By Susan Saunders
Hiding among the corporate CBD high-rise you can find amazing places.
Have you noticed? There are a lot of people walking around the streets of Melbourne’s CBD. A large percentage of those people actually live here, (in their vertical villages). But where you have people, little people are around. Where do our Boss Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers go during the day when mum and dad are at work?
Most people are aware of the prestigious corporate tower at 101 Collins St full of smart offices and busy, well dressed executives. Yes? Well not exactly. If you travel to the 9th floor you come across a magic world, the Boss Babies and little kids’ habitat. Actually, it is an Early Learning Centre that caters for children from six weeks old to pre-school kindergarten. The centre is open from 7.30am until 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Children follow a carefully planned curriculum that provides them with play-based learning to create lifelong learners. The centre is staffed by a team of experienced educators, some of whom bring a range of languages into the centre including Mandarin, Arabic, French, Greek, Philipino, Indonesian and Indian.
With care throughout the day, the Boss Babies are provided with seasonal and nutritionally balanced meals, crafted by the in-house chefs. Intelligent design has allowed for a family dining area that encourages mums and dads to have breakfast at the centre, creating quality family time and a smooth transition to the start of the working and learning day ahead for little persons.
The children follow a specially designed curriculum that prepares them for successful transition to school. Not all is indoors though. As shown in the photos, the Boss Babies’ habitat includes special high rise “outdoor areas” that the children love. Who would expect to find a sand pit on the 9th floor of a commercial building in the middle of the CBD?
Best of all are the excursions. Yes. This is where the Octo Pram comes into action. As expressed in the centre’s web site:
“We love taking our children out on daily excursions into the CBD and surrounds in our massive eight-seater prams (Octo Pram). For these children, the city is their teacher and they love indulging in the culture and creativity the CBD has to offer. Excursions include visits to the library, art gallery, gardens, playgrounds, museum, cafes and even the graffiti covered lanes of the CBD”.
A search on the internet reveals that this particular CBD habitat for the Boss Babies is joined by 13 others. Not all without some controversy, however.
About two years ago the City of Melbourne gave special approval for three similar child care and early learning centres to be established in high rise commercial buildings. There was criticism that the poor little children would not have access to outdoor areas and therefore the centres should be banned.
That is fine for people living in the suburbs, but city kids need to be cared for and their habitats can be just as wonderful as any centre in so-called leafy suburbs. With parental input and innovative private businesses, the problem has been solved – comprehensively it seems. But it is the private sector that has done it. Created the magic for our little people.
Maybe the council and the state government need to take note of what is actually happening and think more creatively about catering for the growing needs of our up-and-coming new generation. The city need more centres like this. It is poorly served with primary and secondary schools. Certainly, the council closing their one child care centre on A’Beckett St does not help.
Talking to a mother of a toddler and a new baby, her comment was:
“The City of Melbourne is asleep at the wheel! I have wonderful, private child care now, but where can I send my children when they reach primary school age? Where are the state schools in the CBD? It makes it hard for me to live in the CBD. I will have to move out and I don’t want to do that. I love living here.”
Maybe the City of Melbourne needs to update and to be more aware of the needs of little people who have a habit of growing up. Not all people can afford private primary and secondary schooling. State schools for city kids are needed too.
By Susan Saunders