Little Learners is a Portsmouth-based nursery established in 2004. It is owned and managed by Elaine Burnett and has approximately 18 staff and 100 children and babies it cares for. Little Learners offers a range of services including nursery day care for 0-5 years plus before and after school clubs.
Prior to Nursery in a Box, Elaine had invested a significant amount of money in an alternative nursery software management system. She will be the first to admit that she gave up with it, as the complexities involved were just too much. Elaine and her team found it easier to keep things in their own excel and word documents for printing.
Elaine explained: “The previous management system was so complicated and time consuming that we ended up continuing to use paper. I like to know how to do things myself and the system did not allow this – I continually needed to call for support.
“Issues were solved remotely – it was like a dark art where I never got to figure it out for myself – but to do that would have cost more time, training and money and I didn’t want that.”
The system remained unused and Elaine and her team continued to manage the administration with the paperwork mounting up. This in itself took up valuable time and didn’t deliver Elaine the overall visibility of the business performance in order to make decisions to improve efficiencies.
“Everything was running okay as we knew what to do using our paper-based system, but it took up so much time and effort. We needed a system that everyone across the nursery could use and as an owner I wanted to see an overall picture of how my business was performing,” said Elaine.
“Speaking to a fellow nursery owner, she told me that they were using Nursery in a Box and recommended it. I got in contact and spoke with founder Dave Elebert, and after the initial conversation plus a trial I decided it was the way to go. We’ve not looked back.
“As with everything it’s a learning curve, but Nursery in a Box is user friendly, makes sense and most importantly I can speak to the team there; they know me and my business. There’s a real person on the end of the phone and, in most cases, they help me to solve issues myself, rather than taking over my PC mouse and doing it for me.”
When Little Learners started using Nursery in a Box in March 2020, they were looking at more effective ways to market the nursery. Then the onset of Covid-19 also presented its own set of unique issues in running the business.
Elaine continued: “Dave linked me with a website developer who has ensured our new site links directly into the Nursery in a Box system. Potential parents can book a viewing of the nursery through the website and it’s flagged in our daily calendar and assigned to a team member. It also enables me to see how many of the ‘showrounds’ convert into new business.
“Using Nursery in a Box during the pandemic meant I could quickly implement furlough models for staff, create bubbles and put children’s places on hold within the system. Obviously the children came back at different stages post lockdown, and we wanted to ensure their places were still available. At the touch of a button we can see where things are up to.”
As well as managing teams and attendance, parent communication has been vital during Covid-19. It has led to a reduction in face-to-face interaction with parents and nursery staff. Nursery in a Box has helped its nurseries to provide meaningful information to parents and ensures there is a digital record of all communication.
Elaine added “I can honestly say that Nursery in a Box has helped bring my business back to me. I feel so much more in control as I can get a clear overview of the nursery and its performance. It helps me to make better decisions much quicker than ever before.”Start your free trial