Child Attendance and Staff Hours the Sandbox Way
I can still remember the days as a teacher, marking my students in and out on the paper attendance sheet each day. As the day came to an end, we went backwards in the process to keep track as each child left for the day. It was almost as if teachers lived for the ‘paper attendance sheet’. Our Director would walk around and ask multiple times a day “how many kids do you have?” which I believe was an attempt to move around staff when numbers were low. This attendance sheet was very much our life as teachers.
When I started as a Director, I knew there was a better way for teachers, one with less room for error. As we began training and learning our new software system, Sandbox, I was very impressed with the way it managed this issue.
Today, I am going to walk you through the Timeclock in Sandbox Software. I’ll show you how to use it and also how to access those paper print outs that teachers love so much. I will also share my many tips and tricks along the way! Here we go...
What is the Timeclock
The Timeclock is a way to sign students and staff in and out of your child’s care center. The Timeclock allows you to manage classroom attendance, find quick totals for both center and classrooms, and also manage staff time sheets - all at the same time!
How to Access it
Once the Timeclock is active on your account, you will have access to it through the Settings tab. Just head over to Settings > Timeclock > click on the Timeclock link.
*I suggest you save this link to the homescreen of the device that you plan on using the Timeclock on. This will allow easy access to pulling up the Timeclock and you won’t need to log into Sandbox each time you use it.
The Timeclock passcode is a way to provide a safe and secure system for checking in your family. Each person checking in/out a child at your center will have a unique passcode. This will allow you to track who is dropping-off and picking up the child each day. This is the same process for staff as well. Each staff member will have their own 4 digit passcode to sign in/out.
*If someone is coming to pick up the child who normally does not, I would recommend manually checking that child in/out and not assigning them a passcode. Also, ALWAYS check ID if someone is picking up a child who you are not familiar with and make sure they are listed in Sandbox under contacts and marked as “allowed to pickup”.
Parents: Parents can create their own Timeclock passcodes through the Parent Portal, through the Timeclock link > Create/Reset Passcode, or you can create one for them in the child’s profile. You can create a Timeclock passcode for the parent simply by going to the child’s profile, editing the guardian and entering a 4 digit code for them.
*Please note that in order for the guardian to use the Timeclock, their child needs an active enrollment and the parent needs to have their information saved with the “allowed to pick-up” checkbox selected.
Staff: Setting a Timeclock passcode for a staff member can be done in the STAFFING TAB. Select the edit icon under their STAFF Information section. Once this is opened up for editing, you can create a 4 digit passcode for them.
*As I hire new team members, I have them fill out all of their information, including setting a Timeclock passcode. This is a huge timesaver.
TIP: A common practice for Timeclock passcodes is changing it to the last four digits of their phone number. This makes it easy for the parents and staff to remember.
Setting your Center up for using the Timeclock
The setup for getting your center ready to use the Timeclock is pretty basic. All you’ll need is a computer/laptop/tablet (preferably a touch screen) and a station where you will have this set up. At my center, we kept this at the front desk and as our center grew, we used multiple screens to make morning check in a bit easier.
*I recommend saving the URL of the Timeclock, not your sandbox account but to the homescreen on the device you plan to use. This makes it super easy to pull up each morning.
Using the Timeclock for Parents/Staff
Once you have the Timeclock opened, it is super easy to use.
As a parent, I will come to the Timeclock screen at the center each morning and all I need to know is my 4 digit Timeclock passcode (I pre-set through the Parent Portal or the admin set up) and my name initials (first and last name as it appears in Sandbox). First the parent enters their passcode, then their initials. After that, a screen will pop up with their child’s name to select which they can now check them in/out. If they have multiple children in your center, all of them will show up on this main screen.
As a staff member, I will come to the Timeclock screen at the center each morning and all I need to know is my 4 digit Timeclock passcode (that the admin set up for me) and my initials (first and last name as it appears in Sandbox). First, the staff enters in their passcode, then their initials. Then a screen will pop up with their name and they can select to sign in/out. If the staff member has a child in the program, they will have the chance to sign their child(ren) in while also checking themselves in for the day.
*Two important things to remember when using the Timeclock is to make sure that the name initials match what appears in Sandbox and that there is an active enrollment or it will not let them check in.
Child Attendance/Group Check-in
Even if you are using the Timeclock for child check in, you’ll still need access to viewing and auditing the daily attendance. To view the attendance in Sandbox, go to the Families Tab > Attendance.
From this section you have access to select which class and which date you would like to view. Once you are in a particular class you can view each parents check in/out time, as well as make any edits that are necessary.
To make an individual edit, select ACTIONS from the child's name. From here you will have the chance to mark the student absent or add a time in/out.
To make a group edit, click the dot at the top of the page, this will select every child on that page (making each dot next to each child’s name red). Once they are selected, click the drop down menu on the right with the four horizontal lines. Here, you will have the chance to adjust the class as a whole or open up the entire class at once. Once you do this, you can make edits to each individual at the same time.
Child Attendance Reports
If you are like me and still want access to paper attendance print outs, you can find them in the Reports section, this is the amazing thing about Sandbox! In the REPORTS TAB you will notice an entire section of attendance reports. My personal favorite is the ATTENDANCE WITH PROJECTIONS report. This report will show you each child’s schedule for the week, daily and weekly totals. Being a numbers person when it comes to enrollment, I used this report daily.
To view, audit or edit staff hours, go to the Staffing Tab in Sandbox and select Staff Hours. From this tab you will have access to see each staff members time in/out, as well as any notes they have left you from the Timeclock.
To make an individual staff edit, select the Actions drop down menu across from the Staff Members name. Here you will have the chance to mark the staff member as absent, add a time in/out or view any notes necessary for that day.
To make a group edit, select the top dot at the top of the page, this select all staff on the page (making the dots next to each staff name red). Once they are all selected, click the drop down menu on the right with the four horizontal lines. Here, you will have the chance to adjust the team as a whole. You can apply edits to everyone separately or as a whole group at once.
What I love about Sandbox is that it makes month-end reporting so simple (especially for someone like me who doesn’t really know a whole lot about financial reports). At my center, I would review my staff members attendance times each month before printing the report for payroll.
In Sandbox there are two payroll reports. To access them go to the REPORTS TAB and select ADMIN REPORTS. From here you will notice the STAFF HOURS REPORT and STAFF TIMESHEET. Both of these reports are great for managing payroll. I personally prefer the Staff Hours report but they are both great and have similar information so check them out!
It is my hope that if you are a new Sandbox user or you have been using Sandbox for a while, this blog was helpful for you. Once you are up and running with the Timeclock, you will never look back to your paper system. Parents will feel better knowing that your centers check-in procedures are safe and secure. Best wishes to you and your team as you launch TImeclock at your center.
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