Tobitha Stromile has been at W.I.S.E. Academy in Cedar Hill, Texas for 22 years. “I started using Child Care Manager in 2000 and used it until they changed over to Smartcare last year. This new system helps me so much!”
Smartcare helps with:
- Child and Staff Attendance
- Automation of Billing
- Late Payment Reminders
- Adding Late Fees
- Communicating with Parents
Automation features were missing
There was so much she was missing in her old software. Tobitha said, “Some weeks I would forget to go in and bill people. I’m not a director who sits in my office all day. I’m teaching classes, I’m very involved in the curriculum, I’m cooking, and doing so much. So, I’d often forget to do certain things in the old software. Now I don’t have to worry about it.
“This new system helps me so much. It helps by sending out automatic tuition billing every week. With Child Care Manager, I had to do everything manually. I would have to print off a receipt and do everything by hand. Now it’s automatic. Parents clock in every day when they drop off their children and clock out when they pick them up. The system knows how long we cared for their children and it bills them automatically. It also emails them a receipt. Tuition is vital to keep things operating. I like that you can set up the tuition and it takes care of everything.”
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Solving the problem of late payments and late pick ups
One area where Tobitha really noticed a difference was in late payments. “It’s really cut down on late payment problems. The system always notifies the parent if their payment is going to be late. So they’re able to make their payment on time. If they don’t, the system automatically assesses them a fee, so I don’t have to do that anymore.”
Tobitha also has noticed a big difference in parents arriving late to pick up their children. ““I set up the late pickup-fee option in the system and that has really helped.
Since the software knows exactly when they check in and when they check out their kids, the software automatically assesses them a late fee if they arrive late. It’s no longer a personal thing where they think I’m charging them for being late. They just know the system is going to charge them automatically. It’s documented and proved clearly by the system.
This has really cut down on parents being late. I always felt terrible charging late fees and would often forget. Parents got used to me not charging and would arrive later and later. Now they get there on time.”
Enhanced Staff Communication
One area Tobitha didn’t expect to use so much was Smartcare’s staff communication features. “Now, I don’t have to go into Outlook and send emails to everyone. I can send messages right through the Smartcare system, which saves me time.”
She’s also found it very convenient for payroll: “I really like the new clock-in system. I used to use a fingerprint machine. But I like the idea that the staff has to clock-in through the kiosk. They have to clock-in to use the tablets I have for everyone.” This makes everything seamless. Our staff is able to communicate more with parents. They’re able to document where the children are in their progress and if they are reaching their goals. The staff also writes down observations.
“My staff is now documenting everything. Then, when I have a conference with the parents, I can go into the staff’s notes on their child and give the parent a full assessment of where their child is, what issues we’re having (if any), and the details really make the parents happy. We can even send them pictures of their child. The parents feel more connected. They feel like they’re partnering with us better in the education of their children.”
They’re seeing pictures through the day. They’re getting notes faster and more often. The system has really made our relationship with parents better. They really like the check-in system. It’s easy to use and frees me up to work with the kids and greet the parents.”
The Blessing of Automation
Tobitha sums up her experience with Smartcare by saying, “Our day-to-day is so busy, Smartcare takes away a lot of the manual application of so many things. It really helps. I like it so much that I’m telling all of the other childcare centers in my area to use Smartcare. About 10 centers have signed on with Smartcare after I told them to try it. When they come back to me, they’re telling me, ‘We like Smartcare so much better than what we were using.’”