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Sandbox 07:40 AM 12-14-2010
Hi all, we've been meeting with several centers in order to determine how the daycare management software we're developing should work. Some more important questions came up that we're hoping you all can help with again.

1. Do parents sign a contract when they enroll their child? And if so for what amount of time?

2. When do children graduate to the next age group? (i.e. infant to toddler, toddler to jk, jk to sk etc.) Based on school year or strictly age?

Thanks everyone!
Jeff
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Blackcat31 07:47 AM 12-14-2010
Originally Posted by Sandbox:
Hi all, we've been meeting with several centers in order to determine how the daycare management software we're developing should work. Some more important questions came up that we're hoping you all can help with again.
1. Do parents sign a contract when they enroll their child? And if so for what amount of time? My contracts are for one year. Not for each family but for one calnedar year. For example new contracts come out in Jan. If you start in September, you will do a new contract again in Jan of each year. Sometimes individual changes do happen due to individual circumstances but for the most part new contracts and any changes happen in Jan of each year.

2. When do children graduate to the next age group? (i.e. infant to toddler, toddler to jk, jk to sk etc.) Based on school year or strictly age?For me infant is birth to 12 months
Toddler is 12 months to 2 years
Preschool is 2 years to Kindergarten
School age is 4 months PRIOR to beginning Kindergarten
(Kindergarten is age 5 on or before September 4th even if they don't attend school, they are still considered school age 4 months prior to being legally allowed to enter Kindergarten) For ex if a child turns 5 on August 1st, he would legally be allowed to attend school in the upcoming fall and I can count him as a school age child in May.

Thanks everyone!
Jeff[/QUOTE

(My answers are after the highlighted/bolded question)
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Abigail 09:47 PM 12-14-2010
1. Do parents sign a contract when they enroll their child? And if so for what amount of time?
Yes, everyone signs a contract including drop-ins. The contract doesn't have an official expiration date, but can be renewed anytime throughout the year and even more than once a year if needed. Example: Parents switch to full time or part time status or change their hours. Then a few months later their is a rate increase. The contract states they will have two weeks notice before a new contract will take place.

2. When do children graduate to the next age group? (i.e. infant to toddler, toddler to jk, jk to sk etc.) Based on school year or strictly age?
I don't go by age groups because my rates are the same straight across the board. I don't want a pay cut just because the baby becomes a toddler. Infants in our family homes are ages 6 weeks through 23 months. When they turn 2 they are considered a toddler. I can't remember the rest without looking.
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Sandbox 12:44 PM 12-15-2010
Thank you, some more puzzle pieces just fit together

We're trying to think of a way to help you with managing your enrollment. We've found that most daycares find it very challenging to manage enrollment schedules.

IE. When are children graduating to another class, when should I plug someone in from the waiting list, should I hold this child back for two more months, or bump them early... We're trying to make this task easy as pie through software... a bit of a complicated pie, but pie none the less

Do you think there's a need in the home daycare business for good software?
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Blackcat31 12:52 PM 12-15-2010
I need some type of form that shows the time slots of a day and where I am able to enter each child according to their schedule and see a day or week at a glance so I know when schedules overlap or when I may need to have a second adult present or hours that may just not be available like a spreadsheet maybe? I just seem to have a lot of varied shifts and I need to know who is reserving what space and for how many days per week etc. Does that make sense? For Example;

Child A comes M-F from 8-3
Child B comes M,W,F from 8-3
Child C comes T,R 3-5
Child D comes M-F 1-5

So child B and C could share a space and child A and D will overlap for only 2 hours .......etc

sort of like that line of thinking....kwim?
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Sandbox 12:56 PM 12-17-2010
That makes a lot of sense. The challenge of scheduling children into classes seems to be something that most of the centers we've spoken to are having trouble with.

We think we'll be able to make the scheduling of children much easier. Should we actually post some of the screenshots on this forum once we've developed them?
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Blackcat31 01:46 PM 12-17-2010
Originally Posted by Sandbox:
That makes a lot of sense. The challenge of scheduling children into classes seems to be something that most of the centers we've spoken to are having trouble with.

We think we'll be able to make the scheduling of children much easier. Should we actually post some of the screenshots on this forum once we've developed them?
Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see them....I spend a big chunk of time making my own forms because any of the pre-made ones are just not what I am looking for. I either have to alter them or make my own. Software that is useable for many different types of daycares would be great....also the ability to customize is a priority for me...I would be super interested if someone would come up with something like that. So many different daycares, centers, preschools etc bill by the hour, the day or the week and it gets tough trying to keep it all together. Software designed FOR childcares has me interested.....
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Abigail 01:50 PM 12-17-2010
Sure, we'd love to see the screen shots. I don't think many of us work in centers to relate to the transitions to different rooms though.

Blackcat: One thing you could do visually to help you figure out who is where is this. Take a computer piece of paper. On the left hand column write all the hours you are open. Example: if you are open from 7 am to 6 pm, you need to have one row for each hour in the day. (You may wish to break this down to half hour increments if you have many kids switching at half past the hour marks). Then, across the top creating five columns for Monday through Friday. Finally, get those colored small round stickers that are mostly used for rummage sale pricing except they're just blank. Designate one color per child and write their name on it and put one on every hour of each day they're in your care. You may wish to use difference colored markers and just use their initials or first letter of their name. Then you can see visually when everyone is present and what hours you have less kids on certain days. You can also use a white dry erase board and just write it out too!
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dEHmom 01:57 PM 12-17-2010
Originally Posted by Abigail:
Sure, we'd love to see the screen shots. I don't think many of us work in centers to relate to the transitions to different rooms though.

Blackcat: One thing you could do visually to help you figure out who is where is this. Take a computer piece of paper. On the left hand column write all the hours you are open. Example: if you are open from 7 am to 6 pm, you need to have one row for each hour in the day. (You may wish to break this down to half hour increments if you have many kids switching at half past the hour marks). Then, across the top creating five columns for Monday through Friday. Finally, get those colored small round stickers that are mostly used for rummage sale pricing except they're just blank. Designate one color per child and write their name on it and put one on every hour of each day they're in your care. You may wish to use difference colored markers and just use their initials or first letter of their name. Then you can see visually when everyone is present and what hours you have less kids on certain days. You can also use a white dry erase board and just write it out too!
Those are great ideas Abigail!
To be honest, I don't have too many overlapping issues since I started my daycare, but one day I might run into this as a problem. And I know that I just use an agenda book to keep track of my days, but find that it wouldn't be very helpful in a situation of such. Will definitely adopt this technique should it be needed.
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Blackcat31 02:07 PM 12-17-2010
Originally Posted by Abigail:
Sure, we'd love to see the screen shots. I don't think many of us work in centers to relate to the transitions to different rooms though.

Blackcat: One thing you could do visually to help you figure out who is where is this. Take a computer piece of paper. On the left hand column write all the hours you are open. Example: if you are open from 7 am to 6 pm, you need to have one row for each hour in the day. (You may wish to break this down to half hour increments if you have many kids switching at half past the hour marks). Then, across the top creating five columns for Monday through Friday. Finally, get those colored small round stickers that are mostly used for rummage sale pricing except they're just blank. Designate one color per child and write their name on it and put one on every hour of each day they're in your care. You may wish to use difference colored markers and just use their initials or first letter of their name. Then you can see visually when everyone is present and what hours you have less kids on certain days. You can also use a white dry erase board and just write it out too!
That is sort of how I do it now but it is really time consuming so what I am looking for is like with the food program, we enter the hours that each child is scheduled or contracted to be in care and it blocks those hours out on a form (much like you are describing) but for only one kid so I spend alot of my time using the different color markers doing the whole week-at-a-glance. I would like to be able to enter everyone's times and just have them show up on one form in an easy to read/view week-at-a-glance or month-at-a-glance (whatever one works) format. It would be nice that when I go to enter someone's schedule it would point out that I have too many kids slotted for that time or would flag any areas where I would need a second caregiver/helper with out me having to do all the work....basically I am looking to enter the info and not have to spend so much time figuring it out...I like coloring and all but there has got to be an easier way....my DVR alerts me if I am trying to schedule too many things at once so I don't think it is too much to ask for LOL!!
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Abigail 03:09 PM 12-17-2010
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I like coloring and all but there has got to be an easier way....my DVR alerts me if I am trying to schedule too many things at once so I don't think it is too much to ask for LOL!!


ha ha ha ha, so funny DVR! How many kids do you have? At our group daycare we can have 18 total, but we need to make sure not to go over ratio. Today was only 8, but we still needed two people because of the number of infants. Also, do yours have frequent schedule changes? I can see how things can easily become a hassle...I still pray I can get 7 full timers that have about the same hours.....maybe I'm dreaming though!
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Blackcat31 03:33 PM 12-17-2010
Originally Posted by Abigail:
ha ha ha ha, so funny DVR! How many kids do you have? At our group daycare we can have 18 total, but we need to make sure not to go over ratio. Today was only 8, but we still needed two people because of the number of infants. Also, do yours have frequent schedule changes? I can see how things can easily become a hassle...I still pray I can get 7 full timers that have about the same hours.....maybe I'm dreaming though!
I have 18 total kids but am licensed to care for 14 at a time (with my second caregiver). This year I lost 5 to Kindergarten and have filled the spaces but with part timers who have for the most part set schedules that rarely change but I'm not saying never. I used to only offer full days but have figured out that I can fit two kids into one space and get paid for two full spaces using only one spot. So I am trying my darndest to fit them all together and visually see what I have and don't have available and when I need to have my second adult be here. I would love to go back to just full days but not everyone works 8-5 so right now it isn't possible. I have 6 full timers but the rest are part time and SA and when everyone comes at me wanting space it can be overwhelming and I feel like I am unorganized when I have to say to a parent "Let me check on that and I will get back to you" I don't want anyone (including me) to make ratio mistakes or feel as though I can't organize everyone...kwim? Usually the time of year where it is toughest is when I have parents in college and their schedules change every semester and in the summer months with the SA'ers or days school is closed like over Christmas.....everyone seems to need the same space.
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Sandbox 05:59 PM 12-18-2010
What do you all think of this idea? Keep in mind we've met with quite a few agencies, but we're in the infant stage right now. With your help this idea may graduate to toddler

Scenario:
John and Susan call you to find out if their son, Adrian, can attend your daycare. Susan has a part time job. They'd like to enroll Adrian for Monday, Tuesday and Friday, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

You type this time slot into a program and it tells you if a spot is available.

See attachment 1 for screen shot.

The results come in and there's no room... But what if you had someone in your preschool room who could be bumped a little early to the junior kindergarten room, this making room for Adrian.

See attachment 2 for the results. The green indicates a child who can be moved.

Sorry I couldn't put the images right in the post.

Any thoughts?
Attached: preschool.JPG (36.3 KB) preschoolresults.JPG (41.6 KB) 
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Abigail 09:06 PM 12-18-2010
Sandbox: I would always see give it a try. It seems to simple to me. I would like to see where we are at on a daily basis and what ratios each child is considered. Really, we're just moving what is in our brains/regulations into a computer program and hope it doesn't mess up. lol
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Blackcat31 06:46 AM 12-19-2010
Originally Posted by Sandbox:
What do you all think of this idea? Keep in mind we've met with quite a few agencies, but we're in the infant stage right now. With your help this idea may graduate to toddler

Scenario:
John and Susan call you to find out if their son, Adrian, can attend your daycare. Susan has a part time job. They'd like to enroll Adrian for Monday, Tuesday and Friday, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

You type this time slot into a program and it tells you if a spot is available.

See attachment 1 for screen shot.

The results come in and there's no room... But what if you had someone in your preschool room who could be bumped a little early to the junior kindergarten room, this making room for Adrian.

See attachment 2 for the results. The green indicates a child who can be moved.

Sorry I couldn't put the images right in the post.

Any thoughts?
That is EXACTLY what I mean.... except for me being family childcare no one gets bumped to another room since my age group is mixed and no one moves to another age catagory until they actually have a birthday...but you are on the exact right track for being able to enter the info and seeing if someone fits into a space time wise, for me I would take the above scenario as maybe the other child could be picked up early or have Adrian dropped off later to avoid the overlapping of times....but YES you are on to what I mean...
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Sandbox 04:34 PM 12-21-2010
Originally Posted by Abigail:
Sandbox: I would always see give it a try. It seems to simple to me. I would like to see where we are at on a daily basis and what ratios each child is considered. Really, we're just moving what is in our brains/regulations into a computer program and hope it doesn't mess up. lol
That's exactly what want to hear! Having a reliable easy program should clear up some space in that brain so you can think about of other things while the software does the work. I'll keep posting ideas, this seems like a great place to share information.

Pass on the word, great daycare software is coming
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