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emmacat

ABC Learning Centres and Long Daycare

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emmacat

I am about to start my 6 month old DD in long daycare in Feb gradually building up to 5 days a week in April. She is enrolled to go to an ABC Centre in our town that is about to open February. I am a bit nervous about it all because as the centre isn't open I don't know what it is going to be like. If there is anyone out there who can tell me about their experiences with an ABC Learning Centre I would really appreciate it. Or if anyone can share their experiences with sending a 6 month old into daycare five days a week I would really appreciate that as well.

 

Thanks

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Havachat2

My kids have been going to ABC centres for the past 3 years, 2 or 3 days a week. They really like it there. We have just moved and i transferred the kids to the new centre here, which has just opened, and they are settling in great.

 

When they started at the last centre, DD was 18mths and DS 6mths. After the first few weeks they settled into the routine. There were a few carers who, IMO, would have been more suited to the older kids rooms.

 

When they opened the new centre, they transferred some staff from other centres (in our case, one from kids old centre! :D ). Ask if they will be doing this, and if you would be able to meet them at their current centres, if possible. The centre director should be able to give you an idea of the routines, and you might be able to gradually adjust your DD to something similar re feeding and activities and sleep.

 

If in doubt, ask! :D

 

Good luck and HTH!

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HersheyKisses

just wondering..what do you class as 'very young'? :tongue:

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censura carnero

I am a teacher in the Early Childhood industry and I know plenty of Mums who have sent their kids to ABC's and seem to be quite happy. But on the flip side any body that I have ever spoken to who works in the Early Childhood industry can not stand ABC's. The staff are totally over worked and underpaid. That might not sound like your problem but an overworked, underpaid carer equals a tired grumpy one which is not great for the kids. Why is the owner of ABC centres one of the richest men in Australia is the question I would be asking? What is being sacrificed in order for this to happen? They do seem to be very good on the surface as they are brilliant at marketing and do make quite a good impression. But as I said anyone I know who works in the industry wouldn't work there if they could possibly help it and wouldn't send their kids there. I am 21 weeks pregnant and when it comes time to choose child care I would go with a community based one or one that's not a chain. However, due to the fact that child care places are so hard to get and the fact that many parents do seem happy with ABC centres you could well have a wonderful experience there. I just wanted to give you the flip side as it really upsets me when I hear stories about dedicated child care professionals who are being taken for a ride while the owner just gets richer and richer. Food for thought and good luck. It must be a very difficult decision and I hope I haven't open too big a can of worms for you. Lou

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Guest icedvovo

louiero, I'm with you on ABC "Learning Centres". I felt very uneasy watching a documentary about Eddie Groves, the child-care tycoon. Seeing him speak about the whole business, his ambitions and the dollar signs in his eyes and then watching him zoom off in his Ferrari made me feel quite sick, actually. There have also been behind-the-scene reports about these centres - the overworked harried staff, cutting costs for food and facilities etc.

 

I do realise that many people may have had good experiences and also don't have a choice of centres, but I certainly wouldn't send my child to a child care centre for profit. And not one owned by Eddie Groves...although that might be impossible one day as I think he ha$ world domination on hi$ mind.

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Tyfle Hour

Regarding the whole 'profit' thing. In my understanding the majority of child care centres are run for profit. I think it's a little unfair to single out the ABC centres. I guess they're an easy target because they're higher profile, and listed on the stock exchange. As for the underpaid staff, in my opinion, most childcare workers are underpaid. They would be paid an award wage, which is too low. Perhaps we should be lobbying those who can actually change that, rather than blaming centres for making a profit.

 

I really think centres need to be looked at individually. I went through many before settling on a new ABC centre. I'm very happy with it. DD started at 19 months for 2 days a week, and continues there even though I'm not working because she just loves it. I'm quite impressed with the amount of programming they do and the care they take with setting routines,etc. DD loves her carers. I guess that's the most important thing for me. Being a new centre, the facilities are great (although the water play feature doesn't get much use during water restrictions at the moment). One of the carers who switched from a different centre was amazed at the resources the carers have from HO. I think in some cases being associated with a 'chain' is not such a bad thing, in that they couldn't afford any negative publicity so would jump on any problems at individual centres.

 

Anyway, I'm one of those who've had a great experience with an ABC centre, but really you need to look at centres on a case by case basis I think.

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PurpleFizz

Just pulled my 12mth old out of ABC.

 

They seemed Ok on initial inspections, but DS' first day, kids screaming everywhere. They put all ages into the nursery until 9am.

 

Floor was dirty (8.50am Monday morning), vomit on cushions in nursery. They don't hire contract cleaners, staff have to find time to clean during their shifts.

 

I also found that the nursery staff did not seem experienced. They may have had the qualifications, but they were young and to me common sense is an important asset for childcare workers.

 

Anyway he's out and going to Milestones (opening soon), and I am much happier. Cannot say I was really ever comfortable with him being there.

 

I know people with their kids at the same centre and they're happy with the service, but I just wasn't.

 

Kylea

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poppy_star

I have been checking out day care centres for my son. He is on the waiting at present and not enrolled in any just yet.

 

I have gone to 6 different centres 3 ABC and 3 other smaller groups. At first before checking out the centres, I didn't think ABC you would be my first choice, due to the size of the chain. This was a preconception, that was to change after visiting these 6 centres. I thought the ABC to be the best compared to the others. Of the others One was terrible, the other 2 ok.

 

The staff at the ABC seemed happier and more interactive with the children. The centres were new and well equipped with play and safety equipment.

 

As my son isn't attending yet my thoughts may change? However checking out several centres has made my happy with the ABC centres as my first choice.

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emmacat

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with ABC Learning Centres!

I am concerned about them being a chain organisation with only $-signs in their eyes. But as Suzqld pointed out, it could also be good thing as they can't afford any negative publicity so they have to watch their game. It seems that most of you were concerned about the experience level of the staff they hire - something I will definitely look into once the one in our town opens.

You all have given me some good ideas for questions to ask when I go and visit them. They will be opening next week so I will keep you posted on how things turn out.

 

Thanks again!

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chockyluv

Kyleaxxxx, are you in Tamworth by any chance and are you able to say which ABC you dealt with?

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censura carnero

I think centres definitly need to be looked at on an individual basis but I know for a fact that some ABC child care workers are not just underpaid as that is a given, but also denied sick leave and holiday pay by making sure they employ them for only just enough hours to make them casual so they are not legally entitled to the other benefits. In some cases this goies on for years. Anyone who has ever worked with children can testify to the fact that holidays are a must if you are to stay fresh for the children. Not only that I have been told that they when applying for accreditation they cheat the system. For example they may not have enough staff on or they have too many kids in one room so they move them around so that accreditors don't notice. I was also told that this was even reported to the government authorities and nothing was done about it. For me it is also a moral issue. I am unwilling to line the pockets further of money grabbers like Eddie Groves. There are community based child care centres that are non-profit. For example if you are in QLd I hear the C&K centres are excellent and are based on a long history of proven excellence. I am unsure if there is an equivalent in other states. My heart does go out to the staff that must be working under very trying circumstances. I know this may annoy a lot of people but as I said in my last post, those in the industry that I have spoken to and I know a lot, including myself would not touch ABC centres unless it was the last possible opiton.

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~Catherine~

I work in CC, I am on maternity leave at the moment but am not going back, due to pay etc but that is not what this is about. ABC unfortunately has had bad and I mean bad publicity, it was a few years back so most people may not have had children or there children werent in daycare so maybe didnt take much notice.

A 16yr old was left in a preschool room with 24 preschoolers all by herself. The children were jumping etc on everything and a few got onto the bookshelf. The bookshelf fell and yes you got it there were children underneath. The centre went to court over it and those who work in childcare would know this coz a few years ago the laws changed, a GL was to be in the room at all times, they werent allowed to change nappies as that would be leaving the main part of the room, except for lunch breaks, you had to be 18 or over to be left in a room say for lunch breaks etc.

Personally I will never ever put my children into an ABC centre, I have heard too much about them that i dont like.

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HersheyKisses
ABC have Accreditation officers to help through accredtitation, something i have never seen anywhere,

 

Kids Campus do this. :tongue:

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Kelli Anne

Well I work in and send my Ds to an ABC centre. All I can say is conditions have IMPROVED since they took us over. Don't believe all the bad press..

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jofisk

I agree with Bailysmum with it is the staff and name the company. My girls go to a small private DCC as there wasn't any others that would do a school run to DD1's school and close to home. ABC brought out one that was built about 18 mths go and I was very happy with centre when I looked at it, but found that they wouldn't do a school run to DD1's school, but her current DCC which 1 km away did. They also charge for pickup/drop off at home, which the previous owners did. I don't know if any thing has changed in the last 12 mths since ABC has brought it, but I know of a family who are really happy there. I know the centre isn't the right one for my girls as they are better off in a small centre.

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mum2brodie

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happymumto3

My eldest 2 have been going to an ABC centre for about 4 mths now,and they love it.They settled in fine and the staff are great,though my one complaint and it is probably just the centre the kids go to,but the staff change rooms every day.The kids go 2 days a week,and there are different staff each day.Gets very confusing as a parent,no knowing who is looking after your child.I used to work in childcare and know how important it is for the children as well as parents to have the same staff in the same rooms as much as possible.

 

They used to go to a much smaller private centre,and they got alot of one on one time with the carers,which doesnt happen at their new centre,though to be expected with a bigger centre(they changed centres only because we moved suburbs).

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-DEBS-ANGELS-

Hi all

 

My DD#2 goes to ABC Learning Centre for 1 day a week and has done since Aug/Sep last year. I havent had any problems with the one that I use. The staff are all friendly and so happy and positive. Most importantly the CHILDREN are HAPPY :D

 

Courtney loves it that much that she wants to go more so I have just booked her in for another day a week. They get fed well and are looked after properly. Yes I agree that some staff are a little young, but they seem to handle any situation that arises. Give ABC a go, I say as I have had no problems with them.

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~Nodnol~

I look at it this way- One macdonalds is not neccesarily the same as another down the road hey?

 

I worked at a centre that was taken over by ABC and then recieved a promotion to another that was taken over by a rival company. When I go back to work, I will be returning to ABC.

 

They may have some problems, but it depends on how you look at them. some people say "large company" I say extra support when you need it. Eddie may be making money off of childcare, but so do a lot of people! The guy that sold peppercorn to ABC made 70 million.

Take your time looking at centres. What may be right for your best friend and their child may not be right for you. My little man will be going to an ABC centre- out of choice- not necessity- because I like THAT particular centre.

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emmacat

Thank you all again for your stories and advice. I have read them all numerous times!

The ABC Learning Centre I was thinking of sending my little one too opened yesterday. We went and had a look at the centre. The centre itself is fantastic - the facilities were amazing. The staff seemed quite friendly as well. However, something just didn't feel right. The nursery section (0-2yrs) holds 20 babies with just 4 staff looking after them (which does meet regulations in NSW). Only two of the staff members were qualified and only one was a mum herself. My main concern was the numbers in the nursery and my little one just being another face in the crowd. The staff were expected to do all the cleaning as well which I thought was pretty unfair. We pretty much decided then and there not to send our DD to this centre.

I was starting to get quite stressed as I start work again in March and we had no where for my DD to go! Then this morning we got a phone call from another centre in town saying they had 3 days a week available. This centre was the one that we had wanted DD to go to from the very beginning but were told our chances were slim as the waiting list was huge. Its nursery section has 10 babies with 3 staff members. 2 of the staff are members qualified and experienced and the other is a mum (which counts as qualifications to me). The place also has a wonderful atmosphere to it. I pretty much cried with relief when I got off the phone with them. We aren't sure what to do about the other 2 days a week - maybe try FDC for those 2 days, but at least we have our foot in the door at an excellent childcare centre.

I was feeling very nervous and hesitant about putting my DD into daycare but I am feeling not as bad, now that she is going to a centre I have complete faith in.

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censura carnero

Good for you EmmaCat!! So happy you were able to find somewhere you feel comfortable with. A good staff to child ratio is a huge positive.

 

Bailley's Mum: You asked me if she was a bad mum for sending her child to ABC? I thought this forum was in the interest of being able to express an opinion. I would have thought that 99% of parents using this forum just want the best for their children and in my book how can that make you a bad parent. The other comment you made was that they use accreditation officers. I do have to wonder why they need them if they are providing a quality service consistently, all year round and not just at accreditation time. The information that I have gathered over the years is from those who have worked at ABC centres as well as my own experience of doing a prac there when I was completing my education degree. At some of the ABC's I know of the girls there told me it was common practice not to put staff members on permanent until they had been there for four years. Four years without a paid holiday? I shudder to think how that must affect someone working with children. Its all about personal preference and choice and mine is not ABC. I would never hold it against anyone that did choose this centre. Goodluck to everyone who is in the process of making such a difficult decision as to the type of care to put their children in.

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HersheyKisses
The other comment you made was that they use accreditation officers. I do have to wonder why they need them if they are providing a quality service consistently, all year round and not just at accreditation time.

 

That's a good point, I hadn't thought of it like that. :huh:

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Coffeegirl

Hi!

Although I don't personally use ABC they have popped up all over our area. My experience with ABC is a bit different.

 

My DS was on a waiting list with a local long day care centre, we hadn't decided when I would go back to work and were taking it month by month. The local centre was ringing every three months to see how I was going and to advise if there were any spots available.

 

Last June they rang to advise that ABC were taking over the centre and did I want a spot. She then went on to tell me that if I didn't take the spot before ABC came in that I would lose my place on the waiting list as ABC were scrapping it and starting from new.

 

Personally this didn't worry me as we decided to keep DS at home until he was 2 and I knew I had a spot at another centre.

 

My issue was for all the other mothers who may have been on the list for awhile. Long daycare spots are few and far between here and I waited 3 years to get my DD into my preferred centre (closer to home). Daycare is tough to get and I feel that ABC alienated me from the start with the new list policy.

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Mrs_M

Isn't better to use accreditation officers at than not at all?

 

Louiero are you implying that ABC use accreditation officers to pass accreditation but then revert back to their old ways and not implement the suggestions made an accredited officer? Or have I misunderstood?

 

I visited an ABC centre last year and picked up one the newsletters available to parents. It mentioned that accredition officers have advised that they needed alter the sign in and out procedure so could parents please now adhere to the new procedure.

 

I don't work in child care and I won't pretend to be more informed than anyone else but a recommendation about sign in procedures seems innocent and simple enough to me. And if that happended to be all that was wrong that the centre then that would be good news wouldn't it?

 

This is such a contentious issue and most parents might be flying blind but does anyone know if there is someway of finding out what the minimum requirements for accreditation are? So when parents go to look at the centres we know what to look for and ask the right questions.

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