The benefits of playgroup
Playgroups benefit children, families and the wider community.
Whilst it is true children can play anywhere, playgroup has an added benefit of providing opportunities for playing with other children and practising important social skills.
Importantly, playgroup also provides the opportunity for parents and children to play together, which is critical to children’s healthy development. By creating a space where parents and caregivers have the opportunity to spend time with their children, playgroups can enhance relationships through play.
The benefits of playgroup for children:
- provides safe and nurturing environments where children can play and learn
- enhances healthy early brain development through play
- provides opportunities for children to create, invent, reason and problem solve
- provides opportunities to build attachment between adults and children as they play together, and share time and experiences
- helps children learn social skills as they negotiate with peers, resolve conflict, take turns, share and make friends
- helps children to build resilience to enable them to cope with new situations, manage stress and adapt to change.
The benefits of playgroup for families:
- provides a community-based space where families can create their own locally based friends and social networks
- provides a place where parents and caregivers can support each other through sharing ideas, parenting experiences, concerns and information
- builds family capacity through peer support
- provides a place where families can build long-term friendships as their children grow and transition to school
- offers affordable and regular opportunities for families to enjoy a shared outing
- provides a cost-effective focal point for engaging families with other community services.
The benefits of playgroup for the whole community:
- Community playgroups are an important part of the fabric of a vibrant community. Playgroups assist the development of social networks by promoting supportive relationships within and between families.
- Being predominantly run by parents and caregivers, playgroups offer opportunities for families to become actively involved in their community through volunteering and peer support.
- Playgroups also support positive long-term outcomes in communities by promoting the healthy development of children prior to school age. We know that in the areas of Perth where higher numbers of children attend playgroup that they are also more likely to be developmentally on track.
In a nutshell, playgroups:
- encourage a sense of belonging, identity and social inclusion within communities
- build enduring social groups through relationships based on a common purpose; promoting shared interests and purpose
- promote social competence for children and families
- build community resilience and sustainability
- contribute to creating child friendly communities where children and families are valued
- increase awareness and access to information about the community
- provide a ‘soft entry point’ to introduce services to families with young children.
For more information and research findings on the benefits of playgroup, please see the Research section.