IN-HOME ED­U­CA­TOR

Little Treasures - - CHILD­CARE CHOICES -

ANA BAR­NETT, TI­TI­RANGI, AUCK­LAND For Auck­land par­ents Ana and Chris Bar­nett, home-based care was al­ways go­ing to be the num­ber one choice for their chil­dren’s early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion. Their son Ryan, now four, en­joyed home-based care from 16 months un­til start­ing preschool at three years old, so they didn’t hes­i­tate to set­tle their daugh­ter Emily, 18 months, into a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion when Ana re­turned part-time to her job as an ac­coun­tant at KPMG. “We wanted Emily to be in a home en­vi­ron­ment where she could do the types of ac­tiv­i­ties that I would do with her on the days I wasn’t work­ing, such as play­group or Mainly Mu­sic,” says Ana. “We also wanted her to be in­volved in day-to-day fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties and de­velop a good re­la­tion­ship with her carer, and we needed to have some flex­i­bil­ity over start and fin­ish times.” Ryan’s home-based carer was no longer avail­able, so Ana asked for rec­om­men­da­tions on­line and was led to Wendy Clax­ton, a Porse in-home ed­u­ca­tor. “Wendy has been with Porse for 10 years,” says Ana. “She’s been in­volved in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion for 23 years and has also been a fos­ter par­ent, so I in­stantly had a good feel­ing about her be­cause of her ex­pe­ri­ence. I was also im­pressed with the warm, com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment that she pro­vided in her home.” Emily is now with Wendy three days a week, from about 7am un­til 4.30pm. Three other chil­dren are also in Wendy’s care and she pro­vides them with nu­tri­tious food and a cosy place to sleep (the two sleep­ing chil­dren each have a cot in a sep­a­rate room). Wendy also has car seats in­stalled in her ve­hi­cle so she can take the kids to so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties such as Mainly Mu­sic and play­group, as well as ex­cur­sions to the beach or zoo. At home, Wendy keeps the wee ones en­ter­tained with arts and crafts, wa­ter play, books and mu­sic, and en­cour­ages them to in­de­pen­dently ex­plore the in­door and out­door play ar­eas. Ana says there have been no is­sues with the ar­range­ment and it’s a win-win for her and Chris: Emily gets to stick to her daily rou­tine in a cosy home en­vi­ron­ment while still ven­tur­ing out and about to so­cialise with other chil­dren, and is of­fered a good mix of free play vs ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties. “For us, hav­ing Emily in a home­care en­vi­ron­ment has also meant less ill­ness and time off work,” says Ana. “But the best ben­e­fit for our fam­ily is know­ing that Emily is well looked af­ter and feels happy and se­cure. She gets to par­tic­i­pate in lots of fun ac­tiv­i­ties and out­ings with her home­care friends and en­joys a wide va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences. She’s very com­fort­able with Wendy, and is al­ways happy and set­tled when I pick her up at the end of the day.”

Ana and Chris with Ryan and Emily.

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