“As a Playcentre kid myself, I had always planned on taking my child to Playcentre. Some of my earliest memories were sandpit volcanoes, wooden block towers and playdough taste-testing. To be able to take my daughter Holly, 1, to the same Playcentre that I had attended was exciting for me and my entire family. While I always appreciated the experiences, it wasn’t until I attended the Playcentre Introductory Award workshops that I truly began to understand child-initiated learning and the benefits that it had for Holly’s development. Initially I was reluctant to begin the workshops, unsure of how the workload would work with my schedule as a full-time student and stay at home mum. After the first workshop, I could see that the workload was definitely manageable, and the new learning was exciting as a first-time mum. While my previous career in teaching and current postgraduate study had built an awareness of stages of development, the focus on the early years was new and exciting for me. The child-initiated play aspect of the Playcentre philosophy aligns strongly with building intrinsic motivation and developing curiosity in the world around us.

During the workshops we explored the difference between parent and child-initiated play and how we can support our children through their development. Reading and discussing schemas and urges was a new area of learning for me. As a first-time mum, I have loved getting to know other parents in my community and building supportive relationships for Holly and myself. During the workshops it was great to meet other parents, share our parenting experiences, brainstorm ideas and innovations for our centres, and build our collective understanding of the Playcentre philosophy and how we put this into practice. While our Playcentre journey has only just begun, I can already see the impact that it has had on my daughter with her new friends, confidence, new experiences, communication skills and curiosity. However, I think I’m the one that Playcentre has impacted the most”.

Jody Garland – Haumoana Playcentre