Playgroup to help newcomers

Welcoming new arrivals .. Wild Things early childhood centre director Susan Phua (left) teacher Jan Stead ing families to the new Kotuku multi-ethnic playgroup. PHOTO: ANGELA REID

A Dunedin early childhood service is launching a new playgroup to support the city’s growing migrant and former refugee community.

The Wild Things Kotuku Multi-Ethnic Playgroup foster both English and Arabic languages and introduce families to New Zealand’s early childhood education settings.

The playgroup’s first session will be held at The Hub in South Dunedin, from 9.30am to noon tomorrow.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse and representatives from the Ministry of Education will visit about 10am.

The group is aimed at mothers and their children, from birth to 5 years, who come from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Group facilitator Nourah Riad speaks both English and Arabic.

Wild Things visiting teacher Jan Stead said it would not be like an English class.

“It is a place for them to be able to use their English but recognising that sometimes, for communication purposes, it would be nice to be able to use their own language,” Mrs Stead said.

She said the benefit of having the playgroup at The Hub was members would also have the opportunity to tap into other community services.

Wild Things director Susan Phua said the Ministry of Education contacted Wild Things late last year to see if it would be interested in setting up the playgroup.

Dunedinites had supported the project through donations and volunteering, she said.

The Wild Things Kotuku Multi-Ethnic Playgroup will be held every Friday, from 9.30am to noon at the Hub, 158 Oxford St.

For more information or to RSVP, phone Nourah Riad on (021) 133-6903 or Jan Stead 477-2944 ext 5.