“Tidy” is not typically a word you would use to describe a preschool, daycare or child care center. Don’t get me wrong, teachers put in a lot of hard work to keep things organized, but in a room filled with toys, books
On the administrative side, when your day is full of impromptu emergencies, the last thing you want to deal with is a stack of paperwork. Nearly everything has gone digital by now, yet many child care centers are still stuck doing administrative work on paper.
With a little upfront work, you can transform your preschool by ditching the paper (but remember to recycle!) and going digital with your administrative forms. Here are 5 reasons why you should make the switch:
1. Won’t Get Lost
For parents, from leaving work to picking up their kiddo to dinner to playing to bedtime, the form you gave them today is the last thing on their mind. If it gets misplaced somewhere along the way, then it can be almost impossible to retrace their steps and find it.
While you can always give them another one, if a parent gives you a form with sensitive information on it like their address or credit card number and you lose it, that can be a big liability that you don’t want to take on.
A digital form can’t get lost along the way, making the process of collecting important information that much easier. Plus, if you can’t remember where you filed it away, chances are you can pull up an email thread with a copy of the form.
2. More Secure
Once something is on paper and handed over to someone else, you really have no idea what’s going to happen to it next. Hopefully it just goes into a locked drawer, but mistakes happen and it can always be left on a desk or slip out of a folder while walking outside.
Depending on the software you are using, digital forms can have security precautions in place to ensure only the right individuals have access to sensitive information. By assigning usernames and passwords to trusted staff, everyone can have better peace of mind that data is being kept safe. Plus, you may even be able to see access logs of who accessed the documents and when they did so, in case things go awry at some point.
3. Accessible When You Need It
How many times have you needed to know if Bradley is allergic to cilantro or if Paula’s parents’ credit card has been updated, only to go down a rabbit hole of, “did their parents fill out the form? I think I remember getting it 3 weeks ago. Wait, 3 weeks ago I did some work at home on Tuesday evening. Did I bring that stack of papers in from the side table in the living room? I remember I brought in half and moved the other half to under the bed…”
If you need to know something, you shouldn’t have to do a bunch of detective work to find it. By digitizing your forms, you can have important information like allergies, contact details and payment history accessible anytime at your fingertips.
4. Better for the Environment
Less paper means fewer trees being cut down, as well as less manufacturing and transporting, which ultimately is better for the environment. It might not seem like much when you’re looking at one or two pieces of paper, but when you add these up for dozens or hundreds of kiddos, it’s easy to see the amount of paper being produced when a more efficient paper-free solution is already out there.
5. Better Record-Keeping
As mentioned earlier, digital information is much easier to keep track of and prevent from getting lost than paper. But it goes much further. Since it is digitized, you can go one step further and store this data in different folders, spreadsheets or software, depending on what your needs are. Or, you can compile information collected from various forms over time into one complete profile for each kiddo that has everything you’ll ever need to know in one convenient place.
Have you gone digital at your center? Know any other benefits that weren’t mentioned in this article? Let other early childhood educators know in the comments!