COVID has completely changed how we live and how we conduct our business. With more families forced into ‘work from home’ situations, spending quality time while educating children (all while trying to juggle changing workloads and managing Zoom calls) became challenging at best. ELC’s continued to be an important resource for families, allowing their children to continue their development and education in a supportive community, even during the lockdown.
We have all had to adapt and none more so than ELC’s. Recently Bondle mediated a webinar with Tanisha Gingerich the owner of Craniums Learning Centre in Texas, USA and Paul Ludlow the owner/Director of Explore and Develop in Sydney, Australia. They discussed some of the challenges their centres faced during the initial COVID lockdowns and shared the inventive ways they kept their business going.
Constantly evolving COVID guidelines created uncertainty and increased anxiety around what centres could and couldn’t do for their communities and staying on top of the most current guidelines was difficult to navigate for everyone. At Craniums Learning Centre, Tanisha Gingerich realised the importance of centralising communications to inform her clients about the latest guidelines, the need to calm the students and the parents as more and more misinformation was spread via social media, and to help her students feel safe in an uncertain emotional and educational environment. Learning new and multiple platforms like Zoom, Google Meets, Google Classroom, Moodle, Mail Chimp, and more meant many important interactions between her and the parents were getting lost. Add in the frustration of these platforms constantly stopping and starting due to communal overload, created frustrations and decreased trust with her staff and her families. Then she found Bondle.
Using Bondle helped her centre to disseminate current information and streamline all communication with parents instead of physically spending all day, every day, on the phone answering the same questions. With Bondle, having all forms of communication in one place and being able to share information all at once helped to save time, creating a trusted source for parents to rely on. Bondle also has no limits on the type and amount of information that can be shared, meaning important information wasn’t lost or marked as ‘too big to send’ as with many other new platforms.
Paul Ludlow of Explore & Develop also knew increasing communication and broadcasting the right information would be key to keeping a positive atmosphere amongst his educators and continuing the sense of community and trust the families had come to expect. His centre adopted Zoom early as a way to reach families who couldn’t continue to go into the centre. Setting up storytime sessions with the children at home and having the ability for them to see their peers was one way they were able to keep those children and their families connected. Using other free platforms like Facebook and Instagram were also a great way for everyone to stay connected, but it wasn’t long before their important interactions were flooded with irrelevant information, causing unneeded stress. Enter Bondle.
He used Bondle to send daily updates to his educators to alert them about rostering for the day and which children were sick, taking the stress away and allowing the educators to have all they needed to do their jobs.
Paul and his team also found that Bondle was easy to adopt and an inexpensive business saving tool, a huge bonus when pandemic related operating costs threatened his business. The new platforms that came out of pandemic necessity were costly and spending revenue and time on new resources that could change in less than six months wasn’t ideal. Ludlow said, ‘It was important to pick something that can last the distance but has a good, I guess, ability to be able to change and update and get functionality if you need it, which I think Bondle certainly does from that perspective.’
Bondle was able to help these ELC centres create a trusted space for their families by sharing the latest and most relevant guidelines through one point of contact, which then, in turn, yielded a nearly full retention rate of their families and allowing their centres to do what they do best — teach and nurture the young minds of our children. In the end, isn’t that what we are all looking for?