After school programs are more than just a resource for busy parents who need extra child supervision later in the day. They are another way for children to socialize with their peers, learn new skills, and gain new experiences. When selecting an after school program in which to enroll their child, parents look for a well-organized, well-staffed program that offers a slew of activities that are both fun and foster early child care development.
Key Challenges of After School Programs
Delivering high-quality after school program activities is often easier said than done. If program directors add multiple new activities without consulting enrollment numbers, available staff, or additional necessary resources, they risk being over / understaffed or spending money on programs that parents don’t want.
Even with a well-assigned staff and high enrollment, there are still many organizational and administrative factors that have to be considered before the fun can start. These include:
- Enrollment forms that inform instructors on each child’s health or specific needs must be submitted.
- Schedules for children and staff have to be created and updated.
- Attendance must be tracked and promptly reimbursed in order to ensure regular cash flow.
Moreover, after this is all taken care of, instructors should keep track of recurring trends and the overall efficiency of their after school program management plan, and make adjustments accordingly.
These back-office functions are incredibly time-consuming, especially when you have to be looking after a large group of active children. After school program management software is necessary to complete these tasks in an efficient and detailed way, ensuring a high-quality after school program that parents trust.
How After School Program Management Software Supports Your Activity Offerings
With after school program management software, you can automatically complete and track administrative tasks to see where you have the time and resources to add more activities to your program. The right after school program management software should address a few key functions: attendance tracking, scheduling, registration, and billing, to streamline your back-office functions. This also gives instructors and parents a central information hub that they can update and get alerts from in real-time.
Using a software solution will help to organize the activities you offer, or want to offer, at your after school program in two key ways.
First, it will ensure that for each activity you offer at your program, you have all of the necessary forms, meet staffing requirements, and have an updated roster of children who are participating.
Second, the solution will show you trends in the types of activities that get the most sign-ups, allowing you to make informed decisions on the kinds of experiences you should add to your program that parents are interested in. You will also better understand how much it costs to add another activity based on staffing and supply costs, and how much money you have coming in.
Key Features & Benefits of After School Program Management Software
Here are some of the key benefits and features after school program management software offers:
Before the first day of your after school program, you have to collect all pertinent personal information about students and their families, such as information on allergies, or emergency contacts. This information has to be updated and available even when offsite.
Procare’s Family Data module provides standard child care forms that are easily available and printable to track child and parent information at a moment’s notice. Instructors can also create their own custom forms and permission slips to easily email or print and distribute to parents. This ensures that no matter the activity, or where it takes place, instructors have all of the necessary permissions and are alerted if a form is out of date.
Attendance & Scheduling
Incorporating the student attendance tracking feature into your after school program management software allows you to record the hours each child spends in your care. Tracking each child’s hours based on digital check-in and check-out cards allows you to accurately bill parents on attendance-based fees.
Additionally, you can track and account for extra days, late pick-ups, and overtime. The attendance tracker simplifies communication by enabling after school program instructors to send messages to parents, as well as allows parents to view their child’s schedule and account balance.
By adding the Employee Data module to attendance tracking, you are also able to view staffing and attendance trends and keep track of student to teacher ratios, allowing you to adjust your scheduling plans accordingly to any missed opportunities.
Finally, monitoring children live at check-in and checkout also adds a level of security to your program, as there are controls to ensure only authorized guardians are dropping children off and picking them up.
By tracking employee hours and attendance, you have a better understanding of the resources you need to run your program, and are better equipped to bill for the actual number of hours spent caring for each child. This also gives you a better idea of how to allocate resources for future scheduling of activities.
A standardized billing process ensures parents are aware of their account balance and history, and assists in collecting payments on time. Child care accounting software simplifies your program’s bookkeeping tasks. This solution automatically records financial reports and histories, allows instructors to track deposits, and prints receipts for parent’s tax purposes. Additionally, within the Family Accounting platform, you can track charges, set up recurring fees, and automate billing in conjunction with the number of hours recorded by Attendance Tracking.
To further simplify billing for your program and for parents, you can incorporate Tuition Express to the family accounting module. This gives parents and easy way to automatically pay their bill online and on time, every billing cycle. This is convenient for parents, and ensures a steady cash flow for after school programs to pay for supplies and pay roll.
Billing is one of the clearest benefits of after school program management software. Without a solid structure in place to make sure you are receiving payments on time consistently, it will be impossible to improve your program with new activity offerings.
Parents’ expectations of a high-quality after school program have shifted to include a myriad of activities and learning experiences. While after school caregivers are eager to provide their students with these abilities, it’s essential that there are enough students enrolled to fill the programs and enough staff to supervise them. You also must confirm there is a strong billing structure in place to have regular cash flow to pay for supplies and space.
Ensuring all of these tasks are managed and updated on a regular basis can result in hours of extra work. But, using after school program management software brings automation and organization to your processes, so your students and their families have the best possible experience.
Are you interested streamlining your after school program with a management software? Learn more about how Procare can help.