What are Playgroups?

What is a Playgroup?

A playgroup is a group of parents, caregivers and extended family who come together with their babies and young children to learn together through play.

Playgroups are distinctively different to Launch into Learning Programs or other school-based initiatives in that the focus of playgroup is strengthening social connections for families, peer support and role modelling positive parenting practices and empowering parents.

The playgroup model is adaptable and can be effectively applied across the continuum of need

Supported & Facilitated Playgroups

Are focused on providing support for the development and well being of both children and their parents/carers, in a combined setting. These playgroups operate with the support of a paid facilitator and focus on supporting families with particular needs or vulnerabilities. They offer opportunities for parents to meet, form connections and share their experiences, as well as for children to play, learn and socialise.

Supported playgroups target families who are:

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) including migrant and humanitarian entrant families
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Young parent families
  • Socially isolated
  • Disadvantaged
  • Experiencing mental health issues
  • Living with a disability (either the parent or child)
Community Playgroups

Are universal and initiated and self-managed by the parents and/or carers that attend them. Recently, the wider social benefits of playgroups were investigated by the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University.

Their key finding in regard to community benefits were that community playgroups make a unique contribution to community wellbeing and community capacity building.

In particular they found that playgroups:

  • cater for needs that are not met elsewhere, providing essential social supports in cases where child-rearing is occurring without a peer support network
  • equip members with parenting skills and resources, and civic information and contacts, that ‘flow out’ to the households of members and beyond
  • can overcome the experience of social isolation in larger urban areas
  • foster a ‘sense of place’, or affiliation with a local community, particularly for families who are newly arrived to an area
Intensive Support Playgroups

Are playgroups with a therapeutic outcome for children and families which contribute to increased child safety and well-being. These therapeutic playgroups target clients with highly complex vulnerabilities.

If you’re interested in finding out where a Playgroup is near you, or to see where different kinds of Playgroups are located,  you can find out more on our “Find a Playgroup” page.