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Relationships flourish at Playcentre

New Zealand Playcentre Federation
13th October 2015

Relationships flourish at Playcentre

In contrast to the recent Childforum survey in which a quarter of the early childhood teachers surveyed indicated they would not enrol their children at the service they worked in, nearly 100% of the educators at Playcentre have their children attending with them. As a parent-run cooperative, Playcentre encourages and supports parents in their role as the first and best teachers for their children.

Children must first build secure relationships with consistent adults in order to be able develop to their full potential. At Playcentres around New Zealand parents or caregivers stay with all children under age 2 ½ meaning that infants and toddlers get personalised care and attention. All Playcentres operate with a minimum 1 adult: 5 children ratio for all age-groups, with many operating on a 1:3 ratio, or better, enabling the children to build strong relationships with both their parents, other adults and other children. Within this community of engaged adults children are supported to play, use their imaginations and extend their learning in a way that follows their interests and meets their needs.

The Playcentre model builds reciprocal relationships for adults as well – parents often create long-lasting friendships and find support in the journey of parenting. Working with a group of parents with children at varying ages and stages means there is usually someone who has been through your situation before. Sharing of personal experience and knowledge is complemented by the NZQA approved adult education programme that works to upskill parents and ensure that the children’s education is of a high standard. In the words of renowned early childhood educator, Lex Gray, “It has to be in terms of the Family. It has to be in terms of the community that family belongs to”.

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“It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child”, commented NZ Playcentre Federation Co-President, Viv Butcher, “Playcentre helps to create that village for modern families and communities. Parents and children play, work and learn alongside each other, with all their life experiences contributing to the knowledge that is shared.”

“If the government wishes to support quality in Early Childhood Education, we encourage them to take a look at how Playcentre can be better funded and supported in New Zealand” said Alaine Tamati-Aubrey, NZ Playcentre Federation Co-President. “As a not-for-profit community organisation, government investment in Playcentre gets double the reward, because every dollar invested in Playcentre not only helps educate children but also helps educate parents alongside their children, upskilling them as lifelong educators and contributors to their community.”


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