“Playgroup means a lot to me. I just love it, there is a real feeling of history. My dad – and my aunties and uncles – came here when it was a school, my mum had a lot to do with it when it was a playcentre… my two youngest come here now, it’s pretty awesome.”
Rachelle, who attended with her sister, still lives in Gordonton and her husband Adam walks most mornings to Waikato Regional Council depot where he works with Phillip Ecclestone, Rachelle’s father.
“My dad’s his boss which is quite funny. Dad thinks it’s great we’re here; he pops round to see the kids all the time and dressed up as Santa for the playgroup. It’s a pretty special community. I’ve obviously lived in other places – I was in Australia for five years – but I came back.”
A vet nurse, she works part-time in Hamilton and set up the Wednesday morning session at the playgroup last year.
“I started working on Thursdays and was sad because I’d miss the playgroup. So I said how about if I ran a Wednesday session. We did some flyers, a mailbox drop, and have a Facebook page – it’s a small group but building.”
About 10 children attend the Wednesday session, and 20 or so on Thursday.
It’s nice, she says, to see the old former school house being so well used by the community.
“There’s the playgroup, some home-based carers use it on Fridays, Sunday school and of course the country market. It can also be hired for children’s parties.”
All the mums chip in and help out and there is a relaxed feeling. “It’s not like being in town. The children love looking at the farm animals, we often chat to the cows and sheep next door. Some girls come here from Hamilton, or Morrinsville.
“Because we’re not a Playcentre, we don’t have to fundraise, do any training, or be on duty. We can sit down with a cup of coffee and support each other.”
She looks forward to being back at the playgroup each week. “It’s so nice to see the kids interacting; what they get up to. You get to know all the mums and the kids, then they go through school together. Gordonton is a neat school.”
And clearly, the Gordonton Playgroup is a real gem. Thanks for the chat, Rachelle!
- The playgroup meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays during school term, 9.30am-12noon
Phone Amanda on 021 122 1312 or Rachelle (also for party hire bookings): 027 585 2813
- Visit them on Facebook here.