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Does your ECE center run a summer camp? Use Playground all year round!

Product

2/17/2022 |

Many early childhood education centers transition to a summer camp program that's distinct from their regular school year, but maintain a core of students, staff, facilities, and hours that get the same benefits as the school when using a school management app. There are five key operational areas for administrators and directors be aware of that will help the summer session run at its highest potential by using the same flexible app features:

Enrollment

Playground's online enrollment is built so summer enrollment and school enrollment for the next year can run at the same time without overlapping each other. Enrollment supports separate listings for each session (there's no limit to the number of listings) with unique descriptions, plans, programs, fee charges (application & programs), and customizable forms that collect the information needed for that session only. As a best practice, administrators can create unique camp enrollment listings for families already enrolled for school and those coming for summer only to reduce the number of required documents and forms to be completed.

Unique links ensure that there's no confusion and parents can take care of applications at their convenience, plus your staff will love the reduction in paperwork, money handling, and time spent contact families to keep them up to date on application status changes.

Billing

All billing data carries over for existing families that transition to summer so there's no additional account management tasks. Our in-app system allows for easy payments by families using a credit card or bank account, but administrators can easily record any offline payments like cash, check, Zelle, Venmo, and more with all of the data available through pre-built reports.

Billing is also tied in to Programs, allowing administrators to quickly create new charges for anything — field trips, t-shirts, special meals, and supplies to name a few — and apply them to the student's account.

Programs

How do you keep track of where your students and staff are at any time? Radios are great, but not every camp has them and they don't create a record. Camps use programs to check students in and out of what they're doing over the course of the day and administrators can quickly generate a report to see who has checked in. Swimming, sports, trips to the park are all great uses for Programs and it just takes a couple of seconds for a counselor to check all of their students in.

But one of the best parts about programs is their flexibility. They adapt to your unique usage and we'll help you figure out exactly how. One center's lunch program was transformed from a manual process taking an hour or more each day to collect funds and communicate with the kitchen staff to no time at all for staff after parents check their students in to the lunch program, automatically get charged, and kitchen staff can see everything in a Playground report.

Documents

Imagine...no enrollment packets, no sending permission slips home, and families automatically get sent digital copies of required paperwork they can fill in from any computer. Playground's documents are like DocuSign, but designed for summer camps and ECE centers so you can stop chasing missing paperwork, incomplete forms, and even enable parents to upload information like immunization records.

Documents help automate enrollment by putting a stop to printed packets and disconnected Google forms. All of the data you require is entered by families online and is transferred to the student's profile after being accepted into your camp. When the number of kids you serve goes up for the summer, but your staff numbers stay the same, this will keep them on track and avoid getting buried in paperwork.

Attendance

Your center might double or even triple in size for summer camp, with lots of new families checking in each day. Crowding around a table of clipboards and printed roster sheets creates a lot of traffic and brings the morning process to a halt. We solved that problem with app and kiosk-based checkins that parents can do entirely on their own. Playground creates a QR code to print and post around your check-in area so parents simply scan with their app and digitally sign their student(s) in. If parents don't have a smart phone, any Android or Apple smart device can be enabled as a sign-in kiosk with Playground.

You'll give them a better, faster morning experience and you'll never have to worry about losing a sign-in sheet again. Our sign-in is compliant with state licensing regulations because a "wet" signature is required and saved on the student record, plus available in our pre-built attendance reports!

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