A Chance to Prove Ourselves
In 2015, we were contacted by a research team from the University of Guelph who were interested in conducting a study on the impact of child care software on communication between families and educators.
This seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to learn how a child care app could enhance relationships within a community, giving families, educators and children new language and experiences to share and discuss through objective third-party research.
The resulting thesis , “Investigating the Influence of Technology as a Communication Tool for Parents and Early Childhood Educators,” was published in 2019. The study surveyed parents with children in classrooms before and after the introduction of HiMama to gather their perspectives on how communication had changed with the introduction of HiMama. Once completed, the study found that the app improved the overall experience in several impactful ways.
Participants were recruited from parents whose children were enrolled in early learning programs within the province of Ontario in 2018 and who were currently using HiMama. The participant demographics were as follows:
felt comfortable with tech
primary contact to the educational team
had access to internet and phone
years accessing child care before HiMama
57% More Satisfied in Face-to-Face Communications
One concern many child care providers have when going digital is that they will lose the personal touch of the real world.
According to the study’s findings, not only were face-to-face communications not negatively impacted, they were actually rated more favorably after the introduction of HiMama, with ratings of extremely satisfied with face-to-face communications increasing by 57%.
These findings suggest that the opportunity for real world connection at pick up and drop off time combined with using HiMama may be the perfect combination for meeting parent-educator communication needs.
It makes it easier to have targeted conversations about the day. I can see what she’s eaten, her playtime, etc. and have a richer understanding of her day through the app. Then when we talk to teacher, it’s about her social and emotional development overall. It has greatly improved our conversations with teacher and made us feel more connected to the center as well.
82% Were More Satisfied with Knowledge of Child’s Care & Development
One of the scariest feelings for a parent of a young child is not knowing what they are doing all day. Without HiMama, only 25% of parents reported that their child care providers frequently to always communicated about activities their children were doing throughout the day.
The introduction of HiMama provided parents with an unprecedented window into their child’s daily activities, with 82% of parents now frequently to always receiving communication on activities — a 228% increase.
It has been my security blanket during the day while our child is in daycare. It has enhanced my trust in the daycare provider (centre) and ECEs and removed the mystery around what is going on during the day.
93% Had a Positive Impact on their Parenting
The researchers initially set out to investigate parent/educator relationships but were surprised by one finding in many of the parents’ comments: HiMama helped them to feel more effective as parents.
Equipped with more information about their child’s day, 93% of parents reported that HiMama helped to improve their relationships with their children and be better in their roles in several key ways, including:
- Increased connection to their child.
- Better connection to the overall day.
- Improved personal well-being.
- Gained new knowledge.
- Reassurance in care selected for child.
- More informed conversations with child about their day.
I like how I get to know what kind of mood my kid is in while I’m on my way to get her — it helps me be a better parent, more responsive to her needs. The teachers can tell me this on the app — it’s helpful and it means we’re a team being responsive to her needs
3 Times More Informed on Developmental Domains
Although parents may be informed of what their children are doing, they don’t necessarily know why these activities are important and how they tie into their overall development.
Before HiMama, very little respondents (18%) providing a ranking of 4 or 5 on a scale from never to always about receiving communication on developmental domains.
After HiMama was introduced, the study found an increase of 233% in the amount of communications they received on developmental domains, with the vast majority (60%) of respondents providing a rank of 4 or 5.
I want to better understand the reasons why educators design the activities the way they do. I want to understand her development. HiMama's descriptions of the children's daily activities help me with this.
Better Appreciation of Educators’ Hard Work
By receiving updates and detailed reports each day, HiMama provided a way for educators to showcase all of their important work and how it helps their children’s development and well-being. As a result, many respondents shared how HiMama has helped them view early childhood education in an entirely new light.
I realize that they are super amazing folks that stimulate learning and developmental growth in so many ways each day with my child.
HiMama helps me to see how hard the educators work the time that is spent with my children as well as the effort they put in to make sure that as his parents we know exactly what’s going on.
Previously, the notes were printed and taped to the wall for families to access. With HiMama, the notes are available online — so I actually read them.
Building a Community
While we are incredibly proud of the results of this University of Guelph study, we are dedicated to finding ever more ways to share learnings and foster communication within the early education community.
Here are some more great resources from HiMama that we’d love for you to check out:
About The Study
The results showcased here are from “Investigating the Influence of Technology as a Communication Tool for Parents and Early Childhood Educators,” a report prepared by Ann Wilke at the University of Guelph in 2019. The study surveyed parents with children enrolled in a preschool or daycare before and after the introduction of HiMama in order to measure its effectiveness as a communications tool. To read the complete document, click here.