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Playcentre Media Releases

For further information or to submit a media release please contact the Federation Media Contact, at, media@playcentre.org.nz



National News

PLAYCENTRE MODEL EXPORTED TO JAPAN
22nd Sep 2009
New Zealand’s newest export to Japan – Playcentre – is hoping to become as popular as Zespri’s kiwifruit. The 60-year-old Playcentre model in which parents and wider family members run and manage early childhood centres for their children is unique to New Zealand. The early childhood education option is the focus of a symposium in Eniwa City, Hokkaido, Japan next month (October 3rd).
 
“Japan is a country that has always valued high quality education and seen it as a bench mark of its society,” said New Zealand Playcentre Federation President Marion Pilkington. “It is very exciting to see the Playcentre concept of parents and children growing and learning together being promoted in Japan as a way of supporting young families, educating parents and young children and building communities as it has done in New Zealand for over 60 years.”
 
Japan adopted the Playcentre model in 2000 when Professor Chikara Kubota, a Sagami Women's University Professor of Early Childhood Education and Dr Mika Ikemoto, a Japan Research Institution social science researcher, visited the New Zealand Playcentre Federation. Dr. Ikemoto is now Japan Playcentre Association President.
 
In 2006, the Mayor of Eniwa City, Mr Kousei Nakajima, started a Playcentre as part of his vision to support families with young children. There are nine Playcentres in Japan – seven in and around Tokyo, one in Mishima City and one in Eniwa City.
 
The symposium will be opened by Mr Nakajima and include speeches by child development experts such as Shiraume Gakuen University Professor Toshiyuki Shiomi who will outline his hopes for the establishment of additional Playcentres in Japan. Mrs Pilkington and Education Convenor Suzanne Manning will give presentations on Playcentre philosophy and on the effect of adult participation in Playcentre based on New Zealand Playcentre Federation research. They will also visit some of the Playcentres and answer questions in informal meetings with organisers and parents.

“It is fantastic that a 'home grown' concept developed in New Zealand is being introduced into Japan,” said Mrs Pilkington. “Playcentre was started in the 1940’s to support young families and provide education opportunities for the parents and children alongside each other.”

Mrs Pilkington and Mrs Manning will be accompanied by Japanese-born Auckland resident Kana Parr-Whalley whose two children attended Birkenhead Playcentre. Mrs Parr-Whalley, who has held various roles for the North Shore Playcentre Association and has already run workshops for the Japanese Playcentres, will act as an interpreter.
 
Mrs Pilkington says Playcentre’s philosophy of parents and children learning and growing together is a concept that easily fits within any culture. “We look forward to sharing Playcentre philosophy and concepts with our Japanese hosts; including the benefits experienced by children, families and communities in New Zealand. We are also very keen to listen and learn of new ways and ideas that may enhance Playcentre in New Zealand.” Closer working relationships between New Zealand and Japanese Playcentres will be of mutual benefit to both countries, she says.

There are nearly 500 Playcentres throughout New Zealand attended by over 15,000 children.

Contact for media:
Marion Pilkington; NZPF President. 09 443 0231; 09 445 6472; 021 937 525.
Maureen Woodhams, NZPF. 04 934 5244, 027 4041223, M.Woodhams@Playcentre.org.nz
For more information on Playcentre, please see www.Playcentre.org.nz

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