Glendene Playcentre Mobile 2024 02 29

Fun and friendship at Glendene Playcentre

Glendene Playcentre is at the heart of the local community, offering free fun and friendship to preschoolers, parents and caregivers.

The centre is part of a nationwide network overseen by the registered charity Playcentre Aotearoa. Playcentres offer early childhood education with a difference. They are managed cooperatively by parents, supported by Playcentre Aotearoa staff at a regional and national level. Mums, dads and caregivers stay and play alongside their children, actively participating in all the fun.

"Glendene Playcentre is a source of connection for our local community," says parent and volunteer Lis Gordon. She adds that the centre is inclusive and welcoming and offers free parenting education. Lis says that whānau are the most important educators of their children. At the centre, they are trained, upskilled, and supported by Playcentre Aotearoa staff.

The centre is a hive of activity. An ever-changing programme nurtures the children's imaginations and creativity. From sand and water play to carpentry, painting and playdough, there's a rich variety of activities on offer.

"We also have large grounds for our children to explore, a ponga hut, climbing frames and even our very own mud pit," says Lis.

Glendene Playcentre

Playcentre is a fantastic way for carers and tamariki to meet new people and make friends locally. "Families experience belonging and connection, children thrive as friendships develop, and their learning is supported," says Lis. She adds that the centre members also support each other with meal trains when new babies arrive.

However, the past few years have been tough for Glendene Playcentre. Covid restrictions combined with several long-standing members moving on to school saw numbers dwindle to just a handful of families.

The centre has now bounced back thanks in part to help from Your West Support Fund. Funding of $5,000 has been used to pay for a qualified facilitator to support parents in learning how to run the centre. "The grant meant that we could keep offering high-quality early childhood education as parents upskilled," says Lis.

The number of tamariki regularly attending has grown to 30, and two volunteers have achieved their licensing qualifications. That's a big step forward for this vital community resource.

You can find Glendene Playcentre at 7A Patts Avenue. Session times are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.15 am to 12.30 pm. If you're a local looking for a fun and safe learning environment for you and your children, check out Glendene Playcentre.