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Kinderberry Hill Child Development teacher Kelly Norden is able to send updates and photos to parents, through "Baby Connect," all the while still working with the children. Bulletin photo by Amber Kispert

Woodbury child-care center gets its app together

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news Woodbury, 55125
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Parents at Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center have a whole new way to stay plugged in to their child's day.

Over the summer Kinderberry Hill began using an application called "Baby Connect" to keep parents updated on their child's day.

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"Baby Connect" uses technology such as iPads, smartphones and email to continually log a baby's eating and drinking habits, naps, diaper changes, mood, health and behaviors.

Through Baby Connect, parents also receive photos of their children participating in activities and are informed immediately of any milestones such as taking a step or saying a new word.

Parents can determine what type of, if any, push notifications they want to receive.

"We know it helps parents have a more positive day at work when they know their child is doing well," said Kathy Sjursen, the center director. "They don't have to wait and wonder and have that anxiety."

The "Baby Connect" application costs $4.99.

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The Kinderberry Hill franchise began utilizing "Baby Connect" over the summer at the Minneapolis center.

The use of the application eventually spread to all Kinderberry Hill centers.

"Obviously we're always looking for ways to improve communication with families," Sjursen said. "We always want to be on the cutting edge of what's available."

Kinderberry Hill previously sent home hand-written daily updates with parents at the end of the day.

Through "Baby Connect," teachers have both a laptop and smartphone in the classrooms. Throughout the day, they go into the application and plug in the updates.

Some updates require only a click of a button, whereas others provide room for brief little updates. "This is the age of technology," said Kelly Norden, a teacher at Kinderberry Hill. "We got used to it really quickly."

Sjursen said "Baby Connect" has been a time saver for teachers since they don't have to spend as much time writing down all of the updates from the day.

"It allows teachers to spend more time with the children rather than spending time with long hand," she said.

In addition to freeing up the teachers day, "Baby Connect" also provides a comfort to parents, especially those with new children.

"We know how challenging it is to leave your child with another person," she said. "This really helps build relationships with the teachers and the families - it's just a day brightener for parents."

"Baby Connect" is also useful for teachers as they can get updates from parents on children's morning and nighttime behaviors as well as other important information as needed, Sjursen said.

Currently all parents of infants and toddlers at Woodbury's Kinderberry Hill utilize "Baby Connect."

"As soon as they get that first taste, they're hooked," Sjursen said.

One Kinderberry Hill parent, Michelle Mjonger, said the app has helped her stay connected in her child's day.

"'Baby Connect' is a great way to ease my mind throughout the day while I am at work," she said. "I can see how his day is going and get updates on him every time I check the app."

Sjursen said "Baby Connect has completely revolutionized how working parents stay connected to their child's day.

"Parents wish they could be there with their child, and if they can't, this is a way to help them have that connection," she said. "Being able to be a part of their child's day, without being there, is a wonderful feeling for a parent."

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