Tuesday, 7 May 2019
Calling all parties to prioritise playgroup in supporting early childhood for family and community wellbeing
Dear Valued Candidate,
In the lead up to the May Election, we are pleased to provide you with this information, highlighting the benefit of Playgroup Australia in strengthening families and the community.
Playgroups are about parents, caregivers and children connecting and learning together through play. Playgroups are an important social and developmental support for families with young children under five.
Community playgroups have helped millions of Australian families for over 45 years. Across Australia, currently over 110,000 families are members of their State or Territory playgroup organisation. There are over 7500 community playgroups operating weekly around Australia, reaching into approximately 80% of Australian postcodes. There are also many facilitated or supported playgroups designed for particular groups of families that need extra support.
At Playgroup Australia, we realise that the forthcoming Federal Election is foremost in the minds of all parliamentarians and the community. We would like to take this opportunity to urge you to consider the needs of young children and their families, and the role that playgroup can play in ensuring good outcomes for the community as a whole.
You are invited to show your support for young children and their families by talking to your voters about the importance of playgroups and play for communities in your electorate.
The research is compelling about the benefits of play for children’s learning and development. Creative and unstructured learning through play is essential to the development of young children. Playgroup is an ideal place to encourage play activities for children and build social and emotional skills, as well as skills in early literacy and numeracy.
Research by the Telethon Kids Institute (2016; 2017) showed the benefits of playgroup are found across all domains of child development: physical, social, emotional, language, communication and cognitive development. Children who attend playgroup are less likely to have developmental vulnerabilities when they start primary school, while the benefits for parents and caregivers are considerable. Playgroup has been found to positively impact on social connectedness by providing support and skills to improve parenting, particularly among those from very disadvantaged backgrounds.
We have put together the attached brief statement on playgroup which provides you with further information about the role of playgroup in our community, and calls on your support for Playgroup Australia and our State and Territory Organisations through your campaign and into the future.
During the election, show your support by joining us on social media and by highlighting playgroup as an important support for Australian families among your voters.
If you would like to know more about Playgroup Australia and what our State and Territory Organisations offer the community, please contact Playgroup Australia on (02) 6103 0173 or via email at [email protected] to discuss how we can help your community ‘Create a village through play’.
CEO Playgroup Australia
17 May 2019
Playgroup Australia putting the community first
Throughout May playgroups across Australia have drawn together to celebrate Messy Play, International Day of Families (15 May), National Families Week (15–21 May). To close the month, we recognise National Reconciliation Week (27 May–3 June). Through these celebrations – families, caregivers, grandparents and children – have rallied together to highlight the importance of play in strengthening family and community bonds. Regardless of the results of tomorrow’s election – Playgroup Australia will continue to advocate for meaningful change through playgroups contribution to our community.
Yesterday, Playgroup CEO Fiona May joined other community representatives to raise childhood awareness through Families Australia’s Childaware Conference in Brisbane. As a champion for early childhood, she encouraged positive change through early investment, speaking to the importance of playgroup in making a difference in the first 1000 days.
“For more than 45 years, playgroups have been, are, and need to continue to be – a central element of the fabric of Australian society. Bringing together children and their caregivers to play and support each other. Enabling local connections between families. Supporting child development, parent-to-parent networks, and strengthening community cohesion.”
– Playgroup Australia CEO Fiona May.
In the lead up to the election, Playgroup Australia has called on all parliamentarians to prioritise investment in national policy agendas, funding for playgroup, and more research into what works for children and families. We have been, and will continue, to advocate for recognition of the importance of early investment in party policy promises and actions.
“Investments of time and money in the first years of life have shown to be far more cost effective than investments made at any other time. Investing in playgroup is an investment in prevention and early intervention. An investment in the wellbeing of children and families.”
– Fiona May
To compare the promises for early childhood across the major parties, read the Early Learning Everyone Benefits Policy guide.
Tomorrow 18 May, Australian votes will decide outcomes for our youngest generations and future communities. We encourage all voters to consider the importance of early investment as outlined in our policy priorities. We call on the elected party to champion the value of playgroups contribution to the Australian community by:
Delivering a national policy agenda for child, family and community wellbeing for 2020 — 2035 to include recognition of the role of play and playgroup for children’s development and family outcomes;
Developing a whole of government ‘Early Years Strategy’ which recognises the importance of family support, early childhood development and play based early learning across home, community and early childhood settings, noting the important role of playgroup in home and community settings;
Increasing investment for community playgroup (by an additional $3m per annum ongoing);
Establishing a national supported playgroup program which includes a focus on supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and families, and on growing intergenerational playgroups ($3m per annum ongoing).
Investing in the evidence base to build our understanding of early childhood and families, including the role of playgroup.
To end, we thank you – our families, community, and representatives for change – for championing the importance of playgroup. Together with our State and Territory Organisations, Playgroup Australia will continue to advocate the importance of play to support parents and communities through crucial developmental milestones for the best start to life. Stronger families. Stronger communities.
Playgroup Australia invites all families to join their local playgroup or start their own. Together we can build a strong foundation for future Australians by creating a village through play. Visit playgroupaustralia.com.au to find out more.
Thank you for reaching out to us. We support improved access to education and part of our policy is to provide certification and support for setting up community childcare cooperatives, which appears similar to what your organisation is doing.
Would you be willing to participate with us for a joint press release later this week supporting early childhood initiatives?
Miles Whiticker, Pirate Party Australia
--Miles w (talk) 13:05, 21 May 2019 (AEST)