Ocean Keys introduces free creche for Clarkson shoppers

Samantha Morrell, Addison Ettwell (4) and William Ettwell (2).
Samantha Morrell, Addison Ettwell (4) and William Ettwell (2).

A CLARKSON shopping centre will launch a free creche service for parents to drop off children while they shop next month.

Ocean Keys Shopping Centre will offer a free pop-up creche from September 28, allowing parents and carers to drop off children for an hour while they shop.

Mindarie mother Agata Ettwell said the initiative was a great idea and she looked forward to taking advantage of it, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas.

“As a working single mother, I have to be very efficient with my time,” she said.

“To have an hour to get things done without the kids is incredible, particularly when it’s at a shopping centre.

“I’ll be able to get my groceries, run to the post office as well as fit in some general shopping, all the while knowing my kids are in the building and are safe.”

The pop-up creche will be staffed by qualified early childhood educators from Mindarie Keys Early Learning School.

“Leaving my kids with professionals means I can walk away knowing they are in good hands, allowing me to put my mind to a different task without worrying about their safety,” Ms Ettwell said.

“It’s fantastic that the kids can be having fun with other children, doing something interesting, rather than being dragged around the shops.”

Mindarie Keys owner Samantha Morrell said there would be plenty of activities to keep children entertained, including sensory play, story-time sessions, giant Jenga and Connect Four and imaginary play.

“In addition to toys and learning equipment, there will be lots of play-based learning,” she said.

“Nature-play is one of our favourites – where kids explore the textures and materials of nature, with leaves and other natural items used for play and creation.

“There’s a great socialisation aspect to creches, with children able to make new friends and try new activities.

“Kids can build social skills and confidence while mum or dad is running errands.”

The pop-up creche outside K-mart will run every Friday from 10am to noon between September 28 and December 21.

It will be free for people shopping at the centre and is open to children aged two to eight, who can be left for a maximum of one-hour.