New app connects parents and kids

New Horizon uses ‘Daily Connect’ as communication tool

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — New Horizon Academy has taken the smart phone application to a new use that allows working parents to connect with their children at the Oak Park Heights facility during the school day.

Meghan Chandler of New Horizon said that the application “Daily Connect” has been well-received by both parents and teachers at the new academy and daycare.

“It’s more convenient for parents to go on their phone or computer and check in. It reassures parents to check in at any second and see what’s going on with their child,” Chandler said. “Everything is already programmed in and they can see how much their infant has drank for the day, when their diaper change was and the exact amount they’ve eaten.”

Chandler said Daily Connect is similar to Facebook, but cannot be seen by everybody. It’s personalized to parents’ wants and needs about what they want to know about their child at the school. The application allows parents to keep in touch throughout the day.

Jason Peterson’s six-month-old daughter, Emma, attends New Horizon.

“From our standpoint, we use it as a viewing web page while we’re at work. We both really like it and it’s a nice way to know what’s going on with her during the day. She’s our first child so it made for an easy transition and it’s fun to see the updates,” he said. “They post pictures of her smiling and having a good time and she always looks happy.”

Peterson added that it made the transition time for he and his wife as first-time parents easier.

“When you’re three months in and you’re dropping your daughter off at a place where she doesn’t know anyone it helps to kind of ease your mind.” Peterson said.

The teachers and parents also use Daily Connect as a communication tool. Peterson said when more formula or diapers are needed they post it on the app which makes it simpler for the Petersons when they are unable to connect with the teacher during the day.

“We can post stuff on there too. Most of the time though, my wife takes her to day care and she can talk to a teacher if there are any concerns at all.” he said.
Joan Richardson, a parent of a soon to be 3-year-old at New Horizon, also uses Daily Connect.

“I think the app is fantastic. It probably gives me more information than I need but it helps me keep track of my son and make sure he’s doing OK,” Richardson said. “When I drop him off in the morning and it’s been a rough start, it’s easy to check in and see if his day’s improved.”

She said the application has been helpful when her son was potty training and to know what’s happening when he’s at New Horizon. She also loves that New Horizon sends pictures throughout the day.

Both Peterson and Richardson have said there haven’t been many problems with Daily Connect so far. Peterson said the only time there have been issues is when New Horizon’s server is down. Sometimes they’ll send information to the wrong parent but Peterson and Richardson says it’s pretty obvious and the school changes it right away.

“The main issue for me is that people think it’s funny when my son buzzes in and it’s day care,” Richardson said. “You can easily become a helicopter parent but the value for me is to be able to look several days later and see, ‘Oh, he’s taken a nap the last few days, maybe he’s going through a growth spurt’.”

Parents identifying those things is what Chandler feels makes Daily Connect a success.