Record keeping is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are starting a daycare, it is one aspect of the business you cannot afford to slide to the backburner. As many daycare providers agree, record-keeping and administrative paperwork can turn out be overwhelming and seem like it’s pushing you to the verge of a burnout, if you do not have a systematic plan right from the outset . Staying organised and tackling the paperwork on a regular basis can save you precious time and help you make the most of your day with the children.
Now, to start with, what are the essential documents you will need to maintain when starting a daycare or preschool?
Folder Forms for Children
These are the mandatory registration forms all childcare providers must get the parents to fill out at the time of enrolment.1. Registration forms/Enrolment Forms: These are the first forms parents should complete at the time of registration. The forms should capture the following:
- The contact details of parents
- Details of emergency contacts, or guardians who are authorised for pick up or drop off
- Medical Information/Allergies and Special Dietary Requirements
- Medical consent for emergency treatment
- Consent for Photos
- Consent for Field Trips
You can download our free printable template here.2. Contract for Parents: The contract should include your centre’s policies for payment, collection of late fees (if applicable), holidays, sickness, discipline and scheduling. 3. All About Me Forms: These forms should capture the child’s likes, dislikes and developmental milestones, and are intended to give the childcare provider an accurate idea of where the child is developmentally at the time of enrolment. 4. Immunisation Forms
You should have a set of all the above folder forms as templates in a labelled master folder on your computer, and on your shelf (as hard copies) to save you time and trouble when you need a quick photo-copy or print-out. Also, remember to print out a few extra copies of the entire set of folder forms and assemble them in folders to hand out to the parents along with the welcome pack.
All the signed folder forms returned at the time of registration should be filed away immediately in individual labelled folders assigned to each child. And, don’t forget to include all the required identification documents such as copies of each child’s birth certificates, address and ID proof of their parents in the folders.
These are the forms you would need for the day to day operations of your centre.
- Daily diaries: These should capture a summary of the child's day, including meals, naps and nappy changes.
- Sign in-out sheets
- Accident and Incident Report: No matter how big or small, it's important that any accidents or incidents that involve the children in your care are promptly recorded. The report should be signed by the parents at pick-up, and you should maintain a copy for your records. Check out our article on writing incident reports for more details.
- Medication forms: These forms detail the administration of any medication given to the child, while in your care.
You can save all your everyday forms in a separate labelled master folder, alongside your folder forms. As these would be your templates for print-outs, make sure you get into the practice of creating a copy of the document and renaming it before making any changes to them. There are times when you will be tempted to open the master folder and fill out one of the templates when you are in a hurry. But this can lead to a messy folder system before you know it. So make sure you always leave the master folders intact.
And remember to have a set of all your everyday forms printed-out for a week or month and maintain them in separately labelled folders.
If you plan to use a childcare software for your sign-ins, daily diaries and parent communication, you can automatically save the documents in the cloud, and print out the documents, as required, at the time of inspections (depending on the compliance requirements in your country).
Remember to file the receipts for each month’s expenses in separate folders. It’s also a good idea to scan each month’s bills and save them in folders labelled for each month, before filing them away. To ensure back-up, you could also consider saving them in a folder on the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud drive or OneDrive, so that you can access them from any system even if your computer breaks down. And, if you are using a software or accounting system, set aside some time at the end of each month to review and add your expenses to your online accounting system.
Remember to set aside a few minutes every day to ensure all your daily records in order, and do a review of all documents at least once a month. Be realistic about how long it will take you and remember the golden rule of keeping your filing system simple, and you are off for a good start.
Thinking of going paperless? Record, store, and manage your everyday forms, registration details, children’s profiles, billing and invoicing using a single easy -to -use platform with Cheqdin's childcare management software. Get in touch with us today to find out what Cheqdin can do to transform your centre.