If you’d like to know a bit about what Google Drive is before we get into more specific usage around a child care business check out this 15 min. video which provides you with a quick walk through of Google Drive and how it functions.
Google Drive is the technology that has allowed me to go almost paperless, except for items like the paper copies of emergency info on each child just in case we are without electricity and/or cell phone service in an emergency situation and the contact forms required by licensing that I want guardians to sign.
Google Drive allows me to produce, store and maintain/update materials in one place. I make forms for parent surveys; spreadsheets for – attendance, financial records, fire drill log; text documents for handbooks; invoices for families; and folders for eportfolios.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to make small changes to your handbook and not have to print off new copies for all your families each time? That is just one of the things I love about having my handbook material in Google Drive as a Document. When I make a change all I have to do is send the link to the changed document to my families, so they know, and I maintain 1 signature page where they sign off on their knowledge of the change. No more reprinting that handbook! And no more waiting or not adding that one little change.
Google Drive also provides storage for photos and videos. I have photos in both my Google Drive and the separate Google Photos . Photo placement for me has to do with how I’ll be using the photo. For injury reports I place the photo right into the report. For a large group of random photos from the day I’ll place them in Google Photos, as I can access them later when I want to use them. Although videos eat up storage it’s nice to have this option also. I’ve used Vimeo for my video storage for years, but the cost to upgrade Google Drive storage when needed is a better cost point today. I would not upgrade beyond the FREE account storage until needed. It could take you years to use up the available storage.
Google Drive spreadsheets work very much like Excel and Apple’s Numbers. I like that building them in Google Drive allows me to easily organize them with everything else.
Google Forms is what I use for surveys and child assessments.
I don’t use Google Presentations or Drawing very often for my family child care business, but they are there if you want them.
For me organization is important in running a sustainable small business. I have found that organizing materials is easy using folders in Google Drive. You do not need to save your work as Google Drive continually updates/saves the work to the cloud. Saving to the cloud also allows you to have access from any device that can connect to the internet to the most current version of your work.
You add folders as needed and title them whatever you wish. You can place folders within folders. You can move folders around. You can share, or have private folders. You can import from others or create your own materials. I think of this as my old-fashioned filing cabinet with all its tabbed hanging folders. It takes up way less space and is easier to access.
This is a screen shot of my Google Drive landing page in 2020.
When you start to set up your Drive, I suggest you first go to the settings icon (gear) and click on Convert Uploads, so anything you bring into Google Drive will automatically come in ready for usage. I also clicked for offline usage, but haven’t found I needed that option very often. It doesn’t hurt to have it clicked. You can also change language here (default is English).
I’ll repeat again, that you do not need to save your work as Google Drive continually updates/saves the work to the cloud. Saving to the cloud also allows you to have access from any device that can connect to the internet.
You can see how the landing page is broken out into “Folders” and “Files”. The “Folders” section shows what I think of as my master folders. These folders contain subfolders and files (documents, pdf, photos, videos). The “Files” is the section where everything that is not placed in a folder is.
My landing page is set up to view in “gallery”. Google Drive also has a list view. For my visual learner preference gallery works better than “list”. You can switch between these views in the upper right hand corner of your landing page.
Next section: Starting with “Folders”