Erlyn arrived from the Philippines 6 years ago and quickly adjusted to life in New Zealand and life as a new mum. She attends with her second daughter.  Her oldest just started school this year… “she loves it – no cry at all the first day of school, no cry.  I cried! ‘Cause I’m not ready yet, but she’s ready!”

“When my daughter was 14 months we start Playcentre, ‘cause I have a friend here, our neighbour next to us; she came here first and she invited us. I’ve been coming to this Playcentre for 4 1/2 years. Playcentre has taught me a lot – I thought ‘I can’t survive’, but yeah, I’m here!”.

“Before I attend here, I don’t really know what Playcentre was all about.  My first day I arrive it just blows my mind, the toys and the ‘invitations to play’ and it’s so amazing, I was like ‘wow I’ve never seen this type of toys in my country!’ It was so new to me”.  

How did you find the transition to New Zealand back then? 

“My English was not very good. I understand English, but the accent of New Zealand is different – it’s so hard to understand. So when I started Playcentre I didn’t really understand what it is, but in time I understand that you just follow their [the child’s] lead, just follow their interests, and yeah you learn together.  In the Philippines its more directive, ‘do this, do that, this is fun…’, but here you let your child do what they really like, what they are interested in”.

“I have social anxiety before, even in the Philippines I have that, but now, because this is the only group I join in – so this is my second home – yes, my social anxiety, I overcome it while talking to them [other parents]. We have the same experience in life, we are all mums, we are here and they know the deal! Yeah so I feel like I’m free to express my feelings or to talk about children, no judgement at all.  They are really helpful, they are really amazing”.