Cloud-based Security for Pre-schools and Kindergartens
Management and senior leadership teams at pre-schools and kindergartens have something of a unique challenge when it comes to visitor management and security — namely, combining the creation of a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with the need to be especially vigilant and rigorous in monitoring who is allowed to enter the premises. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that the reception area at a pre-school or kindergarten should ideally be a place where both children and adults feel comfortable, and where visitors are made to feel welcome; however, at the same time, because children are on the premises, security is always imperative. Difficulties in this regard can arise owing to the fact that pre-schools and kindergartens are busy places. As well as all the many unexpected events that naturally occur throughout a school day when young children are on the premises, there can be a constant flow of visitors, such as prospective and current parents, couriers, contractors, temporary staff and so on. Keeping track of who is on school premises at any given time can be a challenge, even for the most organised and efficient secretary, receptionist or PA. However, a cloud-based visitor management system (VMS) represents the ideal solution for pre-schools and kindergarten who are looking for a cost-effective, easy-to-manage way of controlling and monitoring access to school premises that doesn’t add to the workload of already over-burdened administrative staff.
One of the most important capabilities that a Cloud-based VMS offers schools and learning centres is an efficient and easy-to-operate system for registering visitors.
Using an iPad located in the reception area, all visitors to the school can be quickly checked in. Anyone coming for an appointment or meeting is asked to enter their name, email address and the member of staff they have arranged to see, with all of this information then being recorded along with the time of the check in. The information that is requested at this stage can be customised should your school have specific requirements in this regard, or should you wish to record visitors by category e.g., parent, contractor, relief staff, etc.
A VMS can also be configured so that when a visitor to the school registers, as part of the check-in process they automatically receive important WHS messages, fire evacuation diagrams, information about school policies, or any other news that you feel it necessary for a guest to know before entering. In addition, in the case of frequent and regular visitors to the school (such as visiting specialist teachers, for instance), a smartphone app for both iOS and Android devices can expedite the check-in process so that these types of visitors aren’t required to enter all of their details every time they come to the school.
Print Your Own Visitor Passes
Once a visitor has registered, it is a quick and simple process to produce and print a personalised visitor’s pass. For schools, one of the most important features that this function offers is the ability to integrate an iPad app that also takes a photograph of the visitor, which is both printed on their pass and attached to the electronic record that they have created, for future reference. In this way, children and staff alike can be assured that any new face they see in the school building has been registered and that the school administration is aware of their presence.
Effective Notification System
Unlike people working in many other types of enterprises, teachers, school leaders and administrators are seldom in the one place for very long. This means that notifying staff when visitors arrive, or when a meeting is due to start, can be unnecessarily complicated for school receptionists or PAs. However, an IT-based, automated VMS offers an effective and practical solution. Your system can be configured so that staff are automatically notified when a visitor arrives, and this can include information such as the guest’s name, a photo, their contact details and more. You can also choose how members of the team receive these notifications as well, and this can be via SMS, email or mobile app. For added convenience, when a member of the school staff schedules a meeting with an external visitor, they can be pre-registered through an integrated e-calendar invitation using Outlook, iCal or Google calendars. In this way, when guests arrive at the school, their arrival is expected and this makes for a smoother, more personalised signing in and registration process.
In addition, custom messages can be created so that when a visitor arrives for a scheduled meeting, as they go through the registration process at reception they automatically receive information about the meeting location, for instance, or if the venue has been changed or the host is running late. This notification process is automatic and therefore is one less thing for your school receptionist or PA to worry about. All of these functions therefore reduce the burdens on administrative staff, as there is less need for them to keep tabs on where staff are throughout the day, but also means that they too are kept in the loop in real time about unexpected changes to staff members’ schedules.
Time Saving Features
In addition to being able to manage your visitors, a Cloud-based VMS has a number of other useful applications for a pre-school or kindergarten.
In an emergency, you are able to communicate urgent messages to both members of staff and registered visitors via their mobile phones, tablets or on the web, meaning that all people on the school premises are informed of an emergency situation instantaneously. In addition, a VMS enables you to create evacuation lists (muster report) immediately, which can then be accessed via a mobile app without the need to be printed. This is especially useful in a situation where time is of the essence. On a day-to-day operational level, using a VMS means that when you’re holding school events like concerts, parent-teacher evenings and sports events, you are able to record who attends and, through the automated check-in system, create a useful and up-to-date list of school contacts. This in turn makes follow-ups or gathering feedback, for instance, much simpler to do. You can also use a Cloud-based VMS to manage room bookings, especially useful if meeting spaces are limited as is often the case in pre-schools and kindergartens, and which can be an unnecessarily time-consuming process for admin staff. A further feature that is especially useful for schools is that a VMS can be configured so that the check-in process can be completed in a large number of languages other than English, making international guests feel welcome and ensuring that the information provided is fully understood.
Improve your Security and your Efficiency
A Cloud-based VMS can therefore be used to streamline a number of functions that are essential to the smooth running of a pre-school or kindergarten. Most notably, the check-in process for visitors to the school can become more efficient and thorough, and enable you to achieve higher levels of accountability through the quick and easy printing of ID passes and automatic notifications. Likewise, you can create more effective communication channels between visitors and staff, while in an emergency all people on the school premises can receive vital information instantly.
Learn more about Cloud-based Visitor Management Systems
At A-COM Solutions, we specialise in the design, integration and installation of a range of security solutions including VMS, alarms, access control and intercoms – all for use in pre-schools and kindergartens. We create customised solutions to meet your specific needs, and can advise you as to how to get the most of an IT-based approach to school security. To find out more, call A-COM Solutions on 1300 852 856 or email us.