Homing in on childcare

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Two enterprising local women believe they can ease the stress of Queenstown’s baby boom – and provide work for stay-at-home mums at the same time. 

Jodi Macfarlane and Oanita Collins have brought the nationwide PORSE (Play, Observe, Respond, Support, Extend) programme to the resort in a bid to respond to the growing need for childcare, as other local centres struggle with long waiting lists. 

PORSE provides childcare, run by local mums, who get free on-the-job NZQA training to look after up to four toddlers – including their own – at home. 

Women who become educators are self-employed and manage their own hours, charging $6-$10 an hour for care. 

“The earning potential is quite good,” local programme tutor and educator Jodi Macfarlane says. 

“Most educators charge $8-$9 per hour, so if you’ve got your own child there’s three children you can charge for, so that’s about $24 an hour. 

“And then you’ve got your tax write-off as well, because you’re running your business from home and they don’t have to be GST registered.” 

Educators – who can also be grandparents, nannies or anyone else caring for kids – manage how many hours they work and find their own business. 

So far there are four educators in the Wakatipu who look after 15 kids but Macfarlane says she’s looking for more. “We’re hoping to relieve the chronic pressure on childcare centres while offering parents the chance to have their children cared for in a settled home environment.” 

Subsidies are available for parents putting their child in PORSE care, and the programme receives the Government’s 20 hours free scheme for three-year-olds and up.