Portfolios for Pint-Size Picassos

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From the September 2012 issue of Columbus CEO

Parents with children in day care or elementary school often find their refrigerator overrun with finger paintings and progress reports. Sue Testaguzza, who owns and operates Children’s Castle EduCare, has created a solution called LifeCubby.

“As a child-care owner, I could see there was an unmet need for a place where a day-care center can upload, house and organize all of the compounding and increasing volumes of photos and videos that we take in the program,” Testaguzza says. The site gives each child his or her own virtual “cubby” where the day-care center and parents can upload videos and photos and scan in artwork and important documents. It also works as a communication tool.

Testaguzza began using LifeCubby at her Hilliard-area center in September 2011. The site, www.lifecubby.me, has been free so far to anyone from day-care operators and elementary schools to camps and parents of homeschoolers. Now, 125 organizations are actively using LifeCubby in the United States and other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. A mobile app allows teachers to snap photos that are automatically uploaded to a child’s cubby.

“I wanted it to be something that they can use not just during their tenure of enrollment at our school, but also beyond. If it’s something that they can build on and continue to use throughout their childhood, then we’ve really given them something of value,” Testaguzza says.

Version 2.0 will launch in September with enhancements that include text blasting and e-blasting for better communication between parents and their care centers. The new version will continue to offer up to one gigabyte of space free to individual users, with a monthly charge of $4.95 for five gigs and $9.95 for 20 gigs. For day cares and schools, pricing will be tiered according to the number of students.

Marketing for LifeCubby is done mainly through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, blogging and emails. Testaguzza has also taken it to a few trade shows and conferences centered on early childhood education. The service has received the Mom’s Choice Award, the Parent Tested Parent Approved award and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.

Reprinted from the September 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.