Welcome to brightwheel! 🎉
Most admins are able to learn how to use brightwheel daily in just a few weeks, and in this guide, we'll show you how in 3 easy steps:
Table of Contents
💡The time estimates listed below are how much admins typically spend on each step. You can do multiple steps in one sitting or spread them out over a week or two!
Step 1: Get Set Up on the essentials
Edit Your Billing Settings (time: 15 minutes)
Set Up Your Billing Plans (time: 30-60 minutes)
Invite and Remind Families to Pay With brightwheel (time: 15 minutes)
Before we get started, review some best practices other admins recommend while learning brightwheel:
Some admins say it helps to set aside an hour or two for the first few weeks. This way, you'll have time to learn the basics or talk to your trainer!
Admins who learn the fastest tend to focus on adding their rosters early so they can learn more features as soon as possible.
💡Too busy to get started on your roster? Take 2 minutes to invite a staff member and see if they can help!
If you see blue, underlined text in this set-up guide, you can click on it to visit a related Help Center article. The Help Center is full of useful information, but while getting set up, we recommend sticking to the ones we link to here.
brightwheel is there with you along the way!
See below to learn more about who will be helping you get set up on brightwheel:
Step 1: Get Set Up on the Essentials
PART 1 OF 4:
Log into your account and download the app
PART 2 OF 4:
Add Your Students and Parents
This is the most important step to get set up on brightwheel. Once you do this, you can start using the features that will help you daily!
Choose from one of the 3 options below to submit your roster to our team. We'll take it from there! Go to the "Students" tab on the left-hand side of your screen to get started.
We suggest adding, at a minimum, the student's first and last name, their room assignment, their parent's first and last name, and either the parent's mobile number or their email address (this way, you won’t have to add that manually later).
💡Have a smaller school? If you want to add your roster manually in brightwheel, you can do that too! Just click on the "+ New Students" button in your "Students" tab - we show you how to do the rest here!
You'll receive an email within 2 business days once your roster has been uploaded. While we are uploading your roster, you can...
PART 3 OF 4:
Invite Your Families
Once your roster has been uploaded, it's time to invite your families!
If you haven't sent your welcome message to families yet, this is a great time to do so! You can find an example draft here.
Wondering what the families will see during the invite process? Watch this video!
PART 4 OF 4:
Add, Invite, and Train Your Staff
TIP: Have teachers practice logging activities with demo students first. This way, they can get familiar with the app without using real student profiles. Jump to Logging Activities below to learn more!
FAQs about recommended devices, 2FA, and adding a roster manually
I'm looking to get a new device for my program. Which one should I get?
Here is a list of affordable devices we recommend.
Why do I need 2-factor authentication (2FA)?
brightwheel prides itself on taking the safety and security of your students and families seriously! For more information about our industry-first 2-factor authentification features, visit this article on the help center.
I'd prefer to add my students and families manually rather than via the roster upload. Can I do that?
Step 2: Get Paid with brightwheel Billing
Remember: 90% of preschools report more families pay on time with brightwheel! Review our quick tips on how to start using Billing today:
Some admins say that these steps, especially Part 2, can take around an hour, so budget some time to get this done. But don’t worry - these same admins say brightwheel's invoicing and reporting saves them hours each month, not to mention the time saved around tax season!
Have someone else at your center who manages Billing and Payments? See if they can help!
Please Note: If you're a Canadian school, brightwheel Billing is not yet available in your area. Just skip ahead to Step 3: Get Up and Running!
PART 1 OF 3:
Edit Your Billing Settings
You can reach your Billing Settings by clicking on Billing on the left-hand side of your screen. Then click on Settings. From there, scroll down to "Payment Options" and "Processing Fees".
PART 2 OF 3:
Set Up Your Billing Plans
Time to set up your Billing Plans so you can save hours each month with automatic, accurate invoices!
PART 3 OF 3:
Invite and Remind Families to Pay With brightwheel
Now that you have your billing plans set up, you can invite families to make it quick, easy, and secure for them to pay online!
Parents will get an email or text inviting them to pay with brightwheel!
Sometimes families need to be reminded to sign up for Billing and Autopay. Just repeat the "Invite" steps to send reminder emails. We recommend sending a reminder 2-3 days after first inviting parents.
Visit this page to learn more about reminding your parents to sign up for brightwheel Billing or add a payment method.
💡[Optional] We've also curated a Billing Overview for Parents & Payers PDF you can share with your families anytime to get them excited about using brightwheel Billing! If parents still have questions, you can share our help center's Resources and FAQs for Parents to answer common Billing-related questions!
Congrats on getting set up! Want more resources on Billing?
Still haven't added a deposit account? You can add one easily and securely and get it verified by following the steps here.
Want a refresh? You can visit this page to watch our Financial Management webinar and get a list of the most useful Help Center articles!
Prefer something shorter to guide you through set-up? Check out this printable checklist to keep track of your progress!
brightwheel Billing has lots more features and reports that can save you time each day, month, or year (like during tax season!). Check out this collection of help center articles to learn more.
Step 3: Get Up and Running on the features that will save you time each day
PART 1 OF 3:
brightwheel has lots of options to keep you connected with your staff and families. Below we've included videos for the two most popular forms of messaging. To see how teachers and parents can easily message each other or other messaging tips, visit this page in the help center.
TIP: Want to practice? If you haven't sent a welcome message yet, this is a great way to learn the tool and is a staff and parent favorite!
Easily message one parent individually, an entire room, or even the full school!
Easily message staff individually or all together.
PART 2 OF 3:
Parents say that seeing their child's activities is what they love most about centers that use brightwheel! You can send photos or videos to parents, log activities like "Nap" and "Potty", or even track meals with "Food".
To log an activity, just:
You can easily edit or delete activities once you've logged them. Learn how to do that (and more) here!
PART 3 OF 3:
Brightwheel provides a secure and configurable check-in experience that staff and parents will love!
If you're using brightwheel premium, you can explore options like:
Our Check-In tool is versatile so that can meet your center's needs.
To view more information about all of the options you have, visit this page!
Congrats - you did it! 🎉
Still, have questions or want to know what's next? Review the Q&As below.
I had trouble with one of the above steps and want help
No problem. Try getting in touch with your brightwheel trainer to see how they can help, or visit the help center!
I'm all set up, but am worried I may have questions later.
Of course! Admins love brightwheel's customer support team, including our live chat options.
Now that you've got the hang of it, if you still want to learn more with brightwheel, we included tips on a few other features that help admins, staff, and parents across the country every day.
📝 Documents - Share important information like handbooks, menus, or event flyers with parents and/or staff!
👥 Staff Check-in - Let staff easily clock in and out and seamlessly manage room ratios!
📊 Reporting - brightwheel saves you time and paperwork with our reporting capabilities! Check out reports for menu planning, billing and taxes, learning and assessments, and more!
Quick Links to our most Popular Videos + Help Articles
Setting Up Tablets
Student & Staff Schedules (3 mins)
Admissions Video Playlist (series of short videos)
Learning Video Playlist (series of short videos)
Customer Spotlight Videos
Need additional help? Reach out to our Support team, and we can guide you as needed!