How does a nursery management system contribute to your setting’s good practice?

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Tapestry outlines the benefits of a nursery management system for your business, staff and families.

PHOTO Adobe Stock
PHOTO Adobe Stock

Combining child-centred practice with running a business

Early years provision comes in different shapes and sizes, many of which are offering early childhood education and care at the same time as being a business. Whatever type of provision you offer, it’s important that all the resources you access contribute to the ethos of your setting, helping you and your team to support families, children, and each other. So how does a management system add to the good practice of your setting?

Supporting positive parent/carer communication

Building relationships with the families at your setting happens in a multitude of ways. Quick and easy communication around admin is key. While this may seem very practical and not particularly related to the learning and development of their child, it can go a long way to establishing trust between parents and staff at your setting.

The team at Knowles Nursery School use Tapestry to support their good practice. They set up Memos to inform and remind parents and carers about everyday things, such as to bring in some boxes and packets for modelling, as well as sharing the setting’s newsletter. 

'It really helps to make communication and engagement easier,' says Natalie Fowler, headteacher at Knowles Nursery School.

A regular point of contact for settings will be around booking and fees. Accurate and transparent invoicing can help families to plan their finances, while an easy-to-use booking system gives staff confidence when allocating sessions for children.

Toby Burns, Tapestry’s Development Manager, collaborated with settings during the development of the management system on Tapestry.

'Efficient software strengthens home/setting connections by providing clear communication about scheduling and billing. A one-stop solution simplifies things for families and staff,' he says.

Delivering the organisational needs of your unique setting and cohort

The tools you have available to support you with organisational tasks act as the interface between staff and families and will inevitably contribute to how everyone feels about the provision. How you offer your places, which development phases of children you cover in your intake, how you group and name those phases, and what funding you receive will all be part of what makes your setting unique.

Staying on top of any changes in funding is particularly important as a business and also to provide clarity and support for families and for your team. Tapestry’s Product Support and Testing Manager, Emily Boddington, explains, 'Tapestry’s management features are versatile, allowing nurseries to tailor pricing and bookings to their unique needs, in a way that fits their funding scenarios.'

Reducing workload by streamlining admin

Child-centred practice is enhanced when staff feel able to spend time with children, time learning from each other, and time getting to know families. A digital management tool can support this by pulling many administrative tasks into one system, leaving you with more time to focus on other things. Depending on your setting, this may mean more time for your office manager to spend greeting and welcoming parents, children and siblings; or perhaps time for you to mentor a new staff member; or maybe to enable time for your team to share knowledge, expertise and what they are noticing about children’s learning and development.

Louise Addison, Office Manager at Little Pippins pre-school, shares how the team make the most of having everything in one place.  

'We have been using Tapestry for a number of years to engage and share observations with our families,' she says. 'We have embraced Tapestry’s new management tools to help us minimise time spent creating and sending invoices and to monitor attendance. Importantly, we also use reflections to be able to share information with our practitioners about their key children. We have seen a huge increase in our families’ engagement with Tapestry this year which has been wonderful.'

Planning ahead

Early years settings never stand still. They change on a daily basis according to the interests and emotions of the children, and they change throughout the year as children and families come and go. An aspect of good practice is being able to respond and plan as these changes occur, and management systems can help you with this.

Tapestry’s Booking and Registers give you daily information about which children and staff are present, helping you to plan your ratios accordingly. Meanwhile, you can add information about children who are due to start but haven’t begun their sessions yet. Using an online management system can enable you to look at future occupancy and staffing requirements and plan the year to year development of your setting, all in one place.

Whatever tools you choose to support the good practice of your setting, it is important that they work for you and the children and families you connect with.

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