parent opinion

'My daughter's daycare closed down with just 3 weeks notice. I am not okay.'

I didn’t ever take my daughter’s daycare centre for granted. I’ve always had an enormous sense of gratitude and appreciation for the educators; they have been some of the most crucial, stable people in our world since I went back to work in January 2020. 

I’ve never really known working mum life outside of a pandemic. The turmoil of the past few years has made me appreciate the relationships that my family had at our local daycare even more. 

We have been with the centre for almost three years now. Four days a week, we make the pilgrimage. I consider myself fortunate that I can count on one hand the days where there have been tears and the cries of, "Mummy, don’t leave, I don’t want to stay". In fact, it’s the opposite. I practically drop down the pecking order when the little girl gang turns up at the gate with excited cheers like they haven’t seen each other in a lifetime. I take extra time most mornings so I can catch up with the teachers, such is the bond that has grown. 

While you're here, watch the daycare that does it all. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

But, recently, I realised I’d taken that stability for granted. It had never crossed my mind that a daycare could or would close. In October that rug was pulled out from under my feet. The company that owned our daughter’s daycare emailed all the families informing us we had just over three weeks until the centre would close permanently. The lease was up for renewal and they had determined that consolidation with their other centre was "the best outcome".


"The best outcome for who?" is the question I keep coming back to. Their shareholders? Their directors? The bottom line? It certainly didn't feel like the best outcome for my child or my family or her educators. 

It's all still really raw for me. In those first initial days, I felt like I was holding my breath. I was so intensely angry and in shock at being put in that position. I texted my friends and the other parents we knew in the centre in an attempt to rationalise the disbelief, and normalise the feelings of betrayal. I saved my call to mum for last - ever the rationalist; she was straight on to the planning steps. I inherited that trait, and I definitely called on it that week. (Thanks mum). 

I went into fight mode in my brain. The mama bear came out, and I was determined to make sure that my daughter and her friends were okay and that I was learning from every bit of the frustration, anxiety, anger, and sadness I was feeling.

In classic parent style, I don't think I will really work through all the emotions I am feeling until my daughter has fully transitioned and is settled at her new centre. But one thing I want to do - and can do - is use my voice to advocate for other families, children, and services so that they may not have to experience the angst that we have this past month. 

I joined The Parenthood earlier this year after following them on social media. I realised that if I didn’t get off my backside and join the campaign for better policies, we might not get the changes that children and families need. My daughter’s daycare closing makes it all so close to home. 


I feel like there should have been more provisions in place before an early learning centre - where over 70 families place their trust and faith that their children will be safe, supported, and thrive - can close. There should have been more hoops before splitting up a group of educators and potentially wiping out a whole group of working parents from an economy that is crying out for more workers. There should have been more hoops before causing such high emotional and logistical strain on children, parents, and educators.

It still blows my mind that the closure happened so easily.

Image: Supplied.


The timing was ironic; it was the same week that the new federal government announced its huge investment in the sector, acknowledged the gaps in early education options available to families, and highlighted the incredible importance of access to quality early education before the age of five for a child’s development. Yet here was a major player pulling the pin on 70 families and making the situation harder and more challenging?

I’m sharing this story beyond the parents in my social circle because I know we’re not alone and because I’d like answers. 

I want providers in the early childhood education and sector, the regulatory bodies, as well as state and federal governments to think about these questions:

  • How do we create an early education system where the child is put before profit?

  • How do we create an early education system where there is accountability for a provider closing down a service or cutting off access to services?

  • How does the decision to withdraw critical and valuable education positions within our community sit within the national quality framework and standards and what consequences are there for this decision? 

It’s time to think bigger and consider if companies ought to make a profit from caring and educating our children. In a world where for-purpose businesses are shaking up what it means to be successful, surely there is merit to consider how for-purpose not for-profit would work in early childhood education and care?

The resilience of kids astounds me. My daughter shows up to her new daycare each day with courage and the classic confidence of a three-year-old. You know that strut and look like she’s taken every moment of the past four weeks in her stride - I’m forever proud of that look. I hope she learnt that from me. 


I’m still coming down from the adrenaline high, sifting through all the residual feelings and coming to terms with the change as well. I’ve had the chance to reflect on the experience and find the moments that I’m proud of in myself, particularly making a conscious decision to use the feelings and my voice to create conversation. I think that decision makes all the emotions feel productive like there was a reason for the whole chaotic mess of a situation. 

And while we are all adjusting to the new environment and educators, I can’t help thinking it’s a waste. 

Our children deserve the chance to thrive which is possible when they have stability. Our early childhood sector can support children to thrive but it needs stability. A daycare closing is not stability. I don’t think anyone would accept a school closing down in a community. My question is why would we accept it for an early learning service? 

We shouldn’t. 

Clare is an expert in juggling all things, between being a mum, wife and the rest, life is never dull. She's passionate about wellbeing for all people and creating environments that promote and welcome people to be their authentic selves. She recently joined The Parenthood to advocate for a better deal for all parents and carers.

 Feature Image: Supplied

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