AI and Rostering: Marrying Efficiency and Joy in Early Childhood Education – A 2024 Love Story!
There’s been a lot of talk about how artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
From writing observations to creating tools which can streamline enrolment and parent engagement, there’s little doubt that the advent of AI has been a force for change when it comes to the administrative burdens which come with the regulation and compliance heavy demands of ECEC.
With educator workforce supply issues at the forefront of every ECEC leader’s mind, and with increased demands and expectations on their time, many are wondering where, and how, to claw time back.
Rostering – an age old issue
Did you know that the average ECEC roster takes between 8 and 12 hours per week to compile? That’s an average of 10 to 15 weeks per year, which could be spent following enrolment enquiries, building the capacity of the educator team with targeted mentoring and support, or enhancing pedagogy and practice across a service or network.
The reality of ECEC leadership is that many people were placed in leadership roles based on their ability to work with children and families, to drive quality outcomes, and to lead a team through periods of challenge and triumph – they weren’t hired to do data analysis, perform optimisation tasks, or to problem solve issues of complex ratio and compliance.
Anyone who has developed an ECEC roster, for a service of any type or size, understands just how difficult it is to accommodate not only the correct ratios of early childhood teachers, Diploma holders and other professionals, but also the individual preferences of the staff team for shift time, annual leave and other needs.
In its simplest form, the act of ECEC rostering requires one very busy and time poor leader to sit down with thousands of considerations, and make them into a format which is compliant, and which also maintains the good will and morale of their team.
It’s exhausting just reading about it, but that is the reality for leaders, week in and week out.
Accessible tech – the new solution
For the last seven years, Daitum has had a focus on using computers, and computational optimisation, to solve a variety of problems. In essence, the team has been looking at pain points for leaders in many sectors and industries, and creating solutions for a variety of complex operational problems.
Not satisfied with simply solving common issues, the team have looked deeply into how to create solutions which reduce labour expenses, maximise staff satisfaction, and which offer insights to help businesses grow.
“At Daitum, we are all about generating value for our customers and making the lives of those tasked to generate staff rosters easier” Daitum’s Philipp Rohlfshagen said. “We create practical solutions that are designed to generate answers that just work.”
In the ECEC space, that is a dynamic rostering solution which goes beyond compliance, and has deep roots in optimising for staff satisfaction, and offers insights into where shortages, gaps, and opportunities lie.
Rostering was becoming a real issue both in terms of time spent and job satisfaction for Guardian Centre Managers. . “Once we implemented Daitum’s solutions, we found that we were able to save between 4 and 12 hours per centre.” Liz Brooks from Guardian explained. In addition to this huge time saving, Guardian successfully reduced labour cost by 8%.
Stories like Liz’s are the driving force behind Daitum’s focus on marrying efficiency and compliance.
“When we solve a problem in any sector or industry, understanding the unique requirements is key. That includes a deep understanding of the needs of centre managers and educators.” Philipp said. “We know what centre managers have on their plate and are proud to be able to give them more time to spend on what matters most.”
CLICK HERE to learn how leading Childcare Centres across Australia are using AI to optimise their rosters and drive growth and efficiency.