On February 2, 2015, I hopped on a plane ready to visit 17 child care centers in seven cities in four states over the course of 11 days. I was so excited to fly across the country to meet with centers to discuss our SmartCare child care management software and learn as much as I could about the field—whether it’s how child care centers are operating their businesses now, what software they are using, or tools we could implement to make child care center owners’ and directors’ lives easier. This was a whole new learning experience for me, because prior to working at SmartCare, I spent time working at the U.S. Senate, at a press release distribution company, and as the Communications Associate at Child Care Aware of America.
As I walked into my first center in North Carolina, I was so excited to have my first meeting—we were finally putting our software in the hands of child care professionals across the country! The excitement from Julianna, the first director I met with, instantly helped me realize that we are on the right track with our management software and our meeting prepared me for the next two weeks ahead on the road.
Over the course of the trip, I visited child care centers with as few as 25 children and as many as 1,000 children at their multiple locations. I saw centers that had fish tanks built into the walls, and centers that ran their operations with pen and paper, ProCare, Ez-Care, and homemade child care software solutions. I feel like I saw everything, but really was just taking my first steps into the world of child care. I learned so much over the first two weeks, but I know there is still so much more to learn.
Some of the most exciting things I learned during my weeks on the road were how centers of all sizes have similar needs that are not being met with the current software available. Centers, big and small, all need help easing the enrollment process and keeping track of logins for multiple software platforms. I learned there are different types of child care and not all centers are organized by age, some are more focused on developmental milestones. (I also learned that the people in the South refuse to let you open a door! So polite!)
As of today, I am back on the road visiting my centers for the second time. I have another suitcase full of hardware and am prepared to answer even more questions my centers will have. I am thrilled to be back on the East Coast and hoping that I can avoid any snow delays for as long as possible. Hope to see you at your center soon!
--Sara Miller, SmartCare Team Member