Southern In-Home Childcare Shortage

Media Release 15 March 2016

A peak in residential development and a regional ‘baby boom’ in Queenstown is putting pressure on childcare providers.

New Zealand’s largest in-home childcare provider PORSE is calling out for more educators because it can’t keep up with the overwhelming demand from families wanting home based childcare.

PORSE Queenstown Programme Tutor Jeanette Fotheringham says currently they have 15 families on waiting lists needing urgent childcare, and with no sign of demand slowing down they need to recruit fast.

“Demand for in-home childcare is extremely high in the Queenstown and Wanaka region - a combination of new development in the district has brought new families and that’s’ resulted in a ‘baby boom’, especially in the last 18 months.”

Ms Fotheringham also says the rising cost of living in the area means mothers are returning to work faster. 

“Families are looking for flexibility with their childcare providers and more are turning to PORSE to find it.”

Queenstown couple Stacey and Craig Palmer were so keen to find a PORSE Educator that they made enquiries to find one, three months before their baby was born.

Mrs Palmer says she believes the home environment, with natural play and one special person is the best childcare option for her.

“Our educator Fiona is just amazing. But unfortunately she is leaving for teacher’s college in May so we are now back on the hunt and finding it’s not easy to find that special person.

“We’re only too aware of how hard it is to get home based childcare in Queenstown, but due to the shortage of in-home educators it’s proving challenging,” says Stacey.

Arrowtown educator Rebecca Murray is one of 18 PORSE in-home educators across the Queenstown and Wanaka region.  She joined PORSE eleven years ago, after leaving a career as a pre-school teacher and says the flexibility of raising her own children and running her own business at the same time has been both personally and financially rewarding.

“Providing a home environment for under 5’s where numbers are small is key to setting children up for a lifetime of success.  For a child in care 40 hours a week with PORSE, they don’t miss out on any of the things they would be doing at home with Mum.

“I’ve worked really hard to provide a curriculum that offers a seamless transition to school, and my families have now truly recognized the value of home based care, choosing to keep their children with me right up to school entry.”

Mrs Fotheringham says PORSE will be ramping up its recruitment efforts and are looking for people who are passionate about caring for babies and young children.

“Queenstown is a destination region with many residents settling here without family support.  PORSE is providing much needed support for these families, so if you want to work from home and consider yourself motivated and nurturing, we would love to hear from you,” says Ms Fotheringham.

In home educators are independent contractors who benefit from PORSE providing free access to NZQA Level 3 ECE, free weekly programmes including playschools, music groups and community events, ongoing professional development and access to marketing tools and support.

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