プレイセンター50年の歩みと今後の可能性 Playcentre: 50 Years History and the Future
New Zealand's Playcentre has 50 years history. It is the third largest early childhood education service in New Zealand, following childcare services and kindergartens. Playcentres are co-operatively managed and supervised by parents, and they have training courses for parents. Therefore, playcentres are recognized as adult education providers and funded by Ministry of Education. In New Zealand, early childhood education has changed greatly by the Education Act 1989. Childcare services became under the control of Ministry of Education, which was before under Department of Social Welfare, and fund for childcare services rose at the same level as that for playcentres. Playcentres are decreasing in number, while childcare services are growing because of the new fund by government and also the growing number of full-time working mothers. Recent educational reform was rated highly, since it contributed to national eonomic growth by preparing enough childcare services for working parents. However, in a sense, it decreased chances for parent empowerment in early childhood edcation. Perhaps Ministry of Education will continue supporting playcentres in the future, because it believes that the diversity of early childhood education services has potential power. In Japan, for-profit companies are going to be permitted to set up childcare centers and get government subsidy from April 2000, importing part of New Zealand's early childhood policy. However, the balance of childcare centers and playcentres should also be important strategy in New Zealand. We will also learn a lot from playcentre movement in New Zealand.