Setting up a playgroup isn’t as simple as getting a group of children and their parents together. There’s costs, scheduling, and venue hire to think about. We give you a short list of practicalities to tick off if you haven’t thought of them already.
Type of playgroup
Yes, there are different types. Infants, toddlers, five-to-seven-year-olds playgroups exist all around Australia. There are groups for children with special needs, for children with particular cultural backgrounds, and even refugee playgroups. There are community groups facilitated by a parent from the local area and supported groups led by a social worker. The latter group, under special circumstances, can receive government support.
One of the things that makes parents anxious is allergies: gluten, dairy, wheat, and soy, the list can go on. To tackle this issue, instruct the parents to ‘bring a plate’ of snacks to share. This way they can cater to their own child’s diet, but have something for the other children to enjoy.
Toys and equipment
These are an essential part of setting up a playgroup. Kids need stimulation and a physical outlet. Cubby houses are great for role play, building blocks for making little cities never go out of style, and having a wide open space for the kids to run around is also preferable.
Structure is good
It might be tempting for parents to let their children ‘do their own thing’ and chat away for two whole hours, but that’s not the point of the playgroup. These groups run on the same principles as a daycare, with play and education combined. Kids can have time to play, but it won’t take up two hours. Here’s an example of how you can structure the playgroup;
- 9 a.m: Reading time
- 9:30 a.m: Free play / group activities
- 10:30 a.m: Morning tea
- 11 a.m: Pack up
Don’t forget costs
Your fees need to be enough to cover the venue hire, equipment, food if catering is required, and play materials like pens, paper, and paints.