Entries by Hannah Murphy

World-class customer service with Child Paths

“The team in Child Paths are highly professional, offering great support and a pleasure to work with!” – Lynda, (Owner) of The Nest School in Greystones

Here at Child Paths, we pride ourselves on the world-class standard for customer service, with our fast response time. We always have our customers at the top of our mind, no matter what we do and what new features we implement. 

We can assure you that no question is ever left unturned, without a solution or an answer. The team at Child Paths strives to have all our customers feel like they can message us at any hour of the day and be given a prompt reply. We want our customers to feel like they are part of a community here at Child Paths and that no question is a silly question. We have an expert team at hand where no task is too big or too small for them.

 

We treat many of our customers as friends since we have built such a good relationship with them. Since we are passionate about customer support, before COVID-19, we used to go to a service and do the training with them in person, and that way, it allowed everyone to get to know each other at a more personal level. We also give our mobile numbers to the customers, where we are happy to answer questions even out of work hours!

“We have found the team at Child Paths to be extremely professional and helpful with all of our queries and would not hesitate in lending our name to support their product.” – Marie Daly (CEO) Crann Support Group 8 services – Meath 

“I would also like to say just how helpful both Ciaran and Robbie are, they are there to help and talk through any questions you have immediately. Thank you for being so helpful.” – Daisy Evans (Nursery Manager), Barney Bears Nursey Services – Chigwell, Barking, West Ham, IIford

The phrase “customer service” is something we all hear from different companies on a day-to-day basis. Excellent customer service this, excellent customer service that…but what does customer service really mean? Instead of vaguely telling you about how good our customer service is in Child Paths, we are going to give you a few different anecdotes from our sales team when they went above and beyond for a customer.

Ciaran Flynn Founder of Child Paths

“When my wife was going in labour at the hospital, one of my team members caught me in work helping a customer solve an issue they were having! Thankfully I made it just in time for the birth of my baby, so in the end, I had a happy wife and a happy customer, so all was good! Another example was when I was at a scan appointment with my wife. I was hiding behind the doctor replying to a customer’s question while doing the ultrasound! People might think that this could have waited 5 minutes, but in my mind, I promised my customers a premium customer service with a premium product, and that is what they will get no matter where I am.”

“The support and time given by the team enabled a smooth transition from a mountain of paperwork to a streamlined system. I have nothing but praise for Child Paths as both a Manager and a Parent.” – Lisa Byrne (Manager) Tots Creche and Daycare, 5 services – Kildare

Robbie Carey Director of Business Development

“While I was on holiday, a customer called Child Paths looking for me, and Ciaran told her I was away in Lanzarote. It turns out she was there two weeks before and left an expensive watch there and asked if I could get it home for her. I said no problem at all! So she had it delivered to my hotel, and I got it back to Ashbourne. Then I met her dad in Dublin, and he brought it back to her in Cork. Yet another example of Child Paths going the extra mile for our customers.”

“The team have created a breakthrough product for the Childcare industry & families. They continue to improve and modernise the software before any new regulations come into effect, saving owners/managers time & reduced stress. I quite simply can’t recommend Child Paths highly enough. Best decision I have made to date with my company. Thank you Child Paths.”– Keira Hanney, (Owner) Fairyland Creche, Oranmore, Galwa

We want to take this opportunity to wish all of our amazing customers we have had the pleasure of working with a Happy New Year! 

As always, if you have any questions or would like a free demonstration, please message us today where we will be more than happy to help!

Time to go Paperless this December!

Here at Child Paths we understand and know how frustrating, overwhelming, time-consuming and repetitive your paperwork can be in an early year’s service day to day. We have been providing a solution to over 50,000 practitioners & parents in Ireland and the UK for the last six years.

What do we mean by paperwork? We are talking about day sheets, notebooks, attendance, food, activities, nappy changing, sleep, communication, observations, curriculum planning, learning stories, finance and invoices schemes all just to name a few! However, even with this amount of paperwork to do, our app has a quicker and smarter way to do it that will give you more time to spend with the children in your care.

The biggest thing we are trying to do is to promote parental involvement. With Covid-19 this was a huge barrier, where parents were not allowed into a service and practitioners had to reduce physical contact with notebooks etc. However, many of our customers have said our app was fantastic during Covid-19 as they were still able to communicate with their parents. This highlights the benefits of going digital and not only this, we have seen a huge increase in the number of services using our app. This is fantastic to see as the early year’s industry is one of the last industry’s to go digital, and as an industry, we need to move forward and look at the benefits. Such as; saving time, saving money, promoting parental involvement, compliances and inspections. 

It is all there for you in our app, it is just the challenges of moving from pen and paper to digital. Many crèche owners will ask themselves will my staff get use to the technology. However, fear not as statistics have proved that 9 out of 10 services that sign up to Child Paths continue using it year after year. Out of them up to 80% have used another system or more than one system. You do not want to make that mistake, you want to use one system that is reliable, user-friendly, secure, and fully comprehensive, that is what Child Paths can offer you.

We have a demo account, where you can see today how user friendly our app is and how easy it will be for your staff to start using it. We encourage you to get in touch today where we can set you up, and we guarantee you will not look back going down the digital route, or you can click here demo.childpaths.ie and set up your dummy account. Remember, this is all fake information, so you can click any button you want to see what it does. Remember, the rooms/day sheet area is where practitioners will spend most of their time. You can even swap from being a Manager to a Practitioner or a Parent so you get to see what each user can see. So give it a go; what have you got to lose. You can activate your real account from the main menu if you like it. You have video tutorials in every section to help you, but if you need help, we’re always there to answer any questions or help you with training. 

Activities Section Blog

Do you find marking in all children and manually writing down their activity a very time-consuming task? Wouldn’t it be great if you could link each activity up to Aistear and Siolta seamlessly… If your answer is yes, we at Child Paths have the solution for you!

With our App, recording activities and linking it up to Aistear and Siolta for each child has never been so easy!

On the top of the page activity area, you will see a box called “Option”. Here you can select the name of the prepopulated activity. There is an option here to add your own activities in case your activity is not already in the list generated for you.

Underneath that, you are able to leave a detailed message on the activity and how the children enjoyed it etc. We have a speech to text feature in this box, which allows you to simply speak into your tablet, and it will automatically type out the message for you. This is a fantastic element of the activities section as it really helps speed up the process, allowing for you to have more time with the children in their care.

Next, right beside that box, there is a box where you can add up to 10 photos of the activity or include video or audio files. This is a great option to have as parents love seeing and hearing their child in the creche while they are working or at home. Simply upload the files you wish to share from your desktop or upload from the browse button directly from the tablet within the room.

Moving to the right of the screen, you will see an option for “Emerging Interest”, where practitioners can easily click if the activity was an emerging interest from the children, parent or practitioners.

Right underneath that, you will see a large green button that says Aistear and Siolta. Simply click on this button, and you will be able to seamlessly link up the activities with Aistear and Siolta; when you choose a theme, it will display the aims linked to that Theme, when you select an Aim, it will display the Goals for that Aim, then it will display only the relevant Síolta Standards selected from what you have already chosen and when you select a Standard, it will only show you the 3 or 4 relevant Components that are relevant.

Once you have completed filling in your activities section, you can quite easily just hit the “Select All” button above all the names of the children in that room, and that means this activity, picture, message etc., will be applied to all children in that room. It saves you from doing it for each child manually. Of course, if only one child did the activity. Just click on their profile; it will then highlight green and then press apply. It is that quick and that user-friendly! Again you can use this for short observations or for simply sharing activities, photos and videos, you decide.

You also have an “Activities” area in the main menu where it lists all the activities you had linked to Aistear and Síolta, so you can use filters to find the one you are looking for. What is also great about this feature is that you get to share more with parents about the Aistear and Síolta frameworks, giving them greater insight and really showcasing the excellent work practitioners do on a day to day basis.

For a visual step by step guide to doing this, please click on the video below!

Six tasty dishes to cook for your children!

At Child Paths, we are very blessed that our Business Development Manager, Alan,  is a chef by trade. We are always treated to delicious recipes from Alan, and we thought it was time to share some of these tasty dishes with our Child Paths community. We are aware that a lot of parents may be back to the office now so all these recipes are with that in mind, so they are nutritious, tasty and easy to make! 

 

1. Traditional Soda Bread

Ingredients

● 250g wholemeal flour

● 200g plain white flour

● 1 teasp. bread soda, (sieved)

● 1 teasp. salt

● 1 egg

● 350ml buttermilk, approx.

● 1 teasp. Honey

Method

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F).

2. Mix the flour, bread soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. Combine the egg with the buttermilk and honey then mix into the flour. Add a little

more buttermilk if the mixture is dry – it should be a soft dough.

4. Pour the dough into a lightly oiled loaf tin.

5. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or porridge oats over the top of the loaf if using.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

7. To know when it is cooked simply tap the bottom of the loaf – it will sound hollow

when it is fully cooked

8. Remove from the tin and wrap in a clean tea towel while cooling. This will keep

the crust soft.

2. Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients

● 450g lean minced beef

● 1 tbsp oil

● 1 onion chopped

● 60 grams of garden peas

● 2 carrots, peeled and diced

● 1 tbsp. plain flour

● 400g tin tomatoes

● 2 tbsp. tomato purée

● 125ml water

● Salt and black pepper

● 1 kg Sweet potatoes, cooked

● 1 egg yolk

● 1 tbsp Butter

● 1 litre milk or cream

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

2. Add the onion and cook until soft. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

3. Heat a little more oil in the pan and brown the meat.

4. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes.

5. Add in the onions, peas, carrots, tomatoes, purée, water, salt and pepper.

6. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C (350°F).

8. Pour the mince mixture into a baking dish.

9. Mash the sweet potatoes with the egg yolk, butter, milk or cream and salt and

pepper. Pile the sweet potatoes on top of the mince and score with a fork.

10.Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the sweet potato is nicely

crisped.

3. Yummy Pancakes

 

Ingredients

● 250gr self-raising white flour (standard flowers work too, they just come out

thinner)

● 1 pinch of salt

● 30 gr caster sugar

● 2 eggs

● 500 ml milk (room temperature)

● 60 gr Irish creamy butter

● A small dollop of butter for cooking

 

Method

 

1. Mix the flour, eggs and the caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix well and then add the milk slowly to the mixture, stirring all the time to make

a smooth batter. Use a whisk if you can as it helps it come out smoother, then

leave it to rest.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave then slowly add it to your batter and mix again.

Cover your batter with cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for an hour or a

little longer.

4. Once ready, heat a non stick pan and add a dollop of butter until it melts and

coats its base. Pour a ladle of batter in the pan and move the pan so that it forms

a thin pancake, then leave to cook for about a minute.

5. After that time, the bottom side of the pancake should be cooked enough to allow

for easy flipping/turning. Flip and cook for an extra minute, then remove, put on a

dish and sprinkle with sugar, then repeat with all the others. Serve hot.

 

Serving suggestions

Honey, mixed fresh berries, nutella & marshmallows, fresh cream, butter, ice-cream etc.

4. Delicious Apple Cake

 

Ingredients

● 300g flour

● 15g baking powder

● 150g sugar

● 3 eggs

● 100g butter

● 100ml milk

● 4 small apples (if using large cooking apples, 2 are more than enough)

● Grated lemon rind (or a few drops of lemon juice)

 

Method

 

1. Grease a tin with butter and set aside

2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and butter, then slowly

3. Slowly add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after adding each one

4. Add the milk and mix

5. Add the lemon and mix

6. Add the flour and baking powder

7. Mix very well until all ingredients come together to form a sticky, heavy dough

8. Peel the apples and add them to your mixture

9. Mix well

10. Pour into the tin container and flatten so that all the base is occupied and the top

of the cake is level

11. Use a spoon to sprinkle sugar on top

12. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 min at 180C

13. Serve!

5. Tortilla pizza

 

Ingredients

 

● spray oil

● 4 wholewheat, plain flour or corn tortillas (about 19cm/71⁄2in diameter)

● 1 small garlic clove, halved

● 400g tin chopped tomatoes (preferably with herbs)

● 125g grated cheese cheddar & mozzarella

● 280g jar roasted red and yellow peppers, drained (about 175g/6oz of actual

peppers)

● 70g/21⁄2oz rocket

● flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

 

1. Turn the oven ideally as high as it will go, making sure two shelves are in place –

about 240C/220C Fan/Gas 8.

2. Spray a bit of oil on two large baking trays and put two tortillas on each. S

3. Spray a little more on top of the tortillas and then rub the cut side of the garlic all

over the tortillas – this gives the pizza extra flavour.

4. Divide the chopped tomatoes evenly between the 4 tortillas, spreading them out

but leaving a 1.5cm/3⁄4in border.

5. Divide the cheese and peppers evenly over the top.

6. Pop both trays into the oven to bake for about 4-6 minutes (depending on how

hot your oven is), or until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are crisp and

golden-brown on their edges. Swap the trays around on the shelves half way

through for even cooking.

7. Remove the tortillas from the oven and slide onto serving plates. Top with the

rocket and basil (if using).

8. Season with a little scattering of salt and pepper.

 

6. Wholesome Beef Stew

 

Ingredients

● 800g of lean diced beef

● 3 tbsp plain flour (can be gluten free)

● 2 tbsp oil

● 1 medium onion, chopped

● 2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped

● 3 medium carrots, sliced

● 500g waxy potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks

● 1.1 litre beef stock

● 2 tbsp tomato puree

● 2 tsp brown sauce

● 3 sprigs of fresh thyme

● 2 bay leaves

 

Method

 

1. Add the diced beef and the flour to a large sandwich bag, close the top and then

shake the beef around until it has been coated in all the flour.

2. Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large shallow pan. Add the onions and cook for

2-3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and put them in a bowl.

4. Add the flour coated beef to the pan. You can add more oil at this stage if you

think it is needed.

5. Fry the beef for 3-4 minutes until it has browned on all sides.

6. Add back in the onions and garlic along with the rest of the ingredients. If you

can’t fit all the stock in the pan at this stage just add as much as you can. As the

stock reduces you can add more.

7. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Cover loosely with a lid and

leave to simmer for 1 hour, stirring a few times.

8. After 1 hour remove the lid and continue to simmer for another hour, stirring

every so often.

9. Enjoy!

If you decide to make any of these dishes, please tag us on our social media channels! We would love to see your creations!

10 places to bring the children this Midterm Break!

Happy October to all! The spooktacular season is officially upon us. As of October 22nd, hopefully the majority of COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. With that in mind, there is a ton of fun things to do with the kids this mid-term break all around Ireland! Sit back, relax and have a read-through of the top 10 places we have picked where you could go with your children.

1.       Rathwood, Co. Carlow 

Rathwood has it all, from beautiful gardens, restaurants, and for this month, a Pumpkin Patch! You will be sure to create a magical Halloween experience with your little ones with the Spooktacular Pumpkin Train Ride Adventure, pumpkin carving, hot chocolate and much more! Click here to learn more: https://www.rathwood.com/events

2.     Tayto Park

Why not check out Tayto park this midterm break! With spooky treasure hunts, magic shows and amazing rides, the whole family will have a ball! For more information and to book tickets please click on the link below. https://taytopark.ie/

3.      Halloween Themed STEM Camps

Does your child fancy a STEM-themed camp this Halloween break? These camps are suitable for ages 6 to 12 years. Children can expect to play with slime, eyes, vampire blood, and much more! To see the list of camps and the areas they will be in please click on the following link. https://junioreinsteinsscienceclub.com/science-camps/

4. Magical Plants Guided Tours at National Botanic Gardens

 

A family fun day that has promised not to be missed! Here the whole family gets to use plants to make spells and potions. To book your free ticket and for more information, please click here. https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/magical-plants-guided-tour-for-families-tickets-171899384687?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 5. Halloween Spookfest at Fota House & Gardens

If you are in Cork this midterm break, we have an interactive show in Fota that is sure to be a big hit with the family. From dancing to games, it will be an hour and 15 minutes of sheer fun. Don’t forget to dress up as there will be a prize for the best dressed grown-up! For more information, click on the following link. https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/halloween-spookfest-at-fota-house-and-gardens-sunday2pm-tickets-170257919019 

6. Waffles the Witch’s Tricks & Treats

 

An Táin Arts Centre in Dundalk, Co Louth is having a fantastic show that will be full of spells and magic. Children will learn about magic while also learning about the vital importance of working together and being happy. For more information, please click on the following link: https://www.visitlouth.ie/whats-on/events/waffles-the-witch.html


At Child Paths we are very aware that Halloween is not for everyone. That is why we have found four places to bring the kids this midterm break that is equally fun for the family but without the spook and gore.


7.      Kilkenny Pumpkin Picking 2021

If your family are looking for a fun day out and to pick a few pumpkins, you have to check out Kilkenny Pumpkin Picking over the midterm break! Great place to take an autumnal family picture! For more information please visit their Facebook page.

8.       Hooky Spooky Halloween Experience at Luggwoods 2021

To get you and the family in the Halloween spirit, we strongly recommend visiting Hooky Spooky Halloween Experience at Luggwoods over the midterm! Set in a safe outdoor surroundings, you and your family will get to do many fun things here such as dressing up and taking family pictures whilst enjoying the fun! For more information and tickets, please click on the link below:  www.luggwoodsevents.com

9. Dublin – Bounce n Beyond

Does your child love trampolines? Why not bring them to Bounce ‘n Beyond, located in Ballyboughal, just 5 mins past Swords in North County Dublin. This is a new, state-of-the-art Trampoline Fun Park! They have more than 20 play areas that are all a great source of exercise and fun! Click on the following link to learn more: https://bouncenbeyond.ie/bounce-n-beyond-homepage/

10. Galway Tourist Train

 

If you are in the Galway region this midterm break, you have to check out the Galway Tourist Train. It will bring you and your children all around the historical places in Galway. An enjoyable and educational day in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in Ireland! Call Terry on 0872188314 and check out the Galway tourist train Facebook page for more information by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/GalwayTouristTrain/


We hope you all have a safe and healthy midterm break! As always, please feel free to tag us on any of your adventures from the list. We would be delighted to see them!

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Top Tips with Children Returning to School

Child Paths are proud partners of the Adult and Child Therapy Centre. They are a multi-disciplinary team who provide a holistic service to children and their families. Over the last number of weeks, they have been preparing children for their move into Primary and Secondary school, and here is their top tips to help both children and parents have a smoother run-up to their big day.

Routine Preparation 

 

If you live close enough to your child’s school pass by it a couple of times and be positive when you see the building so that your child is familiar with the surroundings. 

  • Discuss how you might walk up to school or where you might park your car when you are dropping them off.
  • Practice classroom etiquette such as asking to go to the bathroom, sitting at a desk (you may have one at home), and practice sitting in their chair and asking for their teachers’ attention by raising their hand.  
  • Promote whole body listening – which includes a quiet body and quiet hands as well as looking and listening.
  • Encourage independence skills – hanging up a coat, putting things into and taking things out of a schoolbag, looking after personal belongings such as pencils, books, bathroom routine i.e., remembering to wash hands.
  • Practice morning routines such as news telling and what the weather is like on a particular day.
  • Layout their uniform on the first day. This will be one less thing for everyone to worry about and creates organisation in the morning routine
  • Be consistent with your morning routine. Children thrive in routine, and they will rely on you to model this behavior. Making their bed first thing in the morning begins the day well and sets them up for success in their day.
  • If your child is nervous or shy, don’t let your concerns be shown. Labeling them as quiet or even loud will mean they are more than likely always going to be this way, when in fact, starting a new school may bring out a new child.

Secondary School

 

  • Making sure that they have plenty of time – a lot of us tend to be rushing in the morning, and if a young person is feeling anxious, this can trigger their fight/flight response.
  • Practice looking at your child’s timetable with them, subject, teacher, and setting i.e., home economics room or science lab. Creating conversation around their new setting.
  • Encourage advanced planning and consistent routines (to reduce anxiety) of packing school bags the night before rather than the morning of, set a bedtime and morning alarm time,
  • Chat about the logistical differences between secondary school and primary school (e.g., teachers, moving between classrooms)
  • Homework routines – Have a shared discussion with your child regarding consistent routine for homework (ask them what works best, where they are going to do their homework, what distractions do they need to remove, and both agree to honour the routine. Allow them time after school to do something that brings their energy up so they can recharge their batteries.
  • Academic language: Your child will be encountering lots of new academic vocabulary in school e.g., discuss, describe, explain, give an example, outline, compare and contrast. Set up your child for success by discussing what these words mean and what they may suggest in terms of answer length and type of information that’s needed.  

 

Mindset

  • Modeling and encouraging a growth mindset while acknowledging difficulties:  “Change can be hard, and it takes time for us to get used to it. It is ok if you are finding this hard.”

 

Then shifting them to :

 

-“What do you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?” (it might be an organisational piece such as don’t forget your books for all three classes, or a new person’s name, or a teacher they like)

– One thing that went well today

– Something they enjoyed

 

 

One of the most positive things about secondary school is the opportunities it creates. Your primary school might have had one of two clubs or sports teams you could join but at secondary school there are clubs for every interest.

 

Allowing your child to have a varied approach to their school life by participating in various activities creates balance in their school experience. This will help create an overall more positive school experience while tapping into other areas of their personalities.

 

The above was provided by:

 

Christina Caffrey (Speech and Language Therapist) soon to be Primary School Teacher

Miriam E Mahdi (Occupational Therapist)

Aoife O’Neill (Cognitive Behavioural Specialist)

All part of the team at the Adult and Child Therapy centre.  

Just like Adult and Child Therapy, Child Paths strive to support children. Contact us today for more information!

How to lead Digital Change with Child Paths

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” These words are usually credited to the acclaimed genius Albert Einstein. Have you ever stopped and looked at what you do in your setting and look at ways to improve your business, bit by bit make small incremental changes to improve your overall service? 

 

Change can be extremely difficult for companies and individuals. COVID-19 has certainly highlighted the major benefits of using technology. You will find advice, tips, and stories from some of the thousands of Early Years practitioners, managers, and owners around the country that have rolled out Child Paths successfully. If you are thinking strongly of signing up to Child Paths you can use this document as a reference and go-to place. You can come back to it as many times as you like, each time taking another piece of advice and implementing it within your setting.

 

To get started, you must ask yourself why you should change the way you have been doing things for years. With more and more pressure put on the early years industry, something needs to happen to relieve some of the pressure. Child Paths is obviously part of the solution when it comes to paperwork, cutting down on costs, communicating with parents but more importantly it is about spending more time with the children instead of doing administration. Child Paths will help you work quicker and smarter to capture, store and showcase more of your excellent work to parents and inspectors. Can you imagine your world without all the paperwork and parents giving you and your staff more praise for the excellent work you do on a day-to-day basis? They probably don’t see this enough because you both do not have the time or the platform to showcase this, now you have.

 

But first, you need to know a change management programme requires a leader who has to be absolutely committed to it and drive the process through; that is you. Once the Owner/Manager is enthusiastic about the change, they are advocating there is a much better chance others will be. Child Paths will be a significant change to your setting, and with all such changes, you need to be clear you understand the benefits and value it will bring so you can reinforce that message to your staff. 

 

Here are some of the benefits of Child Paths you can question and discuss with your staff:

  • Do you think it will help parents feel more involved in their child’s day? 
  • Will it help cut down on paperwork eliminating day sheets/notebooks, observations etc., while saving time writing repetitive information over and over?
  • Will it act as an evidence tool for your inspectors and help with compliance?
  • Will it save money on paper, ink and photocopying?
  • Will it simplify Aistear and Siolta and act as a learning tool for staff?
  • Is it a business management tool where you can record most things in one place?
  • Will it cut down on the amount of storage?
  • Will it satisfy your customers looking for real-time peace of mind updates on their child throughout the day that your competitors can not offer?
  • Will it attract new customers looking for this latest technology to help them feel more involved in their child’s day?
 

If you can answer yes to any of the questions above you are making incremental changes that will improve different areas of your business. It will not only help you compete against other Early Years settings but also help you become more sustainable. 

 

To help you do this, you need to have somebody called a change agent. This will be the person on the ground who will manage the change in your company, whether it’s you, your Manager, your Team Leader or a staff member who is good with technology. You need somebody to be the champion of Child Paths, so they monitor, support and assist everybody. If you do not have the time, you need to delegate this responsibility to one or more people otherwise you reduce your chances of successfully using Child Paths.

You may find some resistance to change due to either wanting to do things the old way or fearing technology. People need to understand what the objective is. What this means is how the change will benefit staff. By showcasing the future, that will emerge as the result of Child Paths, will help them see why it is the right decision. This might be done through the reduction of paperwork, positive feedback from the parents on the excellent work done by the staff, or through linking Aistear and Siolta within the observations, curriculum, and milestones tools; staff will find this very easy. Expecting resistance to change and planning for it from the start will allow you to manage objections effectively. This process begins with setting a vision or a clear reason for the change and communicating it clearly and as often as possible. People need a good reason to alter their way of doing things. They need to believe and understand the reasons for doing it, and they need to see the potential benefits for themselves and the company as a whole.  

There are different ways an Owner or Manager can do this. Still, the main thing is you need to be honest with the staff about the company and what is happening to the industry, which they are fully aware of in terms of sustainability and what other Early Year’s settings are doing about the pressure the industry is under. If, for example, other settings in your area are going down the digital route, they are making changes because it will benefit different areas of their business, so they’re gaining a competitive advantage over their competition. Something has to change to combat various changes in the industry. 

To overcome the resistance to change, we recommend the following:

·       Be very clear about the change to staff and why you are changing

·       Consult your staff regularly and get their input so they feel part of the change

·       Support, understand, and try to address their concerns

·       Understand that they are used to doing things the old way, and this will be a change to their routine, but in the long term it will benefit everybody, owners, managers, staff, parents, inspectors and most importantly the children.

Another vital step is to establish a sense of urgency which is crucial to creating the momentum and igniting the motivation that will get all your staff using the Child Paths correctly and consistently from the beginning. The most effective way of persuading your staff that change is working is to make sure that some results are almost immediately visible. Nothing is more motivating than evidence of success. Find a result as early as possible that will allow people to see that the change has a positive effect; this could be through removing the paperwork.

You need to have some short-term targets/goals which map the way to the result. What we recommend is:

 

  • removing the day sheets after the first week
  • going live with the parents after the second week
  • doing their first observation after the third/fourth week and so on 

 

That will show clearly that the change is working and you are not overwhelming them with change, and it is done bit by bit until everybody is confident and comfortable using the software. Some staff may need extra support and time to get up to speed with the software, so it is crucial to identify who those people are and offer support. Quick wins are essential to get buy-in from the staff and to ensure motivation and momentum keep going. These wins, when achieved, should be repeated as often as possible to as many people as possible to show that those results are not only achievable but have been reached. Manage your staff’s expectations about what should be achieved and what you expect from them. If they do not know what they have to do, how will they do it?

 

Just to give you an example of one setting in Wicklow that has roughly 80 children. We trained them on a Wednesday in their setting, and on Friday, they rang looking to go live to the parents. We asked them to hold off as we assumed it was too early as they had been only using the software for two days really. When we did a performance review where we go in and check how each room (staff members) are using the software, we were delighted to see they were using it exceptionally well. They were documenting every area on the tablet, which was previously done on paper. They had loads of great photos of what the children were learning and creating rather than just pictures of the children themselves. As they had no children’s faces in lots of the photos, they were able to send those pictures to all the parents, so they showcased what the children had done that day through photographs. They were able to select all children in the room and upload the photos in one go and click send. Again with activities, they used the software efficiently by only adding the activities in blocks/groups, one block in the morning, another early afternoon, and another group of activities late afternoon. They were using the communication area to discuss what the children were learning. 

What Works

They did a fantastic job rolling out the software, and within the first two weeks, they had most of their parents using the software. We don’t expect everybody to go live to parents within two days; however, this is an excellent example of how it is possible to be using the software correctly, consistently, and enjoying the benefits after two days if it’s correctly managed. However, it is necessary to have somebody to lead, support, and assist in the beginning. They micromanaged the process from the start. What I mean is they monitored very early how the staff were using the software, showed them the correct way, supported them with any questions or concerns, and ensured that everything they were doing with pen and paper was on the software correctly.

We recommend you have regular meetings and brainstorming sessions with the staff to all share their thoughts and what they find easy or hard. This is where your staff will help each other by sharing how they do things better or quicker. You need to ask the staff do they see themselves doing all this paperwork and more that will come in the next few years. If the answer is no, well, then they need to know it’s happening now. The company can not sit and wait years before they make changes, it needs to happen as soon as possible, and their buy-in to the process is critical. The Owner/Manager needs to get people thinking and talking about the need for change. Communication is essential to the success of Child Paths in your setting. The Owner/Manager needs to communicate frequently and forcefully as it needs to be repeated over and over before it entirely filters down the change is happening for the right reasons. It needs to come from the top to everybody so nobody hears the information incorrectly and can make their assumptions. Make sure you communicate clearly, and it is understood by everybody as they need to understand the reasoning behind it. This must come from the Owner, Managers, and Team Leaders, and everybody has to be onside together if this is to be successful. Half the battle is having people around you that will in themselves simply change the culture, have an influence over others, and be committed to the changes ahead. This team will help spread the communication of change and maintain the necessary momentum to see it through. 

It is very important the staff remain consistent in their work. Just because you see some good results early does not mean they can take their foot off the gas. It is important they keep the same level of communication with parents. They need to ensure they are meeting their regulatory requirements when it comes to inspections, and again the Owner/Managers/Team Leaders need to reinforce this message over and over again otherwise, it will end up failing. When new staff starts, make sure they are trained and supported by the staff you class as a Super User/Change Agent, somebody who knows the system inside out. Sharing experiences and processes from room to room is an excellent quick way of improving both efficiencies and confidence using the software. It is essential to support those finding the change difficult and let them know you and the rest of the team are there to help anytime. The sign that Child Paths has become a success is when the change stops being a process. It becomes a core part of the business; it’s culture and your working day where it becomes natural, and everybody uses it instinctively in the new way of working without even noticing.

 

Let’s Recap


You need to speak with all staff and get their input and feedback. Share quick wins and better ways of using the software between each room. Have some brainstorming sessions/meetings in the first few weeks, and remember to delegate, so you do not take too much control. Otherwise, it will eat into your own time. Change can be challenging and not easy to bring about however, with the right level of commitment from the Owners, Managers, and Team Leaders, it will become a huge success. Micro-Management, in the beginning, is critical. If you put the time and effort in for the first few weeks, your staff will be committed, confident and competent using Child Paths which will allow you to go back to dealing with your day to day duties. Remember, we are here for you every step of the way, and that includes after you have rolled out to parents. It is just the beginning of what we are creating, and we would be delighted to have you with us on this journey.

 

Please speak with one of our team today to see how Child Paths can help transform your business. 

 

 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Ireland this Summer

Happy summer holidays to all our customers out there! While we are sure you are delighted to have the children home to spend more time with them, we at Child Paths understand the struggle it is at times to keep them entertained. That is why we have done our research, and we have picked out 10 amazing places you can bring the children this summer to keep them entertained, but most importantly, create those special summer memories with them. These destinations numbered 1 to 10 are in no way a ranking order; they are all equally worthwhile!

1. Castlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny

Did someone say educational and fun? That is exactly what Castlecomer Discovery park has to offer. This fun activity park sits on the site of what was once known as the Wandesford Estate and a coal mine that lasted over 300 years. Bring the kids to see what was once coal mines as an educational element, then allow them to have endless fun on all the outdoor activities the park has to offer such as the Octagon and Zip Wire! Do not forget it is home to Ireland’s longest zip line. It is 300 metres long and 35 metres over the ground at its highest point. Visitors can zip over the stunning woodland, two lakes, and 17th-century hand-restored bridge (how cool!). The majority of the park is dog friendly, so don’t forget to bring the pooch for a dip in the lake! For more information, please visit their website: https://www.discoverypark.ie/ 

 

We are delighted to be teaming up with Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny as part of Top 10 Places to Visit in Ireland this Summer. They have kindly offered all our customers 10% off when booking the Octagon & Zipwire package, normally €27 – suitable for 12+ The code is ChildPaths10 and can be used only for online booking – www.discoverypark.ie/bookinig Running for a limited time only! From today to the 7th of July 2021. (T&C’s apply) 

2. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.

Wicklow is indeed not called the Garden County for nothing! Glendalough is arguable one of the most picturesque places in the world, let alone Ireland. Set in the tranquil Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough caters to all ages and walking abilities. There is also a beautiful lake where you can bring the children to dip their feet into for a splash to cool down after visiting the famous Round Tower on the way. While there is a food truck near the lake, we recommend you bring a picnic to avoid the long queues and to take in the beautiful surroundings!

3. Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

A must-see with the children this summer! Suitable for all ages and walking abilities. Children will love seeing all the different birds flying in and out of the cliffs, and of course, the parents will love the magnificent views. A perfect place to take the annual family picture! Please be aware, to get the full views of the cliffs; there is quite a steep hill that may be difficult to get up with a buggy. However, you will be sure to see some incredible views without going up the steep hill. What makes this place so special is the traditional Irish buskers that often play their instruments; it really makes you feel that Irish pride!

4. Moher Hill Farm, Co. Clare

 We just had to include this gem of a place, especially if you have the children with you. Only a stone’s throw from the Cliffs of Moher, we are convinced your children will love this place. Children can feed and pet many of their favorite animals. However, there is so much more to do here to keep the children entertained for hours, such as; ball pool, all-weather outdoor play area, miniature golf course, and of course, the all-important bouncing castle! For more information, please visit their website: www .moherfarm.com

5. Trabolgan Holiday Village, Co. Cork

This place is a kid’s heaven. Suitable for all ages, and there is sure to be something here for everyone to enjoy, from toddler to Nana. Trabolgan is set in a tranquil wood in East Cork. It has many activities and outdoor adventures for the children to explore. This is the perfect place for walks, looking at nature, or even building a sandcastle with their newly opened beach! For more information, please click on the link: https://trabolgan.com/

6. Tayto Park, Co. Meath

What is better than Tayto Crisp? A Tayto fun park! You will have to check out this incredible fun park in Ashburn this summer that is sure to give Disneyland a run for its money. With a Theme Park and a Zoo on site, it is sure to be a big hit with the family this summer. For more information and how to book tickets, please click on the link: https://taytopark.ie/

7. Rathwood, Co. Carlow

This place has it all and something for everyone in the family. First of all, it has a fantastic award-winning garden centre where you could spend hours if you were not with the children of course. However, you may find it hard to even get a look into the garden centre once the children see the fantastic amenities outside for them. From a maze in the shape of Ireland, to a Deer Park and their famous woodland train, you could spend hours of fun here. There is a beautiful on-site restaurant to make sure everyone is all fed and happy heading home. For more information, please click on the link below: https://www.baby-and-child.com/woodlands-train

8. Funtasia Theme Parks, Co. Louth

 If you are looking for somewhere where the children can play for hours on end, Funtasia is the solution for you. This place has endless facilities to enjoy, from the impressive waterpark, fully equipped with fun water slides, bowling, zip lines, Eureka Flying Cars, Arcade, and much more. We can assure you that the only hard thing will be to get the children back in the car to go home. For more information and to book tickets, please click on the link: https://www.funtasia.ie/

9. The National Reptile Zoo, Co. Kilkenny

Are any of your children Dinosaur enthusiasts or have a great love for animals? If so, you have to bring them to Irelands only reptile zoo in county Kilkenny. If you or the children are feeling brave, you will even be allowed to touch or hold some of their scaly friends. It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and the children will be sure to talk about it for days after. For more information, please click on the link below: https://www.nationalreptilezoo.ie

10. Hunt for the Grufflo, Co. Donegal

If you are up in the beautiful Donegal, a visit to Colin Glen Forest to The Gruffalo Trail for a bit of family fun is highly recommended. The children can follow in the Mouse’s footsteps throughout the forest and be greeted with a silly old fox, owl, and snake while they are on the way. This park is free so a great fun adventure to do if it’s a holiday on a budget.

We would love to see some of the summer adventures you go on over the summer with

our Top 10 Lists. Be sure to tag us so we can see your holiday snaps!

Remember, with Aistear, it is all about Practitioners understanding more about the child outside of the setting. These day trips are an excellent way to share some of those photos to create important conversations. 

We wish you all a safe and happy summer. Bring on the sunshine and popsicles!

If there is anything we can help you with call us today!

We are always happy to help!