The New Normal

The New Normal

Smartcare believes strongly that education in general and childcare in particular are entering a “new normal”.  What this means is that many of the common practices in place before COVID-19 will need to be replaced with practices better suited to current challenges.

 

One of the first things that we think the student will change is the check-in process.

 

In the pre-COVID era, the process typically involved a parent entering a common space like a lobby, interacting with a fingerprint scanner to authenticate themselves, and then handing off a child to a staff member.

 

Before COVID, Smartcare modernized this process with the use of touchless QR codes, and while removing a fingerprint scanner dramatically reduces contact points, we think the process can be better.

 

We think the best practice in the new normal will look something like this:

 

  • Families will queue in socially distanced location such as the family’s car in a drop-off line in front of the school.
  • Either the parent or the student’s teacher will complete a pre-drop-off health-check. The CDC has provided guidance and we anticipate that guidance will evolve over time.  At this time, those guidelines include:
    • Temperature checks for fevers over 100.4 degrees.
    • Signs of illness including coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, extreme fussiness, nausea
  • Technology can automate validating the health-check to ensure it meets regulatory requirements and the school’s own preferences. A child who poses a risk to others never enters the facility, and so that staff and parents have the peace of mind that their child is a in a safe environment.
  • The student’s teacher can take custody of the child in a well-ventilated, socially-separated space such as directly from the child’s car in a drop-off line, and escort the child directly to a classroom. From here, the child will stay with classmates and remain isolated from other classes in the school, minimizing contact points along the way. This ensures separation from other students in other classes.
  • Within a school, classes should be kept as separate as possible. Where common areas must be shared, to the extent possible, those areas should be used by only one class at a time and disinfected between uses.  All areas and toys should be disinfected regularly.

 

Where the above procedure isn’t possible, we recommend the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and barriers to minimize the exposure to staff and families.

 

Smartcare has functionality to support the new normal in your center and our team of customer success managers can help you update your procedures for the new normal.  We have a report to help you track health checks and our teacher app allows for touchless check-in wherever its best suited for you to do so.  You should expect improvements from us over the summer as we get more feedback.

 

We are committed to be your technology partner as we navigate into the new normal together.

 

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide: Coping with Anxiety During the COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide: Coping with Anxiety During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with the anxiety and stress will make you, your families and those around you stronger. Anxiety symptoms can include excessive worrying, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and difficulty concentrating.

 

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations depending on their background, age or community. People who are high risk, considered essential employees or who have prior mental health conditions tend to respond to crisis stress more strongly.

 

Tips for coping with stress and anxiety

 

  • Take a break from watching, reading or listening to news stories about COVID-19. Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your mental and physical health with meditation, healthy meals and exercise.
  • Take time to engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Talk to people you trust about your concerns and fears. Share the facts about COVID-19 to understand the risks. This can make an outbreak less stressful.
  • Call your healthcare provider if your stress and anxiety gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

 

For parents and childcare providers

 

Children tend to react on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and childcare providers deal with COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children.

 

Be sure to watch for changes in behavior in a child. Not all children respond to stress in the same way. Some things to look out for may include excessive crying, returning behaviors they have previously outgrown, “acting out”, difficulty with attention and concentration or avoiding activities they previously enjoyed.

 

Here are some ideas to help support children:

 

  • Take time to talk about the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Answer questions and share facts about the outbreak in a way the child can understand.
  • Reassure the child that they are safe and that it is okay to feel upset or scared.
  • Limit exposure to news coverage, including social media as children could misinterpret what they hear.
  • Keep up with a regular routine. If school is closed, set schedules for learning, relaxing and fun activities.
  • Be a role model for your children. Eat well, exercise, take breaks and stay connected with friends and family.

 

During these times, you need to take care of your mental health. Make your mental health a priority and don’t let anxiety and stress consume you. Be sure to reach out to a trained professional if your or your child’s stress and anxiety consumes you. Remember that you are not alone and this will pass.

 

 

COVID-19 Business Survival Guide – Recharge with Family Time

COVID-19 Business Survival Guide – Recharge with Family Time

With social distancing being the new normal during the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone is starting to feel the strain of not being with their loved ones and family at this time. Whether you have adult children who are social distancing with their own families, or friends and co-workers you use to see every day, we are all trying to find ways to stay connected. This is the time to come up with some creative ways to keep in contact and have fun with it! Whether it is group texts or video conferences, here are some ideas to make it fun.

 

Photo Scavenger Hunt

 

Start a group text and designate a ‘host’. The host will put together a list of items for everyone to find around the house and decide how much time you have to find the items. You can modify the list to fit the age group. For the younger group, you can list easy items (a plate, an animal, etc.).

 

For the older crowd, you can use ideas like a selfie with a paper hat. You can also do a magazine/newspaper scavenger hunt. Make a list of items (man with a beard, red lipstick) and have everyone take a picture of the item in the magazine/newspaper. Once you have your pictures, use a collage app on your phone to put the pictures together and send them to the group chat. The first person to find the most items wins!

 

 

Family Dinner – Video Conference Style

 

Pick a day for your family to eat together, during a video conference! Decide on a day and a meal and start the video conference! You can cook together and then eat together. It’s a way to get the family to spend some special time together, without being together.

 

Family Game Night

 

Using video conferencing or a video chat, you can have a family game night with card or dice games. For example, using games like Yahtzee or Farkle, you can set up a video conference and play the games together. Use games that do not require everyone to be in the same space. A game of Monopoly would not work well in this situation. You can even karaoke together!

 

Take a walk together

 

Even if it is just a walk around the corner, you can video chat with your family, while getting some fresh air. You can use this opportunity to play another quick scavenger hunt game.

 

We do not know how long we will have to social distance, but we can only try to make the best of it and have some fun. Please remember if you are going out, protect yourself and others and keep your distance!

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide – How to Navigate Rent Hardship

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide – How to Navigate Rent Hardship

During this unprecedented time, many childcare facilities are unsure about the future. This series of blogs covers ways to help our audience navigate this confusing time. Below you’ll find tips for any childcare facility who might be having a hard time paying rent during this time.

When you experience a hardship that affects your ability to pay rent on time, proactively contacting your landlord to find a solution is usually your best choice.  If you are a conscientious and honest tenant who is temporarily short on funds, most landlords won’t evict you for paying rent a little late as it is expensive to pursue an eviction, and in the current economic environment, landlords may worry about their ability to find another lessor.  Therefore, both you and your landlord have an incentive to find a feasible way to keep you in your current space.  To avoid problems, follow this advice:

 

Try to negotiate reduced or delayed payment

Be upfront with your landlord about your situation. It is difficult and expensive for a landlord to evict you and if they consider you a good tenant, they won’t want to lose you. Some basic steps to take when asking for reduced or delayed payment:

  • Update your budget so that you know when, or under what circumstances, you’ll be able to restart paying rent.
  • Send a letter or email as soon as possible asking for the time you believe you will need.
  • Explain your situation and difficulties. Let them know it is a temporary issue.
  • Provide proof of hardship if possible.
  • If you have the means, offer to pay a portion of the rent on time. Often, landlords have expenses that have to be paid like property taxes or mortgages, so try to help the landlord cover those expenses, while reducing your total expenditure at the same time.
  • Give the landlord a date you can pay the full rent, if you have one, and make sure you keep your promise to pay.
  • If your landlord has a late fee policy, be prepared to pay. You can ask to forgo the late fee if you feel they will be responsive.

 

Do not send a check you know will bounce

No one likes getting a bounced check. Upsetting your landlord is not the only consequence of a bad check. A bank may charge the landlord a fee for a returned check which they will in turn charge you, most likely adding a few dollars for their troubles. You may also be charged a fee for a returned check. Sending a bad check is like not paying rent at all.

 

The problem won’t go away, so don’t ignore it

Like so many other things, honesty is the best policy. If you think your landlord won’t notice you didn’t pay, you would be wrong. Your landlord depends on your rent to cover their own expenses. A landlord will be more forgiving and willing to negotiate if you are upfront and honest with them.

 

Keep in mind that your landlord is under no obligation to work with you on delinquent rent, unless state guidelines in your area have changed during this time. In states that have temporarily halted evictions, there are stipulations that rent still must be paid in full at the end of a certain period, so make sure you read up and know what to expect. If you don’t pay rent on time and in full, your landlord has the right to start legal action to evict you and collect the money.

 

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide – Online Educational Resources for Childcare Providers and Parents

COVID-19 Childcare Business Survival Guide – Online Educational Resources for Childcare Providers and Parents

During this unprecedented time, many childcare facilities are unsure about the future.  Over the coming weeks, we will publish a series of blogs to help navigate through this confusing time. Our first blog is a list of resources that childcare providers or parents can use to add new activities in the classroom or for virtual learning.

Now more than ever we want to keep our children actively engaged in positive activities.  Let’s help them experience the beauty, the fun and learn new things about our world.  Whether at school or stay-at-home – let’s explore!

 

Tours & Museums

Games & Activities

Language

Math

Science

Learning – All Topics

  • Scholastic – Learn at Home
  • Audible – currently free
  • Funbrain.com – Math and Reading games
  • ClickSchooling brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn.
  • National Geographic – Geography and animals
  • Abcya.com – Math and reading games
  • Arcademics.com – Math and language games
  • Bamboo.com – Voice based learning, learn through Alexa
  • 123homeschool4me.com – 300,000+ FREE printable worksheets from toddlers to teens
  • Breakoutedu.com – Educational games K-12 
  • Ck12.org – Science, Math, Social Studies 
  • Countryreports.org – 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world.
  • Coursera – Tons of free classes from leading universities and companies
  • Curriki– Digital learning content for preschool through high school
  • Discoveryk12.com – Online homeschool platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade.
  • Izzit.org – Entertaining & educational videos for all levels and subjects
  • Khan Academy – Online education program for toddler through high chool.
  • Teachers Pay Teachers – Free Printables for PreK-2nd Grade 
  • Littlesparkcompany.com – Free printables library with activities for children 0-6
  • Fluency and Fitness – Educational brain breaks to help students review essential literacy and math skills, while getting in some exercise. Ages 4-8.
  • Fiveable.me – Resources for AP students including live reviews, live trivia, and study guides!
  • Hippocampus.org – 7,000 free videos in 13 subject areas
  • Carmen Sandiego – Carmen Sandiego videos, stories, and lessons for all subject areas
  • Marcolearning.com – Resources for AP students
  • Superchargedschool.com -Daily lessons and educational activities that kids can do on their own
  • Allinonehighschool.com – Every course you could possibly want to homeschool for high school
  • PBS – PreK-12 digital media service with more than 30,000 learning materials 
  • Pebblego.com – Curricular content hub specifically designed for K-3 students.
  • Zearn.org – K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students
  • A Better Way to Homeschool – A quick start resource to help families pull together a plan for surviving the next 1-2 months at home with their kids, but it can also be a time of slowing down and enjoying kids as they learn. Preschool through 8th grade
  • US Mint – Your child can play games, learn fun facts, and find out how to turn coin collecting into a hobby.  https://supersimple.com/
  • Kids Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design.
  • Free Code Camp – 450 Ivy League courses that you can take
  • Project Explorer – Free videos from around the world from grade 3-12
  • Quizlet – For students to practice and master whatever they are learning.
  • Red T Kids – Critical Thinking resources for K-6 students
  • Wonderopolis.org – Short videos and readings that answer various burning questions for students. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions.
  • EdX – 2,500+ online courses from top institutions
  • Youngzine – News and more for kids
  • Google Earth – All sorts of learning here if you dig in
  • Super Simple – Resource section includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, and other resources for children, teachers, and parents.
  • Overcomingobstacles.org – Life skills curriculum for students in grades K-12. Their resources include strategies for teaching social and emotional skills.
  • Alcumus is specifically designed to provide high-performing students with a challenging curriculum appropriate to their abilities
  • Mobymax.com – Find and fix learning gaps
  • Ducksters – Education for kids all topics
  • Magic Tree House – Interactive games based on the book series
  • Cool Kid Facts gives your child access to educational videos, pictures, quizzes, downloadable worksheets, and infographics. They can use these to learn about geography, history, science, animals, and even the human body.
  • US Gov – This interactive website, hosted by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, allows your child to see the ins and outs of the U.S. government by taking a series of learning adventures with none other than Benjamin Franklin.
  • Brainscape offers over a million flashcard decks for every subject, entrance exam, and certification imaginable.

Spelling, Writing & Reading

  • Magic Spell is a carefully crafted spelling adventure.
  • Noredink.com -Online curriculum that builds better writers.
  • Novel Effect makes storytime a little more fun for kids (and grown-ups too!) As you read out loud from print books (or ebooks!) music, sound effects, and character voices play at just the right moment, adjusting and responding to your voice.
  • Paragraphpunch.com – Teaches students how to write a paragraph through interactive online tutorial
  • ReadWorks is an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12.
  • Goodandbeautiful.com – Course sets (Levels 1–5) that combine and thoroughly cover phonics, reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, punctuation, art, and geography—all in one easy-to-use, beautiful course.
  • The Shurley English program for grades K-8 provides a clear, logical, and concrete approach to language arts.
  • Spellingcity is free right now with code VSCFree90
  • Spelling Training  1-4 grade 
  • Readingeggs.com – Phonics and learning to read
  • Funfonix.com – Phonics worksheets for kids
  • Freechildrenstories.com – Free stories online ages 3-12
  • The Story Starter – Randomly generates 356,300,262,144 story starters
  • Grammaropolis – Work on the 8 parts of speech

History

    • Bighistoryproject.com – Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults
    • Bunkhistory.org – Digital archive of history
    • NGAkids interactives offer an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history.
    • Mission-us.org – An interactive way to learn history
    • Whatwasthere.com – Allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history.
    • Bbc.co.uk – Games, quizzes and fact sheets take kids on a journey through time.

Fitness

    • Little Twisters Yoga – Free at-home kids yoga lesson plans 
    • Gonoodle.com – Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
    • Sworkit.com  choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout.

Test Prep

Music

    • Music Lab – Music is for everyone
    • Thewell.world –Poetry and music 
    • Musictheory.net – intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators.
    • Prodigies is a colorful music curriculum for kids 1-12 that will teach your kids how to play their first instrument, how to sing in tune & how to understand the language of music! 21 for free
    • QuaverMusic is offering free access to general music activities to all impacted schools, including free student access at-home
    • Smart Music – Music practice transformed
    • Sight Reading Factory – Sight reading and sight singing practice exercises.
    • Virtual Musical Instruments – Lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos.
    • Songs for Teaching – A large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool and kindergarten students
    • The Theta Music Trainer offers a series of online courses and games for ear training and music theory.

Coding & Computer Science

    • Instructables – 3D printing projects and Coding projects, involving math and other K-12 subjects
    • Nitrotype – Improve your typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with up to 5 typers from around the world.
    • Typing Club – Keyboarding practice
    • Codecademy – Learn to code
    • Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning.
    • Code.org – Coding with Star Wars 
    • Kodable – Coding for ages 4-10
Key Benefits To Using A Child Care Management Software Program

Key Benefits To Using A Child Care Management Software Program

Why Child Care Center Software Is Important For Your Business

Most children today spend half of their young life in and out of child care services due to this economy requiring a double household income. Almost one-quarter (23.4%) of these children are under the age of five and will spend eight to ten hours daily with other adults and kids outside of their family. This includes day care centers, nurseries, and preschools just so their parents can provide not only for their household, but be able to afford the best child care services available to them.

How can we better protect and educate our children for their parents? By providing them with the easiest and safest child care center software program to reassure their children’s success and protection. On a daily basis, the center’s staff are continuously gathering information from parent signatures to infant feeds. One major benefit to using a child care management system software program is slicing away all the time-consuming tasks along with the paper to pen wastes.

By consolidating all of the various binders, whiteboards, and cubbies, you are centralizing and automating the daycare centers daily charting into one location; one file specific for each individual child. This will not only make it easier to keep track of what each child’s daily routine is, but you will be able to provide a printout for the parents if they ask. You will also begin to notice a few other benefits to the child care administration software once you implement the new technology.

Using upgraded child care management software programs doesn’t come without its challenges but making things easier for your staff members will always make things easier for you. By improving their workflow will give them more time to focus on the children instead of continuously filling out forms and making copies for their files. Having a child care center software program will allow your staff to be more productive, happier, and reduce employee turnover.

Additionally, a good preschool software program will allow the parents to engage by using an app to communicate with staff and allows them to stay informed of their child’s day. With the growth in technology over the past two decades, there is an app for everything! What better way to provide comfort, security, success, and reprieve for not only our parents but our staff as well.

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.