Playcentre Media Releases
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|Investing in our children – returns great dividends|
|8th Feb 2012|
|Parents are the first and best educators of their young children – that's a theme that a New Zealand education icon has been banking on for over 70 years.|
Next month, Playcentres all round the country will share with the country's parents the benefits they've found from investing time in their parenting while children are young.
“Parenting is the most important job any person will do in their life” said Playcentre Federation Co-president Marion Pilkington. “Playcentre provides a community network, plus free parent education, to help parents do this job as well as they can. We put our resources into building families, who then move out and strengthen their communities.”
Playcentre Awareness Week is celebrated once every two years to promote the value of parent-led early education and community involvement. This year it is focused on the huge dividends that spending time learning to be a great parent and being involved in the community together brings for children and parents alike.
This year the theme is “Investing in our children” – noting that the time and energy parents put into children in the early years produce the greatest results. Local centres are being encouraged to plan activities to reach out into their local communities, such as dressing the local post office window, holding kids baking stalls, and community open days.
“Raising children is real work” said Playcentre Federation Co-president Maureen Woodhams. “Parenting is learned and learning takes time together – especially time when you and your child are not tired or stressed. Attending Playcentre makes time for families to learn together, and we invite other families to come along and experience that learning.”
Playcentre operates 489 early childhood education centres around the country for children aged from birth to school entry. Playcentres have a particular presence in rural areas, and are also in most major towns. Playcentres are run as parent cooperatives, where groups of parents collectively supervise and teach the children attending in half-day sessions. Parents are offered free NZQA recognised training in child development, positive discipline, communication, and management skills to help them in this.
For further information, or to find your local Playcentre, visit www.playcentre.org.nz
Background Information – What is Playcentre Awareness Week?
Every two years Playcentre runs a Playcentre Awareness campaign with a national week in March. In 2012, Playcentre Awareness Week runs from 5 to 11 March.
The aim of this week is to raise the national profile of Playcentre, providing an opportunity for parents to make an informed choice about early childhood education. It also provides an opportunity for individual Playcentres to celebrate their commitment to their children, and have fun.
In 2012 the overlying theme of Playcentre Awareness Week is “Investing in our Children.” This highlights the huge value gained from the time which parents spend raising and educating their children in the early years.
Parenting is learned, and learning takes time with your child, especially time when you are both not tired or stressed.
The Playcentre Federation will be running a national poster and handout campaign during Playcentre Awareness Week. Some media advertising will also be coordinated nationally.
What is Playcentre?
Playcentre runs half-day early education sessions for mixed-age groups of children from birth to school age. Playcentre is a uniquely New Zealand organisation and is run by families for families, with most teaching and management roles provided by trained, volunteer parents.
Playcentre originated 70 years ago when a group of mothers gathered in Karori, Wellington, to support each other as parents, and provide a space for their children to play and learn social skills. Their ideas quickly spread to communities around the country.
The education environment at Playcentre includes a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities such as: playdough, jigsaw puzzles, carpentry tables with real tools, sandpits and climbing equipment, books, musical instruments, dancing and dress-ups.
Children are encouraged to choose their own activity area and work there for as long as they wish. Parent teams guide and talk with small groups of children, and join in their play, helping them make the most of the learning opportunities.
Through learning in a supportive play environment, children develop the curiosity and courage to try new things and the motivation to extend themselves. They are also introduced to the interests and skills of a wide range of parent-educators who are experienced in many different occupations.
Every Playcentre parent is offered free adult education that will give them the skills and confidence for working with children. This training includes understanding children's learning and play, how to deal with challenging child behaviour, and how to help children learn to their fullest potential.
Courses also cover group communication and management skills, cultural issues, the Treaty of Waitangi, and basic Māori language.
Playcentre welcomes parents as its most valuable resource, and they provide each other with role models of different skills while working alongside each other on session. Parents report they feel more confident in their abilities and able to make an on-going contribution to their children's learning into their school years.
For more information on Playcentre visit www.playcentre.org.nz
Contacts for Media:
Catherine Cooper, Operations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maureen Woodhams, Co-president, email@example.com, 04 9345244, 027 4041223
Marion Pilkington, Co-president, firstname.lastname@example.org, 09 445 6472, 021 937525.
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