A new world at Choklits, the next 83 days
This page should be used as a reference as to how Choklits will navigate the 83 day Government Child Care package implemented in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
What a month we have all had!
We have all felt the impact of Coronavirus in different ways and I applaud all of you who get up each morning, put a smile on your face and as the old saying goes, just get on with it. It hasn’t been easy.
The following information is very important. For the time being, child care as we know it has completely changed.
Last Thursday the Government announced a temporary child care package to help us all navigate the current Coronavirus pandemic. The new system starts tonight.
As you will have probably already seen in the media, the free child care headline comes with several strings attached that impacts both how parents get child care and heavily restricts child care providers in the way they provide that care.
To be clear, child care funding has been significantly reduced and the wage subsidy which is still yet to be approved doesn’t cover the shortfall. The child care sector now has less than half the money we did a week ago to continue to operate. A reported 300 centres have already closed their doors.
Obviously, centres like Choklits who have chosen to stay open now face an enormous challenge.
Although our environment may be changing rapidly, I can promise you that all of us at Choklits are committed to working through our current situation and being much stronger on the other side.
The package in simple terms
- The government has announced child care is free for parents for the next 83 days (until June 28th, 2020).
- The intent of the package is to ensure families with occupations deemed essential and families with vulnerable or disadvantaged children get care if they require it, so they can continue to do essential work.
- You are not required to attend Choklits to qualify for the free gap. To clarify, if you are currently enrolled at Choklits you will no longer have any out-of-pocket expenses for the next 83 days. You do not have to attend Choklits and you will not lose your place if you don’t attend.
The main message
Please appreciate we are still in the middle of a pandemic with strict social distancing rules. The ongoing safety of our children and our educators continues to be our primary consideration.
If you can keep your children at home, you should.
As the Prime Minister has repeatedly told all Australians, stay at home.
What happens now?
Choklits will be implementing a new way of operating for the next 83 days.
These new procedures need to be followed to ensure we all get through this period.
It saddens me that so many restrictions are required but unfortunately, even after we as a business absorb as much of the short fall as possible, the way we operate has to change.
I want to sincerely thank all of our wonderful parents and carers who have so generously supported Choklits, particularly over the past month. It means the world that you thought of us in the ways you have and for your contributions to the broader Choklits community.
Furthermore, I want to thank all of our educators who have remained so positive over the past month. These generous souls who care for your children everyday have put their hands up and made the first sacrifices during this difficult time. They’ve taken leave without pay, been flexible with their working hours and always put our community first. It goes without saying that Choklits cannot survive without them.
There is still much that is not clear about this new package and I’m sure we’ll need to make many adjustments moving forward. We will continue to update and support all of you through every step.
The changes effective from tonight are all explained below.
This is by far the biggest challenge my team and I have ever faced. Please cross your fingers for us, we are going to need all the luck we can get as we work through this new Government package. Together, we will keep moving forward and always look for the positives in whatever we have to deal with.
Tomorrow morning we have a big green door to open and I’m looking forward to a smile on the other side.
Key changes at Choklits due to Government restrictions
- we have limited places at Choklits and we will be staffing accordingly.
- our operating hours will change to 8am-5pm from April 14th.
- you will be required to confirm your child’s attendance every week, in advance and in writing (explained below). Note; attendances for next week, April 6th-10th where all confirmed last week.
- we will further restrict who enters Choklits to reduce our exposure to Coronavirus.
- we ask you to communicate with us via email or phone, do not enter the office or staff room and limit your time at Choklits.
- we have begun the first steps to making our curriculum available online to assist with at home learning.
When does free child care commence?
The 6th of April, 2020.
Will the number of children at Choklits be limited?
Every child care centre has limited places. Our primary concern at Choklits is continuing to follow the current health and safety requirements provided to us from the Government and we will be staffing accordingly. Our booking procedure has temporarily changed to ensure we exceed these requirements.
Who will be given priority of attending the centre?
Priority will be given to essential workers and to those workers who need to physically go to work. Beyond that each enrolment will be assessed individually.
What do I do if I intend to keep my child at home throughout the Coronavirus pandemic?
Please email us and we’ll make that note on your enrolment, there is no need to confirm your non-attendance each week unless your situation changes.
How do I arrange my child’s attendance at Choklits because I need to work?
You will need to advise us by Wednesday, the week prior as to your care requirements via email.
A template is provided below as you can copy and paste and send to firstname.lastname@example.org, each week. Please note we will respond within 1 business day.
I need bring __________ to Choklits on the following days _____________________________
Can you please advise availability?
What do I do If I do not need care?
Please email us asap so we can give the spot to someone else who requires it.
What if I need urgent care?
Please call Choklits on 98795888.
What if I work from Home?
If you can have your child at home, please follow the Prime Minister’s advice and do so.
What if I am not working?
If you are not working, then please keep your child at home until the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Does the free concession still apply if we keep my child home?
Yes, this package is designed so you can follow the recommendations and keep your child home throughout the pandemic. You will not need to pay anything to keep your place at Choklits during this 83 day period.
Are you accepting new enrolments?
We do not currently have any available places so only existing enrolments will be able eligible to attend as of the 6th of April, 2020, in accordance with the above recommendations.
Can I pick up extra days?
Each case will be assessed individually. However, it needs to be requested in advance, according to our new email procedure (above) and subject to availability.
How do we observe social distancing with children?
With great difficulty! We are exempt from social distancing rules with children. However, our new priority-based system combined with our license place restrictions will assist us with following social distancing guidelines and help keep everyone safe every day.
What hygiene practices are in place?
We have been following all Government health and safety advice and have been discussing this with the children on a daily basis. We will continue to adjust our practices as we receive further information.
Will there be further health and safety restrictions?
Yes! From April 6th, 2020, we ask you to;
- please enter Choklits alone wherever possible, meaning only one parent should enter the centre at drop off and pick up times.
- please drop and go, observe social distancing with the staff and other children.
- please limit conversations with staff to 2-3 minutes.
- please do not go into the kitchen, office, staff room or staff bathroom.
- please wash your hands before attending the centre and use the hand sanitizer at the front door before entering Choklits.
Further restrictions may be implemented in the future on Government advice.
How do I best communicate with Choklits?
- Please communicate with the educators via storypark or email, email@example.com
- To communicate with the office please call 9879 5988 or email us, firstname.lastname@example.org
Are further changes at Choklits likely?
Possibly. We are very much in unchartered waters like everyone. We don’t have all the information regarding this new package yet. So, we have identified several aspects of our service that will be monitored weekly and will we make adjustments as needed.
Are you still providing meals and consumables?
Yes. Due to funding cuts, many centres have stopped providing meals and consumables immediately but Choklits will continue to provide both at this stage.
Are you changing your operating hours?
Yes, from April 14th Choklits will operate from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
Will the Kindergarten program continue to run?
Yes, and have began collating resources to put parts of the curriculum online to help children at home.
Policies, procedures and our code of conduct
Please note all our normal policies still apply during this time and continue to govern our business and our decision-making processes. We acknowledge this is a difficult and stressful time for everyone, however, we simply do not accept rude or bad behaviour directed towards our staff by anyone. Our centre code of conduct still applies and will be strongly enforced.
We will continue to communicate new information as we receive it and notify you of any further changes as they arise.
While some of these measures may seem drastic, they are necessary to ensure we remain open and our community stays together.
Thank you for your cooperation, patience and understanding during this pandemic and uncertain time.
If we can help you in any way, please get in touch.
The Choklits Team.