Much to Share

Much to Share

New to New Zealand, Monika Mather found Playcentre – and, along with her kids, feels at home and among friends.

When Monika and Nick Mather moved to New Zealand, having spent the last 15 years in England, Polish-born Monika found herself in unfamiliar territory and in need of support and friendship – for her kids, and for herself. ‘The kids and I didn’t know anyone. I found it hard because I would often spend all week with the kids – without talking to another adult.’

With two young children – daughter Emilia (4) and son Tomasz (2) – and a baby on the way, Monika went along to Landsdowne Terrace Playcentre, and found so much more than a place for her kids to socialise and play. Monika was amazed by the incredible generosity and kindness she received.

‘We received a lovely, warm welcome and we loved the feel of the place. Everyone was so friendly and chatty and it was such a nice change for me and the children. The first few weeks the children wouldn’t leave my side. But it’s a different story now.’

Six months since their first introductions, the kids behave like they own the place – and rightfully so. ‘The moment we walk in to Playcentre, they disappear. They both love whatever messy play activity is being offered, and they also love exploring the fantastic outdoor space – especially the climbing frame.’ 

Monika too has formed great friendships with other parents. ‘I have met so many wonderful families and made so many friends. I enjoy going to Playcentre as much as the kids do. I know that no matter how I am feeling – and, being pregnant, there are always tough days – I can always have a cup of tea and a good chat with the other mums.’

For Landsdowne Terrace President, Rosemary Brooks, ‘Playcentre is fantastic for the kids – especially since they have so many adults they trust and whose company they enjoy. But the best thing about Playcentre is the support parents get from each other. It’s invaluable.’

As Monika knows, ‘sometimes all you need is a cuppa and a nice biscuit’ – and with the kids out playing on the climbing frame and getting messy with the gloop, the parents get a chance to grab one before the little ones do!

At Playcentre Monika received so much more than cups of tea… Yes, support and friendship, and plenty of laughs. But also stuff! ‘When I found out I was pregnant, people were amazing – bringing in stuff that they no longer needed.’

As parents, we find ourselves saying time and time again: Tommy, you need to share the truck! and Maisy, it is time for Rebecca to have a turn washing the doll. At Playcentre, parents do this thing called ‘sharing’ all the time, through their generosity and thoughtfulness, through simply being there.

Biscuits and toys; challenges and transitions; baby clothes for new arrivals and spare clothes for wet toddlers; ideas and strategies; laughter and stories: Playcentre is all about sharing.

In August Emilia will be going to school; but Monika will continue going to Landsdowne Terrace Playcentre with Tomasz and his baby brother or sister. For the Mather family, Playcentre has become a part of life.

Afterword

Playcentre may be all about sharing. That is not to say that Tommy, the 18-month-old, will be keen to give up his truck, or that Maisy – let’s say she’s 3 and a half – will hand over Tilly the doll without protesting vociferously. At Playcentre, generosity and kindness spread like finger-paint and popcorn. However, for kids – engrossed as they are in play – there are times when sharing is not cool!

Pictured: Emilia and Tomasz getting messy on session

By Kate Barber 

Much to Share

Posted: Monday 6 June 2016