"We can easily create invoices and tax receipts with just a few clicks."

Stephanie Marchment
Childcare Owner
Features & Updates

Sandbox 2020 - Year in Review

December 24, 2020

2020 has been a unique year to say the least. Who would have predicted that Mirriam-Webster’s word of the year would be “pandemic”? Or that we would be actively debating the difference between “social distancing” and “physical distancing”?  COVID has dominated the news cycle for much of the year, and combined with the regular ups and downs of life it has made this a challenging year to say the least.  

In the midst of changing policies, sweeping lockdowns and new protocols, we knew as a Child care software company that our customers needed us more than ever before. Although simply turning the page to a new Calendar year might not make a huge difference, the sense of hope is palpable and as we look with hope to a new year, we would like to review 2020 by focusing on the positive developments in Sandbox over the past year as well as new features we look forward to releasing soon.

Since COVID upended our lives in March, Sandbox staff have worked hard to release critical updates and new features that became a must during COVID-19 in order to support our customers, many of whom were fighting to keep the lights on. We have always sought to produce software that improves our customer’s lives and this year provided even more incentive to add new features which would provide software solutions to the unique problems that came with COVID to help centers deal with increased stress and uncertainty. 

This year we focused on several major improvements to our software including the teacher app, contactless sign-in and online registration, all critical updates for the child care world during a pandemic. As we recap 2020, let’s focus on the positives by reviewing what we were able to accomplish together in this unprecedented year!


Online Registration v2

Our first update of 2020 was the release of our Online Registration v2. The original version of this registration was launched back in April 2014 as a replacement for paper registration packages. This popular feature allows parents to request registration online and automatically create a profile in Sandbox when the center approves the request.

At the beginning of this year we released our first major update since launch by giving online registration a major facelift, to make it more intuitive for parents to navigate. It also includes new functionality with a responsive design that allows parents to complete the form on any device.

With centers needing to open and close due to lockdown, as well as new rules and restrictions limiting contact, our online registration has become a fundamental part of operations for many of our centers and we are thankful that we were able to prioritize this update to help make online registration even easier for centers and parents.


Contactless Sign in/out

As COVID-19 hit, it became apparent that a contactless method of sign in and out was a must for 2020. We worked hard to design, test, and release our brand new contactless sign in/out feature that allowed centers to remain open while having a safe and secure way for parents to sign in and out.

With this feature we created a supportive system for brand new protocols like drop off lines and car lines. New contactless sign in and out procedures have become the standard and we were proud to support our centers throughout the process as they pivoted to the new normal that we’ve all talked so much about.

Teacher App v2

The launch of our Teacher App v2 goes down as the biggest update of the year. This update included a facelift of the Teacher app to make it even more user friendly and functional. It also included a better method of tracking activities for teachers and improved communication with parents via the messaging function.

We also updated the setting section allowing for more configuration options such as list ordering, activities and notifications. Overall this update allowed teachers and parents to communicate better and be more interactive with sandbox, while enjoying an attractive, easy-to-use layout.


Reports

Over the course of the year we made many additions to our already comprehensive reporting section. Responding to customer feedback, we enhanced reporting by adding reports for expected revenue, companywide reconciliation, cash based and accrual based AR Credit, weekly sign in/out sheet AM/PM with a health check. These updates to our reporting system were huge for our customers and will enhance tracking and reporting for years to come.


Pre-Screening Health Questionnaire - COMING SOON!

Another need that came to the forefront due to the pandemic was a pre-screening health questionnaire. This would further streamline COVID protocols for our centers. It soon became apparent that this would require a more complex update to our system to allow centers to customize questions in order to tailor the questionnaire to the needs of the center and the requirements of their jurisdiction.

This update will allow centers across North America with different regulations and restrictions to operate with compliance without adding in a new program or printed paper option. We are proud to announce that this is seamlessly being integrated into the sign in process, slated for release in early January 2021!

As we step into 2021 it is our goal to remain a customer-focused software company which continues to grow and change in step with the child care industry. We pride ourselves in our fantastic customer service, simplified onboarding and ambitious growth plans. We can not wait for you to see what we have in store for the year ahead! 

We want you to know that we value your feedback and each time a customer review comes in to the office the whole staff celebrates. Here is a sample of what some of our customers have had to say about Sandbox this year: 

“So easy to use the software and keeps parents files and financial information easy to track and stay on top of during the pandemic and our closure [allowing] me to run the daycare remotely. I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to manage everything without the software.”
  • Christine Helgerman
“Overall, the program is easy to use and has helped our billing process. We have been able to use the teacher app for check in and that has helped tremendously through COVID. The customer service is over the top awesome. I am VERY thankful that we have someone to chat with and for the most part the same few people each time. To have them available when I need help for myself or when a parent asks questions is invaluable.”
  • Maegan Pratt

We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our customers, for all the hard work that you have done in 2021, for supporting the Sandbox team in our work, and for the feedback you have provided to make our software better. This year hasn’t been easy but your ability to adapt, continue operations, and even grow during a pandemic has encouraged us to continue to work hard to support your passion by providing intuitive, powerful child care software that makes your life easier!

Comment down below and let us know which update was your favorite and why!


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