After our team has helped create your center and your administrator account on Playground, you're able to start to set up your center! Think of this guide as a self-onboarding: it'll walk you through the first steps of getting your center started on Playground, show you key features of the Parent and Teacher Apps, and provide links to other helpful resources.
This video is a comprehensive overview that we recommend new administrators/directors watch to get familiar with all of the capabilities inside the web dashboard. You'll see step-by-step instructions for most of these features and settings further down in the article.
1.0: How to create a new classroom on the Administrator Dashboard
The first step to getting started is creating your classroom(s) on the Administrator Dashboard. In the following example screenshots, the Demo School already has some classrooms set up, but you'll still follow the same steps even if you're creating your very first classroom.
1.1: When navigating between pages on the Administrator Dashboard, you'll always start by going to the blue lefthand sidebar menu. Click on "My School" to open a dropdown menu with pages related to managing your school; then click on "Classrooms" to reach the Classrooms page. To add a new classroom, click on the blue "Add Class" button on the upper right of the screen.
1.2: The "Add Classroom" pop-up will appear. In the "Class Name" field, enter the name of your class, and then adjust the settings below as you'd like—they're all enabled by default. When you're ready, click the blue "Save" button to save your new class and exit the pop-up.
1.3: You'll be returned to the Classrooms page with a notification that your classroom has been added. The new class will now be in the table.
2.0: How to add a student to a newly created classroom
2.1: Now that you have a classroom, you can start adding students to it! On the Classrooms page, find on the table the classroom to which you'd like to add a new student. Click on the three-dot menu to the far right of the classroom's row to open a dropdown menu and then click on "View."
2.2: You'll be brought to the classroom's page—in this example, the Lizards page. Click on the blue "Add Student" button on the upper right to open the "Add Student" pop-up.
2.3: On the "Add Student" pop-up, you must complete the "Name," "Classroom," "Guardian," and "Email" fields. The "Family Number" field will automatically be completed by Playground. The rest of the fields are optional and can also be filled later. When you're happy with the new student's information, click the blue "Save" button to save the new student and exit the pop-up. Note that completing this step will not yet invite parents to join your center on Playground.
2.4: You'll return to the classroom's page with a notification that the new student has been created; the student will also appear in the classroom's "Students" table.
3.0: How to add multiple students at once by uploading a roster
3.1: You can also add multiple students at one time by uploading a class roster. When self-onboarding, we strongly recommend using our roster template, since that template is perfectly formatted for our system. In the following example, the Demo School already has students in its system, but you'll still follow the same steps if you're adding your very first students.
In this example, the Demo School administrator wants to add two new classes, the Elephants and the Bumblebees, to their school on Playground. They fill out the roster template as shown below:
Take note of these students from the roster above:
Jonali Marchand has all of her roster information filled out, from "Child Name" through "Medications" (the last few template columns are not visible in this screenshot). All of this information will be automatically uploaded to her student profile when this roster is uploaded.
Cece Watanabe is already a student in the school's Rockets class, but she'll be reassigned to the Elephants when this roster is uploaded. For this to happen successfully, "Parent 1 Email" in this roster must match the email address that the school already has for Cece's mother.
Audrey Kim and Sarah Kim are sisters. They'll automatically be grouped into the same family when this roster is uploaded. For siblings to be grouped successfully, the "Parent 1 Email" must be identical for each sibling on the roster, or identical to the parent email of an existing sibling in the school.
Ikki Tsai, like most of the students in the roster, only has her classroom and the name and email of one parent specified in the roster. This is the bare minimum of information needed to successfully create her student profile and assign her to a class.
3.1.1: Remember that uploading a roster will not automatically send a sign-up email to parents. Sending email invites is done separately; refer to this article to learn how, or read more in the next section of this guide.
3.2: To upload your roster, go to the "Students" tab under "My School" in the lefthand sidebar menu of the Administrator Dashboard. You'll reach your center's student roster page; click on the blue "Add Students" button on the upper right of the page to open a dropdown menu and then click "Upload multiple students via a roster."
You can also see in the screenshot below that the student named Cece Watanabe is already in Demo School in the Rockets class.
3.3: You'll be brought to the Upload School Roster page, where there's a link to download the sample template used in this example. Click anywhere on the gray tile to upload your roster and then click the blue "Continue" button on the bottom right.
3.4: You'll be brought to the Review Changes page, where you can see verify that the student names, classrooms, and statuses are correct. In this example, you can see that Playground has recognized that Cece Watanabe and her family already exist in Demo School, but the rest of the students and their families do not. When you're ready, click the blue "Finish" button on the bottom right.
3.5: You'll be returned to your school's page, with a notification confirming that your roster has been uploaded. It might take a few minutes for your new students' information to appear into your dashboard. Note that in this screenshot—taken immediately after clicking "Finish"—Cece Watanabe is still in the Rockets class.
As you can see in the below screenshot, with the roster's information fully uploaded to the Dashboard, the Demo School now has two new classes, the Elephants and the Bumblebees. The Rockets, Sharks, and Tadpoles also still exist—the table has been filtered to show only the two new classes, as seen on the filter settings to the upper right of the table (1). Cece Watanabe is now a student in the Elephants class (2). Audrey and Sarah Kim have the same Family Number (3).
Compare also the screenshots of Jonali Marchand and Ikki Tsai's student profiles. Jonali's information was completely filled in the roster template and therefore appears in her student profile; Ikki's information, however, appears as "Not recorded." It's possible to add or edit information on either of these students' profiles at anytime; refer to this article to learn how to do so.
4.0: How to invite parents and guardians to join your center on Playground
As mentioned earlier in this guide, adding parent/guardian names and addresses to your dashboard does not automatically invite parents to join your center on Playground; you must invite them separately. We made these separate steps to ensure that parents are invited to Playground only when you're ready.
There are many ways to invite parents to join your center on Playground. This guide will detail two methods available through the Administrator Dashboard; refer to this article to see all five methods across the dashboard and Teacher App. Parents can also add authorized guardians to their child's account—we encourage administrators to only add one parent per student, and then let parents add additional guardians themselves.
Method 1: Batch invite via the Administrator Dashboard
Whether your center has just joined Playground and our team did the work of setting up your center's basic people information in the Administrator Dashboard for you, or if you've just uploaded a new roster, you'll likely want to batch invite a group of guardians to activate their Playground accounts.
4.1: To do this, navigate to the Guardians page by selecting the "Guardians" tab under "My School" on the Administrator Dashboard. If your center has student accounts that are not yet associated with an active primary guardian account, you'll see a yellow banner at the top of the page, as illustrated below. Inside the banner, you'll see a blue button that says "Send sign-up link." Click on this button, and Playground will automatically send an account activation link to the emails of primary guardians who have not yet activated an account.
4.2: A green notification will pop up to notify you that the emails were successfully sent.
Method 2: Individually send sign-up emails to guardians
This method works from two different places: the Guardians page on the Administrator Dashboard and the "Guardians" tab on each student's profile.
4.3: From the Guardians page, find the guardian to whom you would like to send an invitation; you can use the search bar to search by their name, or filter by status (signed up, invited, no email) or relationship (mother, cousin, babysitter, etc).
4.4: When you locate the guardian's name, click the 3-dot menu at the far right of their row on the table. A dropdown menu will appear with the options to "Edit," "Send sign-up link," or "Delete." Click "Send sign-up link."
4.5: A green notification will pop up to notify you that the email was successfully sent.
4.6: From a student's profile, navigate to the "Guardians" tab, find in the table the guardian to whom you would like to send an invite, and then click on the 3-dot menu at the far right of their row. A dropdown menu will appear with the options to "Edit," "Send sign-up link," or "Delete." Click "Send sign-up link."
4.7: A green notification will pop up to notify you that the emails were successfully sent.
When a parent uses their login credentials on Playground's mobile app, they gain access to the Parent App. The "For Parents" section of our Help Center offers comprehensive articles to every feature parents can use. This guide will demonstrate some of the key features to get parents started.
5.0: Managing guardians on the Parent App
Parents can add, edit, and delete other guardians through the Parent App. This option is ideal for granting sign-in/out authorization to guardians and caregivers who don't have their own children also enrolled in your school. If a parent wants to give sign-in/out authorization to a neighbor who also as a child at your center, they should use the carpool feature instead.
Once a parent has activated their account through the sign-up link sent by your center, they should download and sign into the Parent App. The two screenshots below on the left show what the Home screen looks like for parents.
5.1: When they tap on the "Manage Guardians" tile, they'll see all of the guardians authorized to sign-in/out their child, as shown on the third screenshot from the left. To add a new guardian, they should tap the blue "Add a guardian" button to reach the Create Guardian screen, shown on the far right.
5.2: When the fields on the Create Guardian screen are completed to the parent's satisfaction, they need to tape "Done" on the upper right corner to save the new guardian and return to the Guardians screen.
6.0: QR-code sign-in/out
The QR-code is one of the easiest ways parents can self sign-in/out their children: parents use their own device, so no pens, clipboards, or devices need to be exchanged at any point in the process.
6.1: Make sure your center's QR code is set up before asking parents to sign-in with this method—you can refer to this article for a set-up guide.
6.2: Starting on the Home screen, a parent will tap on the "Self sign-in" tile to open their in-app camera (they'll need to allow Playground to access their device camera for this work). It's important to note that the QR code only works when using the camera through this tile on the Playground App.
6.3: With the in-app camera, the parent can then scan your center's QR code by centering the QR code within the dotted box on their screen. Scanning the QR code will bring the parent to the self sign-in process, which starts on the Options screen.
6.4: On the Options screen, the parent can select which students they are signing-in/out. If the guardian listed under "Signing as" is not correct, the parent can tap on "Not you?" to view their child's guardian list and then select their name from the list. Then, they can tap the "Sign in" or "Sign out" button at the bottom of the screen to reach the signing screen.
6.5: When done signing, the parent taps "Submit." The parent will be returned to the Home screen with a notification that their signature was successfully recorded.
7.0: Viewing student signing history
7.1: Parents can also see their child's full signing history in the Parent App. On the Home screen, they tap on the name of their child to bring up the "Children" menu at the bottom of the screen and then tap the name of the child whose signing history they wish to see.
7.2: They'll be brought to the child's profile. Under the "Recent Signatures" section, they'll see a record of who signed in/out their child on what day and at what time.
7.3: To view the physical signature, the parent taps on the name of the specific signature they want to see to reach the Signature Detail screen. When they're done viewing, they tap the left-facing caret on the upper left of the screen to return to the child's profile.
Both administrator and teacher login information will grant access to the Teacher App; the only significant difference between administrator access and teacher access is that administrators have a "Faculty directory" tile on their Dashboard screen, which allows administrators to see faculty wellness check statuses, complete wellness checks for faculty, and clock faculty in/out.
8.0: How to sign a student in/out from the Teacher App
8.1: One key feature of the Teacher App is the ability to sign students in/out. From the Dashboard screen, tap on the "Student Roster" tile to reach the Student Roster screen.
8.2: Tap on the student you wish to sign-in/out to reach their profile. At the bottom of the profile screen, tap the blue "Check in" or "Check out" button to reach the Sign Options screen.
8.3: On the Sign Options screen, toggle the "Contactless sign-in" button on if you would like to send a sign-in/out prompt to the parent's device, or toggle the button off if you would like the parent to sign-in/out on your device (1). Under "Multiple student sign-in," you have the option to select additional students—either siblings or carpools—to also sign-in/out at this time (2). Under "Select Guardian," choose the name of the person who is signing for the student(s) (3). Then tap the blue "Sign in" or "Sign out" button at the bottom of the screen (4).
8.4: If you toggled "Contactless sign-in" on, you'll be brought to the second screen from the left and a sign-in/out prompt will be sent to the parent's device.
8.5: If you left "Contactless sign-in" off, the signing screen will come up on your device—obtain a signature and tap the blue "Submit" button. You'll be returned to the Student Roster screen with a notification that the signature has been recorded.
The "For Administrators" section of our Help Center is always available to you, as is our 24/7 live support, accessible via the chat icon on the bottom right of the Administrator Dashboard.
Popular Help Center Topics for Administrators:
Resources to share with parents and guardians: