The Real Heroes Work in Childcare Centres
Every weekday morning we entrust our most precious gifts* to someone else, when we deposit our off spring to school/kindy/childcare, depending on your children’s age and your level of working parent commitment.
*(Just how precious we feel that those gifts are, will of course vary from day to day based on your child’s level of cooperation with the morning routine and how many times you had to scream expressions like BOTH SOCKS. YOU NEED TO WEAR ONE ON EACH FOOT, WHERE IS YOUR DRINK BOTTLE? and DON’T FEED YOUR CEREAL TO THE DOG I WILL EAT THE LEFTOVERS IN LIEU OF MY OWN BREAKFAST LATER.)
I’ve unashamedly relied on childcare to help with my brood over the years.
We moved to Melbourne, away from family support when Grace was a toddler, completely overwhelmed as to how
we would find care for her.
Detecting my desperation, a colleague secured us a spot at a prestigious city childcare centre.
We considered harvesting vital organs to cover the fees.
Notices in the newsletter included “LOST: Siena’s Burberry trench. Please check your child’s coat in case you’ve accidentally taken home the wrong one.”
I’m not making this up.
Grace’s report card at the age of four noted that, while she could successfully recite the alphabet, she ran the letters lmnop together and also that she failed to recognise an octagon.
On our return home to Adelaide our needs and socio-economic status were much better suited to our local community childcare centre and kindy, where the dress code and shape identification regime were less restrictive, and the care just as good.
The kindy curriculum included studying the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly, establishing a stick insect nursery, nurturing baby chickens and guinea pigs, climbing peppercorn trees and doing yoga.
I totally would have established our own stick insect nursery at home to foster my children’s inquiring minds and love of nature play, but hey why duplicate learning programs I always say.
On the days when you can’t control your own children (for me, the days which end in the letter y) do you ever drop them at school and spare a thought for the teachers who have to rein in 30 of them?
Not just wrangle them and protect them from potentially deadly allergic reactions, but educate them, help them to read and write and navigate friendships and the canteen hierarchy.
Then there’s dealing with parents who think their kid is the smartest so needs more attention, or is not the smartest so needs more attention.
I observed to my youngest’s teacher recently that she sounded like she had a cold, and didn’t she just get over a cold?
Yes, she said, and then a child sneezed in my mouth.
Give the woman a pay rise.
Give childcare workers a pay rise while we’re at it. If we don’t value our early childhood educators, we have our remuneration priorities all sorts of messed up.
As you kiss and drop your little cherubs and leave them in the capable hands of their teachers, express your gratitude.
And remind your kids to cover their mouths when they sneeze.