Little Hoiho centre well suits local children

Watery fun . . . Children of Little Hoiho, Owaka’s new non›profit child care service for 0›4 year olds, play with water toys outside the building in their play area during their week. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN
Gazing the day away . .. Theodore Thorn›Munro (1) is staring away at the bushes during his day of play and learning at Little Hoiho in Owaka. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN
Coffee anyone? Little Hoiho kids (from left ) Lucy Perrin (2), and Felix Jarvis (3), using sand, pretend to make coffee for their teachers during their day at the learning centre in Owaka. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

Owaka has welcomed a new community›owned and operated learning centre which carries the name ‘‘Little Hoiho’’.

The early childhood facility has replaced the original Owaka Playcentre beside the Owaka Memorial Hall.

The non›profit centre has been taken under the wing of four local women: centre manager Allison Duncan, head teacher Bex Ryan, and teachers Lowana Brain and Nadine Perrin.

Mrs Duncan said Little Hoiho was ‘‘an amazing place to work’’.

‘‘No day is ever the same. We have been inspired by the community. They have been so helpful and supportive of the initiative, and love the idea.’’

The centre already has 43 children enrolled, and the team takes care of children aged 4 and under. The centre is run by a board of community representatives, and was created by the ‘‘genuine need and potential for young children’’ in the Owaka area.

Mrs Duncan said the children were kept engaged and active.

‘‘They have visited the library to obtain and return books, they have different outings in the community and always have fun›filled days that include nap times, inside and outside play times and different activities together.’’

She said the centre would be soon be introducing a transitional programme to primary school for its young charges.

‘‘We feel we’re filling a need for local families. It’s a great way to support local working parents in the Owaka area.’’