Play­cen­tre needs more young­sters

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice -

It could be a case of use it or lose it for Katikati Play­cen­tre, with num­bers dwin­dling to just eight chil­dren and four fam­i­lies at­tend­ing.

Play­cen­tre mother El­iz­a­beth Win­ter said it’s got to a stage of, “is any­one com­ing to­day.”

“A lot left last year as chil­dren grew up. We need more fam­i­lies — we don’t want to close.”

Play­cen­tre used to have three ses­sions a week but is now down to two — Mon­day and Thurs­day from 9am to 12pm. The Tues­day ses­sion has closed.

“If we had more peo­ple we’d be able to open an­other ses­sion.”

El­iz­a­beth started four years ago. Her son is now five and she has a daugh­ter, Char­lotte, two, who at­tends.

Play­cen­tre Pres­i­dent Me­gan Har­vey has six chil­dren who are home­schooled. She is C2 cer­ti­fied and work­ing on her C3 qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The Play­cen­tre phi­los­o­phy is based on child-ini­ti­ated play and recog­nises the par­ents as the first and best ed­u­ca­tors of their own chil­dren. Fam­i­lies re­ceive a unique early child­hood ex­pe­ri­ence with op­por­tu­ni­ties for wha¯ nau/fam­i­lies to learn to­gether. Ses­sions are run by par­ents.

Me­gan said at play­cen­tre it’s child-led learn­ing.

“We fol­low their lead and learn along­side them and watch them grow. Be­cause I’m here I get to wit­ness that.”

The Bin­nie Road Play­cen­tre of­fers 16 var­i­ous ar­eas of in­door and out­door play in­clud­ing play­dough, paint­ing, wa­ter play, books and puz­zles, climb­ing frames, swings, dress-ups and a whop­ping sand­pit. It also has a vege gar­den which the chil­dren planted.

Me­gan said they are try­ing to cater to dif­fer­ent di­ets.

“Our fam­ily is ve­gan — when we share kai we share a va­ri­ety of foods.”

On teacher-only days fam­i­lies are wel­come to bring older sib­lings to Play­cen­tre. She said the kids get ex­cited about the older ones com­ing.

Mum of three Am­ber Chap­man said play­cen­tre of­fers par­ents free learn­ing at work­shops. She went to a fire­maker’s work­shop and learnt about mak­ing damper and build­ing a fire at the base of a vol­cano.

“We learnt what ques­tions to ask to get chil­dren think­ing and on the safety side.”

Am­ber is keen to con­tinue study­ing to be­come a early child­care teacher.

Play­cen­tre of­fers child­care for chil­dren while par­ents at­tend work­shops or they will pay for a babysit­ter.

Play­cen­tre par­ents will be at Countdown in Katikati on De­cem­ber 5, 6 and 7 to fundraise for sand pit toys, paint and glue. The com­mit­tee re­cently spent money on build­ing a big gar­den for the chil­dren. Some fundrais­ing will go to pay back the cost of start­ing the gar­den.

Two-year-old Char­lotte Death-Win­ter hav­ing fun with wa­ter. Chil­dren of all ages love the big sand­pit at Katikati Play­cen­tre.

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