With over thirty years of experience, Patagonia shares what they’ve learned about children and supporting working families – and why corporate-sponsored, onsite child development centers are good for business.
Ventura, California – In a groundbreaking new book, Family Business: Innovative On-Site Child Care Since 1983 by Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway, Patagonia reveals how and why the company has offered corporate-sponsored on-site child care for over thirty years, and encourages other companies to do the same. Aimed at business and early childhood leaders, human resources departments and parents, the book presents a case for why providing high quality on-site child care to working families is both good for families and good for the bottom line.
In 1983, Patagonia made an historic move in support of working parents, becoming one of America's first companies to launch a corporate-sponsored on-site child development center. Great Pacific Child Development Center (GPCDC), the child-care program at Patagonia’s Ventura, California, headquarters, and Truckee River Child Development Center (TRCDC) which serves Patagonia's 400-employee distribution center in Reno, are an integral part of the company’s culture and business.
Invested in the program now for over three decades, Patagonia continues to report a number of tangible and intangible benefits. Ninety-one percent of the program costs are directly recouped through tax benefits, employee retention and employee engagement. Patagonia has seen additional benefits to its family-friendly policies including improved productivity, more women in management positions, employee loyalty and retention, and a strong workplace culture. Additionally, Patagonia sees 100 percent of new moms return to work after taking maternity leave.
“It’s true, there are financial costs to offering on-site child care, but the benefits – financial and otherwise – pay for themselves every year,” stated Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s President and CEO. “As a CEO, it’s not even a question in my mind. Business leaders (and their chief financial officers) should take note.”
Family Business features perspectives from key players in Patagonia's working parent initiatives, including GPCDC co-founders Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway, along with hundreds of full-color photographs that offer readers an insider's look at the child development practices that anchor GPCDC, like on-site nursing and involving dads from the beginning.
Geared for children aged two months to nine years, Patagonia’s child development centers encourage risk-taking and struggle — both in keeping with the company's climbing-roots history. They promote unstructured play and emphasize outdoor learning — it's a place where children spend more than half their time out-of-doors.
"A key to building a strong program for children in families is a working philosophy — one that outlines tenets that educators and parents can use to inform their actions," says Chouinard. "Over the last 30 years, we've married Patagonia's values and history with our understanding of child development to create a set of principles that guides our practice."
Coinciding with the book release, Patagonia plans to roll out seven videos at Patagonia.com/familybusiness to address the issues important to working families: Patagonia Supports Paid Leave; We Can Be Both: Mothers at Work; Finding Balance: Fathers at Work - Part One; Finding Balance: Fathers at Work - Part Two; Family Business: Raising the Business Case; Outside the Lines: Creative Play; The Rewards of Risk: Building Confidence in Kids.
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is based in Ventura, California. A certified B-Corporation, Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $78 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.