Get Your Church Childcare Program on the Right Track with Jackrabbit Management Software
A childcare program is a great way for a church to reach out to the local community, but running one of these programs involves a lot of hard work. Not only do you need to find suitable staff members who will support your efforts to further your church’s ministry mission, but you also need to keep all the necessary paperwork organized. Jackrabbit church childcare management software has you covered for everything from staying on top of tuition payments to registering students for regular childcare or special summer ministry programs. Our goal is to help you cut down on red tape so you can better care for those you’ve been called to serve.
Jackrabbit Software Can Save You Valuable Time
Church childcare ministries typically have all sorts of different records that need to be properly organized. Rather than having a stack of registration forms in one file, your tuition records in another, and your attendance records in another file, Jackrabbit allows you to keep everything up-to-date and easily accessible on your electronic device. That convenience and organization will save you time and eliminate the hassle of keeping track of all that paper. Since not every church childcare center is alike in the type of programs they have to offer, you can tailor the software to suit your center’s individual needs.
Jackrabbit Software Can Save You Money and Time
With this innovative software, you don’t need to worry about printing out tons of physical copies of registration forms, billing forms, and attendance records. Our eco-friendly, convenient electronically accessible options eliminate the need to re-enter paper records into the computer. There will be no more need to spend tedious hours entering information into spreadsheets. Instead, you can quickly and easily export data into Jackrabbit’s user-friendly filing system.
Jackrabbit Allows You Freedom to Get Work Done at Home
Since Jackrabbit Care is a cloud-based system, you can access all your childcare center’s records from home or anywhere you happen to be when you’re on the go. This will save you from having to go back to work and check to see how many students are registered for your summer Bible club or whether or not a payment was made on time. Instead, you can just get on a secure internet connection and find out what you need to know instantly.
Jackrabbit Gives You Quick Access to Multiple Records
This classroom management software includes ideal record-keeping features for church childcare facilities. These include such important categories as bus and other transportation lists, immunization records, student photos, address label templates, sign in/out sheet templates, emergency contact and authorized pickup information, student birthday information, online registration forms, and even a multi-site management feature for church childcare centers with more than one campus. With this valuable resource, you can view and update information in any of these categories right from your computer, tablet, or another electronic device.
Running an outstanding church childcare center that will effectively minister to the community requires commitment, character, and expertise. A top-notch class-based management software system like Jackrabbit can give your church childcare center the tools it needs to thrive.
Church Child Care Staffing Issues: Thriving During Transitions, Part 1
Welcoming new children to your church child care center is an extremely important consideration. Many child care centers have systems in place to help with that important transition. But really, any kind of change can be traumatic for a child. One such type of change that occurs regularly within child care centers relates to staff. While there are things you can do to help avoid rapid staffing turnover, it’s still important to have some go-to responses in place to help the children under your care cope when change does occur.
Understanding What Children Need
During the first few years of life, children develop strong emotional attachments to the most important adults in their lives. Once strong bonds are formed, a sense of trust helps children feel a sense of safety that in turn frees the child to learn. However, there’s a risk involved: when children develop such a relationship with a staff member and that staff members leaves, emotions as well as education will be affected.
Minimizing the Effects of Staff Change
One thing you can do as you organize your church child care center program is to refer to rooms according to color, number, or basically anything except the teacher’s name. This will help children maintain a sense of stability when an inevitable staffing change occurs. No matter how difficult a staffing change has been, make sure to project a positive attitude; your own sense of calm will help children (and parents) feel secure. On that note, make sure all staff members greet and interact with parents and children warmly on a daily basis, and emphasize the increased importance of such interactions during transition periods.
Saying Goodbye with Grace
While you do want to reduce the negative effects of a staff member leaving, you don’t want to pretend it didn’t happen. That kind of a response will be confusing to children and can possibly interfere with their ability to trust you and other staff members in the future. Instead, offer them the chance to say good-bye, if at all possible. You may even request that the exiting staff member write a good-bye letter to parents, but make sure you read over a copy before it’s distributed.
If a celebration is in order (perhaps a staff member is leaving due to a long-awaited opportunity) let the children celebrate with them! If at all possible, allow a staff member to resign rather than being fired.
Retaining a Positive Atmosphere
If there is any negativity involved in the exit of a staff member, be cautious about leaving that person alone in the presence of parents. As long as the situation doesn’t require permanent dismissal, you may want to consider offering an exiting staff member the chance to substitute in the future. Especially if an exit has been difficult, make sure to retain professionalism and keep comments to other staff members as well as parents as positive as possible. Make sure staff members know this is your expectation for them as well.
Church Child Care Staffing Issues: Thriving During Transitions, Part 2
Staffing changes can be difficult on the children in your center. But there’s plenty you can do to mitigate the trauma that can come with these kinds of changes. We discussed some of these issues in Part 1 (above), and now we’ll take a look at how to introduce new staff members and help welcome them and become comfortable as new members of your church child care center team.
Before the First Day
You’ll want to provide orientation for new staff members, training them on all processes and activities they’ll be required to know. Not only will this help the new staff member become quickly acclimated to the new position, but it will also go a long way toward helping children and their parents feel comfortable and confident in the person’s ability.
Introducing new staff members before their first day can be a problem, in case something prevents the new hire from actually starting work at your church childcare. Such a situation can be awkward and confusing, and you don’t want to risk that breach of trust with your child care center family. However, once a new staff member does arrive, be sure to introduce him or her to other staff members and parents right away. You may even want to send out a letter with some background information so parents feel as if they know the person a little bit and feel comfortable with that person. Include any relevant education and experience.
Make sure to have the new staff member wear a name tag, and put up a photo on a bulletin board or on the door, so parents will not be surprised at seeing the person for the first time. You could also send out an e-mail through Jackrabbit Care, communicating important changes with parents in a professional manner.
Dealing with Gaps
As much as we may try to avoid it, sometimes situations arise when there’s a gap between an exiting staff member and a suitable replacement. It’s important to communicate with parents about your desire to fill the position with the most qualified teacher and that doing so may take more time than you would prefer. Even if the situation has been frustrating, make sure to project a confident and positive attitude.
You’ll also need to ensure that there’s no lapse in quality while you experience a shortage in staff. Perhaps you’ll need to temporarily hire a teacher during the interim period; sometimes having substitutes on call can help in such situations.
As a church childcare director, you have many responsibilities, and among them, managing your staff may be the most difficult. The Staff Portal of Jackrabbit Care can greatly assist child care directors as they manage their staff.
Church Child Care Staffing Issues: Thriving During Transitions, Part 3
As a child care center director, managing staff is an important aspect of your role. How you manage staffing changes will go a long way toward reinforcing (or undermining) the confidence your staff members and parents have in your ability to effectively lead. By taking intentional steps to keep everyone informed and to help them adjust to changes, you’ll be able to navigate through even the most difficult staffing transitions and come out on top.
Providing Parents with Support
The parents you serve need to know that you care about the way that staffing changes affect their children. While you may not be able to completely avoid losing well-loved staff members, you can help reduce parents’ frustrations by proactively communicating not only the news but also assistance in helping their children through the upcoming transition.
Let them know that sometimes when a favorite teacher is no longer present, children have difficult responses. They may no longer desire to go to school or cry when parents leave. Seemingly unrelated fears and insecurities can also surface during such times. Assure parents that these kinds of responses are normal, and that you will help provide resources to help them nurture their children through this difficult change.
Realizing How Others Are Impacted
As much as the loss of a staff member will impact your program and cause difficulty for you as the director, part of your job is to be aware of how others will be affected and do what you can to mitigate the hardship. The remaining teachers are often expected to take on added responsibilities, which can have various effects on them personally as well as on their classes. This kind of increased workload is one of the factors that leads to employee turnover to begin with, and you certainly don’t want to end up with more teachers leaving. In addition to the added responsibilities that come with the loss of a staff member, other staff can struggle with the negative morale.
You can encourage positive attitudes by modeling one yourself as well as by making sure you’re not failing in the other areas that influence staff turnover. If you’ve never had a Staff Appreciation Day, this might be the best time to start one!
Of course, you already have enough on your plate with the need to recruit and train a new teacher. But by helping others in your child care center family thrive during this transition, you’ll be encouraging their trust and investing in your center’s future.
Even if you respond as well as possible to staffing changes, you can lose more staff members and students as a result. Instead of waiting for the inevitable to happen, you can encourage professional growth and establish positive communication patterns for your staff by using Jackrabbit Care.
Jackrabbit Care childcare management software helps simplify the complexities of managing a church child care center while greatly improving communication among center staff and with parents as well as giving directors the ease of online payments and records. Learn more about how Jackrabbit Care can help you: Click here.