Mount Martha Preschool’s Story
Mount Martha Preschool is a highly regarded play-based non-profit preschool local to the coastal bushlands of Victoria. Since 1975, the school has encouraged curiosity and imagination through play. Behind the scenes of children exploring the neighboring natural reserve land (really, next door!), a committee of parents keep the preschool not only running but exceeding federal quality standards (twice!).
One of these committee members, Daniel Power-Mirfin is responsible for bringing systemHUB to Mount Martha. As a supervisor in the mining industry by day, he’s no stranger to issues of policy compliance and regulation. So, when he joined the committee as Policy and Compliance Officer, he immediately noticed some glaring inefficiencies in how the committee developed and implemented decisions. As Daniel saw it, poor systems were causing stagnation and disorganization.
Layers of Policy Regulation & Clunky Documentation
Meet “The biggest problem most Committees of Management have (in this particular case within the Preschool Education sector) is continuity and training.”
See, Mount Martha had a mix of factors making systemisation difficult, in terms of both policy and communication. To start, federal and state authorities place strict policy requirements on both non-profits and early education centers. These highly regulated industries place standardised rules on top of rules on top of expectations on the preschool. The tricky part comes in implementing those rules, while also maintaining the rhythm of the preschool’s own value-driven operations.
In his first year on the committee, Daniel brought in his unique experience in a highly regulated industry (mining) to policy templates provided by the Early Learning Association of Australia (ELAA) and other educational authorities to meet Mount Martha Preschool’s needs. And that’s just the regulatory policy! They were on their own for operational policy…
What’s more, the model of a parent-led committee, while honourable, presents a continuity issue. Every year, when committee membership is replaced, new members have to figure out where the previous members left off — what they did, why they did it, what they learned, next steps, and so on. The old systems left new committees in a near constant state of catch up.
The Committee was using analog documents to record policy. Only a select number of people had access to a restricted Dropbox folder and staff only received updates through email. As a result, staff couldn’t see policy changes as they happened and the committee wasn’t always on the same page. Daniel said, “It created a culture of isolation.”
He knew that they needed something different. Afterall, the basis of not only Mount Martha Preschool’s community-based philosophy but, heck, good business is transparency and communication. Any free software he looked into just wasn’t comprehensive enough.
He needed something that could integrate regulatory and operational policy, keep everyone in the loop and make hand-off to new committees seamless; something that was iterative and organised. Nothing fit the bill, until David Jenyns, systemHUB founder and fellow Mount Martha Preschool parent, introduced Daniel to systemHUB software at a non-profit budget-friendly price.*
The System Software That Made Streamlined Communication and Policy Transparency Possible.
Other systematisation software Daniel looked at had no overarching organisation or view of the development of systems overtime. What made systemHUB different — and perfect for Mount Martha Preschool — is that it offered an all-in-one solution with the flexibility to be adaptable even in a highly regulated industry.
As Daniel put it: “systemHUB promotes and provides for the three essential structures that the preschool much needed:” Systems (how and why the preschool ran – for the committee); Policy (required under the National Quality Framework); and training (bridge between staff and committee).”
The systems were easy to set up, and when they did run into questions, Daniel and the committee felt supported. Daniel recently told Dave: “Your (and that of the guys on the back end – Kristian, thank you) willingness to discuss the running/functionality of the platform has been great.”
To a Values-Driven Future
For the preschool, “The main achievement is transparency and ease of communication and that’s because of systemHUB.” This is especially important, according to Daniel, because
“Policies and policy frameworks are about people and how people deal and treat each other. . . The more transparency an association/institution has, and the more the idea of fair dealing is promoted, the better chance that organisation has in creating social solidarity between management and employees . . . systemHUB promotes these ideals.”
Now, Mount Martha preschool’s frameworks reflect its ideals, “future committees now have the tools to hit the ground running,” and next year, when the Department of Education officials conduct their audit, the school is poised for another year of excellent evaluations.
For Daniel, systemHUB was a game-changer. To Dave, “I just want to thank you personally. You and systemHUB have made my job easier this year. What you have built is incredible and perhaps the best platform I have seen to get not-for-profits organised and following procedure!”
What more is there to say!
*Run a not for profit? systemHUB is here to support you. Contact our team to discuss your options – click here.
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