About Us

We are a parent-led early childhood service from birth to school age, where parents stay and play alongside their child.

Playcentre is an internationally recognised early childhood organisation unique to New Zealand. It evolved in the 1930s & 1940s to support families and promote new developments in early childhood education. The National Federation was formed in 1948, based on the original philosophies of child initiated play and the importance of parents as educators of their own children.

Today there are 489 Playcentres affiliated to the New Zealand Playcentre Federation through each of the 33 regional Associations.

Playcentre acknowledges Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa and is committed to incorporation the principles of partnership in its policies and practices.


Playcentre philosophy is based on the ideas of child-initiated play and parents as first educators.  Playcentre is an early childhood education service, run as a parent co-operative, which commits to the following in order to ensure the quality of early childhood education in each session:

  • learning through play
  • birth to school age
  • mixed ages sessions
  • family involvement
  • other policies and philosophies as decided by the annual national conference.