The complete guide to implementing digital attendance for your childcare

The commotion of parents racing to drop off or pick up their children on time punctuates days at any childcare center. Staff members must often rush from one place to another, ensuring parents have the required roster sheets. There’s a lot of paperwork and chaos while children are picked up or dropped off at their daycares.

As challenging as it might sound, childcare attendance is crucial for several reasons. And thanks to technology, there are ways to make it easier and much more efficient.

Why is childcare attendance tracking important?

Centers must keep accurate attendance records for the following reasons:

Licensing requirements

Although licensing requirements differ from state to state, most require attendance to be recorded efficiently. A childcare provider is responsible for ensuring parents check in on their kids every day. It’s equally important to review sign-in sheets to confirm the parent wrote the accurate date and time and signed at the correct spot. Finally, if a licensing auditor wants to assess these records, a provider must ensure they’re properly filed.

For example, these are the minimum attendance requirements for legally operating a childcare facility in Montana, US:

The childcare facility must maintain a daily attendance record and keep a master list of the names, contact details, and addresses of all the children and their parents. You must take parent information on the forms provided by the State Department, and parents should duly sign them.

Transportation

If your childcare center provides transport, you’re legally obligated to take attendance before and after each trip. Although regulations vary by state, daycare staff usually keep an attendance sheet to track student drop and pick up. The bus staff ensures that the child is handed over to only authorized pickup people, like family members, guardians, or a nanny. They also have to be vigilant about a child being accounted for when they change their location.

Parents trust you to keep their kids safe and secure, so the onus lies on you to keep their peace of mind intact. Attendance tracking at your childcare ensures every child is accounted for, even when in transit.

Subsidized care

Childcare providers are mandated to keep attendance records of children who’re availing subsidies by the government. It will help the state confirm a parent’s claims of a kid being in your care. Any inaccuracies in attendance can lead to children being deprived of subsidies and unenrolled from the center. Since only those parents who are the poorest of the poor can avail of the subsidy, the child’s name being taken off the roll can result in a devastating loss of educational and professional opportunities.

Marketing purposes

For enrollment and marketing purposes, having a clear picture of how many children are in your care on a season-by-season basis is critical. Attendance records allow caregivers to determine which hours and programs are the most preferred and which should be reduced or advertised to enhance enrollment.

Safety and Security

Recording attendance is necessary for ensuring the safety of the kids. It also safeguards the anticipated recurring annual revenue (RAR) that the childcare provider expects to make when a certain number of students are under tutelage. With childcare software apps, you can easily access the past attendance of students to check for discrepancies and bill them accordingly to ensure no outstanding amount is missed.

Get a daily summary

A daily attendance summary helps the staff determine how many days a student was present by pulling the summary of 32 days worth of attendance. The summary report is the perfect place to catch any errors while recording attendance and determines a child’s status, whether they turn up weekly, fortnightly, or bimonthly.

How does attendance contribute to childcare business planning?

If you want to ensure you’re complying with the student-to-teacher ratio fixed by the state and anticipate your business’s growth in the next 5 to 10 years, attendance records can be a huge help.

  • By maintaining the attendance data of your students, you can predict enrollment numbers for future years.
  • For a marketing budget, having a precise idea of the number of kids in your care is crucial. You can advertise the sessions where you don’t get enough children to attract more parents if you’ve access to sign-in sheets for six months or so.
  • Childcare providers can determine from attendance records which day of the week and sessions (morning or evening) are the most popular, helping them chart out their business plan.
  • Attendance statistics can ensure enough staff members are available to fulfill student-teacher ratio standards. They also help you determine how much budget you’ll have to allocate to pay your staff or hire more teachers, if necessary. Every daycare ought to have a minimum number of carers per state requirements, so you’ll be able to forecast staffing requirements for your business.

This way, you can easily predict how much revenue you’ll manage to generate when you eliminate the expenses of running a daycare through attendance statistics.

How can you streamline your attendance process?

Illumine’s digital attendance app provides the tools you need to make attendance tracking contactless and foolproof at your center. Forget about paper-laden registers and manually checking in and checking out every kid on the sheets. With Illumine, you can revolutionize how you record attendance at your center like never before. Let’s see how.

1. Contactless attendance

The attendance app digitizes the attendance marking of both students and staff for the centers. They can check in by scanning the QR code at the school using the QR code scanner in the app, entering their kiosk codes, and even by manual entries. The platform also allows teachers to record student temperature while they check in to ensure safety and avoid spreading any infection under new circumstances.

2. Pick up and drop off authorization

Illumine allows parents to designate guardians for the pickups and drop-offs of their children. With the attendance app, parents can add information such as who can pick up their kids from school, how they are related to their kids, and the person’s contact details. This ensures peace of mind for parents and staff, knowing the kids are in safe and trusted hands.

3. Attendance reports

The platform automatically logs and updates all sign-out and sign-in records in real-time. Therefore, school owners can access digital attendance reports and the live-student-teacher ratio of their center at any point in time. All the information is accessible to you on the admin dashboard.

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4. Hour-based billing

Illumine gives you an option to create your free templates. This enables you to charge parents hourly and keep things simple at your center. Illumine’s billing app makes charging parents a breeze for you. Create individual templates for parents following a different payment system, and charge them accordingly with the platform.

5. Late check-in records

Since the check-in and checkout timing of both students and staff is automatically recorded, you can easily track the late check-ins. A ‘late check-in’ label is added to the digital attendance sheet next to anyone’s name who checks in late. This enables you to monitor student and teacher activity efficiently while helping you make payments to the staff accordingly.

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6. Classroom ratios

Configure and track teacher-to-student ratios in your class. You get alerts when the ratio exceeds or when it is not maintained.

7. Medical forms

Schools can customize medical forms for parents to record temperature, for medical declarations or any food or medicines-related requests, and to register any food allergies or food-specific demands. This direct access to information about each child on the attendance app makes it easier for teachers to keep track of each child’s needs.

8. Automate notifications

Parents receive an automated notification every time a child checks in or out of school. As a result, you won’t have to be concerned about their well-being. With our attendance app, you can also provide peace of mind to parents and instructors by authorizing and simplifying student pickups.

Advantages of a digital sign-in sheet

One of the most practical aspects of having a digital sign-in and sign-out system with Illumine is the ability to integrate the monthly attendance sheet with your daycare invoicing system. You may automatically produce an invoice based on what has been captured in your digital sign-in system rather than track how many sessions or days a child has attended.

Because of this versatility, we strongly suggest giving Illumine some serious thought. Electronic sign-in saves you and your staff time at check-in and when it’s time to look through your records for billing. As each parent has a unique password, digital sign-in and sign-out are more secure than paper trails.

Teachers can enhance the quality of their morning relationships with Illumine. They spend more time extending greetings to parents and children rather than scurrying hither-thither to keep tabs on attendance. Isn’t that a win-win?

Is it possible to send medical forms to parents before they check their children?

Childcare administrators can permit parents to send a health screening form from home before they check their children. This is especially important in case a student is ill before returning to campus or during unprecedented times, such as the pandemic.

With Illumine, you can build your digital medical form and safeguard every student’s health record, saving you time and the headache of enquiring about every sick child’s health.

7 tips for efficient attendance tracking

Illumine provides information on the current teacher-to-student ratio. The information is easily accessible through the childcare attendance app’s administrator dashboard. Here are 7 tips for tracking attendance proactively with Illumine.

1. Make your sign-in sheets simpler and accessible

A little bit of redefining can never hurt. Review your current attendance sheets properly; if you figure they’re too disorganized or maybe too old school – it’s time you redesigned them for a cleaner look, making them simpler to use.

Make sure there is ample space for all the details to be filled in properly, and it doesn’t end up looking cluttered in the end. Consider all the elements of an attendance sheet – from check-in, check-out time, and parent’s signatures to pick-up and drop-off times. Realign them in a way that the process moves forward smoothly and swiftly.

Alternatively, as we discussed earlier, you can also digitize the attendance sheet with Illumine’s attendance app. This will save you time and streamline your attendance process, making data available to you whenever you want in a clean, comprehensive format.

2. Always be a step ahead

Prepare a folder with fresh sign-in sheets and keep them at the check-in location so you can quickly access and replace any that are full.

Also, please ensure that new children are included on the attendance list before their first school day. Doing this would not just help you be prepared but would help to cut down on wait times while checking students in.

It would be best if you prepared in advance to stay on top of your attendance tracking process. Adding new students to the database and collecting their parents’ details are just some steps one needs to take to be prepared.

A childcare management app deployed at your school will ensure this process is hassle-free and fast-paced. With such systems by your side, there’s no need to go through the trouble of transferring data to different papers or databases.

3. Be accurate

Incorrect entries could cause you a lot of trouble in the future, especially during audit times. You can install a digital clock and calendar to avoid human error. This would mean the parents or staff are accurately filling in the date and time.

You could make the entire process foolproof with the help of an attendance app. Digital sign-in sheets would mean that parents are not faulty regarding where they sign or fill in the details. It would also make attendance a contactless process, ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

4. Establishing a reviewing process

If you are following a manual attendance system, ensure teachers review all the entries thoroughly at the end of the day. Correcting errors is much easier than detecting and fixing them days later. It would also help you fasten your entire process and keep things flowing smoothly.

A childcare app automates filling in details such as the time and date for each child. The information is stored in a cloud-based database and can be accessed for you to review anytime you want. This could especially prove helpful when billing parents.

5. Set up your facility

Depending on your childcare’s requirements and budgetary limitations, replacing the clipboard for taking attendance with a computer or a gadget to check in students may make sense. There are numerous devices to pick from, so ensure that it is specific to your needs. You can secure the device in a public place by fixing it to a wall and creating a kiosk where teachers and students can check in/out.

Before setting up your childcare, consider the following things:

  • Do you have a good internet connection? If not, consider setting up fast-speed Wi-Fi for the childcare app’s connectivity.
  • Does the childcare app run on the hardware you bought? Make sure you check the attendance tracking platform’s technical requirements before investing. Illumine, for your knowledge, is compatible with all iOs and Android devices, so you hardly face any hardware concerns with it.

6. Prepare your families and staff

You’ll need to put in some effort to position yourself for success before you’re prepared to install your childcare check-in software formally. The good news is that if you choose a user-friendly system like Illumine, this won’t be challenging or time-consuming.

Give your staff and family clear, accessible instructions on using your kid check-in software. Consider providing highly detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures or a brief video presentation of how this new platform functions as everyone absorbs and assimilates information differently. Lucky for you, Illumine provides free training to your staff to get them inducted.

To give people enough time to adjust, we advise planning the switch to Illumine well in advance. We also advise spreading this information via your newsletter or sending out a few emails or reminders. You can even display a notice at the check-in area of your facility. To avoid surprises on the day you launch the attendance tracking software, give everyone ample notice.

7. Provide support

A parent or teacher should oversee check-in and checkout during the first few days when you’re ready to launch. Have someone available to assist people who want guidance or to answer inquiries. Even the most user-friendly technology is susceptible to human mistakes.

At Illumine, we offer 24/7 phone and live chat support, so a staff member, parent, or you can get your queries addressed instantly.

The bottom line is everyone receives the assistance they require to realize your aim of streamlining the check-in process. The learning curve will be minimal if you choose an apt platform like Illumine.

How to manually record student attendance?

With the new normal, the entire world is becoming increasingly contactless. From contactless purchases to contactless orders to contactless deliveries, everything is possible with contactless technology. Here are some ways to record attendance manually.

We built a contactless check-in and checkout function to ensure that students and teachers are in a safe setting once they reopen. Follow the steps below to learn how parents can check in and out their children and fill out the COVID questionnaire form.

Steps to record student or staff attendance

  • Go to the menu and select attendance.
  • Select either student or staff attendance from the drop-down menu.
  • To check a student or member of staff in, go to the top right and click the check-in button.
  • Then choose the students or employees you want to mark as present.
  • Choose your check-in time.
  • Choose between early check-in and late check-in. Choose the late-check-in option to mark a student late; a late label will display next to their name on the attendance sheet.
  • You can also enter the pupils’ and staff’s temperatures.
  • When you click submit, the student or staff member will be marked as present.
  • In the case of pupils, parents will receive an immediate indication that their child has been designated present.
  • Illumine also allows you to edit and correct attendance. Go to the menu and select attendance, then student attendance.

  • Mark pending by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Select the students whose attendance you’d want to change and hit the submit button. The platform will no longer show the selected students on the checked-in list.
  • Mark the attendance using a QR code scanner
  • By entering their kiosk code on the Illumine app, you can check in students/staff using Illumine’s kiosk mode.
  • Go to more on the Illumine instructor app, then to the kiosk option.
  • To enter or exit the mode, you must enter a code. By default, the password is set to 0000.
  • To change the password, go to more > miscellaneous settings > kiosk code and input the new password.
  • Go to the kiosk option, enter the password, and then check-in/out a student/staff member.

Steps to checkout a student or staff attendance

  • Go to the menu and select attendance.
  • Select either student or staff attendance from the drop-down menu.
  • To check out a student or member of staff, go to the top right and click the check out button.
  • Then choose the pupils or employees you want to examine.
  • Choose your checkout time.
  • Select whether you want to check in early or late.
  • Submit the form.
  • In the case of children, parents will receive immediate notification.

Wrap up

With a touch of a button or a QR code, Illumine helps you track staff and student attendance in real-time. Manage authorized pickups, track temperature, and get real-time classroom ratios, among other things. Adopt a more effective and speedier method of recording attendance. Illumine takes care of your attendance, pickup, and drop-off needs.

Illumine is a one-stop solution for daycare centers looking to streamline their curriculum by organizing submissions, sharing assessments, and evaluating growth plans – all with the click of a button. Are you ready to begin? You can request a free 11-day trial with all features or book a demo with us to track attendance seamlessly with Illumine.

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