10,000 signatures reached
To: NZ Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins
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.”
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
- Holistic development
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.