Local Preschool Utilizes Technology to Enhance Educational Relationship with Parents

“What did you do at school today?”

“Hmm, I don’t know,” is the most common answer to parents from their children everyday after school, and parents are left wondering.

Well a local Pedricktown pre-school, Amazing Grace Early Education Center has implemented an application into their everyday curriculum that keeps parents from no longer having to wonder what their child did during the school day.

Tadpoles is the name of the application that is used via iPhone or on the web that owner Shelley McFarland began experimental use of during the 2012-2013 school year and after much success, great feedback from teachers and parents, and a drastic dip in paper usage, the early education center fully implemented it for the 2013-2014 school year. The application documents each of the children’s activities throughout the school day and as the day goes on pictures, video, reports, and summaries are sent via email to parents at the end of each school day. Everything is documented; from lessons and activities to napping schedules for each child. Parents get to be involved in their child’s school day without even being in the classroom with just with the click of an email.

The Tadpole program also offers a great security feature for staff and parents. In the past, the information that parents provided, such as emergency contact information and authorization for individuals to pick up their child was kept in the students file in paper form. Tadpoles allow us to take this security process one step further and be a touch away from the information on our iPhone for each teacher where a photo ID can be stored for those authorized to pick-up.

Shelley McFarland, owner and 4 year old classroom teacher of AGEEC, has run and operated the pre-school center since 2011. With 12 plus years in early education teaching, Shelley and colleagues began incorporating the new technology into their everyday tasks and their teaching techniques. “Tadpoles has had a great effect on the growth and future of our preschool,” stated McFarland. “Parents love the fact that they can not only know their child is safe, secure, and growing every day in a positive environment. Parents love it, and it allows our teachers and parents to communicate at their optimal level.”

Megan Layfield, mother of Jacob who is a 5yr. old student at Amazing Grace Early Education Center, had nothing but great things to say about her satisfaction with AGEEC and Tadpoles. When asked her favorite aspect of Tadpoles, she stated, “I get to see how much he LOVES school!!! I can see videos of his interaction in school and discuss it with him and then it just makes my day to see him happy and participating in activities and school.” Megan continued that she “will always have these memories and stories to share with family who would never see him interact the way he does in school.”

One of the unique things that is essential for the growth of all of the youth throughout Salem County and beyond is the fact of parents becoming more involved with the child’s educational life. We are having many issues with education in today’s world both locally and nationally, but one of the main parts to answering problems within the education of our youth lies at home. This application shows which parents did not open certain day’s activities and holds the parents and teachers accountable in the youngsters’ early education!!!

That is what this author admires at the hopeful further usage of applications/programs like Tadpoles within numerous private and public school systems. The technology is out there, we just have to find it and utilize it effectively and efficiently. It seems as if Shelley McFarland and her staff at Amazing Grace Early Education Center in Pedricktown, NJ have done just so!

The pre-school, located at 89 West Mill St. in Pedricktown, provides both full day and half day classes for children ages 2 ½ to 5 years, “block” classes for children anywhere from 2 to 5 days a week, morning care services at 7:00am and after care programs until 5:30pm for enrolled preschoolers. To top it all off, the State licensed and cutting-edge preschool will be offering kindergarten full day classes! Registration is currently open for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.

The preschool consists of classes for children ages 2 ½ to 3 yrs with a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio; 4 yrs. with a 12 to 1 student to teacher ratio; and its future kindergarten classes will have a 15 to 1 student to teacher ratio.

YOU CAN REGISTER FOR THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR VIA  EMAILING: smcfarland@ageec.net or calling 856-294-5433.

Below is an example of a daily report sent home to parents via Tadpoles:

Example of daily report sent home to parents via email and text message.

Example of daily report sent home to parents via email and text message.

Click the following advertisement to visit Amazing Grace Early Education Center’s Website to learn even more about the preschool:


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