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Parents pay for designer daycare [AU]

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Author: 
Weaver, Clair
Publication Date: 
1 Oct 2006
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EXCERPTS

An exclusive childcare centre is enticing parents with five-star services for babies and toddlers.

Luxury features include designer furniture, handmade bibs, high-quality bed linen and gourmet food in a purpose-built waterview cottage.

It is the latest tactic to attract customers in the fiercely competitive suburban childcare industry - but some fear a two-tier system could develop.

Parents at Lullaby Baby Cottage are given private access to a special lactation consultant and Mothercraft nurse.

Photographs and a daily diary of each child's activities are put together for parents by staff.

Music and language is incorporated into the schedule, while soft classical music plays in the background during the day.

There is one staff member for every 3.5 children, compared to the standard ratio of 1:5.

Owners Julianne and Robert Huddleston have opened centres in Gymea and Cronulla, and plan to expand into other areas.

"We wanted to find a special niche and I thought there's nowhere out there that offers small, boutique child care," Mrs Huddleston said. "Other places are filled with cheap plastic furniture but we wanted to do something different."

The centres, which charge up to $100 a day and have long waiting lists, have become popular with first-time parents who are anxious about leaving their child in care.

But Lyn Connolly, president of Child Care NSW, believes there are no benefits to paying extra for "designer child care".

"I would hate to see parents thinking that if their children don't have designer label furniture or facilities they are worse off," she said. "It's good marketing and if parents want that, great.

"But it is not going to give any child better development and it's not going to give them a better sleep," she said.

- reprinted from the Herald Sun

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Entered Date: 
6 Oct 2006
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