Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just Wow.

Sun's not even awake yet & we have milk delivery

This is the kinda thing that happens with Playcentre people. 

This is the kinda thing that keeps me coming back to Playcentre even after all the hard work, after 11 years. It's my turangawaewae (my place to stand),  My Home.

Playcentre people rock. And not in a "back and forth with a little bit of drool coming out" kinda way.   It's more of a "Wow that is so AWEsome!!" kinda way.

I'll explain.

I was at a Playcentre meeting last night, discussing ways we can stand up to the Government's taskforce's recommendations which in theory, on paper, sound like really good ideas. But in reality are pushing parents towards teacher-led Early Childhood Education, cutting funding dramatically (upwards of 60%) to "other" ECE services like Playcentres and Kohanga Reo.  The interesting part of it is that the taskforce is called "An Agenda for Amazing Children" and they want services that support families, the communities, allow for Special Needs children to have access like typical children, for it to be affordable for all socio-economic levels of society. And how do they propose this happens??  By institutionalising Early Childhood Education - Teacher-Led, in huge centres (coz at the same time Ministry of Education is changing Licensing and allowing for centres to go from having no more than 50 kids at a centre to up to 150 kids!!)

The statistics they use to support their argument are from the US, which is ok, except that we have a different style here in wee NZ, plus the stats they quote and the argument they make don't quite match up.....

In essence they are taking away the parents choice to CHOOSE to stay at home if they want. Discounting parents as first teachers, and forcing parents back into work. Don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying teacher-led ECE is evil. Just that parent-led has a place too. And the kids learn just as much as at the teacher-led services (we follow the same cirriculum, and licensing requirements AND the same regulations. thankyouverymuch)

Ugh.  Read the report, if it makes you wanna spew, like it does us, then please please please fill in a survey (the links are all there in the first link). It's a public consultation - so ANYONE can respond, you don't have to have a child in ECE right now.  I believe the changes they are suggesting will effect society as a whole, adversely, but sadly that we won't see those effects for a while yet, until it's too late.  We've had a taste of it already, and it ain't pretty.

But where is the good in this tale?  I know it's here somewhere, *looks around* this was supposed to be a positive post!

OH YEAH!! That's it - Playcentre People Are AWESOME!!

I had mentioned at the meeting last night in an aside that I needed to get milk for breakfast. Then I ended up staying there, finishing up a few things (organising a train trip/march on Parliament) and missed getting to the shops in time to buy said milk for breakfast.

I may have commented on this on facebook.

But the cool thing? this morning I was awoken (after the child came for a feed at 5am - ugh!) by a Playcentre friend trying to get in our crazy lopsided-so-it-sticks gate with a bottle of milk so my kids can have breakfast. My eyes weren't even open properly yet.

I had watered down the milk we had left in the fridge so I thought we'd be ok.

<-- The original Half-in-Half  :O) Yup. That's half milk & half water! (tricks of the trade of being a mum of millions!)

I can't help but sit here in my sleep deprived state and ponder whether this is the kind of community building and support that the Government is trying to foster with the recommendations. And whether this is the kind of thing that Kindy or DayCare parents do for each other.  

I don't know the answer to that - I'm a Playcentre mum through and through. I know no different. I see the value in having parents as teachers, in having a "village" help me raise my kid (hey! isn't that a famous saying from somewhere?!), I take joy in being able to be there with my kids in their formative years and in learning SO MUCH about their development AND my own as we go.  I know that Playcentre has made me a better parent. A better person. 

And I weep that the government thinks that a New Zealand initiative isn't worth what so many voices are saying it's worth. What so many families know it is worth. And not just coz it's Kiwi-born - but because it really does Grow Amazing Children. 

No Agenda needed.  We Already Do It!!

Plus shouldn't we be encouraging something that fosters relationships such that you get milk delivered before the sun rises by someone on their way to work?? That's a community I WANNA be a part of!!  :OD 


  1. Well said LTF. I know I'm not a Playcentre mum (I was once upon a time but it wasn't the right fit for our family to continue with at the time) but I'm definitely a mum who believes that having a parent at home for at least the first 3 years is key to raising happy and well-grounded mini-citizens. Our 'Parents As First Teachers' lady is amazing and affirming of my job as a parent, and I just wish more people had these opportunities...