Te Aroha Noa Early Childhood Centre in Palmerston North is a pioneering "learning community" of whanau, children and parent educators.
Te Aroha Noa has created a 'Parent Educator' model where parents are trained in areas such as observing and interacting with children. Parents have become an important part of the team, working in a part-time paid role with early childhood trained educators.
"The idea was to create a learning team where there was no differentiation between the qualified people and the parents," says Bruce Maden, Te Aroha Noa Chief Executive.
The licensed early childhood centre is linked into the wider Te Aroha Noa Community Services, which provides holistic care for families and the community.
Te Aroha Noa is situated in the middle of a state housing block in the lower socio-economic suburb of Highbury. They are connecting with other early childhood centres across the western suburbs of Palmerston North to enhance parenting and whanau development.
"Word of mouth" between parents in the community has resulted in a huge roll increase. Te Aroha Noa is currently looking to build a second early childhood centre, which would accommodate the children currently on a waiting list and more.
Bruce Maden was invited by The Tindall Foundation in September 2006 to go to Canada to investigate community-led development initiatives. In 2007, The Tindall Foundation funded Te Aroha Noa's locally based, collaborative community work.
For further information contact:
Bruce Maden, Chief Executive Officer, Te Aroha Noa Community Services Trust