How a nursery that never goes inside saved hours every day
Free Range Urban Kids Forest School
Who are they?

In the middle of South Millfields Park, surrounded by trees and through a gap between a basketball and tennis court, you’ll find something you probably weren’t expecting. Kids climbing trees. An outdoor mud kitchen. A tool area with children using real saws, real hammers, and a real fire pit.

“We’re a fully outdoor nursery” Lizzy Hassay explains, “with no indoor space or building – and we operate all year round.” Come rain or shine, Lizzy and her team are out in the woods guiding their children through the kind of hands-on learning experience many nurseries could only dream of.

What was going on?

With the staff having to set up and pack down a toilet tent, kitchen, tool area and fire pit every day, time is really at a premium. With everything organised on spreadsheets and email, it just wasn’t working for Lizzy and her team.

“I could see the potential in software to save me time and collect data in a stress-free way,” Lizzy explains. What’s more, Lizzy saw the potential benefit in keeping parents updated in a more modern way, rather than relying on email. “Emails just did not feel secure to us either,” she explains.

“I used to work until 2 in the morning most nights,” Lizzy says, “Invoicing was a nightmare, chasing debt was also very time consuming, and I used to spend 30 minutes just checking the email list was up to date.”  They needed an answer.

“Invoicing was really time consuming before Famly. In fact it was a nightmare. Now we can invoice ‘confidently’ – we add ad-hoc sessions, days and products to Famly as we go along and know the next invoice will capture this. We are confident that we have captured all data required for Ofsted purposes too.”

Elizabeth Hassay, Director, Free Range Urban Kids

What did they do?

This is where Lizzy thought Famly could step up. “I could see the potential it had to save me time and collect data in a stress free way,” Lizzy goes on “from nappy changing to registering what time children arrived, It takes the ‘sting’ out of the amount of data which needs to be captured.”

Specifically, Lizzy found it made a real difference to the things taking up the majority of her time. “The time it’s saved with respect to invoicing and debt chasing has really improved our cash-flow,” Lizzy explains, “Once I have updated the payments in Famly, I can resend invoices quickly. I don’t need to draft an email, or ever recalculate how much is owed.”

What happened next?

That was just the start for Free Range Urban Kids. Now, they can easily share staff handbooks and other important information. They keep track of allergies, health information and medication. They can message parents without having to worry if they’re using the latest email list.

Aside from saving them time, it’s had a big impact on their parent relationships too. “Parents love an update on what the child did that day and this is so quick and easy to do,” Lizzy says.

And those late nights? “I am going to bed at 10pm at the latest now,” admits Lizzy, “I couldn’t live without Famly! It’s been life changing.”

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