During the week that a very close friend of mine died I also had a very unfortunate experience at my son’s nursery. The worst aspect of it was realizing that a lot of parents I spoke to have gone through the same thing and collectively feel powerless to do much about it. Now I am not interested in starting a hate campaign, or even criticising or naming the nursery in question, but I feel more has to be done to improve the quality of childcare we have in this country.
The situation is still ongoing, by which I mean I am still observing how the nursery is now dealing with the problem that happened. I found it extremely difficult to have to trust them but in a way I, like most parents, have very few options or choices on the matter. One, because the alternative would mean having to find a different nursery and having to establish a connection with them and also consider the time required for my son to get used to a new environment. This was my initial choice after the incidents, which took place in the space of two and a half months – my son was at the nursery attending two days a week. But I had to accept this was my emotional response and I had to talk to the nursery to see what we could do to improve the situation. We had a meeting in which they agreed on a number of steps they would improve on, and that was that – I had to just trust them. I felt angry that if my son is a human being I get very little in return if his needs aren’t met or if he comes home damaged in any way from attending a nursery that is quite expensive. But if this was a suit or a camera I would get something in return for my product being damaged. The worst part is not really knowing what happened whilst still paying for a service that doesn’t fulfil my son’s needs.
Now, I realise that individuals who work in childcare in nurseries aren’t getting a lot of money. The main thing that make it more expensive in this country for parents is the fact that the rent is going up and that the staff are undervalued and even pressured with checks from Ofsted. Parents keep on paying more and more and getting very little in return. Nursery managers keep on getting more stressed because they cannot keep the staff happy with very little pay and having to deal with changes in the form of cuts from the government.
As I investigated further and spoke to individuals who worked at other even more expensive nurseries, I was told more horrible stories of what workers see staff getting away with as parents walk out of the door, from quality of food to level of care being given, abuse of power and so on. Now, you might be saying if I go around looking for dirt I will surely find some. Despite my ordeal here I have real fears, and if to deal with those means better sleep at night then I am looking for real solutions, not namby-pamby ones…
Now, I do not hate the nursery workers or the managers. I feel angry at parents who have put up with this system and shut up. Those who are campaigning hardly get any support because we are too tired and worn out by the system that keeps on promising a lot and delivering very little of quality to our children and, in the future, their children.
My question, then, is what do I tell my child when this kind of thing happens to his child? Should I explain that the government kept me too busy trying to put food on the table and then gagged me and took my voice away? I think it is about time that parents unite and speak and express their needs and start campaigning to implement changes. I also think careworkers should join this fight so they aren’t misrepresented, as should anyone who needs care. By that I mean all of us in this entire society will need care, and how we care for our children and most vulnerable should express how we really deal with the idea that we are human and not money-making machines who don’t die or break down! I want to be able to really see who on this planet – in this case this country – can deny the fact that their lives are affected by the force of gravity. Then, by admiring or omitting the existence of God, let alone any common sense, with all the iPods and gadgets in the world, and all the distractions which the world traditions and governments may delude us with (such as money, property, luxury holidays, power struggles, consumerism, narcissism, large egos and inflated sense of self), why oh why are we still not accepting the fact that we and not the government are responsible for our own fates and quality of life? If so, we should all learn some autonomy and develop more unity in our goals instead of bickering like spoilt brats and get on with the job of improving our society. Being alive for 34 Earth years, what can a human being like me do so I don’t fail the next generation by falling asleep hoping the government will come up with some better solutions…?