2014 Review submitted by Karen Payne (parent and ECE registered teacher)
Address: 19 Sinclair St, Greerton (in the street behind Greenpark primary school)
Maximum Child Numbers: 30 children. All sessions open to children 0 – 6 years.
Hours: Monday to Friday 9.15am till 11.45am during school term time
Management: The playcentre is part of the Western Bay of Plenty Playcentre Association
When I arrived at around 9.30am one morning, I found the Playcentre was easy to spot being right next to the school. There was plenty of parking and there was even special allotted parking for playcentre parents.
The playcentre building was large and looked like a converted school room. I could see it had a large outdoor play area. The outside area was amazing with lots of area with lush green grass, a swing set, a big adventure playground, a huge sandpit, and just so much great space for children to run and play.
Upon walking into the Playcentre I saw a large open plan area which was very well set out, with neatly organised areas for children to play.
I was greeted by the one of the mothers who was busy cleaning the windows and she promptly put me onto another parent (MJ).
MJ was more than happy to show me around, and ran off and grabbed me a parent information pack with all the information I would need.
MJ informed me that like all playcentres, Greenpark Playcentre was run by parents and catered for parents and their children.
MJ explained that the playcentre offered 16 areas of play at every session and showed me the various areas set out for the children including playdough and messy play, painting, blocks, dress ups, science, books, etc.
Only six children were there at the time I visited and the small group size was quite a shock to me and so different to the environment I am used to being in as early childhood teacher working in teacher-led centres.
Two children were in the block area setting up a train track, one was sitting at the kai table eating and three were at the carpentry table in the foyer area.
The children each had portfolios containing learning stories and photos. I asked who was responsible for filling the portfolios and doing child assessments and MJ informed me that the parents fill them in. I was surprised to learn that parents wrote learning stories because again from an early childhood teacher’s perspective this was a foreign concept as getting parents to contribute to portfolios can be hard for teachers in childcare and kindergarten to achieve.
I did not see displays of formal planning for the children or information about Te Wharaki but MJ had explained that activities are child-led and based upon the current interests of the children.
I liked the feel of the playcentre - it felt warm, inviting and a happy place to be. All family members were welcomed and parents belonged to the playcentre rather than feeling that they had do drop their child off and leave. I found it is a centre where you can take your child and meet other parents and a centre where children can learn to play with other children.