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Come and join us at Playcentre

New Zealand Playcentre Federation

4 February 2008

Come and join us at Playcentre

The holiday break is over and children from Playcentres all over the country are eagerly heading back this week to start their new year of fun.

This year Playcentre is celebrating it's 60th year of providing early childhood education and the opportunity for parents to learn alongside their children. Throughout New Zealand local centres continue to encourage and support parents who want to spend time with their children and be a part of their early childhood education.

If you are looking for something new to do with your baby or young child this year, then come along to Playcentre and find out what it is that keeps people returning for more each year.

“Playcentre offers something for the whole family” said Playcentre Federation President, Marion Pilkington. “The children can form life long friendships while experiencing a well-designed learning environment. Their parents also make lasting friendships and have access to free parent training and NZQA accredited early childhood training.”

Parents do a great job of educating their children, and Playcentre complements the education that parents provide for their children at home.

It is often not practical to provide a wide variety of equipment at home. Play activities at Playcentre include outdoor and indoor activities such as: playdough, jigsaw puzzles, carpentry tables with real tools, sandpits and climbing equipment, books, musical instruments, dancing and dress-ups.

As well as this, Playcentre provides a supportive environment for parenting by providing connections with parents within the local community and free parenting and early childhood education courses. The local centres are backed up by a regional and national network of specialist support services.

Playcentre caters for children from birth to school age, offering mixed age sessions that ensure siblings can participate together. Older children learn leadership skills, responsibility and consideration with younger children, and younger children learn by watching older children.

Playcentres operate during the school term and most should be up and running for the new term by Monday 11 February. To contact your local Playcentre, see www.playcentre.org.nz for centres in your area.

ENDS
Background Information:

What is Playcentre?

Playcentre runs half-day early education sessions for mixed-age groups of children from birth to school age. Playcentre is a uniquely New Zealand phenomenon and is run by families for families, with most teaching and management roles provided by trained, volunteer parents.

Playcentre originated more than 60 years ago when a group of mothers gathered in Karori to create a space where they could supporting one another as parents, provide a space for play for their children and learn new skills. Their ideas quickly spread to communities around the country.

Play activities include a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities including: playdough, jigsaw puzzles, carpentry tables with real tools, sandpits and climbing equipment, books, musical instruments, dancing and dress-ups.

Parent teams guide and talk with small groups of children, and join in their play, helping them make the most of the learning opportunities.

Through learning in a supportive play environment, children develop the curiosity and courage to try new things and the motivation to extend themselves.

Every Playcentre parent is offered free training that will give them the skills and confidence for working with children. This training is includes ideas on play, how to deal with challenging child behaviour, and understanding how children learn.

Courses also cover group skills, cultural issues, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and basic Maori language.

Parents also provide each other with valuable role models of different skills while working alongside each other on session. Parents report they feel more confident in their abilities and able to make an on-going contribution to their children's learning into their school years.

For more information on Playcentre visit www.playcentre.org.nz

ENDS

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