Childcare management software development benefits, tools, and challenges
As competition intensifies and customer expectations rise, childcare businesses embrace state-of-the-art technologies to improve their operations. In 2020, the size of the global market for childcare management software was estimated at $164M. It is expected to reach $267M by 2027. Therefore, developing a child care management app seems like a lucrative business.
Why do daycare organizations purchase management systems? Which main features should such software contain? What tools do you require to build one, and what challenges await you? Read on to find out!
Key benefits of developing a daycare management system
Daycare management software development may seem like a complex endeavor. Why is it worth the effort? In a nutshell, the reason is that such a tool makes preschool institutions more responsive and efficient. It improves communication between parents, teachers, and administrators dramatically. Let’s discuss the pros of daycare management systems in more detail.
Enhanced parents’ engagement
Modern parents rely upon technology to stay connected at all times. For instance, more than 90% of Millennials, many of whom now become parents, own smartphones. They would like to be updated about their children throughout the day. A custom childcare management software solution allows caregivers to send them text notifications or even the latest photos or videos of their offspring.
Administrative tasks automation
Aside from actual caregiving, teachers have to deal with lots of administrative tasks. The child care software can make that part of their job a lot easier. It automates record-keeping, online registration, as well as provides templates for reporting and easy-to-use tracking. As a result, teachers can spend more time with children.
Analyzing child’s behavior and growth
Such software allows caregivers to keep a detailed digital record of a child’s activities. Thus, they can track the progress and identify any issues easily. Your custom system for child care management may also include health screening options and illness reporting.
Unlike paper-based systems, digital solutions make information almost instantly available for many users. Updating any necessary records becomes much easier. Administrators can use built-in scheduling tools to access available resources and requirements. The need for resource optimization in daycare is especially evident if we take into account the pressure of government regulations.
“Daycare and preschool in America are highly regulated. With few exceptions, to operate a child care business, you must be licensed and inspected by your state. This is an important safety measure for parents and children. You must also maintain certain child-to-caregiver ratios at all times. Because of this, the cost to start a new child care business is high, and, in my experience, businesses can overstaff to make sure they can cover their ratios,” says Sara Mauskopf, Co-Founder and CEO of Winnie.
Improved employee retention
High turnover rates, reaching 40%, are a problem for the childcare industry. Larger paychecks aren't the only thing to keep employees in one place. Automation of at least some mundane tasks and better coordination makes the work of caregivers easier and more enjoyable. As a result, employees are happier and stay with their employers longer.
Child care management software may include automated billing, which makes getting money from the clients much easier. Administrators won’t have to worry about invoicing and other related matters. Parents will get reminders about upcoming payments and 24/7 online log-in to make them.
Child care management software design best practices
Child care management solutions are quite complex and come in all shapes and sizes. Nonetheless, the best such solutions have some common characteristics. We’d like to draw your attention to several of them.
Integrated accounting management
Managing accounting at a daycare facility is a time-consuming task. For instance, dealing with the paper invoices and sending all of them to the parents is a challenge. The administrators of such a facility will be glad to get a tool, allowing them to prepare and send email invoices to the clients as swiftly as possible. They will appreciate the system that manages financial accounting as well as enrollment, attendance, and communication.
Remember that child care software has several categories of users, including parents. Software providers can offer some training for child care center employees, but parents will have little time to familiarize themselves with all the features. Make sure that your software has an easy-to-use interface that provides a smooth experience.
Make your system available on mobile devices
A mobile app will come in handy both for parents and staff members. With its help, employees can manage administrative tasks, add new information to the database and connect with parents in an instant. The same app can allow parents to track the real-time status of their children, see their photos and videos, and make payments on the go.
Daycare management software features to consider
The set of features for daycare management software can vary, but there are some core options you’d probably want to have in your product. If you start planning the child care management app development, pay attention to the list below.
Daycare institutions should track the attendance of their students and staff. Traditional paper-based record-keeping is quite slow and difficult to handle. Your digital child care system would probably include such sub-features as:
check-in features (for instance, fingerprinting)
digital attendance reports
Caregivers should have templates to log every activity of a child. Thus, they would be able to create daily reports with notes, photos, and videos, monitor health, share memorable moments with parents, etc. With their help, preschools can save much on paperwork and provide parents with real-time child care daily reports.
Also, add an option to support the child's community. Allow parents to invite grandparents and friends to see their kids’ progress. Such users might have restricted visibility and actions on the app.
As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, the option of distance learning should always be available.
Such features as virtual classes, class lists, scheduled lesson planning, learning material sharing are crucial for that. Childcare management software should allow parents to stay in contact with teachers, supporting school learning with activities at home. Also, educators should be able to track their pupils’ progress and development journey.
Including all possible payment features in your software is probably a good idea. Childcare facility staff will appreciate the system, allowing them to handle recurring payments, attendance-based billing, one-time charges, etc. Parents should be able to pay according to the learning plan in an eye blink. They should be able to do it directly from the bank account or using a credit card and get paperless invoice receipts via email.
A child care center has to keep and manage records of its staff, deal with new admissions, payroll reports, etc. While parents should be offered online enrollment forms, administrators should be able to control the incoming flow of data. Use cloud-based records management to centralize student, family, and staff data with and ensure data access anytime.
Child care management app tech stack
After determining which features you’d like your software to have, you’ll probably wonder how to make it work. If you don’t have a team of experienced developers at hand, you should look for a trustworthy technical partner. The latter will know what to do. However, if you are curious about how to develop a child care management system, consider the list below.
Back-end development handles the behind-the-scenes functions: authorizing users, interacting with databases, routing URLs, etc. It is the backbone of your system. Here are a few tools you might use to build it.
Robust technology stack
Rich ecosystem with hundreds of thousand libraries
Solid corporate support
Our development team has successfully used a combination of Node.js and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create complex products. The use of a cloud platform is important for scalability. AWS is cost-effective and adaptable. You can choose the programming language, the operating system, database, and other services you require.
NestJS is an open-source, progressive Node.js framework. It is used for creating scalable and testable applications. NestJS has a fully-fledged ecosystem and can be used with other libraries.
You can use MySQL and PostgreSQL to organize data storage. PostgreSQL is an open-source database management system, which is free to use. It has multiple technical options to ensure scalability. You can rely on a strong community, which has been built for 25 years of PostgreSQL’s existence.
Front-end is focused on what users actually see and interact with — the graphical interface. It is no less important than the back-end, as the interface should be honed to perfection to provide a seamless experience.
HTML or Hypertext Markup Language is a key building block for a UI. It “explains” to the browser how to display the information structure of your web app. For instance, it specifies input font type, graphics, hyperlink effects, color, etc.
AngularJS is another popular framework, which is maintained by Google. It has numerous advantages, such as ease of use and two-way data binding (changes to view instantly influence the model and vice-versa). AngularJS allows developers to create web prototypes in no time.
Daycare management software development challenges
Developing such a complex solution like a child care management system may be quite difficult. Here are some of the challenges you may face:
Determining the list of features for MVP. You might have a lot of brilliant ideas for your product, but incorporating them all at once may not be feasible. It will take too much time and money. Try to focus on the basic features for MVP development. You can build on them later.
The platform must fit in the operations of the daycare center. Building a good solution isn’t enough, you should teach end-users how to employ a new tool most effectively. It may take more time and energy than you think. And even then, some maintenance will be required.
Your product must be improved constantly. Create a constant flow of feedback. You should clearly understand which features are in demand and which you should improve or even scrap. Make sure to take into consideration the feedback from all categories of users.
The cost of the child care management system development
The cost of developing a child care management system depends on various factors. Firstly, it is influenced by the number and complexity of the required features. Secondly, you may want your app to work on single or multiple platforms. Finally, the hourly pricing of developers around the world varies greatly. For instance, they will be much higher for the USA or Western Europe than for India or Eastern Europe.
To get a precise quote, contact Menklab and describe your project in detail. Below you can see the approximate scope of work for each daycare management software development stage, measured as the average amount of working hours.
Time: 200 - 400 hours
The new software must be aligned with the business processes and goals. That’s why the first stage of development is to define the project vision. Key stakeholders should work together with the business analyst to do that. As the discussion goes on, general requirements and the list of features crystalize, and the project’s direction is set.
Front-end and back-end development
Time: 700 - 1500 Hours
The most important as well as time-consuming, and costly part of the project. The engineers design the architecture of your system, link databases to dataflows, construct the mechanics behind all your desired features, etc. In other words, they build the bone and muscle of your system.
Child care management systems are quite complex products. Technical documentation is required to explain its use, hardware requirements, functionality, and architecture. It should be clear, searchable, and helpful for caregivers and administrators. Thus, they can understand the system and use it most effectively.
Time: 250 - 400 Hours
Developers should work together with designers to make the user experience as smooth as possible. Creating a great UI and UX takes a lot of effort. For instance, the interface must look good on devices with different screens. The clutter-free but functional UIs catch the eye and demand more creativity.
Time: 250 - 450 Hours
Testing is an integral part of software development. No matter how well thought-through your system is, it may still contain some flaws. Only after testing, you can be reasonably sure that your clients will face no bugs.
Why choose Menklab as a partner for designing a child care management software?
Menklab can help you with engineering state-of-the-art software for the education industry. We’ve already designed complex solutions for daycare centers. Let’s have a look at the gem of our portfolio — Nurture, preschool communications, and management platform.
The project included a web application for administrators, an Android app for parents, iOS apps for teachers and parents, and a web payment portal. With the help of our platform, parents can enroll children and manage their accounts. Teachers and caregivers can take photos and videos of the kids, sending them to the parents. Each child has an individual page specifying his or her mood, behavior, meals, naps, curriculum, etc.
The parents can also watch live streams of their children. An average customer has more than 30 locations with 20 live cameras in each. 100-200 parents may use Nurture concurrently at each school. To ensure the smooth performance of this system, we’ve employed a highly scalable cloud-based hosting solution.
Our platform also helps to provide physical security of entry and exit points for staff, children, and parents. It can track the location of each student on the premises. Also, the system provides channels for emergency communication between the school and parents.
Parents have visited more than 30 countries while staying connected with their children with the help of this app. The client saved part of its topline revenue due to a more efficient tuition process, improved school operations management, and higher retention. The company was opening two additional schools a year, outperforming expectations.
Contact Menklab to make your idea of a childcare management app come true
Daycare management systems have enough benefits to attract the attention of education institutions. They can help to satisfy the need of parents to know how their children are doing throughout the day. That means more satisfied customers for childcare institutions. At the same time, caregivers also become happier as the software automates some mundane work. Administrators can handle managerial tasks, such as tracking staff requirements, much more easily. All in all, daycare management systems are likely to be in demand in the near future.
Developing a child care management app is a complex task, requiring skillful software engineers and designers. We at Menklab have the team with the necessary experience, leveraging state-of-art technologies. Our company strives to create top-notch software quickly and efficiently. Share your ideas with us, and we will gladly help to build the product you envision.