About Playcentre

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation believes:
  • The whanau/family is the fundamental unit in the community and is to be valued, promoted and supported as the most important setting for the nurture and education of children
  • Children have the opportunity to reach their full potential when whanau/family understand their development and take part in their learning experiences
  • An early childhood education service, run co-operatively by member families, provides a positive early childhood education option relevant to the New Zealand setting
  • Parents, with appropriate training and support, can expand their skills and make a positive, professional contribution to high quality early childhood education services
  • High quality early childhood education experiences for our children, with the active involvement of whanau/parents, are an essential and valuable investment in the future of our children
Playcentre has three purposes:

  • Running Early Childhood Education Centres. It provides an early childhood education option for whanau/families through the operation of Playcentres which offer a safe and secure learning environment for children from birth to 6 years; which emphasise child initiated play and the importance of whanau/families as first and most important educators of their children; and which are run co-operatively by whanau/parents as an extension to the whanau/family setting.
  • Providing Adult Education to Parents. It provides a participatory programme of education for whanau/parents that emphasises self-help and personal development. It covers areas such as child development, play and learning, parenting skills, planning and delivering early childhood education programmes, group and facilitation skills and management skills. Courses are offered in a flexible manner that acknowledges family commitments and obligations, and includes both formal and informal education opportunities.
    • Educational Publications.It provides publications and resources primarily to enable Playcentre members to enhance their parenting skills and train towards gaining their early childhood care and education qualifications. In addition such resources are available for other individuals or organisations, particularly those involved in the field of early childhood education.

    A typical Playcentre session will have children from birth to school age playing together with their parents and the other adults, engaged in a wide range of learning experiences. To ensure the quality of sessions there is a common commitment to:

    • learning through play
    • birth to school age
    • mixed ages sessions
    • family involvement

    There are many sophisticated aspects that serve the single aim of the Playcentre organisation, which is for parents to cooperate together to provide a quality early childhood experience for their children.

      The three simple rules in Playcentre are:

      • respect the play of others
      • respect property
      • respect the rights of others

      Playcentre views children as people who are strong and capable, who learn through play and who are competent to make their own choices about how and where to play (Free choice play).

      At Playcentre, children are in charge and it is an important aspect of the Playcentre philosophy that children experience a sense of personal power.

      We believe that a long-term consequence of this philosophy is that children grow up as adults who can make their own decisions, direct their own lives and maintain positive relationships with others.


      • Are run by parents, and the responsibility for supervision may rest on the shoulders of one person (a supervisor), or a team of parents (team supervision), or all parents (group supervision) depending on the region.
      • Are run for half a day
      • The ratio of adults to children ranges from 1:5 to 1:3.
      • Each centre offers a wide range of basic play areas at every session.
      • Each session will have children from birth to school age playing together with their parents and the other adults.
      • Children choose where and how they play and the role of the adults is to support and extend the play, the ideas and the thinking.

      Once children are settled and old enough, most Playcentres allow them to attend without their parents for one or more sessions a week.

      Parents are the first and best educators of children, Playcentre seeks to support parents and whaanau as they and their children learn and grow together.

    Playcentres are now eligible for 20 Hours ECE

    Playcentres are now eligible for 20 Hours ECE For more information about 20 hours please Click here

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