Early Education & Childcare

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Early Education and Childcare - and Children's Institute programs

How will you provide the highest quality education to young children? ... Use data to track and understand children's developmental progress

♦ Enforce consistent scheduling and service provision
♦ Support staff professional development and quality practices
♦ Improve parent engagement
♦ Have meaningful outcome data at all levels: child, classroom, programs, organizations and communities

Early childhood education can produce significant gains in a child’s learning and development, and early childhood education professionals are committed to providing high quality activities and experiences to support this important mission. Early childhood education may consist of any number of activities and experiences designed to aid in the cognitive and social development of preschoolers before they enter elementary school. As understanding on what qualifies as "care" vs "education", and determing which programs are high quality, the need for data management is now foundational to support best practices in early education.

COMET's program attendance, service management, pre-post assessment and communication module can be used in combination to support a high quality early childhood education practice. With screening, normed assessments, pre-post reports and progress monitoring, our complete web-based database system is HIPAA & FERPA compliant and supports longitudinal analysis. Use our class, program and activity groupings to maintain a balance between individual, small group, and large group activities, and to maintain a balanced schedule that does not overly tire the children. Support scheduled communication between teachers/staff and parents/caregivers. Record, check and communicate on children’s progress more frequently.

Early Education & Childcare Programs

  • may be center-based, home-based, or in a public school.
  • may be offered part-day, full-day or year-round schedule.
  • may be operated privately, by a school district, by a community-based organization (CBO) or through a federally funded program like Head Start.
  • include preschool for three-, four-, or five-year olds provided in childcare, daycare and nursery school settings, as well as more conventional preschool or pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Children's Institute - Early Childhood Programs

Primary Project is the foundational program of Children’s InstituteEarly childhood administrators and educators look to Children’s Institute for services, training, programs and partnerships that can make positive and measurable differences in early childhood education efforts.

GROW-Rochester is a comprehensive initiative that integrates screenings for three-year-olds to identify needs in hearing, vision, dental health, language and speech, cognitive, and social-emotional development. COMET tracks each child’s data which allows for follow-up reporting and analysis of trends, and supports a parent portal to fully engage and inform parents.

RECAP is a community-wide assessment process that improves the quality of programs for three- and four-year-olds, including prekindergarten classrooms. Over 2,000 children and 170 classrooms are assessed annually with data stored in COMET for ongoing tracking and analysis.

Primary Project from Children's Institute

Primary Project is a national evidence-based program that helps children in Pre-K through third grade adjust to school, gain confidence, social skills, and focus on learning. Begun in 1957, Primary Project is the foundational program of Children’s Institute. Schools who implement Primary Project use COMET to screen children in the early grades and identify those who may benefit from the program, they then complete pre-post assessments on COMET to monitor progress and report on results. Having the assessment tools available online, as opposed to paper, has increased response rates up to 98% and reduced turn-out time for results from weeks to instantly!

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Notable Features

There's so much important information about children and youth; track it all with COMET!

One of the trickiest parts of working with data is managing all that information - keeping it organized, up to date and easy to access. COMET knows that quality outcome evaluation starts with clean data. Manage your data with ease, including the following features:

  • Identify and merge duplicate records with one-click
  • Track longitudinal student/member data over time
  • Over 100 student/member data fields available
  • Add new fields to student/member records to track your unique information
  • Supports multiple IDs for a single student/member - for example: a program ID, school ID and state ID

Track progress and demonstrate outcomes using reliable data.

The screening, pre-post assessment, and testing capability in COMET allows you to evaluate child and youth progress in real-time. Educators and providers at all levels agree that individual assessment and program evaluation are two best practices needed to deliver quality programs and improve outcomes. COMET offers multiple assessment, testing and screening options that are intuitive and easy to get started with. COMET can help you collect the data you need to inform policy at all levels and truly make a difference in the lives of the children and youth you serve. 

  • Individual assessment for children and youth
  • Monitor response progress to increase completion rates
  • Aggregate data to report at the group level
  • Individual pre- and post-assessment reporting to support instruction
  • Group pre- and post-assessments to evaluate program effectiveness
  • Screen students for RtI and/or benchmark an intervention's progress
  • Summarize and report assessment results with a few clicks
  • Share data with stakeholders to inform decision-making
  • Think long-term and track data longitudinally to understand trend

What is 'Individual Assessment'?

Collecting data on the individual children and youth you serve, beyond just demographics, is critically important. For example, an individual assessment, collected multiple times throughout a program (generally at the start and at the end) will help you gage an individual's progress. Results can be aggregated to learn about the program as a whole, or use that child-level data to understand how each program member is doing.

What is 'Program Evaluation'?

At its most basic, program evaluation is answering questions. The most common question is - does my program work? Demonstrating the impact you make with your programs is not as hard as it seems. The COMET system and our team are here to support you as you get started with evaluation. But first, you need to know what your question is. How are effective approaches determined? Screening is the first step because it leads to early identification of at-risk children and youth. Real-time feedback is an effective tool for developing plans and interventions. But, assessment and testing are important at the group level, too. Use aggregate data to track progress and inform decision-making.

Record and report on who is attending your programs with ease. Simplify complex attendance requirements with COMET. Schools and youth service providers are required to record and report attendance, and those requirements are becoming more complex every year. Paper records are time-consuming to summarize and the data is often unreliable. Other attendance systems can be complicated and expensive to set-up. The COMET attendance module is user-friendly and supports the simplest to most advanced attendance tracking needs. Features:
  • Choose from 9 customizable attendance recording formats
  • Record not just present/absent but the duration of time spent in a program or activity
  • Extensive reporting options to meet funder and policy-maker requirements
  • Built-in features to identify duplicates and merge records
  • Track staff and volunteer hours all in one system
  • Record attendance at multiple sites for multiple programs, down to activity and classroom
  • Cleaner data thanks to features for identifying incomplete records
  • Captures instructional time, time on task and program dosage
  • Record attendance for parents at engagement activities or one-on-one sessions
  • For therapy or intervention services: track one-one-one and small group sessions
  • Enable 'electronic signature' for records that require a supervisor's sign-off
Reporting is what makes data useful. The COMET team believes in making data useful and accessible for our users. The path to improving outcomes starts with evaluating programs so we know what works, and what doesn't. Evaluating programs requires collecting the right data but also reporting on it in meaningful ways. Standard Reports: Available to all customers, COMET comes equipped with a library of standard report formats that can meet most of our customer's needs. These reports are available for assessment & test data, attendance records, administrative tasks, notes and student/user management. Examples include: Pre-Post for individual and group Response grid and histograms Average daily attendance Attendance trends Demographics, etc. Advanced Reports: The COMET System has an advanced reporting module which allows the user to pick and choose from hundreds of data fields what they would like included in a report. Combined with smart filtering, this module makes it possible for a school or provider to get a clear picture of the population they're serving. This feature is also helpful for organizations with lots of funding sources - pull reports for specific zip codes, ages, programs, etc. Customized Reports: The COMET team is always looking for ways to improve our system. Customer requests for custom reports are one of the ways we make improvements. For a small fee, COMET engineers can develop custom report formats for a client. Once a new format is developed, it's available to all users at no charge. Longitudinal Studies: The ability to easily report on data collected over multiple years is a unique feature on COMET. Our reports allow you to customize the date range and with that you can go back 5 months or 5 years! The longer you use COMET, the more data you collect, the richer your reporting and evaluation becomes. Data Export: The data you enter into COMET is your data, we truly believe that. Reports are always available to be exported as a pdf, a print-formatted document or an Excel file. Whether you export one simple report, or multiple excel files with all your data - do with your data what you need to, we encourage it.
COMET provides the capability to leverage child family contact information to send emails and texts based on custom filters to notify parents/guardians when a member checks in and out of a club or program (i.e. field trip). Messages can be sent by text and/or email message and no phone app is required by the parents. In addition, a Communications Module is available to support a more consistent, automated approach for organizational communications.
Confidential, secure and with the highest continuity of service. Designed with the most stringent data security and confidentiality requirements, COMET utilizes proven methods and algorithms from the banking, defense and healthcare industries to prevent data breaches. COMET's approach to security protects individual and group information better than our competitors. Confidential client information is stored and protected on COMET servers, with the highest level of security. Our customer agreement clearly outlines our obligations and responsibilities related to security. COMET uses a multi-layered approach to protect customer data: COMET is a web application and all data transfers between your computer and the COMET server are performed under the https:// protocol which ensures data encryption. COMET systematically protects its transactions. Access to the COMET database is protected by several layers of firewalls, filters, page servers and other protective devices, making direct access to the database from the internet extremely difficult. COMET uses field-level U.S. Department of Defense approved encryption algorithms. COMET servers are hosted in a professional data center where physical access to the system is controlled and monitored. The data center offers protection against fire, power and internet access failure. In the event of a brute force attempt to break into the system, the COMET security team is notified immediately.

Membership offerings can be simple, with manual entry of membership dates, or automatic, managed by offerings. Example offerings are annual memberships, summer programs and specific classes. You can set up programs, activities and classes, as well as associated discounts for specific account types. Offerings can also be for miscellaneous charges and merchandise.

Anything that has a fee associated to it can be tracked within COMET including: memberships, summer camps, special events, merchandise, and replacing lost ID cards. You can define the amount, split billings for subsidized charges, apply discounts, record payments received as cash, checks or charge, create family accounts, track transactions within pre-defined General Ledger Accounts, show account history, print receipts and create bank deposit statements. All this information is automatically tied to the participant's record without any merge/reconciliation process.​​​ Track basic data related to:

  • View account balances
  • Print receipts
  • View statements and audit trails
Service and case management features are designed to track services provided on an individual basis such as mentoring, tutoring or family support services (translation, legal support, food, etc.). First, users configure the services that will be recorded and which information is relevant for each service type. Then, services are recorded according to their specific configuration. Service records can be closed immediately (service rendered), left open (service in progress) or referred. Extensive reporting allows for measuring counts, dosage and costs. 
One-on-one needs: Students or members with special needs sometimes receive support and services from child professionals and staff on a one-on-one basis. This module helps administrative personnel to track the activity around these specialized services, specifically the amount of service delivered for evaluation, billing and payroll purposes.
Have COMET serve as your organization's communications hub for emergencies, alerts, announcements and updates.  Supported technologies include email, text, phone and even fax. The communications module can also support your accident/incident communication needs
Does your organization need to manage parental consents for specific activities, actions or gathering information?  (sports, accessing the Internet, emergencies, allowing the child to walk out of the facility, accessing school records, etc.) With COMET, users can configure the information managed with each type of consent (valid until date, signed by, witness, scanned paper copies). These consents can be recorded for each child and our reports allow users to identify which consents are still valid, reprint the scanned documents and more. Customize the consents you need to track and use advanced features to monitor expirations and ensure full compliance with parental requests.

With COMET you can track time spent for volunteers and hourly paid staff. In addition, a "time-sheet" module allows staff to record their hours by day and activity on a weekly basis. Use this module to track staff and volunteer hours to facilitate payroll processing and volunteer tracking. A COMET template is available to create barcode IDs in two different formats (wearable badge and keychain tag). Included can be the person’s name, organization logo, site location, their individual barcode and picture. No special printer is required and additional customization of the ID card template is possible through COMET.​

Customer Spotlight

COMET has been used to support the following types of early childhood education programs:

  • State-funded Preschool: the primary program for four-year-olds in a majority of states
  • Head Start: Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides children from families with a lower-socioeconomic status or those with a specific at-risk category free access to early childhood education programs
  • Sponsored through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act: Local educational agencies apply to state agencies through Title I; those approved are then funded with federal money, supported through No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
  • Universal Pre-K (UPK): Early childhood education for all four-year-olds in the state; states with UPK include Georgia, New York, Oklahoma, and Florida.
  • Private Organizations: Programs run by private for-profit companies, by churches, or as part of a private school curriculum; often tuition-based.

Early Education & Childcare Customer Success Stories

GROW Rochester

Screening & Referral to Improve Outcomes


Volunteers of America of Western NY

Meeting Requirements and Showing Success