A Montessori childcare chain that has been operating in South Australia for 18 years has gone into voluntary administration, but has assured families it will continue to operate. 

Precious Cargo, founded by Cheryl Shigrov in 2006, will continue operating until a new owner is found.

There are seven operating childcare centres affected in South Australia and administrators are expecting a save or buyout to occur. 

A further four non-trading entities have gone into liquidation.

According to the Precious Cargo website, the chain’s seven operating centres are in Blackwood, Collinswood, Lockleys, Marion, St Peters, Westbourne Park and Woodville Park in South Australia.

In a statement, Ms Shigrov said in recent years, the company had faced sector-wide challenges that it had not been able to overcome.

“In my role, I as director, take responsibility for not being able to navigate these challenges,” Ms Shigrov said.

She apologised to the children, families and staff and hoped they would work together with administrators to preserve the centres.

‘Proud’ of achievements

Ms Shigrov said she was proud of the success the group achieved.

“In SA Precious Cargo stood apart with its exterior branding and contemporary interiors and was the first to offer food from commercial kitchens, to provide dinners for the children, embedded music rooms that offered extended curriculum and incorporated chickens and veggie patches to the outdoor areas,” she said.

“I relish the part that Precious Cargo played in altering the trajectory of childcare centres, and ultimately the learning outcomes for children in Australia.

“Today, I continue to have our children, their families and our staff at the forefront as I work through the administration process to a positive outcome.”

Ms Shigrov confirmed the seven centres would stay open until a buyer was found.

Parents said they hoped staff at the centre would keep their jobs.(ABC North Queensland: Nathalie Fernbach)

Parents sad and shocked

One mother told the ABC she received the message about the chain going into voluntary administration on Monday and described it as a “big shock”.

She said her daughter would soon be starting school so did not think she would be significantly affected, but had used the centre for years and was sad to hear the news.

“It is going to be hard because I have a younger kid and next year he will be enrolled here but maybe I’ll wait until everything finishes [the administration process],” she said.

“I don’t know why [it has gone into voluntary administration], I thought they did really good business.

“They’ve got a lot of branches so it’s a bit worrying.”

She said the staff were good and they cared about her kids so hoped they would keep their jobs.

Other parents told the ABC they hoped they would not need to find a new centre.

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