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Safari Childcare
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16 reviews

Safari Childcare Employer Reviews

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Love the kids!!
Co Lead/Teacher Assistant (Former Employee), Bensenville, ILApril 6, 2014
I enjoyed seeing those little faces. The facilities are great. Just a high turnover rate with the location I worked at so that affected my experience but that is not the same for all locations.
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RUN, don't walk!
Director (Former Employee), East Dundee, ILMarch 4, 2014
Pros: camera systems, kind hr lady
Cons: no breaks, ridiculous unpaid hours, no proper training
If there was any way possible to rate using 0 stars, I would. I recently left Safari as a Center Director in 'training' and while I would not have originally thrown them under the bus, they played a pathetic game of “hold onto her paycheck until we have her key back" so here goes: First, they make you sign a contract that you must work 8am-6pm everyday – more... (okay) without a break (NOT okay) and you are strongly looked down upon if you come in at 8 and leave at exactly 6 because "it's hard work that ends up paying off if you put the work in." Sure, I'd believe that except that being a director does not also mean being a cook, janitor, and teacher. Yes, DCFS does say that with less than 50 kids in the facility, a director may act as a teacher in a classroom. However, it is nearly impossible to cook, clean, do daily director duties, and be an attentive teacher to the children. Having the director "step in as teacher" is simply a cheap fix for the company not to pay for the additional- necessary-staff to be there. They were constantly on me for making sure that I send staff home immediately when we could combine kids. Regardless of what stipulations DCFS may have, the safety of the children is first and foremost. It is never feasible to place a barely-walking 2 year old in the same room as 4 and 5 year olds just to save money by not using the staff. Bottom line with this particular subject: they used DCFS as a scapegoat when it meant saving money for them but otherwise did not comply with many of their regulations. Speaking of staff…a couple of the girls there were very hard workers and deserved raises that I’m sure they will never receive. In fact, one newer girl signed a contract stating that she was to get a small raise on her 30th day of working. When she asked me about this, I inquired and was told that “she wouldn’t be eligible for her raise because she’s not available early enough in the morning.” How can you say that when she already disclosed her availability on her application and you already approved it and promised her the raise? She was one of the hard workers too. On the other side, there were certainly a couple with huge attitudes that “couldn’t wait to leave this place” and made it very obvious in the way in which they treated the children and other staff. I might also add that if you work at least 10hr/d, 5d/wk you’ll get paid the measly salary of $35,000 (“with the opportunity to make more”-don’t buy that garbage either) but if you leave early one day or are sick you don’t get paid-even though you’re salaried. It is supposed to come out to about $14.58/hr. before taxes IF you work only 10 hours a day however it is never so. Some people want to make this place their entire being however I have a family and a life outside of work. It is not in my desire to stay an hour or two after work every night and therefore break my pay down to about $12.15/hr. There is also something to be said about a center that has been open for two years and has 25 children enrolled when they have a capacity of 150. Perhaps they need to take a look at their current ridiculous director and do the math and perhaps as fire-happy as they are with employees, they need to fire her. Crazy how things work out…I had zero intentions of ever writing anything negative since I graciously bowed out admitting this was all too much for me but still offering to stay until they found a replacement. Sadly, I was lied to, stabbed in the back, and played games with. In the end, I went to pick up my last paycheck with my key in hand to return in but was told “they mailed your check already.” Well, unfortunately, I was lied to by this person the entire time I was there so I thought for sure this was another one of her lies and said that I would just hold on to it until I received my check. As expected, she called up the district manager (who for a while was super nice with me and admitted that this person is a liar) right away who then made it a point to call corporate and told them to “hold onto my check since I refused to give up my key.” Now wait a minute...I was never asked to return my key in the first place in order to receive my check-they were supposedly going to be mailing it anyway. Even more strange is that this person had told me the check had already been mailed. Hmmm…another lie. So I called corporate first thing after the weekend and was kindly told through the HR lady what had happened and we made the exchange. For people so concerned about all of the negative reviews written online, they sure have a strange way of trying to run a decent company. Not sure how this company has lasted 23 years, but I am certain it will not see another 10. – less
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Childcare
Preschool Teacher (Former Employee), Mount Prospect, ILJanuary 22, 2014
Pros: working with the children
Cons: no advancement. no pay raises
Not a great place for kids. No advancement. No pay raises. Lots of responsibility
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Teaching a classroom
Lead Teacher (Former Employee), Palatine, ILJanuary 2, 2014
Setting up breakfast, lunch and snack time for a classroom of 20+ children age range 3-4 years old. Story time, puppet shows, play time and nap time.
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i love working with the kids
teacher assistant (Former Employee), mount prospect, illinoisOctober 30, 2013
Pros: non
Cons: you're a teacher and a cleaner as well. lol
i don't like the management. i've worked there for almost five months and i never got the full time job and sometimes they would let me go there scheduled from 1-6 but they'll give me an hour and a half break which is stupid. they also don't treat their teachers and assistant teachers that good. when i worked there, i felt like i was a slave. i hate – more... that place but loved my co workers as well as the kids. – less
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Basically an indentured servant
Teacher's Assistant (Former Employee), McHenry, ILSeptember 19, 2013
Pros: the kids, a few of my former co-workers
Cons: low pay, fluctuating hours, rude co-workers, unprofessional and rude director, dcfs regulations completely disregarded, etc
This is by FAR the worst company ever. I can't even begin to scratch the surface with how crooked,dishonest,morally bankrupt,and callous this company is. The owner sends out scathing emails to the directors,and has little to no regard for his employees. I worked at the McHenry location,and it is what I would consider trailer trash quality. Those poor – more... kids....there are a small handful of great,caring,truly genuine teachers there,and to be honest,they are typically the assistants. The leads there are absolutely terrible. I wonder how many of them actually LIKE children.

The director is BEYOND unprofessional. She gossips about the other kids,the parents,and the other staff members in FRONT OF others,and doesn't even have the class or shame to be discreet about it. There were many times where we were over ratio and I was told at one point to bring the kids outside when DCFS showed up,so that,and I quote,"they won't be able to count that you're over ratio." I was an assistant,by myself,with 25 kids. There were many,many times in the 6 months that I was employed there,that I was acting as a lead teacher by myself with 15+ kids. I am not lead or director qualified,and yet I was thrown into those situations,but of course,still being paid assistant wages.

I was a very amiable,laid-back employee who did what I was told,kept on top of the tasks at hand,and yet near the last few weeks I was there,was getting treated like garbage. I even called in because I was moving that day,and was answered with the scathing response that I should have gotten that done(?!?!?) on the other days that I had severely cut hours. What? So apparently little hours and low pay is a silver lining? That was definetely not her place to say anything,nor was it an intelligent comment. Right then and there I decided I was no longer an employee there. I have never left a job where I didn't give a proper 2 week notice,and I was planning on doing the same for Safari,but nope,not after that. What I do on my own personal time(such as moving,which she knew about weeks in advance),and how I coordinate it,is MY personal business,and is not Safari's jurisdiction.
Anyways,I have rambled on for far too long,and as I previously mentioned,I have not even really scratched the surface.

My advice: DO NOT WORK HERE,especially at the McHenry location! This was my worst job ever,and I have worked retail and in the food industry. – less
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Productive, engaging and fun place to work
Administrative Assistant (Former Employee), Mt. Prospect, ILAugust 28, 2013
I've learned that patience is truly a virtue and that there is always an option available to address the needs of many individuals and families. My co-workers were truly team players and attentive to the children's needs. The hardest part of the job is dealing with overly-emotional/ irate customers from time to time, and the most enjoyable part of this – more... job was being able to relay information easily to families and getting to see children grow mentally and physically throughout their time at Safari Childcare. – less
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terrible company
lead teacher (Former Employee), mchenry/palatineMay 25, 2013
Pros: non
Cons: everything
DONT APPLY HERE YOU WILL regret it.! Terrible terrible place to work. Dont apply here is a hell hole

Karin1 – June 25, 2013

If I was an unaware parent I would be dazzled by all of the artwork and buy into the fast-talking district managers/center directors on what a great childcare place this is. As a Child Development Specialist and ex-center director employee, do not believe what you are hearing. Do your research and homework first before putting your precious little ones into the hands of unqualified people. Just because they are in the childcare business of over 20 years does NOT make them professionals that care about your children! As they currently operate, the centers will never be NAEYC accredidated (1st red flag), be sure to check out any DCFS' investigations (2nd red flag), ask for the accident reports statistics, last, but not the very least, most all of the employees will lie to you. SCARY!!!

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Not recommended
Lead teacher (Former Employee), Palatine, ILFebruary 3, 2013
Pros: see smiling children each day.
Cons: all
This is one of the worst companies to work for. The owner or management does not care about the well being of the children. When classrooms were over ratio they sneak children to corporate offices while DCFS does inspections. They will cut your pay for not covering your wall with tacky decorations literally cannot have any blank spaces. They do not – more... notice those who work hard and no recognition will be given. – less
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worst job ever.
maintenance (Former Employee), corp.January 25, 2013
Cons: pay, hours, never happy, will never give an employee a complement.
This was the worst place I've ever worked! If you are reading this, please listen to what I say. Keep looking!! In one year, I seen more people get hired and then fired, about a 190 people!!! Management and owner has no clue, how to run a business. I was like you and read the reviews, that is when I should have gotten a clue but I still took the job.
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Poorly Managed, no job security
Center Director/Business Manager (Former Employee), Palatine, ILDecember 13, 2012
Pros: management experience
Cons: very very poorly managed
In the short time I worked for Safari Childcare I was thrown around and made to work long hours with no added compensation. A typical day at work started at 8 AM and was supposed to end at 6:30 PM, but typically I was there until 8 or 9 PM with no breaks. Salaried employees were required to work AT LEAST 50 hours per week. No hard work was ever recognized. – more... I was constantly hearing about the owner being in a poor mood and "terminating all directors". The Human resource department was a revolving door. New teachers, directors, business managers, marketing assistants were hired and fired weekly. No one ever received a reason for being fired. They were just told to leave. The entire staff in the corporate office, my school and all of the other 9 schools changed within the 6 months I was with them. Directives were given, but no additional resources to complete the tasks were given or offered. High stress environment all day every day. – less
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Stressful Workplace
Assistant Teacher-Lead Teacher- Director (Current Employee), ILDecember 2, 2012
Pros: hour lunch, low cost childcare
Cons: healthcare, management
there is always something new at the each childcare center they have. management is a joke.
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Worst company to work for or take your kids to!
Marketing Director (Former Employee), Palatine, ILSeptember 20, 2012
I originally had posted a good review, because at the time I was a satisfied parent. Until I started working for this unprofessional and uncaring company. One would think a family based company would be very appreciative of their employees and their hard work, but not this one. They hire people as hourly employees and the minute the employee goes above – more... and beyond, they offer you a salary position, but never tell you that you are now required to work 50 hours a week. And with no break allowed. This statement came directly from the HR manager, who eventually got fired because she had no people skills, and wasn t doing her job. The owner could care less if he works his employees to the bone. I was pulling 60-65 hour weeks, with a family at home that I never got to see, and being pregnant with my 3rd child. I was expected to work 75-80 hours the week of the 4th of July, in 100 degree weather. The owner told me himself that he didn t care I was out there because I was only, and I quote What are you, like a week along? ( as he snickered) compared to another pregnant employee that was further along, and he commented that she should have gotten the day of the 4th off. I was so baffled, I didn t know how to respond. How careless of a human being to make such a comment. He obviously has no idea the 1st trimester is the most crucial. Comments like these only come from asinine individuals who only care about themselves. They also claimed they would bonus employees for their hard work, which is all a bunch of bull. His girlfriend, who is working for him in the corporate office, has no idea how to manage an office. These people wouldn t know professionalism if it slapped them in the face. She is constantly sharing her personal intimate encounters with the owner through out the office, and has no shame in who she says these inappropriate comments, in front of. Not only this, but constantly talking about which director is getting fired next, and everyday it was gossip about other employees. Really sad. DO NOT TAKE YOUR KIDS HERE, IF YOU LOVE THEM. On numerous occasions, DCFS would show up unexpected to perform a visit. The owner s girlfriend would get a call from the director in the Palatine Location (corporate is next door), to let her know her rooms were out of ratio. A lot of the time the District Manager would bring her kids, and they would put the rooms out of ratio, so the owner s girlfriend would then walk to the center next door, and bring any of the kids that made any room out of ratio, to the corporate office. Without asking other parents permission. If they had to sneak them through the back door, they would. This caused a very uncomfortable work environment, which I voiced my opinion about, and nothing was ever done. My 5 yr old daughter also attended this facility and would tell me daily how unhappy she was. She said the food they served was cold and the same meal was served as the day before. She also asked me one day, why do the teachers always play on their cell phones? which I responded, they aren t supposed to be doing that. My daughter has always been taught to defend herself against anyone who is hurting her, and when there were certain kids in her class that picked on her, she went to the teachers & asked for their help, and didn t get it. Of course these young high school girls they hire as teachers, don t care to watch the children because they are too busy texting on their cell phones. Do not let their low rates fool you. If you want quality care, pay a little more, it is worth it. Do not let their nights and weekend hours entice you. The care at night or on the weekend isn t any better. If I could rate this company, let me rephrase, ZOO, I would give it a negative 5 rating. – less
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horrible!!
lead teacher infant room (Former Employee), Palatine, ILSeptember 11, 2012
Cons: ev, erything, breaks skipped
I only gave one star because there is not a button for no stars! Avoid at all costs! Poor management, non-comply with dcfs, company in general more interested in money , and building an empire than quality care for kids. Center in Palatine is the worst center I have worked at!
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Was rewarding to work with children
Cook (Current Employee), Bensenville, ILMarch 26, 2012
I enjoyed coming to work everyday to see the smiled on all the childrens faced. I enjoyed working with all my co workers.