Volunteer story – Emily

Team Leader / PR and Communications

Emily attends Totaravale Playcentre in Auckland with her son George who is 3.5 years and her daughter Matilda who is almost 2 years. She currently holds the Team Leader and PR/Communications office holder roles.

She says volunteering at Playcentre has given her the opportunity to “pick up lots of new skills which will look great on my CV when I go back to paid work.”

It was Emily’s mother who suggested she check out Playcentre.

“I remember looking at the website and thinking “this sounds like so much work.” But it’s really not. It just a few bits and pieces that you’ve got to do each week to keep the centre going, the centre that your kids love going to.”

“Playcentre is the best thing I’ve ever done, for my kids and for myself. I wish I had started sooner.”

For Emily, Totaravale Playcentre has become her village.

“I love the Playcentre philosophy of ‘our village becomes your village’. I’ve met so many amazing people in my one short year of being part of Playcentre – people who I consider my friends, who love my children, and who really care about us. I can rely on my Playcentre whānau for support, for great chats, advice, laughs and so much more. I love how this village I have now will be my village for years and years to come.”

“I read about it on the website “our village becomes your village”, but I didn’t quite understand it until we joined Playcentre. And then your kids get sick, and you can’t go, and everyone’s messaging to see if you’re okay and if they can help with anything. It’s just so nice.”

Both Emily and her children have developed friendships at their centre.

“My son George made his best friend at Playcentre. It was so lovely for me to see him form a bond like that with another child. They would run around holding hands from the minute we got there to the minute the session ended and I’d hardly see him. It gave me a bit of time to focus on my younger child.”

And for me, I’ve got Mums that live just down the road, and we see each other almost every day outside of Playcentre as well. I’ve been able to form really good friendships with Mums that are going through the same sorts of things as me.”

Emily says the Playcentre Education programme has helped her understand how to interact with her children and support their learning.

“When I started doing the Playcentre Education and learning about the early childhood education curriculum, I realised that there’s so much learning children can do within those little moments playing. I’ve learned so much about how to interact with my kids and how to support their learning while I’m playing with them.”