Perfect for communication, logging activities, and billing
Being able to message parents back and forth is so nice now that our staff doesn't have to use their personal phone to text. With COVID rising and possible winter weather arriving soon, the fact that we can send out an alert if we need to close is crucial! It sends a text message as well as the message in the app. Also, they are constantly adding new features and making updates using feedback from users. They are always friendly and helpful!
I love that it keeps us (mostly) paperless! All activity is logged so we have no need for paper daily sheets. We can easily message our parents individually AND send out messages to the whole school.
The billing feature isn't quite where we need it do be, but they have already fixed it and we are just waiting to be updated to the new platform.
Brightwheel has saved us so much time!
We were early adopters and have been using Brightwheel since 2015. Initially we just used the billing feature but as the new features rolled out we've integrated all of them. Using Brightwheel cuts admin time down to a minimum and allows teachers to share the day with parents so they can see their kids learning and growing. Billing is seamless. Brightwheel support has been amazing, especially through Covid19. Their webinars are helpful and to the point.
I love Brightwheel! We've been using BW since 2015 and have saved so much time having billing, attendance and time cards at our fingertips.
Tracking children's immunizations is not as fluid as it could be. Too much data entry. It would be better if parents could do the data entry and admin could check against paper records for accuracy.
We switched to Brightwheel as our previous software was no longer being supported. We liked moving to a cloud based product and the flexibility that gave our administrators and parents. We enjoy the ability for parents to see their billing and the ability to pay through the app. Customer support for the transition and set up was very good. Since launch, customer support is responsive (not always timely, since we are not in the same time zone as many of the customer support team) and they listen to our needs. There have been great changes in the short time we have been using the software. We are looking forward to the remainder of our concerns being addressed as we move forward. I would recommend this software over other cloud based software programs we looked at, but the consumer should be aware of the limitations of the software from a back office stand point.
What we like best is this is a cloud based software. The parent portal allowing parents better access to their child's day and classroom progress as been extremely well received by our parents. We like the check-in feature which allows us to know at any time how many children are in the facility. The ability for the teachers to post notes / pictures for parents allows the parents real time updates instead of waiting till the end of the day to receive a hand written note that is stuffed in the child's belongings and forgotten.
The back office side of the software is lacking. The reporting capabilities of the software is very limited. For example, we are unable to run an accounts receivable report by family. We can run by child, but you have to run multiple reports for families with more than one child in the program. The software does not currently allow for prepayments or credits on account. Also, on the program side, no ability to run facility or even classroom wide reports - for example a parent directory for all classrooms; allergy report by classroom. All reporting (financial and program) is child driven without the option of classroom or facility driven. This makes extra back office work for our staff - for example creating an allergy list or parent directory in excel to share with teachers. Or tracking receivables in other software, creating double accounting needs.
Love this app!
I have had a great experience thus far using this software and would recommend it to anyone.
I use this app for my children's daycare. I love how easy it is to use and how much information it can provides to parents.
There isn't anything that I can think of that I dislike about this software. I haven't been using it for too long though.
Must have for childcare businesses
Brightwheel has made our care center much more streamlined. Being able to scan quickly for check in and check outs has Improved timeliness.
It allows us to message all parents and caregivers in one app. We can send group or individual messages with ease and parents/guardians can also shoot us a quick message with pertinent information. It’s been very helpful with cutting down miscommunications.
Invoices are easy to send and keep track of. Payments can be made through the app. Brightwheel also has the ability to create daily logs. The added feature of sending photos, videos and newsletters is a huge plus.
We will definitely continue to use brightwheel and will recommend to friends and colleagues.
It’s a one stop shop! You’ve got all you need in one place to successfully organize and run your child care business. You’re able to easily scan check in/check outs, accept payments, send invoice, communicate with all parents or select individual messages.
Customer support is top notch. The video tutorials really helped us learn the ropes.
A slight learning curve to it but with the help of the online tutorials we were able to learn and utilize it.
Powerful if the facility uses it
Overall this has been a great app for signing in and out and getting the occasional message and photo of my child at childcare. Looks like a robust program if the facility uses all the features.
Easy to use interface, good at reminders, a lot of features that could be used by the child care facility with the calendar and reporting on things like naps, food, potty, etc.
Perhaps it is my facility, but I can't send a message to a specific person or teacher. I send a general message and HOPE that it gets to the right person. This is very annoying.
Easy to use software!
Overall it has been fantastic! Everyone I have spoken to has been great and they make the transition super easy with the check ins and helping with planning out the next steps.
I love how easy it is to use especially for staff that are not good with technology. I also love how great it connects you to interactions with parents. The customer support so far has been fantastic!
We are skeptical of the cost of this. Currently we are on a promotion with a discounted cost but when that is over I'm not sure if it will be worth the expense. We may only choose to use this in certain classrooms.
Great app but not the best
My overall experience was a good one but most directors disliked it because of there not being an option for pictures on observations.
I liked most that parents received notifications as soon as something was posted to their child’s daily sheet and the ease of adding meal items into the daily selection for future use! I also liked that there are early learning guidelines for our state on observations, that’s one of the most awesome things I’ve seen in an application like this!
I least liked that there was no way for pictures to be posted onto an observation and that there wasn’t a training before using it for employees that it was new to.
Always on the mend and prosperity
You can feel confident as an administrator that every one shifts and proportions are covered. they have continuous access to their receipts, bills, and year-end statements
I have used this app for a year and a half now on a daycare reception usually 20 kids at any time which i really like it. i can't imagine running my business without it now! Invoices are easy to use! Parents feel connected, and it doesn't take much effort to urge things into the app so it doesn't take time away from kids. it is easy to use for myself, my staff, and each one families. many thanks Brightwheel for creating this handy gizmo to help my parents feel connected to their children while they were at work, it made a huge difference!
i'm unable to seek out the observations easily for review afterward for report as a category or objective/goal.I wish you'll post pdf files to the oldsters versus just image files. (My newsletters and forms always need to be converted to pdf then to image file.
Great for Parents - Financial Info Could Be Improved
Overall, I am pleased with Brightwheel. I like having an almost all-in-one solution for our software needs as a daycare, and Brightwheel is super easy for our parents and our teachers. I would highly recommend it to other daycares. I am hoping the accounting portion of the software becomes more professional.
Our parents LOVE Brightwheel! It's easy, it's quick, and it connects them in real-time to what's going on with their children. They love getting pictures of their kids during the day. We love that the parents actually use it, are involved in the flow of information, and communicate with us through it.
The financial portion of the software needs a lot of improvement. I can't tie sibling billing statements together - this creates unessessary payments because parents should be able to make one single transaction to pay all of their unpaid invoices at once.
Also, I have found it extremely difficult to see all the information clearly that I need to for bookkeeping. I can't see on each invoice what the daycare was charged in the way of a transaction fee. I know the total we are charged, but I need to know on each individual invoice. Plus, Brightwheel wants me to create a report to see information, instead of simply having it all visible in a list when I pull up the account.
Side note: it would be great if we could have a tablet attached to a classroom account, rather than every device being attached to an employee account. I don't want my staff on their phones all day, so we use classroom tablets to interact with Brightwheel - all are logged into the director's account, so notes posted have my name on all of them. It's confusing to the parents. Plus, we have staff who are also parents of students; they can't see a parent account for their child - they are locked into the staff account.
Perspective from a Teacher who is also a Parent using Brightwheel
Overall, I like the app. It is helpful during the day and once you get the hang of it, really easy to navigate and update, although it can be a bit time consuming. When I have emailed customer service they have emailed me back in a polite and timely manner, which is always a plus. This is my third school year using the app, and have yet to hear a negative comment from any of my student's families. All have had rave reviews, shared it with family members, and are constantly thanking me for sharing things with them throughout the day.
As a teacher, I like the convenience of being able to get in contact with the parents of my students quickly and effectively. I am able to keep track of attendance and absences easily, it also helps with parents who need to monitor their child's eating.
As a parent, I like receiving updates about my child, especially pictures. When it is kept up by my child's teacher, it is a great app because I can see what is going on during his day even though I am not with him.
One of my biggest frustrations is that I have to COMPLETELY log out and log back in when switching from my teacher account and my parent account, at the same school. My son goes to the school that I work at but is in a different class. It would be so much easier if there was a way to toggle back and forth between the two. My other major concern is, though we have the app on our school chromebooks and it's great, I cannot upload pictures from the computer to the app to share them with parents. So, instead of keeping the app on my cellphone logged in to my child's account, I have to log out and then in to my teacher account to be able to share pictures of my students with their families. It is really frustrating. The parents of the children in my class are constantly giving me positive feedback about the app and love getting the pictures and videos, but it is difficult for me since I want to share the pictures with them but I can't do it all from the chromebook unless I try using the poor-quality webcam. It would be much more of a positive experience for me if I was able to use a classroom camera, upload the pictures to a computer, then be able to upload the pictures to the app for the families. I am sure that for someone who has a designated work cellphone or maybe even a tablet with a decent camera, this would not even be an issue, but for someone who has to use a personal cellphone to take and upload pictures to the app, is a bit of a downfall.
Make the transition to paperless!
We do not otherwise incorporate tech into our business, we use Quickbooks and simple excels, Brighthweel has not had a crazy learning curve and its just a great product.
We use Brightwheel chiefly for its billing functionality and to meet State licensing requirements regarding records of attendance, ratios, sign in and out, etc. These are records you have to keep for years and the stacks of Bankers boxes were towering! Now we can upon request create and print any report, for instance our licensor could request sign in and out records from a certain classroom on a certain date--it can be provided way faster than digging through those old paper files. Name to face attendance can be achieved confidently with the picture bubbles for all your students--you can feel confident as an admin that all transitions and ratios are covered
For billing it is clean and streamlined--you can create plans, parents can establish autopay, they have constant access to their receipts and invoices, end of the year statements, your EIN, etc. It is a win win for both us as bookkeepers and for our parent clients.
The interface is very clean--sign up is a breeze for new children and it would be very challenging to get confused on the parent screen.
Brighthwheel saves us time AND paper.
Here is the thing--Brightwheel is constantly developing. So if you were to have a con you can feel assured your feedback will be heard. We have been with them nearing 3 years and have watched so many features get added on and updates made. They take customer feedback seriously and want to understand the industry's needs--we have had conference calls with developers and participated in a lot of dialogue about what we need and what works well.
Brightwheel is great!
We use Brightwheel at our center to chart each child's daily activities; we easily attach pictures, meal information, and times of diapering, etc.
I love how easy Brightwheel is to use - the parents also enjoy the format that they receive information
If I had to choose one thing to improve on, it would be to add a "zoom" function when taking a picture from the app
The best app for schools, day cares, etc.
It makes managing student attendance and communication with parents much easier.
This is one of the best, if not the very best, solutions to make my life easier managing my school. We started using this app just in our after school program and soon adopted the check-in/out system for our entire attendance tracking solution. We are able to run reports to see who, when, and where someone was checked in for any given day in our school year. All of my suggestions have been heard and considered and almost all (if not all) have eventually been added. I love how well they receive feedback and how they want to serve institutions of all sizes. Having been a long time user since their infancy, I have had the opportunity to talk to many people with the company and they are all wonderful. I wish more companies were like them.
I feel like the free version is quite limited. It used to have many more features and I sang its praises to everyone. Now I have to start the conversation by discussing the financial part of the system, which limits some potential users. I wish it integrated with student information systems so that I didn't have to export and prepare csv to upload to create students. It would be much simpler to have an automated sync each night to create or remove students based on our current student system, Renweb. I'm beginning to realize that part of this is due to their growing attempt to take over the educational information realm, but they are not there yet.
Look forward to updates! Always getting better!
Replacing Quickbooks, paper daily sheets, paper time sheets, check in/out logs for kids. LOVE the ability for the parents to message the staff instead of having to go through the office phone/email. Although this program has a few things that could be added, I would 100% make this switch!
Super easy for the teachers to use in the classroom. I like the set up on the teacher end. The billing system is pretty easy to use (1,000x easier than Quickbooks) especially because parents can see their account at any time. The parents really love the program and it has added a new level of quality to our program! Each update makes it better! I look forward to the updates!
-Sometimes I will message customer services is not very helpful. (Lots of apologies) For example: My end will not let me delete staff members. They offer to do it for me because it should work but the point is it doesn't but there is nothing they can do. Another example, when the update came for "Room Device Mode" I could not get this to work on our android devices, which i understand IOS update generally come first so I waited. Then I asked and I went through a few day long conversation about my device, systems, etc to only be told that is was not available for android. They all the sudden realized that the update was only for IOS?
There are a few quirks that I hope get worked out through updates.
I wish I could add notes to parents, calendar, messages, etc through the website. Typing these messages on my phone is a little annoying especailly if they are long.
I would LOVE a way to message staff as a group or individuals through BW. We only use it for clocking in/out but I think there is so much more you could do with the staff end. Also if they could see their time cards would be super helpful! Maybe a request for a correct on the time sheets?
All Inclusive and FREE!!
I have researched what seems to be everywhere software on the market for our center. There were only 3 that covered all of my required expectations. Brightwheel was one of the 3. I hesitated because it was free and a newer company. I felt there HAD to be a catch to it. Especially since the other 2 companies were very expensive, I couldn't understand how all of this could be offered for free. I took the chance in November 2015 and I am could not be more pleased! This product has been absolutely free with no hidden costs. Our center uses the daily activity record, which includes an app for the parents to be able to view from their phones/tablets or they can log in to the website from a computer. The daily record includes photos that can be uploaded directly from your phone, all of the detailed info you would want a parent to know, it even has a "Notes" section. We use the calendar to add events for the parents to see. There is also the daily check in/out and the best thing is the parents can send a note thru the app to say arriving late today, not coming in today, or picking up early, etc. The ability to communicate the simple things thru the app saves time during pick up/drop off because a lot of questions are already answered on Brightwheel. The best thing of all is the billing. FREE for ACH debits and no hassle to you! There is also a credit card capability. All of our parents are required to sign up. You can do one time billing or set up a recurring billing plan and bills/reminders/receipts are sent automatically to the parent. The money is deposited to your business account and that's it! Sooo simple and painless! I understand their is a premium version of Brightwheel being released soon but the standard version is so incredible that I don't know WHAT to expect. :) I truly love this product. Our parents are impressed with it as well. AND it's free!
The price - free, the billing option, the ability to upload pics and name activities the children are engaged in,
The calendar keeps everyone on the same page. I love it all!
Happy Campers, San Carlos
Overall our experience has been really great. There were some serious issues when we decided to use Brightwheel billing. I'm certain those issues have been documented, but we seem to be good now. I have been a big fan of Brightwheel and sincerely look forward to what's next!
I love how much Brightwheel has improved since we first joined the program. Administration, Parents and Staff love all of the features. I am very happy with the way Brightwheel has fostered "community" between home and school, and even school and extended family. Grandparents love seeing their grandchildren and being in the loop. Community is very important to our program! I appreciate the level of professionalism Brightwheel adds to my program. Touring families always have great comments about Brightwheel.
I wish multiple accounts could be under one umbrella login. I do not like having to log out and log in to my three programs. We have an account with ADP and use just one login for all 3 programs. I simply just have to click which program I need to see. I wish I could access a simple version of a class list with birthdays and just parents names and emails without all of their personal information. Parents request class lists quite often for birthday party invitations. Perhaps even an "opt-in" directory for parents to see would be a great feature. Parents could choose to include email/phone numbers in the "public" directory.
Brightwheel - easy and friendly!
I use Brightwheel at my children's preschool to check them in & out on a daily basis. It's a great system for that and is very fast. A simple 4 number pin/password gets me to my dashboard where only my kids show up and a click of a toggle button checks them in or out. Then, a quick signature (DHR compliant!) and I'm done. They use it for car pool on an iPad and it keeps the line moving.
The school moved from a pen and paper set up which was much slower due to flipping through the clipboard to find your kids and signing for each of them. Plus, if it was raining the papers were a mess.
The school has the iPads in a weatherproof cover that still allows for signature with the touch screen.
It's fast, efficient and very easy to use. It has a lot of features that we do not currently use, but used in the past. We only use it for checking kids into the preschool now, but have used the communication features in the past where the teachers could post pictures and send messages to the parents.
I really do not have any cons for Brightwheel. My experience has been very positive and I like the product. Being 100% honest, I have never had to contact customer service so I can not speak to that, but I do know that the implementation of the solution was pretty simple.
We are generally receiving our payments on time more. BrightWheel has caused new frustrations but relieved others. We like the parent communication aspect. The customer service of BrightWheel is getting better; however, I usually only get an answer after asking multiple people the same question and finally I will get a correct answer. They love their standard boilerplate responses which if I needed would have gotten from the library. The overall feeling of “we are only here to make the parent experience better” versus making the centers business operations better is frustrating. In the end, the center will get what we need and with BrightWheel a lot of times it causes inconvenience to the parents. Example, when a new child starts under the parents, they have to re-link to AutoPay. The parents can’t figure it out because of it shows they are linked with one student so we have to add their bill to their older student who doesn’t come anymore in order to get their autopay to work. That is not friendly experience for us or the parent. BrightWheel still needs a lot of work to get it to a product that is time-saving and beneficial for centers to use.
We love the AutoPay feature and the ability for our parents to get their invoices 24/7.
There isn’t a way to record credit, and when a payment fails without attempting to go through it doesn’t send an email to the parents or us. Also, when a payment fails it doesn’t give us an opportunity to recharge. Many parents will ask us to retry and we can’t without creating a new invoice. Also, on the Plan section, it doesn’t allow you to make changes to the days the invoice gets charged, or a new end date, etc. This means we are constantly canceling the plan and creating a new one.
Brightwheel Pros & Cons
Our staff members are more informed on a daily basis and connected to the parents more. They receive updates on students versus relying on the director to pass on the information from a phone call or email.
1) It has aloud our staff members to connect with families more on a daily/weekly basis.
2) Staff are able to post pictures without using their phone storage.
3) Parents can sign-in & sign-out easier. Easier to add extra pick-up people.
4) Easier to obtain tuition payments from families.
5) Easier to have a visual of the school in one location (I can switch rooms and see who is there and the staff in the room.
6) Bi-monthly payroll is much easier with the time sheets.
1) There is no way to message staff members all at once or for them to receive a message as well. (example, I post the newsletter for parents and the staff would have to open a student file to view it or I mass message the parents but the staff do not receive the mass message as well.
2) I wish you could post pdf files to the parents versus just image files. (My newsletters and forms always have to be converted to pdf and then to image file.
3) Red sign-in kiosk screen is not good for viewing out in the sunlight. (blue & white would be better)
4) I am unable to find the observations easily for review later on for report as a class or objective/goal.
5) iPhone users seem to have trouble with the app more (receiving messages & they are not able to click on links that I may send either through messaging or under the notes).
Brightwheel helps with multiple facets of the preschool day!
As stated in the "pros" of this software, Brightwheel makes communication that much better between the preschool and the families. It allows for parents to really be connected with their child, and the the learning they are involved in all day, as well as those memorable moments, that the parent may not get to see as it is happening. I would recommend Brightwheel to all preschools for the fact that it is quite easy to use, it is fast to input data, and it is multi-functional. As a preschool teacher that has been teaching for 20 years, I feel this is one of the best tools I have had access to.
This software helps make the connection between home and the preschool setting stronger. It allows teachers and parents to communicate important information to each other. It allows for photos to be shared with the families, so that they can see the learning taking place in the classroom. It allows for teachers to keep track of the development that each child is going through, in a very structured, easy to understand format. I can't say enough good things about this software!
The software used to never have the video component, but they introduced that component within the last year, and it has really been a nice addition. It seems that the company really values the feedback of it's clients, and then implements the ideas. There is nothing I like the "least" about this software.
Awesome app for our preschool and daycare!!!
Sometimes when trying to set up new families, the ap (on the parent's end) will ask for a code; identifying which school. I was never given/provided with a code, so sometimes I have to delete the child and start over to see if the parent is able to obtain the 4-digit code.
We can do everything with this app. It's great! Parents can sign their child in/out, which is perfect for state regulations. Parents can see what their child is up to throughout the day by way of 30 second videos, pictures, messages, notes, meals served and quantity of food each child ate, incident reports, medications administered and bathroom breaks. There is also a custom icon, and if you are a staff member of a facility with multiple rooms, you can move the children from one room to another, so parents and staff know where their child is at at all times. There is a calendar, observation section and you can even do billing! I couldn't imagine NOT using Brightwheel. It is so quick, easy and comprehensive. Each child is separate and each profile affords space for all pertinent information, including doctor/dentist information, address, parent contact, emergency contacts, allergies, medications, and DOB. It is very inexpensive an parents are able to know what their child did, rather than trying to ask the busy staff or ask their child. Multiple members can be added to a profile and all receive a 4-digit code for signing their child in/out of care. I would recommend it a million times over! Awesome Ap!
Wish the videos could be longer and you had the option to crop/edit the pictures and video length.
Powerful and simple invoicing system; online database for students, parents, and staff; staff and student check-in, check-out, customizable reporting feature; easy phone app for parents and teachers; flexibility in designing to meet the needs of the school. Overall, the app was clearly developed to meet the needs of schools and is very intuitive in this regard. Very well done. We love that new features are constantly being developed and that the team is always interested in receiving our input.
We started off just needing an online database for our students. In a few months, this app became an indispensable tool at our school-- for both parents and staff. There are too many wonderful things about this app to list here in a few short sentences, but the highlights are: photo and status updates for parents, easy invoicing system, parent and teacher sign-in / sign-out, and so much more. The support team is also excellent, knowledgeable, accessible, friendly-- and timely in their response.
It seems the app until recently was in a testing or Beta phase, and as it moved into full production certain aspects of the app which were previously free and unlimited have suddenly and without warning been associated with a fee or have sudden limitations. That said, it's still absolutely worth it.
Brightwheel a great software investment for our Early Learning Center
Overall Brightwheel has helped save so much time as an administrator. I don't have to spend the hours I used to spend handling the finances. All payments are automatically withdrawn and are deposited promptly. Communication with parents has increased to a very professional level. Our families love receiving updates throughout the day with pictures and videos of things their children are doing. We Love Brightwheel and would definitely recommend it to any size center.
Our center has been using Brightwheel for over a year now and we absolutely love it! I love the connection with parents through this software. Parents can stay up on how their child's day is going. I also like having the finances linked through the app. It is so convenient for parents. As an administrator it has become very user friendly and helps me to keep up on each class and ratios from my phone.
I do not like that any time I want a special report I have to submit it to be emailed. I would love to have access to more of the information as an administrator. This also goes with the financing I would like a little more control over when I send invoices dates on invoices etc. I also don't like how everything is alphabetized by first or last name. In the childcare industry birthdays are a great option to organize rooms as children move to the next room by their birthday and that is not a feature available on the app at this time.