become clear that we can no longer depend on " face-face experiences. I feel like we have been in the stone age and now I feel compelled to expand how we engage with our children and families- from parent education to teacher educational updates- online workshops for getting those essential clock hours for licensing requirements. We are small, only 36 capacity, and I didn't feel we needed to  change. What is anyone using or are you still doing it yourself, manually?

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    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
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  • 2.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago
    When I served as a Center Director, I used Procare. It is an electronic database with information that includes information about the families, children and staff enrolled in the Center. I also used it to manage the Waiting List. I was able to get most of the information I needed to enroll children in the Center, during the initial call asking about a space in one of our programs. For those families who eventually enrolled in the Center, it was easy to move them from the Waiting List to the active status. Most forms needed to operate the Center could be created in 5 minutes or less. For example, weekly sign in and sign out sheets for each classroom.

    You can purchase Procare today where all your information is housed in the "cloud". The  allows you to access the information wherever you are. I find the major challenge with Procare is that it can only be used with a PC and not a Mac computer.

    There is also EZCare Management and Brightwheel.

    I suggest leaders of ECE businesses first write down the reasons they want an electronic management system and what they want included in the system and then go shopping for the management system that most closely matches what they identified they need.

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    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
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  • 3.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you Robert,
    Your information helps. I have  looked into both Bright wheel and Procare. Both give you similar components  and cost appear similar. I have to have one differentiate themselves from the other. My administrator requires three bids, so one has to be "better " for our small Center than the rest. I also am looking into hiMama.The " personal " touch is important to me. don't sell me something and disappear, which can be typical for large groups. In your experience what was the support given throughout the time you had them, and was it teacher-friendly. Our staff is a little older and not so "savvy" with change.

    ------------------------------
    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
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  • 4.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago

    I'll weigh in! 


    We were using Kinderlime which just had a merger with Procare in May 2020 and our experience with both Kinderlime and Procare has been amazing. When we had originally began looking a couple years ago and came across Kinderlime, we asked for a demo and the CEO called us, walked us through everything and we were sold. Since then, he has maintained a professional relationship with us and when the merger with Procare was going on, he had introduced us to members on the Procare team and we had phone calls with them about our needs and they asked us what features we'd like to see. They are very open to helping you, collaborating with you and keeping in touch with you! Couldn't be happier with the program. 



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    Sara Fox
    Assistant Director
    CrossRoads Children's Center
    Simi Valley CA
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  • 5.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you Sara,
    I am familiar with Procare , but not Kindertime.. Looks like there was that ongoing communication that I would want. I want just one program, not three.
    Jinaki

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    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Good morning Jinaki,

    Thank you very much for your kind response to my response to your message about Center Management Systems. I have been in the field of ECE for over 40 years. I believe high quality ECE businesses should consider positioning themselves for growth. I think Procare offer the opportunity to use it to grow the organization. The policy to get three bids is one I always followed as it puts you in the best position to negotiate the best deal with potential vendors.

    I think what matters the most is you and the staff in your business who will be using the system come to consensus about what you believe is the purpose for having an electronic CMS, what you want included in the system. what training and professional development needed to implement the system to get the maximum benefits from it. Then, you are in the position to select the one that matches the responses to these items. Of course, knowing how much is in your current Operating Budget for this expense, to purchase and maintain is very important.

    I find we a living in a global, technological society. Technology is an essential tool to operate a vibrant ECE business. It increases the efficiency of the business practices required to have a financially strong business, allowI s for the storage or important records without using physical space and is cost effective. Time is money and the ability to operate the business efficiently saves money that can be used to continuously improve the programs and services offered to the children, families and your staff which to me is at the core of the "why" you are in business.

    I started my career as an ECE practitioner when computers were nonexistent. As a lifelong learner, I love the challenge to learn and master the use of technological tools. I think attitude is more important that someone's age. If your experienced staff are lifelong learners and your provide them with the resources and support they need to use whatever CMS you choose, I know they will succeed and your business will be stronger and more efficient.

    Happy to support you as much as possible. You are welcome to contact me at rgundling@betterfuturesdc.com.

    I wish you and your colleagues much success in the future.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
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  • 7.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hello Robert,
    Thank you for your feedback.and I will contact you directly.

    ------------------------------
    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
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  • 8.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Does any one knows prices for Procare software. I heard is extremely expensive

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    Martha Gonzalez
    Director
    Multicultural Center Inc.
    Rantoul IL
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  • 9.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago

    We are using three different tools that complete each other to address all our needs:
    - TADS for tuition management, enrollment, financial aide, students and families database. Possibilies are endless to create custom lists, labels etc
    - BLOOMZ app to communicate with families and staff. You create classrooms or groups with students, invite parents to join their child's class. Teachers can communicate daily with their families and share pictures, posts or communicate privately with a family. The admin can also post for all families or target choosen groups/classes. With 20 + years of experience this is the best and intuitive tools i ever found. 

    - CHILDCARE CRM : this is our marketing tool. 

    I will be happy to share more details. 



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    Veronique Liebmann
    Minnetonka MN
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  • 10.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi Veronique,
     Thank you for your feedback.  I have not heard of any of thee software programs. I do want to utilize one all- encompassing , ie. family engagement, newsletter, administrative news and alerts, especially during inclement weather closing. How has any of thee tools been effective during this pandemic?

    ------------------------------
    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    I have been with Kinderlime for 3 years and just recently experienced the merger with Procare. The management system allows us to communicate with parents instantly, send messages, videos, pictures, newsletters, billings statements, etc. You name it; they got it. You can also create and save lesson plans and enrollment forms. The options are endless and everyone else who has commented regarding Procare is spot on. I have had several presentations from similar competitors. A couple of things for me that stood out were the cost and the sign-in and -out process. Before the merger, we were charged a couple of bucks per child per month or yearly with a discount. Not sure what it is after the merger with Procare. However, the competitors charged a set fee per classroom which made it way more expensive. Currently our parents are able to sign -in and -out multiple kids at once, which is awesome. Some competitors' systems are a little more time consuming if you are signing in more than one child. Pretty much all the other features were the same.

    Procare is also always enhancing their product based on feedback or the changing of the times. Just recently they added multiple contactless sign -in and -out options due to the pandemic such as: qr codes and instant sign -in and -out when you are close to the building. They are always creating tutorial videos regarding every aspect of the product and someone is always available to help you either through the instant chat feature, phone or email.

    It is a great product to look into and worth your time! Hope this helps.

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    Shante Smedley
    Owner
    Museum Kids Academy, LLC
    Promise Kids Learning Academy
    Houston TX
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  • 12.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Shante,
    Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate the information to weigh my options. I am going to investigate their features and I have alot to go by, thanks to you and all who gave me real life experiences. It is much better  to make decisions based on what others have gone through and my needs for the year. With COVID-19 having a software that can address the changing requirements I am faced with  from may angles can be overwhelming. If I have a software that can respond to my needs, i.e., parents, teachers, state standards and others is really important to all of our stakeholders, administrators and Department heads, I will be a little ahead of the game. Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Jinaki,

    We use Procare for our centers serving around 400 children. It was the overall best solution that we found.

    There are significant drawbacks- Procare as a company is not innovative at all. Remember, you are dealing with sales people. Nothing against sales people- they are doing their job to sell you the software and related monthly charges. In the past few years there have been zero value additions to the program. Everything is an add-on and very expensive. Instead of developing proprietary parent communication functionality, they bought a company to do it. Instead of providing that for free along with the software that cost thousands of dollars up front and hundreds per month, they wanted several hundred dollars more per month for centers our size when there are free alternatives. The email options included with the base system are functional at best. We use mail chimp for our email database, management, and creation.

    Perhaps, the biggest frustration is that it only works on windows devices. If you intend to use the check-in features at the front door, that's easy with one windows device. That doesn't work for us so we would have needed a new device for every classroom. On top of that, Windows devices are far behind Apple with regards to photos and video which parents want to see.

    Finally, with Procare you are forced to use their merchant services. On a positive, they get you the money very quickly compared to other providers. On a negative, they are very expensive and could significantly eat into your profits on an ongoing basis if you don't negotiate with them on price of merchant services. Beware.

    With all of that said, Procare is the best option we found for the 95%+ of the activities that we need it to do- billing, enrollments, account management. It is user-friendly and thorough for center financial management.

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    Scott Bohnert
    Indianapolis IN
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  • 14.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 14 days ago
    I am writing to respond to several of the comments made about Procare not operating on a Mac/Apple devices. While that was true for the old version of downloaded software, the updated, cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) version is fully compatible with all operating systems. In fact, Procare recently acquired several newer CCMS systems which were cloud-based, and they are in the process of integrating the newest and best features of these systems into their cloud-based version, Procare Connect.

    Some individuals may feel that they don't want to pay a monthly subscription fee for a software system because it's too expensive. However, programs that fully utilize technology tools to perform tasks like time/attendance tracking for children and staff, billing and collections, and enrollment and waitlist management -- will not only see improved collections and enrollment -- but will save money by not having to pay a staff person to perform those functions manually.

    There is simply no question that business automation tools will help ECE programs operate stronger and more stable businesses -- and in this time of even greater pressure on the sector -- the use of child care management systems is most urgent.

    As a member of Opportunities Exchange's consulting team, I have spent a great deal of time learning about software options and their impact on ECE programs -- and would be happy share any and all resources.

    ------------------------------
    Sharon Easterling
    Chester VT
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  • 15.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Sharon,

    It's interesting that you say that. Despite asking for that feature many times, Procare reps have always told me it isn't available although they are considering it. Here is a link to Procare's sytem requirements. As far as I am aware, Cloud still requires Windows.It states that Procare and the check-in screen must be run on a Windows computer or tablet.

    They do show that there are now apps available that can be used on other devices. That is news to me so I appreciate you bringing that up. I can't find what apps are available though so will need to log in and figure it out. Hopefully there's one for meal tracker. That would be fantastic as we want to use that but buying windows tablets for every room to track meals is expensive.

    You'd think Procare would have made some major announcements about these changes.

    https://procaresupport.com/procare-with-a-tablet-or-handheld-device/


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    Scott Bohnert
    Indianapolis IN
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  • 16.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 13 days ago
    Does anyone have feedback on SmartCare as a management tool? I heard that they have a new touches app for families to use at drop off and pick up times.
    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Andrea Sampson
    Director
    Rose Tree Day School
    Brookhaven PA
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  • 17.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    I agree with the recommendation of ProCare.  I have Directed programs of 80-100 children with 20-30 staff for 13+ years and ProCare has been awesome to work with.  Their support is outstanding and they are always on top of our changing needs, including those which are state by state.  Just look in Resources and see the Report add-ons they have to offer.  You also have the ability to create almost any report you need within the system.  They have on-demand webinars available when you are or you can sign up for a live webinar; many answers are also on YouTube also -- (what isn't these days?) and their support staff is always standing by to answer your questions or find the answer if they don't have it at their fingertips.  ProCare is broken into modules -- so you only purchase what you need and seats (the number of computers which will be using the system at any one time).  We are located in Germantown, MD,  since you are only about an hour away, if you would like to see our system, just give us a call.

    ------------------------------
    Marcia Tivoli
    Director
    PVA Academy & Daycare
    Germantown MD
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Our center has been using PROCARE for many years - until we started using Mac - and sadly their software is not compatible. Just for info for Mac users...

    ------------------------------
    Veronique Liebmann
    Minnetonka MN
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  • 19.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 15 days ago
    Tank you Veronique and Marcia. I am grateful for the information  and it is always good to connect with those in the industry that knows about the challenges and how to improve a system whose time has come. Marcia, if I can call or email off the discussion board I would appreciate it..

    ------------------------------
    Jinaki Kambui
    Director
    Clarence Blount CDC
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 14 days ago

    Hello, I literally just joined the "Hello" community and I want to thank you for the question about daycare management software and the detailed responses. I have already contacted one of the companies you recommended.

     

    William Lucas

    First Chronicles Daycare

    Durham, North Carolina

     

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

     



  • 21.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 14 days ago
    I am with you on this.  These times have forced me to do what I have said I am going to do for a while.  I need a center management software as well, but don't need all of the features.  We are a part time program so we don't need to log meals and naps.  I just did a demo with HiMama and liked them very much.  I will get 3 bids - probably Procare and Brightwheel as well.  I have some teachers that are going to be very leery about going digital but it definitely is time.

    ------------------------------
    Cynthia Chavez
    Director
    Riviera Day School
    St Petersburg FL
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  • 22.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 13 days ago
    We're very happy with Remini (Remini.me). They added our COVID questionnaire for us

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    Sheri Brown
    Director
    Tikvat Israel ECC
    Rockville MD
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  • 23.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 13 days ago
    For those who want to get a high-level overview of various systems - and read reviews from users, check out this website:

    https://www.capterra.com/child-care-software/

    Capterra is a website that inventories technology solutions for various sectors - and you can search for child care management software. The site has information about 164 different products, and then you can add filters to narrow your search, and set up side-by-side comparisons for up to 4 products at a time.

    I have been focusing on collecting information about CCMS systems for the past two years through my affiliation with Opportunities Exchange, and am happy to share resources on this topic to those who want to reach out privately.


    ------------------------------
    Sharon Easterling
    Chester VT
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  • 24.  RE: Center management software

    Posted 13 days ago
    We just started using Brightwheel and we absolutely love it!  They have a touch free check in with a QR code, our parents love this!  Also, they have messaging where we can add photos, videos, updates on health check, meals, naps, potty, kudos etc.  We were using EZCare, and while it's a good program, it had so many features that we didn't use, it is more for studios or extra curricular classes, and was missing the items that I just mentioned about Brightwheel.  We haven't started using the billing system just yet, but they have that too!  One of my favorite things about Brightwheel is that they have offered information, webinars and Zoom chats with fellow administrators during the last few months that have helped us tremendously!  Their support and outreach during this Covid-19 era has been amazing!  Their staff is all very nice and helpful too!  I feel this was the right time for our center to make the move to Brightwheel since we need to keep communication with our parents going even though they aren't allowed inside our center. **I'm not a paid advertiser for Brightwheel, just a happy customer!  And the Administrators I communicate on our "Zoom Chats" all feel the same way as I do!  Good luck!

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    Christina Moreno
    Director/Owner
    Home Sweet Home Preschool
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------