Grandparents at Playcentre

Grandparents at Playcentre

At Playcentre we celebrate the involvement of parents but what about the grandparents who also attend sessions? Whether supporting the occasional fundraiser or as important caregivers and regular attendees, many grandparents play a significant role in our organisation.

I recently interviewed Doryan Mahalm during one of Prebbleton’s explorer sessions to find out some of her experiences as a Playcentre grandparent. Doryan regularly attends sessions at Prebbleton Playcentre with her daughter, Jasmine, and granddaughter, Sienna.

Doryan says that Playcentre is a “thing to share with Jasmine and Sienna”, something they can do together. She loves the approach at Playcentre. It is “a really healthy preschool environment. They don’t have everything laid on a plate”. Children are “encouraged to be creative and allowed to play”, she continues.

Like some grandparents who attend with a primary caregiver, Doryan prefers not to be overly involved on session. “I tend to take a back seat. I just enjoy seeing Sienna enjoying time with her friends”. However, later in the discussion, Doryan admits to taking home washing over the holidays and doing other things to support the Playcentre. Her husband helps out too. He “took the vices into work and sandblasted and painted them” when they needed fixing, she says. Doryan also attends events like the upcoming bingo night. Both she and her husband are clearly a valuable asset to their local Playcentre community.

One thing that stood out to me was the admiration Doryan holds for Playcentre parents. “I really admire the mums there. They’re just so lovely”, she says. I enjoy “seeing how children are related to” and “love the way kids are respected”. Doryan acknowledges the role Playcentre plays as a network for parents as well as children. “Jasmine gets as much out of it as Sienna does”.

When I met Doryan it was during Prebbleton’s explorer session to Corsair and Cass Bays. When I asked her what she thinks of these sessions in particular she says “I love it … (I love seeing them) creating their own play. Steph, the leader, is so good with encouraging them”. Doryan’s especially determined to get her husband involved in these explorer sessions too, which combine childhood learning with an adventure beyond the centre.

I asked Doryan what she would suggest to other grandparents thinking of coming to a session. “Let them know how rewarding it is to watch your little grandchildren interacting”, she replied.

The benefits for Doryan’s daughter, Jasmine, are also significant. ”For me, it's awesome sharing those experiences with my Mum. She gets to see the learning Sienna is doing on session, and recognises similar patterns in her play at home. She also notices growth and development in other tamariki as she interacts with them, and often takes one or two under her wing when we are out and about! It's also really nice for the two of us to reflect on our experiences as Playcentre mums together. Sienna loves to hang out with her grandma on session, which gives me some time to spend with other tamariki too!”

Doryan is an enthusiastic advocate for Playcentre and everything that it stands for. Her involvement in Playcentre strengthens her relationship with her granddaughter and daughter while also benefitting the wider Playcentre community. Any grandparents out there are more than welcome to take a leaf out of Doryan’s book and attend a session. We look forward to seeing you.

Posted: Tuesday 21 March 2017