Childtime Learning Center
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I have been working at Childtime Learning Center full-time (more than a year)Pros
No one should enter child care expecting the work to be easy. Childtime employed me as an Assistant Infant Careteacher, where I cared for babies ages 3 months to 1 year at a state-mandated 1:4 infant to teacher ratio. I truly enjoyed working with the little ones and fellow teachers. I experienced constant illness and stress that stemmed not from Childtime but the nature of working with eight babies each workday. Any job where you handle feces and vomit each day is not for the faint of heart, as cute as the children are. I witnessed first steps and first words, though, something I will never forget.Cons
Where to begin? The Childtime branch were I worked automatically clocked its employees out at 6:00 PM, even though we often had to stay until 6:15-6:30 PM. This is illegal, and I wish I had been more assertive about my unpaid work hours.
Corporate came up with lots of feel-good fixes for our classroom, including a cute curriculum, peer review, and off-the-wall regulations like only allowing one exersaucer toy per room. My branch would actually hide our extra exersaucer during corporate inspections, since we desperately needed it to keep our 8 babies happy and safe from the others. Ultimately, they employed a top down approach to management that neither engaged the workers nor eased their workload. Their regulations only made our lives more stressful. Who has time to lead babies in an arts and crafts project when half of them are screaming their lungs off because they're hungry or tired?
The job quickly became scary when we had to keep highly active, bored one-year-olds in our room instead of the Infant 2 room. We had very little time for social interaction, touch, and play for the babies. Our lives were just about meeting their physical needs, sneaking in affection when we could. We would even doctor the baby's daily report sheets to add in feedings and diaperings to fool the parents.
We were not providing a safe environment. The state safety and health regulations were the first to go when crunched for time, like mixing the bleach solution daily and washing the baby's hands after diapering (have you ever tried to diaper a baby while watching 7 more at the same time? It's chaos).
My center had no way of calling the front desk when we needed to take a bathroom break, unlike other centers I've worked at. The solution was to just let employees to take them when they wanted them without substituting in a staff member. I was frequently left to care for eight babies by myself for upwards of 20 minutes. It was so dangerous! This was when the one year olds would injure themselves, because I simply couldn't be 8 places at once.
I lost count of all the gross violations of state law at my center. I would never send my own child to Childtime.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Remember when your MBA courses told you to engage your frontline workers? Do that! Listen to your employees' concerns and build your management strategies around them. Consider using LEAN and daily Kaizen practices to implement their ideas and to allow for some bottom-up policy changes.
Always obey state laws and regulations. You can't hide from the inspectors forever, and it's only a matter of time before an infant becomes seriously injured due to negligence.