Quick centre takeover upsets parents
A fast change of ownership at a Claudelands early childhood centre has upset parents, but the new owner says it was done by the book and the kids are the first priority.
Parents of children at Learning Links Childcare Claudelands, in Hamilton, were told through a note last Monday afternoon that the centre had been sold by the owners of 14 years.
New owners Mini Miracles Educare, of Te Awamutu, took over at close of business on Friday.
The majority of staff also changed.
"I was really upset and it has been an emotional week," mother Sarah Calder said.
"The fact that it's sold isn't the issue. The issue is the fast turnover and lack of transition for the kids with new teachers."
Parents thought highly of the current staff and wanted transition time for their children instead of a big change from one week to the next, she said.
They were sad to see teachers with strong relationships with their kids leave and not to meet the new ones before they started.
Parents had met the new owners at a meet and greet last Thursday, and she had planned to spend time at the centre early this week to see who would now look after her 11-month-old daughter.
Another parent, Cathy Carter, decided to remove her daughter from the centre after what she described as "extreme short notice and lack of information".
She would have expected parents to get more warning and be consulted about planned changes to the centre, she said.
But parents had nothing to worry about, Mini Miracles Educare owner and director Anjum Syeda said.
"We're here for the children. That's it," she said.
"We're here to work for the community and we're here to work for the children and to give the best. Because they [parents] don't know us they are a bit upset. I understand that."
She and her manager organised the meeting on Thursday to introduce themselves to parents so they could get a sense of "who we are" with the aim of alleviating worries about the new start yesterday.
The finishing of contracts with the sale of a business was also standard practice, Syeda said, and the new owner could then choose their staff afresh.
Former centre owner Todd Painter of Learning Links Childcare said parents were notified after the sale went unconditional.
"The new owners wanted to have a quick settlement to minimise the impact on the centre so we agreed with that," he said.
He had expected most of the Learning Links staff would stay on but the new owners had chosen to make changes.
"These guys wanted to make sure they had the right team going forward."