Earlier this month, Playgroup Australia welcomed the announcement of a $200,000 grant thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation. These funds will support Playgroup Australia and state and territory playgroup organisations to relaunch playgroups post COVID-19, restoring important family and community connections.
There is no doubt that 2020 has kept both us, and many other not-for-profit organisations, on our toes. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, playgroups across the country were forced to take a break. This saw a massive change to the way playgroups were able to support children and families, however it also highlighted new ways to stay connected through Playgroup at Home and virtual playgroups.
While largely volunteer and community-run, playgroups are an important part of the early childhood and contribute to learning and development for all children, as well as create fun, flexible and engaging spaces inviting valuable peer support networks for parents, grandparents and caregivers.
Earlier this year, a third cohort of research by the Telethon Kids Institute, reconfirmed community playgroups contribute to children’s transition to more structured learning at school. The 2018 AEDC data highlighted that almost 90% of playgroup families reported their child had developed more social skills at playgroup, and more than 80% of parents agreed that attending playgroup brought local families together and helped provide a sense of community.
While playgroups are fun, the skills and relationships developed through play have lasting benefits for children, families and communities. We look forward to using these funds to help impacted playgroups and communities to recover from the effects of social disruptions caused by bushfires and COVID–19 in 2020.