Playground Feature on Child Care Success Podcast

Francesca Bonnevie

Manage Staff & Run Payroll with Playground

All-in-one child care management platform with billing, attendance, registration, communication, payroll, and more

5.0 Rating

Manage Staff & Run Payroll with Playground

All-in-one child care management platform with billing, attendance, registration, communication, payroll, and more

5.0 Rating

Our founders Daniel and Sasha were recently on the Child Care Rockstar Radio podcast with Kris Murray talking about everything Playground, from its origin story, what we do differently, and what’s next for Playground.

Click above to listen to the entire podcast and take a look below for some of our favorite highlights:

How does Playground’s mission and technology stand out in a crowded space?

Daniel:

I think our differentiated approach is the new technology that we’re bringing. A lot of that comes down to really solving the problems that we are building the software for.

For example, One of the first features we developed was a way to manage online paperwork. My mom’s school had floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets. With 350 families, the paperwork stack was taller than I was when she would go through and process enrollment applications. Having missing names, signatures, or information would cause a huge problem.

Another story I like to tell is that she would have students come to school with their backpack, lunch box, and check for thousands of dollars in preschool tuition every single day because all of the billing solutions she found weren’t flexible enough to meet her needs in the way that she was billing for her families.

There were solutions out there like other CCMS’s that some classrooms and schools were using when we started working with her, but many were opting for Facebook groups or WhatsApp because families were more familiar with them in order to communicate and bill.

The other piece that we really focus on is revenue generation in child care. How can we grow your business faster and make it more efficient?

We just launched a product for drop-in care. Families can automatically sign up for drop-in care based on availability, making sure you can fill every single last spot within your school. So, if someone is unable to make it that day, another family can go in and take that.

Sasha:

One other big feature that we launched is Payroll. It’s embedded into our platform end-to-end, enabling you to do things like tax calculations and paystubs all in one place.

A lot of directors and owners are able to run most of their operations on other CCMS’s, but once it gets to HR or other aspects of running the business, they find themselves having to piece together some other fragmented systems.

Our thesis here is that Playground should be the “allest in onest,” actually getting everything in one place, especially payroll, since on the books, its one of the biggest expenses for these business owners.

Who inspires you?

Daniel:

For me, my inspiration is definitely my mom. She’s both beyond successful in business, but she’s also gotten her doctorate in education. She really instilled a deep sense of curiosity, for lack of a better term. We would spend a lot of time reading and just trying to learn as much as possible in our childhood, and so I owe a lot of that to her.

On more of the business side of things and people I aspire to be, the founder of Linear, Karri Saarinen, is actually very inspirational. His philosophy of mind, how he goes about building products, how he thinks about customers and their interactions, as well as what excellence looks like. He just repeatedly sets the bar in terms of what it looks like to build a company, build a phenomenal product, and get users to be absolutely in love with your output.

Sasha:

Similar to Dan’s reasons, I love and am very inspired by my mom.

On the business side, I’m inspired by Parker Conrad, founder and CEO of Rippling. His philosophy, with regard to growing and scaling a team is really inspirational and phenomenal. His story is insane, he started a company and got kicked out of it, then started a direct competitor and is now significantly larger. His entire approach with building and scaling a team has been incredibly impactful for us at Playground as well.

Our Interview Process

Dan:

We have a very short, but effective interview process.

We do a phone screen to make sure we’re on the same page culturally about what it’s like to work at a startup, what its like to work in child care and if they meet our criteria on craft and ownership. We check if they meet the baseline technical skills or requirements on to get the job done.

The next part is quite unique to me: We bring them in to do a technical interview onsite to do a day or two’s worth of work. We see what it’s like to work with them as individuals, and we compensate them for their time. We don’t ask them to take the time off and work for us without that. For engineering, we’ll give an actual tickets, sales will receive phone calls, and marketing will design landing pages, something else related to marketing.

We actually want to see them doing work for Playground to see if they actually want to work with us. The way we build our company is unique and if the work that they do is something that they enjoy, if we enjoy working with them, and if the output of their work something that meets our bar. Would this be someone we want to build a generational company with?

We’ve found that we can tell this really quickly once we bring them in and put that job in front of them. We see if the value fit is there almost immediately, and we’ve found this to be a very effective hiring tool for us.

They enjoy this because they get paid, and we get to see the actual output of this.

What’s next for Playground?

Sasha:

2024 is gearing up to be just as crazy as 2023, if not crazier.

Outside of hiring across all roles, were most excited about what’s happening with the product and what our current and future customers will be getting. We’re seeing a lot of success with payroll in terms of how much time people are able to save. We’re also seeing a lot of success with cost-savings when you switch over to our payroll product. But the other one that’s really exciting is the launch of drop-in on auto-pilot.

We understand that it’s hard to fill that last ten percent of your capacity, especially if you’re not at a full waitlist. This new drop-in launch will enable folks to operate at 100% or higher capacity without really having to touch anything. It’s a really slick feature with minimal maintenance to help providers get those extra slots filled.

Dan:

We want to go much deeper with AI, in terms of assisting staff. Some of the things I’m really excited about that are coming out in the future, such as automated responses that are professional when messaging families about things that are urgent but not necessarily scary, such as a lice outbreak or sicknesses.


Our founders Daniel and Sasha were recently on the Child Care Rockstar Radio podcast with Kris Murray talking about everything Playground, from its origin story, what we do differently, and what’s next for Playground.

Click above to listen to the entire podcast and take a look below for some of our favorite highlights:

How does Playground’s mission and technology stand out in a crowded space?

Daniel:

I think our differentiated approach is the new technology that we’re bringing. A lot of that comes down to really solving the problems that we are building the software for.

For example, One of the first features we developed was a way to manage online paperwork. My mom’s school had floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets. With 350 families, the paperwork stack was taller than I was when she would go through and process enrollment applications. Having missing names, signatures, or information would cause a huge problem.

Another story I like to tell is that she would have students come to school with their backpack, lunch box, and check for thousands of dollars in preschool tuition every single day because all of the billing solutions she found weren’t flexible enough to meet her needs in the way that she was billing for her families.

There were solutions out there like other CCMS’s that some classrooms and schools were using when we started working with her, but many were opting for Facebook groups or WhatsApp because families were more familiar with them in order to communicate and bill.

The other piece that we really focus on is revenue generation in child care. How can we grow your business faster and make it more efficient?

We just launched a product for drop-in care. Families can automatically sign up for drop-in care based on availability, making sure you can fill every single last spot within your school. So, if someone is unable to make it that day, another family can go in and take that.

Sasha:

One other big feature that we launched is Payroll. It’s embedded into our platform end-to-end, enabling you to do things like tax calculations and paystubs all in one place.

A lot of directors and owners are able to run most of their operations on other CCMS’s, but once it gets to HR or other aspects of running the business, they find themselves having to piece together some other fragmented systems.

Our thesis here is that Playground should be the “allest in onest,” actually getting everything in one place, especially payroll, since on the books, its one of the biggest expenses for these business owners.

Who inspires you?

Daniel:

For me, my inspiration is definitely my mom. She’s both beyond successful in business, but she’s also gotten her doctorate in education. She really instilled a deep sense of curiosity, for lack of a better term. We would spend a lot of time reading and just trying to learn as much as possible in our childhood, and so I owe a lot of that to her.

On more of the business side of things and people I aspire to be, the founder of Linear, Karri Saarinen, is actually very inspirational. His philosophy of mind, how he goes about building products, how he thinks about customers and their interactions, as well as what excellence looks like. He just repeatedly sets the bar in terms of what it looks like to build a company, build a phenomenal product, and get users to be absolutely in love with your output.

Sasha:

Similar to Dan’s reasons, I love and am very inspired by my mom.

On the business side, I’m inspired by Parker Conrad, founder and CEO of Rippling. His philosophy, with regard to growing and scaling a team is really inspirational and phenomenal. His story is insane, he started a company and got kicked out of it, then started a direct competitor and is now significantly larger. His entire approach with building and scaling a team has been incredibly impactful for us at Playground as well.

Our Interview Process

Dan:

We have a very short, but effective interview process.

We do a phone screen to make sure we’re on the same page culturally about what it’s like to work at a startup, what its like to work in child care and if they meet our criteria on craft and ownership. We check if they meet the baseline technical skills or requirements on to get the job done.

The next part is quite unique to me: We bring them in to do a technical interview onsite to do a day or two’s worth of work. We see what it’s like to work with them as individuals, and we compensate them for their time. We don’t ask them to take the time off and work for us without that. For engineering, we’ll give an actual tickets, sales will receive phone calls, and marketing will design landing pages, something else related to marketing.

We actually want to see them doing work for Playground to see if they actually want to work with us. The way we build our company is unique and if the work that they do is something that they enjoy, if we enjoy working with them, and if the output of their work something that meets our bar. Would this be someone we want to build a generational company with?

We’ve found that we can tell this really quickly once we bring them in and put that job in front of them. We see if the value fit is there almost immediately, and we’ve found this to be a very effective hiring tool for us.

They enjoy this because they get paid, and we get to see the actual output of this.

What’s next for Playground?

Sasha:

2024 is gearing up to be just as crazy as 2023, if not crazier.

Outside of hiring across all roles, were most excited about what’s happening with the product and what our current and future customers will be getting. We’re seeing a lot of success with payroll in terms of how much time people are able to save. We’re also seeing a lot of success with cost-savings when you switch over to our payroll product. But the other one that’s really exciting is the launch of drop-in on auto-pilot.

We understand that it’s hard to fill that last ten percent of your capacity, especially if you’re not at a full waitlist. This new drop-in launch will enable folks to operate at 100% or higher capacity without really having to touch anything. It’s a really slick feature with minimal maintenance to help providers get those extra slots filled.

Dan:

We want to go much deeper with AI, in terms of assisting staff. Some of the things I’m really excited about that are coming out in the future, such as automated responses that are professional when messaging families about things that are urgent but not necessarily scary, such as a lice outbreak or sicknesses.


Our founders Daniel and Sasha were recently on the Child Care Rockstar Radio podcast with Kris Murray talking about everything Playground, from its origin story, what we do differently, and what’s next for Playground.

Click above to listen to the entire podcast and take a look below for some of our favorite highlights:

How does Playground’s mission and technology stand out in a crowded space?

Daniel:

I think our differentiated approach is the new technology that we’re bringing. A lot of that comes down to really solving the problems that we are building the software for.

For example, One of the first features we developed was a way to manage online paperwork. My mom’s school had floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets. With 350 families, the paperwork stack was taller than I was when she would go through and process enrollment applications. Having missing names, signatures, or information would cause a huge problem.

Another story I like to tell is that she would have students come to school with their backpack, lunch box, and check for thousands of dollars in preschool tuition every single day because all of the billing solutions she found weren’t flexible enough to meet her needs in the way that she was billing for her families.

There were solutions out there like other CCMS’s that some classrooms and schools were using when we started working with her, but many were opting for Facebook groups or WhatsApp because families were more familiar with them in order to communicate and bill.

The other piece that we really focus on is revenue generation in child care. How can we grow your business faster and make it more efficient?

We just launched a product for drop-in care. Families can automatically sign up for drop-in care based on availability, making sure you can fill every single last spot within your school. So, if someone is unable to make it that day, another family can go in and take that.

Sasha:

One other big feature that we launched is Payroll. It’s embedded into our platform end-to-end, enabling you to do things like tax calculations and paystubs all in one place.

A lot of directors and owners are able to run most of their operations on other CCMS’s, but once it gets to HR or other aspects of running the business, they find themselves having to piece together some other fragmented systems.

Our thesis here is that Playground should be the “allest in onest,” actually getting everything in one place, especially payroll, since on the books, its one of the biggest expenses for these business owners.

Who inspires you?

Daniel:

For me, my inspiration is definitely my mom. She’s both beyond successful in business, but she’s also gotten her doctorate in education. She really instilled a deep sense of curiosity, for lack of a better term. We would spend a lot of time reading and just trying to learn as much as possible in our childhood, and so I owe a lot of that to her.

On more of the business side of things and people I aspire to be, the founder of Linear, Karri Saarinen, is actually very inspirational. His philosophy of mind, how he goes about building products, how he thinks about customers and their interactions, as well as what excellence looks like. He just repeatedly sets the bar in terms of what it looks like to build a company, build a phenomenal product, and get users to be absolutely in love with your output.

Sasha:

Similar to Dan’s reasons, I love and am very inspired by my mom.

On the business side, I’m inspired by Parker Conrad, founder and CEO of Rippling. His philosophy, with regard to growing and scaling a team is really inspirational and phenomenal. His story is insane, he started a company and got kicked out of it, then started a direct competitor and is now significantly larger. His entire approach with building and scaling a team has been incredibly impactful for us at Playground as well.

Our Interview Process

Dan:

We have a very short, but effective interview process.

We do a phone screen to make sure we’re on the same page culturally about what it’s like to work at a startup, what its like to work in child care and if they meet our criteria on craft and ownership. We check if they meet the baseline technical skills or requirements on to get the job done.

The next part is quite unique to me: We bring them in to do a technical interview onsite to do a day or two’s worth of work. We see what it’s like to work with them as individuals, and we compensate them for their time. We don’t ask them to take the time off and work for us without that. For engineering, we’ll give an actual tickets, sales will receive phone calls, and marketing will design landing pages, something else related to marketing.

We actually want to see them doing work for Playground to see if they actually want to work with us. The way we build our company is unique and if the work that they do is something that they enjoy, if we enjoy working with them, and if the output of their work something that meets our bar. Would this be someone we want to build a generational company with?

We’ve found that we can tell this really quickly once we bring them in and put that job in front of them. We see if the value fit is there almost immediately, and we’ve found this to be a very effective hiring tool for us.

They enjoy this because they get paid, and we get to see the actual output of this.

What’s next for Playground?

Sasha:

2024 is gearing up to be just as crazy as 2023, if not crazier.

Outside of hiring across all roles, were most excited about what’s happening with the product and what our current and future customers will be getting. We’re seeing a lot of success with payroll in terms of how much time people are able to save. We’re also seeing a lot of success with cost-savings when you switch over to our payroll product. But the other one that’s really exciting is the launch of drop-in on auto-pilot.

We understand that it’s hard to fill that last ten percent of your capacity, especially if you’re not at a full waitlist. This new drop-in launch will enable folks to operate at 100% or higher capacity without really having to touch anything. It’s a really slick feature with minimal maintenance to help providers get those extra slots filled.

Dan:

We want to go much deeper with AI, in terms of assisting staff. Some of the things I’m really excited about that are coming out in the future, such as automated responses that are professional when messaging families about things that are urgent but not necessarily scary, such as a lice outbreak or sicknesses.


Playground is the only app directors need to run their early child care center. Playground manages billing, attendance, registration, communication, paperwork, reporting, and more for child care programs. 100,000+ directors, teachers, and families trust Playground to simplify their lives.


Learn more by scheduling a free personalized demo.

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Playground Feature on Child Care Success Podcast

Published Apr 25, 2024

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Francesca Bonnevie
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