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Celebratory Garden party For Lex Grey

3 December 2004

Celebratory Garden party For Lex Grey

In honour of one of our own – Lex Grey – receiving the Queens Service Medal for contribution to the community we are holding a small Garden Party on Saturday the 4th December at Puriri Park Function Centre, Orewa.

Lex’s influence in the Playcentre movement and beyond has been far-reaching and multifaceted over the past 50 years. His deep knowledge of the developmental and emotional needs of children, and his outstanding ability to lead and inspire has had a profoundly beneficial effect on families throughout New Zealand and overseas.

From his start at Kilbirnie Playcentre in 1948 Lex was involved at all levels of the organisation but his big love was education and Childs development. He recognised that play was the basic way that children learn, and the parent/child relationship was vital in every aspect of their development. He also believed deeply in the potential of parents to re-claim their power to work together to define their own cultures.

“We create our own Knowledge”

“The people who are affected by a decision are the ones who should be making the decision”

Lex along with others encouraged ongoing education for all parents to develop their own talents and understanding alongside the children. One of Lex’s greatest contributions was to the resurgence of Maori culture in the education of their own. He promoted and encouraged the importance of holding onto the language and culture and using them as teaching tools.

He worked with the Maori Education Foundation for 3 years and instigated a surge in Maori Playcentres opening, some of which went on to become the beginnings of Te Kohanga Reo. In 1967 Lex went to Australia to work with Aboriginal families in establishing Family Education Centres.

He invited Maori women to come over to work with him, believing that women of a nearby indigenous culture would be able to nurture these families. His work in Australia was extremely successful for both the Aboriginal families and the women who went over also – many of which went on to work in specific areas of Maori education.

Lex is a “Giant” in the field of Early Childhood Education who has inspired ordinary people from all walks of life to recognise their own talents and special qualities and follow their own journey. His deep belief in a “folk movement” working together for the benefit of the people and the importance of cultural self-determination has helped shape the social and educational revolution that is Playcentre.

“Listen, listen, listen to the Children”


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