Today I got to interview Heidi Shuker from Little Zebra Childcare and Kindergarten Rockhampton. This centre director was our star performer in our first ever rollout challenge. Even now, her centre has consistently utilised all of the Nurch features to engage with her new and existing families. We have many great centre directors partnered with Nurch, but I really appreciate Heidi’s consistency and enthusiasm to her centre and to Nurch.
How did you end up working in childcare?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with children. After leaving high school, I went to TAFE to study my Diploma in Children’s Services full-time. The decision to study childcare was great and I knew that I had chosen the right career for me. I have worked in varying roles throughout the childcare industry and I am now a centre director with Little Zebra Rockhampton. I am passionate about giving each child the resources they need to succeed in their life. It’s a very rewarding career to me.
What do you think makes a great childcare experience?
Definitely the relationships. It’s the relationships, between children and educators, educators and families, the centre and the community that make a great childcare experience because it’s the foundations of consistency in care.
What were your first thoughts on Nurch?
I loved that it was a free program that rewards continued care by receiving points for simply paying a necessary bill these days. Something back for what my families pay. What is not to like?
Your centre is still the fastest centre to launch Nurch. You absolutely smashed it and had all of your families signed up in less than a month. What were the three things that you did to get all of your families signed up to Nurch so quickly?
I have built a strong team and close relationships with my families, this helped a lot as I already have that trust with them. But if I could narrow it down to 3 essential items that helped, it is:
- Information given to my educators – I made sure all of my educators knew about the program, its benefits and why families should join.
- Information given to families – Some of my families signed up straight away. For those that needed more info or were sceptical, I (or my team) would spend a few minutes with explaining the program.
- Having the information and authorisation forms readily available through a variety of mediums – getting the initial authority is the toughest as parents hate signing forms. Thankfully, we don’t need a signed form, just a yes now!
If there was one thing about Nurch that you would change, what would it be and why?
Nurch really needs an App. I personally have to save emails to remember what site I have to visit to log onto. I use the Prezzee app to look keep track of the gift cards that I have received. But it would be great if Nurch has an app to store the gift cards and easy access to check the points balance too.
I also think Nurch needs to notify my families of when they reach a new membership level. I was doing this informally at my centre as I have heaps of families on silver and a few on gold, I would have loved for it to be a celebration and for them to really understand the benefits of reaching a higher level. I did this manually through my centre but it’s something Nurch could do easily and I think it would be the icing on the cake.
How did your families first respond to the launch of Nurch? Do you have any memorable moments to share?
They were very excited when they began seeing points on their account. Many families shared how they are planning on spending their points. Some families were excited to use the gift cards for birthday gifts and Christmas, others wanted to use the points on activities with the family. Of course some parents/ guardians wanted to use the points to treat themselves, which all parents deserve.
Being in Rockhampton, do our rewards cover most of the popular shops? Is there something you think we’re missing for our regional cities that us city folk might not know of?
My families and educators all agree that all the Cotton On stores should be included. This would be great as they have something for everyone and its cheap but still nice.
Thanks for your time to provide valuable insight into how Nurch works from a centre director level and how we can continue to improve. We’re so happy to have the Little Zebra families apart of our amazing program. Thanks again!