Leaders Voice; Words to Inspire | Nikkei special edition

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Contributing More to Society

Masae Shibasaki,
Representative Director,
Mother Goose

Personalized, Loving Care for Each Child

Mother Goose started out as a babysitting contracting business, and it offers childcare services in licensed nursery schools, hospital childcare centers, hotels and other companies, and at events, mainly in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. Our motto is personalized, loving care for each child. Companies are expecting more of women as they play increasingly active roles in the workforce, but at present many women still quit work when they get pregnant or give birth. By expanding our business, I hope to contribute to society in a variety of ways, including helping parents to work while bringing up children, assisting companies in securing human resources, and playing a part in eliminating childcare waiting lists.

Masae Shibasaki(Mother Goose)

Systems Generated through Communication with Staff

As part of our expansion plans, we are considering overseas dispatch of carers. This idea was sparked by having some staff who were interested in childcare practices overseas but weren't good at languages. When we proposed a language course plus childcare placement package, other staff also expressed a keen interest. So our initial thought was, "why not actually develop such a system?" Compared to Japan, childcare overseas offers more freedom to value the individuality of each child, and I thought it was very important to communicate this approach to children. Japanese society is becoming increasingly internationalized, and I believe we can enhance existing childcare, provide positive benefits for our staff and the children, and improve the childcare environment by learning from childcare practices, methods, and ideas that don't exist in Japan. In partnership with universities in Singapore, the UK, and Australia, we are currently creating systems enabling carers interested in childcare overseas to train abroad.

We are also looking at introducing a nursing advisory service that will enable carers to contact a nurse via iPad or similar device to get the right advice when a child has a fever or injury at nursery school. This initiative was prompted by staff telling us they worried about what to do when carers had difficulty contacting parents. Once preparations are complete, we intend to gradually introduce the system to nursery schools throughout Japan.

Since I don't much like being constrained myself, I want to give my staff freedom to act. All I ask is that they fulfil minimum requirements such as performing essential tasks and not endangering life, and properly do what they are supposed to. This approach seems to encourage responsible behavior. I always communicate with nursery school principals and stay in close touch. Intuition tells me if someone will be OK, so I trust my staff right from the initial interview.

Masae Shibasaki(Mother Goose)

Aiming to Create a Holding Company

Obviously a babysitter who can give one-to-one care is ideal for children, but that is costly, and most people want to place their children in a nursery school. All of the nursery schools we operate are small, with around 10 or 12 children, and just two or three children per carer. I think this scale is best, since it ensures children are safe and able to receive attentive care. We have been a franchisor for 17 years, and we place a lot of emphasis on the character of owners and choose people who empathize with our ideals. In the last couple of months we have had over 80 inquiries from potential franchisees, but no matter how many facilities we add, our approach of valuing each and every franchisee remains unchanged. We plan to expand the business, including facilities we operate ourselves, and I am talking with staff about working towards the aim of listing as a holding company at some stage. By increasing the number of facilities offering attentive care on a small scale, we hope to contribute even more to society.