What is the Issue?
One in five Australian children start school developmentally vulnerable, however children who participate in early learning programs like playgroup are more confident when it comes to formal learning. Playgroups help parents and carers to improve their children’s life chances, by making the most of everyday learning through play. Playgroup Australia supports the call by Early Learning Everyone Benefits for a whole of government ‘Early Years Strategy’. One which focuses on the needs of families with young children, including the role of playgroups alongside formal early learning environments, to deliver a universal service adequately resourced and available to all Australian families.
Why is this important for Communities?
- Early Learning: Everyone Benefits is a national partnership of 25 organisations including early childhood peak bodies, research institutions, early childhood service providers and community organisations. Our goals are to increase community understanding of the long-term benefits of early learning for children, families, communities and the nation.
- Early education through playgroup and similar explorative learning programs reduces childhood vulnerability and improves development, including meeting early milestones, better education outcomes and improved future prosperity.
- Playgroup teaches parents new ways to engage their children through the home learning environments in a simple, evidence based approach.
- Research has shown the long-term benefits of high-quality play-based programs, where children are exposed to learning and problem solving through self-initiated activities and adult guidance.
- Involvement in play stimulates a child’s drive for exploration and discovery. This motivates the child to gain mastery over their environment, promoting focus and concentration.Long term improvements to health, workforce, increased productivity and reduced cost to health and social economics.
Playgroup Australia Proposes
The policy will need to enshrine the importance of play-based learning; parent understanding of child development; and the important role of parents’ skill and involvement in play within home and community settings, as well as in early childhood settings.