Early Childhood Education (ECE) has seen some major changes since New Shoots opened their first children’s centre in Papamoa in 2012.
Back then, parents were satisfied simply by having their child return back to their care at the end of the day, and ECE regulations were met using paper-based childcare compliance checklist forms that were not a burden on teachers’ time.
Today, New Shoots has a growing number of purpose-built, retrofitted centres across the North Island, each providing daytime childcare for discerning families who expect high levels of health and safety compliance.
“They know what they want, and they know that there are options and other centres out there,” says New Shoots co-founder Nikki Prendergast.
Current ECE legislation also loads teachers with more administrative tasks and compliance checklists than ever before.
“The last thing we want to be doing is spending more time ticking boxes than we are working with children,” says Nicky.
1Place Childcare compliance-tracking software is now being used in every New Shoots learning environment.
New Shoots Risk, Facilities and Procurement Director Nik Webb-Shephard says paper-based health and safety processes were fit for purpose when New Shoots began, but 1Place has taken the organisation to the next level in terms of efficiency, and sustainability.
Health and safety daily checks, maintenance updates, and accidents are quickly logged on accessible iPads by centre staff.
“This system takes the burden of paperwork away. Teachers can be on the floor with children, with an iPad. It makes sense. Tick it, submit it, done,” says Nicky.
Accident and illness forms, for example, allow users to instantly update or add extra information throughout the day.
New Shoots Operations Coordinator Natalie Jones says: “It could be a temperature, an allergic reaction, or a mark that could turn into a bruise. For teachers, it means they can take a photo and see how the child’s reacting.
“They don’t have to go back, get the piece of paper, rewrite it, draw a picture. It’s all in motion and documented in an email for the parent.”
And for parents, there’s no risk of a piece of paper going in a bag at the end of the day and not being received at home.
Staff of all ages and technological abilities use 1Place, and everyone has easily adapted to using and operating the system, says Natalie.
She also values the software’s ability to be adapted based on feedback and suggestions from teachers and users across the organisation.
For management, 1Place’s automated reporting provides levels of data that easily exceed Ministry of Education regulations.
The leadership team receives information in daily reports that they formerly spent time chasing and collecting from each centre.
“It means we can respond promptly to any maintenance and safety concerns that have been flagged as a high priority,” says Nik.
He says being able to extract and compare data between centres will drive the designs of their new builds as well.
“It’s about being able to sit down with the design team and have the facts.”