Fun Zone Before & After School Care & Enrolmy Software

By Mihi Church

We help Before & After School Care providers all around the Southern Hemisphere, do what they do! Fun Zone Out of School Care in Wellington New Zealand, are one of our amazing Enrolmy Providers who are passionate about bringing value to the communities they are in.

We interview Fun Zone owners; Motu & Rangi Esson, here is their story.
Enrolmy Fun Zone BASC

So tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Fun Zone?

Rangi: Well, hi! My name is Rangi and this is my wife Motu. We live on the Kapiti Coast (yep where Kapiti ice cream comes from) just North of Wellington. We've been living here for 12 years and run multiple before and after school / holiday programmes. Fun Zone originally started out as Kids Own. Our daughter had just finished early childhood and we needed after school care for her. However there were no after school care programmes in the area so we sort of thought, why not! I had always wanted to start a business myself. Motu and I spoke to other parents and the school, and it just took off from there. Overtime we re-branded to Fun Zone.

Although our professional background had nothing to do with children or education, Motu and I came from finance and management environments. We're both just big kids at heart. We're also very family oriented and it was really important to us that we could somehow involve our daughter in as much of our work lives as possible. We come from large families too, so that kind of worked in with our experience regarding working with kids. It all kind of came together once we started looking at it.

We've never looked back.

What are some of Fun Zone's core values?

We value
Our kids
Their families
Our staff
And our communities and school's we're involved in.

Kids: We basically want kids to be kids and have fun! Even with our staff! For our kids to have fun, we want fun employees! The kids need someone who's relatable. So we have our mothering types, and then we have our younger ones who say, “Let's go and play this,” and “Let's go and do this.”

Fun Zone Enrolmy Kids

Parents: Our parents are also very important to us. Motu and I always reinforce that the parents are our customers, and the service we provide is looking out for their kids. So when we meet and greet them, our frontline team become like a second ear. They share what's happened in their day. Parents trust us.

Staff: It's important that our team are relatable; relatable to our families, our kids, and also to each other. It creates a tight team environment where we bounce off each other. We love the eclectic group of employees that we have. We're not about fixing people into a box. Our kids are not all the same, our schools are not all the same, we're not the same. So we value having different people on our team. I always like to describe it as everyone bringing an ingredient for the cake!

Community: One of our core values is based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. So we regularly communicate with classroom teachers, support them and find out how the kids are doing in school. We also love to financially support the schools and communities that we're apart too. We make an effort to give back to the community by providing sponsorships at primary schools that we're based in. These sponsorships go to children's sports fees, camps etc. Our staff also volunteer at school galas wherever possible. So it's a win-win opportunity for the school, and for ourselves to get our name and what we do out there as well.

What qualities do you look for in your staff?
Motu: One of the biggest things that we look for is people who have an affinity for kids. It's funny, when we interview people we ask them certain questions. And it's hilarious. I'll ask, “What do you do if a child is yelling really loud, or being naughty?” And we get some people who respond back saying, “Ah, I'll do this and I would talk to them and blah blah blah.” But the people that we end up hiring are the ones who say, “We tell them off, what else are we supposed to do?" We look for staff who are real and relatable.

Fun Zone Enrolmy Kids Yoga

What kind of programmes can parents book their children into at Fun Zone?

So we're currently based in eight different schools. We run breakfast clubs in two of them, and after school care in all of them. And then we have the school holiday programmes.

Rangi: Each school that we're based in is very unique and we design our programme to best meet each individual need of the parents and kids. As we mentioned before, we love letting kids be kids. So we're all about providing fun activities and off-site opportunities. We really want our students to explore new things that they may have never experienced before in their life. We also believe that to have a productive and effective program we need strong relationships with the schools principal, the office staff, the teachers and also the caretaker!

And how does technology help you do what you do?

Motu: Everything used to be on paper, and it was everywhere. Paper for this, paper for that. And with our backgrounds, we thought, "Well surely we could consolidate this and create a paperless environment." With a handful of apps and things, I was able to make all our processes paperless, other than our sign-in and out system. Compared to the amount of time I would originally spend on administration, my new systems were better, but it still wasn't effective enough for what we wanted to do.

Rangi: With our backgrounds, we're big on good processes and maximising our time. Especially as we manage multiple locations. Each one is quite unique and actually coping with the culture of each one, but also having the systems in place to support that was one of our biggest reasons as to why we switched over to Enrolmy.

We wanted one administrative system to meet our diverse needs. Enrolmy works really well to fit our multiple site organisation.

Motu: The one thing I really like is that all the customers are in one database, but split up by location. It makes it really easy to find, and email parents with any relevant information or changes in the programme. The attendance section inside the app is awesome as well, I can see how many kids are attending on what day, who has food allergies and my team can prepare well in advance the afternoon tea and breakfast for the kids. My site managers also love the quick view of who's signed in and out on the tablet attendance. Our booking calender also carries through parents and students details to the following term. So now my parents and I don't need to rebook the kids in every term.

Fun Zone Facebook Enrolmy

Rangi: Dealing with the marketing side of Fun Zone, I love that Enrolmy is visually attractive for our parents. It's a consistent programme across all the schools we're in and even creates less work when it comes to training our different team members.

So if you had to pick ONE Enrolmy feature, what would it be?

Motu: For me, I find the automated invoicing process so valuable. The fact that I don't have to fill out most of the detail on an invoice, saves me hours of work. Enrolmy automatically itemizes the childrens booking calendar on an invoice. So parents have a good reference to exactly what they're paying for. The clarity for both of us makes administration so much simpler. When we enabled our parents to pay by credit card via Enrolmy, the record of that payment was also automated as Enrolmy syncs with Xero. So I no longer have to backtrack and double check who has paid and what cash connects to what invoice. It's done. Haha I actually had to get used to the quickness of people paying! Another thing I love is being notified of new enrolments.

Fun Zone Enrolmy Fun

So what's next for Fun Zone?
Rangi: So we don't know why, but people just keep having kids ha! So there's always a need for what we do! We're looking to continue developing relationships with the schools in our region and continuing to open up programs that meet the needs of our local parents. We're focusng on developing our branding a little bit more and we can see how Enrolmy can play a valuable part in that.

Holiday Programmes Enrolmy

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Tags: Before and After School, Administration, Holiday Programmes, Parents, Schools

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