Change the beginning and you change the whole story

I saw that phrase in a TEDx talk that I was recently pointed to.  It was an excellent video.  If you’d like, you can watch it, too…

I don’t think it’s possible to agree more than I do with this video. I have seen the differences myself at Playcentre, depending on when the parent decided to join.

Today, this video made me think that we market Playcentre in completely the wrong way.  We post ourselves in the Early Childhood Education section of the Yellow Pages.  When people ask what we do, the easiest answer is “Early Childhood Education.”

But Early Childhood Education is actually Playcentre’s happy by-product. It’s not what we do.

What do we do? I’m glad you asked.

We take new parents and tell them that Yes, they CAN teach their preschool children confidently and competently, and that, in fact, they are their child’s first, and best, teacher.

Then we support them along a journey that gives them the skills, knowledge, confidence and competence to do so.

We do this with hands on experience, at our Playcentre sessions (where parents stay and play with their children – yes, there are drop offs, but not until later!). The parents set up the sessions and activities and are actively involved as the children play.  (See the above video for why that’s important!)

We do this with a tailor-made Parent Education Program that is created especially with busy parents in mind – you learn as you go, in your own time, at your own pace.  Those courses include everything from how to make Playdough, to how to encourage creativity in your children, to behaviour management, to communicating with your child, to the development of children, and beyond.

Why do we do this?  For exactly the reasons you see in the video above.  We believe that children do their best learning through play – not through the television. Because we know that parents don’t get an instruction manual.  We don’t have ALL the answers either, but we’ve got a pretty good idea – and we’re happy to share what we know.

One of the best things about Playcentre is the range of experience and knowledge all the different parents bring to a session. You hear a lot of “I tried this, and it didn’t work.”  “Oh?  Well maybe try this, instead.  What you did didn’t work for me, either, but this did.”  Adults on session learn very quickly that there isn’t just one right way to do things – and each child and each adult will respond differently!

And what’s the result?

Confident and competent learners – Adults and children.

Because the best way to change the beginning of a story is to give the parents the knowledge and skills on how to change it in a hands-on environment, supported by friendly faces.

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About Broot

Thoughts about learning and life that are lost in a sea of blogs.

2 responses to “Change the beginning and you change the whole story”

  1. solodialogue says :

    I watched. It was an interesting presentation but naturally it makes me wonder where my son fits. He does not fall within the conclusions of the speaker. Maybe because of his lack of typicality. I wish I’d had the chance to interact with him in a meaningful exchange at the very early time in his life.

    Aside from that, I do love how you’ve described PlayCentre! I wish we’d had one here. They are quite lucky to have you, you know. 🙂

    • Broot says :

      He’s totally talking about NT children there. However, if you think of it in terms of “early intervention” for children on the spectrum, you see it fits, too. Where parents are involved and active in their child’s learning (as you are), interacting and playing with them (as you do) the children progress at a better rate, and usually sooner, than those who are left to it. 🙂

      As for Playcentre – I’m only one of many. There are many many people in the organisation that I look up to!!

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