“Oh, you must have so much patience.” “You’re so lucky, you get to play all day.” “If I had your job, I would wear sweats every day.” “How do you do it? I only have one and I’m ready to pull my hair out!”
The education/child care field is a mysterious black hole to many people. On the surface, it appears that teachers are coffee-fueled, happy people ready to care for your children for eight or more hours per day. In reality, most child care providers and educators ARE indeed coffee-fueled and happy to see your child daily, but they are also much, much more. What parents often do not understand is that the majority of educators have college degrees, many with master’s degrees. They are experts in this field. Working with children is super fun, but it’s also a complex balance of discipline, responsibility, character building, and professionalism.
As with most child care providers, I believe first and foremost in the safety of the children. Above all, the children come first. Hand-in-hand with safety comes licensing. Licensing is put into place to ensure the laws are being followed and the children in our child care center are safe. I have the utmost respect for the licensors, but it doesn’t make following the tedious rules any easier. Let’s dive deeper into the tedious rules in which our world revolves around.
Paperwork…my arch nemesis! We have paper files on all of the children, which, by law, have to include items such as emergency contacts, allergy information, and medical and dental records. For example, it’s a citation if a dentist and all of their contact information is not listed in the file. The rules are that tedious. We also have to keep records of immunizations and other medical information, which needs to be actually signed by the doctor. We also have to keep files on staff, illnesses, allergies, special requests, accidents and incidents. There are mounds and mounds of paperwork.
The next point that I would like to touch on might sound silly, but communicating with parents is a huge source of stress. Keep in mind, we love our families, but teachers are experts in communicating with children and communicating with adults may often not be a strong suit. We are working on a daily basis with a parent's favorite person in the world, their child, and communicating difficult things to a parent like a learning disability or a behavioral problem can be uncomfortable. At times, communicating what the activity for the day is or what we had for lunch seems like a minute detail when it comes down to everything else on our minds.
Now, that we have taken a deeper look into the industry as a whole you can see that most of us value our profession of choice and are making a career out of it. That being said, we are professionals. Educators/child care providers work hard, multitask in ways that are unimaginable and we are experts in the child care field.
As experts, we are always looking for ways to alleviate pain points and save time on a daily basis. One of the ways we are hoping to save time is by using SmartCare child care management software. SmartCare not only reduces paperwork and saves on printing costs, but it also helps with parent communication—a huge issue for us! We are excited to use SmartCare for bulk messaging parents and also saving time by having parents use the parent app.
We are still anticipating the launch of SmartCare but we already like what we see and can’t wait for the final product to come out at the end of summer.
-- Guest Post By Summer P, Head of School, Peaceful Valley Montessori Academy in Golden Valley, MN