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How Playcentre whānau found resilience during the first COVID-19 lockdown

For Playcentre parent, Hannah Cox, spending four weeks locked down with her husband and three-year-old, initially appeared somewhat daunting. But what she found was a sense of empowerment.

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Playcentre’s central philosophy is that parents are the first educators of their children, and Hannah says that has given her a real belief in just what parents can do.

“During lockdown, I had all I needed so that my daughter didn’t miss out. It was like – yes, I can do it, and I can do it well.” 

Playcentre Aotearoa (the national body representing more than 420 Playcentres), set up a Virtual Village on its website, with a comprehensive range of activities for children, as well as resources for parents and caregivers – from looking after mental wellbeing to upskilling online. 

Playcentre also kept its education programmes going online, with its baby programmes continuing over Zoom. 

Playcentre Aotearoa’s General Manager, Sean McKinley, kept staff and Playcentre whānau in the loop with daily updates.

“It was really good to get feedback, so we knew people were reading the updates and were making use of the resources on our Virtual Village. A sense of community is at the core
of Playcentre.”

Hannah agrees, saying, “I think the key thing was the support the Playcentre adults gave each other. It was so valuable being part of a community of parents – we messaged and called each other, and that was good for the children too.”


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