Here are reports sent in by the committees of two more successful play centres.
PLAY CENTRE AT
in december 1963, some thirty Maori people at Morrinsville attended a meeting at which Mr A. Grey, the pre-school officer of the Maori Education Foundation, described the aims and organisation of play centres. The enthusiasm of his hearers led to the formation of a play centre committee of interested parents who thereafter met monthly to discuss the setting up of the Centre, how to obtain preliminary equipment, how to raise funds, and how to create greater interest amongst the community generally. As well as this, several mothers visited neighbouring pre-schools at Morrinsville, Walton and Gordon to gain first-hand knowledge of how these groups managed and what equipment was in use.
The Committee decided to have the opening session on the 6 May 1964. This was a very successful day at which 18 pre-school children, 11 mothers and three fathers were present. Later in the afternoon, two Morrinsville Kindergarten teachers visited the Centre, and expressed their surprise at the numbers present and the array of equipment in use. Equipment at this stage consisted entirely of play things brought in by the parents. Three tables and several chairs for the children's use were donated locally.
Fathers Also Work on Committee
The Committee consists of two sections: The management committee, composed of fathers, whose function is to raise funds, provide equipment etc., and the sub-committee, composed of mothers who supervise at the centre sessions. The presiding officers are: president, Mr J. Pene; secretary, Mr E. Walker; treasurer, Mr Tuhakaraina; roster mother, Mrs Z. Walker. To date, the committee has raised approximately £23, largely from subscriptions from parents, and this money will probably be spent on the purchase of equipment.
Weekly Sessions Held in Meeting-house
Play Centre operates weekly and is held on Wednesday afternoons from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Paki-O-Matariki Meeting House, Rukumoana. At present there is no trained supervisor, but each session is organised by the roster mother, lady welfare officer and two mother helpers, the latter of whom work to
a pre-arranged roster system. Mothers helpers total 11, including one Pakeha, and it is hoped that several of these will train for their helpers certificates and eventually their supervisors certificates.
Equipment consists of dolls, plain and coloured blocks, interlocking toys, wheel-barrow, trucks, water play, dough and books, plastic containers, blackboard and chalk.
Twenty-one Children on the Roll
There are 21 pre-school children on the roll and weekly attendances average 10-12. Each child is charged 1s. per session with a maximum charge of 2s. 6d. Three Pakeha children are among those who attend. The children look forward to their weekly sessions and enjoy mixing freely with others and playing with the toys and materials. Each session ends with a quiet period in which the children gather around one of the helpers, who reads a story from a picture book.
The present aims of the centre are two-fold: To promote interest locally, and to build up equipment to the standard desired for affiliation with the parent body in Auckland. The future aim will be to obtain a section and a building which will be used exclusively for play centre purposes.