What’s the issue?
Families experiencing disadvantages or vulnerabilities are less likely to participate in community playgroups, although existing organisations offer a range of supported playgroups for different needs, these are not adequately coordinated. Secondly, communities are becoming increasingly segregated by age – as our community ages more older people are moved into retirement or residential care and have less contact with their families. Similarly, families are split nationally and internationally and therefore have fewer meaningful interactions.
Why is this important for Communities?
- Evidence shows supported playgroups encourage improved parenting skills, increased school readiness and reduced welfare dependency.
- Ongoing funding for a national supported playgroup program would recognise the barriers that some vulnerable and disadvantaged families experience through participating in community playgroups.
- Playgroup Australia recognises a need for targeted programs supporting mothers with post natal depression, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and families living with disability, specific gender, age or cultural cohorts.
- Research shows real benefits in engaging these groups through supported playgroups and community participation.
- $3m per annum would support around 80-100 new supported playgroups nationally.
Playgroup Australia Proposes
A national supported playgroups program led by experienced facilitators would provide participants with referral to available supports, connect and educate parents resulting in improved parenting confidence, and an opportunity to put aside the stressors to relax and play with their children, while reducing isolation.