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Children Raise the Flag on Their Special Day

4 March 2012

Children Raise the Flag on Their Special Day

The New Zealand Flag was raised at Parliament grounds by a group of nine young children this morning to mark Children’s Day and the start of Playcentre Awareness Week. The gales that had partially destroyed the flag flying from the top of the Beehive yesterday eased, and as Charlie Benbow, aged 4 said, raising the smaller flag which flies on the forecourt was “actually pretty easy. It was good fun.”

Organiser Inge Doig said she also wondered how the children would go holding the flag up, since it customarily must not touch the ground, but they managed it perfectly. “It’s great to see children here at one of our most powerful institutions, having fun and taking part in things. It’s also a reminder to the public and politicians to think of children in your decision-making. Today’s a reminder to see things from their point of view sometimes.

It was particularly fitting that the children, aged 2 to 6 years, were from Karori Playcentre since Playcentre began in Karori over 70 years ago. The theme of the awareness week is “Investing in Our Children” which Inge says sums up Playcentre really. “The best thing you can invest in your children is your time … take the time to be involved with them while they are young and you’ll never regret it.”

Playcentre Awareness Week is held every two years draws attention to this unique early childhood education option where parents receive comprehensive training to be their children’s first teachers.

The theme of Children’s Day this year is Treasure Our Children. There are various events being organised around the region see

What is Playcentre Awareness Week?

Every two years Playcentre runs an awareness campaign with a national week in March. In 2012, Playcentre Awareness Week runs from 3rd to 11th March.

In 2012 the overlying theme of Playcentre Awareness Week is promoting the time which parents spend raising and educating their children in the early years. The theme is “Investing in our Children.”

In the Wellington region the beginning of Playcentre Awareness Week and International Children’s Day Sunday 4th March has been marked with the New Zealand Flag being raised at Parliament by Playcentre children.

There will also be an opportunity for the public to experience what makes Playcentre different at a Pop-Up Play Session at Capital E on Tuesday March 6th from 10 am to 1pm. This session is for children aged 0-4 years including special activities for babies.

In the Hutt there will be two chances to see Playcentre in action at Playcentre in the Park Trentham Memorial Park Tuesday 6th March and Playcentre In the Park Avalon Park, Bike track on Wednesday 7th March.

Centres around the region are holding open days, picnics, garage and bake sales, organising library visits and displays.

For more information on Playcentre visit

Playcentre Background Information:

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

The first Playcentre opened in 1941 in a Karori church hall, as mothers with husbands at war wanted their children to play and learn together. Their ideas quickly spread to communities around the country.

Today there are more than 480 Playcentres in New Zealand, with over 16,000 children from more than 11,000 families attending. More than 10,000 of these parents are involved in adult education programmes.

There are 21 Playcentres in the Wellington region, and 18 in the Hutt.

Playcentre philosophy is that parents are a child’s first and best educators. Every Playcentre parent receives free (NZQA-approved) training to give them skills and confidence for working with children. This includes ideas on play, how to deal with expected behaviour, and understanding how children learn, as well as management skills for running their centres.

Playcentre maintains that play is vitally important to children, and especially child-led play, where children choose what to do and for how long, so that their passions are encouraged, and many connections in their brains are made and stimulated.

Playcentre believes that mixed-age sessions are the best learning environments for pre-school children, as they foster leadership and nurturing, and families and siblings can be together. Children in this environment learn from each other which is stimulating, confidence-building and empowering.

Many regions also run special “SPACE” sessions for new parents with babies under 12 months old. These sessions meet weekly with a facilitator, and help parents learn about different aspects of parenting and form a supportive community.

Playcentre recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi and has a commitment to biculturalism.

For more information on Playcentre visit or


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