February 3rd, 2015 was the day I jumped on a plane and headed to Conyers, GA. This was my first stop on a journey to eight different cities to gather as much knowledge about the child care industry as I could. I was as ready as I would ever be to introduce SmartCare to the child care management industry! Over the past year or so, my passion has been figuring out what it takes to run a successful child care center. I researched. I interviewed. But it was only in actually visiting child care centers that I finally was able to put all my knowledge to practice. So in the words of the ever-popular MTV show “Diary,” I thought I knew, but I had no idea!
I showed up in Mableton, GA, to my first center, and contrary to what people think about Georgia being hot and humid, it sure wasn’t hot OR humid the first week of February! I was ecstatic, nonetheless. Cold, but beyond excited! I had practiced our demo over and over again the night before my first meeting in my hotel room. Looking out the window to a view of Mableton reminded me a lot of my hometown all the way back in Maine. I was ready. I was ready to showcase the child care management software that our amazing team of developers had built over the past year.
Miss Kym and Mr. William welcomed me with open arms and validated that what we were doing at SmartCare is truly needed in this industry. After a few hours of touring the center and soaking in every pain point Miss Kym and Mr. William face on a day-to-day basis, I realized just how much SmartCare is going to make their jobs easier and more enjoyable!
From Mableton, I made my way across Georgia all the way to Savannah! From there, I bounced to Atlanta, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore, Connecticut, Jersey City, and further down south Florida. The only thing that remained constant in every center visit was that no center was the same. But even with centers differing in all things, each one is seeking the best child care management solution.
I witnessed every pain point a director, teacher, and owner go through each day in trying to manage their centers. From Procare to EZ-Care, and even good old pen and paper, it was a bit hard to watch! I wanted so badly to jump in and be each and every center’s own SmartCare superhero!
The knowledge I gathered in my two weeks on the road was practically spilling out of my ears when I returned home. I was tired, but eager to showcase and collaborate with the rest of my team about all of the things I had learned about enrollment, sign-in/sign-out, collecting payments, communicating with parents, snow days, social media, privacy, and even exactly how long one can carry an iPad around before charging it!
Now that I am back in Vegas, I find myself growing restless anticipating the next trip out to visit all of my centers! I am counting down the days until I can pack a suitcase full of iPads again and head back out on the road.
--Kayla McLain, SmartCare Team Member