Perhaps it won’t always be the case, but when a new family day care opens up in Perth and it is called Daddy Day Care, it is bound to attract attention. With more than 650 different family day cares operating in Perth, it is fair to say the overwhelming majority are run by females. In fact, only 5% of the nation’s childcare workers are male.
Gary Cribb, father of two, recently made the choice to leave his job as a senior manager at an aluminium manufacturing business to train as an approved child care provider, and the result is Daddy Day Care in the northern suburb of Butler.
I spoke with Gary about his decision to open a day care.
“I wanted to do a job that I would love, and wanted to have more quality time with my family and children,” Gary explained. ‘I was working in a senior manager role and was really great at my job, but I was not passionate about the work I was doing. I have two children who have been in family day care while I worked, and I thought ‘what’s the best way to be with them and do something I love?’ That’s why I started Daddy Day Care."
There is a lengthy and ongoing process in becoming registered to start a family day care. Like all new centres, Gary had to register with an approved child care provider. “I was screened and have to adhere to policies and procedures to ensure a safe environment for the children in my care,” Gary explained. “I regularly get audited on my education and care of the children I have. This is through Community Vision, who are amazing!”
I asked if he had experienced any negativity after making the decision to start a family day care centre as a bloke. “One of the first calls I receive was from a grandmother asking for more information. She asked ‘Does your wife help look after the children?’ I replied ‘No she is running her own business.’ There was a very long pause from her, followed with an awkward ‘Ok, thanks for the information’”.
As many new centres probably experience, the hardest thing to deal with so far is finding new families to take up vacant spots in his program, but otherwise Gary says there have been lots of laughs and he has received a lot of support. “Seeing the reaction of people when they find out I'm a mid-thirties male wanting to care for children at home is always good,” Gary laughed.
Do male-run day cares operate any differently to a more female-oriented service, I wanted to know. “I'm not sure,” Gary replied. “The children are the same. I'm passionate, and have a high energy level. It's easy for me to run and play with the kids all day so they can sleep well at night.”