SETTING UP



Where to meet
Finding a venue is a vital first step. Consider joining an existing session or creating a new session with an existing playgroup as this takes all the hassle out of finding a venue. It also helps with promotion, set up and resourcing (toys, furniture). Your local council will know about multi-session playgroups using their venues.

If you need to create a new playgroup, primary schools are great locations and you can contact the Principal about the possibility. Most local community centres will hire their rooms to playgroups for a low weekly fee. Contact your local council for more information.

Toys and furniture
You can seek donations from your community, local businesses, fundraise or approach your council for support. Toy libraries sometimes offer partnership opportunities. Here is a 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. Playgroup Victoria’s Family Membership provides the following insurance cover.

Structuring your session
Playgroups often choose to have time for free play and also include snack time, story time and rhyme time. Read more here about the playgroup routine.

PLAY & LEARNING



The Value of Play

When children play they develop language, use their imagination, explore, experiment, learn, practice new skills, and express ideas and emotions.

As parents and carers you are their first educators and can have an enormous influence on their development.

Young children are going through a stage of rapid brain and skill development. Baby play experiences stimulate their senses, toddlers build on these play experiences to practise using their hands and their emerging language skills. Preschool children continue to learn as they play and practise social skills, an important preparation for kindergarten and school.

Ideas to use at playgroup

Our A-Z play-sheets have lots of fun and simple activities for young children. Head to the member login to access these.

Visit Playmap to browse through play ideas for young children with developmental benefits highlighted.

There are so many creative play ideas online. Here are some we like:

The Imagination Tree is a blog with many creative play ideas

Learning 4 Kids has a range of ideas and grouped according to age

Kidspot has tonnes of recipes, meal ideas, craft and activity ideas

Starskills has many simple and lovely ideas for play that engage all of your child’s senses

Playgroup WA has a comprehensive list of play activities that work well in playgroups

Pintrest is full of images that inspire great play ideas

COMMUNICATIONS



New members keep playgroups alive. Here are a few tips below that might help keep things going.    

Facebook: A Facebook page is a useful tool for attracting interest from new families (check ours out here). A connected closed group allows privacy for images and discussion.

E-mail: It’s a good idea to set up a specific playgroup e-mail so enquiries or newsletters can be managed by more than one person.

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 a Gmail account to store documents and templates and use calendar. They can be accessed by anyone with the password and is particularly useful when the playgroup leadership changes.

WELL BEING



Encouraging diversity
Playgroups naturally reflect the communities they are located within and all benefit from an open door policy. This includes welcoming families from all cultures, backgrounds and abilities, those raising a child with a disability and members of the LGBTI community. An open playgroup is a thriving playgroup and has benefits for all parents and children as they learn more about the diverse world they live in.

Extra Support
Being mindful of each family’s emotional support needs strengthens your playgroup. For information about postnatal depression and anxiety visit PANDA and other support services

First Aid
Keep a simple first aid kit on hand for minor injuries and have a list of emergency contacts for each family available in the case of a parent being injured/unable to care for their child.
Best practice is to keep written record of any injuries, accidents or near misses that occur at playgroup. Those with Playgroup Membership can access the Playgroup Victoria injury record form after logging in.   

Allergies
It is common practice to create a ‘nut free zone’ in places where children gather. Check with each family and record any known allergies on enrolment forms (login to members portal to access enrolment forms) and inform all families. You can also pin up a poster to encourage awareness. Click HERE to download ‘Allergies in playgroups’. 

Healthy Eating
Establishing good childhood eating habits are a key way to set up good lifelong ones. Click here to download ‘Healthy Eating and Play for Toddlers’.

Support
Families raising children with a disability will benefit from you being well-informed. Click here to find out more.

Victoria Child Safe Standards
In 2017 Victoria introduced updated standards. Click here to learn more.

PLAYGROUP REGISTRATION & MEMBERSHIP


If your playgroup requires insurance, Playgroup Victoria offers Family Membership, including direct benefits to families that attend playgroup.

To register your playgroup with Family Membership, please complete and return the Playgroup Details Form.

If your playgroup does not require insurance, Playgroup Victoria offer Playgroup Membership to promote and provide support for you and your playgroup.

To register your playgroup complete and return Playgroup Membership Application.

RESOURCES

Here are a few things that might help you kick start your playgroup! Click the images to download.