Day Care Goes Digital with Apps: Diaper Change? Tummy Time? There’s an App for That

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Day care centers are one more traditional business being impacted by the mobile technology revolution. Robert and Anne Kennedy, owners of three day care centers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently launched Child Care Daily App, a web-based application that lets caregivers send reports and updates to parents’ mobile device, tablet computer or via web browser. The Kennedys hope to capture a slice of the booming market for apps for iPads, iPhones, Android devices and other platforms. Analysts from International Data Corporation predict that the app market will grow at a 50% compound rate annually, surpassing $35 billion in revenue by 2014.

Anne and Rob Kennedy, founders of Child Care Daily App,  a new service for day care centers to report a child's activities to parents throughout the day.

Anne and Rob Kennedy, founders of Child Care Daily App, a new service for day care centers to report a child's activities to parents throughout the day.

"It gives the teachers more time to spend interacting with the children and our parents love being more connected during the day. My staff won't go back to paper.” Jennifer Moss, owner, IXL Learning Centers

News of “the New iPad,” the latest version of Apple’s market-leading tablet computer, is music to entrepreneur Robert Kennedy’s ears. The owner of three day care centers in the Ann Arbor area, Kennedy recently launched Child Care Daily App, a web-based application that lets caregivers send reports and updates to parents’ mobile device, tablet computer or via web browser.

Market for Apps Continues to Grow
The market for apps for iPads, iPhones, Android devices and other platforms seems to be insatiable - analysts from International Data Corporation predict that the app market will grow at a 50% compound rate annually, surpassing $35 billion in revenue by 2014. The rising popularity of apps led Kennedy to launch his business venture in early 2010 to digitize the nearly 120,000 licensed child care centers in the United States. Another estimated 200,000 state regulated home-based child care businesses are also potential users of Child Care Daily App.

Day Care Centers Leap from Paper to Flat Screens and Fingerprint Recognition
Kennedy and his wife Anne opened their first licensed child care facility, Annie’s Children’s Center, in 1995. As the number of children attending the centers grew to more than 300, so did the stacks of paper. Licensing requires that child care providers track and report daily activities, such as diaper changes, meals, snacks and sleep, for each child at the facility.

“The child care industry is just starting to invest in technology for business functions like invoicing and for security like electronic fingerprint recognition for child pickups,” CCDApp CEO Rob Kennedy says. “Now that the computer equipment has become so much more affordable and portable with tablets, centers can take advantage of tools like CCDApp so that teachers spend less time generating paperwork and more time with the children.”

The communication service is being tested in Kennedy’s own three centers, as well as at IXL Learning Centers in Hamburg, Howell and Birmingham. Nearly 30 centers across the US have signed up for a 30-day trial of Child Care Daily App.    

Keeping Parents and Caregivers Connected
Jennifer Moss, the owner of IXL Learning Centers purchased touch screen computers for each classroom in her three centers and is using Child Care Daily App in all of them. Moss says she is always on the lookout for tools that make her teachers’ job easier. “I thought that being able to see what each child needs at a glance would be easier than having to rifle through all the clipboards and charts to know who was due for a diaper change or feeding. It gives the teachers more time to spend interacting with the children and our parents love being more connected during the day.”

According to Moss, the computerized tracking and communication tool is in place permanently at her centers. During a recent internet outage, she suggested that the staff go back to the paper-based tracking system. The teachers made their preference known, “They said, ‘oh no, we can’t go back now.’”

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Lori Byron

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