“Do you know how hard it is to find holiday care for children under 5?” Catherine Tanner says.
The self employed mum from west Auckland has two 3-year-old twin daughters who up until recently did not have an option for holiday care.
Tanner’s twins attend Laingholm Kindergarten which only operates five days a week, during school terms.
However, changes to the Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA) model means Tanner’s twins can stay in kindy even during the school holidays.
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AKA announced changes to its 107 centres earlier this year which were being rolled out in geographical tranches.
Changes included longer opening hours, from its current six hours a day to seven hours. Kindies would also remain open during the school holidays, except Christmas and New Year break.
Some families have opposed the changes, but some are applauding AKA for finally accommodating working parents.
Laingholm Kindergarten would roll out the new model at the beginning of term four.
“This is very exciting for me and a lot of other kindy mums,” Tanner said.
“[It] will make finding child care to cover holidays or having to take time off work a thing of the past.”
Ember Hartwell from Titirangi recently started a part time job in the city said the new opening hours meant she didn’t have to rush from work to pick up her kids.
Her son Ollie attends Laingholm Kindergarten, three days a week.
“For me, it will mean being able to get into the city three times a week without having to get before or after school nannies or carers,” Hartwell said.
“I like the fact that the hours will be slightly longer to tie in with school pick ups.”
New fees was also a part of the new model. What was usually by way of donation would now be a compulsory $5 a day.
AKA’s chief executive Tanya Harvey said fees would vary depending on how each family used their ECE free hours allocation and the location of kindies according to the Ministry of Education equity band.
“A family at a kindy yet to be reviewed could find themselves paying nothing now for three days at kindy and nothing once the review is completed,” Harvey said.
She said after the changes have been implemented, AKA would review each kindy to determine which changes worked and which didn’t. They were determined to make the kindergarten experience available to all who wanted it, she added.
Tanner believes despite the fee changes, kindy was still a cheaper option than daycare.
She currently pays $144 a week for her twins at kindy. At a daycare, she would have been paying close to $280.
“Kindy made it possible financially . . . the kids love kindy and ask to go during the holidays.”
Zara Dobson thought she would be charged more.
Her son attends Henderson Kindergarten, one of the first west Auckland kindergartens that implemented the new model during term two.
Dobson paid $28 for a four-day-a-week attendance, with the added option of a gold coin donation.
The new kindy model allows her to pay $25.
“We are slightly saving,” Dobson said.
“I was worried initially that we would need to drop him back to three days. I am a stay-at-home mum so kindy isn’t essential but I’m pleased the price is slightly less so still super affordable.”