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Playcentre welcomes new Fathering network

Media Release

New Zealand Playcentre Federation

19 February 2008


Playcentre welcomes new Fathering network

As more fathers become involved in raising their young children, Playcentre provides a place where they can experience support in the community.

Playcentre welcomes the recent establishment of the “Men in Early Childhood Network New Zealand”. This group was formally begun at a conference in Porirua last week.

The purpose of the network includes goals to get more men to enter early childhood teaching, and get more fathers involved with their young children's early learning.

“Playcentre is a great place to learn and have fun alongside your kids,“ said Bernard Woodhams, father of four. “I started going to our local Playcentre when my oldest daughter was four and carried on, taking the Playcentre training, and learning how to be a more effective father and teacher.”

Playcentres offer an environment where parents learn with and alongside their children. While there are about 1% male teachers in other early childhood services, Playcentres have four times that many fathers participating regularly.

Some centres have long traditions of men joining in weekly sessions and undertaking training. For example, one playcentre in Wellington has had between three and six fathers attending sessions at least once a week for most of the past ten years. Having dads on session really brings an extra dimension to the children's learning.

“I was always made to feel very welcome at my local centre. And I made friends with both other dads and the mothers of other children. Lots of the dads got together for some big working bees while I was at the centre, including demolishing fencing, building retaining walls and making a fantastic new play area. Some of the dads who started off with working bees ended up coming along to the sessions and really enjoyed themselves.”

A special feature of Playcentre is that, while they meet Ministry of Education requirements for young children's education, and follow a national Philosophy, they are also tailored to the needs of the local community. All members of a local centre are democratically involved in making decisions about the day-to-day running of the centre. So a Playcentre really is as strong as the members who join up, wanting a Playcentre education for their children.

Playcentre invites all fathers of young children to come visit, and see if a Playcentre education is for them.

For further information on Playcentre and the contact details of a local centre, visit www.playcentre.org.nz.




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