After taking over their first nursery in May 2017, Anna Dougherty and Helen Platt wanted to create a more caring environment at the setting. “I’ve come from a teaching background and Helen is a nurse,” says Manager and co-owner Anna Dougherty, “we both come from caring professions.”
This is at the heart of what Anna and her team do at Fledglings Day Nursery in Doncaster. That meant having the right staff in place and finding a way to get their message out to parents. “I think we’re unique in the sense that we have a mixed range of staff, some with a lot of experience,” explains Anna, “That’s something parents always comment on when they come around.”
Having spent time training many of the existing staff and hiring a number of other highly qualified practitioners, their vision was starting to take shape. “The most important things for me as a parent is that they come back happy,” explains Anna, “And that you feel that you’re not worried when they’re away from you.”
But to stand out in their local area, they knew getting this message out to parents was what mattered…
What was going on?
Before they got started, there was one thing they needed to sort out. “As the previous owner went through the basics of her paper-based management system with us, it occurred to me that it would be amazing if I could get something digital to do a lot of it.” Anna explains.
Not even sure if such a system even existed, Anna set about researching and trialling a number of choices before settling on the right system. “As soon as I saw what Famly looked like, I knew that would be the way forward,” she says. “It’s easy to navigate and offered everything that I was looking for.”
Anna and her team wanted a system that was easy to use and came with the help that they needed to get up and running straight away.
“In our online trial, I was absolutely delighted with how user-friendly it was,” explains Anna. “What’s more, we were supported every step of the way – our online tutorials were invaluable and the team were always able to answer my questions straight away.”
Anna Dougherty, Manager and Co-Owner
What did they do?
Now that they were underway, it was time to see what the system could do for them. “Our parents love the app.” says Anna. In fact, many parents have mentioned the app in reviews they’ve left on the Fledglings Facebook page. “So people are really putting it out there to each other that Fledglings is using a system.” thinks Anna.
Not only did they see a positive impact on the parents, but the system has allowed Anna and her team to keep all of their communications in one easy to manage place. “We also use it to message parents individually, which is something our parents use a lot.” says Anna.
This is a function that really works for them. “It’s really nice to have everything in one place, we can check it all the time,” she adds, “so even if parents have sent something after working hours, I don’t mind sending them a quick message back.” This instant response has formed an essential part of the excellent parent partnerships that Fledglings have.
What happened next?
It’s not just the current parents that have been attracted to Fledglings’ new system. “When parents come for a visit to have a look around, I show them Famly straight away on the computer.” says Anna, “Parents really go for that.”
“They say “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before.” because the platform looks so nice,” Anna explains, “It just feels like that is a real selling point.”
Now, Fledglings can make sure parents old and new see all the great work they put into creating that caring environment that is so important to them.
And what about the other nurseries in the area? Are they going to catch on? “I’m sure other people will start using things like this, but at the moment we’re the only ones in our area.” Anna explains, “And long may it last!”