As an offsite owner of growing Nevada childcare organisation Under the Magic Pine Tree, Christine McNally knows the headaches that come with weak systems and paper-based compliance processes.
She purchased the boutique centre in 2019 with a vision to turn it around into the tour-ready, star-rated early education facility it is today, where great minds grow.
The centre sits on a spacious one-acre site and features three learning environments; one for infants and toddlers, another ‘life skills’ room for preschoolers, and a bigger pre-k classroom for the older children.
Since purchasing, Christine says they’ve made a number of physical site and systematic improvements to the previously rundown centre.
Here’s how 1Place Childcare software is helping Christine streamline processes and make best practice the new standard.
Identifying the need for better compliance processes
“Initially, there was a lot of maintenance; fixes, breakages and hazards that we wouldn’t know about until we physically went down on a weekend or when someone would eventually tell us weeks later,” says Christine.
“We weren’t getting the information when we needed it in order to address issues,” she says.
As we all know, this could lead to licencing issues. Timely response and repairs are essential!
Ordering supplies was troublesome as teachers often forgot to add required items to the staff whiteboard, and Christine was also determined to improve the standard of cleanliness across the centre.
“I wanted to bring our environments up to a tour-ready standard but it was really hard to implement this consistently throughout the day.”
“No matter how much we reminded our team to clean their classrooms or playgrounds, we would pull up on Saturday after not being there all week and find toys left across the playground,” says Christine.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Christine was in California and unable to visit the centre for five months.
She decided 2021 was to be her “year of systems” so, no matter how long she was away from her centre, she could leave it operating with confidence.
As a Childcare Success Academy member, Christine learnt about 1Place Childcare at a previous Childcare Success Summit.
“I went back to 1Place Childcare, asked for another demo and jumped in.”
1Place Childcare the key to compliance success
Christine says 1Place Childcare was the tool she needed to meet her vision for the childcare organisation.
“As an offsite owner, I can’t control what’s going on but 1Place has enabled me to implement more concrete guidelines.”
With 1Place Childcare, her teachers now carry out regular checklists and sign them off once complete.
“There’s a lot to remember in childcare. With 1Place everyone knows what’s expected and nobody needs to nag because it’s all getting completed,” she says.
“Everything is covered off in our checklist so things like labelling a child’s bottle with the date or cleaning a changing table a certain way aren’t being overlooked.”
Christine also utilises her own ‘mock licencing’ checklist where she walks through the centre checking the environments as if it were licencing.
“We sit down with our director at the end and, if there’s anything we need to bring to her attention, we do it at this point. It really helps us maintain our standards and licencing requirements.”
In fact, in the six months since bringing on 1Place Childcare, the centre has passed regulatory visits without receiving a single citation.
Creating efficiencies through ticketing
1Place Childcare has also helped “tremendously” with maintenance issues.
“There’s nothing that sits broken anymore. When a hazard is identified, a ticket is created and my husband automatically gets an email. He can decide if he needs to call someone right away or if he can wait until the morning or the weekend to repair it himself.”
Christine says 1Place Childcare picked up a historical playground hazard within the first week of using the compliance and best practice software.
“The corner of one of the playgrounds links up to a water company. We have three poles a few inches apart and one gap was wide enough for a small child to fit through. I got a maintenance ticket from a teacher saying they believed the gap is too wide and it needs to be fixed,” says Christine.
She says this was an issue that had never been picked up before by licencing, Christine or any teachers.
“1Place picked it up and my husband was able to go out and fix it immediately.”
Team members, including the cook, also utilise the ticketing feature to order any supplies, which has “taken a lot off my director’s plate,” says Christine.
“My cook and teachers can submit the ticket so when my director goes to order supplies and food for the week, she just pulls up her email with all the tickets from the classrooms.”
Preparing for growth
While it’s the one centre now, Christine is preparing for growth and plans to establish another four schools in the area over time.
“Right now, we’re building our systems to be what we really want them to be so we can expand with confidence in our best practice processes,” she says.
Christine appreciates being able to pull up the 1Place Childcare app on her phone to get an immediate overview of centre compliance when she is working from home.
She knows this visibility is going to become more important as she grows the organisation.
“As a multi-centre owner 1Place Childcare is super beneficial because you can’t be everywhere at once.”
Christine says the software is flexible and has allowed her to make changes to suit her centre’s particular needs.
She commends the 1Place team as well for their “amazing” customer service.