How to start a local playgroup

How to start a local playgroup

CONNECT WITH OTHERS

Reach out and connect with local families and friends who may be interested in attending playgroup. Extend your reach and connect on social media, on your local community page, in your local newspaper, kinder newsletter or by putting a notice on your community board. You can also post on our online community Facebook group, Playgroup at Home.

Contacting your local council or school can also help to get the ball rolling.

How to start a local playgroup

DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF PLAYGROUP

You might want to run a community playgroup or a supported playgroup run by facilitators. You could run a playgroup at your local school, or you might want to run an intergenerational playgroup or a nature playgroup. You might want to have a casual playgroup and meet up at a park each week. Have a chat about what works best for the members of your group and then connect with relevant services if needed.

How to start a local playgroup

FIND A VENUE AND TIMESLOT

Next step, organising a suitable spot to meet. Consult your fellow members and local community. Councils, schools and community services are in the know and can point you in the right direction. From there, decide on a time that works best for you and your playgroupers. Mid-morning is a good time for many. You can take your time in getting there, share morning tea and the kids can have a snack and re-fuel as they play. Sessions usually run for one and a half to two hours.

How to start a local playgroup

REGISTER WITH US!

Find resources and gain access to your own online portal. This enables you to communicate with your fellow members and invite new members to join.

Playgroup Registration costs $50 valid for 12 months. Playgroup Registration includes Public Liability and Property Insurance for community playgroups*. Registration also includes:

• A complementary family membership for you to use or share with another family
• The option to advertise your playgroup on Find a Playgroup
• Access to our play ideas library, with over 60 downloadable activity sheets
• Access to The Playgroup Toolkit– home to the best playgroup tools and resource
• Access to your online playgroup management portal where you can organise your playgroup and invite families to join
Discover more benefits here

Once you have registered your playgroup, encourage other families to register so you have all their details in one place. They can sign up as Family Members to receive additional member benefits.

*Public Liability insurance is your playgroup’s protection if your playgroup is found be legally responsible for personal injury to a third party or damage to their property.

How to start a local playgroup

SESSION STRUCTURE

Creating a weekly routine helps playgroup to run smoothly and allows families to contribute and feel involved in your weekly sessions. An activity, snack time, free play, story time and a song works well.

Each month Playgroup Victoria has a monthly theme and booklet which can help guide your sessions.

How to start a local playgroup

GATHER RESOURCES AND GET INSPIRED

We have a treasure trove of resources and information available online. Your member portal gives you access to explore and download content from the Playgroup Toolkit. Discover our activity booklets, the Wild Things Bush Play Set-up Guide and our library of over 60 play sheets.

How to start a local playgroup

STAY CONNECTED

Keep in the loop with us! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive the latest news, information and resources.

Join us and share on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Facebook group

Read other playgroup stories, interviews and early years news on our Blog. Get in contact and share your stories with us!

We host exciting events throughout the year. Check out our events calendar to see what’s on.

How to start a local playgroup

CONNECT AND PLAY!

Playgroup is all about sharing, bonding, finding support, having enjoyable experiences, learning through play, having fun and making memories. Enjoy!

Keep up to date with all things playgroup!

Register your playgroup to stay up to date with news and events

No playgroups in your local areas? Perhaps you could start a playgroup. Contact your state or territory playgroup organisation for further information and assistance.

Finding Families

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.

Playgroup Roles

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.

Communications

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.

How to start a local playgroup

Would you like to make new friends? Would you like your child to play in a safe, fun environment? Why not start your own playgroup?

Playgroups are a great way for adults to spend time with their children, make friends and increase their support networks. Meanwhile children develop physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually, as they discover new experiences, gain self-confidence and make new friends too.

If there aren’t any playgroups in your area, or if you can’t find one that suits you and your family, start your own! Playgroup Queensland offers supports to new playgroups with playgroup books, activity cards, music cd and a Crayola starter pack.

Here are 7 simple steps on starting your own playgroup:

Step 1 of starting your own Playgroup : Find families

You will need 5 families with similar-aged children. Think of people you met in hospital, child health centre, ante-natal class or at school. Considerputting up a notice at your local shops, church, community or sports centre. (You could easily use facebook to do this, start a group or page with your locailty and then head to the Brisbane Kids Facebook page and ask for a shoutout)

Step 2 of starting your own Playgroup: Choose a place and decide on a day and time

Find a suitable venue for the playgroup and make contact to find out about availability and hire costs. Most playgroups meet at a community or public venue, others meet at a member’s home on a rotational basis. Popular community venues include: kindergartens, schools, church halls, parks, community centres, council buildings and scout halls. Ideally your venue should offer children’s toilets, kitchen facilities, indoor and outdoor play spaces, storage, car parking, public transport nearby and affordable rent.

Decide on a day and time for playgroup and talk about what you might want from it for you and your child. Playgroups usually meet weekly for a few hours.

Step 3 of starting your own Playgroup: What to do and what to play

How the playgroup is structured is up to the members. Playgroup can offer organised, structured activities or be less formal and more spontaneous.A typical playgroup session might include setting up, indoor and outdoor play, a break for a snack, stories and music play as a group, general clean up and pack away.

When deciding on play activities, consider indoor and outdoor spaces, safety, equipment and allowing for plenty of free play. Try to cater for the age range and developmental needs of the group.Playgroup aged children are not ready for lengthy instructions and rules; they need lots of time to explore, interact and experiment. Popular playgroup activities include painting, sandpit, playdough, building blocks, ride-on toys and dress ups.

Make a list of what equipment the group will need, by asking all the members to help contribute to the list.You do not need to buy expensive toys and equipment. Think about looking for second hand toys at garage sales, fetes or opportunity shops. Most playgroups require toys, books, play equipment and art and craft materials. Contact Playgroup QLD for more advice about sourcing equipment.

Step 4 of starting your own Playgroup: Set the guidelines

Set guidelines for the playgroup. Be clear about roles and responsibilities. Remember that playgroup is for everyone and accordingly everyone should share the workload. Each parent/caregiver is responsible for the safety and supervision of their child or children. All members should be valued and respected.

Step 5 of starting your own Playgroup: What will it cost

Most playgroups charge their members a small fee each week to cover expenses. Playgroup expenses may include hall or venue hire, first aid kit, morning tea supplies, art and craft materials and play equipment.

Step 6 of starting your own Playgroup: Registration

Send Playgroup Queensland the playgroup registration form to register the playgroup. Playgroup must be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. Playgroup QLD offers a membership package that includes an insurance cover specially designed to meet all playgroup needs. Playgroup QLD offers new Playgroups a Playgroup starter pack, which includes Playgroup Books, Activity Cards, Music CD and a Crayola Starter Pack.

Step 7 of starting your own Playgroup: Ready to start

Set a playgroup starting date in a few weeks’ time. Remember to swap names and phone numbers so you can keep in touch. Try to plan a few simple activities for your first playgroup session to ensure it is both valuable and enjoyable.

That’s it! It is that easy to start your own Playgroup. Contact Playgroup Queensland on 1800 171 882 or email us at [email protected] if you have any further questions.

If you still arent convinced then remember we have plenty of Brisbane Playgroups already listed, North Brisbane Playgroups, South Brisbane Playgroups and Ipswich Playgroups. We also have a handy playgroup calendar and some suggested mothers groups locations.

Last post: 21/06/2016 at 1:44 am

I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me? I have recently been made redundant and my mum is an NVQ Level 2 in childcare who is currently working in a playgroup, but it is having to move locations. We had the idea to start our own playgroup at a lovely location (waiting to hear back from the owner re rent prices etc) but we know it is suitable for a nursery and is a beautiful prime location – I used to go there when I was little but there hasn’t been a playgroup there in a while.

I was wondering if anyone knows where we go for funding and what criteria we would have to meet to get funding.

We have an accountant (my husband) but does anyone know a good insurance company for this type of thing?

Also I would love some of your opinions on what you as a mother would prefer – whether this should be a playgroup that you drop off and pick up or a more mother and toddler group. (Will be about 2.5 hours every morning)

Thank you very much for any advice you give.

Your browser cannot play this video.

Hmmm lots to consider.

Are you going to make it a mother and toddler group,where mums stay – well then you just need the toys (huge expense:( ) the hall,some adult volunteers and some insurance (I imagine)

If mums are not going to stay – will it be a pre school? Then thats a heck of a lot of work.You’ll need more staff – a level 2 won’t be good enough – learning journey’s,OFSTED,policies,thousands of pounds worth of toys and equipment – the list is endless.

Feel like I’m putting a downer on it – but you need to pin down what sort of service you are going to offer. its a heck of a big job.

How to start a playgroup??

I want to start my own dog walking business, has anyone else done it?

Fundraising Ideas for Playgroup

Should i get paid for online training in my own time??

Grants for local playgroup.

Hi
I run a kids club and you need level 3 with two years post experience so it can’t be your mum. L3 takes 2yrs then 2 yrs post will be four yrs be foe you get it in your names. You will need the venue then Ofsted registration 6months wait business plan at least £10.000 to start up for your first year.this would be for toys,rent,gas,electric,wages,book keeping,insurance alone starts at £500 to cover children.your food bills unexpected charges. I know your thinking well we would have money coming in but you need a starting point.
Then you write out all policies and procedures to fit your environment before your Ofsted visit.you need training in all areas other than your childcare Cert L2 and. L3. You will need possibly 3staff because of illnesses.

Hard work but if you are determined you need to sit down and start your business plan get confirmation it is needed from parents and decide if you want it as your own -you pay everything or not for profit then you can get funding but only with a full committee and constitution in place.
Speak to your education department and ask for a development officer to visit you and discuss your options further.

I’ve ran mine as a not for profit and it’s been success and I started with 8 children and the second week 15 children then onwards and upwards with 78 children been on roll now.

dont be put off! Yes it can be daunting but if maybe start off low key, eg look at setting up a ‘stay and play’ scheme where mums stay with their children?

I know your after advice on what we’d want but if I was in your shoes, I would do a questionnaire and stand at a local primary school gates and complete with the mums while they are waiting for their kids to come out? This serves two purposes: getting your idea out there, also, finding out what LOCAL mums might want?

I would advise that either/both of you do a First Aid (for babies/children) St John Ambulance course. It’s not expensive and doesnt take ages, and it’s practical.

If you plan to give drink/snack, phone your local college and get yourselves booked on their Food Hygeine course – again, it should be a v short and not expensive course.

Why not phone or drop in to a local insurance broker in your high street and chat about your idea and see if they can help. You can always compare price later.

I would say you’d need drinks beakers (if not already at your venue), seating for mums and kids, a range of toys (plastic tubs is good for storage if you can keep them onsite!) – why not try ebay for second hand but I suggest you do this just before you open up as it’s towards the bottom of your ‘to do’ list!

When you’re up and running and word of mouth spreads, you can ask mums if they’d beinterested in a ‘just kids’ session – obviously would need to be costed out for extra staff. You could also ring OFSTED if you’re interested in going down that route later, if you’re thinking of taking kids so they can ‘spend’ their free 15 hours nursery vouchers with you.

The council is another good source of support.

Good luck and hope you go for it;)
Nicola C.

Ready to realize your dream of starting a children’s play groups and classes business? We help you avoid the mistakes that frequently cause problems to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Thinking about opening a children’s play groups and classes business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.

Pay to Play: The Market for Kids’ Groups & Classes

Children’s play groups and classes live in an industry that didn’t exist as recently as a few decades ago. But in an age where parents are eager to give their kids every possible advantage, the rise of preschool playgroups and toddler classes has created a marketplace for entrepreneurs able to combine their child education expertise with their passion for business.

Like many child-based businesses, the target demographic for premium playgroups and instruction isn’t kids — it’s parents. Specifically, you’ll want to gear your marketing campaigns and class offerings to moms of toddlers and preschoolers. Stay at home dads may constitute part of your customer base, but more often than not it’s moms who actively seek out instructional and structured play opportunities for kids.

While some of the opportunities you offer will feature parent interactions, some will be oriented exclusively for kids. Consider designing a viewing window between the waiting room and the play area to reinforce the decision to enroll in programs. When parents see their kids having a blast, they will be more likely to enroll them in future classes and events.

Getting Started as a Children’s Play & Instruction Provider

There are at least three major areas of concern every new structured play and kids class entrepreneur needs to address: Safety, marketing and pricing. Failure to devote adequate attention to any one of these issues can quickly handicap your business’s ability to survive beyond the first year.

  • Safety. Child safety must be an absolute priority in your business. Although facility the safety of your facility is important, it’s just as critical to make sure every one of your employees has undergone a thorough background check and policies have been instituted to ensure that adults are never left alone with children.
  • Marketing. There are many different ways to market a new structured play and young child instruction business to the local community. Social media marketing, print advertising and other marketing strategies all have their place. The trick is to research various marketing alternatives and spend your resources on the ones that can deliver the biggest bang for the buck — even if it means eliminating marketing venues that you personally prefer.
  • Pricing. Pricing is never just about dollars and sense. Although you have to consider your startup’s budget realities when you establish prices for playgroups and classes, you also need to consider the impact pricing will have on positioning your business in the marketplace. Price your offerings too low and you will be perceived as an inferior provider; price them too high and you will starve your startup of the traffic it needs to survive.

For More Information

To learn more about the children’s playgroup and instruction industry, we encourage startup entrepreneurs to get in touch with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

How to Create a Winning Children’s Play Groups & Classes Company Business Plan

If you’ve done your homework, you already know that writing a business plan is the most critical thing you can do for your company.

Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your children’s play groups and classes company’s business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.

Here’s something else you should know: Business plans help prevent key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.

Take a Look at Competitors

Long before you open a children’s play groups and classes business in your town, it’s a good idea to determine what the competition looks like. We’ve provided the link below to help you get a list of local competitors in your area. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of children’s play groups and classes businesses in your community.

If there’s too much competition, it may be wise to consider starting the business in a less competitive marketplace.

Finding a Non-Competitive Business Mentor

Once you’ve finished assessing the competion, it’s a wise move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you’re being overoptimistic. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.

However, an entrepreneur who owns a children’s play groups and classes business in a location that is not competitive to you will be much more likely to talk with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.

Do you know how to find a children’s play groups and classes business entrepreneur outside of your area who is willing to talk?

Here’s how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.

Acquisitions vs. Startups

To become a children’s play groups and classes business owner, you’ll either need to buy an existing business or start one from scratch.

Unless you have compelling reasons to launch a new business, buying an existing children’s play groups and classes business may be the better choice.

Established children’s play groups and classes businesses are already equipped with the resources and processes new business owners struggle to acquire. If you’re diligent about finding the right acquisition prospect, you may be able to leverage a business buying strategy to rapidly propel yourself into a position of industry leadership.

Consider Franchising

Franchising is a smart move for entrepreneurs just getting started in small business ownership. As a franchisee, you’ll have access to a broad knowledge base, established supply chains, proven operational processes and other resources. With more and more franchise opportunities emerging everyday, you have lots of options to choose from.

Just click the link below to learn more about childrens franchise options.

Entrepreneur Interviews

These interviews should be of interest to you.

More Advice for Startups

These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.

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Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Within a few weeks of moving to Bay Area with my 6 month old daughter, I felt a little lost and alone. This place was completely new to me so I visited library story times and some pretty parks, and joined a weekly playgroup in my neighborhood. But something felt like it was missing, mostly because I didn’t have many like-minded friends at the time.

I realized what I really wanted was a playgroup where likeminded moms let their babies play and socialize in an authentic and child-led way. I wanted to learn from other parents too. I eventually created my own playgroup with this in mind, and kept it going for years because of the enthusiastic response I received and the kindred spirits I met!

How’s it going meeting like-minded parent friends in your city? It can be really challenging, so I hope you’ve found at least one amazing friend you can chat all things parenting with. It can make all the difference, ya know?

Below is exactly how I formed my own playgroup, which was Magda Gerber-inspired and based on my experiences assisting in RIE Infant/Parent and Toddler/Parent classes. I modeled what I knew about the RIE approach for parents (no pressure to be perfect!), and learned so much from others who joined.

find members for your group

I originally started my group on Meetup.com, which was before Facebook started forming “Group” pages. Either platform could work, or you might already have some friends with children in a similar stage of development. Meetup.com has a yearly fee, but I found it was worth how easily mothers in my area found me. I advertised my group as “Play-Based Playdates,” and described it as a child-led playgroup for pre-crawling babies.

What key words are important for you, so that likeminded moms can find you? The key words I used when advertising was “RIE-inspired” and “play-based.” Once my pre-crawling baby became a toddler, I preferred to meet with other toddlers and their moms, because it’s easier to have children meet in similar stages of development. Many of the moms who joined were like-minded and with children in similar stages of development, but we all had our own ways of doing things, and differing personalities. The variety of woman and babies made it all the more interesting!

Where and when to Meet

I normally scheduled our playgroup from 10-11:30am, and either at my home or at the park. I learned that it doesn’t matter when you schedule the playgroup, somebody is always napping. It’s easier to find a time that works for your own schedule and those who can join will. If you plan to meet at your home, make the space comfortable and baby proofed and with a variety of clean, simply toys to explore. If you’ll meet at a park, lay down a blanket under a tree and provided toys as well, and encouraged moms to bring their own toys too if they’d like.

Set Some Guidelines

I normally had 2-5 moms with their babies meeting with me each week. When new members joined, I’d give a brief overview for what to expect for the next 1.5 hours: 1. Quiet observation for 15-20 minutes, 2. Discussion + socialize 3. Snack time.

As your group gets to know each other, you may want to ask what others are comfortable with. For my group, we agreed that allowing babies to touch each other was positive, but stopped any hitting, pulling hair, or hurting one another in a matter of fact and non-judgemental tone of voice. If one baby was exploring in a rough way, we’d lightly stroke their arms or cheeks and say, “gentle.” We also became confident to try out sportscasting toy struggles, and were pleasantly surprised by how often babies and toddlers worked out it out without any further intervention (rather than “so and so had it first”). It felt so good to see it play out with our own children, rather than in books.

Suggested Activities

1) Start With A Quiet Observation Period (10-15 min)

Quietly observing babies and toddlers play can feel unusual for a playgroup, but it’s well worth it! You’ll find that the most magic happens during this time, and that children start to engage with toys and their peers in the most memorable ways. As a mother, I felt like I was discovering my baby for who she really was. When new moms join the group, you may want to model a relaxed attitude and confidence in this process. When adults are quiet, babies and toddlers are less overwhelmed and play much more naturally. You may also find that toddlers test limits much more when you’re busy chatting away. (I’m sure you’ve already noticed this!).

2) End With Discussion, Socializing, and Snacks

It’s lovely to hear what other moms are discovering about their own babies and toddlers at playgroups, and we normally would share this in a circle in an open and warm way. Leave plenty of time for socializing at the end, and provide a shared snack for both moms and children.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’d love to know: would you like to start your own playgroup? What would you like to include in your playgroup, and what guidelines might you have?

Ways we can connect:

I offer Private Coaching sessions here.

Wonder Wednesdays LIVE at 10am on Instagram

A free, made for you mini-series full of rich independent play ideas. You will receive a series of emails with delightful practices here.

How to start a local playgroup

An introduction to setting up a baby and toddler group in your area.

Baby and toddler groups are an essential part of the community. They offer the opportunity for young children aged up to two-and-a-half years to have fun and mix with other children in a safe environment where a familiar adult can share and extend their early learning experiences.

Baby and toddler groups do not need to register with Ofsted because parents and carers stay with their children and remain responsible for them at all times. Drop-in visits from relevant advisers such as a health visitor, speech and language therapist or dental nurse are often arranged to provide additional support and guidance to young families.

How do I start a baby and toddler group?

To start a group, you will need to find suitable, safe premises with appropriate toilets and kitchen facilities, space for activities and storage space for equipment.

You also need to consider legislation such as health and safety, fire regulations, data protection, food hygiene and the Equality Act.

Check that no one else is operating a group at the same time in the area. You can often do this via your local authority’s Family Information Service, who may also be able to list your group on the local authority website. Children’s centres, nurseries, primary schools and libraries in the area may also be willing to help publicise your group, and health visitors may help to pass on information too.

How do I run a brilliant baby group?

Have a simple set of guidelines for everyone to abide by including topics such as hot drinks, no smoking, no shouting and no smacking.

You might also want to include information on how incidents such as biting and scratching will be dealt with. Giving this information out to all parents helps everyone to understand what is acceptable behaviour in the group.

Involving parents from the start will help maintain high standards and retain volunteers. Activities should be designed to support a young child’s developing skills such as communication and motor skills, for example, through sand and water activities, mark-making, board books and action songs.

How can I make my baby and toddler group sustainable?

Setting a budget at the start will help to ensure sustainability. Making a list of regular outgoings such as rent, insurance payments, consumables and equipment replacement will help you work out how much income you need to generate to keep your group going.

Many baby and toddler groups form a committee as a way of sharing the work of running the group and some are set up as charities.

The Alliance has a model constitution specifically designed for baby and toddler member groups with an income of less than £5000 that wish to operate as a charity.

This is available to members only and can be found in the Members’ area in the EYA portal.

DOWNLOAD:

How to start a local playgroup

EXPLORE:

The benefits of our baby and toddler membership package which starts at just £35 for the whole year.

Playgroups are one of the best ways to attract young families into a community hub. A structured playgroup is an important part of a hub’s weekly timetable.

Playgroups provide social connection, support networks and open up opportunities for valuable friendships to develop, particularly among migrant and refugee mums who might otherwise feel isolated.

Once a family feels safe visiting the hub for a playgroup, it becomes easier to link them into other hub classes, programs and events. And once trust has been established over time, the hub leader can refer families to external services if required.

How to start a local playgroupHow to start a local playgroupHow to start a local playgroup

Leadership in playgroups – hear various perspectives on starting and importance of playgroup

Michelle

“When someone misses a playgroup I always call in or talk to their friends to check that they’re okay. I’m trying to show mums that I care for them and that they are valued.”

Maureen

“I identified mothers attending my playgroups who were potential leaders and worked with them to understand their aspirations and develop vocational plans. They have all since attained qualifications in early childhood development and five ladies are now employed part-time.”

One playgroup works its magic

“There was one child who, when she started playgroup, could not communicate or interact with other adults or children. She was incredibly timid, would not play with toys, did not like being touched, would avoid eye contact and hid from the playgroup facilitators.

After months of attending the playgroup, this child grew confidence and security in the place and people. She started to show preference for certain toys and activities and one day we heard her squeal with delight as she ran in and out of the kiddie pop-up tent.

Through persistence with attending the group and letting the child do tasks at her own rate, when she was ready, she learned that playgroup was a safe place and developed oral language, social and cognitive skills. This child is now more school ready.”

What works – advice from hub leaders

You don’t have to do everything listed here. Try some things and see what works for your hub. Establish your playgroup and then build on and enhance it over time.

The Midvale Hub offers a range of community based Playgroups at Hub sites (Midvale and Middle Swan) and on local primary school sites too! Something to suit everyone!

Come Play & Learn With Us – Playgroups for Everyone

Our Playgroups are friendly, informal play-based opportunities for parents and caregivers with young children to have some fun, to meet other parents, to learn about age-appropriate parenting and to all participate together in early learning activities with their children.

Early Learning and Parenting Play Leaders

All our Playgroups are facilitated by qualified Early Childhood Educators. They help parents set up and run the Playgroup sessions. Our Play Leaders are early childhood experts and can assist you with parenting questions and any
concerns regarding child development. At each Playgroup the Play Leaders provide a variety of toys and equipment and set up activities to promote children’s learning and development.

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher

The first years of your child’s life are crucial to building a strong
foundation for future success. That’s why at the Midvale Hub we
endeavor to support parents in their parenting journey from birth
throughout the early childhood years so that children are ready
for their eventual entry to school.

Playgroup gives your child opportunities to socialise with other
children and learn vital new skills. We organise our Playgroups
to allow children to have choice and to explore the environment at
their own pace according to their individual interests, personalities
and skills.

At Playgroup children will:

Play together with other children

Participate in new play and learning experiences

Respond to other adults

Make new friends

Learn simple rules and routines

Increase social and communication skills

Learn more about their world, and

Learn to look after and respect one another.

Make New Friends

Come along for a cuppa, a snack and a chat with other local parents. Many long term friendships begin at Playgroup!

Fun for all the Family

All Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Caregivers are welcome.

Published on Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Last updated on Monday, 16 November 2020

Playgroups provide a fun and friendly environment for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, parents and other care-givers to interact. With a local focus and an informal feel, they’re a great way for families to connect with one another as little ones learn, interact and play.

There are many playgroups already operating around the country – including those with a cultural, language or philosophical approach – but if you’re looking for one closer to home or closer to your heart, then it is possible to establish a quality playgroup in your community.

What is the law around playgroups?

A playgroup is fast to set up, flexible and has less regulatory requirements than other early childhood education (ECE) options, but this parent-led service does come with some legal caveats.

The Education Act 1989 defines a playgroup as ‘a group that meets on a regular basis to facilitate children’s play’ and The Act stipulates that no child can attend for more than four hours a day and requires a high ratio of parents and care-givers present while children are learning.

In contrast to other ECE services, like early childhood education and care centres and kindergartens, playgroups don’t need to be licensed. However, they do need to be certificated to receive government funding and support, meaning certification is optional, but beneficial.

What should parents consider when setting up a new playgroup?

There are different reasons for parents wanting to establish new playgroups, and whether you’re keen to start a Montessori playgroup, a NgāPuna Kōhungahunga Māori language playgroup, or just need one closer to your rural property, the first step is to contact the Ministry of Education. They will identify playgroups already operating in your area, and staff will ask why you want to set up the playgroup and what you hope to achieve.

If you choose to create a new playgroup, rather than joining an existing one, then here are seven things you’ll need to consider:

    Who is going to run the playgroup?

As a parent-led service, you need an ongoing commitment from mums and dads who are keen to be involved in the daily operation and overall management of the playgroup. For instance, which parents will take responsibility for the learning environment, liaise with Government and look after the finances?

Where will the playgroup be held?

Certificated playgroups must operate from venues that can be used by other community groups, so some well-located, affordable and accessible options are schools, church buildings, community halls or environments shared with playcentres or kindergartens.

The premises must be safe and comfortable, with good facilities and experiences on offer, so think about the appropriateness of the venue’s toilets, food prep areas, heating and ventilation, outdoor areas, parking/commute options and hours of availability.

What equipment will the playgroup have access to?

Whether this is brought from home or donated by others, the Ministry of Education says the equipment should be fun, educational, appealing and safe for children, that is, non-swallowable, durable and hygienic.

Equipment should be carefully selected so that it provides new opportunities and challenges, and can be used in different and imaginative ways, depending on children’s individual interests.

Where will the equipment be stored?

It’s convenient to store things like toys and play mats on-site, but you’ll need to consider the practicalities and space needs of your new playgroup before loading up on gear.

What will children learn?

According to the Government, ‘The day-to-day activities, experiences, events, routines, rituals, resources, opportunities and interactions that occur in [a certificated] playgroup should reflect and promote the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, but the specific nature of these will be decided on by the children and families in the playgroup.’ So, think about what the new playgroup will offer, such as creative, physically active, constructive, dramatic and exploratory play.

What costs will there be?

Although playgroups aren’t too pricey to set up, it’s important that you work out how much money is needed to start and run the playgroup. Budget for things like rental and bond, play equipment and art materials, floor coverings, electricity and first aid supplies. Then consider how these costs will be covered, e.g. through Government funding upon certification, regular parental contributions or community donations/fund-raising.

You can read more about playgroup funding and special grants here, and keep in mind that you’ll need to set up a playgroup bank account to receive any Government money.

What is the certification process?

Assuming that you want to become a certificated playgroup, you’ll need to contact your Local Ministry Office and get their help in starting the process. First, you’ll fill out an application form, then the Ministry will visit your playgroup to assess whether it meets the standards and certification criteria around curriculum, premises and facilities, health and safety, management and administration and ratios.

If all this sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. Your local Ministry of Education office will provide information and support from the get-go, and there are lots of parents who’ve successfully started and run playgroups.

The end result is that playgroups are a great way to engage, educate and entertain under-fives, while providing support and a sense of community for parents. So, get ready and get set for a great playgroup experience!

Reference and further reading

Please enter a Suburb to find nearby Playgroups

Playgroup address:
1 Centenary Dr, S MIDDLEMOUNT QLD 4746

Contact Details:
Luanna
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
1 Hibberd Dr, ROCKY POINT QLD 4874

Contact Details:
Nicole
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
1/41 Sparrow St, LONGREACH QLD 4730

Contact Details:
Lisa
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
108 Herbert St, Westwood QLD 4702

Contact Details:
Nichole
[email protected]; 0408156648

Playgroup address:
108 William St, HOWARD QLD 4659

Contact Details:
Deb
[email protected], 07 4193 2333

Playgroup address:
11 Goovigen Rannes Road, Goovigen QLD 4702

Contact Details:
Emma
07 4934 7174

Playgroup address:
125/84 Gympie Rd, MARYBOROUGH QLD 4650

Contact Details:
Jenelle
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
15 Perry St, YULEBA QLD 4427

Contact Details:
Anitta
[email protected]

Haden State School Playgroup

Playgroup address:
1520 Haden-Crow’S Nest Rd, HADEN QLD 4353

Playgroup address:
17 Flagon Alley, The Gemfields QLD, Australia

Contact Details:
Mandy
E: [email protected] M: 0428 377 417

Playgroup address:
173 Ramsay School Rd, CAMBOOYA QLD 4358

Contact Details:
Marion
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
177 Bennetts Rd, Norman Park QLD 4170, Australia

Contact Details:
Laura
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
19 Wienholt St, Auchenflower QLD 4066

Contact Details:
Catherine
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
205 Wynnum Road, Norman Park QLD 4170

Contact Details:
Emily
E: [email protected], M: 0434 703 302

Playgroup address:
2156 Gympie-Woolooga Rd, WIDGEE QLD 4570

Contact Details:
Widgee
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
2327 Springbrook Rd, SPRINGBROOK QLD 4213

Contact Details:
Tillea
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
240 Spence St, Bungalow QLD 4870, Australia

Contact Details:
Please contact Casey at Playgroup Queensland for more information.
0438 754 126

Playgroup address:
26 McCool Street, Moranbah QLD 4744

Contact Details:
Samantha
0447 835 825

Playgroup address:
260 Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo QLD 4151, Australia

Contact Details:
Jo
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
269 Coowonga Rd, COOWONGA QLD 4702

Contact Details:
Rachel
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
27 Don Street, Wowan QLD 4702

Contact Details:
Lysandra
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
28 McIlwraith St, INGHAM QLD 4850

Contact Details:
Nicole
M: 0419 728 142, E: [email protected]

Playgroup address:
28 Nyrang Street, Carina QLD, Australia

Contact Details:
Carolyn
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
3 Daphne Avenue, Mornington QLD 4825, Australia

Contact Details:
Taryn
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
33/2 Smiths Rd, Goodna QLD 4300

Contact Details:
Becky
P: 07 3818 2186, M: 0428 672 956

Playgroup address:
35 Miles Street, Kirra QLD 4225

Contact Details:
Debbie
0424 670 766

Playgroup address:
358/107 K P Mcgrath Dr, Elanora QLD 4221

Contact Details:
Kylie
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
3717 Maleny-Kenilworth Rd, Kenilworth QLD 4574

Contact Details:
Carmel
5440 0555

Playgroup address:
39 Drayton St, NANANGO QLD 4615

Contact Details:
Shannon
[email protected]

Playgroup address:
4 Harold Street, Silkwood QLD 4856

Playgroups offer short daily sessions of care and learning through play for children aged two to four years old. In a crèche, young children are cared for during the day while their parents or carers do something else on the same premises. They might be working, shopping or at classes.

Registered playgroups

Playgroups are run by trained early year’s professionals. Parents are closely involved and some are run by parent committees.

Playgroups are registered with the Early Years Team in their local Health and Social Care Trust and inspected annually.

Those in the Pre-School Education Programme have some funded places for children in their final pre-school year.

Most places will be available:

  • at least two and a half hours per day
  • five days per week
  • at least 38 weeks during the period September to June
  • children can play and learn as well as have fun with friends
  • you can take part in your child’s early years education
  • you can meet and get to know parents in your area

A playgroup isn’t suitable if your child needs full day-care.

Information to check with playgroups

  • that the building is safe and well-maintained
  • that the playgroup is registered with Early Years Team in your local Health and Social Care Trust
  • that there are different activities
  • that there are enough qualified staff
  • that the children seem happy, well-supervised and doing suitable activities

Questions to ask playgroups

  • how many staff are on duty at any one time
  • qualifications and experience staff have
  • policies and procedures the playgroup uses
  • the playgroup allows you to stay with your child until they’re settled

Registered crèches

Créches which care for children for more than two hours a day are registered and regularly inspected by the Early Years Team in your local Health and Social Care Trust. The opening hours of the crèche may be flexible to suit parents and carers.

The crèche might be run by a legal or voluntary body, a community group or private company.

Description

Voluntary setting for children aged 2 – 5 years. Term-time only. Monday – Friday 9am – 3pm. Cost: £100 per week full time. *SEN

Local Offer

We have staff that can give one to one, all staff have experience with working with child with mild SEND, we also have outside support when needed.

Nurseries and playgroups must have processes in place to support all children including children with SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities). These include:

  • a SEND Policy stating how children’s needs are supported within the setting (available on the settings website or by request)
  • a qualified, experienced member of staff as their SENCo (special educational needs coordinator) to oversee day to day support of children with SEND, work closely with parents and, if necessary, external professionals
  • ongoing training and development to help staff recognise and support children with a range of SEND
  • links withHealth Visitorsinvolved in universal progress checks or developmental reviews i.e.27 th Month Integrated Reviewsthat support identification of additional need
  • links withChildren’s Centresand the process for referring families for Early Support or MAT – Multi Agency Team support if needed
  • links with anArea SENCowho supports children with SEND transferring into and out of the setting and into school
  • links withspecialist teamsfrom education and health services who can inform, advise and support parents and settings to meet the needs of children with SEND. Referrals require parental permission.

Additional funding may be available for children with SEND. Settings are informed of and supported to:

  • understand the criteria and process for applying for theDisability Access Fund (DAF)
  • understand when it may be appropriate to apply forEarly Years Inclusion Funding
  • understand when it may be appropriate to apply for anEducation, Health and Care Needs Assessmentto identify if additional support provided through a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan(EHC Plan)is necessary. EHC Plans are reviewed every 6 months for children in early years settings.

How to Get Here

Old Street Train station

Buses from City road 43, 394, 205, 274 to New North Road 271, 141, 76

Disabled badge user parking available.

Childcare Information

Vacancies

Funded Places

Ofsted Information

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Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney’s Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

Are you a parent wanting to start your own Playgroup? Maybe your parent’s group would like to become a Playgroup?

Playgroup SA offers Playgroup Registration to promote and provide support for you and your Playgroup. Training includes starting a Playgroup, creating inclusive environments, and additional training modules on Child Development and Play. Playgroup SA provides insurance for your community Playgroup, and can help negotiate and source venues for you to run the Playgroup.

Cost of Registration

All Playgroup Registrations run on a calendar year basis.

$40 Silver Cover (Jan – Dec)

  • Includes all benefits and contents insurance
    up to $10,000

$75 Gold Cover (Jan – Dec)

  • Includes all benefits and contents insurance
    up to $50,000

Benefits of Playgroup Registration

The BENEFITS of your Playgroup Registration includes:

  • Weekly Session Plans assist Coordinators with planned activities covering all domains of development.
  • Promotion and Referral of your Playgroup to the general public who enquire about Playgroups in their local area.
  • Playgroup Support via phone, email and/or Playgroup visits with Playgroup SA’s Playgroup Community Impact Team.
  • Online Training: Learning modules including running a playgroup, inclusive playgroup environments and child development and play.
  • Discounted Professional Training offered by Playgroup SA including workshops and free attendance at Communities of Practice.
  • Free Safe Environments for Children & Young People Training (formerly Child Safe Environmental training) is provided FREE for Playgroup Coordinators when a Playgroup registers.
  • Coordinator News: An electronic newsletter designed to support coordinators in their role.
  • Support from Playgroup SA Marketing team: Promotion for your Playgroup on Playgroup SA Facebook page (more than 12,000 engaged followers), Playgroup SA can advertise your Playgroup to help attendance numbers. Assistance with marketing or promotion for National Playgroup Week, Children’s Week and Book Week activities, along with any other events that your Playgroup may hold throughout the year.
  • Auspice grants for your Playgroup & support for grant writing. Playgroup SA can support your Playgroup to apply for grants that may help with resources and events. Playgroup SA can also auspice your grant, reducing barriers when applying for funding.
  • Venue Support & Assistance: Including lease negotiation and seeking of storage solutions.
  • Public Liability Insurance: $20,000,000 Public Liability Cover.
  • Contents insurance: Playgroup SA provides two levels of contents insurance to Playgroups depending on what coverage they require.
  • Monthly Activity Books provided for your enrolled families including fun low-cost ideas families can do with their children in the home.

How to start a local playgroup

Playgroups support your child’s development through play and social interaction. At the same time, you and your family can share your experiences with other parents.

You can find a list of playgroups by downloading the directory or using the interactive map.

Speak to us directly

You can contact a Playgroup Development Officer by calling 9705 5200.

We can help you:

  • join or start a new playgroup
  • connect with other support services
  • support the needs of your local playgroup
  • answer any other questions you may have

You can also find out more information on babies and children from Casey’s Baby Steps website.

Types of playgroups

Dad’s Matter

These loosely structured programs are designed to help dads and other father figures:

  • develop social networks with other dads
  • connect with their children together in fun activities
  • recognise the important role they play in their family structure

To join
Upcoming programs are listed at the bottom of this page and you can also visit the dedicated Dad’s Matter page for more information.

Supported playgroups

Supported playgroups are led by a facilitator. They are free and run weekly during school terms, for eligible families with children aged 0-5 years.

At a supported playgroup, you can:

  • meet other local families
  • learn about your child’s development
  • learn more about parenting

To find out if you are eligible for a supported playgroup, contact our Supported Playgroup Officer on 9705 5200 or email [email protected]

Supported playgroups are funded by the Department of Education and Training.

Pop-up play sessions

We host free pop-up play sessions for children 0-5 years during school terms at various parks in Casey (event cancelled in extreme weather). Just bring your hats, water and snacks!

Upcoming playgroups are listed at the bottom of this page

Pop-up baby playgroup program

We are hosting pop-up and play sessions around Casey for families with babies 0-12 months only during school terms.

Mums, dads and caregivers are welcome to come along and enjoy playgroup activities with their baby and meet other local families. Activities include music, art, story, rhyme and play.

Upcoming playgroups are listed at the bottom of this page

PlayDaze

PlayDaze sessions are free playgroups that run 3 times a year, for 2 hours each. All parents and carers are welcome to attend.

You can come to these sessions to:

  • learn about positive play experiences and the value of play
  • find out about the importance of play in child development
  • meet local professionals and agencies in a relaxed play environment
  • meet other parents and their children

Upcoming playgroups are listed at the bottom of this page

How to start a local playgroup

If you are looking for a way to help your preschooler make new friends while learning important social skills, a playgroup might be something to look into.

A playgroup is a gathering of similarly aged children and their parents or caregivers. The group meets on a regular basis either in someone’s home or a common space like a park, library, or community center.

Playgroups can be formal groups, such as MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), or an informal gathering of local moms. The common thread is that they give both children and grown-ups a chance to connect and socialize.

Research shows attending playgroups benefit both children and their parents. The regular groups support children’s social development, ease the transition to school, and improve overall health, while also providing social and health support to parents, knowledge sharing, and learning opportunities.

Practicing Social Skills

In a playgroup, children get the opportunity to practice their social skills in a safe, familiar setting. Adults can get both friendship and support from people who understand exactly what they are going through.

Activities can be organized for kids (such as song time or crafts) or they can simply come together to play. It’s important to figure out ahead of time what each participant is looking for from the playgroup. Some may want a more formal structure, while others prefer an informal meeting.

For the most part, many playgroups try to keep the children who participate all within the same age range, but that isn’t a requirement. There are different reasons people come together to create or participate in a playgroup.

Some playgroups are simply made up of common friends from the same school or daycare. Sometimes they are brought together because people answered an ad or saw a flier or Facebook post. Other times children are diagnosed with a similar issue such as ADHD and the playgroup environment is a good one in which everyone can feel relaxed and accepted.

Set up Rules and Goals

Before you start or join a playgroup, it is important that you become familiar with the goals and rules of the playgroup (and in some cases, there may be none or very little).

Knowing what the basic guidelines are ahead of time—for example bring your own snacks, how much and how often dues are paid, the location of the meeting place, and if siblings are allowed—will help avoid future misunderstandings.

Depending on the size of the playgroup, parents may establish other social rules. For example:

  • If a birthday party is held, do all the children need to be invited?
  • If one of the participants has a friend or relative visiting at the time of playgroup, is the other child permitted to come?
  • Are drop-offs allowed at playgroup or are parents or caregivers required to stay?
  • How are disagreements within the playgroup handled?
  • Is there ever a circumstance where a child or a parent is asked to leave the playgroup?

These issues may also work themselves out on their own if they even come up. It really depends on the makeup of the group and how formal they are about setting rules.

Playgroups are different from playdates in that playgroups tend to meet on a fairly regular basis, while a playdate is usually a one-time thing. However, if a playdate is successful, the parents of the children who participate may consider inviting other friends and starting a playgroup.

Bring your baby, toddler and pre-schooler to our playgroups and toy libraries. They’ll be able to gain confidence while developing physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Find a playgroup

There are many benefits of joining a playgroup.

It’s a great opportunity for your child to practice new skills and make new friends.

While the kids are having fun and learning, parents, grandparents and carers can also make new friends, learn new skills and create community connections in a safe and supportive environment.

Visit our maps to find out more about Manningham’s children’s services and to find a playgroup in your local area.

To start your own playgroup, visit Playgroup Victoria for assistance.

Storytime sessions

Our local libraries also offer storytime and bookclub programs for children. Storytime programs are also run in Greek (once a month) and Mandarin (twice a month).

Toy libraries

We have 2 toy libraries in Manningham:

How to start a local playgroup

109 Swanston Street, Lower Templestowe
0415 081 370 or [email protected]
Tuesday 9.30am to 11.00am, Thursday 7.30pm to 9.00pm, Saturday 10.00am to 12.00pm

How to start a local playgroup

189 Research-Warrandyte Road, North Warrandyte
0407 474 556 or [email protected]
Wednesday 10.30am to 12.00pm, Saturday 10.00am to 11.30am

On this page

Are you looking for?

  • Maternal and Child Health services
  • Find a local school
  • Find youth services
  • Find a kindergarten or preschool
  • Find a playgroup or toy library
  • Find childcare services
  • Immunisation services

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Find all libraries, childcare, kindergartens and more within Manningham

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Manningham Civic Centre

699 Doncaster Road
Doncaster Victoria
Australia 3108

© Manningham City Council

Manningham Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the land and waterways now known as Manningham. Council pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and values the ongoing contribution to enrich and appreciate the cultural heritage of Manningham. Council acknowledges and respects Australia’s First Peoples as Traditional Owners of lands and waterways across Country, and encourages reconciliation between all.

Home / Find a Playgroup

Playgroup is a great place to get to know other families, but it can take time to for friendships to form. Although you may be nervous initially, over time playgroup can become your extended family. To find a Playgroup, use the interactive map below to click on the icons to see locations, dates, times and types of Playgroups in that area. The types of Playgroups are colour coded, here is a key for you to follow:

Playgroup is a great place to get to know other families, but it can take time to for friendships to form. Although you may be nervous initially, over time playgroup can become your extended family. To find a Playgroup, use the interactive map below to click on the icons to see locations, dates, times and types of Playgroups in that area. The types of Playgroups are colour coded, here is a key for you to follow:

Intergenerational Play

Through partnerships with aged care services, retirement villages and seniors’ groups – Intergenerational Play playgroups are bridging generational gaps to reduce isolation within local communities. By inviting children and families to join with local residents, the program brings people from all walks of life together.

Community Playgroups

Community Playgroups meet once or twice a week for up to two hours i n venues such as community centres, halls, parks and homes. Community Playgroups are delivered by parents/carers with Playgroup Tasmania’s support, resources through visits, phone calls and online communication.

PlayConnects

PlayConnect Playgroups are designed for families of children aged 0-6 years who have unique needs associated with having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism-like characteristics in communication, behaviour or social skills

Organisational Playgroups

Organisations such as not-for-profit community groups, child care agencies, Family Day Care Schemes and Churches that run their own playgroups and already hold insurance coverage, may affiliate with Playgroup Tasmania and hold an Organisational Membership.

How to start a local playgroup

27 Jan Baby and toddler playgroups in the Woking and surrounding Surrey areas

Like many other mums, I am a member of quite a few mummy/parent groups on Facebook and one of the most commonly asked questions has been playgroup recommendations for the Woking and surrounding areas.

With this in mind, I decided to do some research and write a blog about it, so local mums have a guide to refer to. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so if you have any to add, please share with other mums in the comments below!

9:00-:12:30 Weybourne Gym soft play session £5, Sibling 10% off, Under 9 months £4 or free with older sibling (cash only). T hey recommend you call or email before or on the day to secure your space, because they get busy.

9:15 or 11:00am Teddy Toddlers at the Salvation Army. No need to book

9:30-10:30am – Woking Playgym for crawlers to 5 years at Woking Gymnastics £5

9:45-11:30am Brookwood Babies and Toddlers for babies to 5 years of age, Brookwood Large Memorial Hall, £2 per family

9:45-11:30am – Woking Twins Club, held every second and forth Monday of the month at St Hugh of Lincoln Church in Knaphill. First session free, £3.50 per family thereafter

9:45 – 11:30am – St Lawrence Playgroup for newborn to preschool aged kids at St Lawrence and St Saviour Church in Chobham. First session is free, £2 donation thereafter

10:00 – 11:00: Sing a Song of Sixpence sing-along group in St Alban’s Church Hall in Wood Street Village, just past Pirbright. They do half an hour of songs with puppets, actions, props, bubbles, instruments etc, then half an hour of playtime and snacks, for £5 per family. Drop in in term time, no need to book.

10:00am to 12:00noon Little Tykes Toddler group is an independently run toddler group that meets at the Addlestone Baptist Church on Monday mornings

10:00-11:30am Angel Tots Parent & Toddler group at St Michael and All Angels, Pirbright. For children up to the age of 3. Free, but donations are welcome.

10.00 to 11.30am Jack and Jill playgroup for the under 5’s at St Mary’s Church Hall Oatlands Avenue, Weybridge, KT13 9TS, £3 per family

10:30am and 11:30am Rhymetime at Camberley Library

We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ but unfortunately in contemporary western society that ‘village’ can be hard to find.

This can leave parents feeling isolated and their kids spending less time playing with other children.

But Telethon Kids Institute researcher Dr Tess Gregory says that is where playgroups can come in.

“Playgroups provide a great opportunity for children to play with one another on a regular basis, and for parents to meet new friends in their local area and support one another through the joys and challenges of parenting young children.”

But what exactly is a playgroup and how does it differ from other forms of early education?

How to start a local playgroup

“A playgroup is when a group of parents, caregivers or even extended family meet up with their babies and young children to learn together through play,” Dr Gregory says.

“Unlike day care where parents drop their children off, parents or carers stay at the playgroup with their child.”

In 2016, Dr Gregory and her team completed a study into playgroups which found that children who attended playgroups had better:

  • physical development such as fine and gross motor skills
  • social and emotional skills such as co-operation, sharing and taking turns
  • language skills
  • oral communication skills

“Play is essential for children’s development and playgroups provide opportunities for children to develop a range of different skills,” Dr Gregory says.

And there are proven benefits for parents too…

“One of the best things about playgroup is the benefits for parents and caregivers who stay to interact with one other and with their children,” Dr Gregory says.

“Playgroups provide parents with an opportunity to learn from one another, to improve their parenting skills and knowledge about their children’s needs, and to develop a strong social support network that they can draw on for emotional and practical support when needed. It really is the modern day ‘village’.”

Newham’s Children’s Centres offer a range of services to help give your child the best start in life. You can register for free if you are a Newham resident with a child under 5 (including if you’re pregnant). You can register by clicking the ‘Family Registration’ link on the right-hand side of this page.

We also provide free support to Childminders who live in Newham or look after a Newham child. Childminders can register by clicking on the ‘Childminder Registration’ link.

If you would like support from a Family Support Worker, you can ask anyone at your local Children’s Centre. If you are a professional who would like to refer a family, please use the “Early Help and Family Support Referral” link.

What we offer

Activity Programmes

In light of Covid-19 and in order to support families to stay safe and active, our activities programme this year will be online delivered via the Zoom app. Zoom can be downloaded for free from the App Store or the Zoom website, https://zoom.us/. Each of our 8 Community Neighbourhoods has their own timetable for activities and copies of their timetables are available on their individual websites and in the “downloads” section of this page. Please see the calendars and individual websites for booking instructions.

Children’s Centre websites

  • Beckton and Royal Docks: BaRD
  • Canning Town and Custom House: Edith Kerrison and Keir Hardie
  • East Ham: Altmore and Oliver Thomas
  • Forest Gate: Kay Rowe and Maryland
  • Green Street: St. Stephen’s
  • Manor Park: Sheringham
  • Plaistow: Plaistow
  • Stratford and West Ham: Rebecca Cheetham

Access to childcare (nurseries and childminders)

We can help you to find childcare, including free childcare for eligible two, three and four year olds.

Stay and play sessions (child development support)

Children learn and develop important skills through play. Stay and play sessions show you how you can support your child’s learning at home. These sessions are open to everyone and you can also meet other local families.

Targeted stay and play sessions (child development support)

Some sessions support families around particular issues, including children with additional needs. Some of these sessions might be open to everyone and some might be by invitation only.

Please see the timetable for your local children’s centre to find out what is available in your area.

If you have any worries about your child’s development, then you can talk to any of our Children’s Centre staff. You can also talk to your Health Visitor, your GP or your child’s nursery/childminder.

Parenting support

Our Family Support Workers help families to tackle issues having an impact on the family. This includes issues such as domestic violence, mental health, housing, and financial struggles.

We can also help build your parenting skills and confidence. You can talk to us about managing your child’s behaviour, healthy eating, speech and language or anything else.

Volunteering and support into employment

If you want to build your skills and confidence, you can volunteer in Children’s Centres and help us out. Our centres can also help you to learn and develop skills through workshops and courses. This can include English and Maths lessons, or Childminder and Teaching Assistant courses. We also work with other organisations, like Workplace, who can help you find work.

Health and well-being support

Your local Health Visitors provide advice and support on a range of health issues. They can support you through pregnancy into the first years of your child’s life. You can ask them about any health issues such as breastfeeding, weaning or speech delay. Children’s Centres will also have sessions to help you with healthy eating, toileting, sleep routines and other issues.

Find your local children’s centre

We have at least one centre in each Community Neighbourhood. Map and contact details for our Children’s Centres are under the ‘View all services’ button. You can select ‘show on map’ on the search results to see which centre is closest to you.

Hungry Little Minds

If you want some ideas for activities you can do at home with your child, then check out Hungry Little Minds. It has videos and ideas that you can your child can do together. Children love it when you chat, play and read with them, even if they’re too young to understand what you’re saying! You can turn anything into a game and it will help your child start getting ready for school whatever their age.

Find a local playgroup to go to with your babies, toddlers or kids under 5 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Playgroups provide both play, social and learning opportunities for children as well as being an informal support network for parents. There are different types of playgroups in New Zealand. Some have a primary focus on maintaining culture, language or philosphical approaches such as Pasifika and Montessori playgroups. Playgroups are usually run by parents and meet for 1 to 5 sessions per week.

Central Auckland Playgroups

Bharitya Samaj Charitable Trust Multicultural Playgroup

Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, 13 May Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland
www.bsct.org.nz/youth-child

Brasileirinho Musicas e Brincadeiras – Brazilian Portuguese Speaking Playgroup

100 Saint Heliers Bay Road, St Heliers, Auckland
BrasileirinhoNz

Ellerslie Playgroup

Cnr of Ramsgate and Finlay Street, Ellerslie, Auckland
www.facebook.com/EllersliePlaygroup

Kid’s Club

Royal Oak Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 48 Mount Smart Road, Royal Oak
www.rocsda.org.nz

Epsom Roskill Plunket Playgroups

50 Buckley Road, Royal Oak, Auckland
www.plunket.org.nz

German Speaking Playgroup

Grey Lynn Kidlets Playgroup

Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
www.greylynn.org.nz/kids/

Hay Park Play Group
Auckland Kindergarten Association

670 Richardson Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland
www.aka.org.nz

Little Pandas Mandarin Playgroup

Lynfield Community Playgroup

Petite Lascars French Playground

109 Taniwha Street, Glen Innes, Auckland AND
21 Currie Avenue Hillsborough
Facebook: Les Petites Lascars

Meadowbank Playgroup

Mt Albert Community Playgroup

YMCA building Rattray Room,773 New North Rd, Mount Albert
MtAlbertCommunityPlaygroup

A playgroup is a group of parents, carers and their children aged five and under, who meet to play, socialise and have fun.

How to start a local playgroup

Our community and supported playgroups may look different with social distancing requirements in place. Check with your community playgroup or contact our team for up-to-date information about our supported playgroup programs.

Most playgroups meet weekly for a couple of hours in a variety of venues. Children learn through play, develop new skills and make new friends. Parents benefit by sharing parenting ideas, gaining valuable support and building social connections with people at the same stage of life.

Supported playgroups

A supported playgroup has a funded professional facilitator who works with specific groups of families at no or low cost. Facilitators run fun and engaging weekly sessions during school term for eligible families*.

Supported playgroups give families the chance to:

  • learn about play and children’s development,
  • play and have fun with their children in a warm and gentle manner,
  • build parenting skills and confidence using the smalltalk program,
  • meet other families,
  • learn about and connect with local services,
  • have fun in a semi-structured setting.

In-home support is also available for eligible* families (when restrictions allow).

*Please call the Supported Playgroup Team Leader for more information on eligibility.

Community playgroups

A community playgroup is usually run by parents and carers. The group decides when it meets and what the playgroup’s structure will be.

We have many community playgroups in the City of Ballarat. Visit Playgroup Victoria to find or start a community playgroup.

How to start a local playgroupFor stay at home mums and dads and grandparents who are parenting, playgroups can be a lifeline – a way of getting out of the house and engaging with others as well as stimulating your baby or child.

However choosing a playgroup can be tricky. Although playgroups are usually more informal and parents stay with their children during the sessions it is still important for parents to make an informed decision about which one to choose, just as they would if they were choosing an early childhood education service at which to leave their child.

There are usually plenty of playgroups in any area so take time to find one that suits you not only for practical reasons like being on the right day and time but also fits in with your philosophy and lifestyle.

Here are some things that you might like to think about when choosing a playgroup

1. Structure and commitment

When you visit the playgroup find out what structure it has. Some groups are funded by the Ministry of Education and are therefore more likely to be regulated and formal while others are just set up informally by parents. While some playgroups are run on a collective basis with all parents taking responsibility others have a designated person either paid or voluntary who takes charge of the organising.

In some places home-based early childhood services run playgroups for carers in a local area so the children they look after can get together in larger groups. These playgroups may also be open to other parents and can give you the benefit of a playgroup run by someone who is experienced and possibly qualified in early childhood education.

As playgroups are all different in terms of their structure the amount of commitment required may be different for each group. Some will ask for payment by term which might not be suitable if you do not want to commit to going each week. Others ask for a payment per session, often a gold coin donation, which is better if you do not want to have to make a regular commitment. Parents may be asked to take part in setting up or cleaning or to bring morning tea all of which you need to take into account as it may take up more time.

2. Other people at the playgroup

If you choose to start at a playgroup when your baby is quite young then its success or failure can be as much about how you click with the other mums as it can with how your child reacts.

It will probably be hard to tell whether your baby likes or dislikes the other children at the playgroup but it will be easy to decide whether or not you like the mums. If you don’t enjoy spending time with the other mums then it is unlikely your baby will get as much pleasure from the group as they otherwise might. If your child is older it will be more apparent whether they are happy interacting with the other children and you should take this into account.

3. Equipment and play opportunities

Look at the equipment which the playgroup has and the condition of the toys. Some smaller playgroups may only have a limited range of toys so check that your child is not going to get bored. A wider selection of toys may keep your child entertained for longer and may allow for toys to be rotated over sessions so they appear new to the children again after a short break. Toys should obviously not have any dangerous parts but you might also like to check the general condition of them such as the cleanliness, particularly if you have a younger child who might put things in their mouths. Look for toys which help your child learn and develop such as toys which need imagination rather than just pressing one button, or toys that improve motor skills.

Some playgroups also use other things such as clean recycling, like milk bottles or cardboard tubes, as part of their equipment to encourage children to play with other things and use their imagination.

Depending on their location playgroups may also be able to provide outside play equipment such as swings and climbing frames, or they might have smaller items such as indoor slides. Some playgroups may also organise outings to local attractions such as the library or local fire station.

4. Facilities

The facilities a playgroup has may depend on where it is located. If the playgroup takes place in a dedicated location then the facilities may be better geared towards young children than if it is in a shared location such as a church hall.

See if the space has areas where adults can sit comfortably for feeding babies or simply for a chat such as sofas and whether the playgroup has child size furniture to make it easier for children. Ask the organisers where the changing facilities are and what the cleaning routines are when changing nappies. Some playgroups will have tea and coffee facilities for parents and may offer morning tea for adults and children. Look out for health and safety issues as well such as safe car parking and good heating.

And finally keep in mind that .

Getting involved in a playgroup can be a rewarding activity for parents and children and can lead to lasting friendships, but it is important to find the right one. Don’t feel you have to stick with the first playgroup you find and don’t be afraid to try more than one before making a final choice.

The suggestions above give you some ideas of what to look for – but in the end gut feeling and instinct can be as important in finding the right group for you.

Whānau Āwhina Plunket offers a range of different community services designed to empower you in your parenting and connect you to other local wh ā nau or families .

How to start a local playgroup

What you need to know

Different services are available across the country, so we recommend you check out our local service search tool to see what’s available near you.

Here are some of the services we offer :

  • Car seat advice
  • Family Start
  • Health Worker/ K aiāwhina visits
  • Lactation consultants
  • Mental health support
  • Parent groups
  • Playgroups
  • Toy libraries.

Why aren’t the same services available everywhere?

Plunket does have some core community support services (e.g. parent groups) that are available all over the country , but many are tailored to the needs of local communities and supported by volunteers.

If there’s a specific service that you’ d like to see in your town, please get in touch with us . Or if you’d be keen to volunteer to support a ser vice , we’d love to hear from you .

Thank you!

Whānau Āwhina Plunket is a charity and many of our community support services are only possible thanks to the wonderful work of our volunteers and funding through grants, donations , corporate partnerships , private philanthropy and fundraising activities at a local and national level.

Thanks, New Zealand. We couldn’t do it without you.

Car seat advice

Plunket doesn’t have a car seat rental programme anymore – but we do have qualified child restraint technicians across the country who can help with advice and installation of capsules, car seats and booster seats.

Search what’s available in your area , or contact your Plunket injury prevention team for more information:

The NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) looks after the national transport system.

Family Start

Family Start is a free, voluntary home-visiting service for expectant or new parents currently experiencing challenging personal or family situations.

Plunket has the Family Start contract for the Manawatu and Bay of Plenty . O ther agencies offer this same programme in other areas of the country.

You can be referred to Family Start by your LMC, doctor, Well Child provider or other agencies – or you can get in contact with us yourself .

Health worker/kaiāwhina visits

Plunket has a team of h ealth w orkers/ k aiāwhina who work alongside our nurses to support families with things like sleep and settling, healthy lifestyle changes, how and when to start solids – and more.

Many of our kai ā whina understand and speak te reo M āori.

These visits are organised by your Plunket nurse or PlunketLine.

Lactation consultants

Breastfeeding is a learned skill for both mum and baby, and it can be quite tricky to start off with.

To help, Plunket has a couple of community lactation consultants across the country – and a free video-call breastfeeding support service through PlunketLine that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere .

Mental health support

Plunket has a free specialist maternal mental health service in Canterbury , South Canterbury and Dunedin called the Postnatal Adjustment Programme . Email [email protected] for more information.

O ur community Plunket nurses and PlunketLine (0800 933 922) also regularly support wh ā nau experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.

Parent groups

Parent groups are great for developing your child’s social skills and providing opportunities for you to connect with other parents or caregivers in your community.

There are lots of different types of parent groups, including:

  • Plunket in the Neighbourhood (PIN) groups
  • whānau groups
  • young mums’ groups
  • dads’ coffee groups
  • coffee groups
  • walking groups
  • dance and movement – and more.

Most of these groups are run by parent volunteers, with the help of Plunket community staff.

Find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering for Plunket – and what parent groups are available in your neighbourhood.

Read more about Plunket parent groups here.

Parenting programmes

Babies don’t come with a manual, but our Plunket parenting courses are a useful way of getting prepped w ith what to expect and some practical advice for labour and life as a new parent.

Our courses include: Whirihia , a kaupapa M ā ori parenting and birth programme in Hamilton and the Pregnancy and Parenting Education Programme (antenatal) in the South Island .

Playgroups

Plunket playgroups are a fun , informal way for children to learn and grow. Activities can include music and singing, arts and crafts, and free or imaginative play.

We also have playgroups for different languages, including Mandarin , Spanish and French – and more.

P lunket p laygroups are also great for parents. They’re an opportunity to connect and develop friends hips with other local parents – and are an inexpensive way to entertain the kids for an hour or so in a fun, safe environment.

Toy libraries

Like borrowing a book from a library, at Plunket toy libraries you can borrow different toys to match the age and stage of your child.

Children learn through play , a nd toys can be a great way for kids to grow their imagination and develop new skills.

Toy libraries are run by volunteers and most libraries are free or have a small membership fee.

Find out if there’s a Plunket toy library near you.

  • Mission and Objectives
  • History of ACT Playgroups
  • Our Board

About Us

  • What is a playgroup?
  • Find a Playgroup
  • Start a Playgroup
  • Types of Playgroup
  • Playgroup Venues

What is a Playgroup?

  • Membership Benefits
  • Family Membership
  • Organisational Membership
  • Playgroup Registration

Membership

  • Important Announcement
  • ACTive play
  • Events
  • Calendar

Events & News

  • How we can help?
  • Resources
  • Publications
  • Research

Services

  • Convenors kit
  • Insurance Info
  • Accident forms
  • Fact sheets
  • Play ideas

Members area

How to start a local playgroupPlaygroups ACT Playgroups support many types of Playgroups across the Canberra region
and is always happy to assist starting more.

There are many reasons why families or communities may look to establish their own Playgroup. They include:

    A Mother’s group is wanting to continue meeting and evolve into a Playgroup A group of families have similar backgrounds or interest e.g., Spanish speaking There are currently no local Playgroups You can’t find a Playgroup to suit your needs

ACT Playgroups has a team of Playgroup Support and Development professionals who can assist you with establishing a new Playgroup. The team can take you through each step, including locating a venue, seeking resources, advertising for further members and activity ideas and resources.

A free service for local families and their children

A play-based early learning program

A free service, providing access to early childhood education and intervention

Our Playgroups will resume in Term 2 2022

Our playgroups will resume in Term 2 after the Autumn School Holidays. The booking links below will be open from 10.00 am Monday 18 April.

  • The weekly Baby Time Playgroup will resume from Tuesday 26 April, 10.30 am to 12.00 pm, at The Infants’ Home. Learn more and book here .
  • The fortnightly Fathers’ and Male Carers’ Playgroup will resume from Saturday 30 April, 9.00 am to 11.00 am, at The Infants’ Home. Learn more and book here .
  • The weekly Red Bug Playgroup will resume from Monday 2 May, 1 0.00 am to 12.00 pm, at Ashfield Park. Learn more and book here .

We are awaiting advice regarding resuming our Wangal and Gurung Playgroups on primary school premises due to COVID-19, and we will advise families when these are able to recommence.

Download the Term 2 Playgroup Calendar here .

Register for our playgroups

Parents and carers wishing to participate in one or more of our playgroup programs in 2022 can register here.

Entry point access to quality early childhood education and early intervention

Families and children attending our playgroups benefit from access to:

  1. A free play-based early learning program developed by a qualified early childhood Educator.
  2. Resources such as books, toys and creative materials.
  3. Access to professional advice and information regarding child learning, development, health and wellbeing
  4. Opportunities to connect with other children and families, and to learn about other services and resources in the community.
Playgroup Times
Red Bug Playgroup

Mondays 10:00 am–12:00 pm
Ashfield Park, near the playground, weather permitting. In wet weather the playgroup will be held at The Infants’ Home, 17 Henry Street, Ashfield.
This playgroup is kindly supported by Ashfield Council.

Baby Time Playgroup

Tuesdays 10:30 am–12:00 pm
The Infants’ Home, 17 Henry Street, Ashfield.
This playgroup is kindly supported by Inner West Council’s Community Wellbeing Grants program.

Wangal Playgroup

Wednesdays 9:45 am–11:45 am
Ashfield Public School Hall (enter via Murrell St).
(Currently suspended)

Gurung Playgroup

Thursdays 9:00 am–10:45 am
Croydon Park Public School, 81-113 Georges River Road, Croydon Park.
This playgroup is kindly supported by Club Burwood RSL.
(Currently suspended)

Fathers’ and Male Carers’ Playgroup

Alternating Saturdays 9:00 am–11:00 am
The Infants’ Home, 17 Henry Street, Ashfield.
This playgroup is kindly supported by the James N Kirby Foundation.

Please note

Playgroups do not run during the school holidays or on public holidays.

How to start a local playgroup

Our playgroup sessions are a great opportunity for your children to have fun, make friends and learn new skills. They are also a great way for you to relax and meet other parents and carers with children that are 5 and under from your local area.

Playgroups are not-for-profit and run by volunteer parents and carers. Sessions can take place every week from Monday to Friday. Have a look at our current timetable to find the one that’s right for you and your children!

How to start a local playgroup

Bondi Beach Playgroups forms part of Playgroup NSW, which has over 1,700 playgroup sessions and more than 40,000 parents and children meeting all over NSW each week.

At our three venues in North Bondi, Bondi and Vaucluse we offer a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities and equipment to aid your child’s creative and social development.

Did you know that volunteering to run a Playgroup session can be added to your activity hours on your Child Care Subsidy assessment? It’s a great way to get more childcare hours and a great activity for your kids on the day you have them. Please contact us if you’d like to learn about becoming a volunteer Session Leader.

Keen to start a new session?

We are currently looking for volunteer Session Leaders for the following sessions which are not currently running:

  • Francis Street – Friday mornings
  • Wairoa Avenue – Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, Thursday or Friday afternoon
  • Vaucluse – Wednesday & Friday mornings

Please get in touch if you could assist.

This website was updated on 12th March 2022

Holdsworth’s Family Services offers a creative, safe environment for play-based learning for children under five. Come and connect with your child, other families and create a community.

We are currently on break until the start of Term 2. A new timetable will be uploaded once it’s available.

If you would like further information, feel free to call us on (02) 9302 3600 or email us at [email protected]

How to start a local playgroup

Playgroup

Holdsworth Playgroup features play-based activities, art and craft activities for 0-5 year old children. Our indoor program uses evidence-based approaches to meet your child’s growing needs. We offer a range of creative play experiences to enjoy with your child to develop skills for learning:

  • Themed craft
  • Sensory play
  • Story and rhyme time
  • Active play
  • Imaginative play
  • Social experiences
  • Recreation activities

How to start a local playgroup

Baby Days

Baby days are open for newborns to walkers and is led by Louise, who has a background in midwifery and nursing.

Babies develop through emotional connection. We build on your skills and knowledge to further develop your relationship with your child.

We connect through:

  • Playing
  • Singing
  • Discussion

How to start a local playgroup

Parenting Support

The Holdsworth Family Services team can offer support, referral, guidance and information on issues related to families and children, newborn to five years.

  • Individual Consultations
  • Parent Classes
  • Visiting Professionals

Make friends and boost your little one’s development: Win-win.

By Stacy Keane January 17, 2020

How to start a local playgroup

Even the most self-sufficient mamas can sometimes feel isolated during the first years with a baby. Moms’ groups, play groups and parent-child classes offer community, connection and support during a vulnerable time—especially for mamas who don’t have a ready-made group of mom-friends.

For many, a Montessori-based play group is an ideal way to meet like-minded moms, build meaningful friendships and help encourage baby’s development.

By design, a Montessori-based play group is a bit different. Maria Montessori believed that education begins at birth—which is why the Montessori practice focuses on promoting children’s independence and development from the get-go. Rather than comparing developmental milestones or offering structured entertainment (like singalongs and storytimes), Montessori play groups encourage parents to actively observe their children as their little ones follow their own unique developmental paths.

Here’s how a Montessori-based play group works, plus how you can start one in your own community:

What is a Montessori play group?

Like most mama-and-me classes, Montessori play groups typically consist of a small number of caretakers with children ranging from newborns to preschool age. Ideally, these groups include infants or babies who are in the same general age group, or in a similar developmental phase.

Montessori-based groups celebrate each child’s unique journey. Some babies are early talkers, while some are early movers, and it’s often a mystery as to how each baby will develop, or at what rate. These play groups emphasize language, and later, collaboration, to involve babies and toddlers in everyday activities—both key in helping children gain a sense of independence as they grow and progress.

In-class teachers or experts are often present to offer practical information and help prepare a safe, child-friendly environment that promotes independent exploration without fear. Montessori experts are also trained to observe children’s behaviors and reframe actions that might be initially regarded as misbehavior into opportunities to discover children’s underlying needs.

With the support of both fellow parents and the group expert, Montessori-based classes provide a social and educational foundation for both parents and children, and a solid launching pad for independent learning.

How to start a Montessori play group near you

1. Find a local Montessori educator

Including a local Montessori specialist in the class—a teacher or parent who can provide valuable insight and guidance—is ideal, as they can help prepare the environment, answer questions and offer ideas for activities to do at home. Another option is to gather like-minded moms to form a Montessori-based group, and perhaps hire a Montessori expert to come in intermittently to answer questions and help prepare the environment. Montessori schools often offer free or low-cost parent-child classes, too.

2. Find a space to host

Rather than renting a public space, which can be costly, consider hosting at your home, or rotating with group members, which allows each mom to feel a sense of ownership in the group. Another option is to meet at your local library, either in a private event room or in the children’s section.

3. Stock up on some Montessori materials

Montessori materials are generally made from natural fabrics and substances, in primary and secondary colors—nothing flashy or battery-operated. Blocks in various geometric shapes, puzzles, fabrics, nesting toys and simple musical instruments are a few materials that encourage exploratory play for babies and toddlers.

Looking for more ideas? Monti Kids offers monthly subscriptions of expert-selected, age-based Montessori toys, making it simple to get just-right materials for every age and stage. For Small Hands and Montessori Services are also great places to find wonderful materials for little ones.

For mamas in the group, Montessori books like Montessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies are ideal to read and share as a group, along with the Maria Montessori classic, The Absorbent Mind.

4. Invite new moms in your neighborhood

If you’re new to the neighborhood, put up a flyer at the local coffee shop, send an invite via Nextdoor or a local online group, or ask around at prenatal classes.

Making mom friends is one of the biggest benefits of starting or joining a play group. And if you feel nervous about inviting other mamas to join, just remember this—every new mama, every single one, is looking for her “village.” A play group that celebrates your children’s growth, independence and development is a great way to connect with other mamas, and that makes all the difference.

A PARENT FACILITATED ORGANISATION

How to start a local playgroup

Welcome

St Thomas’ offers a unique combination of parental input and high quality active learning experiences, and aims to provide local children aged two to five years with a safe, stimulating, friendly environment in which they can explore the world beyond home.

We prioritise the safeguarding and welfare of children in our care. All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.

How to start a local playgroup

Our mission

Building foundations for life through a balance of adult facilitated and child initiated learning. Children can explore, develop and learn in a safe and stimulating environment.

How to start a local playgroup

Testimonials

We love St Thomas’s Playgroup, but much more importantly so does our three-year-old! The staff are so caring and loving, and he is always engaged and stimulated by a rich learning environment with all kinds of activities from yoga, French, music and sports. He has formed very strong bonds with his teachers and key worker and made so many friends. We would highly recommend it to anyone considering a local playgroup.

My first girl adored Playgroup and has since just started school and was awarded a coveted school council spot on arrival and I have every confidence that this has been a result of the care and attention she got at Playgroup. My second girl is now flourishing and growing in confidence and happiness and is surrounded by loving caring people who have her best interests at heart and I can see her going on to greet things too. I have no hesitation in recommending St Thomas’ Playgroup to anyone.

My daughter has absolutely loved her two years at St Thomas’s Playgroup. It has such a lovely atmosphere and the staff are so caring, it’s like a big family. She has taken so much from her time there and enjoyed every bit: friendships, arts and crafts, sports, yoga, French, reading, playing in the lovely garden. I feel like she is now really well prepared to start school (although she is very very sad to be leaving Playgroup) and most importantly has had a brilliant time. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend St Thomas’s to anyone looking for a caring, personal and creative pre-school setting for their child.

My daughter adored her time at St Thomas’, and we were so so happy we chose it. The staff are absolutely lovely, it’s a kind, close-knit community and my daughter settled in quickly and easily. She loved learning French, doing yoga and sports and seeing creepy crawlies in nearby woods. She adored her friends and teachers. Would recommend it to anybody.

St Thomas’s Playgroup has been the perfect first step away from home for both of my children. They are both quite shy but with the support and warmth of the staff they have really blossomed and have made great friends. The variety of activities within the environment is fantastic and the children get to explore it all, indoors and out no matter the weather. They also get to go on ‘playgroup trips’ to the local library, theatre and ecology centre. My two have really enjoyed the hot lunches and love the social aspect of eating with their friends. The staff really do make the children’s time at St Thomas’s a fun learning experience that prepares them for their next step to nursery or reception.

We can be involved in all decision making and daily activities, from high level decision making, to helping out on the floor. This means we have every opportunity to ask questions and get involved in all elements of playgroup. It is easy to get any questions or comments answered immediately and the family environment that this develops between staff, parents, and carers and children makes for a happy, nurturing, and safe place for our children.

I would highly recommend St Thomas’s playgroup because I know that my child is in hands of the most caring and supporting staff there.

How to start a local playgroup

How to start a local playgroup

St Thomas’ Playgroup is proud to have been awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas during out 2016 Ofsted inspection.

How to start a local playgroup

St Thomas’ Playgroup is proud to have received the Silver Award for Healthy Early Years from The Mayor of London.