Playgroup Australia calls for more awareness of play
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Playgroup Australia calls more more awareness of play ahead of next AEDC round

Playgroup Australia calls more more awareness of play ahead of next AEDC round

by Freya Lucas

April 10, 2024

Playgroup Australia is emphasising the importance of taking action to set children up for success well ahead of their school years ahead of next month’s data gathering for the  Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).


The call comes along with new findings that show children who are afforded the opportunity to engage in playgroup, before they start school, are 47 percent more likely to be developmentally on track across the five AEDC domains.


“Play, particularly structured play in the playgroup setting that engages children and families, is an extremely effective strategy to support development,” Playgroup Australia Chief Executive Officer Patricia O’Donovan said.


“Joining a local playgroup will of course bring fun and joy for children and their families, but what is perhaps not well known is just how powerful that commitment can be when it comes to setting up Australian children to be developmentally on track,” she added.


Research has shown that the learning which occurs in playgroups bolsters children’s physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, as well as their communication skills and general knowledge.


“Families who engage in their local playgroup benefit not only through building social connections and support with other parents and carers in their community, but they increase the odds that their children will be more developmentally prepared to start primary school,” Ms O’Donovan said. 


“The research has shown that playgroups are particularly supportive options for children and families in disadvantaged and remote communities, as they are low cost and responsive to local needs. They provide social connections and deliver a network of support,” she added.


The previous AEDC results found that just over half of the children surveyed were developmentally on track across all five domains by the time they started school. 


“We have a real opportunity in this country to support our children to thrive in their early years and build the foundation for them to succeed not only at school, but as contributors in society and the economy for decades to come,” Ms O’Donovan believes.


“Playgroup Australia will continue to provide these developmental capacity building opportunities for children and their families, and support the Government to find innovative policy solutions that enable families to access the community building physical/social networks that playgroups offer.”

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