The playgroup story
Founded in 1973 by Queensland families to connect, engage and share in the early stages of parenthood, Playgroup Queensland continues working to empower families to support each other and advance their child’s development through the fundamentals of play.
With over 30,000 playgroup sessions each year, Playgroup Queensland supports more than 10,000 families in metropolitan, regional, rural and isolated communities throughout Queensland by offering early years’ services aimed at helping parents connect with their children, and families to connect with their communities. In all regions, but especially remote and regional areas, Playgroup Queensland connects families to other services such as child health, allied services, kindergarten and school.
Playgroup Queensland’s ethos of recognising parents as their children’s first teachers is embedded in every activity and program impl emented by the organisation. Playgroup is not day care or child care; it is not a series of drop-off centres where parents leave their children in the care of others while they work, shop or simply take some time for themselves.
Playgroup is a place where families feel welcome; where mums, dads, grandparents and carers stay, play and bond with their children; a place where support can be as simple as asking the parent beside you for advice on what to do in various situations. Playgroup is a place where lifelong friendships begin and children are imbued with a love of learning through the richness of play.
To ensure it delivers programs suitable for the birth-to-five-year age group, Playgroup Queensland keeps up-to-date with all research delivered by early childhood experts in Australia and the world. Not only do Playgroup Queensland staff attend early childhood conferences, but they are also on advocacy and early childhood specialist committees including government advisory panels and forums.
Research shows that not only is the age from birth-to-five the most critical for brain development, but it is also the most important time period for family bonding and developing values. To ensure optimum growth is achieved during this period, a child needs loving relationships and a fun, stimulating environment to thrive.
Playgroups offer babies and young children a wide variety of fun experiences that help them to learn about their world, make friends and develop new skills. Research also shows that attendance at playgroups is dramatically beneficial for mothers and has enormous impact in children as they transition into prep and school. Many of the programs that playgroups offer are evidence based and recognised formally as approved programs.
While the simple, local, volunteer-run, parenting groups of over 40 years ago are still the backbone of Playgroup Queensland, a new era of social connectedness has seen us innovating with new ways to help children, families and communities connect. It is indeed an exciting time for Playgroup Queensland.