Volunteer story – Jessicah

National and regional governance – gives you value

Jessicah’s mum took her to Playcentre when she was a little girl. Now, Jessicah has been attending that same Playcentre as a mother herself for over 8 years with her four children. She expects to be there for another five years with her youngest.

On her first day of Playcentre Jessicah felt a bit out of place – “my baby just lay on the ground and didn’t do much! But coming to Playcentre from when he was 3 months old gave me the opportunity to get started on the education programme, form strong relationships with other families and my eldest benefitted from that strong sense of belonging from an early age that we see that many second siblings have.”

Over the years she has tried her hand at most volunteer positions and has recently become more involved with regional and national governance.

Jessicah deeply believes in the kaupapa of Playcentre that places value on the role of parents as first and best educators for their children. She feels a sense of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of her centre to ensure this unique ECE option is available in her community for those who seek it in the future.

Jessicah describes the benefits of volunteering to herself and Playcentre:

In a truly practical sense, my volunteer time means we don’t pay anyone for licensing. Obviously, this has financial benefits, and we are very well resourced. But the other hidden benefit is the flow on effect this has to a strong centre culture where everyone values the skills, talents, and contributions of each other. We value the contributions we make on session, towards documenting learning, and running our centre, and don’t ask more of parents in the way of fundraising or fees.

Playcentre offers us consensus as a way of understanding each other and reaching outcomes that everyone can stand by, and I am beginning to apply this unique way of solving problems to other areas of my life too. I also really value the connections I have made with Playcentre people across Aotearoa through our wider Playcentre network, through the education program and Facebook community pages, particularly the generosity with which everyone gives their support to others.