Playgroup children more likely to start school on track
The Sector > Provider > General News > Playgroup children are more likely to meet developmental goals, new report shows

Playgroup children are more likely to meet developmental goals, new report shows

by Freya Lucas

March 15, 2024

Children who attend playgroup are more likely to be developmentally on track according to a new report investigating the playgroup landscape post the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Playgroups post-pandemic, a snapshot of playgroup attendance and child development was released this morning, and is the work of academics from the University of South Australia. 


Lead author Professor Sally Brinkman emphasised the importance of playgroups through the work, which found that children who attend playgroups are 47 per cent more likely to be developmentally on track when starting primary school, when compared to peers who did not attend in all five domains measured by the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).


“The first 1000 days of a child’s life are absolutely critical to building solid foundations for their life-long development, and this data examination found those who attended Playgroup increased their odds of scoring higher across physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication and general knowledge domains,” Professor Brinkman said.


The data, Playgroup Australia Chief Executive Officer Patricia O’Donovan said, shows “how vital playgroups are in tipping the odds in favour of children starting school on track and ready to learn.” 


“It provides the hard data that playgroup is a critical stepping stone in the establishment of strong developmental foundations, and also highlights that Playgroup attendance delivers benefits for children and families without prejudice, regardless of income bracket or where they live.”


Playgroups have been a part of the Australian early childhood landscape for fifty years, and for many, provide “a gateway to a village of early years support,” she continued. 


“As a nation, we must acknowledge that play is serious business for children and provides significant benefits that will ripple throughout their lives. These benefits include the capacity to engage socially in their community, engage successfully with education, and with society as economic participants and contributors for decades to come.”


Ms O’Donovan called on all families of young children to “invest in play as a critical activity that supports their children’s lifelong health and wellbeing,” and for Governments to champion and make policies which contribute to “world-class paid parental leave” as an important enabler in this strategy.


“We look forward to working with Minister Rishworth and the Government to ensure play is elevated to the serious business this new research shows it needs to be,” she said in closing. 


Access the report here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button