New research shows attending playgroup significantly aids children's development. Children who attend playgroup are less likely to have developmental vulnerabilities when they start primary school. This is one of the findings of research conducted by the Telethon Kids Institute.
Research shows attending playgroup significantly aids children's development
Children who attend playgroup are less likely to have developmental vulnerabilities when they start primary school. This is one of the findings of research conducted by the Telethon Kids Institute.
Karen Bevan, CEO of Playgroup NSW, said “In NSW over 20,000 children attend our playgroups, across 70% of postcodes. According to the research, 27.7% of children living in NSW attend some form of playgroup. Of those, 16.1% were born in another country and 14.2% have a background other than English.
“The benefits of playgroup are seen for all domains of child development: physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development and communication. They also benefit parents who need support networks and advice.”
Overall, one in three Australian children attend playgroup before they start school. Even in the most disadvantaged communities, one in four children attend playgroups prior to school.
“We know that children learn through play. This research shows just how important playgroup can be in supporting children’s development,” said Ms Bevan.
Playgroups are also important for parents as they provide support networks where they can share parenting skills and tips in an informal and unintimidating environment.
This is especially true for parents who are new to an area, or indeed to the country, or who have children with disabilities. Involvement in a playgroup often provides the first link to a community and the network of friends and support that people need to truly become part of that community.
“We know that families really value the community aspect. Often it is difficult for new parents to settle into parenting and over 81% of our attendees say their social support network increases as friendships with parents and other carers develop. While 95.5% say that would recommend playgroup to others,” Ms Bevan said.
Jacqui Browne attends the Annandale Playgroup in Sydney with her daughters Ava and Isobelle. She said, “Playgroup is an integral part of our weekly routine. It has provided Ava, who is now nearly four, with a consistent group of little peers to socialise and growth with.
For me, playgroup has in many ways been a sanity saver. I had postnatal depression and the bonds and connections I have made with other mums have helped me through some very challenging times. I am originally from Queensland so my playgroup has given me the opportunity to make friends in my local area and develop a social and support network. I am a second generation playgrouper, as my mother took me to playgroup in the 1980s.”
Download the full research report: It takes a village to raise a child: The influence and impact of playgroups across Australia.