‘From an innovation perspective, I think Kindyhub are killing it.’
How Kindyhub has helped Little Scholars excel over the last 6 years.
From Jae Fraser – Little Scholars Founder
My name is Jae Fraser, I’m the founder of Little Scholars School of Early Learning and The Scholars Group. We are an owner/operator group of 9 campuses across Queensland – Gold Coast and Brisbane. We also have a Management Company with Scholars Consulting Group that manages 13 other centers from NSW all the way up to Northern Queensland.
My background – I’m a teacher, that’s my profession/my career choice and I kind of fell into early learning. I got caught up from early learning teaching/early childhood teaching to the corporate childcare world where I was a General Manager of an AC Listed organisation, that’s where I learned my business skills around what it looks like to run a profitable early learning center. It was that opportunity that really forced me/encouraged me to want to grow and create my own early learning organisation which is Little Scholars School of Early Learning. I’m incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve over 6 years.
Q) What value do you see in Kindyhub over other technology platforms in the market? What were your reasons to go with Kindyhub?
A) The value we saw in Kindyhub over other technology platforms, was the ability to be able to manipulate, change and adjust the system to suit what we needed and what we wanted to do on our campuses, along with what our families & educators wanted and needed.
It’s also about relationships, and so for me, it’s such a small industry and I wanted to make sure that I knew who the person or the people behind the system were. Danielle has been able to build a brilliant relationship with our organisation and team.
To be able to know that there are people we can talk to, pick up the phone and say “our team is having a problem with this, how can we fix this?” or “ we’ve got this idea, what do you think about implementing it?”.
So, you know there’s a lot of platforms out there that are doing everything for everybody and essentially trying to be the educator or be educated. My personal opinion on that is that our educators are highly skilled professional people and they need to be able to have systems and platforms that allow them to do what they are great at.
Then have the ability to document it through a platform that removes workload, manual labor but also gives families, A&R procedures, and things like that, all the information they need to make sure that all the boxes are ticked. Kindyhub was able to do all of those things for us.
Q) What problems does Kindyhub help solve in the day to day operations for your centre’s?
A) Kindyhub has been a huge assistant and help for us since we started Little Scholars School of Early Learning 6 years ago.
One of the main reasons we wanted to look at an online platform was the communication piece to families. Parents wanted to know every minute of every day what their child was doing, what they ate, what they were involved in, who their friends were, how long they slept for, all those critical things that families want to know about their children.
One of the challenges that we were having was that our educators are becoming extremely time-poor. They did not have time to document all the information, learning stories properly through the day, especially those experiences that they wanted to share with families. Kindyhub has essentially filled this and provided educators with more time. Educators can use Kindyhub to update photos and provide live updates to parents. Children can be engaged in the system, they can film themselves, they can take photos themselves, they can tap on the Ipad and families can see that live update.
I guess the biggest challenge it has helped us with, has given our educators more time to spend with children which is critical, however, it has also helped us remove a lot of paper-based procedures we had in our services that were not adding a lot of value but certainly meeting requirements.
Q) How has the use of Kindyhub benefited your families?
A) The biggest way Kindyhub has helped our families, it’s allowed them to be connected with our team, with our educators and with our centers, as it allows them to be really connected.
I feel Kindyhub is really at the forefront of allowing services and educators to communicate directly with parents. Educators and parents can communicate directly through the app, which is a huge benefit with families and it gives them absolute trust and confidence in what we are doing. It also has allowed families to be able to share what’s happening with their children’s days in early learning with all their family members and community around the world and other parts of the country which is really special. We feel that’s really important.
We wanted to create our own Little Scholars App that parents can connect to, so parents know that it’s just not another software system or an app that they need to download off the internet and then look at / work through. It’s actually the Little Scholars app that when they click into, they’re going to see images and experiences and photos and videos of their child doing what they are doing which I think is really important.
Q) What are your top 3 favourite aspects of Kindyhub?
A) My top 3 favorite aspects of Kindyhub are, number one the Custom Parent App, as this is incredibly important to us that we had our own branded app that parents could use, download and interact with.
Secondly, the flexibility of the system. I love that Kindyhub allows us to be able to say “we would like to do this”, or “we would like to upload this”, or “we would like this form to be changed so we could do this”. The team at Kindyhub really helped to make that happen.
I think just having the ability to move with the times, make changes to the system. I feel they are leaders in technologies, as I guess we’re not technology experts, we’re teachers, we’re educators, we don’t know what it looks like or how it works to create a function like this so, to be able to have experts that can say to us that “yeah, we can do that for you and this is how it looks like”, I think that’s a huge benefit.
Q) What part did Kindyhub play in helping your centers achieve excellence in Assessment & Rating?
A) Assessment and rating is incredibly a large piece of what we do in Early Learning and so we know that it has an incredible amount of pressure and work to our teams on the ground.
Kindyhub is such a great assistance and help in that process because we can essentially give the assessor a login to Kindyhub and they can review all of the programming templates, all of the learning experiences, look at all of the photos and the videos of what the educators have uploaded for individual children but also for the whole center. Kindyhub allows us to easily demonstrate our partnerships with families, our education and curriculum, overview and philosophy and certainly our cycle of programming which is critical in showing that we are exceeding in the seven quality areas.
Gone are the days when we used to have 7 massive big folders full of evidence printed out and wasting paper and using ink and using people’s time out all that together so that an assessor can look through it. Now an assessor can look at it even before they come to the service. They can have access to Kindyhub and look at all the things that the service is doing to help us tick off all those boxes to say that we are exceeding the national quality standard.
Q) How easy is it to demonstrate to the assessor the complete programming cycle using Kindyhub?
A) The demonstration of a complete programming cycle is really easy in Kindyhub because not only are the individual observations of children’s learning easily accessible and evident in any child profile, you can see really quickly where the linkages are, how it links back to the learning outcome, and also what extensions are being planned.
Kindyhub is really helpful in that you can incorporate a manual paper-based program, which provides you with a monthly web-based program, this shows the overview of what’s happening throughout the month and then easily links back to what you are communicating to families.
Educators could plan additional teaching experience, eg. cutting with scissors to develop some motor skills. In Kindyhub, you can just log on that date and see videos and photos and evaluations of that experience to show the whole cycle has been planned, has been completed, and then there’s an evaluation written from the educator that shows the whole cycle. It’s a simple version of what it looks like. Essentially, the assessor could just log on to the child profile and see the whole cycle there really quickly and really easily.
Q) Elaborate on any other areas in which Kindyhub provides value to your educators.
A) Kindyhub just adds value to what we do every day because we want our educators to spend all of their time participating in meaningful experiences with the children which is what they are there for, which is what their parents are paying for and that is what the national quality standards tell us we should be doing. We don’t want our educators spending hours and hours documenting, Kindyhub assists with this.
The value that Kindyhub adds to our team is that it simplifies all of that and it brings it altogether so the educators can really quickly document live, there’s no note-taking, there’s no retyping. They can document it live straight to the child profile or the daily learning journal around what’s happened and instantly email it out to individual families or the whole classroom or the whole center.
The value is that it just strengthens the partnership with families because we can communicate directly and easily. Families communicate back to us directly to the educator, to the center manager, to our operations team. Everyone can respond quickly and easily by going through the app communication feature, around what’s happening, do like this, or don’t like that and be a part of their child’s day.
One of the biggest challenges our educators face is they couldn’t get parents buy-in, into the program and when the key areas of the assessment rating piece, that educators talk about is “we can’t get families involved in the program” and so now they type out a reflective question and send it back to the families with a couple of photos and parents in 5 seconds can write back. Parent’s also have the ability to provide an update on their children’s interest, you’ve got family involvement, all ideas going through one quick avenue, through Kindyhub. It has really changed the world of educators trying to gather information from families and certainly build on those partnerships.
Q) What’s your experience been like dealing with The Team at Kindyhub?
A) My experience dealing with Danielle and her team at Kindyhub has been perfect. I remember back to the very first time I met Danielle and I learned about Kindyhub. To be honest, I was a big anti-online programming platform person. As a teacher, as an educator, I wanted to write my program, I wanted to document it, I wanted to see it on paper and I wanted to know it all.
I met Dan and she told me about the experience when her children were in a centre, she was seeing the educators doing what they’re doing and how it was taking up so much of their time and as a parent, she thought she could help! That sold me because this isn’t just another software developer creating a program that they are trying to sell it into the market. This is a parent who is genuinely seeing educators struggling with time management and completing paperwork but sometimes parents don’t have a lot of interest in and creating a program that streamlines that and allows them like I’ve said a hundred times to spend meaningful time with children.
I was instantly sold and I think we’ve been with Kindyhub for 5 ½ years, and anyone I talk to, I refer to them say you’ve got to get on this because the system allows educators to still do their bit. It doesn’t take over, it doesn’t control, it’s not a tick box system but even more than that, if you’ve got a better idea or if you want to change the system or program, Danielle is open and willing and able to make changes to suit individual centers. Potentially any change that the center or provider is suggesting could help the whole industry and the program overall. The experience has been perfect and the team is always helpful, always available and it’s been excellent. I can’t falter.
Q) How innovative are Kindyhub and their ongoing commitment to provide you and your educators with the best application on the market?
A) Kindyhub in my opinion is extremely innovative and not by the way of coming up with new ideas to try and get everyone on and sell the product. They are genuinely listening to the market and educators, families and center owners around what we need as an industry, as a sector to make our lives easier and what families need from the individual center.
Innovation comes in a million different forms but I think Kindyhub are different and that they question their customers and clients and say “what are you struggling with?” “what do you need help with?” What’s taking up all of your time?”. An example of that is when we first came on to Kindyhub, it was a very good basic tool of communication with families and documenting programs. And now 5 years later, it is so much more than that. It documents nappy change, it documents meal times, it uploads photos and videos.
Not only are they innovative in a way they come up with ideas but they are considerate in what they are being innovative around and actually making change, making the lives and jobs of educators and families much better. From an innovation perspective, I think they are killing it.