Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playcentre, Te Whāriki and Belonging

I've written about Playcentre on my blog every now and again,
but the other day Rhiannon said to me why don't I write a bit more often and in a more
meaningful way, and so I thought I would. 

Playcentre is unique to New Zealand as far as I know,
it's a parent co-operative where we all as parents learn to be the first teachers for our preschoolers.
We learn to observe them and then to extend their learning along the lines of their
own interests at that time.

We learn to follow their lead and work out the themes and links
and provide resources to help them learn more from those situations.
We use the same curriculum, Te Whariki, that all early childhood institutions in NZ use.

We learn to let go of our expectations (like a rainbow should be a curve)
and let the children show us what they think of their world.

Today while I was on parent help I was observing Sacha and Ellie. 
They are sisters, Sacha is 4 and Ellie turned 3 today.
When I first came in someone had spread a large piece of paper over the table
and filled a muffin tray with paints.
At first they had fun mixing the paints and then started making patterns on the paper.

I noticed this morning that although Sacha and Ellie didn't seem to be talking to each other
they were playing near each other and they were interacting in a non-verbal way!

Here's Sacha during the morning talking to Cat who was doing the roll!

And here's Ellie practicing her climbing outside. 
She fell down and was upset, but I showed her this picture
and she immediately climbed up again.

And here's Ellie at the Kai (food) table while we all sing Happy Birthday to her.
And at the end of the morning, here are the sisters together again,
playing with all the other children in the sandpit.

The curriculum has five strands and one of them is Belonging.
This is about: feeling secure, making friends, being confident
believe in themselves, value themselves, have a sense of humour.

I'm going to write a learning story for Ellie about her fabulous morning
and at the bottom I'll write "Link to Te Whariki - belonging"
and this means that although it just looked like Ellie was having a great morning
the part of the curriculum she was "working on" was BELONGING.

Now I know there are lots of Playcentre mums out there in blogland,
here's your chance to join in. Let's put this logo on our blogs
and encourage each other in our learning and our children's learning.

You can link up below or use the tag on instagram #playcentre
Please spread the word, the more people we have the more we can
learn and share ideas with each other.


  1. Thanks for sharing about playcenter, I've been thinking about it for a while :)


  2. Great idea! I'm a playcentre mum (through and through) and I agree it needs to be more 'out there', it's got to be one of the best things on the planet for families and preschoolers. I don't blog so can't help in this particular endeavour but will be reading yours! My 4yr old and I visited Belfast p'centre today. Great centre - so different to ours, but the philosophy is the same so you just fit right in - it's like being part of one massive extended family!

  3. hi Deb, I think Rhiannon is right, you SHOULD do more blog posts on playcentre. My how we can learn though the eyes of a child huh! I look forward to hearing more...

  4. Perhaps if you find some more blogs that are Playcentre based you will add a list on your blog too. Adding yours to mine!



  5. Well done Deb! What neat examples of belonging, I love how you used various pictures and moments during the day to build up the overall picture of belonging. Ka pai, you!
    I don't have time to blog (and probably don't have anything exciting to say lol), but will be following you. :)
    FYI - Japan has Playcentres. They came and learned about ours and took the model back to their country to set up their own. They still visit and maintain contact to keep up to date with any of our developments. That's how cool we are!!

    Jess Hey

  6. Yay! Thanks for sharing, I look fwd to hearing more : )


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