From Huntington Beach, CA — 06/08/2009
I am so lucky to be working at this Kindercare! From reading the other posts this company sounds like a nightmare! But my center must be the exception to the rule. Believe me, my center has for years struggled and survived the worst director you could ever imagine, three different CDs/ADs in a year, and plenty of dumb bell teachers, but the Center Director, AD, and teachers we now have are fantastic.
Pay: A little above minimum wage. Count on the yearly pay raise to help get by, but didn't happen this year "because of the state of the economy" or so we were told. But most child care centers are notorious for their low pay. If you are in this job field for the money, you are in the wrong field.
Respect: CD and AD are amazing and willing to back staff up when it comes to dealing with difficult children or parents, sticking to the sick policy, and addressing problems/issues with coworkers, parents, etc.
Benefits: Don't participate in the benefits the company offers
Job security: Depends on enrollment. My center is mostly 8 hours a day, sometimes getting off 15-30 minutes early if lots of kids get picked up. If your CD/AD knows how to schedule according to the needs of the center and doesn't overstaff, you should get a decent # of hours each week.
Work/Life balance: Not difficult as a teacher. You have at least an hour a day during nap to get curriculum prepared. The company is supposed to pay for all the supplies you need. (The catch is you need to ask for them well in advance of when you need them, or you have the choice to pay out of pocket or make do without. The budget stretched out between all the classrooms is tiny.) You are supposed to bring in your own ideas to the classroom, in addition to the provided curriculum, but they don't need to cost you anything.
Career growth: Depends on you. Becoming a CD, AD or DM obviously takes more education but Kindercare does offer to contribute to further education.
Location: On a major street, not too near freeway. Lots of separated play space and huge grassy field in the back with play structures.
Co-worker Competence: The CD/AD are always willing to step into a classroom for any need I may have, even including plumbing issues and letting teachers off on time (Kindercare doesn't like to pay overtime if they don't need to). Easy to approach and discuss things. The lazy and/or moronic floaters/teachers have been weeded out. Teachers are for the most part reliable, friendly, flexible and willing to pull their weight. We care about kids and we act like it.
Work Environment: Ive never had a problem getting my lunch, morning or afternoon breaks. We don't let our classes get out of ratio because the teachers and CD/AD are paying attention and fix it. Yes, you may have to take a trash bag out to the dumpster if your trash can is full, and need to sweep, dust, and clean as needed. But there is a cook that does all the cooking and cleaning of the kitchen, and a janitorial service that does the majority of cleaning.
The bottom line is: It all depends on the staff. We all know corporate is never going to change, that their main interest is in the amount of money coming in, but as long as the teaching staff is doing what they are supposed to be doing and care for the kids, things run smoothly.