The SPACE (Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education) programme was developed within the Hutt Playcentre Association and is aimed mainly at first time parents and their babies. It has been designed to support parents through the first year of their child’s developmental journey.
The purposes of the SPACE programme include providing new parents with valuable information on parenting and child development; offering support and networking in a group; and provide opportunities for families to hear from, and develop links with a range of community organisations and service providers.
The programme runs weekly for 3-4 terms (i.e. 30 – 40 weeks). The sessions are run by facilitators who have knowledge, experience, and training in early childhood care and education.
Infants join the SPACE programme around 0-3 months of age. There may be opportunities for older babies to join in with an existing SPACE session depending on the availability of places.
SPACE sessions are held in a relaxed, baby-friendly atmosphere. The centre/venue is set up to encourage interactions between the parents, babies, and facilitators with appropriate equipment to support infants’ learning and development. Sessions run for approximately 2½ hours and typically include:
- a welcoming and settling in time
- a sharing time
- a discussion topic or guest speaker
- morning or afternoon tea
- music, rhymes, and books
- continued opportunities for play
The discussion topics may include:
- Understanding me (crying & communication)
- Becoming a parent
- Establishing attachment
- Uniquely you: understanding temperament
- How much is enough? (stimulation)
- The beauty of the brain
- Making resources
- What do I see & What do I hear?
- See me move
- Reflective parenting
- Treasure Baskets & Heuristic play
The SPACE programme is being progressively rolled out across New Zealand. For the latest list of SPACE programme venues in NZ, click through to www.space.org.nz/sessions/index.php
Website of the SPACE programme