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It Was Good Fun Getting Here, But What Do I Do Now?

Beverley Morris

The playcentre movement began in 1941, during the Second World War when many fathers were absent in the forces. It was founded to provide support for families by setting up preschool centres, usually in local halls where equipment could be arranged, to give mothers a break and to extend children's play activities. However, the founders of playcentre soon realized that though the children's learning was being catered for, and welcome short term relief provided for mothers, they had a more important function - to improve the mental health of the mothers by increasing their confidence in their own childrearing skills. Soon a parent education programme emerged to pass on the philosophy that parents are the children's first and most successful educators. To ensure a supply of trained supervisors and parent-helpers every mother was asked to share the supervision on a roster system.

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