poppy comes to Playcentre!

At first I was putting off finding new infant chairs for Playcentre as I imagined it would be a rather difficult and expensive quest. As the Equipment Officer I knew there was far more fun things to research and buy. We had issues to deal with however, our existing chairs were modern around the same time as Ace of Base were topping the charts. While the rest of our children have morning tea seated around a low table, our babies were seated at twice their height, separated by an expansive sea that is the large plastic high chair tray. Hardly the mixed age, inclusive practice, which we value in Playcentre.

While at the baby store to pick up cot sheets I took the plunge and went over to the high chair display. The poppy stood out immediately, I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before with its egg shape, bright colours, and wrap around style tray. Once I realised the legs could be shortened to allow the chair to be used at a low level I was seriously interested.

As soon as the poppy arrived at the centre the other adults crowded around for a look. I showed them how the seat removes for cleaning and they were already convinced. At morning tea our first small customer sat at the table interacting with the other kids and fully taking part in the goings on, she loved it. Playcentre is for children 0 – 6 and is a parent cooperative, so when younger siblings arrive we have babies who attend from just a few days old. Once they get on to eating some solids their caregiver will sit with them for eating. With our old high chairs this was awkward as the babies were up high, and the caregivers down low on a 300 mm chair reaching up to them. Now everyone is on the same level, much more conducive to a friendly conversation.

We use consensus decision making at Playcentre, so in deciding to make the poppy a permanent part of our centre I spoke to the parents and caregivers with babies to get their impressions of it. Here is the gist of what they told me:

“I like the wrap around tray, and it wipes up easily.”

“They seem so comfy in it, happy to stay through the whole meal. The cone between the legs means they are secure, even without the straps.”

“It’s great that the babies are on the same level as the rest of the children.”

“I love that they are able to sit at the table with everyone else, with or without tray.”

As the Equipment Officer, I would also add that the low legs on the poppy take up much less floor space. Before we had the chance to try the poppy out in the centre I had been concerned that it might not be stable enough, or that the legs might be flimsy. It has proven to be both sturdy, and able to cope with the bigger kids charging about and leaning on it. With it’s easy clean up and flexible set up capabilities the poppy suits all our different sized diners. Now our kids can now enjoy their mealtimes together in their new ‘my chairs’.

Written by Merewyn Groom from Lower Hutt Playcentre

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