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  • Koreen Liew-Young

Take a load off with St Lukes Shoppers' Creche

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

So it’s 2019. There’s no kindy because it’s school holidays. I desperately need to do some work but Mr "nearly4" is sucking my introverted energy levels dry and wants me to play with him non-stop. I love him immensely- but sometimes I just get so exhausted, and need to find some calm amongst the chaos.

The entrance decorated with balloons for school holidays
The entrance decorated with balloons for school holidays

I have the perfect solution, listen up all you Aucklanders (sorry for those who aren’t in the area, but I'll cover concepts that are still relevant e.g. putting your child into care and not feeling guilty about it.) The St Lukes Shoppers' Creche is a fantastic place to bring your child and know your child will be well looked after while you can just get a coffee / work / do your shopping. (BTW I'm not being paid to share this in any way shape or form, I just genuinely believe in the team and what they are doing and know some of you parents out there are needing some time out!)

I can recall my son in 2017, just two years old and going through his year of night terrors which left me exhausted each day. My graphic design business was also beginning to grow. Working while he slept, was simply not enough and working while he was awake was impossible. My friend had suggested taking him to the creche at Westfield St Lukes and then working from a local cafe. I had always walked passed the sign and wondered. But I had thought, there’s no way I will be able to peel him off me – he is WAY TOO clingy. Or I’ll probably have to book Martin in, which is WAY TOO DIFFICULT because I’ll never keep to it. I am just trying to get through each hour, and then each day and feeling completely overwhelmed.

Can’t hurt to do some research, I’m getting a bit desperate, so I hopped on my laptop. St Lukes Shoppers' Creche: FAB ERO report. Well I needn’t worry about the quality of care, they’re obviously fantastic teachers and well resourced.

With my anxiety levels shooting through the roof, one day...... I just walked in. (The entrance is now gated, which is great if you have escape artist children.)

Artwork from Creche, hung on his bedroom door
Artwork from Creche, hung on his bedroom door

I met Teachers Laura and Karen, who I immediately felt calm talking to. We walked around the different play areas and I noticed my son’s hand fiercely gripped to mine. I was very impressed by the covered outdoor area and sandpit. The workstations change every day also which was great for variety, you know, all that messy stuff like Play-Doh and paint that you really don’t want to clean up off your own carpet. It's the perfect opportunity to unleash their creativity without having to deal with the clean-up and also makes fantastic last-minute wrapping paper / birthday cards.

Biting my lip and fighting everything within me, the teachers recommended just saying goodbye and walking out. I felt completely guilty for which is the most stupid thing. Unfortunately, I was immediately phoned back to return to collect him before he got himself in a state about our separation. The teachers then recommended trialing spending some time together at creche to get him used to the new environment as well as the teachers. Each time I’d step a little further back, casually chatting with the teachers as he suspicious eyes would dart around making sure I was still in proximity.

He started to show signs of warming up and trusting the space after two-three times. And eventually – he was weaned off me. Power punch to the sky and a sigh of relief.

With Teacher Laura (L) and Teacher Elisha (R)
With Teacher Laura (L) and Teacher Elisha (R) in front of the sandpit

They have a huge mix of diversity in ethnicities of children that come through and they celebrate different cultures by doing arts and crafts for events such as Māori Language Week which is fantastic exposure for our children. I also was very impressed at the feedback they would give me about what my son was really into playing with that day, or random stories about things he'd say or do which was quite touching to hear.

Since then, Teacher Karen has retired and now Teacher Sarah (who is fluent in Chinese) has joined the team. It’s been a wonderful nearly two years of taking my son to them. He loves it so much (like a second home) and it really helped warm him up for kindy. It was also my opportunity to go nap in the car if I was jaded from the previous night’s lack of sleep, OR go buy some birthday presents from the toy shop without having to mop the floor with a child wrapped around my ankle who was desperate for THAT toy.

Things to remember:

  • Creche is open anytime between 9:00am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday.

  • For 2, 3 and 4 year olds

  • You don’t have to book, just walk on in. (So many people don't know this!)

  • $5 for one hour or if you go on concession card $8 for two hours (BARGAIN) – you also get a free coffee after your 10th session

  • You need to stay around the proximity of the mall

  • School holidays they usually have an amazing entertainer like a face painter or a balloon artist. (See pics throughout the blog.)

So with two days left of the holidays, just go say hi to the team, Laura, Miranda, Elisha and Sarah. Or find alternative care in your area. As a parent you deserve some YOU time (please don't feel guilty) and they help your child (and you), feel completely at home. 😊


This article was published by Scentre Group on Westfield's Facebook group Tuesday 29 January 2019.

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