Digital Dividends

Unlocking a commercial advantage with Capture Education.

While you may have first started running a nursery for the love of nurturing children, it is ultimately a commercial venture. And as with any commercial venture, to be able to survive, a nursery business needs to generate revenue and profit. However, unlike many other small businesses, a nursery is heavily regulated by government, and the customer is not just any customer – it’s the parent of a much-loved child who would probably prefer to be staying at home with their little one as opposed to returning to work.

This presents a challenge. On one hand nurseries must satisfy administrative and legislative demands, and be publicly evaluated against Ofsted standards; on the other they must ensure a loving, caring and nurturing environment in which the child will flourish, giving parents peace of mind.

So as a nursery business, how can you meet these apparently conflicting demands without incurring unnecessary costs? One solution involves the management of the children’s learning journals.

Changing Roles

Learning journals are the accepted way of meeting observational assessment requirements; they are believed to be the most reliable way of building up an accurate picture of children’s development. But here’s the tricky bit. There is no prescribed method of gathering evidence, nor any expectation that it should be recorded in a specified way.

In years gone by, ‘learning journals’ were kept by nurseries as a way of sharing special moments with parents, with pictures used to capture key developmental milestones. However, in recent times nurseries are expected to show a child’s development, often using the early years curriculum as a basis and the learning journal as an evidence book for Ofsted.

As such, the traditional paper-based and ‘fun’ scrapbooks have now become an administrative burden on staff that can literally take hours to produce and then require further moderation. From a commercial perspective, this has cost implications and given the further demands placed on nurseries recently – the Living Wage, increased ‘free’ childcare places, GCSE and ratio changes – it is becoming harder than ever to keep nurseries profitable whilst retaining the highest quality standards.

Moreover, from the parents’ perspectives, learning journals are kept at the nursery and only generally taken home when the child leaves the setting. As a nursery business, how do you address this imbalance? The good news is that technology offers a solution.

Efficient & Effective

The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet devices, and the rise of social media, means technology is an everyday part of parents’ lives. Communication by text, email and closed Facebook groups are all commonplace channels in nursery businesses today. Why should learning journals be the exception?

The answer is, they shouldn’t! Digital learning journals like Capture Education exist to give nursery businesses an efficient and effective tool for sharing special moments with parents and simultaneously recording learning outcomes for reporting to Ofsted and tracking against a range of criteria.

Everything that was once the reserve of printing, cutting and sticking can now be recorded in the moment and attached directly to a child and the relevant learning outcomes, using a fully secure and cloud-based system.

From a commercial perspective, using Capture Education frees up practitioners to focus on their prime role: delivering childcare and meeting much-needed ratios in the rooms.

Equally importantly, the system gives nurseries an effective way of communicating with parents and offers peace of mind. Through a secure parental log in, settings can now choose to share special moments during the day, as they happen, without any labour-intensive downloading of images to computers and emailing out to individual parents.

The digital recording of children’s progress is also mapped directly to early years curriculums, which saves even more time when assessing where any developmental gaps might be and producing reports to manage cohorts.

Transitioning from paper to digital is a very easy step to make. Capture Education has a team of early years professionals who can help guide you through the set up and implementation – including how to communicate with your parents.

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