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How to Evaluate ECE Software


1/27/2022 | Mikhal Weiner

When it comes to bringing technology into a preschool or kindergarten program, one common misconception is that it’s just a shiny addition to the existing school setting. While it’s true that it’s a new and unfamiliar addition, tech (when done right) is far more than just shiny. Great technology should do what any other tool does: Empower educators and administrators to enrich the lives of our children even more. 

That being said, there are definitely plenty of superfluous technological additions to your classroom or ECE program. Not all apps are created equal, and even if they were all wonderful, they wouldn’t all align with your educational goals, the size of your school, and the number of faculty who will be using them. Each and every preschool, playschool, daycare, and kindergarten has its own aims and values; you won’t find two identical libraries out there, so why would you find two identical sets of software? The only way to understand which technological additions will be right for you is to evaluate your specific needs, weigh the pros and cons, and see what comes out. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some questions to ask as you pick out the software that’s right for you.


Does this software enhance my student’s educational experience?

If the software you’re looking at isn’t age-appropriate or doesn’t encourage the kinds of developmental goals you want to meet, it’s not right for you. There’s always give-and-take with tech; when you’re using a tablet that means you’re not using a piece of paper or a book. This doesn’t mean that the tablet is inferior, though! All it means is that you need to make sure that it’s worth your while. If, for example, the app is teaching counting or addition in a fun, engaging way with silly characters and animation,  it may be just the ticket. If it’s just a fancy version of a math worksheet, well, maybe not. 

Does this ECE software make things more or less complicated?

Ease of use is critical when you’re introducing software into an early childhood education setting—whether it’s administrative or educational in nature. There are already so many moving parts in a school, and the last thing you need is to add troubleshooting to your endless to-do list. Check customer reviews or request a trial to see if the application is simple to navigate and intuitive. Ask several people to try it out, as it will be used across the board, and if you’re experimenting with educational apps, have a few kids give the software a spin as well. 

Does this software have a reputation for great customer service?

Unfortunately, troubleshooting does come to pass, no matter how great the app you’ve chosen. Technology malfunctions or a user error causes a glitch or a million more reasons why you might find yourself scratching your head and pressing buttons on your phone or tablet. When this happens, you want to be working with a company known for quick, efficient, and friendly customer service. Here, too, customer reviews are very valuable in gathering this information. Check whether the company has multiple avenues of communication, such as email, phone, and live chat, as this will prove to be far more convenient. 

Does this ECE software work within my school’s budget?

This may seem obvious, but it’s not that simple. Many apps or software products will offer you a free version, only to provide most of the best features or an ad-free experience on the premium version. Another thing to look out for is the practice of requiring an initial membership payment, only to require an extra few dollars every time you want an update or extra features. Make sure to read the fine print before introducing software to your entire staff and community, since retraining people to use a new app can be an exasperating hassle. 

Will I need to retrain staff, parents, and faculty with each update?

Maybe! This is why it’s worth checking how often these updates occur and how drastic they will be. Are the developers just ironing out some wrinkles, or giving the whole app a makeover? If you’re using this software to track enrollment, relay COVID precautions, and communicate with parents about carpooling, you want to make sure it’s not in some uncomfortable beta stage. Go for software that’s used by multiple institutions and has a reputation for reliability. That way, you’ll know that it’s already got a solid shape to it and you won’t have to host a training session every few months when the dev team issues an update. 

(Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels)

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