We’ve all heard educators brag about their lack of technology in the classroom. Statements like the following are conversational staples in many early learning communities:
Kids already get too much tech at home. They don’t need it in the classroom, too.
I don’t want my teachers scrolling through their mobile phones all day.
Children don’t need technology, they need play.
But like it or not, technology is already a big part of our everyday lives and with the rise in millennial parents, the tech-enabled classroom is no longer an option. It’s a must.
Still, as educators and care providers, we have a duty to model responsible tech use. And there’s no way we would let the children in our care sit and watch ‘Baby Shark’ for nine hours a day.
So what can tech really do to raise the bar at your preschool?
Here are some of the unexpected ways the right technology can improve the early learning environment for providers, parents and of course, kids.
Let’s face it. Most teachers work way more hours than what’s required by contract.
According to the National Education Association, first-year kindergarten teachers average 50 hours per week on teaching duties and spend an average of 12 hours per week outside of class working on admin.
That’s time that could be spent with their families or on self-care activities that build resilience for work stress. And the situation is likely similar, or worse, for early childhood educators.
Young children don’t have the ability to sit still and work through craft projects or algebra problems. ECE instructors need volumes of engaging lesson plans to make sure every child has the direction and supervision they need in order to thrive.
That’s where technology can help. The right software can take the paperwork off teachers’ plates so they can spend more time doing what they love. But here’s the catch:
Teachers must be able to dictate their interaction with technology—not the other way around.
Unlike other apps, MomentPath doesn’t interrupt. Teachers can track attendance, manage curriculum tasks and share important moments with parents in a secure one-on-one message center without having to grapple with tedious email chains or fight the urge to respond to every new ping and notification.
Every tech tool says it can “do it all”.
But great technology doesn’t need to cut your payroll checks, track your P&L statements and automatically order more diapers—it just needs to connect with the tools that do those things better than any other.
Rather than patching together a bunch of different systems for different tasks, start with a central tool that does a great job of running your center—then integrate additional tools as needed.
With your core operations running like clockwork, you can drop the gratuitous tech, spend less time switching between apps and raise the level of hands-on engagement at your center.
And of course, user-friendliness is an absolute must.
In the words of user experience guru Steve Krug, “If you can’t make something self-evident, you at least need to make it self-explanatory.” Teachers should never have to stop what they’re doing to wrestle with your software.
When we set out to design MomentPath, we knew it had to be so easy-to-use that teachers would always know exactly what to do. But no matter which child care app you choose, make sure it comes with an active customer support team that’s always ready to answer your questions. You know, just in case.
Raise your hand if you love nagging parents for payments.
From groceries to the electric bill, millennial parents pay for everything online. Asking them to bring you a check is like asking them to send you a fax. It just isn’t done anymore.
On the other hand, options like automated billing and automatic withdrawal mean fewer financial headaches for both providers and parents. In MomentPath, we make it easy to incentivize timely payments and improve cashflow with expiring discounts and automatic late fees.
Here’s a quick example of how those features work.
Sally attends ABC Daycare. Sally’s tuition payment is $100/week. Invoices are sent out on Monday and are due by Friday.
With Expiring Discounts, Sally’s parents receive a 10% discount for paying their invoice before Friday, for a total amount of just $90. If they pay on Saturday, they pay the full $100.
By offering expiring discounts, you reward parents for paying on time, rather than punishing them for paying late.
While expiring discounts are a great option for encouraging timely payments, many parents and providers are already accustomed to late fees.
But manually adding late fees to each child’s account is a headache you just don’t need. In MomentPath, administrators can automatically add a late fee the second an invoice becomes past due.
Using the same example, let’s assume the late payment fee is $20. If Sally’s parents don’t pay their bill by Friday, they will be issued a new invoice for $120 on Saturday.
In the bigger picture of caring for our most vulnerable populations, billing might seem like a minor issue. But you’d be amazed at how, by simply eliminating financial pressures for your team and your parents, you can create a healthier environment for everyone, including the kids.
Contrary to popular belief, research shows that when given the option, young children will still choose hands-on material over tech. Once we accept that technology is a part of life, the question isn’t whether or not to use it—it’s ‘How can we use technology to create a better learning environment for our teachers and children?’
At MomentPath, we believe that intentional technology can empower educators and tangibly improve the lives of the young children in their care. And as a major bonus, it can also make life as an administrator much easier.
If you have any questions about what MomentPath can do for you, we’d love to answer them. Contact us today or get your demo now.