Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.
When rolling out school-wide software applications, it’s very rare to get universal praise for something. Sometimes people don’t think it’s needed, they have trouble setting it up, or maybe just don’t want another system to deal with for their child. A year ago, we launched a new system that was praised by every single parent that talked to about it. It was called Kinderlime.
Kinderlime is a daycare and after-school care management software that schools can use to go all digital on their processes.
Replace your paper sign in-out and daily activity sheets with one mobile device. Know exactly where each child is when parents come for pickup. Help your parents pay easily and on-time with online billing. Charge for tuition, drop-ins, and late fees in seconds.
We originally found out about Kinderlime at the National Association of Independent Schools conference back in early 2017. We weren’t really on the market for a new solution here. We were still doing paper/pen with manual billing on our tuition system. We saw Kinderlime, and our interest was piqued, though. In schools (and in business), you often need to re-evaluate systems you are happy with to see if there is a better way to do it. Seeing Kinderlime in action forced us to do that.
After the conference, we discussed the pros and cons of implementing a system like this, and we ultimately realized that rolling it out would do two things: increase security and increase billing accuracy. One of the best things about Kinderlime is that the majority of the work is done on the iPad. In fact, the only thing we do in the actual Kinderlime website is load new student data and export the billing report out for our tuition system. All of the other interactions are done on the Kinderlime iPad app. Using iPads lowered our cost to roll out as we were buying $300 iPads vs $1000 laptops for check in and check out.
After we load the student data into Kinderlime (via CSV files), all of the students are in the database with their parents. Once we activate the system for the year, all parents are e-mail a PIN code that they use to sign their children out. Once school is out, children who are staying in after-care are checked into Kinderlime. The billing starts when the kid is checked in, and it stops immediately when the child is picked up. The only exception to this first hour are bills for the entire hour regardless of how long they stay (this is for staffing level management, etc). You have a lot of flexibility with how you bill as well.
The PIN code ensures us that this is a person able to pick up the child. Parents can have multiple people added with their own PIN code (grandparents, friends, etc.). When a child is checked out, an e-mail is generated to everyone on the account that their child has been picked up. It also records who picked them up as well.
We’ve gotten many compliments on Kinderlime from parents who appreciate the extra security and extra billing accuracy. At the end of the month, we load the data into our tuition management system for billing. If there are every any questions, we have the hard data to look at it. Kinderlime can also bill inside of the app using Stripe as the backend. We choose to export the data out, so our parents have one system for finances.
Kinderlime also has some features we aren’t using just yet such as staff time clock, secure photo messaging to parents, and CAFCP meal tracking.
I just finished prepping Kinderlime for this next school year, and we’re ready to go. Thanks to Kinderlime and four iPads, we’ve increased security for our after-school care system. If you have an after-school care system at your school, I highly recommend you check it out (or send this article to your school’s IT person). We’ve gotten universal praise for it from our parents.