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Playcentre Assured It Is Suitable ECE for Beneficiaries

Media Release
New Zealand Playcentre Federation
13 September 2012

Playcentre Assured It Is Suitable ECE for Beneficiaries' Social Obligation

Playcentre Federation has received an assurance from the Ministry of Education that its parent-led centres are a suitable ECE choice for beneficiaries under the government's new social obligation policy, despite often operating for fewer than 15 hours per week.

The policy, announced this week, requires beneficiaries with pre-school aged children to complete a range of social obligations, or risk losing part of their benefit. One of these is to enrol the child in ECE for 15 hours per week.

Many ECE services do not offer 15 hours per week for children, including community-based Playcentre, and some kindergartens and Kohanga Reo. This is especially the case in rural areas where the Playcentre and Kohanga Reo may be the only licensed services available, and rely on volunteer parents to operate at all.

Karl le Quesne, Group Manager ECE at the MOE, has assured Playcentre Federation Co-president Maureen Woodhams that enrolment and attendance at a Playcentre would be deemed to meet beneficiary parents' obligations for ECE participation under this policy.

“It is a relief to have this assurance, as many Playcentre members were concerned that our members would be discriminated against,” said Maureen Woodhams.

“Playcentre is founded on the believe that parents are a child's first and best teacher, and they support parents to provide high quality learning opportunities both in the centre and at home and the community. So for every hour a child is enrolled at Playcentre, we expect they will spend more hours involved in learning activities in other sites.”

“We also provide parents with training on how to make everyday tasks, such as shopping and cooking, become meaningful literacy, numeracy and scientific learning opportunities for their child.”

Playcentres are run by groups of trained parents working in a cooperative, and follow the national ECE curriculum Te Whāriki. Most of the teaching and management is provided by volunteer parents, and parents also learn transferable skills in education, administration and management. Playcentre members have free access to the Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education.

ENDS

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