Social connection is a core concern for Playgroup Australia, even when social distancing

Social connection is a core concern for Playgroup Australia, even when social distancing

by Freya Lucas

March 22, 2020

Bringing people together in social connection, especially in times of crisis and instability, is something which is important to any functioning community, Playgroup Australia has said.

 

While major events may have been postponed, and while many playgroups are temporarily suspended, there are “endless opportunities” for connection that are offered through technology.

 

“While we adhere to recommended physical distancing, we will continue to innovate the way playgroups maintain play and  connection,” a spokesperson said. 

 

Established nearly 50 years ago, Playgroup Australia aims to provide parents and caregivers with an opportunity to engage with their community in a safe, fun, friendly, flexible environment. 

 

“Playgroups bring families together, be it face-to-face or through digital engagements. They provide a community driven opportunity to connect, support and strengthen each other, building a more cohesive, resilient community with greater capacity both now and for future generations. It is important to remember that although it is hard to see past the current climate, together, we can continue to connect regardless of distance,” Playgroup Australia CEO Fiona May said.  

 

Growing research highlights the reach of playgroups and their benefit for children’s learning and development, especially in their first five years. Creative and unstructured learning through play is essential to the development of young children, building social and emotional skills, as well as early literacy and numeracy skills which support readiness for school. This type of child-led play is central to playgroup.

 

In addition to contributing to the social learning of children, playgroups provide vital support and peer education for participating parents and caregivers, assisting families to feel less socially isolated and more confident in their parenting roles. 

 

“So while being quarantined at home for an extended period may be daunting – our families will not be alone. Our Playgroup Community will continue to engage through digital communications, providing support, social connection, encouragement and inspiration for play,” Ms May said. 

 

“We recognise global instability and economic downturn can have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing, and together we will continue to develop and share resources and communications which support young children, parent’s, grandparents, caregivers and communities. 

 

“We will continue to welcome new families to join us and maintain opportunities for playgroup coordinators to continue. We encourage our community to visit their state or territory playgroup organisation websites to connect with us for play inspiration and support,” she added. 

 

To learn more about Playgroup Australia, please see here

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