Bay Explorers is a family-owned and run service with a vision to deliver exceptional quality Early Childhood Education and care through its state-of-the-art facilities.
Owner Sandi Black says since opening their first centre in 2013, their focus has always been to provide families with the best possible childcare experience.
This is evident in the vast outdoor playscapes at each centre, large, airy, home-like rooms, and their commitment to collaborative partnerships with families. Hence, all children have the best possible chance to grow, create, discover, play and learn in their ways.
Serving 400-plus families and employing a team of 80, their focus on quality led Sandi to seek a better solution for compliance administration.
“Although we’d always managed well, we wanted to do better,” says Sandi.
Finding 1Place Childcare, with its ability to replace most paper in classrooms with a single iPad device, was “enlightening” for Sandi.
“They had already perceived and addressed the problem through clever IT-based solutions, allowing us to do away with archive boxes.”
Doing better and saving costs: Compliance beyond legislation
Just as their centres boast twice the amount of land required per child than legislated, giving children an increased sense of freedom, Bay Explorers takes compliance to the next level so team members can spend more time on the children.
Coming from an IT background, Sandi couldn’t understand why the childcare industry relied on paper.
“It’s a commonplace to have a room full of archive boxes, but just because you’re keeping it doesn’t mean you can find the information you need.”
She says paper-based processes make it difficult for childcare centres to understand the data they’re recording “because reviewing a record means opening a box and looking at information on paper”.
Furthermore, the “tremendous” costs of paper storage, scanning and disposal are not sufficiently understood, says Sandi.
“Some of these records need to be kept for decades to comply with legislation and regulations, and when you look at the volume of archive boxes required to keep records for over 400 children a year, it can be overwhelming.”
With 1Place Childcare, not only does Bay Explorers have secure digital storage for their client records that’s immediately accessible, but the costs associated with paper record keeping have become obsolete.
“All of our records are securely stored online and incredibly accessible, so we continue to meet legislative regulations without the headaches that came with paper records.”
Sandi also credits 1Place Childcare for helping them service parents’ needs in areas they care about, such as incident forms.
1Place now holds data from all medical-related incidents, giving the organisation and parents complete transparency of the health and well-being of the children.
“They used to be a piece of paper, but it’s nowhere near as professional as a digital document with all the information you want to have at your fingertips. And it remains available if a parent needs to review weeks later.”
Digital reporting improves procedures, creating efficiencies
1Place’s ability to generate reports from the data has helped Bay Explorers identify trends that were previously only anecdotal observations from team members, says Sandi.
“Reporting is a tremendous tool for the directors, giving us insight into what’s happening at any given time across the service.”
With heightened hygiene awareness amid Covid, 1Place gave directors immediate visibility on cleaning regularity.
“We have a person on the floor checking and someone at the computer so we can see that everything has happened in accordance with our policies and procedures wherever we are.”
1Place has also strengthened the maintenance process, providing management with more clarity on issues that arise and reducing the spending on fixes.
“We now have much more granular detail on what’s happening, working and not working at the centres, and a much more immediate way of prioritising what needs to be fixed and closing the loop,” says Sandi.
“So instead of letting the maintenance man loose for a week and then getting a large bill, it’s now quite specifically a list of problems that require closing off with invoicing to match.”
1Place Childcare builds comradery among team
Sandi says her team members embraced 1Place overnight, relieved to have a logical, efficient, easy-to-use solution to something they must do multiple times a day.
“It turns out, although the whole profession runs on paper, they don’t love it. They just haven’t found another way of doing things.”
She says 1Place Childcare is utilised from when the first person opens the door in the morning to when the last person locks up at night.
The software’s adaptive checklists guide staff through open and close checklists, cleaning, auditory processes, fire drills, maintenance, and responding to incidents.
“It’s all now managed consistently across all of our classrooms,” says Sandi.
Team members are invited to shout out to their comrades as part of the checklists.
“We took the opportunity to take compliance beyond basic reportage because team members often see fabulous things throughout the day and don’t necessarily have a moment to reflect that to management or the fellow team member,” she says.
Sandi says the unexpected thanks and appreciation received through the platform have led to positivity among her teams and a stronger team environment.
“It creates a collegiate atmosphere. We’re all in it together, and adding the shout-out reminds everyone that we’re doing all of these things for the team and the service.”
1Place Childcare has strengthened communication between team members, too, by giving someone stepping into a learning environment immediate clarity on completed and outstanding tasks.
“It’s all there for a person to see,” says Sandi.
Agile compliance software that grows with the organisation
Having tried numerous compliance software solutions, Sandi says they ended up with 1Place because it rose above the other options.
She says the 1Place team is helpful and always available.
“It’s an evolving platform. It’s not static, and the 1Place team understands our business priorities and continues to meet our needs as they develop.
“The sky’s the limit. It comes down to identifying problems, challenges or inefficiencies and pairing them with 1Place to resolve them.”