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Home-Based Childcare Enjoys Continued Growth

News Release
5 March 2008
Home-Based Childcare Enjoys Continued Growth

While the big childcare organisations such as ABC Learning Centre are beset with financial and staffing woes, home-based childcare services are quietly enjoying an upsurge in growth.

According to a Ministry of Education report1, the average number of hours children are enrolled in home-based services has increased the most since 2000, outperforming kindergarten, playcentre and education and care services.

Clare Grace founder of Easy Mind a home-based childcare service said over the past six years since her organisation first began, her home-based services have rapidly spread across the country from Whitianga to Dunedin.

“Despite the fact that we’re a family-owned business that isn’t profit driven or doesn’t operate according to a franchise model, we’re experiencing a strong period of growth,” Clare said.

“We currently have over 500 children placed with families and are receiving inquiries every day from people wanting to participate in the service.”

She said when it comes to understanding why parents are increasingly choosing home-based care over other options, there are a number of stand out factors.

“Our main priority, first and foremost, is to provide exceptional care in home-based environments. Parents who use the service enjoy the fact that their children are being looked after in a familiar setting - a home - and are receiving the kind of care that they would give them if they weren’t working.”

Clare said a maximum of four children are allowed to be cared for in any one home, including the educators own children.

“This ensures that children receive maximum attention and a level of focus that they might not receive in a traditional centre with low staff to children ratios.”

Clare said home-based services don’t have the staffing headaches that commercial operations struggle with.

“Women and men raising their own families view providing a home-based service to other working parents as a viable career choice and income source.”

“Hundreds of these parents now provide the backbone of our organisation and we can only see that continuing to grow.”

Parents also get to interview and determine who their caregiver is in conjunction with an Easy Mind co-ordinator.

A standardised educational programme based on Te Whariki the early childhood curriculum, is provided while children are in care. This is complemented by any extra-curricular activities or programmes that the parents request.

“Easy Mind also encourages personal development and offers training and other opportunities to caregivers.”

Clare said it is also more cost effective for parents to use home-based care.

“For parents earning less than a set threshold of $110,000 a year, it costs just $4.00 per hour per child when sharing care with other parents. Of that figure $3.40 is Government subsidised.”

She said early childhood education is, without doubt, a boom industry.

“Ministry of Education figures show that 94 per cent of the country’s children are now receiving some form of early childhood education.

“It’s, therefore, no surprise that the corporate sector has targeted it by taking over and buying up early childhood centres across the country. However, in the end the odds are stacked firmly in the favour of home-based care something that I don’t believe is about to change in the near future.”

- ends -

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