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Question for NZ mums- Auckland area

(9 Posts)
Eowyn Sat 12-Jul-03 21:03:05

A friend of mine has just emigrated to St Helier & is finding it impossible to find a playgroup for her 3 year old dd. Apparently everywhere is full.
Well, I always go on about mumsnet so thought I'd ask here, I know there was a thread touching on this a while ago but I have'nt found it.
Thanks anyone, tho if you are all asleep I will have to re-do this tomorrow... oh well.

Ghosty Sat 12-Jul-03 21:54:56

Hi Eowyn ... St Heliers is one of the nicest parts of Auckland ... your friend is very lucky! Whereabouts is she? My FIL lives there.
When you say Playgroup ... presumably you mean the sort of thing they have in the UK where the child goes 'without' the parent?
The State ones are called Kindergartens here. And yes... if your friend wants here child to go to one she will have to wait as they are all full. There is a funny system here and this is how it works ... bear with me ....
State run Kindergartens are sessional based. Two sessions a day ... each session has to have 42 children. They can't have less as the govt won't fund them and they can't have more as the govt won't provide more teachers. Technically from the age of 3 every child is entitled to a place at 'Kindy'. They start doing 3 afternoons a week and then move on to 5 mornings a week.
However, they are all (in Auckland anyway) over subscribed so everything revolves around waiting lists and birthdays.
When a child who is in Morning Kindy (5 days a week) turns 5 he or she moves onto school. That then frees up a place in Morning Kindy and the oldest child at Afternoon Kindy (3 days p/w) is invited to move to Morning Kindy ... the parents will get a week or so notice. When a child in Afternoon Kindy moves up to Morning Kindy that frees up a place in Afternoon Kindy and the oldest child on the waiting list is invited to join Afternoon Kindy.
Depending on the area and how many preschoolers live there the starting age for Afternoon Kindy varies. Technically it should be 3 ... usually it is about 3 and a half and in some places like St Heliers (I have heard) the start age is heading more to 3 years and 9 months. In one place I know children who aren't getting a place until they are 4.
It makes no difference when you put them down on the waiting list ... it all depends on who is the oldest on the list.
I put my DS on the waiting list of our local Kindy when we moved to this house when he was nearly 3 and they told me that he would probably start when he was 3.3. As is was I got the call when he was 3.6.
Advice for your friend ...
Get here to put down her dd on the waiting list ... if she lives there she is entitled ...(because eventually she will get in) and if she is desperate she should look to some private daycare in the meantime.
Private Daycare varies in price here ... but will be much cheaper than the UK .... and to be honest I haven't heard of any dodgy ones. There is the usual mix of chains and independent ones. Many of them are full and also go on a waiting list system and also some of them don't have sessions ... but there are so many that your friend will be bound to find somewhere ... she just needs to get on to the yellow pages ....
I sent my DS to a lovely little private kindy for a year before his state kindy place came up. It isn't too far from St Heliers and is just lovely ...
It is called The Remuera Private Kindergarten (also known as Mrs Cricket's ... after the lovely lady who owns it). It is in the phone book and they do sessions that suit the parents ... DS loved it (He did 2 afternoons a week) and it was really reasonably priced.
There are lots more and I could go on forever as I am the world expert on this having done all the research when I moved to Auckland 16 months ago!!
I hope that helps a bit .... and if you need more info just ask or contact me on the 'Contact another talker' bit. I don't mind if your friend calls me ... I am always happy to help another Brit settle in!!
Oh ... and I also go to a lovely playgroup (mums and kids) on a Thursday that is in Meadowbank ... not far from St Heliers at all!

Ghosty Sat 12-Jul-03 22:01:01

Sorry for the length!!

Eowyn Sat 12-Jul-03 22:37:33

That is fantastic, I will pass it all on. Her dd was 3 in March & I think she just feels she should start to go to something on her own, mine has been a nightmare to leave (they were best friends as far as 3 yr olds can be) so she is wanting to get on with it & see how it goes. She was told there was no point going on waiting list in one place but maybe that is because of how it's prioritised, as you say.
Complicated stuff.
She doesn't go on-line very often tho I really hope we can stay in touch, so I'll let you know when I get a response.
Thanks again.

buzzybee Sat 12-Jul-03 23:08:24

Not Auckland Eowyn but arrived back in NZ from the UK last Dec. I think the main tip is to put her name down at as many places as possible. I was told the waiting lists were up to a year long but then unexpectedly was offered a place quite quickly when someone pulled out. In my case they were keen to have more kids the age of dd so it was luck. I'm talking private daycare here.

sibble Sun 13-Jul-03 06:57:32

I agree, put name down for as many as possible. I found that with people taking up places at other kindys or moving the wait was much less than originally quoted (2 months for private) although I did not have a choice of days. Ghosty, Britabroad and I meet quite often and are all in the Auckland area so if your friend fancies joining us she/you can contact us through mumsnet. The more the merrier.

Eowyn Sun 20-Jul-03 20:50:06

Thanks for messages, finally heard back from friend & she appreciated the long explanation Ghosty.
Apparently she goes to the playgroup you mention but on a Monday, but has been meaning to go on Thursdays so don't know when she'll get round to it but hopefully you'll meet, I'm sure she'll be glad of some friends, & she is a really, really nice person, I was so sad to see her go.
Her name is Emma & children are Emily & Matthew, 3 & 1.5, all very sweet. I'm Rachel by the way, funnily enough she doesn't know me as Eowyn...

codswallop Sun 20-Jul-03 20:55:30

ras. I went on the helicopter

Ghosty Sun 20-Jul-03 21:14:38

Eowyn ... or Rachel ... I will look out for her then!!

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