Whether building sandcastles, climbing the rope ladder or swinging on the monkey bars, fun and adventure are guaranteed at Swanson Playcentre. The centre is part of the national Playcentre Aotearoa charitable trust’s network. And it offers an enriching early childhood experience for pre-schoolers. What differentiates playcentres from other providers is that parents run the centre and oversee all the activities.
Swanson Playcentre is in a picturesque semi-rural location with spaces for up to 30 tamariki. The centre recognises that parents and whānau are the first and best educators of children. Swanson Playcentre is all about enriching communities by strengthening parent involvement.
The centre is run by a dedicated group of volunteer parents. Playcentre Aotearoa supports parents with an education programme that ensures they have the necessary skills.
The centre follows Te Whāriki, the national curriculum for early childhood education. There’s a wealth of creative opportunities for littlies to develop their imaginations and learn through play. Activities change daily, including painting, singing, dressing up, storytelling, and much more. Lifelong fun and friendships have been developed by whānau and children while baking biscuits.
According to Chris Jordan, the centre’s grants coordinator, providing a safe environment for all the fun and adventures is a top priority at Swanson Playcentre. However, a cleanup of the weeds and bushes in the outside play area exposed the poor condition of the boundary fence. ‘The fence slats were rotten and urgently needed replacing,’ explains Chris. ‘What’s more, the rails were located on the Playcentre side of the boundary, providing a risk for tamariki to practise their climbing skills,’ he adds.
Replacing the entire 40 metres of fencing was a big ask for a small playcentre with limited resources. However, an application to the Your West Support Fund resulted in $5,000 of funds. And a fundraising effort from parents and whānau got the playcentre over the line.
The old, worn-out fence has been replaced with a new, safe, secure one. It now sits on a small retaining wall to ensure it doesn’t rot over time. And the rails have been relocated to the neighbour’s side, so youngsters don’t have the temptation to climb.
‘It may not be the most glamorous project, but the help of the Your West Support Fund ensures our children have a safe and secure environment,’ says Chris.
Swanson Playcentre is at 5 Christian Road and is open from 9.15am to 12.15pm every weekday. New families are always welcome, so check out the website for all you need to know.