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Customers/Walden Child Care

How this Lillio customer puts staff well-being at the forefront of her work

Products used

  • Center Management
  • Family Engagement

The Challenge

Keeping turnover to a minimum and prioritizing staff well-being 

Minimizing turnover and prioritizing staff well-being is paramount for childcare owners and operators due to its multifaceted impact on the overall success of the center. Consistency in caregiver-child relationships is crucial for fostering healthy attachments in young children and optimal child development. Those strong relationships between educators and children, and educators and families, can only be formed when quality educators want to stay at the center. Focusing on staff well-being contributes to a positive work culture, enhances collaboration and communication among team members, reduces recruitment and training costs, and ultimately, provides for a stronger, healthier and more productive learning environment. One childcare leader who has figured this out is Andrea St. Germain. 

Andrea St. Germain is the owner and operator of three childcare centers in Calgary, Alberta alongside her mom, Janet. Together, they manage childcare centers with capacities ranging from 60 to 140 children, and some of these centers have been a part of their community for over 20 years. Together they work tirelessly to ensure the success of their centers, relying on their extensive experience in childcare and their commitment to maintaining a positive and healthy work culture for their team as their number one priority for success. 

The Solution

Treating educators like professionals. 

Andrea’s approach to staff management is comprehensive and thoughtful. Recognizing the challenges directors face, her and her mom actively go into the centers each week and take on tasks such as email management, resolving parent inquiries, supporting the educators and the children in the classroom. They are deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of the centers, doing everything they can to make the lives of their staff easier, and help them focus their time on what matters most - the children.

“They have a lot on their plate everyday, so we go in and think about what we can do to minimize their load” 

Andrea realized that for both herself and her mom, as well as the directors and educators, to perform their roles effectively relying on a paper-based system was not going to cut it. “There is no way we could not go digital. Doing attendance for all those children on pen and paper is just not an option” Andrea stated. They also decided it was time to move away from the previous app they were using, KidGenius, as it was not meeting their specific needs. Andrea and her team had four main priorities when it came to finding a software provider; 

  1. Cost 

  2. User friendly for all staff 

  3. Has their early learning standards built in 

  4. Creates professional and high-quality daily reports for parents 

Andrea found their partner in Lillio. Andrea, her mom and their entire team now use Lillio to streamline all communication with families and save time on their administrative tasks. “We have saved 8-10 hours per month on administrative work since switching to Lillio, and that extra time now goes directly back into supporting our educators” Andréa shared.

Their commitment to their staff is shown through their dedication to providing professional tools that help remove burdens from their directors shoulders and automate as much as possible for their team. The parent communication tools within Lillio, including instant messaging and real-time daily reports have quickly become daily necessities across their childcare programs. Allowing families  to build a deeper understanding of the care and education happening each day and strengthening their relationships with educators.

“When educators can share these moments in real-time with families throughout the day, it helps to forge stronger relationships and ultimately helps educators feel more connected to their jobs and the center as a whole” 

Andrea and her mom demonstrate their commitment to the team not only through making quality investments but also by actively including their staff in decision-making, helping them feel like active and valuable members of the team.

“It is all a trickle down effect. Making sure our staff feel valued and recognized on our team is really important to us as that directly impacts the quality of teaching for the children. We never want our staff to feel like a pawn in a system, they are part of a team working towards a common goal”

Top staff appreciation strategies that Andréa and Janet instill at all 3 of their locations: 

1. Take the time to build strong relationships with your staff. Learn about who they are outside of the center. 
2. Treat your staff like professionals and involve them in decision making. 
3. Involve your staff in the common mission of the center. Let each individual staff member know that they have an impact on the success of the center and they are valued. 
4. Build relationships based on respect and trust, not on power dynamics. Regardless of title, everyone at our center is seen as an equal. 
5.Allow for time off and mental health days.

“If staff ever decide it is time to leave our organization, I never want it to be because we did not do our job right” 

The Result

Over 8 hours of time saved and minimal staff turnover related to unhappiness

The success of their three locations is not just measured in the longevity of the centers, but in the thriving work environment they have created. Staff turnover is at a minimum, with staff only leaving for personal reasons such as maternity leave. They have waitlists that are over two-years long, and with full enrollment and government grants are able to pay their staff a competitive salary. 

Through exemplary leadership and running a people first organization, Andrea and her mom have created three childcare programs (with plans to expand) that stand as a testament to the power of prioritizing staff happiness. Through visionary leadership, and the strategic use of Lillio for center management and parent communication, they have not only navigated the complexities of running a multi-location childcare center, but have also created a workspace where staff feel valued, supported and fulfilled. Their story serves as an inspiration for childcare providers seeking a holistic approach to management that puts the well-being of staff at the forefront of their mission, understanding wholeheartedly how that trickles down to the quality of support and care for children and families. 

“What motivates us is making sure all of our staff feel supported and know that they are part of a team that cares about them” 

Lillio is their trusted partner in putting their staff first. 

Want to learn more about how Lillio and FunShine Express curriculum can help you improve your center quality?

100+ children
Alberta, CAN
Multi Location

Andréa St.Germain


8-10 hours

of time saved on center administration


staff rentention

Ready to get your center started?