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 is more than just a cost effective option
30th Aug 2010
by Emma Jane Hordyk
email : ehordyk@gmail.com
link : www.Playcentre.org.nz
For families worried about rising costs of an early education for their children, Playcentre offers a high-quality, low-cost option.

The Labour Party says parents could again be spending more than a quarter of their income on childcare because of Government cuts to subsidies. The New Zealand Educational Institute, which represents early childhood teachers, says it's inevitable prices will rise because of the cuts.

New Zealand Playcentre Federation President Maureen Woodhams explains: “For over 60 years Playcentre has taken the 'do it yourself' approach to early childhood education. Through a combination of mentoring from more experienced parents and an NZQA approved adult education programme, which is provided free to parents, Playcentre has demonstrated that parents can run high quality early education for their children by working together in supportive neighbourhood groups.”

From 1 July 2010, the 20 Hours ECE programme has been extended to include nearly 500 Playcentres nationwide. Once they turn three, over 16,000 children currently attending Playcentre will qualify for up to 20-hours-a-week free early childhood education.

Mrs Woodhams welcomes the change in policy and goes on to explain: “At Playcentre we have always kept fees very low, because parents join in running one or more half day sessions each week. “

“We find that all parents have a wealth of experience and life skills which they can share with the children, and our centres draw on that while supporting it with training in providing for play and learning in groups, and centre management.”

“The experience of helping run the sessions and the centre develops social capital in the parents, which they take into their other roles in their communities.”

Playcentre is expecting 20 Hours ECE to boost the number of preschoolers coming through its doors. Playcentre offers Early Childhood Education programmes to birth to six-year-olds.

Playcentre not only educates preschoolers, but also has an extensive New Zealand Qualification Authority-approved free adult education programme. Central to the Playcentre philosophy is the understanding that parents/whanau are the first and best teachers of their children. Therefore all sessions are run by groups of trained parents/whanau at a 1:5 or higher adult: child ratio. Training covers supervising sessions, understanding child development and learning, and centre management.

Parents often find that not only does Playcentre facilitate friendships; provide a community-based support network; and educate them and their children; it also allows them to learn new skills in a supportive environment that transfer outside Playcentre. Many of the people in our communities on school boards, at Toy Libraries, coaching sports teams and many other essential community positions are Playcentre or ex-Playcentre people.

The Playcentre concept began in Karori as a family co-operative over 60 years ago. It is now a nationwide licensed early childhood education organisation. The concept has been exported to Japan, which now has nine Playcentres mostly in and around Tokyo.

For more information: www.Playcentre.org.nz

New Zealand Playcentre Federation media officer Emma Jane Hordyk ph 09 838 9121, 0226 700 884,

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