The Tadpoles program allows teachers to send a daily email to each parent outlining exactly what his or her child did during the day, from nap time to snack time and everything in between.
Teachers can send photos and videos along with specific notes, alerts and information on upcoming events. They can also shoot video of any developmental milestone – like baby’s first steps or words – and send it, so parents won’t miss out.
“I check my email regularly and always open Tadpoles mail,” said Gail Cypress, who has a daughter in the Hollywood Preschool. “Teachers send pictures and they are able to do it in real time. I think it’s a really good thing.”
Preschool program manager Ilene Miller said staff wanted to find an innovative way to improve communication with families. Teachers were trained to use Tadpoles, a nationwide program, and each classroom has an Apple iPad Mini to communicate with parents.
“We want parents to be connected to their child’s education, so they can see what we are working on in the classroom and carry it over into the home,” Miller said. “We’ve always looked for ways to strengthen our partnership with parents; this bridges the gap between home and school.”
The school tracks each student’s progress in potty training, naps, meals, snacks, daily activities and special programs. Because all the information is sent through email, parents can refer to old emails on a computer, tablet or smart phone to track their child’s progress at school throughout the year.
“They let you know what he eats and what he does during the day,” said Sara Jumper, whose son Keion, 4, is her fourth child to attend Hollywood Preschool. “I feel more connected to the school through the emails.”
Parent Clea Correa said email is an efficient way to inform parents if a child needs another change of clothes or more diapers in the classroom. She said it also helps eliminate the amount of paperwork she receives.
“When you have three in preschool, you get a lot of papers coming home,” said Correa, who has two children in the Hollywood Preschool this year. “That’s a lot of paper.”
Cypress, who has been president of the Hollywood Preschool caretaker committee for two years, said parents wanted to eliminate daily papers that often did not get read. The school can now deliver more information more efficiently, she said.
“The paperless system is so much easier,” Cypress said. “It’s more accurate and teachers send more details. This is one step forward for the new age of schools. Other schools off the reservation already have paperless systems. They are finally stepping into the right direction, and it’s good to see they are on point with that.”
Miller said parents have responded well to the program.
“Parents love it. Since the first day they’ve been telling us it has been a phenomenal tool,” she said. “We use it as another way to capture a day in the life of a child at preschool.”