Martina Dunkel - Kindoo! Family Flexible Care
Martina Dunkel - Kindoo! Family Flexible Care
This week we are proud to introduce Martina Dunkel, founder of Kindoo! Family Flexible Care in Ferntree Gully, Victoria. Kindoo! Offers a wrap-around early childhood service which enables parents to build a program of care which meets their unique needs.
Which centre do you work in? How many staff and children are in the centre?
I work at Kindoo! Family Flexible Care in Ferntree Gully, Vic where our licensing capacity is currently 44 and we have 5 staff.
What is your professional background and career experience?
My professional background is in Banking and Finance where I worked for more than 20 years in corporate finance.
What attracted you to a career in early education and care?
My attraction to the sector was born out of personal experience. As a widow with two kindergarten-aged children, I found I was unable to return to work unless my children attended a kinder program in a long day care centre. They were already attending community-based kindergarten, which I didn't want to remove them from. At the same time, I knew that early years education was vital to their future and wanted to make sure I was closely involved in their lives - I just needed the flexibility of someone picking them up and caring for them until I could return.
After asking a broader group of mothers, I found that while our circumstances differed, we all shared a need for longer 'wrap around' care similar to parents of school aged children. Something really flexible to meet the demands of working families including those working non-traditional hours. Something that didn’t really exist in the child care sector.
What does a 'normal' day look like for you?
A normal day is, well, never normal! My work is usually quite varied each day. For example, today I led three campus tours, helped with the orientation of a new family, trained our staff on a new software platform and completed next week's staff roster. Tomorrow will be totally different in that I will be planning our holiday program for the forthcoming term holidays and interviewing a potential casual staff member for our evening care program. I love that one day is often very different to the next.
What makes your service unique?
Kindoo! is a real game changer for the early education sector and certainly unique. We have split each term day up into five care and education session spanning from 7am to 11.30pm and parents are able to book into any or all of those sessions on either a permanent, casual or emergency basis. We also provide a transport service to and from 19 local community kindergartens for families that require that 'wrap around' care.
What are some of the advantages of working in the early childhood sector?
Working with such creative, talented people that are passionate about the children in their care is fantastic (and a big change from the corporate finance arena!). I'm continually amazed by the dedication and hard work the educators put in to our learning programs and how little of this families are actually aware of.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector?
Centre over-supply seems to be becoming an issue in some geographical areas and this may mean that the level of care is compromised as margins are squeezed. There will be an increasing emphasis on marketing at the centre level and on personalisation at the family level.
How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?
By being able to provide families with flexible care and education options that better meet their needs, we still aim to provide a high level of personalised service and strong community relationships. Using the famous proverb of "It takes a village to raise a child" we want to be an integral part of the modern family's village.
How does the industry need to change to adapt to these challenges?
Our industry is going through a great deal of change from both within, with the introduction of the CCS, but also from without. We are seeing many families struggling to juggle the demands of modern-day life and need to be an integral part of this solution.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career or looking for a promotion in early learning and care?
While our industry is highly regulated, that shouldn’t take away our ability as educators to provide uniquely valuable learning experiences. It is this value that we can provide; the cream on top of the learning cake, and that which our families are looking for. Seeing a child's face light up when he or she learns something is the moment that gives us all the greatest of satisfaction.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 01 October 2020
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