Taking on Vic Uni creche nappy policy - heard back from mgr

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Taking on Vic Uni creche nappy policy - heard back from mgr

Postby nikkitheknitter » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:00 pm

Decided to try and change the policy of Vic Uni creche centres to disallow cloth nappies after quite a few ladies at Ohbaby mentioned the policy. I will document my process should any one else need to get their cloth nappy rant on ;)

Round One:

Rang personal contact at head office. Supplied with reason to disallow cloth: there is no room for buckets. Unimpressed. Got email address of teacher I was friendly with that is v. interested in environment.

Sent email:

Hey XXXXX,

How are ya? It's been a looooong time. And I still miss Vic Uni crèche!! Hannah always talks about it too - affectionately known as her "old crèche"

Anyway, this is a bit of a business call. Sorta. You know how I'm a bit cloth nappy mad? And how I'm a bit geeky? Wellllll... there have been quite a few ladies on one of my geeky parenting sites mentioning Vic Uni crèches' not allowing cloth nappies. Modern ones that is... not old fashioned. I completely understand that. When I was there I was much too afraid to challenge the policy due to the fact that Hannah's place at the crèche may have been jeopardised. (I know that's silly... but still - it's hard to get kids in crèche!) Now I'm much more outspoken about environmental stuff and have nothing to lose ;)

I just called XXXXXX to talk to her about what the official line is with the cloth nappy thing and she said that the reason that modern cloth is not allowed is because of the room required for buckets. Now I don't at all see that as an adequate reason to disallow cloth nappies as there is no need to soak modern cloth and you most definitely don't need a bucket! The nappies can either be stored in a plastic bag, or if you are getting a bit fancy then they can be stored in a wetbag (which is what I'd suggest to any parent bringing along cloth naps). A wetbag is made out of waterproof fabric called PUL - here is a link to one (but they can be as simple as a drawstring type closure - really easy to make) http://www.busybehinds.co.nz/product_in ... cts_id=254

Even though there would be storage room required for the bag (a hook on a wall?)... I very much doubt you'd get even 50% of kids at a crèche using cloth (as cool as that would be to see!) so it'd just be the issue of storing a few bags - which I am sure is possible.

I'm thinking if I pitch a policy change in regard to cloth nappies there would need to be a minimum standard as far as what the parents provide (which most do anyway) - I'm thinking pre-stuffed pockets or all-in-ones only (much like a disposable works) with a flushable liner provided, and a wetbag. The teachers can either just flush the liner and contents or just roll up the nappy and place in the wetbag. I am happy to make up an information sheet or write a draft policy if needed. I am also happy to come up and do demonstrations to teachers.

I'm thinking with the push for the environmental stuff in ECE, the fact that centres could save money if they have less rubbish to dispose of, not to mention that parents would no longer have to fork out money for disposables, or compromise their principles!

Do you think this is do-able? Would you support me? I don't think I can purely do this as a 'concerned member of the community' ;) without at least a slight connection to the Vic Uni crèche.

Thanks for bearing with me this long.

xo

Nikki Whyte
Last edited by nikkitheknitter on Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Erin.T » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:04 pm

cool!

Stella goes to the Lincoln Uni Creche - they're great with cloth. I provide a wet bag and that's it :) They didn't like liners though - they prefer just to not deal with it at all (i.e. change her bum and roll the nappy up) which was fine with me :)
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Postby Makana » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:09 pm

Good on you Nikki - it makes sense for student parents to use cloth to save some $$$$ plus being enviromnetally aware. Hope you get some positive action happening.
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Postby nikkitheknitter » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:09 pm

Excellent - the more examples I can get the better 8-)

If any creche has any documented procedure that any parent can get hold of then please pretty please let me know!
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Postby AliG » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:15 pm

Go you, Nikki! I hope they sit up and take notice!!
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Postby AliG » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:16 pm

Oh, and wouldn'the dirty nappies go into the child's own wetbag/plastic bag and back into their creche bag? They wouldn't even need to worry about storage, would they?
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Postby nikkitheknitter » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:19 pm

AliG wrote:Oh, and wouldn'the dirty nappies go into the child's own wetbag/plastic bag and back into their creche bag? They wouldn't even need to worry about storage, would they?


The nappy changing area is away from the bags so I don't think they'd be in to that unfortunately.

And at the toddler centre the bags are at child level - dirty nappies and 2 year olds. Hrmmmm :? :lol: :wink:
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Postby Mazz » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:22 pm

Woohoo! Go Nikki! 8-)
My creche is great with cloth nappies (they come back to me rinsed off and clean, ready to wash :shock: ) and their under-2 change area is tiny, so I'll see if I can find their policy for ya.
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Postby mandli » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:40 pm

Daycare just had a wetbag for Maya (and use a plastic bag for another boy in cloth), they just had them sitting in the shrub next to the change mat but if they had more I am sure they could have done hooks on the wall under the cubby holes. The only issue they had was a cloth kid takes a whole cubby hole and 2 sposie kids can share one!
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Postby TheBean » Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:00 pm

They don't (or at least didn't) have a written policy for you to snab, but the BoP Polytech Daycare is another tertiary institution creche that has no problem with cloth, if you want to use the "everyone else is doing it" thing ;)

go you!
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Postby nikkitheknitter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:43 pm

Thanks for your help ladies. Much appreciated having people not think I am loony for doing this. I mean... I am... but that's beside the point! And I know how much I would have loved to be able to use creche while I was there but didn't feel able to speak up too much. Especially impt when there are a whole lotta people on a budget that use the centres! And there are four [not including staff centres]) and much harder to influence creche policy when you are dealing with someone in an office. Though they are all absolutely lovely up there.

Anyway, round two:

Hi Nikki , great to hear that Hannah is doing well and still talks about crèche. This just a quick email to let you know I received your email , I have forwarded it on to the supervisors of all Victoria Uni crèche and also to Jean Sunko. I have also requested that your letter is shared and discussed at the next supervisors meeting. I will also make an effort to remind the Marie and Jean of the importance of this matter. It is an issue that we have been talking about with more seriouusness lately - so perhaps your letter will give it more momentum.
Will email you as things progress
Amy


Yay that she emailed back and got the ball rolling but craparooni that she forwarded on my waffly shite. haha :wink:

My reply:
Amy - you are fabulous! Actually properly fabulous :)

And honestly, do let me know if you want me to come up and give a quick demo. I'm sure most of the resistance out there to modern cloth is that people just don't know what fabulous options there are these days. It isn't until you see them in person that you can get your head around it easily. I also have a whole lot of people online willing to give examples of systems that they have in place with their centres that I could collate if they needed something in writing.

Hope they (and you!) didn't mind my ranty informal tone in the last email. ;)

Cheers,

Nikki Whyte


ETA: Say fabulous much? :roll:
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Postby nikkitheknitter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:16 pm

Crap. Wrong tactic.

Hi Nikki

I’ve had your concerns about the non-use of cloth nappies passed on to me – why didn’t you get in touch with me instead of apparently going everywhere else. No one can seriously think their Creche place is at risk for asking if we ‘allow’ cloth nappies – it is only at risk if they choose not to come here! If we do offer parents the facility to use cloth nappies, then it has to be for everyone so we need to be sure we can cope with the storage if large numbers took up the option.

I have discussed the storage of cloth nappies with Regional Public Health (storage of the wet nappies is the issue) and they are concerned that there must not be any smell from the bags or whatever is used as storage. Buckets with fitted lids do keep the smell in – no suggestion of needing to soak them these days so don’t know where that idea came from. It seems a bit odd to store them in disposable plastic bags when that is what we are moving away from; we have just applied for and been given 300 environmentally sensitive bags for children’s wet clothes (not nappies) so we don’t have to use plastic bags for them any more.

The Law Creche is very small and I don’t know where they would store wet nappie bags so that they weren’t actually in the playroom (they don’t have a hallway like the other centres) but they may have creative ideas. I certainly would not like to work in a relatively small space with several nappie bags hanging nearby!!

Believe me we discuss the topic at least 2-3 times a year – I leave it up to the centres to work out solutions to issues such as this amongst their staff and there is not a generic policy from me that ‘bans’ cloth nappies of the new variety. I believe one of the centres does have 1 or 2 children in cloth nappies already but they have huge space that allow for their storage.

As I said I am not making any decisions on behalf of the individual centres – we will talk again at the next supervisors meeting and each centre will decide what they can offer parents; it seems purely to be a storage issues as we have many other practices that support the environment, good nutrition, etc.



My reply:

Hi,

I didn’t mean to bypass you at all. I just know you are busy and wanted to get the right information so it wasn’t seen to be so confronting – I guess I felt I had a more personal connection with Amy on the issue as I’ve talked with her extensively about it before. I wasn’t really expecting to have my email passed on directly, I would have explained myself better if I knew that would happen! As I said in the original email, I wanted to get Amy to help me with this as I didn’t feel I had ‘the right’ to speak on my own behalf as I am no longer using the centre myself.

I asked Trudy first about the policy on cloth nappies just because I didn’t want to bother you until I had the right information. My original information of Vic Uni crèches having a ‘no cloth’ policy had come from The Nappy Network where there is a forum to discuss childcare centres that support cloth use. The original statement came from a well known cloth nappy business owner. Admittedly, she could have been misinformed or the information outdated.

As for feeling at risk, this is what I have heard from others and how I have felt myself in that if we really did want to push the issue of cloth nappies and were confronted with the policy as far as it has been in the past in that a definite ‘no’ was given to cloth, then our only alternative is to find a place in another centre. The centres are so brilliant than 99% of people will consider their place in the centre more important than cloth and will not sacrifice their place to make a stand on the issue. It is not a risk as far as anyone asking them to leave. I shouldn’t have put it that way. I know for a fact that you’d not even think of doing that!

I do agree that storing them in disposable plastic bags is not a great solution. I would prefer wetbags myself, I was just communicating what I had heard other centres doing. The one that I linked to in the original email is a zipped pouch so would prevent the smell escaping. I have also used a tea tree oil soaked piece of material to deal with the issue of smell inside the bag. As you might imagine, this doesn’t solve the problem completely but does work relatively well. As far as examples from other centres that have used cloth – the parents are required to provide these bags. There are low cost alternatives or materials available for parents to make their own.

Unfortunately with the law crèche, I am unfamiliar with the lay out. My knowledge of the other centres is exactly the reason I considered that I should get more involved in this issue as while I know space is tight, I’m sure there is a way of finding a solution to the storage issue.

I don’t doubt that all the crèches are making major moves toward adopting sustainable environmental practices. I saw it myself and remain impressed at the efforts that went on at the toddler crèche. As a cloth nappy advocate, I am also really unimpressed that the public doesn’t understand how easy cloth can be (generally, not the Vic crèche). I would like to offer any information I can to work out solutions to any problems that people may have, and this is not just to Vic Uni crèche but to all parents and childcare centres.

Please let me know if you would like me to bring along storage and modern cloth nappy examples to the supervisors meeting if you think that would allow you and the supervisors to see if it is at all possible to have the option to use cloth at the centres.

I’m really not trying to be a pain for the hell of it. It is something that I have thought about for a very long time and I work long term in educating people about the merits of cloth nappies. I believe there is a time and place for disposable nappies and they have certainly made my life easier at times, but I believe that making cloth nappy use an option at childcare is part of a wider change in our practices that we need to allow for.

Thanks for your reply. I look forward to hearing from you and I’m sorry I didn’t ring for a chat sooner – I do know you are approachable and friendly. I just didn’t want to sound like a bumbling idiot earlier than I needed to.

Cheers,


Nikki Whyte


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Postby nikkitheknitter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:28 pm

Slightly appeased:

Totally agree with your sentiments re us all making an effort in ways we can whether at home or work - have just had a one year old staying and my husband commented on the weight of the rubbish bag after 4 days of disposables…. To say nothing of the environmental impact.

I think we have all seen the new cloth nappies and some of us have even changed one, me included – they are easy and great to use – it is purely the storage issue at our centres that is up for debate, and being very firm with families that they do provide the right bags!

We don’t have a meeting for a couple of weeks but will talk about it again at the next one.


And my reply:

Thanks, really appreciate it.

I know they are out there, but I’d be disappointed in a family that didn’t make it as easy as possible for a centre to use cloth – including providing a wetbag, pre-stuffing nappies and flushable liners (if wanted).

So, storage to go! If I had a trillion dollar nappy fund I’d pay for a rebuild myself ;) Hopefully it is much simpler than that.

Thanks again.
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Postby nikkitheknitter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:32 pm

So, in summary: vic uni doesn't have a policy to deny cloth nappies. The issue is currently storage and most problematic at the law creche.

Next supervisors meeting they will talk about it.

I'd propose zippered wetbags that hang on a nail.
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Postby Emma » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:34 pm

Oh wow, good on you :D
I'd go zippered bags too...
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