We have recently talked to a number of parents about their understanding of the  concept of ” a village it takes to raise a child”, which is the core of Clann’s philosophy, and the benefits it can provide for their children.

Subsequently, Amanda and Liam, the founders of Clann, further spoke about the “village” model of childcare in an interview you can view here.

Today I would like to summarise the discussion and add some thoughts that resonated with me.

In the conversation with Amanda and Liam, I referred to my personal experience of shopping locally in the context of the quality of experience at “small and local” versus ” bid and corporate). Let me tell you more about it. I can  either shop in a large Coles or a small local IGA, and I visit them with similar frequency. At Cole’s, I am just an anonymous face. At the IGA, however,  Kim the owner knows me and my son by our names. At the deli there, we don’t even have to order as the ladies there know what we buy. When the supermarket was running low on certain continental foods I buy, the owner said to me : “I will better order more for you now.” When my son was younger, Bianca at the cash register let him “help” her scan items in less busy times. We are always asked about our ageing dog, school, and what we are up to in general. We feel supported, valued, and cared for with every visit there.

Amanda and Liam pointed out that the impact of such difference in experience between big centralised childcare and community based small family care for children in home based settings is a lot  more profound. It affects childhood development and many other areas of families’ wellbeing. Precisely because of the degree of care and stability families helping families locally can offer , there hasn’t been and there will be no better model for child care that can provide more benefits than the “village model” particularly in our COVID-19 world.

Liam discussed how large centralised centres do not have the capacity to tailor their programs to the needs of individual children and families. Uniformity of approach is the norm.

Clann is dedicated to “re-villaging” our communities by creating supported opportunities for families to help other families in such crucial areas as child, disability and aged care. Locals know what locals want. Local is familiar, and familiarity creates feelings of belonging and safety : so important for every one of us, but in particular for young children and vulnerable people who are elderly and disabled.

Clann encourages diversity and creativity in approaches to family care in order to both draw on the experiences that carers have and their interests and skills. For example Puja who you met in one of our earlier blogs, wants to cater to children from her ethnicity to help them transition to an English speaking environment. Others, like Karen who plays in an amateur band, wants to teach music to children in her care.

I would like to add something personal to the blog today. Many years ago I wrote my Master Thesis in International Relation about ” Village Thinking as The Basis of Japanese Foreign Policy”. I discussed how the foreign policy was shaped by the adage of ” There is no evil in the world you know”. Writing about the villages that Clann wants to recreate made me think again about ” villages” as sources of  familiarity, safety, support, care, and connectivity, and I cannot wait to see Clann’s Life. Be in it. family care centres in my local community and everywhere.