Playgroup QLD has been providing families with Playgroup services with the help of Playgroup Contact Persons (dedicated volunteers who organise the Playgroups, assist new members and provide members with support) for over 40 years. In that time, Playgroups have evolved and more grandparents, fathers and carers are attending Playgroup.
Playgroups are play orientated sessions for children aged 0 – 5 years and are held in halls, churches, parks and in homes. A Playgroup session generally runs for one to two hours and are scheduled at a time for children to engage in quality play with their parent or carer. Activities can include craft, outdoor play, singing and reading books. Playgroups also provide parents and carers with the opportunity to meet other local families and create lifelong friendships.
Meet Thashni – Playgroup Contact Person
Thashni is the Contact Person for a Playgroup that runs 5 days a week at Jamboree Heights. Thashni attends the Playgroup every Wednesday with her son.
Why did you join Playgroup?
My husband is Australian and I am South African and we met in London and moved to Australia when I was heavily pregnant with my daughter. We settled in a new area and even though I saw other mothers around with babies, I didn’t have many mum friends. So I started looking for Playgroups within our area and I was lucky enough to find a local one.
What do you enjoy most about your Playgroup?
I love the set routine of it. My son and I look forward to catching up with our friends each week. He loves talking about his friends at Playgroup and I can see the improvement in his social skills. The parents that attend are able to share funny parenting stories with people that fully understand and we can give and receive advice in a friendly environment. We also share information on kid friendly events happening in and around our areas. Mostly though, I get to be with my son and watch him grow socially, learning to share and learning to think of others.
What motivated you to take on the role as a Playgroup Contact Person?
The position became available in April and I took the opportunity as I wanted to give back to my Playgroup. I have made so many lovely friends and I love feeling like a part of our community.
What do you enjoy most about being a Playgroup Contact Person?
I love that I get to meet so many new parents and carers. I love working together on projects and I enjoy the sense of “giving back”.
What do you find challenging as a Playgroup Contact Person?
Our Playgroup runs every morning during the work week from 9:30am to 11:30am and I found that managing and communicating with each group can sometimes be a bit tricky.
How do you overcome these challenges?
To improve communication between all five Playgroup sessions, I created a Facebook page to share news and ideas. I attend the Wednesday session and have made it a point of not dealing with Playgroups matters during the session, allowing myself quality time to spend with my son and our friends. I’m happy to deal with any matters that come up before or after the session, which helps me enjoy my Playgroup time.
Have you created friendships within the group?
Yes, definitely. I feel that I have been blessed to somehow have a set of people in my Playgroup that are not judgemental at all – we are a relaxed group of parents and carers. Initially when I started Playgroup, I had no friends in Australia and now I have a network of parent friends.
Has being a Playgroup Contact Person assisted in developing work skills?
Most definitely. I am currently a Stay at Home Mum and have been for a few years. I found that some of the skills that I utilised in the workforce have waned because I am around little ones all day. Now that I am a Contact Person I am arranging meetings, managing the processes around our Playgroup and I have been involved in marketing, finances – just to name a few! I find that the skills that I thought that I had lost are all still there and now being utilised and strengthened!
Meet Mark – Playgroup Attendee at Zillmere Monday Munchkins Playgroup
Mark has been attending the Monday Munchkins Playgroup for over 18 months with his daughter Chloe and son Luke.
Why did you join Playgroup?
I’m a stay at home dad on a Monday, and I thought it would be a great way to do something fun and educational with the kids while spending time with them. It’s also a great way to entertain both my 3.5 year old and my 19 month old at the same time.
How did you find out about Playgroup?
My wife had friends attending a local Playgroup, so I went along to check it out. I wanted to ensure I spent my Monday’s with the kids doing something that was entertaining for them.
Tell us a little about your first Playgroup experience?
The first visit was a bit daunting – being a bloke – but the mothers were all very friendly and welcoming. My daughter loved it straight away so there were no thoughts about not coming back. When I came back to Playgroup with both my children another father joined, so it was nice to have another Dad in the group.
Do you find attending Playgroup helpful as a Dad?
I have found it enjoyable for all of us to attend. The children really enjoy playing with the other kids and I have found it to be a great way to entertain both children at the same time. It can be hard to find an activity that suits both a 3.5 and a 19 month old, but there is so much variety at Playgroup that both kids are entertained.
What is the best thing about being a part of Playgroup?
Watching the kids interact with each other, enjoying new activities, learning and having a great time.
What do you think the benefits are for Dad’s to join a Playgroup?
It’s a great way to share parenting ideas and get tips.
What are your children’s favourite activities at Playgroup?
Playing in the sandpit with other children and craft activities. They love the variety of fun things to do.
Do you think there are any misconceptions about dads at Playgroup that would deter them from joining?
No, I was more than welcomed into our Playgroup. It was just not a common thing in the past for Dads to do. With more Dads spending more time at home with the kids, hopefully there will be more and more fathers attending.
What do you think would encourage more Dads to come along to Playgroup?
More blokes to talk to!
What would you tell other Dads who are thinking about bringing their children to a Playgroup?
Do it – it’s great to see the kids learning and growing in a fun and relaxed environment. And the morning tea is always good!
Thashni and Mark would love to see some new families join them at Playgroup. For more information on the Good News Jamboree Heights Playgroup, the Zillmere Monday Munchkins Playgroup or to find a Playgroup in your area, visit www.playgroupqld.com.au or call (toll free) 1800 171 882.
This is your chance to spend quality time with your children surrounded by friends. Ask about our free trial and come along to your local Playgroup today!
Find out more about Brisbane playgroups
- What is Playgroup QLD
- How to get free playgroup membership
- Brisbane grandparents playgroups
- A list of Mothers groups in Brisbane
This article was published in Issue 6 of our print magazine, October/November 2014.