You don’t need to wait until your little one goes to big school to launch into some study of your own.
Many parents balance child-raising and tertiary education, and although online learning and night classes are options, on-campus child care makes it possible to attend in-person classes and succeed as a daytime student.
In New Zealand, there are a number of institutions that offer on-campus care, including the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, University of Waikato and University of Canterbury, and today we’re exploring the on-campus child care at Whitireia and WelTec (the Wellington Institute of Technology).
Here’s how these early childhood education services support parent learners:
- Hours are flexible
Studying takes time and focus, and both of the child care centres offer flexible hours that fit around parents’ scheduled classes and varied study hours.
Te Whare Ako Early Learning Centre and Whitireia Childcare Centre are open Monday to Friday, 7.45am to 5pm, and there are full or part-time day options (though students must enrol their child for at least 25 hours per week).
- Fees are affordable
Studying has an effect on parents’ earning capacity, so both centres offer reasonable, competitive fees and support for families with subsidies. 20 Hours ECE is offered to all three to five-year-olds who attend the centres, and some families can get a child care subsidy through Work and Income New Zealand.
There’s a lower hourly charge for Whitireia and WelTec students and staff (compared with the fees charged to families from the wider community), and there are discounts for third and subsequent children enrolled in the centres.
- Drop-offs and pick-ups are easy
On-campus child care scores top marks for convenience. There’s stress-free car parking at Whitireia Childcare Centre, and it’s easy for parents to drop their children off on the way to class and pick them up once they’ve finished studying.
The close proximity of child to parent also has psychological upsides.
Whitireia Childcare Centre team leader, June Montgomery says, ‘Having their children nearby can really alter the students’ mindsets. If they know that their children are in a happy and supportive environment close to where they are, it is one less thing on their mind, and they can put all their concentration into their studies. They also know that if worst comes to worst and their child needs them, then it is easy for the parent to come and settle them or take them home.’
- Parents are supported to succeed
There are close ties between Te Whare Ako Early Learning Centre and WeiTec, and Whitireia Childcare Centre and Whitireia Polytech and Ngati Toa, and a genuine interest in parents’ challenges and achievements.
Student mum, Courtney Russell, says, ‘Sometimes it is hard to be away from my girls, but Whitireia is so supportive and really want their students to succeed. If you are having any challenges they will work with you to try and find a solution, and the daycare is an extension of that.’
- Children enjoy special experiences
On-campus child care allows under fives to get a quality early childhood education and also share in their parent’s learning.
Te Whare Ako Early Learning Centre and Whitireia Childcare Centre pride themselves on their:
- High teacher to child ratios
- Cultural diversity
- Engaging learning environments, and
- Qualified teaching staff.
The Education Review Office says both centres are ‘Well Placed’ to promote positive learning outcomes for children, and there are enriching experiences on- and off-site.
Whitireia Childcare Centre offers frequent, small excursions around the local community, and the centres’ connection with Whitireia and WelTec allow children to join events that are happening on campus and share experiences with their parents.
Ms Russell explains, ‘One cool thing that the centre does is bring the kids to the campus to watch performances. During Māori Language Week, the performing arts students put on a show at lunchtime. It was so nice to see my girls, and share that experience with them without taking time out from my study. It also meant I could show them where I spend my days when I’m not with them.’
All in all, on-campus child care makes the grade for parents and children.
It’s flexible, affordable, convenient, supportive and enriching; and for all these reasons, it’s also in high demand.
Whitireia Childcare Centre says it’s, ‘Fully booked most of each year,’ so you’re encouraged to research the child care option at your campus, enquire early and join a waiting list if necessary.
If your place of study doesn’t have a child care place, then you can search for a nearby child care centre, and we wish you the best with your studies.
Don’t forget to celebrate International Women’s Day!
Study helps many mothers fulfil their ambitions and thrive in new careers, and International Women’s Day is a key opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements in education, work and life.
It’s happening next Monday 8 March, so click here to see how you can get involved.