Janine Regan ThePower of Playgroups The Playgroup Model for strengthening children, parents, families and communities.
What is a playgroup? • Playgroup is for babies, toddlers and pre schoolers and their parents or caregivers. • Usually meet for 2 hours once a week. • Playgroups meet in a variety of community venues. • Adults with their children at playgroup
Strengthening communities • Builds social capital • Create linkages into universal services • Creates networks pathways and connections • Aids transition to formalised educational settings
Supporting the parent and child bond • Playgroups are the only platform which works with both parents and children together in the early years. • Playgroups reach thousands of parents and children across the stateof Victoria every week. • Attachment rich environment (Dr Rosemary Roberts, UK)
Playgroups are platforms for: Learning Developing Social Competence Community Connection Parenting Support Delivery of Services Closing the Gap in outcomes for vulnerable children.
Outcomes • Play based learning • Peer learning • Socialisation • Parent as first educator • Ecological approaches (Brofenbrenner)
Current Research into the Outcomes of Playgroups The Association between Playgroup participation, learning competence and social-emotional wellbeing for children aged 4-5 years in Australia (In press) The Telethon Institute in Western Australia in conjunction with Parenting research Centre, Qld University of Technology and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Overall findings • Nearly half of all children under 3 years in Australia were attending playgroup whether that be community playgroup or facilitated playgroups.
Overall Findings For disadvantaged families prolonged playgroup attendance is associated with: • Better learning outcomes- particularly for boys • Better social-emotional outcomes particularly for girls • Prolonged attendance improves outcomes • Mothers have greater and more consistent social support • More books in the home • Less TV • More participation in other activities
Engaging families Engage with vulnerable families where they are at but do not leave them there Naomi Eisenstadt
Engagement: Engagement • Non Stigmatised Services located in areas of high need and open to all. • Engagement can be slow and needs to focus on what is influencing capacity to participate first. Refer Owen Gill and Gordon Jack • Transition from Enhanced MCH to playgroups is critical in engaging vulnerable families
Where to start? Target group Interested families Venue Equipment/toys “How to start a playgroup” pack & DVD Community playgroups are low cost
Establishing a playgroup • $25,000 per year to operate a supported playgroup – 2 workers • Facilitators qualifications: early childhood, psychologist, occupational therapy • OHS • Insurance – public and personal liability
The playgroup environment • Welcome families • Talk – cultural background, expectations • Encourage friendships outside playgroup • Share – ideas & information • Written policies • Encourage ownership • Excursions • Professionals visits • Group time – singing, music, snack • Support leadership • Follow up with phone call, text