Childcare Management Systems | Literature Review

3352 words (13 pages) Essay in Childcare

21/11/17 Childcare Reference this

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CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 OVERVIEW

Literature reviews are conducted in order to fully understand a topic being researched about. By doing so, we could define and establish our area of study, as in my topic childcare management systems. Reviews are done on existing systems by explore how existing childcare or daycare centers management systems have been introduced, implemented and evolved. Comparisons of the systems are made for better understanding of systems functions. Advantages and disadvantages of the systems have to be understood as well. Section 2.1 depicts background study of three existing childcare management systems which are analyzed for better understand of this project. Section 2.2 summarizes the proposed system which will be designed and developed on later stages of this project. The features have been tabulated in Table 2.1.

2.1 BACKGROUND STUDY

Nowadays the need of daycare and childcare centers are increasing due to working parents and need of proper care of children. The management has to be efficient to keep up with these demands. In order to ease the work done in the centers, owners purchase or subscribe childcare management system software. There are so many different types and quality level of childcare management system software in the market. Even though each of them is used for similar purpose that is to manage a daycare centers but the design of functions and implementations of the systems are different. A system that provides all important functions needed by childcare centers will be the top priority in the market. Following existing systems have been choosing for comparison because they have higher market value and many customers favor them. In order to understand the similarities and differences of existing systems in different platform as well, comparison have been made between fully web based system, software based system and mobile application based system. Exploring the systems have been done by understand fully how the systems works and finally list out the advantages and disadvantages.

2.1.1 Centers Online (https://www.centresonline.com/index)

Centers online is an online childcare management system designed for both long and short day care centers. Centers Online provides childcare services with simple and easy to use online software for daily reporting and communication needs. The site updated continually and modified to ease users needs.

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The management system also helps every parent receives frequent updates about their child instantly. Centers Online provides a login interface for childcare centers and parents that is easy to use allowing parents to continually be aware of their children’s activities. Centers Online applications are available for all smartphones and tablets.

Centers Online is designed to be used by three types of users which are admin/owner of the childcare centers, teachers and parents. All of the users have their own login ids and viewing page.

The owner can access, view, create users and create rooms. They also can manage events and contact parents.

Teachers can update all information regarding children in their room such as feeding schedule, activities, performance, health condition and etc.

Parents get instant update regarding their children. They can view daily activities, update parent profile, view event details and view pictures uploaded by teachers of their children.

User-Management-800X347.pngFigure 2.1 shows user management page where the owner or admin of the childcare center manages users profile such as registration of students, parents profile and assigning teachers to classes. The panel on left side gives access to all functions for users.

Figure 2.1: Display of User Management Page

GroupPermission-800X347.pngFigure 2.2 shows the group permission page which grants owner or admin of childcare center to categorize users and their level of permissions on using the service. For instance, parents have limited access on site and more focus in viewing children’s update. Senior teachers have additional permissions since they have extra work to be done compared to new teachers.

Figure 2.2: Display of Group Permission Page

ChildrenManagement-800X347.pngFigure 2.3 shows children management page where all profile of children will be managed. Teachers and sometimes owners will assign children to classes according to their ages here. Status of students can be viewed here. All reports can be saved as pdf and excel files for reference or print out.

Figure 2.3: Display of Children Management Page

Dashboard-800X347.pngFigure 2.4 shows the calendar in schedule management of the system. All the activities that are carried out in the daycare center are recorded in the calendar. Upcoming events will be marked as well for easy reference and updates. Admin and teachers can access and view all the events and activities carried out on particular day. Parents only have access to view marked activities by teachers for their children. Parents will not fall behind knowing important dates of events.

Figure 2.4: Display of Calendar Page

Advantages:

  • Easy to use GUI (graphical user interface)
    • The user interface is friendly and understandable.
  • free access via website to parents account
    • Parents who register with childcare that use Centers Online will get free access to get updates from the center.
  • no server needed
    • No server and IT maintenance needed since it is web based software. The service provider maintains all the data and all data are secured.
  • register and use
    • The childcare center owner that is interested using this system simply registers with the service provider and start using.
  • application for smartphones and tablets
    • The service provider also has created application for devices such as smartphones in order to give an easy access and portability for users.

Disadvantages:

  • compulsory need of internet connection
    • Since it is a web-based software system internet connection needed in order to use the service provided and no offline option is given for the users to work offline.

 

 

 

 

 

2.1.2 The Pre-School Partner (http://www.on-qsoftware.com/pspscreens.html)

The Pre-School Partner is a software-based childcare management system. The software is available for a single PC or buyer could choose to take a package contains of license key for up to 20 personal computers which labeled as Network (1- 20). The software is obtained by either getting an installation CD or e-mail link to download and install.

It facilitates the daily functions andmanagementof the center by tracking and instantly making available all family, child and staff related information. It is complete and up to date with emergency contacts, guardians, drop off/pick up contacts, family and children notes, medical information, vaccination management, billing, accounts receivable, remote terminal logging and child scheduling and attendance. All the reports are easy to manage and printable for additional purpose. The software also has feature to manage staffs. The owner can keep track of staffs training histories.

regis.jpgFigure 2.5 shows children registration page where owner or staff at childcare center can register new children with the system. Children’s full detail such as full name, age and family information required for registration. Picture of registered children will be uploaded in the profile as well.

Figure 2.5: Display of Children Registration Page

family.jpgFigure 2.6 shows family or sponsor info page where all details of parents or sponsor are added such as contact details and address. Detail about particular people not permitted to be close to children added here as well to increase awareness of management. All records of drop off and pick up are keyed in here as well.

Figure 2.6: Display of Family/Sponsor Info Page

PspFm1.jpgFigure 2.7 shows guardians detail page where all information of child parents registered with the daycare center will be recorded and updated regularly. Contact details of parents given importance in order to get hold of them in case of emergency. Picture of the parent will be added as well.

Figure 2.7: Display of Guardians Detail Page

billing.jpgFigure 2.8 shows invoice record page where all invoices for the parents or sponsor of children registered recorded. All details of payments such as dates, amount and identification will be recorded accordingly for easier reference and record keeping.

Figure 2.8: Display of Invoice Page

Advantages:

  • user friendly screens
    • The GUI (graphical user interface) of the software is designed well by placing all the essential keys and buttons in easy accessible and understandable way.
  • larger scale of choice, more detailed and more functional
    • The software provides all essential functions that needed to run a daycare center. User has the option to choose use functions only they required.
  • work can be done offline (online only needed for cloud backup and sync)
    • No internet connection needed to use pre-school partner

Disadvantages:

  • one software one pc
    • The software is limited to one personal computer unless the owner buys a network package. Even though the network package consists of a maximum of 20 key licenses for personal computers the portability of the software is still limited.
  • sever maintenance
    • The server of the software installed has to be maintained regularly. The files saved have to be fragmented to remove bad sectors. Firewall, virus and spyware protection needs regular review and management.
  • minimum requirements
    • The software installed needs hardware specifications that meets its minimum requirements in order to function well and fully.
      • Operating System : Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)
      • Processor : Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading, 2GHz
      • Ram : 512MB minimum
      • Disk Capacity : 80GB

2.1.3 Tadpoles (http://www.frogsquared.com)

Tadpoles is a web-based application aided childcare management system. The use of smartphone application is integrated with the system for easy and effective use. Tadpoles is revolutionizing the childcare market by helping to streamline operations and parent communication through mobile technology. Tadpoles focuses more on the importance of parent involvement in the learning process.

Teachers are able to share photos and videos to parents throughout the day. They could record meals, activities, naps and more to daily reports. Teachers also could prepare lesson plans up to four weeks ahead.

Directors are able to view real time counts per class. They can manage classroom, children and employees. All the pictures and videos teachers send to parents have to be approved by directors or owners. They can view charts and graphs of reports on children progress under their care. They are able to send official letters to parents and emergency alerts as well.

Parents can receive daily update of their children via email. They can download and share the photos and videos of their children. In case of emergency, they will receive text message first before further notice for a head start. Parents also can view their children’s profile using mobile application provided and they also able to mark their child sick or on vacation.

Figure 2.9 shows classroom page in tadpoles application where teachers can view all the children in their class accordingly. The children will be categorized by their age. Teachers can choose and update information on children from here. They could edit notes for their teachings and send photo to parents as well.

proappshare.jpg

Figure 2.9: Classroom Page

proappdaily.jpgFigure 2.10 shows children profile page where a children’s profile can be viewed by selecting a child. All detail about meal taken, sleeping time and activities done by children will be added here by the teacher. They can tag category of the child for easier reference.

Figure 2.10: Children Profile Page

live view.jpgFigure 2.11 shows the dashboard which offers a live view of the activity in the center. The classroom counts, attendance, and parent communications updates in real time without refreshing. The owners or directors can view the update anywhere and anytime.

Figure 2.11: Live Dashboard

comm.pngFigure 2.12 shows communication page where owner can notify all parents by text messages in case of emergency, school closings or other urgent messages. This method is effective and fast compare to individual notification.

Figure 2.12: Communication Panel

Untitled1-horz.jpgFigure 2.13 shows email snapshot parents receive from the daycare center with all current detail of their children, activities they are doing, sleeping times, meals and more. Pictures that are taken for their children during activities are attached as well. Parents are able to get update on their children anywhere anytime through their email.

Figure 2.13: Display of Parent Email

Advantages:

  • children information up to date for parents via email
    • Teachers and owners update children’s profile throughout the day by updating profile, uploading pictures and updating schedules. Parents get the updates via their email and mobile application.
  • application for teachers
    • The designed application is easy to use and give better functionalities for teachers in carrying out their daily activities. All details of children, schedule and study plans can be accessed almost instantly.
  • live view and real time updating for directors and owners
    • The directors and owners are up to date with activities carried out in centers and children’s statuses. All without software installations and no per-user licenses. They can check on things easily and securely even while away from the center.
  • portable
    • Since it is an application on device, it gives more portability to teachers. All children’s attendance and emergency details are within teachers’ reach when they bring children to playground or field trip. Pictures and videos taken can be uploaded instantly.

Disadvantages:

  • limitation of devices can be used
    • The application is only designed for apple products with IOS. The teachers are encouraged to use devices such as ipad mini or ipad only for easy access and portability.

2.2 PROPOSED SYSTEM

The proposed childcare center management system is a web-based system that has all the features stated in Table 2.1. The name of the system would be Kool-Child Childcare Management System. Kool-Child provides all functions needed to manage a childcare or daycare center efficiently. With Kool-Child, child care centers are able to record down feedings, nursing, milestones, activities children are doing such as playing, sleeping and others. Apart from that, they are allowed to make photo galleries of the children. Parents will be updated with all their children information. Kool-Child provides tuition/billing management as well. The billing is done automatically with little information about chargers and individual child’s program. With Kool-Child, owner of the childcare center will be able to manage employee profile by record and update personal details of employee. Parents also will be able to log in into Kool-Child with limited access to view their children’s schedule. Kool-Child also will have chat space where all parents could share ideas and get to know each other. Kool-Child will also provide simple tutorials on how to use the system for the customers. Customer support is also available to assist customer and receive feedbacks.

Table 2.1 Features Comparison

 

FEATURES

Centers Online

Pre-School Partner

Tadpoles

Kool-Child

1

Classroom and

Schedule Management

X

2

Food Program

records

3

Immunization Records

X

4

Daily Activities

Planning

5

Photo Gallery

6

Billing Management

X

X

7

Online Registration

X

X

8

Employee Database

X

X

9

Customer Support

10

Parents Update

X

11

Reports Management

New Feature

12

Chat Space

X

X

X

Table 2.1 shows the comparison in features of Centers Online, Pre-School Partner, Tadpoles and the proposed system Kool-Child. All three existing systems have important features which are classroom management, food program records, photo gallery and customer support. Pre-School Partner is only a system among three that has billing management and employee management features which needed by most childcare centers to ease their workload. Chat space is an additional feature that will be implemented in Kool-Child. All twelve features will be integrated in Kool-Child to maximize functionality of the system.

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