Chatting with Sandra Peckham About How She Uses Bloomz in the Head Start Program
by Nathan Resick, on Feb 1, 2023 1:14:49 PM
Recently we sat down with Sandra Peckham, working for the Head Start program over in Fall River, MA. They have about 400 kids in the program, and she has been working for the Head Start program for 22 years now.
We've been using Bloomz for about five years now. We started with the limited version and are currently on the premium package. Our entire program uses it. One of the first features that I took advantage of myself was posts. It was super helpful just getting activities out to families quickly. I would find an exercise they would be interested in and post it immediately.
Next, I started to post pictures of the kids in the classroom. And then, I would make collages and post that. So that was exciting to figure out, and they (parents) enjoyed seeing the kids playing.
At the beginning of the school year, we talk to the parents about how Bloomz works and walk them through the process. I explained to them that we would be posting daily and weekly, and some of them had questions about navigating the app. They were a little nervous about it because they didn't understand how to navigate it at first. But once you show them how to use it, they picked it up quickly. At first, they didn't realize there was a little heart and that they could click that heart and like the picture. You can like the image by putting the heart, and you can comment on the photos, too, so they like that feature and started using it right away.
The best part of using Bloomz and communicating with families is how fast all the communications get to parents. Say a child doesn't have clothes, they ran out of clothes that day, etc. We send out a quick message, and the parents have the notification on their phones instead of waiting for them to check their email. It's nice to get that instant message across. Another thing I like is setting up parent-teacher conferences. Bloomz has made it easy, too, versus a clipboard and pen. Parents can go in and find a time instantly, put their name in there, and send it off.
They can even comment that they'll be late, and if they change their mind, they can go back in and remove themselves. That slot then becomes open for someone else, and you can fill that later.
So it's not as if I have to wait for the next day to come to school and be like, oh, I have to cancel this or that appointment. Parents can cancel appointments last minute. That works well. Sometimes if there's separation anxiety, we take a picture of the child and send it as a text through Bloomz, and the parent will see it while they're at work and they will respond.
Parents appreciate when a child makes a picture for their parent. We take that picture, take that opportunity to catch it in the moment, and send it off to them. The parents get a little notification sound at work, and if they have the opportunity to look at their phone, they'll see that picture of their child in the classroom. That's pretty exciting too!