Play Stars Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What is Play Stars?
Play Stars is a Queensland Government supported initiative delivered by Playgroup Queensland to provide all Queensland families, with a child under one year of age, with a free 12 months Playgroup Queensland membership. This initiative will enable families to attend any affiliated Playgroup Queensland playgroup for a year.
Play Stars will also provide families with access to a range of age and culturally appropriate resources for babies and young children.
- 2. What is a playgroup?
Playgroups are groups of parents and carers who get together with their young children for a couple of hours each week to establish valuable community connections and help their children develop and learn through the joys of play. It is a place where families can learn new ideas for playing at home, make new friends, and share their experiences.
Parents and carers are present and participate for the duration of playgroup sessions, unlike long day care or kindergarten.
- 3. Who is eligible for the free Play Stars offer?
From 1 July 2016, all families who register before their child’s first birthday are eligible for the Play Stars offer, of 12 months free Playgroup Queensland membership.The Play Stars initiative will be delivered over five years from 2016-2021 . Existing Playgroup Queensland financial members, who have an age eligible child, can request to have their membership extended by 12 months from the existing expiry date.
- 4. What does the free Playgroup Queensland membership give me?
Playgroup Queensland membership allows families unlimited access to the Playgroup website to search for playgroups that suit their needs. Families can access any affiliated Playgroup Queensland playgroup for a year. The Play Stars website allows families to search through a number of playgroups in their local community, and search based on criteria that meet families’ circumstances. Most playgroups are free to attend. Many may ask for a small contribution towards tea, coffee, arts & crafts supplies or ask the family to bring a healthy snack for sharing at morning or afternoon tea. Some playgroups may charge a weekly or term fee or could have attendance criteria. This is at the discretion of the playgroup. These details are available and searchable on the Playgroup website, if free and open attendance is important.
The Play Stars website gives families access to a range of resources including online and manual tools, membership support, member-only events, publications, toy libraries and discounts on toys and equipment from sponsors and partners including Educational Experience and Kidsafe. . Download Baby Play Resource Example (PDF).
- 5. What are the benefits of Playgroup?
The first three years of a child’s life are the most important in terms of development and parents/caregivers are their main influence. Playgroups offer a wide variety of quality experiences that support young children’s learning and development through play.
Some fundamental benefits of playgroups are:
· provides an informal forum to share insights into and an understanding of children’s learning and development;
· gain knowledge and skills that families can use at home to build on children’s prior learning experiences; and
· provide opportunity to create or strengthen support networks with other families and children in the area.
Participating in a playgroup can help provide a sense of connection for families or caregivers with young children. Recent research on the benefits of playgroups, can be found at http://cur.org.au/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/playgroups-report-may-2016.pdf
- 6. How do I find a Playgroup?
Playgroup Queensland’s aim is to link all Play Stars families to a playgroup that suits them. Under the Play Stars initiative, you can search for playgroups by visiting Find a Playgroup or download the free Playgroup Queensland App and browse through the playgroups running in your local community.
If families are having trouble locating a playgroup, they can contact Playgroup Queensland on 1800 171 882 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The support team will work with the family to see if there is a reasonable alternative. The team at Playgroup Queensland will also support families to start their own Play Stars playgroup. For more information see question 8.
- 7. Are Play Stars covered under the Playgroup Queensland insurance cover?
Playgroup Queensland membership provides insurance for all children, their parents, foster carers, grandparents, kin, aunties and uncles, nannies … everyone and anyone who attends a Playgroup Queensland affiliated playgroup with the child(ren) in the 12 month period.
When families register for the Play Stars offer, they will be asked to list the names of all their children (aged from birth to 5 years), and the family members or carers that may attend a playgroup with the child(ren).
If there is a permanent care arrangement (i.e. a child aged birth to 5 is regularly in the care of someone else on a particular day), they can accept responsibility and supervision for that child at playgroup and they will then be automatically covered under the Playgroup Queensland membership (travel to and from is not covered).
Playgroups can be held in many different settings including community centres, homes and parks. Playgroup Queensland membership covers the insurance in all of these different settings and even provides coverage for visiting professionals.
In in all cases, playgroup attendees should be recorded on the Playgroup Attendance Sheet through the App (if you have it) or on arrival at the playgroup for insurance reasons.
- 8. How do I start my own Playgroup?
The Play Stars initiative encourages families to create their own playgroup with other families. This will provide families with the flexibility to hold their very own playgroup at mutually convenient times and places and an opportunity to attend playgroup with families who have similar aged children.
Please note that all families that attend this newly created playgroup must hold a Playgroup Queensland membership. Playgroup Queensland recommends around 5-7 families is a comfortable number for a playgroup held in a home and around 10-15 families for a playgroup held in a larger venue.
Each parent and carer attending a Play Stars playgroup must be responsible for the welfare and the safety of the child/ren they bring.
Play Stars members will also be provided with access to support and online resources in relation to establishing and running a playgroup.
Play Stars members wishing to create their own playgroups will be provided with approval to use the Play Stars and Playgroup Queensland logos if they wish to advertise the playgroup on facebook or distribute flyers and posters. Playgroup Queensland’s corporate identity and logo guidelines are provided on the Playgroup Queensland website.
- 9. My child is not immunised, can my child attend a Playgroup Queensland-affiliated playgroup?
Decisions about immunising a child are wholly the responsibility of the parent or carer and an immunised child is not a requirement to attend playgroup. However, Playgroup Queensland supports the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia’s recommendations that all children should be immunised, unless there is a clear medical reason why this should not occur.
Playgroup Queensland is committed to the wellbeing of its members and recognises that communicable diseases like whooping cough and measles have serious health consequences for young children, pregnant mothers and people with compromised immune systems.
Playgroup Queensland requires all of its members to practice appropriate caution and exclusion periods as recommended by Queensland Health. In the event of an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, parents/guardians of unimmunised children are required to temporarily remove their child from playgroup until the risk has passed. Immunisation status may be required when a playgroup is held at a school or registered Education and Care Service (child care centre), kindergarten or school. If your child is not up to date, the Education and Care Service or school may refuse attendance or impose a condition on the child’s attendance.
- 10. We do not have/or have poor internet connection, how do we locate the nearest playgroup and access the online resources?
- Please contact Playgroup Queensland on 1800 171 882. The support team will work with you to find your nearest playgroup or perhaps explain how you may like to start your very own playgroup. Playgroup Queensland will also be able to provide you with printed copies of the online resources.
- 11. I want to become a Playgroup Queensland Volunteer, what do I need to do?
- There are no specialist skills required to be a volunteer. All Playgroup Queensland asks is that you have a genuine passion to make a real difference and have an openness and understanding of families from all walks of life. You will be required to undergo a Working with Children Check. You may also be required to attend an interview and undertake reference checks.
- 12. Membership Structures: I am the principal of a state school that has a Playgroups in Schools membership with Playgroup Queensland. Is our annual membership fee now reduced as many of the families that live within our catchment are eligible for the free 12-month playgroup membership?
- The fee structure will not change. The Playgroups in Schools (PGiS) membership fee structure is based on school size (catchment) and covers annual (January–December) family fees for unlimited numbers of families with children from 0-five. While there will be families within your catchment that are eligible for the free 12-month family membership offer, not all families will fit into this membership category. PGiS membership also has exclusive benefits including:
· access to two dedicated staff to Playgroups in Schools
· Playgroup Resource Kit
· a 1800 referral and website referral service and helpline for Playgroups in Schools’ coordinators
· Playgroup signage for some playgroups
· organisational access to network meetings and touring speakers
· licensing your school to use the Playgroup Queensland logo and “Our Playgroup” registered name for communications.
- 13. We are a not-for-profit community organisation that pays for an organisational membership each year with Playgroup Queensland. We hold our own insurance cover and only affiliate to use the branding and resources. How does the Play Stars initiative affect the fee we pay given eligible families can now access all of the Playgroup Queensland resources for free?
- The Play Stars initiative provides eligible families with free Playgroup Queensland membership for a year and access to a range of age and culturally appropriate resources for babies and young children. If your organisation runs a Playgroup Queensland affiliated playgroup, the details and contact information for your playgroup will be provided to all Play Stars families. This can only benefit your organisation by increasing the volume of families accessing your playgroup and becoming more aware of the services your organisation may provide.
- 14. I currently attend a free Accessible Playgroup Initiative with my four-year-old son, but I have just given birth to a baby and I want to experience another playgroup setting; there is also a chance we will relocate towns for work. Am I eligible for the free offer?
When an Accessible Playgroup Initiative is established, it automatically comes with 12months’ free Playgroup Queensland membership for its attendees, so they can attend the newly established playgroup and be covered under Playgroup Queensland’s insurance. The Accessible Playgroup Initiative recognises that families are forced to move around due to work or other circumstances, so the membership is transferrable until the 12-month period is complete.
With the family now welcoming a new baby, they are now eligible for the Play Stars offer of a free Playgroup Queensland membership for a year.
- 15. I currently attend a free PlayConnect with my three-year-old child who has autism. I have just given birth to a child who does not have autism and I want to access a mainstream Community Playgroup to support their development and for greater family support networks. Am I entitled to the free offer?
Yes they are definitely entitled to the Play Stars offer. With the free 12 months Playgroup Queensland membership, the family can attend any affiliated Playgroup Queensland playgroup as many times as they like for a year. There is a Play Stars website and a free Playgroup Queensland App that can be downloaded to search for playgroups in their local community.
Many of these playgroups are free but some may ask for a small contribution towards tea, coffee, arts & crafts supplies or ask the family to bring a healthy snack for sharing at morning or afternoon tea. The playgroups may even charge a weekly or term fee or could have attendance criteria. This is at the discretion of the playgroup.
You can also bring along your three-year-old child if the family would like him/her to experience a different playgroup setting. Playgroups are inclusive. Although Playgroup Queensland has specific programs and products to support children with disabilities like autism and their families, the organisation encourages families to try other playgroups as well, as they can provide a much-needed support network for all families
- 16. A family received the Play Stars offer in 2016. In 2017, they had another child. Are they eligible for the Play Stars offer again?
Yes. The Play Stars initiative will run from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2021 and families are eligible for the free Playgroup Queensland Membership offer on the birth of every child during this period.
Play Stars is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government.