Childcare Software FAQs
The iCare setup is very simple, which can be completed in a few minutes. If you are a center then most importantly you have to add your rooms and programs that control your capacities, legislated ratios, scheduling and rate chart.u00a0For enrichment classes based programs and afterschool care you can skip the rooms setup.
The corporate site is for administrators and staff only; no children can be enrolled in it. Staff enrolled in the corporate site can see children and data of all operational sites; whereas, staff and administrators of operational sites can only see children and data of their site.
The admin email ID is used for email exchange with the iCare Support Team for any type of help. The center email ID is used for all email exchanges with the parents and staff.
A Program or class has a preset schedule and bill. When you enroll children in it, they inherit that schedule and bill. However, you can customize a childu2019s schedule and bill by editing it. Example of programs/classes are: Toddler 2-Day AM, Preschool FT, Infant 5-Day, Chess TTh, and Intermediate Music.
There are 4 options:
- From iCare send an email invite to parents to self-register.
- Copy and paste your data into the available Excel template and import the data.
- Add u2018Self-Registrationu2019 button on your website for the parents. (The code for the self-registration button is given in iCare.)
- Manually type the data in.
Upon your iCare sign-up, you will be contacted by the iCare payment gateway, TSYS, to establish a new merchant account for you. Normally, within 2 days you will get your approval and TSYS will contact you to run a test transaction.
Childrenu2019s bills are set in the Billing Grid, where they are inserted automatically when children are enrolled in programs/classes. Bills can also be inserted directly in the Billing Grid if a child has a custom bill. All bills have a Start Date, End Date and the Next Billing Date. Bills are posted automatically when the Next Billing Date is reached and if that is less than the End Date.
The iCare Lobby is the check-in solution that works as follows:
- It works on any device desktop, tablet or phone.
- You can run it on any number of devices at the same time; for example, you can run it on a tablet in each room.
- If you run buses, then it lets drivers check in and out children right on the bus.
- It is supplemented with the Attendance Grid in iCare where you can make corrections and batch edits.
It has the following features:
- Deliver messages.
- Get answers for Lobby Questions; such as, what lunch option would your child like today, or would you like to send your child to the Children’s Museum field trip next Friday.
- Send signal to unlock the entrance door.
- Capture signatures at the time of check-in.
- Check account balance.
Yes, age range is not a requirement for the rooms. Rooms need to be age-based only for centers where age-based teacher-child ratios have to be maintained.
Amongst other factors, a program/class most importantly has a schedule and bill. When children are enrolled in a program/class they inherit that schedule and bill. If a child has a custom schedule or bill, simply edit the inherited schedule and bill. When staff are enrolled in a program/class they inherit the schedule, as well. A staffu2019s schedule can also be customized.
A program has a room. For example, Toddler 3 Days program, running in the Toddler room, with a teacher-child ratio of 1:5. A class doesnu2019t have a specified room.u00a0All other factor are same for programs and classes.
Yes. If the program/class times are overlapping a warning message is given but you can still accept the entry. For example, a child could be enrolled in an AM program, a day program and an afternoon class.
If the child is enrolled in partial first and last billing cycle then a prorated bill is calculated. Prorated billing is an option though; you turn it off if not desired. If prorated billing is turned off then a full bill will be posted of the partial periods.
Yes. If enrolled with a future start date, then the childu2019s billing will start at that time. If enrolling for a past date, then you will be asked whether you want the past periods to be billed or not.
Login into iCare and go to Step 7 of Settings. There the following information is provided: URL (web address) for the Lobby, credentials for opening the Lobby and check-in options.u00a0iCare Lobby can be used through any browser on any device u2013 laptop, tablet or phone.
The Lobby has 2 steps u2013 Open Lobby and Login. A supervisor has to open the Lobby. Then the parents and staff can log in to check-in and out using their Lobby Password.
These are questions presented to the parents when they check-in their children through the Lobby. These are multiple choice questions, which the parent can respond fast. Here are a few examples:u00a0What will your child like for lunch today?
- Slice of pizzau00a0$1.50
Would you like to send your child for these upcoming field trips?
- Childrenu2019s Museum (April 10)u00a0$15.00
- Baseball Game (May 5)u00a0$20.00
The Lobby Message is a one-way message delivered to the parents or staff when they login into the Lobby. Examples of Lobby Message are u2018Please see me regarding your childu2019s enrollment for next year.u2019 or u2018Please see me regarding your payment for this month.u2019
Yes, a childu2019s teacher or any family contact authorized to pickup can check-in or out the child. Along with the date and time, the attendance report also shows who checked the child in or out.
Yes, check-in is not limited to the home site of a child or staff. For example, you may have to send a teacher to another site for a day to cover for a teacher on leave. Or, a child may be attending a special class or program offered at another site.
Around midnight the system runs a set of Day Ending procedures. One of the procedures is to check-out anyone left checked-in so that the time clock is ready for the next day. For the checkout time this procedure uses the Center Closing Time. At anytime you can edit the checkout time and enter the actual one.
If you have set an u2018additional hoursu2019 fee then the system will automatically bill the parent for the extra time. The additional hours fee can be set in different ways.
Yes, it is easy to do so. Like many report-based functions in iCare, attendance can be edited through the Attendance Report. The iCare report-based editing works like an Excel sheet.
Yes, the Lobby works on a phone also. Bus drivers can check the children in on their phones right when picking them up.
Yes, through the Attendance Report. For example, for children coming for after-school program. Anytime after the children have arrived, the teacher can enter the actual time of arrival, say 3 pm, and check them all in with one click.
It is fast and flexible. The key features are:
- Categorization by topics
- Smart search
- Batch inserts (for example, enter all the diaper changes of the day with one click)
- Curriculum-based activities
- Grading system
Simply select one or more children in your program, select a topic and start typing. If you have written a similar note earlier you will find it in the autofill list. Select and click on Post.u00a0Making Journal entries takes just a few seconds.
A curriculum is a timed list of activities for the day. For example,
- 8:00 am Breakfast
- 8:30 am Circle time
- 9:15 am Gym
A curriculum can be posted for any day for one or more children. It is a quick way of filling the dayu2019s activities.
Grades are best fit for classes. You can enter letter grades (A+, B-) or numbers/marks (85/100) on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.u00a0Grades and Activities are the two parts of Journaling.
Parents can see their childrenu2019s journal by logging in into the iCare App. Or, by seeing the daily report that they will receive by email at the end of the day.
Parents can see their children’s photos by logging in into the iCare App. Or, by seeing the daily report that they will receive by email at the end of the day.
If a parent doesn’t want their child to appear in group photos that are shared with other parents, they can unflag the share option under privacy settings. This warns the teachers that the childu2019s photo cannot be shared.
Yes.u00a0The same applies to the Journal and Photos. This allows the admin to watch for the appropriateness of all types of communication as opposed social media, which may be hard to control.
Bills are posted automatically at night through the u2018Day Endingu2019 process or can be posted anytime manually through the Preview Bill feature. All bills can be viewed in the Billing Grid report.
Using the Expiring Credit Card report you can request parents to update their cards. For Direct Deposits, the payment gateway automatically sends reminders to parents.
iCare includes a Chart of Accounts at the back of its receivables ledger. You can get revenue and cash account totals from iCare and make journal entries in your financials system.
We continue to add more reports in the application. Currently, there are about 15 accounting reports: Balances, Aging, Expiring Cards, Declined/Settled Payments, Billing Rates, Transactions, Billing Grid, Direct Deposits, Payment Listing, Yearly Tax Statement, Account Statement, Total Charges/Credits Summary, Fee Projection, and Billing Projection.
These are: sort by one or more columns, smart search that automatically matches appropriate columns, and advanced filtering with selective options.
Yes, you can right-click on any cell in the Grid View of any report to open the reports-action menu. The reports-action menu has drill-down, math and messaging functions.
Reports can be customized in many ways:
- Smart search and filtering
- Hide, unhide and add columns
- Sorting and grouping
- Advanced filtering
- Pivot table designer
- Exporting data
The Report Center is the catalog of all the reports in iCare. Currently, there are about 35 reports. New reports are being added as needs are identified.u00a0Soon, it will also get an Ad Hoc Query Builder, which will allow you to add custom reports or let the iCare Support Team add them for you.
This is a Pivot Grid feature like the Excel Pivot Table. It allows you to create a pivot table for multi-dimensional data analysis. Using the Pivot Grid, large amounts of data can be summarized and represented in a cross-tabular format that can be sorted, grouped and filtered. You can customize the layout of the report based on your analysis requirements using simple drag-and-drop operations. The Pivot Grid also supports drill-down (to view the underlying data for calculated cells), printing and exporting to various file formats (such as PDF, XLS and XLSX).