About

Playgroup Tasmania – A brief overview

Playgroup Tasmania is a not-for-profit, state-based membership organisation that has provided support and resources to assist with the establishment, co-ordination, administration and promotion of playgroups across Tasmania for more than 40 years. Playgroup Tasmania operates with a voluntary Board of Governance, and a small permanent staffing, including a CEO, playgroup development officers and administration staff across the three regions.

We are a peak body representing over 35 volunteer-led community playgroups and 15 organisational playgroups, including child and family centres and neighbourhood and community houses. Each year more than 500 families engage with Playgroup Tasmania as members with even more attending playgroups each week.

Playgroup Tasmania is best known for delivering high impact Community Playgroup Support. In addition, we also administer the cost-effective Supported Playgroup Program – PlayConnect. This program of facilitated, supported playgroups offer a ‘soft entry’ for families with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder-like symptoms to be connected with wider support and relevant information. PlayConnect is currently funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services (DSS).

Our Vision

To have all Tasmanian’s value Playgroups

Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021

Our Purpose

To support family connections, strengthen communities and foster learning through play for all children

 

Our Beliefs

  • Families are uniquely placed to nurture their child’s wellbeing, health and development.
  • Diverse and resilient communities play an essential role in developing well-functioning families.
  • Play is central to every child’s development and must be encouraged and supported.
  • Supportive child friendly environments are achieved when families and community members work in partnership.
  • Strong voices are needed to advocate for the importance of play for young children.

Objectives

1. To be recognised as a leader and expert in our field

1.1 We build partnerships with all sectors involved in child development and family support during the early years

1.2 We influence and advocate on government policy

1.3 We contribute to the evidence base for the value of playgroup

1.4 We build Playgroup Tasmania’s profile

2. To promote and grow active participation

2.1 We attract, retain and support playgroup members

2.2 We enable community and supported playgroups to support local families and communities.

3. To broaden access to playgroups

3.1 We enhance playgroup access and support for all families who experience barriers to participation

3.2 We improve playgroup access and support for families in regional and remote areas

Playgroup Tasmania’s Staff, Board & Life Members

Jacinda Armstrong

Jacinda Armstrong

CEO

Jacinda holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Public Policy and Human Resource Management from the University of Tasmania and is experienced in project management and coordination, public policy, and strategic planning.

Throughout her career, Jacinda has gained experience working within the areas of regional development, primary health, and the community sector.

Jacinda is driven by her passion for enabling Tasmanian families to have the skills and resources to be valued as a child’s leader and teacher in their growth and development, and works to ensure that the voices of Tasmanians families are heard. 

Nicki Kastner

Nicki Kastner

Playgroup Development Worker South


Nicki began in this role in April 2019 after spending a number of years working with children and families (often from disadvantaged backgrounds), in gardening and cooking projects, which had the focus of healthy living and good nutrition.

A mother of 3 children she says that playgroups saved her sanity when her children were young! They provided a way to connect with other parents who were experiencing similar highs and lows of parenthood, and playgroup provided something fun for her children to look forward to each week.

Now Nicki is excited to be given the opportunity to promote and support these ‘life saving’ groups and to help establish new playgroups in areas of high need. She believes that playgroup provides an essential environment within which children can learn through informal play.

Nicki is passionate about increasing equality of opportunity for all children and families and believes that this can be achieved by working closely with community groups and service providers within the framework of playgroup.

Felicity Harris

Felicity Harris

Playgroup Development Worker North West/West

Felicity is an experienced volunteer manager.  Throughout her career Felicity has gained extensive experience in volunteer management in the community sector, from community arts to aged care.  Her work with Playgroup Tasmania is an ongoing extension of that work.  

Parenting can be lonely, and Felicity is passionate about supporting families to reduce their social isolation by connecting with other parents. Her work involves helping set up low cost child friendly playgroups especially in rural and remote areas.  She empowers and supports parents and carers to create great playgroups in their local community.

Alison Keddie

Alison Keddie

Playgroup Tasmania Project Officer


Alison joined the staff at Playgroup Tasmania in March 2019. Her role is to coordinate and support various projects with a particular focus on inclusive playgroups.Alison’s background is in Early Childhood teaching. Originally from Tasmania, she travelled extensively around Australia working in a range of early childhood settings before settling back in Launceston. Most recently Alison has been employed as an education and care service manager supporting early childhood educators to plan and deliver programs for children.

Alison is passionate about supporting families in their parenting role and ensuring that children and families have opportunities to access groups in their local community. She looks forward to the opportunity to work closely to support playgroups in this.

Rebecca Hughes

Rebecca Hughes

Playgroup Development Worker North

Bec has gained extensive experience working with children and families. She is passionate about empowering families, engaging stakeholders, and establishing partnership opportunities.

Bec’s role includes supporting families at PlayConnect and supporting and empowering families in local communities to develop their own community playgroups, giving Tasmanian families choice and ownership over their playgroup options.

Bec enjoys seeing the growth and development of both the playgroups, families and children she works with and she is motivated to inspire Tasmanians to learn about the importance of playgroups.

Board

Kathryn Fordyce – Chair
Bronwyn Tamplin- Vice Chair
Sue Conway – Treasurer
Jessica Greene – Secretary

Luke Sayer
Michelle Strickland
Nicole Crook
Alison Wood

Life Members

Mary Slattery
Hilary Harris
Kim Brooks
Lois Cameron
Debra Pursell
Michelle Fletcher
Dorothy Dutton
Ann Murray
Dianne Marthick

Veronica Brewer
Vivienne Davey
Margaret Huddlestone
Mary Mallet
Rosie Flockhart
Heather Cousins
Louise Graham
Sally Dabner
Janet Laing