I'd like some feedback please. Myself and the wife are currently in the process of introducing our first baby to his creche. It's an upsetting experience all round, particularly for my wife. We chose a creche close to her work and we visited it a few times and all seemed well. The manager is a nice friendly, professional girl and the staff were pleasant. One concern we voiced was that the girls minding the kids moved from room to room rather than there being a set pair in each room. The manager's point was that means it a was a big heave when the child grew into another room rather than being used to all the staff.
So we went along with it. However, on the second day where he's in the creche for an hour to get used to it, my wife has called me quite upset. Basically, the manager isn't in today and it appears all the staff, bar one, are non Irish.
Now, I'm not making any racist point here. Nationality is, to some degree, irrelevant once the person is caring and does the job well. But having exposure to Irish voices, accents etc. is preferable. And what does this say about the creche if they'll only hire foreign staff? Is it a cheap option? Cos we're paying top bloody dollar.
This has turned an already worrying, stressful experience up a notch. Should I start looking at alternatives? I'm going to say it to the creche manager later but how to say it without sounding like a red neck?
Firstly, I would say the wages are surely the same for any qualified person to work there?
Secondly, how is your child adjusting because your wife is probably going to take it harder then your child!
We checked some creches for our (now) 16 month old and felt it was too soon so Iunderstand your plight.
There are ratios of staff to kids which must be adhered to, it alters depending on their age.
The rotation policy is unusual but I'd see nothing wrong in it.
Due to the high staffing levels required by law most creche employees would be on or slightly above the minimum wage.
It's simply a case that many Irish people wont work for it.
Myself & my wife costed the running of a creche about 5 years ago in Athgarvan, Co. Kildare.
Unless you have a very large number around the pre-school age the figures don't add up, you could only make it work if you had no lease/mortgage.
This wouldn't be your first child by any chance ?.
We sometimes have unrealistic expectations of our kids spending their day fulfilled in baby paradise whereas they are a just a commodity to a creche.
Our first guy went to a creche but once the 2nd came along they both went to a childminder.
We're lucky enough that my wife doesn't need to work full-time (doesn't add up with 2 that young anyway), so she raises them now, number 3 on the way.
I would recommend a good childminder for you, you can always pull them out if your not happy, works out cheaper aswell.
Firstly, going back to work is a huge emotional upheaval for a mother. I'd never really been away from my son until the day he started crèche. Suffice to say I sat at home and cried for the whole time he was there.
Secondly, I think you're making a big assumption about why the staff are non Irish and what they're paid. You don't know what they're paid or why their staff are foreign.
Finally, you and your wife have to be very happy with the crèche and how it's run so irrespective of how great it may be if you're not comfortable with it then you may want to consider other options. If you're not completely sold on it then everytime your daughter comes home with dirty clothes or over tired or whatever you'll blame the crèche and the staff.
We love our crèche and the staff. They genuinely care for our son and he is completely happy there. Every so often something happens which we have to chat to the minder or manager about but because we like them it usually gets resolved quickly and amicably. I'm not sure it would be so easy if we weren't quite happy with them.
First off I would just like to say that as long as all of the staff have a high standard of English I don't see an issue with whatever nationality they are. Once they are well trained quality staff with the correct qualifications I would not have a problem with it.
I would be concerned about the situation you mentioned about staff constantly swapping around between the rooms. A good quality childcare setting should have a key worker system in place. Your child should have been assigned to a key worker, that is a member of staff who has particular responsibility for your child, completes their observation sheets etc. The point of this is that your child has a chance to build up a relationship and a secure attachment to this member of staff. Understandably they might be sick on occasion or out of the room on lunch times but it is definitely a preferable system to have IMO.
It is a reflection on modern day Ireland,I would have no issue with it.
My 3 year old went to an amazing creche,I did not notice if many of the staff were irish but that never bothered me.
It never affected her language either she was speaking very good english at 18 months and had a good grasp of irish and english by 2.
Going back to work is really really hard and everything can become an issue so I would suggest stick with it for a while and see what happens.
Thanks for the replies.
This is just all so unsettling. Again, I really want our son to embrace modern Ireland and to look beyond nationality/skin colour. I was just concerned about what this potentially said about the way the creche was being run.
The potential lack of permanence in staff members in rooms is worrying us allot more now and we're going to look at it again. In terms of a child minder, we're not from Dublin originally so we really didn't know where to start looking for one.
I can't comment on the language issue but I think you should go with your gut instinct regarding child care. Your child is the most important thing to you, I'm not saying the child should be mollycoddled but children only get one shot at life and at such a young age I'd want to be happy leaving my child somewhere, not rationalising why its 'good enough' and excusing things I wasn't keen on.
If you are generally not happy with the creche then that is a different story.
To find a childminder either ring the local childcare committee or visit http://www.childminding.ie/find-childcare/ .
This would be my main concern not having a key worker assigned to your little one. You shouldn't underestimate the importance of secure attachment in childcare settings, it's worth googling it to see why and something I covered when I did my childcare courses.
I have used creches, childminder and now I'm a childminder so have seen it from all angles. There are both good creches and childminders but there are also some not so good creches and childminders. You must trust your gut instinct and I think it's worth visiting a number of creches and childminders so you'll get a good feel of what's positive and what's negative.
Families have different requirements when looking for childcare so it's important to find one that works best for your family. It is a big emotional wrench for a lot of parents, particularly first time mums leaving their baby with someone who's a stranger.
I'd recommend contacting your local childcare committee and get a list of all creches and childminders in your area and I'd recommend reading the parents section on the Childminding Ireland site which has a lot of information on what to look for in a childminder and things to consider when looking for childcare but a lot of it could apply to a creche and it may raise things you hadn't considered so food for thought. Here's a link to it and it also has a list of all the childcare committees in the country.
Closest to work is handy, but I would look at more creches before dismissing the creche option completely. We put our daughter in creche from 5 months of age, but we were a good 2 months looking at places first. We visited about 12. There were some we just didn't get a good vibe from... they smelled of dirty nappy when we opened the door, and the staff looked stressed.
The place we picked is a converted house rather than a purpose built creche. That it wasn't purpose built wasn't important to me, but I know it is to my friends. It's small and my daughter absolutely loves it. She jumps up and down at the front door to get in there, and has loads of big smiles for the minders. She is always laughing and playing when I go to pick her up.
We looked at 4 areas
Area where we live,
Area where I work,
Area where husband works
and area where my parents live.
The creche that suited us was the one near my mam. If I end up working late my mam picks her up, same for if there was sickness and she needed to be collected.
I think maybe widen your area and decide on what matters to you... and then you are armed with questions to ask when you see it.
Purpose built or not
Lunches available, or provide your own.
Number of other children
Number of minders who interact with him
I was very nervous handing her over to strangers for the first few days, but within a week I was reassured by the daily reports and how she was.
One of the minders lives near us, and she has babysat for us as well, which is great. The baby knows her if she wakes. The staff have a lot of experience with children (Loads more than me!). I find myself asking them for advice when her nap routine changed, or what to do for her excema.
I used to think the same exact way as you. When I started to notice most childminders that are native English speakers, they were usually temporary visitors from Australia, NZ, and Canada. If I wanted someone for just the summer than it would not have been an issue. I was looking for something more long term and I did not want to be switching childminders, au pairs all the time. I wanted some stability and to get that I had to hire a foreigner that was a non (native) English speaker. I ended up hiring an Italian who had plenty of experience with kids but spoke very little English. She was here to learn and study English and was here more long term.
I will be honest, it was hard at the beginning; the culture shock and language barrier. But what mattered most to me was that my kids loved and accepted her, they were safe and well cared for. I trusted her more with my kids than with some of my own family.
What happened to the kids being cared for by a foreigner? They are very comfortable with languages. They excel at Irish, Latin, French and of course English . The teachers asked if we speak another language at home because they never saw kids pick up languages at that pace and so comfortably. I realised it was all the doing from the foreigner I was first reluctant to hire. Even though she was here learning English, she communicated to my kids in Italian. They still can remember all the nursery rhymes and stories she would read to them. We still can't thank her enough because it was really her that made my kids excel at languages and other subjects at school. It was her foreign accent that made it easier to understand all the different kinds of accents we here today in modern day Ireland. My kids became more cultured and turned into food snobs. My kids love meeting and making new friends that come from different countries and cultures.
If I were to do it all over again, I would not have any problem at all hiring a foreigner even a non-English speaking one to take care of my kids. If anything, there were far more positives than negatives and it helped open up all our eyes more.
My advice to you, don't be concerned about the lack of Irish people. Embrace the ones that are working tirelessly to make your child feel safe and cared for. If anything they deserve praise and gratitude. Management are not hands on and are not the ones looking after the kids. They are on the sidelines just collecting the $$$. Meanwhile, the ones that are actually looking after the children are not being paid or appreciated enough. If your child anticipates and loves going to the creche in the mornings and comes back to you happy, clean and gets along with the childcarers, than I would say there isn't a problem. If it's the polar opposite then I would be concerned.
If there is anything to be said about having non-Irish looking after kids, it teaches open-mindedness and acceptance. Children tend to be very smart and generally accept anyone who cares for them well regardless of where the person comes from. Racism and discrimination are usually taught in the home. I was the one who complained and got annoyed with her lack of English or couldn't understand her English (thank God only in my head). And for the entire time she worked for us, I did not hear one complaint from my kids about it at all. Kids don't notice something is different unless it's pointed out to them.
If the creche is unprofessional and neglectful by all means remove your child from that environment. But if your concern is mainly regarding the non Irish presence, I would say don't worry about it. In fact, embrace it because it WILL BE a rewarding and enriching experience for any child.
Thanks for all the feedback. In the end, what concerned us most was the lack of continuity, the lack of that key person/persons who our baby could develop a relationship with who could provide insight and oversight into how our baby was developing.
So we pulled the plug and went back on the hunt even at this insanely late stage. And we hit the jackpot.
Discovered someplace we are way happier with. Staff been there for years, way more emphasis on development, WAY more structured and organized and just a better vibe overall and a fit for us and our child.
The relief is so intense! thanks so much for all your advice.
To anyone out there : don't accept that that's the way "things are". Aim for the best.
I'm glad you've found somewhere where you're happier with and I hope it all goes well for you and your family.
Most creches pay peanuts and most Irish would prefer to sit on the dole than work for low wages. Sad reality.