Stevie Gold 2022 Winner Feature

Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards smashes another year of business awards

Brisbane, Queensland – Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards has been named the winner of multiple Australian and International business awards in another successful awards season.

Gold Stevie® Award as Startup of the Year – Business Products and in the Business Services category in The 19th Annual International Business Awards®. Receiving a near-perfect score, Stevie® awards judges commented Nurch has a unique business structure that allows donations to charity, enriching their corporate social responsibility whilst giving back to children in need”, another stating, A very compelling and insightful entry, one of the best I have read! I loved the creativity within the described [marketing] campaigns, well done. 

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2022 IBAs received entries from over 3,700 nominations from organizations in 67 nations and territories. The Stevie® Awards consists of eight global programs. In February, Nurch was awarded Gold Stevie® winner for Business Service Industries and Silver Stevie® winner for Business Product Industries in the Asia Pacific program.

Further, last year, Nurch took out Gold for the same categories in the Women in Business program. Kara, co-founder at Nurch, has been nominated for Female Innovator of the Year for this program; finalists are due to be announced at an awards gala in Las Vegas in November.

Earlier this year, Nurch was announced as the Queensland State winner of the Australian Achiever Awards for Childcare Services & Supplies – for the second consecutive year. In 2021, Nurch was also highly commended in the Computer Systems, Software & Internet Services category; however, did not pursue this category this year. And was a finalist for Women Leading Tech Awards for the  Product category.

But the accolades don’t stop there. Two weeks ago, it was announced that Kara and the team at Nurch are finalists in the 2022 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards. “We are extremely proud and humbled to be among the finalists for Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards”, says Kara, “the high calibre of respected and successful business owners

The awards hosted by Business News Australia are Australia’s most prestigious awards celebrating the achievements of young business owners who are eager to make their impact on Australia and the world. By becoming a finalist, Nurch is also in the running to become  Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year and if successful, join a long list of ambitious entrepreneurs such as Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins of Canva who won,  and Nick Molnar, founder at Afterpay who placed second place in 2021. The winner and top 100 will be announced at an event in Queensland on November 28

Nurch is available in 45 childcare centres around Australia. Since its launch in September 2019, over 8000 members have claimed over $2.1 million worth of reward points.

In 2021 Nurch was a finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards – Specialised Small Business category,  and in the AusMumpreneur Digital Innovation category; and participated in People’s Choice – Product award.

To find out more about Nurch visit

2022 Australian Achiever Awards

Australian Achiever Awards – Services & Supplies Winner

Publication: Australian Achiever Awards


The judging process for the 2022 Australian Achiever Awards for Australia’s Childcare Services & Supplies category was completed on 20th June.

Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards scored 97.41% and was awarded QLD State Winner for this category.

Now into its twenty‐fifth year, the Australian Achiever Awards are an independent, unbiased award system based on assessment ratings from a business’s own customers. The awards provide an indication of a well‐run business where satisfied customers are a sign that a business is healthy, worthy of praise and increased custom.

The award system focuses on eight criteria, each scored separately, namely: Time Related Service, Addressing Client Needs, Care and Attention, Value, Attitude, Communication, Overall Perception and Referral. The criteria are rated individually in percentage terms and the final score is an amalgam of these. Anything above 80% overall is regarded as exceptional and reflects outstanding customer service. A complete list of all businesses that have achieved award status over the last few years can be viewed at

Some of the comments Australian Achiever received from Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards clients are:

At Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards the staff are quick to follow up, and they get back to me very quickly. They went above and beyond to rectify a staff member’s additional points accumulating problem. Families that have joined are loving them. While some are initially hesitant to sign up, they end up really enjoying it. Kara is wonderful; she touches base and takes time to speak to us. Communication is good, both by phone and email. They have been excellent.

Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards responds to any questions straight away. Families have said how happy they are about them. They are delighted to learn how to use their points and pleased with the email invites that explain this. They are excellent to deal with.

We receive great feedback from our families as they are always excited about rewards and points. The staff are excellent and very prompt in addressing any questions. I think it is a really great program, and they have always been fantastic and very helpful.


For verification of this report, please contact:
Jody Harwood, Director, Australian Achiever Awards
Phone: 0402 045 971

Mother and Daughter

Nurch rewards program aims to support ECEC sector through period of rising inflation

Publication: The Sector


Australian families continue to be financially stretched by the rising cost of living with early childhood education and care (ECEC) a significant additional cost amongst the increases in fuel, groceries and more. Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards is helping to try and ease the strain by assisting enrolled families with points that can be put toward everyday spending. 

“As the ECEC sector’s only loyalty rewards program, our mission to support children, their families and the teams that own and operate ECEC centres is one which is unique.” Kara Smyth, General Manager and Cofounder of Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards said.

“Nurch is currently available across a network of 39 centres and the positive feedback it is receiving emboldens us to continue forward towards our goals.”

“By participating in our program families are able to reduce their household spending while centres are able to offer a value-added differentiator to their competitors that can help attract and retain enrollments, which in turn helps keep the centre running well, educators in employment and creates a consistent learning environment for the children”


Nurch received well at partner centres

A parent of a partner centre says that while her family expenses are considerable, the most important aspect of ECEC is that her children are happy and in the right learning environment.

“I have three children attending an AMAZE Education service,” said a parent from Gaven.

“We recently moved and despite having a centre fifteen minutes from our house we choose to drive 45 minutes each way so they can stay at AMAZE.”

“The educators are like our extended family”, the Gaven parent said, “My husband and I earn full-time wages but daycare is considerable expense, and while the CCS changes have helped, Nurch is a big help that will help to cover a portion of the  $450 we spend in groceries each week  or the never-ending clothes costs that come with having young boys”.

“By allowing families to earn a minimum of one point per dollar spent on childcare gap fees, Nurch allocates points that are then redeemable at over 100 Australian retailers,” Ms Kara McCarthy, Centre Director at Amaze Education Gaven said.

“Simply put, while families are paying out of pocket expenses on childcare, they’re receiving money to spend on everyday items. We are deeply humbled how we can help families navigate this difficult period.”


Using Nurch points to reduce overall household spending a big plus for families

According to the ABS, inflation is now annualising at around 5.1 per cent, the highest rate of increase since 2009 with particular moves in transport, housing and education costs.

In a recent survey of Nurch members, 80 percent of respondents said that they see value in the loyalty rewards program, with 49 per cent confirming they use the loyalty rewards program to reduce their household and children-related spending.

Lucy Cook, General Manager and Cofounder at AMAZE Education said “Our number one priority is the welfare of our children and families.”

“Nurch has given us the perfect opportunity to give back to families for a bill they have to pay. We are even able to include bonus points for public holidays. The fact that the program is automatically reinvesting part of our marketing spend to benefit enrolled families first is a smart business model and no-brainer for us.”

This view was echoed by Nadine Ross, General Manager at Imagine Childcare who noted that they had seen the dual benefit of supporting families with costs but also an increase in overall enrolment as families elect to choose a centre with Nurch as part of their offer.

“We currently have 26 centres that offer Nurch and more to launch soon. The  feedback from families and centre directors  has been overwhelmingly positive,” Ms Ross said.

“We have seen an overall increase throughout these centres, even through COVID. Our  occupancy increased by three percent, compared to 2019, and I attribute this success to our educators, sales team and the Nurch program. It’s the winning combination. Families love that they can choose how they spend their points with the trend at the moment being that they like to use the points to buy groceries.”

To learn more about the Nurch rewards program  here.

Childcare loyalty program

Do loyalty rewards programs belong in childcare?

Publication: Mirage

Loyalty rewards programs aren’t a new concept, they have been around for 40 years; the idea of rewarding customers for their dedication to a brand and in turn creating retention for a business is an everyday concept for Australians. In fact, according to a study by Loyalty Reward & Co, published on ACCC, Research shows that almost 80 per cent of Australians are members of at least one loyalty scheme.

When Brent Thompson, Glenn Noy and Kara Smyth – who have over 30 years combined experience in the childcare sector – became aware of the imbalance of childcare centres versus demand, they were inspired to create a difference to combat the oversupply of centres and give the boutique centres a competitive advantage over the larger players. And so, Australia’s first childcare loyalty rewards program, Nurch, was born. Kara Smyth, Co-founder at Nurch believes that centres are investing copious amounts of time and money to acquire new family enrolments, but by allocating that [time and money] to Nurch, centres can dedicate those additional resources to the children to create a more consistent learning environment for children and carers. “As of June 2020, the average life cycle for children was 15 months for the sample of childcare centres that introduced Nurch in the December 2019 quarter. When we compare the same childcare centres the average lifecycle of those children at the childcare centres increased to 17 months. The increase of two months shows the increased loyalty the parents have shown to the childcare centres”, Kara says.

It does raise the question though – do loyalty rewards programs belong in the childcare industry or is it giving people a reason not to leave a centre if they are unhappy with the quality of education and care or working conditions? An educator in the sector recently said, “I am disgusted by a loyalty program for childcare. I feel like it compares making decisions about children’s education and care experience to where you pick up your next bag of pet food based on who will give you the tenth bag free. This disregards quality education and care practices and preys on people who may be financially vulnerable.”

According to the ABS, the average family income in Australia is $120,000. Childcare search and comparison site Care for Kids has shown the average cost of childcare in Australia soared during 2021 to a high of $177 a day – a large, and for many, unavoidable household expense. If there was a free opportunity to earn digital gift cards to reduce household spending, would they take it?

Nadine Ross, National Operations Manager for Imagine Education Group, comments, “Initially I was a little sceptical but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the main feedback we receive is that families can’t believe a loyalty rewards program exists for paying their childcare bill. Most of our families at Imagine Childcare receive $400 a year in gift cards and the trend is that they like to save them up for Christmas Holidays or use the points to buy groceries or other household items”.

Aimee Gossange, a parent enrolled in the Nurch program says, “I love the idea of loyalty for childcare – goodness knows it costs us parents enough to send our kids to daycare. We retrieved a voucher to the value of $200 over the Christmas/New Year period and still have much more to redeem”. Another parent, Emily Keable, states, ”Childcare for three children isn’t cheap! We have enrolled our kids, three days per week. This leaves us around $600 out of pocket per week, $30,000 per year, after the gap fee. Nurch rewards add up to about $1000 per year in what I believe is childcare savings for us, as we’re able to spend the gift cards on everyday items for our house and even my children’s school supplies”.

Since its launch in 2019, Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards members have redeemed $1.446 million in digital gift cards. Nurch currently has 42 partner child care centres across four Australian states (Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales) with an additional 15+ centres implementing the program by December 2022. Nurch is aiming to partner with 300 centres Australia wide to reward 30,000 Australian families, by 2025.

childcare subsidy changes

New Childcare subsidy changes: What do they mean to your family?

As a parent who also works in the childcare sector, I love speaking with my mum friends on all topics relating to childcare, especially any childcare savers. What surprised me recently was that some of my friends were not aware of the changes or how the new childcare subsidy laws benefited or impacted their family (or growing) family. As you will see in this article, every family may be slightly different. If you think you know how it works, I might surprise you with the fine print.

New family income estimate

The Australian government has finally increased the Childcare Subsidy income requirements which are based on your family income estimate and work or study needs. If you have not previously registered for Childcare Subsidy, I highly recommend you ring Centrelink to begin the process today. If you delay this, you will not be eligible for any backdate of payments as it goes from the date of registration.  Once you are all set up and you have linked your Children’s childcare to your Centrelink account, you can manage most things via an app. But remember that the government will reconcile your family income estimate vs your actual taxable income and they will settle all debts shortly after you have lodged your tax return. They know that this is sometimes problematic so they withhold 5% of any eligible subsidy in case you have a debt. They will provide you with the 5% after you lodge your tax return if you are entitled to it. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to register even if you aren’t eligible for any subsidy as your ‘estimate’ may be more than your ‘tax’ return and you will be paid back.

Your family income Child Care Subsidy percentage
$0 to $70,015 85%
More than $70,015 to below $175,015 Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$175,015 to below $254,305 50%
$254,305 to below $344,305 Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$344,305 to below $354,305 20%
$354,305 or more 0%

Higher subsidies for families with two (or more) children aged 5 or younger

From 7 March 2022, any family registered with Centrelink will automatically receive a higher subsidy for the second (or subsequent) child if aged 5 or under.  To get the higher subsidy, a family must:

  • Earn under $354,305
  • Have more than one child under 5 enrolled into childcare.

Eligible higher rate children will receive a 30% higher subsidy, up to a maximum 95%. You will be notified of the changes but its always good to check with your centre or Centrelink.

Some interesting things to consider with these new rules are:

Multiple births: 

The government will automatically decide who is the youngest child if born on the same date. If you are a type A, you may not get a choice on this sorry. You are welcome to contact Centrelink if you want this recorded in a specific way.

Blended families:

As with everything diverse, it is still a challenge for our government rules.

If your family has different CCS accounts for different children in your family,  then your higher subsidy will not be applied until July 2022. Any missed payments will be backdated.

If you want to receive the higher CCS amount before July 2022, you need to choose one member in your family to claim the CCS for all children. This would be like applying all over again and may not be a convenient option for your family.

But if you take up this option, you must update your enrolments at your centre to ensure you are compliant with the Subsidy Laws.

I can see this being problematic so be prepared to ring Centrelink a few times about this one! I don’t understand how because you need to register all relationships to your Centrelink account.

Different Centres:

If your children attend different centres than this may cause a delay in you receiving the higher subsidy also. I was unable to find anything online about this but this is a little industry knowledge of how the system works.

Centrelink Debts:

The government put a pause on any centrelink debts during COVID-19 so I see this biting a lot of good people in the you know what. If you have a Centrelink debt, you are provided with the total amount and 28 days to pay or dispute this debt. What people aren’t talking about is that your subsidy may stop until it’s been paid back.  I was unable to find anything concrete online but it is known that Centrelink will just deduct the debt from any  payments you’re eligible for. This is obviously very problematic as Childcare is expensive without funding and the Subsidy is there to help working families to offset the costs. If this occurs, it is not your centre’s fault as they just charge the fees after any subsidy is applied. If you are a Nurch member, you will earn points on all the gap fees you pay so you will see more points in your Nurch bank and it might be the childcare saver you need after all of this.

If you need any assistance with Centrelink Debts, please click HERE

As I am writing this, I am following the political race closely as every party has a ‘pledge’ on how they will make childcare more affordable or run a slander campaign on why their opposition’s pledge is not in the best interests of Australians. I can see why people get confused as to what the subsidy funding laws are.  Please be sure to understand that any government making ‘pledges’ needs to go through many hoops to have funding changed. I am confident that these new laws will stick around for at least a few years.


10 Valentine’s Date Ideas with Nurch

Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend and if you’re looking for some cool, romantic or active date ideas, you’ve come to the right place – and, if you’ve got Nurch points to cash in, even better!

1. Hot air ballooning

Love will indeed be in the air on a hot air balloon ride. See cities and winery regions from a completely different view with a Red Balloon experience.

Hot air ballooning Sydney

2. A romantic weekend away

Is there anything better than a weekend or overnight getaway? Explore some new local regions or jump on a plane in some of Australia’s finest home-stays, beachside properties or opt for a unique experience, glamping. Airbnb has plenty of options and inspirational suggestions. Or visit a luxury Ovolo Hotel for a magical stay.

Inverloch Glamping Co.

3. Couple’s relaxation massage

Only have the opportunity to swing a couple of free hours? Don’t fret, relax – literally! Thanks to our friends as Endota Spa you treat you and your loved one (or friend) to a nourishing massage that will leave you feeling revitalised and ready to take on the kids!

Couples relaxation massage

4. Picnic

The simple things in life! Pack a picnic – get your partner, friends, kids or fur baby and head to a local park for a relaxed lunch in the sun. Better yet, head to Dan Murphy’s to add a bottle of your favourite sparkling!

Family picnic

5. Camping trip

Get out and under the stars, cuddle up by a fire and spend the day’s adventuring in the great outdoors. Pick up your camping essentials from Anaconda or BCF.

Romantic camping trip

6. Movie date

When was the last time you saw a movie, that wasn’t a kid’s animation? (Although I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a kid’s film!) You could treat your lover to a movie date with HOTYS or take the entire family on a date to Event Cinemas.

Movie date

7. Sports or live tunes

Day or night, TicketMaster have you covered for all things live sports, music and theatre. Bond as your share a special immersive experience – with or without kids!

Live music

8. Gourmet Dinner

How great is it when you can eat an entire meal, out, without any interruptions or cleaning up? Gourmet Traveller has some fantastic restaurants to choose from, for a relaxed lunch or delectable dining experience.

Gourmet Dinner

9. Netflix & Chill

Kids or no kids, a night in can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered! Get your favourite delivered to your door with Uber Eats and chill with Netflix. Or, brand new to Nurch, try incredible dishes from some of the best restaurants Australia has to offer from Providoor.

Couple in bed

10. Adrenaline junkies?

For the adventurous couples, Adrenaline has you covered! Book in a day to swim with dolphins and seals in Mornington, Jet Boat in the Gold Coast, test your team working skills double kayaking in Jervis Bay.

Double Kayaking in Jervis Bay

Now that you have some ideas, what are you planning?

In need of a babysitter? Our wonderful friends at Kiddo App have lovingly gifted Nurch members and fans a 10% discount on babysitting. Use NURCHLOVE valid until February 28 2022.

Want to win a $200 gift card to spend how you want this Valentine’s Day? Head to our Facebook page or leave us a Google Review by 11.59pm February 12 for your chance to win! Full details, click here.

Romantic ideas

2021 Gold Stevie Winnner

Nurch – Best New Business Product 2021

Publication: The Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Nurch PTY LTD, Chermside Brisbane, Victoria, Australia
Company Description: Nurch is Australia’s first childcare loyalty rewards program, founded in 2019 by Glenn Noy, Brent Thompson and Kara Smyth. Nurch head office is in Brisbane with a team of 6. It is a B2B & B2C high-tech and innovative platform designed to increase and retain childcare enrolments by rewarding family loyalty & spending. Nurch has recently won awards for product innovation, tech & childcare services.
Nomination Category: Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best New Product or Service of the Year – Business Products

Nomination Title: Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards

Nurch is Australia’s first childcare loyalty rewards program where families earn reward points based on their childcare fees. The high-tech platform is a brand-new product released on September 17, 2019. The program synchronises with each childcare centre’s software to automatically download the details of enrolled families, including the attendance records and fees paid by parents.

Nurch is 100% compliant with childcare subsidies and Australian consumer Laws. It is constantly updated and automated to meet government regulations, laws and changes.

Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards is a business that provides benefits to childcare centres and families through the clever purpose-built loyalty rewards platform. Its primary purpose is to reward Australian families for spending time at their centre. By rewarding loyalty, centres increase their profits by retaining more enrolments while retention leads to greater consistency of care for our children and their carers. Centres have a viable platform to market their business through offering promotions.

Nurch works because it automatically rewards enrolled families though is an incentive to attract new enrolments because it gives parents something back for what they pay in fees.

Nurch for families

Families earn 1 point for every $1 they pay to their centre. With access to an online secure portal, families can log on and redeem an e-gift card with their choice of over 85 Australian leading retailers. Families can save on groceries, buy household items and even save up their points for a holiday. When selected, the gift card is automatically emailed to their inbox and is ready to be spent. Nurch is free for families to join, and it helps them get a little back from paying childcare fees.

Nurch works for families –Watch this Video:


For childcare centres

Nurch is a program implemented by premium Australian childcare centres. Its tech-based data-driven secure marketing platform is an innovative and practical solution to enrolment retention and promotions that automatically manages the logic, distribution of the points and redemptions by connecting to childcare software data.

With the strategic retention marketing aspect of the business handled, centres can invest more time growing their business and creating memorable learning journeys for children.

Since September 2019, Nurch has successfully launched Australia’s first childcare loyalty rewards program. Nurch is a product that has financially assisted 4000 families, and 32 childcare centres to retain and grow enrolments. In the coming weeks, we have an additional 40 centres which will assist a further 4000 families (total 72 centres, 8000 families).

The redemption of members increased 704% which is a strong indication that our customers are satisfied with the product and redeeming the points earned for digital gift cards. Our partners grew internally by 45% with only our existing partner centres. Overall, the results are positive and on target to achieve 300 centres with 30,000 members.

Nurch is an Australian first, in its first year of business therefore past performance and expectation is not yet measurable. Further, our first year of operations has been and continues to be disrupted by Covid.

Nurch is proud to have a 100% retention rate, indicating our B2B customers are very satisfied. So far, five centres have been sold to different entities and none of these centres has cancelled Nurch. Further, we’re currently working with the new owners on a plan to implement Nurch in other centres they own, too.

Nurch has 5-star reviews by enrolled families, on Facebook and Google. Further, we receive online support from our members who appreciate the program. In September 2020, we conducted a survey that revealed that 53% of our members would choose a Nurch centre or remain enrolled at their centre due to the program.

The future is extremely bright for our young business. Although our current economy changes rapidly, in the next five years, we see 300 centres partnering with Nurch – Australia wide; this will benefit 30,000 Australian families. We are on track to reach our goal of 60 centres by the end of 2021; then we aim to double that for five consecutive years.

Imagine childcare musical instruments

New staff rewards category with aim of boosting staff retention

Publication: The Sector


When popular early childhood education and care (ECEC) specific loyalty rewards platform Nurch launched in 2018, the premise was simple… families are paying substantial fees for ECEC services, so why not reward them for their loyalty and spending?


With Nurch, families earn points on their gap fees, which are then redeemable at over 100 leading Australian retailers. By giving back to families through Nurch, approved providers increase the satisfaction of their families, and retain enrolments, which is not only better for children’s outcomes but which supports the business to be sustainable through retained enrollments and a boost in goodwill.

Given the success of the platform, which has attracted more than 42 services to the fold so far, the Nurch team have kept their eyes and ears open, looking for ways to enhance their offering, and capitalise on their extensive experience in the ECEC sector to create, shape and refine a product which meets the needs of services and families.


Changes now in play

The latest opportunity for the sector was announced in the Federal Government’s most recent Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. A number of changes relevant to the sector were put forward, with the most significant being that from 24 January 2022, ECEC providers can choose to offer a discounted fee to employees with children enrolled at one of their services without impacting the eligible subsidy.

“As soon as we heard the announcement, we recognised what an amazing opportunity it represented, not only for our existing Nurch users but for the sector as a whole,” Kara Smyth, Cofounder at Nurch explained.

Under the new measures, ECEC providers can choose to offer a discounted fee to employees with children enrolled at one of their services and report the full fee. The savings on the new structure of these discounts, Kara said, are new savings for all providers which present as an opportunity to give back and reward the most valuable families on their books – the educator parents.


Key facts

From 24 January, ECEC providers can offer staff discounts to those who work as educators or early childhood teachers in centre-based long day care or outside school hours care settings and who have children enrolled in the same provider network.

Providers can choose how much of a discount they want to offer, but it must be structured in such a way that the educator parent still pays at least a five per cent gap fee.

It’s in this window where Nurch represents a real value add for savvy providers. Here’s an example.

Jane, Aaron and the great value add

Jane is an early childhood educator who has one child in care. She works at a service in St Kilda, and her son Aaron attends a service just down the road, in Windsor, which is also operated by Jane’s employer.

Jane’s employer has always offered all employees a 25 per cent discount on their fees. Before the changes, the service had to report Jane’s discounted fee in session reports, and her CCS was calculated based on the discounted fee.

From January 24, Jane’s service still offers all employees the 25 per cent discount but now they can report the full fee in session reports – now Jane’s CCS entitlement is not affected by the discount, and her fees are reduced, reflecting substantial savings for Jane and her childcare provider.

Using Nurch to take it one step further

Her family income of $110,000 combined means that her CCS rate is 71.67 per cent. With daily fees at Aaron’s service of $106.50 for a ten-hour session, Jane was paying around $100 in gap fees for the three days Aaron was in care.

Under the new changes, and with her discount, she’s in a much better position financially, but her service didn’t stop there. Enrolled with Nurch, Jane, and all the other educator parents at her service, earn a minimum of one point for every dollar they spend on childcare fees. 300 points mean $10 to spend at well known Australian retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings, K-Mart, Myer and many more.


Givers are grinners

By providing Jane with a 25% discount, she will receive around $80 a week in staff discounts which makes her total weekly gap fee $236 per week. Jane will also have her Christmas shopping sorted as she will earn a minimum of $400 a year in rewards through Nurch too. The childcare centre will receive an additional $2800 a year in funding revenue for Jane. A win-win for everyone.


Why educator parents are such treasures

Those educators who wear two hats – caring for children at the service, whilst also being service users – are some of the most valuable assets an ECEC approved provider has, with their perspectives, views and experiences offering all parents in the service a unique window into how the various systems and processes in play work, Kara explained.

More than just staff members, parents who are educators offer a unique “Mum to Mum” (or Dad to Dad, or Dad to Mum) perspective on the inner workings of a service, and can add a layer of credibility and trust to the experience of all enrolled families.

“Parent educators are like gold,” Kara said. “They are the biggest advocates for what’s working well in your service, and should be your first port of call when it comes to making changes to benefit your community.”


Rewarding educator parents

“The Nurch program is a great way to recognise and reward loyalty in all families, but especially those educator parents,” Kara explained.

For Nadine Ross, Nurch user and Head of Operations at Imagine Childcare, the announcement in relation to staff discounts represented a real opportunity to work with their team and come up with an offering that sets them apart from other providers – something which is essential in the challenging recruitment environment of ECEC today.


“We talked with our team,” Nadine explained, “and soon learnt that they were interested in learning more about how this discount applied to them, and what it would mean for their weekly fees.”


Now that both the Nurch platform and the discount policy is clearly understood by her team Nadine is confident that her educator parents will stay with her service and do what they do best – deliver high-quality education and care.

At a time where the sector is battling staff shortages, employee retention has never been more important, and the most valuable employees to retain are those who understand ECEC like no other, experiencing it right alongside the parents and families they work with every day.

The Nurch team is ready to provide advice and support to services who are looking to maximise their offering to educator parents, and to all families. To learn more, contact Nurch.

Secret ingredient to retaining enrolled families

The secret ingredient to retaining enrolled families

Publication: The Sector

With so many families familiar with the concept of rewards programs, it makes sense that this popular initiative could find a space in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. After all, families are spending large portions of their income securing optimal education and care experiences for their children… What if there was a way to ensure that they were rewarded for their choices? 

Enter Nurch, a new ECEC specific loyalty rewards platform, which sees families earning points that are then redeemable at over 100 leading Australian retailers. Points are linked with the amount of gap fees paid by enrolled families, in a sector first which not only rewards loyalty but also becomes a point of difference for approved providers.

“With over 15 years of experience in ECEC, we were tired of the same old promotional strategies or discounts childcare centres used to increase enrolments,” Kara Smyth, Cofounder at Nurch explained.

While the “tried and tested” promotional strategies are sometimes useful for building enrolments, they rarely benefit those loyal families who remain with a service throughout their child’s learning journey. It was here where the Nurch team saw the greatest opportunity to affect real change.

Nurch not only helps to bring new families in but also retains those who have chosen to stick with the service, recognising their efforts with well-earnt rewards.

Nurch rewards existing families with redeemable points to spend

For every dollar a family spends on gap fees, Nurch points accumulate. These points can then be redeemed for digital gift cards issued by Prezee which can be used at over 85 leading Australian retailers.

Seamless integration between Nurch’s loyalty platform and a service’s child care management system (CCMS) facilitates the calculation and allocation of points for each family with the corresponding adjustment automatically made to their Nurch account, making the process high value and low stress for busy service operators.

Nurch has quickly become an essential part of the offering provided to families by Imagine Education Group, one which Nadine Ross, National Operations Manager says is “a special point of difference which shows families our care doesn’t stop in the centre, we care about their family life at home too.”

“It’s now an essential part of our marketing and operations,” she added. “We find it tremendous to be able to provide our families with rewards they value.”

Service managers are also able to create special promotions with Nurch points to incentivise families to book in on days where vacancies exist, or to reward those families who choose to book in for four days a week or more.


Nurch’s innovative product was recognised with Gold Stevie at the 2021 Stevie Awards

Nurch’s innovation has been recognised internationally, with the team recently being recognised in the 2021 Stevie Awards – Women in Business where they received a Gold Stevie, reiterating the young startup’s success in finding a solution that supports both families and providers as well as empowering women.

Ms Smyth has recently been nominated for Brisbane’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year for her work with the company.

“The importance of valuing loyalty, consistency of care and your staff has never been so pivotal to the success of any childcare centres,” she added, “and we are thrilled that our hard work and vision is being recognised.”

To learn more about Nurch please see here.

Single parents

How to navigate back to school as a single parent

Publication: Beanstalk


January is the season of back-to-school expenses. As a single parent, you essentially now have the joys of doing this on a single income with or without help from your ex-partner.

I am dedicating this blog to tips on how to make your dollar spread further by making sure you only get what’s needed, and how to handle an ex that doesn’t contribute to the expenses at this time of year. Interested in how I’ve managed to handle this time of year for the last 15 years? Read on.


Is it just me, or are black leather school shoes the ugliest and most expensive things, ever? I feel so ripped off that I can’t buy cute shoes for the amount of money I am forking out.

My process for shoes is to always buy quality fitting shoes – preferably on sale, if that is an option. But, shoes aren’t the place I try to bargain hunt as growing bodies need good quality shoes. Kids wear these shoes all day, so they do need good shoes. But, I lessen the burden by buying just one pair if the school allows me too. How? I always opt for the black leather running shoe. This meets the leather shoe criteria to meet uniform requirements, and it can be used with the sport uniform too.

Rebel Sport, Myer, David Jones and Athlete’s Foot all sell these types of leather running shoes. Be sure to check whether you have any points from your loyalty programs to help reduce the costs of the shoes too. The company I run, Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards, sees the savvy mums cashing in their Nurch points earned from paying childcare fees on school shoes in January. I love seeing gift card redemptions coming through.

The downside of this trick is that when kids reach high school, this leather running shoe trick no longer applies. In that case, I make sure the sneaker is something they would wear on the weekend, if I can. That way, the shoes are more versatile and I find my teen’s feet have fully grown by year 10 so I can usually get a little longer out of the school shoes (if they look after them!).


Personally, I only ever buy 2 formal uniforms, 1 sports uniform, 3 pairs of socks, 1 hat and winter items, as needed. If the school requires the bag, I buy 1 bag and it usually lasts till the graduating year. The reason I only buy what I need is because I do midweek washing and I can wash the uniforms. If they are in good condition, I will buy them second hand. If not, I just ensure they are big enough to be worn for the whole year (possibly two years). I find that after two years, they are ready to be thrown out (especially if you have a son/s).

If your school allows you to buy the basics from Target, Big W or Best n Less – then take advantage of this! No one can tell what you paid for it so get the cheapest one available, every penny counts when you’re a family on a single income. Do some online research shopping to manage your time best.


The book list will provide you with what you need to buy. My tip is to see what you have at home first before you buy new. But my best tip is to put a call out on your community social media pages to see if other families are selling textbooks, secondhand. Other than that, there really isn’t any way of getting around this except just buying in bulk to save dollars if you have multiple children. Personally, I opt for convenience and if I can, I tick the box to get the school to supply and I pay the school the book fees.


If after all of this, you are scraping to get the school fees in, speak to your school. Some schools will delay, offset, reduce or void school fees if you need the help. Personally, I have always paid my school fees in full and early to get the discounts available. But if you need help, don’t suffer in silence – just ask. Most schools will gladly help you out. This applies for Public, Catholic and Private Schools.


Is it just my children that want a new drink bottle and lunch box every January? I do comply because after one year of usage, they do look gross. I also think if a $20 lunch box is going to make you enjoy packed lunches more, I will save dollars on tuck shop visits. Just be sure to buy lunch boxes that are practical and large enough for the items required. My children are expected to pack their own lunches so I buy ones that suit their lunch making skills. BPA free, recyclable plastics are durable and easy to clean. The clips are also handy as opposed to zips that can break or get jammed.


I have a rule. I only buy one of everything at the start of the year. If my children break or lose their items, they are required to earn the pocket money required to replace them. I do this because I find that children lose less items when they know they will have to replace them out of their pocket money or by doing extra chores. I strongly believe that this helps children learn the value of money while saving me the cost of replacing items mid year. If you do need to replace something and you can wait, I find after Easter and July sales are always off the most competitive rates. When my children have to fork out their own cash for items, I use this as an opportunity to teach them my exceptional bargain hunting skills, learned from 15 years as a single mum. Skills that I assure you, you will learn to master.


Try to recoup some school expenses by selling the items your little one might not use or need. If you don’t end up selling them, donate them. There are always people in positions that would appreciate the kindness.


Some single parents have great exes who are happy to halve the cost of essential items, like back-to-school expenses. Others can’t, won’t or don’t! All you can do is keep receipts and ask but don’t expect it. If it gets paid, great. If not, then as the primary carer you would have had to buy these items anyhow.

Child Support is calculated to cover essential items. Essential items are school expenses except for Private School fees. So don’t use your stingy ex as the excuse to void your responsibility here whether they do or don’t pay Child Support. Life isn’t fair, but it’s not the kids fault and as the primary parent you have a responsibility to provide this. The way I justify it to myself is that the more I have paid for my children, the more I know I did my part and that’s all I can control. My part.

I hope you enjoyed the blog on the tips I have used to navigate school expenses when I was a single parent. I still follow all of this now even with a husband – once a single mum, always a single mum! I know that your life might be a struggle right now but trust me when I say this, it does and will get easier.

Being a single parent actually gave me the grit and determination I needed to run and co-found Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards. The best part of Nurch is that everyday I wake up knowing that my program is helping single mums save on everyday purchases like school items for their children.

Life is a constant hustle but if you look for the lessons and opportunities, it will guide you to where you need to be. Sometimes the lesson is just that your kids need to see how hard it is to work for them so they can realise their full potential too. In a perfect world, school items and education would be free but it’s not. Our job as a parent is to do what we have to do to give our children the best opportunities.