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Online Planning, Diary And Observation System


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Hi all.


My husband is a computer programmer and is currently 75% through designing and building an online diary, planning, observation and development system linked to the EYFS.


I am a childminder and care for 11 children with an assistant, the paperwork is bogging me down and so I asked him to develop this system, I have posted here to get your thoughts on the system which he said he will make available for other childminders and nurseries.


Here is the basis of how it works, I would really appreciate your thoughts and any feedback on the way it operates would be extremely helpful to me to ensure he gets it right!!


The main operation of the system is that there is one master administrator, this master administrator, known as the MA initially creates rooms on the system, rooms are the rooms that children get allocated to when added to the system. Ie; Tinkerbell room, tweenies room, mickey mouse room etc.


Then, then the MA creates additional admins and assigns them to these rooms, the reason this is done is that when the admin of tinkerbell room signs in they can only create diaries and obs etc for the children in their room.


There are also other areas that are created like positions, ie trainee, temp manager etc etc.


The diary side of the system operates like this:


The room admin logs in and sees a list of the children assigned to their room, they select a child and create the diary, this includes;


Diary notes










Within each of the above section is pre-filled data, for example in the food sections, they can select the food eaten from a drop down list of pre-filled food, ie in breakfast they can select, toast or porridge etc etc, then there are a selection of drinks to choose ie: milk, water etc, then the 3rd option is how much they ate, ie: all eaten, 1/4 eaten, half eaten etc etc


So, to add to the diary what the child ate for breakfast takes just 3 clicks of the mouse, 1 for the food, 1 for the drink and 1 for the amount eaten - simple!!


These are the same for the lunch and dinner.


In nappy section there are 3 drop down areas, 1 for soiled, 1 for loose and 1 for wet. So, within 3 clicks of the mouse they can add to the nappy section for example: 2x soiled, 1x wet and 3x loose.


Pre-filled data is available for every section.


There is a section to upload photos of the day and a video of the day if required.


Once the diary is added, the parent is emailed advising them the diary is available for viewing online.


When the parent logs in to the system they can view todays diary or any days diary, they view the diary and photos and video and can leave notes, if notes are left the admin is emailed to advise they have left notes.


Here's the clever part!!!!! If you have to do 10 diarys for children in your room, chances are each of those 10 children did pretty much the same today, so when the admin goes to create the next diary for the child in their room they can import all the data from any diary they have already completed today and change the areas that need changing ie names, what they ate etc, upload and create the next one quickly and efficiently!


Planning, the room admin logs in, selects the planning section and creates next weeks planning online, this is then saved and can be viewed by the master admin or another room admin to complete.


Any weeks planning can be viewed and or imported to another weeks planning for speed of creation.


Planned observations are input into the system as well, and in addition to this, any number of observations can be imported from the childs diary that were written by the room admin, ie you can import the last 2 weeks observations from little johnys diary that will appear within the planned observations.


There is a lot more to the system that is currently being designed but what I need from you all is input in what you think this system needs to be a success and be of benefit to us all, there is nothing like this anywhere available and I already use the diary side of the system on my web site and the parents love it, but now I want it to be able to do everything for me and be an assett to me and the parents of the children I care for.


Please let me know what you would like it to be able to do.

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As a childminder I would be looking at using a much simpler evrsion of this format - is this something you are considering.


Also some sort of checklist showing which areas of learning/stepping stones/early learning goals have been covered or been focussed on each day would give me a way of ensuring they were all covered in the long term.


If you are considering a method of copying info from one profile to another a failsafe which prevents the names coming across might be worthwhile if it is possible. Could prevent some embarassing mistakes.


It sounds like it could be a lot of work to set up for each setting but, if it works well, might be a good labour saver in the long term.


I can only speak as a childminder though.

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what about parents who are not on internet or do not own or know how to use a computer... there are a lot out there .... how will they have access to all the same info the other parents are getting ( equal Ops perhaps)



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Hi Inge


No internet access is not a problem, everything ever added to the system can be printed by the childminder / nursery and handed to the parent, and the good news is that they receive a far more professional print out with the date and time the diary was created, photo and name of the admin who created it, name and photo of the child and all the diary notes etc. Looks a million times better than a sheet hand written by one of the staff.


This system can also print out reports as well by either the parent or nursery for example, you can do a print run of everything they ate for lunch between certain dates, or all the observations in the last week, the system has endless possibilities.


Hi AlisonP


All childminders have to work with the EYFS, so a simpler format would be of no benefit to you, this system has everything you need to ensure you are meeting those guidelines, if you are not doing everything this system does then I would say you're are not doing it right, the reason this system was designed is because it has all that is needed, so a simpler format would not be beneficial to be created.


When you copy data across from one diary to another there is a button at the top with the childs name, every time you press this button it adds the childs name to the system where your cursor is, so it is a quick and easy way just to find the childs name highlight it, press the button and the new childs name is inserted, however, I will ask if names can be changed when the data is inserted.


With regards to setting it up, for a childminder, you could have the system setup and running in less than 1 hour, you would not need to create rooms, you just add the children to the system, upload a photo of the children, enter their personal data, assign usernames and passwords for the parents.


Then, create 1 diary and save it, then go to the next child, import the last diary, change the name and other information relating to that child and upload, then keep doing that for each child.


I can currently create 11 diaries in less than 20 minutes, my parents receive a professional looking detailed diary that they can either view online or I print for them to take home with them.


P.S. OFSTED LOVE this system!!!

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it sounds a good idea - i work in a pre-school so have no set rooms however over 120 access the pre-school -would this be a lot of work - and how would we work this with all the staff we have needing to do this .how do we ensure any work isnt done twice.

Edited by blondie
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Hi Blondie


There is no limit to the number of children that can be allocated to a room, so if you don't have any rooms, you could just create 1 room and place all the children in there.


Alternataively you could just create rooms and assign them to different staff members, to split the work load. By assigning room admins, when they login, they can ONLY work with the children allocated to their room.


Super admins and Master admins can create data for any child in any room.


To add the admins and the 120 children to the system, I think would probably take you a day or two to do, depending on how detailed you want to be, then the system is ready to use.


Fail safe systems have been built in as well to ensure that work is not done twice, for example when you view the list of children in a specific room to create their daily diary, it displays the following information;


Name of child - photo of child - todays date - DATE DIARY LAST CREATED - and then a red and green light, green if the diary has been created TODAY and red if it has not. There is alo a checked out indication if someone is already accessing that childs diary, this is to ensure another person can not create a diary at the same time as someone else.


I also forgot to mention that the system does not have to be used to its maximum, ie: if you only want to use the system for daily diarys then that is fine, you can use it just for that, when the parent logs in to the system they only get to see the info relating to the daily diarys and not the planning or progress or observations, this way they don't feel they are missing out on anything!


And as above, if parents don't have internet access, just print the diary out for them to take home :)


I GUARANTEE this system will save you sooooo much time, there is no way I could ever do without it.

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Hi littlesteppers. We have a policy of not allowing people to promote their own products at the FSF. Over the last year or two, with increasing publicity and awareness around the EYFS, a number of people have joined the FSF in order to advertise tracking, management and recording systems, as well as early years supplies and resources of one kind or another.


As we do not take advertising of any kind we found that organisations were joining in order to post information about their products instead. Whilst I'm sure you are more interested in simply discussing your husband's system for the benefit of FSF members, we have to apply the policy consistently and therefore I need to close this topic. Any readers of this topic who are interested in hearing more about it are of course welcome to PM you.


When it is fully available, we'd be happy to review the product for you if you wish - we could then post a product review with further details if we felt it was a useful tool (you can find a review of a similar product here, for example).


Good luck with the continued development of your system, and please feel free to PM me if you have any further queries about this topic closure. :o

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