The real cost of administration in childcare

For those new to the sector, the real cost of administration in childcare can be surprising. Administrative tasks and paperwork take up a lot of time daily. While essential for the smooth operation of childcare and early learning services, unfortunately, these responsibilities often leave less time for educators to immerse themselves in teaching and caring for children. And it’s coming at a significant cost to childcare services and the industry as a whole.

Teachers are leaving childcare in record numbers. A 2016 survey revealed as many as one in five childcare educators plan to leave the profession within the next 12 months. According to Australian Government research 20 per cent of education graduates never register as teachers, and almost half of all new teachers leave the profession within the first five years. With student numbers predicted to rise 26 per cent by 2022, experts fear Australia could be left with a shortage of teachers. And the most common reasons for leaving? Low pay, feeling undervalued, and too much paperwork. 

Administrative Requirements 

Managing and working in a childcare centre requires more than the planning, scheduling and delivery of learning programs and activities for children. There are also cleaning duties, rostering and staffing matters and legislative requirements. And don’t forget administrative and accounting tasks, meetings and training. Educators and childcare staff are also heavily involved in the individual care and development of each child, as well as supporting and communicating with their families.

An educator working on a tablet at her desk

This high level of care demands a large portion of time, making it increasingly difficult to balance the administrative tasks and paperwork that is also required. The introduction of the new childcare package, including childcare subsidy software and Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will bring about new processes and procedures for childcare staff to learn and implement. But the new systems are intended to streamline and simplify some of the administrative tasks for childcare providers in the longer term. 

The real cost of administration in childcare 

Childcare providers are often completing paperwork during unpaid overtime, just out of necessity to get the job done. The demand has escalated as far as childcare providers blaming paperwork and red tape for distracting staff from their primary roles of educating and caring for children, leading to injuries and incidents in childcare centres.

Following an incident in a South Australian childcare centre in 2013, Australian Childcare Alliance acting president Judith Atkinson told The Advertiser that resources were being directed away from the engagement of children due to an ‘extraordinary amount of paperwork’. Childcare South Australia’s Kerry Mahony supported her sentiment, saying paperwork had ‘increased dramatically’ following the introduction of the National Quality Framework.

These demands are just some of the reasons childcare professionals demand and deserve recognition that early learning is not babysitting. Yet in 2017, Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm infamously denigrated childcare as “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.” His comments prompted an impassioned response from Sydney childcare worker Chloe Chant in this open letter to David Leyonhjelm, detailing the many complexities and demands in just a few days in her job.

A male educator sitting in a kindergarten room, completing administration task on a tablet

The tasks included everything from working in her own time to create documents for a child custody hearing, identifying and reporting possible child sexual abuse, providing first aid to a baby experiencing febrile convulsions and developing individual support programs for a child with learning delays, to hours upon hours of paperwork, raking the garden, changing nappies and yes–wiping noses. It’s easy to see the real cost of administration in childcare.

All for a little over $20 an hour

Childcare and early childhood education is, and should always be, about improving and maintaining the development, health and well-being of every child that enters the building each day. Facing the daunting tasks of excessive administrative work often means childcare professionals are compromising their own time, health and wellbeing, which is an undesirable outcome for everyone involved. 

Why embracing technology can mean more time teaching 

In this modern age of digital technology, cloud-based software and apps, it’s surprising how much administration is still performed through physical printouts and handwritten notes. Doing the same work digitally and storing your data in the cloud can streamline procedures so educators can spend more time doing what they do best—caring for children.

Learn how Xplor Education’s suite of childcare software, including Office (administrators), Playground (educators), Home (families), MyWaitlist (pre-enrolment) and Xplor Pay (payments) can streamline administration, reduce paperwork and save your service time.

Book a demo to see our suite of tools in action.