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Pre-school enrolment shenanigans

By 29 October 2012 25

I enrolled young Master Cholet at Isabella Pre-School earlier this year. Thankfully the little tyke has been accepted and is very much looking forward to being a big boy at big school. At this stage he attends a fabulous long daycare facility that does also provide pre-school education for his age group – but at a large cost. So obviously our major reason for wanting him to attend two days at an equally reputable government facility was the mitigation of some of the costs.

But here’s my gripe…at the same time I enrolled him at pre-school, I also filled out forms for before and after school care – an absolute must, given that we work a tad longer than the hours of the pre-school. His enrollment in pre-school was confirmed in July. His enrollment in before and after care is yet to be confirmed. I was advised that confirmation could be as late as October, but a conversation with the school today has now put that expectation back to the first two weeks of November.

I understand that the school relies on existing parents to provide information for them to be able to ascertain the new places, but is it really necessary to keep parents who have very little room to move with regards to childcare hanging on until the last before making offers. The person I spoke to today agreed that they had a lot of parents ‘in the same boat’, when I raised the point that if we don’t get a place in before and after care that we probably wouldn’t be able to take up the pre-school offer. Given that we have already had to confirm that our son will be leaving his current day care at the end of January, we really will be up the creek without a paddle. To boot, I understand that the people in charge of before and after care are a different organisation (Communities@work), however, it is the schools day care centre (not the government pre-school), who deals with those enrollments. Communities@work only refer you back to the school until your place has been confirmed.

Is it too much to ask that organisations offering critical services to parents actually get their act together and try to be of help rather than hindrance? This must happen every year – it’s not a new process, so why do they seem surprised by it? I expect as the person I spoke to on the phone said, we are not the only ones waiting on this info – you would have thought that this would be a point for them to note.

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25 Responses to Pre-school enrolment shenanigans
#1
Alderney3:23 pm, 29 Oct 12

Agree whole heartedly. Master Alderney is in the same boat. Hopefully we’ll have a paddle.

#2
allyroger4:55 pm, 29 Oct 12

Was completely in the same boat last year. Ended up not using Government pre school and paying the $ as it was too much of a risk. The only possible way to make it all work is to every organisation abide by the same deadlines – and thats just not going to happen.

Flamesuit on for “procreators must pay” comments or “you should be at home”

#3
Madam Cholet5:13 pm, 29 Oct 12

Thanks for your comments Allyroger, although I’m not filled with confidence! I am however suited and booted and ready for the flame throwers! I did think of addressing it in my post but thought that might only add to the ferociousness of the flames.

#4
grunge_hippy5:29 pm, 29 Oct 12

Isabella Plains ECS has a childcare centre next door to it (also run by comms@work). Have you asked if they have a place available? Although from memory, you have to pay for a full day of care even if you only use before and after school care… well that’s what it was 2 years ago when my daughter was at both. Maybe now that they are run by the same organisation, they might have organised to take over any overflow from both between the 2 centres and not charge for a full day.

#5
Madam Cholet6:04 pm, 29 Oct 12

Grunge_hippy…i am actually talking about Isabella ECS!

#6
joingler7:38 pm, 29 Oct 12

I work in Before/After School care at a public school on northside. We are an external company that has a contract with the school.

We had to get special clearance before accepting children younger than kindergarten this year. This frustrated the parents but it was for licensing reasons- basically they are concerned that we can’t provide a service suitable for kids aged 3 to 12. I am unsure what C@W policies are but is it possible it is something similar going on?

Even if it is though, they are being pretty disrespectful to you for not being honest.

#7
Watson9:24 pm, 29 Oct 12

Bit too late now, but I’m just wondering why you told daycare that he would leave before you had confirmation? It wouldn’t have affected them if you had waited because everyone knows that daycare spots are as rare as hens teeth.

If they have a waiting list you should be alright. I am pretty sure we were only able to enroll for Afters at the primary school a couple of months before the year started.

#8
sepi10:06 pm, 29 Oct 12

things could be worse.

our preschool doesn’t have any access to before or after school care.

and we are yet to be informed which days we are going to get for preschool, and may not find out til January….if we get the wrong days we will just give it the flick and stick with paid preschool.

not at all impressed with the preschool enrolment process – we had to enrol in March, and it will take them 10 months to decide what days we can attend.

#9
Mav8:37 am, 30 Oct 12

Totally feel the pain in this situation, we are just happy that our boy will be done with preschool and daycare come the 21st of December. We are so over paying $450/week for this, and before anyone says you get a 50% rebate you are wrong. The rebate is capped at $7500 per child per year which means it is only 50% if you somehow magically can get a place at a centre that only charges $15,000 per child per year. Our current centre is over $22,000 per child per year.

#10
Madam Cholet8:41 am, 30 Oct 12

Watson….the day care he is at has already asked parents for their intentions – the form was requested back by 19 October. I felt that I had to be truthful about our intentions rather than take up a few days that should rightly go to someone else in need. For better or worse I based my my requirements on what I have pending….wishing I wasn’t so conscientious! We were already taking advantage of a favour from someone who owns the child care centre who happens to be a friend – as you said places are rare and you have to get what you can.

Based on the responses it seems that there are certainly people out there who understand this dilemma, so I’m wondering why the pre-schools are so slow in making arrangements.

Sepi, I feel your pain and know of others in this predicament. Some centres provide morning and afternoon buses to pre-school – is this a possibility?

#11
XO_VSOP10:36 am, 30 Oct 12

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

#12
crackerpants11:34 am, 30 Oct 12

We were in the same situation with #1, it’s painful. We really wanted her to go to the local preschool (where she will attend primary school), but to make it work with restrictions on days, my work and #2′s daycare days…well, it was doing my head in and a spreadsheet was required. My solution…another year of mat leave for next year. Which only defers the pain of course!

#13
DoityBoid12:29 pm, 30 Oct 12

XO_VSOP said :

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

If you’re able to be able to have a >$300K mortgage, kids, and a stay at home parent, please tell me how.
The days of the single working parent family are over, and these days, both parents usually have full time jobs.

#14
crackerpants1:00 pm, 30 Oct 12

DoityBoid said :

XO_VSOP said :

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

If you’re able to be able to have a >$300K mortgage, kids, and a stay at home parent, please tell me how.
The days of the single working parent family are over, and these days, both parents usually have full time jobs.

Don’t buy into it. You’ll never convince some people that it’s ok (even desirable) for both parents to work while raising kids. Or that preschool teachers/daycare workers are not strangers, but much-loved presences in children’s lives, part of the new “village”. Their minds are made up, and modern parents are the root of society’s ills.

Having said that, my grandmother was a preschool (kindy) teacher. In the fifties. I don’t think they’d invented the word “outsourcing” then though.

#15
wildturkeycanoe2:35 pm, 30 Oct 12

DoityBoid said :

XO_VSOP said :

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

If you’re able to be able to have a >$300K mortgage, kids, and a stay at home parent, please tell me how.
The days of the single working parent family are over, and these days, both parents usually have full time jobs.

3 kids, $350k+ mortgage, 1 income. It’s difficult but not impossible. Why the mortgage is only $50/week more than rent for similar house in our area. If you can afford to have a second parent at work, still pay $450/week for childcare, the second income must be pretty good to make it worthwhile. Otherwise you might as well stay at home and make $150/week in family payment. If the second job doesn’t take home more than $600/week, why even bother, it just doesn’t add up.

#16
XO_VSOP5:53 pm, 30 Oct 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

DoityBoid said :

XO_VSOP said :

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

If you’re able to be able to have a >$300K mortgage, kids, and a stay at home parent, please tell me how.
The days of the single working parent family are over, and these days, both parents usually have full time jobs.

3 kids, $350k+ mortgage, 1 income. It’s difficult but not impossible. Why the mortgage is only $50/week more than rent for similar house in our area. If you can afford to have a second parent at work, still pay $450/week for childcare, the second income must be pretty good to make it worthwhile. Otherwise you might as well stay at home and make $150/week in family payment. If the second job doesn’t take home more than $600/week, why even bother, it just doesn’t add up.

+ 1 for common sense.

#17
Madam Cholet8:17 pm, 30 Oct 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

DoityBoid said :

XO_VSOP said :

Welome to a society where strangers will raise our kids!

If you’re able to be able to have a >$300K mortgage, kids, and a stay at home parent, please tell me how.
The days of the single working parent family are over, and these days, both parents usually have full time jobs.

3 kids, $350k+ mortgage, 1 income. It’s difficult but not impossible. Why the mortgage is only $50/week more than rent for similar house in our area. If you can afford to have a second parent at work, still pay $450/week for childcare, the second income must be pretty good to make it worthwhile. Otherwise you might as well stay at home and make $150/week in family payment. If the second job doesn’t take home more than $600/week, why even bother, it just doesn’t add up.

Pre school is a free service provided by the government, so far from being neglectful of our children, it’s actually a recognized educational standard. If we gave up one job we’d lose at least 2k net a fortnight, so your incentive of $150 a week doesn’t do that much for me. It’s about how much you earn and what your legitimate outgoings are and frankly, I would think that those on lower salaries would find it easier to maintain the equilibrium. And to boot, I don’t think that we would qualify for the $150. So we have to plump instead for the expense of child are and the government rebate. Horses for courses.

#18
clp8:52 pm, 30 Oct 12

Ah its a logistical nightmare which is a right of passage for all parents. This year we have #1 in year 1 and #2 at preschool at the same school. #1 is eligible for after school care but not the preschooler (their day also ends at 3pm not 3:15 like the rest of the school). This year our solution has been to hire a babysitter to walk both kids home. Its $90 for 2 days (#2 attends “preschool” at an ELC childcare for the 3rd day I work so gets extra hours then). The cost has been worth it for this one year – partly because our childcare costs are down from not having #2 do 3 days of paid childcare. Ok so we don’t get any money back but so be it. This way kids are not so exhausted at being at school for really long hours for 3 days (which they will be doing next year when #2 starts school) they get some chilling out time at home which is kind of invaluable.
It was easy enough to get a babysitter out of an ad I put in gumtree.

#19
Watson9:35 pm, 30 Oct 12

Typical. A parent asks for advice on preschool enrollment and after school care and here come the know-it-alls telling them they are doing it all wrong and should become stay at home parents. As if they would’ve never considered that without some total stranger on a forum telling them what to do.

Mind. Your own. Business.

#20
sepi10:09 pm, 30 Oct 12

Since when did school turn into strangers raising our kids??

And seriously – I work for next to nothing beyond the childcare, but I will be highly employable/promotable (and in fact employed) once the childcare expenses are gone. But ‘making’ 150 a week by sitting home signing up for a handout just does not appeal. You do know you’re not ‘making’ that money don’t you?

#21
BimboGeek10:41 pm, 30 Oct 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

. If the second job doesn’t take home more than $600/week, why even bother, it just doesn’t add up.

Lol good attempt.

#22
birder12:56 pm, 01 Nov 12

I agree, the situation is absurd. I don’t know how parents do it. And just a note: if you are calculating the cost of childcare versus staying home, remember to factor in the impact on total wages (and superannuation) for taking a 5-7 year break from work. It’s not just actual lost wages (and superannuation) – it’s also difficult to get back into paid work once you’ve taken such a big break, and you certainly won’t go back to the level that you were. I think staying at home is a great choice for some people, but financially speaking, it’s actually much harder on people than you might realize in the long term. This is especially true given that it’s almost always the woman who stays home — who then lives longer than her partner (and thus really did need that superannuation more) and/or is also the vulnerable party if the couple divorces. Single mom, two kids, last full-time work experience 7 years ago? Ugly.

#23
birder1:00 pm, 01 Nov 12

Oops, just wanted to add that while poor child care can be very bad for a child, excellent child care can be great for them. My daughter started child care at 17 months, and she loved it. She’s always been a huge extravert, though. When she hit around 4, she was completely over day care – it was very boring to her and she started getting into a lot of trouble. That’s when we moved to Canberra and thankfully, we were able to enrol her in Montessori. Wow – what an amazing place! She’s not quite 5 and reading well, doing maths, cleans her own room up (Montessori teaches children how to be tidy), and most of all, she loves school and joyfully races into her classroom every morning. Montessori does have after-school care which is really just child care, but it’s generally pretty good.

#24
Madam Cholet2:45 pm, 01 Nov 12

birder said :

Oops, just wanted to add that while poor child care can be very bad for a child, excellent child care can be great for them. My daughter started child care at 17 months, and she loved it. She’s always been a huge extravert, though. When she hit around 4, she was completely over day care – it was very boring to her and she started getting into a lot of trouble. That’s when we moved to Canberra and thankfully, we were able to enrol her in Montessori. Wow – what an amazing place! She’s not quite 5 and reading well, doing maths, cleans her own room up (Montessori teaches children how to be tidy), and most of all, she loves school and joyfully races into her classroom every morning. Montessori does have after-school care which is really just child care, but it’s generally pretty good.

We had to farewell a very well loved teacher from day-care just the other day, and having read some of the comments on here about strangers bringing up children and parents trying harder to stay at home, I thought that they couldn’t be further from the truth – well my truth anyway. My family including Master Cholet were genuinely sorry to see her go – someone who has brought so much to and done so much for our son. She cares about each and everyone of the children in the class and worked hard every day to ensure that each and every one of those children had a great day. The centre where my son goes is so good that none of them really want to come home – which is really annoying on a Friday afternoon when that’s all you want to do!

He’s made lots of friends there and has social skills and knowledge that I could only have dreamed of at his age! I think we will all find out in the future that children who experienced (a high standard of) child care are very well prepared to take on the world.

#25
Bluenomi3:58 pm, 01 Nov 12

Ugh, preschool enrollment. I’m not looking forward to that!

I know many parents who have had issues with the 2 days one week and 3 the next system they have. It makes care on that third day tricky. If you want to put them in child care on the weeks they aren’t at preschool, you still have to pay for the place the weeks they aren’t at the centre.

The preschool enrollments need to be in months before you can sort out childcare places so lots of people get caught out

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