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Quality support for first-time parents, made affordable

Quality support for first-time parents, made affordable by gold coin donation
YMCA Auckland partners with SPACE NZ Trust

YMCA is continuing its vision of building strong kids, strong families and strong communities with the introduction of a free New Zealand parent education programme called SPACE, aimed at supporting parents through the first year of their child’s journey and beyond.

YMCA Auckland has five Early Learning Centres, located in Ellerslie, Massey, Manurewa, Papakura and Hamilton and the programme is set to launch with start dates throughout February and March 2016. Additional sessions will start when there is demand.

Lorraine Duncumb, Group Manager ECE at YMCA Auckland, says, “Some staff have already been trained to deliver the programme and we’ll have all staff trained over the next eighteen months. ELC staff members participated in three days of additional training to be able to deliver the programme. It’s all still very new but we’re looking forward to getting it established across our centres.”

“SPACE is a fantastic place for parents who live locally to get together with other new parents and share their experiences in a safe and welcoming environment,” says Lorraine.

The programme is primarily for first-time parents with babies aged three months plus, but parents can start the sessions during pregnancy too. New parents don’t need to be members of a YMCA centre and can attend the sessions with their baby for a weekly gold coin donation, during term-time.

Made up of up to 15 parents in a relaxed and baby-friendly atmosphere, the weekly sessions involve getting to meet and know other new parents, socialising, as well as play sessions with equipment that helps support babies’ learning and development, such as rhymes, music and books. New discussion topics are introduced weekly and include; sleeping, crying and communication, reflective parenting, heuristic play, understanding thinking and brain development of babies.

“It’s about taking all different aspects of parenting and supporting parents to decide for themselves how they want to raise their children. For example, we might talk about feeding options – breast or bottle, when to wean – share discussions and ideas amongst the group, but always empowering parents to make up their own minds about what would work best for them and their family,” explains Lorraine.

SPACE also provides an orientation to early childhood care and education services, and guest speakers are frequent parts of the sessions.

Niamh Wingate, SPACE facilitator, says, “There are other organisations in Auckland offering the programme, and we’re pleased to be able to join them in delivering such a valuable resource to new parents near our centres and throughout our networks, for just a gold coin donation.”

“At YMCA, we are dedicated to enriching the lives of everyone that comes into contact with the organisation, so introducing the SPACE programme is just another way we can show our support and empower others – in this case, first-time parents, which can be an incredibly daunting new role to take on!” says Niamh
For more information on the programme and start dates near you, email


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