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Supporting early learning and discovery through play.

Play is important for healthy brain development; and it’s through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Running for more than 50 years, Pakuranga-rahihi Playcentre provides a place for children aged 0-6 to come together and learn through play.

The centre is also a volunteer-led co-operative, with parents learning and growing with each other and alongside their children, and taking an active role in their children's early education.

With a recent influx of new babies, the playcentre recognised a need to update and improve its environment for the children and their whānau.

Successfully applying to our Grassroots Giving Programme, the playcentre was able to transform its baby area and sleep room, turning it into a space where mums and their babies can feel safe and connected, as well as making it more stimulating to encourage interaction and bonding between parent and child.

They were also able to invest in creating a dedicated science area for the older children, to encourage learning, curiosity and discovery about topics such as light, sounds and magnetism.

Secretary Bex Jeffery says the families are already delighted with the changes the playcentre has been able to make with the funding.

"Our whānau actually came together outside of session times to put together all the equipment and set everything up."

"It's clear that the babies are loving spending time in this new environment – they're safe from harm and are learning through textures, sounds, and visually. The adults are also spending more time in the area, interacting and encouraging the babies to learn through play and stimulation."

"Meanwhile the older children are also spending quality time talking about nature, colours, light, sounds – all basic concepts but ones that beforehand we struggled to know how to develop further than a simple comment. Now we have the tools and opportunities to expand and develop our children’s thinking and creativity."

"This grant has been such an amazing gift to all of us at Pakuranga-rahihi Playcentre. Our children are happy, content, safe – and we have all benefitted greatly from it."

Photo supplied by Pakuranga-rahihi Playcentre.