March 29, 2023

The Day in the Life of a Centre Manager (Part 1)

A Centre Managers day doesn’t just start early, their day has most likely started the night before, sitting at home, rearranging staffing for the following day or getting on top of the paperwork they missed while having to jump on the floor to cover lunches or maintain ratios.

Being a Centre Manager is more than just having the huge responsibility of looking after the safety and needs of the children and their Early Education, it is a role that changes day by day, hour by hour. The Centre Manager wears many hats within the service, and they can act as anything from carer, educator, cleaner,  cook, accountant, and sometimes one of the most important roles, a listening ear for children, parents and educators.

On arrival to the centre the Manager will begin by checking on the opening Educators to see how the morning has been running and ensure safety checklists are completed and procedures have been followed. The morning is a lovely time to greet children and families and give those much-needed hugs to the little ones who are not quite ready to leave mum and dad. Most mornings the Manager does not even get the chance to take their coat off or set down their belongings as it’s time to hear all the stories since they last seen a child, get a big hug or hear how they slept the night before from parents, all while trying to answer the phone that has been ringing all morning.

Making their way around the centre is an important part of the Centre Managers day, it allows them to check on ratios, absentees and picking up on any health and safety issues or hazards. They will come across many hurdles on their walk that will begin to unravel their day that they had previously planned and believed would be extremely productive.

In the space of a few minutes they will have encountered, unwell staff being unable to attend their shift meaning the centre is out of the Child to Educator ratio and therefore noncompliant, parent concerns or complaints that pretty much need dealt with yesterday and of course that missing comforter belonging to the beautiful baby crying in the nursery, all problems that need solved and not one more important than the last. Having strong Room leaders and Educators working as a team is pivotal for a well-run centre and can definitely alleviate the pressure on the Centre Manager.

All this has happened, and the manager has yet to open their e-mails or begin that ever growing to-do list never mind grab a coffee or even drink that cold one from 2 hours ago. Like everything else e-mails bring with them the smallest to the biggest tasks from parents, sister centres, area managers and governing bodies. Again all tasks that need completed in a timely manner, and of course time is something that the Centre Manager doesn’t have much of.

Quickly adding in new bookings, sending invoices and charging parents accounts are simple but time-consuming tasks and in the blink of an eye its lunch time, not that that means a break for the Centre Manager. This is a busy time in the nursery with many babies needing spoon or bottle fed, and every helping hand is appreciated, therefore the Centre Manager is back on the floor and away from them never ending tasks and responsibilities.

With the babies all fed and settled the Centre Manger gets to enjoy a 15-minute break and grab a quick bite to eat however the phone begins to ring and that short break is cut even shorter.