“We want people and their children to leave here and believe that they do matter,” says Aratupu Pre-school Supervisor Andrea Wilson-Tukaki.
Aratupu provides affordable early childhood education, and support for low income families, based out of an established centre in Papanui. Aratupu is a service of the Christchurch Methodist Mission.
The families who come to the centre are predominantly “younger, single woman-led whanau whose main source of income is a benefit”.
Bicultural learning resources are available there, with Maori children representing 60% of enrolments.
“We don’t view our children as stand-alone entities,” says Andrea. “They’re part of a hapu and iwi.”
Aratupu has a part-time Whanau Support Worker who meets with around 80 families each year. Home visits address children’s behaviour, nutrition and family dynamics.
Parenting courses and coffee groups are held at the centre. “They can sit in a warm environment, chat with women in a similar situation and have a coffee – when there might be no milk or coffee at home,” says Andrea.
Families have the opportunity to access other services within the Christchurch Methodist Mission, including literacy courses for people who require support with reading and writing.
Parents are given the opportunity to exchange homeware at Aratupu, including a “clothes swap” between families.
Christchurch Methodist Mission received Tindall Foundation funding for the Whanau Support Worker’s salary through our WesleyCom Funding Manager.
For further information contact:
Andrea Wilson-Tukaki, Centre Supervisor, Aratupu Preschool and Nursery