Naenae Playcentre is one of more than 400 Playcentres around the country.
Playcentres are parent-led, licensed early childhood education centres, which provide parenting and community support to help parents co-operatively raise and educate their young children, aged from birth to school entry.
Naenae Playcentre was founded in the 1960s and has operated continuously since. The current centre is situated in a former Ministry of Education prefab next to Rata St School and has strong links with the school. Numbers of families vary from year to year but usually sit at about 20 and the centre currently offers three sessions a week.
The centre’s latest ERO report commended parents at the centre for supporting children’s active exploration through play and learning.
“At Naenae Playcentre the parent-led committee and ‘supervision groups’ are made up of a diverse group of enthusiastic parents and whānau who bring valuable skills, knowledge and experiences to their roles. The high levels of involvement of the centre’s community and a collective sense of responsibility for children, provide a positive platform for learning.”
Playcentre was formed in the early 1940s and plays a significant role in New Zealand’s early childhood education sector. Playcentres are community-run and not for profit, providing a high-quality educational service at minimal expense.
Playcentre’s focus is on families, not just young children, with a philosophy that believes parents are children’s first and best teachers; and that good parenting is work, with important consequences. Playcentre actively supports parents to take on, and develop in, this teaching role which is especially important during a child’s first 1000 days (from conception) when their most rapid brain development occurs.
There is considerable evidence that parental education and community involvement, such as that provided by Playcentre, supports parents to provide high quality care and education to their children.
Many Playcentre members participate in the NZQA-recognised Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education. This provides training in child development and learning, communication skills and child protection. Playcentre trainees often go on to work fulltime, and train further, in the early childhood education sector.