WE LOVE MUMS: Harry and Jimmy, both 2, celebrated Mother's Day early at Sunshine Coast University Hospital Childcare.
WE LOVE MUMS: Harry and Jimmy, both 2, celebrated Mother's Day early at Sunshine Coast University Hospital Childcare. Patrick Woods

New hospital's rooftop childcare care is full of surprises

THE seventh floor of a carpark is not necessarily the spot you'd expect to find a childcare centre, but the new hospital at Kawana is full of surprises.

Mother's Day celebrations yesterday marked nearly four months since the 100-place rooftop centre opened.

Its location isn't the only unusual feature of Sunshine Coast University Hospital Childcare, where the staff don't hesitate to feed your kid brekky if you've run out of milk, or dress them if you drop them off in the pyjamas.

"We support them (parents) in their role as much as we can,” centre director Anita Corney said.

"If they drop them off in the pyjamas, we'll get them dressed. If they've had no breakfast because you had no milk - that's ok, we'll dress them and feed them.

"They do great work at the hospital, and we're here to support them in their role.”

Many hospital staff work 12-hour shifts, and the childcare centre's team understands they need extra support and when they get it, they head to work in a positive headspace, knowing their children are safe and happy, Ms Corney said.

The new rooftop facility is also open to the public.

It was designed to allow toddlers and kids up to the age of five to move freely between outdoor and indoor spaces, while babies from six weeks are also welcome. They're catered for in two nurseries.

Parents are welcome to drop in any time to see their children, and many breastfeeding mothers take advantage of the hospital's paid breastfeeding breaks to stop in for feeds.

A huge outdoor space that's equal in size to the indoor classrooms and baby nurseries includes a community garden, a rockclimbing wall, swings, sandpits and a mud pit.

"We've got a community garden, with vegies and herbs, and families can pick from that and take some things home to make a casserole or stir fry,” Ms Corney said.

The centre caters for babies from six weeks old to school-age children of five years, with daily rates starting at $95 for babies and dropping as the child ages and its care needs are less.

Run by the not-for-profit YMCA, SCUH Childcare is the organisation's first Sunshine Coast presence and is open to staff at the hospital and to the public.

As the centre was popular among staff, working parents also enjoy being able to catch up with others while dropping in to feed their baby or pick up their child, Ms Corney said.

The centre opens at 6am and closes at 5pm, five days a week, and is connected to the main hospital building via a pedestrian link bridge on Level 1 of the P1 carpark.

Contact 07 5437 6650.

Carer: child ratio

Nursery and toddler (under 2 years): 1 adult to 4 children

2-3 years old: 1 adult to 5 children

3-5 years old: 1 adult to 11 children



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