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Why did I buy a childcare centre?
Why did I decide to buy a childcare centre? It’s a question I get asked a lot. Some people think it was brave of me and others incredibly risky. However, as is my style I made the decision to do it anyway.
There were a number of factors that influenced my decision. The first was unfortunately having a bad experience with my daughter’s childcare centre. Initially I thought the centre would be alright. She was a confident child who had been in daycare for a few days a week (at a different centre) for months before this. However, over time it slowly became clear to me it was not a good match for her (or for me). The teachers were not consistently friendly or nurturing – on one occasion I witnessed as she ran to give a teacher a hug, and they responded awkwardly and did not reciprocate. Increasingly I noticed we were welcomed less and there was little effort put into putting out interesting activities for the children. I now ask myself why I left her enrolled in this centre for as long as I did….. However, I was torn about moving her again and maybe making things worse, and then when I did bite the bullet and tried to move her there were long waiting lists in the other closest centres.
The second reason behind my decision was a very positive experience I had as a parent with children enrolled in early childcare centres. The warm and individual care that my children received – the relationship they developed with their teachers, who nurtured them with hugs, and took an interest in what activities would help bring out the best in my child. I also really appreciated the quality of the feedback I always got at pickup. These experiences over and over again helped build trust and freed me up to go off to work. I would also be especially touched when my children were given unique learning experience – like when chicken eggs were bought into the centre, and the children were able to watch them hatch into little chicks in the incubators. Of having special pieces of art come home, like the pohutukawa tree painting, pretty abstract of course, but in beautiful reds and golds and something worthy of going up on our lounge wall.
Off the back of my own experiences with childcare centres I wondered what it would be like to combine those with my profession skills of being a trained and registered clinical social worker who has worked with children and their families throughout my career. It felt like it would be a good fit!
Lastly was the consideration about buying and running a small business. This was the most daunting aspect as it is definitely outside my experience and skill base. It was the part that could have easily stopped me from taking this leap. But my Mum told me that my Dad, (who passed away three years ago), had told her he believed I would one day run a business and hearing this blew me away. So with encouragement (heaps of it) the journey began.
One day I’m hoping that the result of me taking this massive step and the hard work I’ve put in, will result in me having a more flexible work schedule, which would help me meet the needs of my children. Also that this new experience will continue to open up new opportunities for my own learning and growth and ultimately add to my quality of life.