Sunday, November 19, 2006

Playcentre on my mind

This week I've been so distracted with worries about our Playcentre. Playcentre has been wonderful for my girls and me. It's a parent-led early childhood education service, run almost entirely through volunteer work, with parents working alongside the children. Our adult:child ratios are fantastic (1:4), and our last Education Review Office report was really positive. Children lead the way into the activities they want to do each day, and we do whatever is necessary to bring their ideas to life.
Helen attends 4 morning sessions each week, and so I spend 1 morning "session helping". I spend at least one other morning doing administration work, often 1 night a week at some Playcentre meeting or another, hours cleaning & tidying, writing narrative assessments for the kids' portfolio/profile books, and on and on it goes.

Next year all 3 and 4 year olds in New Zealand will be entitled to up to 20 hours free child-care, which is an admirable thing. The down-side for us at Playcentre is that it only applies to teacher-led services, and it's still unclear how it will be implemented by those services anyway. With the changes already this year to eligibility for child-care subsidies, many at-home parents found it's worthwhile (financially speaking) to return to work, at least part-time, now that they don't have to spend half their paycheck on child-care. Playcentres around the country have already felt the effects of that, with roll numbers decreasing in many urban centres, and some smaller rural centres closing or at crisis point.

I'm beginning to feel that our centre is just about at crisis point now, so I've been worrying and wondering about what to do. That, and wishing I knew some flash marketing company who could entice lots of new families to come along with their little ones.

On a lighter note, I got a wee bit of crafting done. Etsy finally re-appeared on Tuesday (NZ time) and over the next few days I managed to list the new flowers I'd finally finished. I love how Etsy now allows categories in stores, so all my kimono flowers are grouped together, brooches together, etc.

On Thursday Helen and I went to the Arts Recycling Centre and I picked up a heap of remnants of (new) polyester neck-tie fabric. They've been turned into flowers now, and the first one listed in the store.

The rain we've had for over a week has finally cleared away this afternoon, and when Ian and Jen get home from the hardware store we're off to the pool!

Have a good week!

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