Child care an option at CDU Alice Springs' Desert Lantern restaurant 

Jess Farrell, 'Director' for the night looking after 18 month old Nicholas

Parents looking for a quality meal and childcare facilities enjoyed themselves at CDU’s Desert Lantern restaurant in Alice Springs last week (2 November).

A partnership between the schools of Education and Tourism and Hospitality offered restaurant patrons the services of VET child care students for the first time.

The Certificate III children’ services students, under the careful eye of their lecturer, volunteered their time to look after around ten children of Desert Lantern patrons. Charles Darwin University’s child care facilities were used for the event.

Students were encouraged to operate the child care room as a business. All the students had specific roles, such as director, assistant director and team leaders.

Apart from looking after the children, students developed duty statements, followed policies and procedures developed in class and created an evaluation questionnaire.

Children’s services lecturer Heather Wilson said the night provided students with valuable on-the-job experience.

‘Suddenly they have to be professional and job ready,’ she said.

The pilot program was a success and will be repeated next year. Hospitality lecturer Nick De Silva says he supports the partnership and will develop a children’s menu for future functions.