Talk to everyone you can think of who may be interested in a playgroup. You need at least three interested families to start. You can also approach your local Early Childhood Clinic, local library or advertise in a local shop window. Think about the places in your community where you often see other families with young children and see whether you can advertise at those places.
Have a Meeting
Organise a meeting with interested families to find out everyone’s reason to join a playgroup, remember that playgroup is about children and their caregivers coming together, to support each other, play, and have fun. Talk about what time would work best for you to meet, and who else can help getting things started. Generally playgroups meet once a week for two hours.
Finding a Venue
Think about what sort of venue would suit the kind of playgroup you want to be. For instance, some playgroups choose to meet in a park and have a focus on nature play – rain or shine. Your local council will know about playgroups using their venues and you can often use the same venue at a different time. Scout Halls or Primary schools are great locations and you can contact the school Principal about the possibility. Most local community centres will hire their rooms to playgroups for a low weekly fee.
Your playgroup belongs to you and your group, and together you make it work. There are some roles that need to be taken on by one or several members. These include being the contact person for new members or other inquiries, opening up and setting up, cleaning up and closing, and planning session activities. Volunteer effort helps to make sure your playgroup thrives, you can also count volunteer hours towards the activity test for child care benefit.
Toys and Furniture
You can seek donations from your community or local businesses, fundraise or approach your council for support. Toy libraries sometimes offer partnership opportunities. Here is sample list of common resources to create an engaging playgroup environment. Insurance Comprehensive insurance cover is vital in case of accidents and damage to property. Many Local Councils require playgroups to have insurance as part of their venue leasing agreements. Becoming a member of your state and territory playgroup organisation ensures you have an insurance cover specially designed to meet all playgroup needs. Structuring your session Playgroups often choose to have time for free play and also include snack time, story time and rhyme time. Visit your local state or territory playgroup organisation for activity ideas and ways to plan your playgroup sessions.
Keeping in touch with each other is what keeps playgroups alive. Here are a few tips below that might help keep things going
- Facebook: A Facebook page is a useful tool for communicating with families. A closed group allows privacy for images and discussion. You might also follow the Facebook page of your state or territory organisation and Playgroup Australia.
- E-mail: It’s a good idea to set up a specific playgroup e-mail list so enquiries or newsletters can be managed by more than one person. Create a contact list for all members and share these details within the group, especially useful for new members to the playgroup.
- Local News: Local newspapers generally have a What’s On section where regular events are showcased. Try contacting your local newspaper to see if your playgroup session can snag a spot!
- Calendar: Some playgroups use Google Drive to store documents and templates and use a Google calendar. They can be accessed by anyone with the password and is particularly useful when the playgroup leadership changes.
For helping setting up a new playgroup contact you state or territory playgroup organisation or free call 1800 171 882.