SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

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dulciean
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SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by dulciean » Sat May 26, 2012 7:16 pm

:thumbdown: WELL! have i ever had a bad experience. i have lots to post, and questions too- please read thru and let me know your opinions.
I accepted an offer of employment with a locally well- known chain of centres, which have been operating since 1977. I was so excited, as their reputation for child focused care is fabulous- how wrong I was!
When i arrived at the centre on day one- i was literally left alone with 17 children 2-5 years old for 2 hours. There was no program, and of course i didnt know where anything was, childrens names, ages, needs etc etc. Thrown in the deep end would be putting it way too lightly. as the day progressed, it became apparent this problems were things that happened each day- it seemed to me that the centre was understaffed and over-booked. Day two saw a little improvement, another staff member appeared, although she didnt even speak with me until i introduced myself early afternoon. i discovered she was the person in charge- still no communication, assistance etc. The centre also runs an on site OOSH program- so after 3pm another 17 school aged kids arrived- with no extra staff nor program/activities for them. I was told ratios were fine- as it is classed as all one service- although it runs out of two separate buildings ( 0-2 and 3-5 ). what is this about ratios ? i have been told this recently- that staff is counted across the physical space, not per groupings of children. This makes no sense to me!-and meant i was being left alone with 14-27 kids of varying ages several times during my shift. The children were still running about outside in the cold and dark at 5:00pm, so as not to mess up the activities set up inside for the next day.
From an employees' perspective- After accepting the offer , i was then told by other employees that as a full time worker, daiy shifts are 9 hours, with a 1 hour unpaid lunch - however we had to stay in the room and keep working during this break anyhow!? also, was not advised my hourly rate, and then discover the company has its 'own' award, from circa 1994. ?? still don't know what/if they will pay me.
seriously, in all my 20 years in and out of the industry, i have never seen anything like this place! i am shell shocked, and cant believe it. there was no on site director, so i spoke via phone with the woman who interviewed and hired me. she was defensive, quite aggressive, and aware of the issues at the centre. however , it seems there were no strategies being put in place to address/improve conditions.
I couldnt handle it by day 4- and simply stated i would not be returning, thank you very much!!
SO- help me understand this ratio debacle, the mixed ages, the OOSH kids, how ratios and staff and groupings work. also- where do i report the centre to? seriously, the kids there are NOT being cared for- its a risk on so many levels.
I am so shocked, and feel absolutely appalled at this situation. HELP!!!


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Lorina
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Re: SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by Lorina » Sun May 27, 2012 6:03 pm

I still cant believe that centres are still operating like this even though changes have been put in place... Still centres are being overbooked and understaffed and unfortunately us childcare professionals are made to deal with the consequences.

It is completely unethically for you to be left alone with such a large number of children, even on your first day! It is totally unfair and illegal and it shouldn't have happened! Im surprised that no major accidents happened! Even though you were left alone it seems like you had a hundred eyes all over your head making sure nothing happened!...LOL...

Funny thing you mentioned about the woman you spoke to on the phone being rude and aggressive. Why is it that every time we raise a concern or an issue that it's swept under the rug so to speak. I have that happen to me many times and in the end nothing gets resolved... A great choice for you to leave! I really feel sorry for the families and children at the centre. I bet they have no idea what's really going on!

The ratios changes that have been made is extremely frustrating. Some centres are implementing it while others aren't. I found a document I have which reviews the children's services regulations 2004 and discusses why ratios have been changed etc through their own research. I also found another document about staffing requirements using the NQF.

[attachment=1]reg_review_paper.pdf[/attachment]
[attachment=0]StaffingRequirements.pdf[/attachment]

I really hope this bad experience doesn't discourage you from working in childcare. Unfortunately that are still centres out there that should not be operating and yet they still seems to slip past DOCS! Hopefully the new accreditation process will be thorough enough to separate the good from the bad and provide support to centres who need it!

:geek: L.A
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dulciean
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Re: SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by dulciean » Sun May 27, 2012 7:10 pm

Thank you L.A
I have been thinking this through over the weekend- i have heard of centres such as these but this is my first time experiencing one ( and last i hope! ) my heart also goes out to the children and families using the service- such a sad state of affairs. i will ring DOCS tomorrow to voice my concerns- seems the ethical thing to do.
Luckily, it hasn't completely put me off child care work. but it has motivated me to get my Diploma finished, thus widening my job choices.
I think the greatest shock and disappointment came from having heard such good things about this particular Group, then experiencing the exact opposite!
My next challenge will be chasing up my pay- oh joy!
All experiences serve as a lesson learnt- onwards and forwards! ;)

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Lorina
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Re: SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by Lorina » Tue May 29, 2012 7:33 pm

Great choice for ringing DOCS let hope that it gets them to tidy up their act...

From experience, I noticed that "chain" centres get away with it... They usually have a pretty good team in head office to deal with situation like this...

Happy to hear that you're still continuing on... Im sure you will find that most childcare professionals have had a "bad experience" in a centre...Hmmmm, I wonder how many centres that are running that really shouldn't be... Kinda scary to think about really!

Funny thing you mentioned about this experience getting you to quickly finish your diploma, I recently started my degree because I just want a better opportunity as well... Apparently they don't give it to you based on knowledge or experience it's all based on a piece of paper (qualification)... just to be able to actually get taken seriously in this industry!

So yes, referring to your topic title! I ACTUALLY CAN BELIEVE IT!!! :lol:

:geek: L.A



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dulciean
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Re: SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by dulciean » Tue May 29, 2012 7:56 pm

hi L.A
I made the relevant phone calls to the Education department and DOCS today- what a process, but it had to be done! I was given the impression that perhaps this particular Centre has been 'looked at' before, judging by the conversation I had with the woman taking down the details. I am already jumping through hoops re chasing my pay... not surprised there! well it seems I am the exception not having seen such a situation before- I managed mostly positive experience over the 15 odd years I have had in and out of the Industry!
I ,too, am finding more that Centre's rely on those 'pieces of paper' as a gauge of ability/aptitude against plain experience and wisdom! I have also found many a degree holding person to lack in many aspects professionally!
Good luck with your decision to persue the ECT qualification- that coupled with your experience might make them shut up and listen! :giggle:
It's all a BIg learning curve!

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fchaudari76
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Re: SO BAD you won't believe it!!( i still can't)

Post by fchaudari76 » Wed May 30, 2012 6:03 pm

Good on you for calling DOCS. Too many centres get away with this shoddy behaviour... I just wish centres like this paid the price for this kind of thing instead of getting away with things.
Makes me sick.

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