Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Viva el Secretary!!

Yeah yeah I know there's all kinds of grammatical issues with that statement, but it's the context I wanna share about.   

This is what I wore Saturday night, it was AGM night at Playcentre. 

History - Playcentre is a New Zealand founded Early Childhood option for parents, that is run by parents/families.  It is for all ages of preschoolers (birth - 6 years; altho most kids do go to school at 5years, legally they don't have to go till they are 6), sessional (2 1/2hours is the most a child is allowed to do in a day. But they can have a session per year of age, so Monkey also known as #6 (15mths) goes once a week, but the Dynamic Duo (#4 &#5 who are 4years) go 4 mornings a week). Each centre (most towns have one, but not all, and cities often have a few) has an Association that they belong to. There are different Associations around the country that all come under the umbrella of the Federation, which in turn is under the guidance of the Ministry of Education.  Although we have our own unique Playcentre Philosophy and DOPs (which i can NEVER fucken remember exactly what it stands for, but the P is for Practices), we have to follow Ministry regulations to get funding.  Just rereading this, it makes Playcentre sound like a pyramid scheme!!  It's not a pyramid scheme!!

We don't have paid staff (altho some centres do, and at times when we have had to pay someone, they have come from families within Playcentre. They aren't "staff" like kindy "teachers" are).  We have a parent education system, and a system that ensures trained people are on each Session. As volunteers all parents have a Duty Day (mine is wednesday atm) where we are there early to set up, run the session - interacting with all the children, doing observations and other ministry requirements - then clean up and evaluate at the end. 

One of the things I love about Playcentre is that because it is parent run, we make the decisions. All the decisions. As long as we are still following Federation rules and MoE regulations, we can "flavour" our centre as we please. Although we do have to have consensus amongst all members, a system I lovingly refer to as Death By Committee.   

Along with running the sessions we all do a "job" to help behind the scenes, or an Office Holder Position. So this year I am Secretary (again) and somehow I managed to pick up Vice-President as well. Oh and just in case I, I dunno, get bored in my day job, I am also on the Fundraising team.  So that is probably the downside of being from a smaller Playcentre, there are the same number of roles to fill, but less people to do them, so sometimes you end up doing more than one role in year. It's ok though, of the 2 roles I had last year (both of which I was happy doing, don't get me wrong) I think Secretary is the easier to do on a daily basis. So I'm cool with that. And as for Vice, I had put my name forward for President (hence the title, those who know The Young Ones) so this is better!!

I have been going to Playcentre since #1 was about 18mths old (henceforth he shall be known as Padawan - he's been nutso for Star Wars since he was about 2 1/2yrs, one day he'll be a Master Jedi, but he's not there yet!)  We as a family have now been at 3 centres, and  2 Associations. I have done a few of the Office Holder Positions now, altho there has been some double ups - I guess this is just where my interests lie.... I tend to think of it like Bigwell - "see a need fill a need" I will do whatever role needs doing so the centre can stay open. Such is the benefit I see for our family.

This is a good time to show you this....  
I got it done earlier this year as I have now been at Playcentre for 10 years. And there are good and bad times - same as anytime you spend with a group of people. There are personality, ideological, commitment clashes and disagreements. But I have found for the most Playcentre has been a HUGE benefit to our family. For myself - my growth as a person and a mum. For our kids - their growth, education, socialisation (and it continues as Playcentre is a Family thing we have Veteran days where the big kids can come back and play. THEY LOVE THIS!! Although our current centre isn't really "their" centre as they were at school already when we started there, Padawan, Darling GIrl and Dude (#3) have all found a place there), and just for a place to have an extended 'family'.  Even Captain Awesome Pants has benfitted and it's hard to get him in the door of the place!! 

So that is my excitement from the weekend. I handed over one role, kept one, and picked up a couple more!!  Not the plan, but we know I'm not one so much for plans! so, hei aha.

Sleep well little fairies - I'm writing this waaaaay too late at night. Tomorrow I will aim to write earlier in the day, we'll see how that works out! thanks for reading  :OD

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