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Michaela discusses opening hours

Date: February 26, 2014 Author: Bumpkins Team Categories: #TheBumpkinsDifference, Parents' Tips and Tricks

The Education Minister, Liz Truss would like school nurseries to open from 8 am – 6 pm. Michaela gives her views on this suggestion.

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“At Bumpkins we start our day at 7.30 am and we don’t close our doors till 6.30 pm, so I would like to think Liz Truss would be very happy with Bumpkins. Her view is that a working parent needs to have 10 hours of childcare on offer to them, and I agree with her.  However, what I don’t what to see happen to any child is for them to be left in any childcare setting for more than 10 hours a day.

At Bumpkins we offer a flexible day so  you can bring your child to nursery at any time to fit around your working day. It doesn’t matter to us if it is 7.30 am tomorrow because you have a big meeting, or that you are going to be in a bit later today, so you and your child can get to enjoy a slightly slower start to the day at home and don’t get to us till later in the morning. If we only opened 8 am until 6 pm then most of our parents would find it impossible to manage.  If you work in London you need to get an early train and to reach Cambridge by 9 am you need to leave early to beat the traffic. To help parents we have always held our opening hours at 7.30 am – 6.30 pm  BUT we do insist that you don’t let your child stay at Bumpkins for longer than 10 hours on any given day. Of course we will always keep them longer if there is a family emergency, a problem with the trains or snow on the road, but this should be the exception.

If your child stayed longer, would it matter? It goes without saying that they would be well loved, have lots of play, yummy food and enjoy a lovely day, but I don’t expect my staff to work 11 hours, because it’s just too long a day for anyone. Even my full-time team members would only do 4 days of long 9 hour shifts a week and on their 5th day they work a half day to make up their working week to 40 hours. I really don’t believe that it is right for any baby, child or pre-schooler to regularly spend more than 10 hours a day in any childcare setting.  Some of our children are full-time, can you imagine that could be 55 hours a week in nursery, each day they would spend around 2 hours awake at home but the majority of their day and week would be with us, week in and week out.  Every child needs time with their family, time with a parent in their own home, on their own sofa with their own toys and I believe they should eat at least one meal or snack in their own  home.

As a working Mum I know how hard it is to juggle work, childcare, parenting, shopping and cleaning. However, I firmly believe that a baby, toddler or pre-schooler needs time with their family, ideally with at least one parent and eating at least one meal or having time to play and enjoy each other at some point every day. So at Bumpkins we agree with Liz Truss that parents should be able to access 10 hours of childcare so that they can work BUT after that they need to be with their child.  It worries me that within the next few years the demands on working parents will just rise and rise forcing children into staying  even longer at nursery.  I don’t want to have to follow the business model of one London nursery that even has the child overnight if the parents are away.  A Boarding Nursery is not putting the needs of the children first.”

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