This year Ōtaki Playcentre will be open twice as often as it has been in previous years. In 2016, sessions will be held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.
“Last year was really great for us in terms of enrolments and interest in our little centre” said Alice Cameron, Ōtaki Playcentre President. “We’ve worked hard in the last few years to clean the place up; we’ve invested a lot of time and energy in running our centre well, and in making sure we are offering high-quality sessions that meet the needs of pre-school aged children across all age groups: babies, under twos, over twos and big kids. It’s starting to come together and all of a sudden we’re not such a ‘little’ centre anymore!”
At over sixty years old, Ōtaki Playcentre is one of the oldest in New Zealand and has been an essential part of this community for generations. “One of the benefits of being small has been that our families all know each quite well. Many of us are new to the region so our centre has been a great place to get to know other parents and develop social and support networks, as well as an excellent early learning centre for our children.” Alice continued. “We’re opening more sessions a week as there is demand from within our current membership but also within the community. We are really looking forward to having some new members join us in 2016 to fill our last few spaces on our roll.”
Playcentre is focused around the idea that play is children’s work. Playcentre parents believe that they are the first and best teachers for their own children before they go to school. Playcentre sessions are run by parents who are actively involved in their child’s experience, as they are given the job of facilitating whatever the children might be interested to do each day.
That might mean something super-fun and slightly dangerous such as melting crayons over a burning candle to make an interesting piece of art with the hot drippings; or getting outside for some serious rough and tumble and exercising those big muscles in a boisterous game of tug-o-war. When this kind of play happens with Mum or Dad or Granny or Uncle alongside a child, then not just children but families are learning and growing together.
Visitors are welcome to drop in to Ōtaki Playcentre any time and have a look around. Term starts on Monday 1st February.