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To: NZ Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins

An Open Letter to save Playcentre

June 2020
To all supporters of the Save Playcentre petition

Hopefully those of you who backed the Playcentre petition will have seen the Government announcement today of an urgent funding boost. Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin is making $3.7 million available for Playcentre Aotearoa as well as a further $500,000 to deal with our property issues. This will allow us to offset our deficit, save a lot of Playcentres from closing and means we have some certainty to plan for our future.

More than 16,000 people signed the petition and I and all our Playcentre whānau are most appreciative of that support. It was really special to read all the many thoughtful comments a lot of you the took time to make. It was a great insight into why you were signing the petition and to see what Playcentre means and has meant to so many New Zealand families over the past 79 years. The overwhelming message was that Playcentre is valued and must not be lost. In my meeting with Minister Martin I was able to present many of those comments to her.

Thank you again for all your support.

Sean McKinley
General Manager
Playcentre Aotearoa

An Open Letter to save Playcentre

The future of one of the country’s oldest early education services, Playcentre, is now under threat. Playcentre educates more than 7 per cent of New Zealand’s preschoolers, yet receives less than one per cent of the Government’s funding for the Early Childhood Education sector.

Its national body, Playcentre Aotearoa, says despite working over many months on a 2020 Budget bid with Ministry of Education officials, the small increase it received in the Budget is very disappointing and an insult to the valuable service Playcentre provides not just for children, but also to the parents who put in hours of voluntary work to maintain what is a unique organisation.

There are more than 420 Playcentres all around the country, with about a third serving rural areas where sometimes a Playcentre is the only Centre-based service.

Playcentre Aotearoa says it is those Centres that are the most vulnerable and may not survive the Government’s continued underfunding.

Playcentre is a parent-led service, but in order to meet Government regulations, many Centres employ trained and qualified supervisors. Mr McKinley, the Playcentre General Manager, says it will now be very difficult to compete in the early childhood education market.

“Playcentre has been cast adrift by the Government. We are urgently asking the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, to address our very real concerns before this unique learning choice is no longer available in the country where it was founded almost 80 years ago.”

https://www.playcentre.org.nz/

Why is this important?

Playcentre is the embodiment of New Zealand's Early Childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki*. The principles of this bicultural curriculum are:
- Family and community
- Relationships
- Holistic development
- Empowerment

For many families, Playcentre has supported generations of children to pursue creativity through child-led play. Another key role local Playcentres play is to enabling smooth transitions to schooling and building a sense of community.

*https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Early-Childhood/Te-Whariki-Early-Childhood-Curriculum-ENG-Web.pdf

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/05/playcentres-threaten-closure-over-lack-of-government-funding.html


Reasons for signing

  • Playcentre is so much more then just early childhood education, it brings communities together!
  • My partner was a Playcentre dad and learned so much about parenting... it was extremely powerful. My daughter found friends and other adults she could trust and rely on. As a family we were supported in so many ways that is unique to Playcentre. We were lucky and hope others can continue to be so lucky.
  • My son and I got so much out of our Playcnetre experience. It's too special a thing to lose in NZ. Please read and sign!

Updates

2020-06-22 10:35:14 +1200

Petition is successful with 16,109 signatures

2020-05-23 14:36:11 +1200

10,000 signatures reached

2020-05-22 06:57:23 +1200

5,000 signatures reached

2020-05-21 19:03:53 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

2020-05-21 18:22:16 +1200

500 signatures reached

2020-05-21 17:24:53 +1200

100 signatures reached

2020-05-21 17:11:06 +1200

50 signatures reached

2020-05-21 17:01:50 +1200

25 signatures reached

2020-05-21 16:55:38 +1200

10 signatures reached