Dana Barnhart is the busy hands-on owner of the Maryland childcare centre, Kiddie Academy of Kent Island.
The state-accredited, level five NAEYC-rated school is licensed for 98 children between eight weeks and ten years of age. As we all know, this is no small feat!
Their learning approach and curriculum encourage children to explore and progress in their way and at their own pace to grow socially, physically, emotionally and intellectually.
Highly trained teachers are there every step of the way to guide, nurture and cultivate every child’s development.
“It is our job as educators to empower and celebrate imagination and curiosity as it gathers momentum in our children,” says Dana.
With over 20 years of experience within Kiddie Academy, Dana is an industry veteran with robust compliance procedures – albeit on paper.
Through The Childcare Success Company, she learned about online compliance and best practice software that removed the reliance on paper.
“I came across 1Place Childcare through a virtual conference and signed up for an exploration call.”
Saying goodbye to paper
A treehugger at heart, Dana was thrilled to find a solution that kept her compliance in check without needing paper.
“I write injury reports for kids, and they just sit in the parking lot because they fall out of the parents’ cars.”
With 1Place Childcare, injuries are logged through an online checklist and emailed to parents.
“Most parents don’t want a copy, but I like that I can email them if they do. It’s a straightforward system to use.”
Every teacher within the school now uses a classroom tablet to carry out regular checks and reports through the 1Place Childcare app.
“It was a little learning curve at the beginning because the teachers were used to doing it all on paper,” she says.
However, she soon established procedures to ensure correct processes were followed.
The school now uses 1Place for daily classroom open and close checks – including additional COVID-related sanitization and cleaning requirements – building checks, children’s health checks, injury forms, and log maintenance tickets.
Maintenance is carried out by Dana’s husband, Scott. Dana says the process and communication of the issues have improved with 1Place Childcare.
“There wasn’t a process before. I would text him, start a mental ‘honey do’ list and we would come in on the weekends and pray we remembered to do everything.”
Now, teachers are prompted to report any maintenance issues at the end of the daily close checklist and can also create tickets in the app, which are sent directly to Scott.
“In the eight months since we’ve had 1Place, we’ve resolved 27 issues. It is more than we would have before 1Place, which is cool,” she says.
However, online injury reporting – and the paper it’s saved – is Dana’s favourite feature “by far”.
Custom checklists for added protection
Dana worked with her 1Place Childcare key account manager Annette to create a specialized daily health checklist thatrecordsf marks on children’s bodies.
“It’s not a state-required form; it’s more a ‘protect us’ form, so if we’re watching a child with marks that might or might not be suspect, we have a running record of those marks.”
Dana says these were previously recorded on paper, and she would hold on to any concerns.
“Now I don’t have to worry about it; I can go back if there’s something noteworthy, and if I ever had to, I can tie that mark to an injury.”
Dana is also thrilled to have access to 1Place Childcare’s NAEYC Accreditation checklist for licensing.
“I like that it’s in there, and I won’t have to hand a book to the teacher. It has the portfolio, evidence checklist, and ages all ready to go, which will be great when I start using it in the new year,” she says.
Planning for the future
While going paperless and improving accountability was the initial appeal, Dana knows there are many more features of 1Place Childcare, such as trend reporting, staff training and satisfaction, that she’s yet to tap into.
“I need to take time to get the most out of the data, information and analytics. That is on my horizon next. I know that data’s there, and I love that I can access anything if necessary.”
Dana has a different future that doesn’t involve working 60 hours a week in the centre.
FREE Download: A Playbook for Early Learning Owners
Retaining & Attracting Staff
We know that being understaffed can have a significant impact on your business. It can lead to reduced capacity, and revenue, and ultimately affect the quality of care that you provide to children. That’s why we’ve put together a playbook, with leaders in the sector, that provides you with actionable advice.