If you and your children are new to the area or have recently immigrated to New Zealand, Playcentre is the ideal place to get to know your new community.
Playcentre not only introduces your child to other children but you to other adults as well.
Here is an account of a Playcentre’s mum own experience as a working mother and immigrant at Playcentre.
Jo arrived in New Zealand in 2009 and both her children were born here. They are true barefoot Kiwi kids – thanks to Playcentre. Also thanks to Playcentre, Jo has a wonderful circle of friends and feels very much at home in her adopted community. She returned to work twice after having her children – and then returned to Playcentre each time as well. Jo is a member of her workplace Diversity and Inclusion Council and chairwoman of a large Auckland-based women’s network. She shares her experience of Playcentre below.
My own experience of Playcentre has been as a working mother and an immigrant. I was not alone in that experience in our Playcentre community. During my time at Playcentre, we had families with roots in Thailand, Australia, India, Korea, China, South Africa, Switzerland, Ireland and Great Britain. We also had members who travelled overseas, who went home and who emigrated, leaving our centre a richer place for their contribution. We had stay-at-home fathers and we had au pairs and nannies who became active members of our centre and
our community. We had mothers who worked from home and in the city, part-time and full-time, in their own businesses, in a family business, in the public sector and in the private sector. We also had mothers who studied and mothers who were very happy not to be in paid work.
Playcentre was exactly what I needed as a working mother who was new to New Zealand. It was an instant village in which to raise my children. The adult education was invaluable for me, so far from grandparents and aunts and uncles. The sessions were a welcome relief from my male-dominated working life, a place where I could admit to the struggles and embrace the joys of parenthood. Playcentre revealed to me many wonderful aspects of Kiwi culture (mostly focussed on kai), opened the door to te ao Ma¯ori and started me on the lifelong journey of learning te reo Māori.
Since leaving Playcentre, when I went back to full time work and my oldest daughter graduated, my connection to the wider Playcentre community has continued. It is my Playcentre friends who look out for my children at school and at pre-school, who run the cross country course with them when I can’t be there and who keep me sane with pot luck suppers and school holiday playdates.
Build a village …. great way to get to know people in a new area. Awesome play, some great education so you learn alongside your child.