When Annette Ruhotas had her daughter Georgia in 2012, she started up a new playgroup session with Oatley West Playgroup. Annette is now the overall Coordinator of the playgroup and attends with her newborn son, Nicholas. We had a chat with Annette to find out what prompted her to become a volunteer with her local playgroup and what she has enjoyed about volunteering.
“When our bubs were about eight weeks old, a group of mothers from our local child and family health centre decided we wanted to continue meeting up, so we joined Oatley West Playgroup where I became our session Day Leader.”
“Not long after we started, the Oatley West Coordinator stepped down and I volunteered to take on the role. I’ve been doing it ever since. I really enjoy the Coordinator role with our playgroup. We average around six sessions every week, and along with the Secretary and Treasurer, we make sure all the sessions have what they need to run smoothly.”
“Recently, with support from Playgroup NSW, I’ve set up a new Baby Playgroup session with a special focus on nature play. Once a month we take our playgroup outside to a local bush park and focus on natural activities like playing with seed pods, sticks and rocks. When our bubs get mobile, we’re looking forward to giving them the opportunity to play in the mud and in puddles and explore the bush!”
“As a volunteer and a parent, I really enjoy seeing the curiosity and sense of wonder that kids have when experiencing with something new; like seeing a colourful parachute, smelling eucalypt blossom or touching bubbles in the air.”
“Another thing I really enjoy as a playgroup volunteer is the satisfaction of seeing parents meet each other and build new friendships. I really like it. These days lots of families don't have a big support network, so it’s really nice that playgroup provides a relaxed environment that parents can come to and tap into the knowledge and experience of other parents. Best of all, it doesn’t cost much and it’s fine to turn up whenever your child lets you.”
“I encourage parents to give it a go! Find out where your local playgroup is and go along. Everyone is really friendly and you’ll build some really strong, long term friendships. Plus once you are a member of Playgroup NSW you can attend any playgroup you like in the country, single or multiple sessions.