3 Top-Rated Affordable Daycare Software

By: Ashish Upadhyay on May 2, 2024

Parents put their utmost trust in daycare providers. So it’s only fair for a child care provider to provide the best possible care to children under their watch. One way to ensure this is to invest in daycare software that takes care of routine tasks such as attendance tracking and records management, enabling daycare providers to focus more on caring for their attendees.

Fortunately, daycare providers can opt for affordable solutions that fit their budgets and still provide the best possible service. This article lists three top-rated affordable daycare software solutions based on user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products with base plans priced less than $42.30 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices.

All the products mentioned here are dedicated childcare management and daycare solutions, providing the core features of daycare software, namely: calendar management and registration management.

What is a base software plan?

A base plan is the most affordable pricing tier offered by a software provider. Besides having the lowest price, base plans provide access to all core software features. However, they may have limitations compared to higher-tier plans in terms of the available functionality, storage capacity, number of user seats, support options, etc.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between April 2022 - April 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. OWNA

OWNA is a childcare management platform that helps simplify attendee management and communication with parents through built-in portals. Administrators in a childcare center can use the parent portal to stay connected with families through private messaging, share daily updates about their children, and broadcast announcements for all parents. OWNA also features a staff message board for private communication between team members along with a universal calendar to see teacher schedules and child care assistance more efficiently. 

OWNA’s base plan gives you access to unlimited parent communication, rostering and payroll, and staff communication functionality. Upgrading to an advanced plan grants you access to vacation planning, and single sign-on (SSO) security for apps.

Base plan features*:

  • Parent communication: Use a built-in parent communication portal to share children’s daily routines, send private messages to parents, and post highlights of the day.

  • Rostering and payroll: Use a built-in educator management dashboard to predict rostering needs and use a drag-and-drop menu to assign shifts to individual educators. Teachers can record clock-in and clock-out times via the dashboard.

  • Staff communication: Provide a staff message board for private communication among teachers and a shared calendar to view shifts. The software also provides a collaborative communication diary to help teachers make announcements. 

Starting price: $1.49 per child, per month

Cost to upgrade: $99 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider OWNA?

Daycare centers that want a centralized solution to manage parent and teacher communication can opt for OWNA. Additionally, the software offers a built-in payment portal that handles incoming debit and credit card payments, automates payroll by releasing monthly payments for teachers, and helps create financial reports showcasing total revenue, roster expenses, and project revenue if at capacity. Such reporting can help with daycare continuity.

OWNA

OWNA

4.51 out of 5 stars

106 reviews

Pro tip

Opt for software that allows for detailed and customizable child profiles. This should include space for emergency contacts, medical information, allergies, and any special needs or preferences.

2. Daily Connect

Daily Connect is a childcare business platform that helps daycare providers with parent communication, learning and assessment, and overall administration. The software provides standardized learning framework templates to assess student engagement and track their academic progress. You can also produce unique portfolios for individual learners and create shareable observation and assessment reports.

Pricing plans for Daily Connect differ based on the number of children enrolled in your daycare. All plans provide parent communication, learning and assessment, attendance tracking, and staff management.

Base plan features*:

  • Learning and assessment: Use pre-made templates or create learning frameworks from scratch to assess the progress of your students’ learning. 

  • Administrator tools: View teacher-to-child ratios in every classroom and ensure that your daycare has balanced classes. You can also create and manage weekly staffing schedules, track days off and hours worked, and ensure appropriate staffing levels in each classroom.  

  • Parent billing: Reduce late payments by scheduling recurring payments customized to your billing schedule which can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. You can also customize billing to include additional fees for field trips, meal plans, and boarding.

Starting price: $16.99 per month (up to 12 children)

Cost to upgrade: Not available. Only one subscription model is available.

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider Daily Connect?

Daycare providers on a budget that wish to pay only for the number of children enrolled under their care can opt for Daily Connect. Apart from being budget-friendly, the software also helps with staff management, scheduling, and managing parent payments from a singular dashboard. If your daycare provides additional facilities, such as meal planning, and field trips, you can create optional add-ons during payments.

Daily Connect

Daily Connect

4.75 out of 5 stars

227 reviews

3. Our School Hangout

Our School Hangout is a daycare and school management system that helps daycare providers manage day-to-day daycare operations, track incoming and outgoing payments, and offer a connected online community for enrolled students. The software also helps teachers manage class-specific or school-wide calendars with sign-up, opt-in, and opt-out options for events.

You can also send automated payment reminders to parents, ask for immunization and health documents for enrolled children online, and enable school-wide, class, and individual communication through built-in messaging. Similar to Daily Connect, Our School Hangout offers different pricing plans based on the number of students enrolled while offering the same features across all its plans.

Base plan features*:

  • Automated payment collection: Set up automated payment reminders and autoPay to ensure timely tuition payments, eliminating the chase for payment collection.

  • Dynamic school and class calendars: Set up class-specific or school-wide calendars to highlight events and enable teachers to opt-in or opt-out of events based on their availability. 

  • Customized feedback polls: Gather feedback school-wide or by class, with options for tracked or anonymous responses. You can also send feedback polls to families to get their responses around external activities such as day-trips and excursions.

Starting price: $35 per month (up to 50 students)

Cost to upgrade: $75 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center, FAQ, and email support

Who should consider Our School Hangout?

Daycare centers that need to create class-specific calendars to highlight different events and assign teachers for specific classes can opt for Our School Hangout. Additionally, its customized feedback polls can help daycare centers gather feedback from families for the external activities it conducts, and improve it if required.

Our School Hangout

Our School Hangout

4.97 out of 5 stars

29 reviews

Top 5 daycare software features users rate as highly important

All the products listed in this article include the features mentioned below. To identify these, we asked users to rate, on a scale of “low importance” to “critical,” how important different features are for daycare software. The features showcased are those that the highest percentage of reviewers rated as “highly important” or “critical” over the past two years (as of April 15, 2024).

Feature name

Criticality rating (%)

Description

Parent portal

93%

Lets parents access essential information about their child, including their daily activities, meals, naps, and any notable events or milestones achieved during the day. Additionally, the portal can help submit payments.

Communications management

91%

Provides a messaging platform that allows daycare staff to communicate directly with each other and parents. Staff members can send messages regarding daily updates, special events, reminders, or any concerns related to the child's well-being.

Student management

86%

Allows daycare administrators to manage student enrollment, including registration, admissions, and class assignments. They can track the enrollment status of each student, manage waitlists, and update enrollment records as needed.

Daily reports

83%

Gives daycare staff the ability to fill out the daily reports for each child based on their observations and interactions throughout the day. They document the child's participation in various activities, such as early learning programs, arts and crafts, outdoor play, circle time, and educational lessons, and measure the overall child development.

Attendance tracking

82%

Provides real-time tracking of attendance, allowing daycare administrators and staff to instantly see which children are present and accounted for at any given time. This helps ensure the safety and security of children within the facility.

How much does daycare software cost?

Daycare software solutions can cost as low as $1.49 per month or up to $329+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, daycare size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and customization options. Most daycare solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for daycares that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for small daycares or individual child care specialists on a budget. 

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $1.49 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small daycares or teams with basic daycare software requirements, such as attendance tracking, educator management, and basic reporting.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $75 to $169 per month and offer advanced features such as payment reminders, built-in communication portals, customizable attendance tracking dashboards, and advanced reporting. These are suitable for a childcare provider that has outgrown entry-level daycare solutions but doesn’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $329 per month and offer a range of advanced features, including unlimited access to entry-level and mid-tier features, priority customer support, and integrations with third-party systems. These are suitable for large daycares with multiple team members and departments and extensive daycare customization needs.

Hidden costs associated with daycare software

Besides the software license, additional costs can include:

  • Training expenses: Initial training for new users and ongoing training for updates or new features can lead to additional costs.

  • Data migration costs: Migrating data from your existing system to the new tool may require expert assistance, adding to the software implementation cost.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest daycare features and security patches.

Frequently asked questions when selecting affordable daycare software

  • Does the base plan offer integrations with other tools or systems used by our daycare?

Check with vendors whether the base plan offers integration capabilities with existing tools or systems used by your daycare, such as accounting software, payroll systems, or learning management systems. Integrating daycare software with accounting software can automate billing and invoicing processes, saving time and reducing errors.

  • Does your base plan include customizable templates and settings to fit our daycare's unique requirements?

Ensure that the affordable childcare software allows for customization of templates, settings, and parameters to accommodate your daycare's specific workflows, policies, and preferences. For instance, you can customize the software to automatically generate daily activity reports for each child based on predefined templates. This saves staff time and ensures consistency in reporting.

  • Are there features for sharing updates, photos, and videos of children's activities with parents?

A daycare software that provides a communication portal to share daily updates, photos, and videos of children’s activities with parents can help increase parent engagement and foster a sense of community between parents and a daycare center. Check for the availability of such a feature in the base plan with vendors.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of April 15, 2024). 

  • Include the core features of daycare software: student management and registration management.

  • Meet our market definition for daycare software: “Daycare/Childcare software helps automate the daily administrative and logistical tasks of running daycare and childcare centers such as scheduling, staff management, accounting needs, meal and event planning, and enrollments and onboarding.

  • For products that met the first three criteria, we assessed the monthly subscription price of the base plans and found the average price to be $42.30—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly base price lower than $42.30 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of April 15, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from daycare software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor's website.  

We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s daycare software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of April 15, 2024, were considered for the pricing calculation.