In the year after ABC Learning Centres took over operating my children’s childcare
centre in Wayville
South Australia.

  • real grass was
    removed and replaced with plastic
  • the cook
    and the cleaner were fired

  • the childcare
    workers were asked to cook on roster (manageable)

  • then they were asked to clean with no extra extension of hours e.g.
    clean up while minding 30 kids (truly!)

  • the ‘kindy run’ to the local state Government kindy was cancelled
    on the basis of their fabulous in-house education programs (I admit I
    struggled to see why child care workers who were cooking, cleaning and
    looking after 30 kids aged 0-5 all day would be vastly superior to a
    state government kindy with qualified teachers
    running short sessions for 4-year-olds in a purpose-built
    kindergarten).

ABC Learning did put in a bit more play equipment and
renovate the building. We didn’t think that was enough to compensate. The
carers did their best. Several resigned. One very capable and experienced carer told me that
she didn’t mind cooking and cleaning but she felt that the kids were no longer
getting the attention that they deserved.

She got a better paying job in
retail which says a lot about pay and conditions
for childcare workers. It took nearly 12 months for us to get a place at
a community childcare centre which has been excellent.

CRIKEY: We sent this email to ABC Learning and a spokesman issued this response:

More and more parents are choosing ABC Learning Centres to
care for their children. ABC Learning offers early developmental
programs based on
the latest research with highly-trained, qualified and friendly staff.
ABC Learning also has the lowest staff turn-over rate across
the industry. And because many administrative tasks are centralised,
centre directors and staff have more time to spend doing what is most
important
– caring for children. In the past 12 months ABC Learning has spent
more than $95
million renovating older centres, as well as building 100 new
state-of-the-art
centres, to ensure a safe, innovative, challenging and enjoyable
learning
environment for children and a well-designed working space for staff.

If you’ve got an interesting ABC Learning story email [email protected].

Peter Fray

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