A growing number of young mums and dads are turning to Playgroups for young parents for peer support and valuable socialisation for their children.
These parents in their teens and early twenties, are setting aside a few hours each week to attend Playgroup with their babies and before school age children.
Playgroup is for children aged from birth until they are old enough to attend school. While this age varies between states and territories, it is generally around five or six years old. Playgroup is different from child care, kindergarten and pre-school, because adults attend with their children.
Playgroups run on a simple formula that has stood the test of time for decades – bring together families with under school age children in a place with lots of room for activities, a pool of toys and equipment, and get ready for lots of fun as children and their caregivers play together.
There are currently more than 100,000 families attending Playgroup each week across Australia at venues including maternal and child health centres, kindergartens, halls, churches, community centres and primary schools.
Playgroup Australia recognises that as young parents you have a need for support and the opportunity to meet with others like yourself who have become parents at a young age.
We understand that you prefer to attend a Playgroup which is exclusive to people around your age, and we also want you and your child to enjoy the benefits of the Playgroup experience.
While providing your child with skills that will help prepare them for life and learning, Playgroup can also offer you a forum to share ideas and problems. It can also lead to play dates and, in many cases, long-term friendships.
Playgroups for young parents also benefit from the additional support of a coordinator who works with members and helps them develop the skills to participate in, and run, their Playgroup independently. These facilitators are also available to assist with parenting information and referrals to other family services.
Federal Government funding also means that attendance at these groups is free.
While Playgroup sessions are informal and relaxed, they also offer some valuable lessons for the children attending. Skills like learning to socialise and initiate play with others, sharing and co-operating, and becoming confident little people.
Most parents say they go to playgroup for their child to play with other same-age children. But parents learn a lot too – about play! Playgroups create an atmosphere that will soon bring out your inner child.
There are currently more than 30 Playgroups meeting weekly around Australia that are attended by young parents . For more information or to find one near you call 1800 171 882 (toll free) or visit www.playgroupaustralia.com.au
|Playgroups for Teenage and Young Parents (as at May 2011)|
New South Wales