Conversations with Plunket, the Auckland City Library and Sandy Ritchie (Splice) identified an ongoing need for building community for parents and children living in the city.
So new chaplain at large, Jill Kayser, leaped at this opportunity to connect with children and families by planning Auckland City Centre’s first nature playgroup.
The planning and preparation for and delivery of City Explorers Nature Playgroup is supported by Katee Waetford, Housing First’s Early Childhood Centre Manager.
Each Tuesday morning Jill, early childhood teacher Angela Cottrell and volunteer Michelle Twiggins off with mums and babes/toddlers to Albert Park to play, sing and explore in this beautiful natural playground.
City Explorers nature playgroup promotes the importance of children playing, exploring and learning in a natural environment. It creates opportunities for city kids to do what children have done for centuries – play with nature, climb trees, splash in puddles and make friends across age and culture.
Up to 50 mums (and an occasional dad), babes and toddlers join the exploration of this beautiful natural playground. The massive roots of majestic Moreton Bay Fig trees make perfect tightropes for the balancing elephant song or rowing boats and even become imaginary backs of dinosaurs. The hollows in the trunks are dens for hiding in. And then there’s the “forest” floor full of treasures like autumn leaves, seeds, worms and more.
And this nature playgroup creates opportunities for parents (and children) of all cultures, languages and faith to interact, make new friends and support each other in their vital task of parenting.