Virginia attends Ngaio Playcentre in Wellington with her son William aged 4.5 years. She is currently one of the Centre Team Leaders, coordinating all issues to do with property.
“Our volunteers bring so many different skills that benefit our tamariki when it comes to setting up play and learning experiences for them.”
For those parents who feel unsure about whether they have the time to volunteer at Playcentre, Virginia’s advice is to “take it slowly.”
“Your most important job when you start Playcentre is supporting your tamariki as they settle in. It’s okay to take it slowly.”
When her son was 6 months old, Virginia’s husband was diagnosed with cancer.
“We visited Ngaio Playcentre and realised what we needed was a place that kept our family close together, rather than apart. Ngaio Playcentre has been my son’s ECE ever since and will be until he graduates to school. I can’t imagine a better place for him.”
Being part of Playcentre has provided Virginia and her husband with valuable parenting tools.
“Being part of Playcentre has enriched the parenting in our house. The playcentre kaupapa (philosophy), working through the education, and seeing good practice modelled by other whānau on session, has given me and my husband parenting tools and values that have a positive effect on my son.”
Virginia has completed the NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 4) qualification. Playcentre Education offers this NZQA-approved programme free of charge to all Playcentre parents.
“I’d encourage everyone to engage in the Playcentre Education programme. The learning you get from each module benefits you as a parent. I count myself lucky to have been able to access such high-quality education for free.”
“I gained incredibly useful insights into childhood development and how to run quality sessions for the kids that support their learning and development. It’s made me more confident as a parent, and I enjoy sessions even more having completed the education – I notice more about the magic of kids’ learning unfolding in front of me on session.”
Attending Playcentre has helped Virginia develop connections with other families in her community.
“Being part of Playcentre connected us with a community of parents and children that feel like an extended whānau. We actively work to keep our connections strong by having social events (Matariki, regular fish and chip nights).”