Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A SKIP visit to SPACE Point Howard

 I experienced a wave of nostalgia as we parked the car and climbed the path to the Point
Howard Playcentre. Thirty six years ago I was the supervisor at this centre. Pat Watson,
from Barnardos, and I were there today to observe a SPACE session. We’d listened to the
SPACE team, attended a SPACE hui, heard parents talking about what SPACE is and
how it works. I thought I had a pretty good picture in my mind. In that thirty-six year
gap my work was mostly involved in education, the early childhood sector, primary, and
adults, in particular, parents in playgroups. I was well qualified to envisage a Playcentre
session for babies.

But I was wrong. I hadn’t anticipated the circle of attentive babies, with no distractions
from older siblings. I swear those babies were listening to every word the presenter
uttered. They seemed to be waiting for the next item on the programme – the song, the
game – whatever. They turned to each other and reached out for baby communication
and a little play. They smiled in recognition when their name was sung. They were
happy, watchful, and responsive. If anyone needed feeding, or cuddling, or soothing,
they got it. There were no disruptions, nor disturbances. Babies’ needs were met and the
programme continued. And for the mothers? I watched the power of the connections
being made. Each woman shared a story connected to the topic. A couple of stories were
sad or troubled. Support and friendship were there, and I had no doubt would continue
for them if they needed it.

I could talk about all the good community development, parent education, child
enrichment reasons for SKIP to support the SPACE programme. I could explore the way
SPACE sessions promote attachment, and the way the repetition within the programme
reinforces patterns for healthy brain development. I could explain the laying down of a
foundation which enables SKIP’s six things children need to grow up to be happy,
capable adults – 1) Love and warmth - as parents are encouraged and supported, as they
sit face to face with their baby, as they hold and soothe any baby who needs it 2) talking
and listening – between adults, between adults and babies, between babies 3) guidance
and understanding – a carefully constructed programme where wise support is evident
and demonstrated in every way 4) limits and boundaries – where acceptable and
appropriate behaviour is encouraged and nurtured and unacceptable and inappropriate
behaviour is gently discouraged 5) consistency and consequences – where recognisable
activities happen in order, with similar outcomes, and 6) a structured, secure world –
where support is constant, and activity is safe.

But what I’ll always remember was that the atmosphere in that room was like nothing
else I’d ever experienced, and I became aware that thirty six years after my first foray
into the magical world of children, I knew that Playcentre was leading the way yet again
nourishing the crucial connections between parents and parents and children.

Lorraine Tarrant – SKIP Team Leader

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Michelle's story

In 2010 I started self-destructing and instead of hitting alcohol, drugs or gambling my addiction was shoplifting and it was stupid things that were not of any use to me so I sold them on trademe. Late 2010 I started a great relationship and my depression intensified I felt worthless and guilty but I just couldn't stop. I felt I didn't deserve this great person in my life and beginning of June 2011 I discovered I was pregnant (not planned) The day I was meant to go to the doctors the police knocked on my door and I had been caught. I was so relieved but at the same time so stressed. My only thought was oh my god I am already a crap mother putting my baby through all this stress. When I told my partner what I had done I tried to push him away before he could leave me however, he stood by me. He knew what I did was not me and had done something stupid but that didn't make me a bad person. He gave me the support I needed to get into counselling and start addressing what had happened and why............... Boy did that open a can of worms. Events and my childhood, things I had suppressed all came to the surface and I realised I had, had unrecognised depression for about 10 years. 

In October 2011, I was sentenced for what I did and received 12 months home detention. Everything I had planned or goals I had set to achieve if I were to get home detention went out the door as I wasn't allowed computer access so I was completely isolated from the world, couldn't do any courses and more importantly was cut of from information to do with my pregnancy and new born. It was extremely hard until my plunket nurse stepped in and recommended SPACE. After talking with my probation officer we managed to get permission for me to go to the SPACE group on the condition I had to declear to everyone about what I had done and that I was on home detention.  I was so anxious that everyone would judge me and wouldn't want to know me but all they said was "its about time we had a good cry- its been a few weeks" for the first time in a year I felt normal. I was around people that all had a story, all needed help and I felt safe and secure. 

People that had known me for years wouldn't talk to me and were shocked, very few saying whats up that doesn't sound like Michelle and yet a bunch of strangers who understood depression welcomed me and supported me. When I came off home detention they were so excited for me and gave me the support I needed to "restart my life again"
One day I would love to be a space leader as its such a magical place.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kelly & Evie's story

The day I walked into my first SPACE session, I was so nervous! My baby was the youngest by about a month, and had just undergone surgery. I figured everyone would know each other and assumed I'd feel left out and not go back.

I couldn't have been more wrong! Everyone was so lovely to me. They reassured me when I was convinced things were wrong, they supported me when I cried, they celebrated with me during my successes.

My husband has said on more than one occasion that he was so glad that I has started coming to SPACE, and he was sure that I was going to withdraw myself from the world and stay at home like a hermit.

I have learnt so much about how to further my daughter development, at her pace. The education I got here has been invaluable.

Our facilitators can always tell if I'm having a down day and go out of their way to chat to me.

My favourite moment so far has been when my daughter was sick, and one of the girls said, "Evie isn't herself today, is she?" A moment perhaps tinged with a touch of sadness as she was sick, but these girls knew my baby, and that made it worthwhile.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Rebecca writes to her son, Max

SPACE has been a huge part of your life Max.  You attended your very first SPACE session at 3 weeks old, when we went for a visit.  I can still remember that first session – we learnt about baby’s sight.  I remember coming home all inspired and making some black and white pictures to strengthen your vision.  This day out was our first outing together, just you and me!  We then joined SPACE at 9 weeks old.  I loved chatting with the Mums, sharing your achievements and learning more about your developing behavior.  You have made some special friends at SPACE and I can’t believe the amount of growth you have done throughout the SPACE course.  You have grown from a baby, lying on the mink blankets, to an active toddler running around the complex, climbing, painting, exploring and getting up to mischief (in the bathroom!).  What fun you’ve had.  During SPACE you had some of your first experiences – first time painting, crawling through a tunnel, playing with sticky slime, goop and play dough, attending your first swimming lesson and feeding lots of new animals at the Bullswool farm.  And the best part is that I have been there playing with you through it all!  I have especially loved watching your confidence grow each week at SPACE.  You went through a stage where you would sit on my knee for the first half hour before slowly venturing off around the room, returning quickly for a hug before heading off again.  Each week you got more and more confident until finally on arriving you would leave me straight away to go and play! I have loved watching your personality develop and it has been through SPACE that I have learnt more about who you are.  What a special chapter SPACE has been in our life together

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Welcome to the SPACE Blog!

It is no secret that being a first time parent brings a load of challenges that can be overwhelming.  Adjusting to your new life, new routine, and new baby is a daunting that task that is sure to bring many questions.  Many mothers often feel alone during this transition time, and find it hard to adapt. 

As a SPACE parent, who has adapted to these changes, we hope that you have found some satisfaction in knowing that there are others in the same position as you, and knowing that you have an opportunity to connect with them on a personal level.

Do you remember walking in to your SPACE programme for the very first time? The mixture of emotions you felt as you met a new group of people who were perfect strangers in order to discuss topics, learn about your baby, and reaffirm your thoughts or concerns.  Often parents enter the group with fear of judgment looming, or simply being unsure of what the environment would be like.

These emotions are totally normal, and stress of entering a group setting for the first time can ultimately be a deciding factor for many new parents who are hesitant to join a SPACE program.  We hope that during your time at SPACE you had the chance to connect with other moms and babies in an open environment that was welcoming and receptive.

Now we need your help! Please visit our website and share your stories! We want all parents to feel that they are accepted, and have the chance to be apart of something great!

Do you have a specific memory that has stuck with you throughout your time at SPACE? Did you meet other moms that were struggling with the same topics that you were? Did you gain invaluable experiences from your time with your SPACE group? Did you take anything away from SPACE that you have shared with your friends, or other new moms?

Please share your stories!  We hope our little section of the internet ( can be a warm and inviting place for parents to share all of the great things that are happening at SPACE because of people like YOU!