At EarlyEd we focus on supporting children to be included in all areas of community life. An important way for families with young children to socialise is at local, mainstream community playgroups. Sometimes children find it hard to join in or parents may worry about their child being involved in a playgroup. EarlyEd can help you with these concerns.
EarlyEd is involved with several playgroups across Northern and Western Sydney, for children who have a disability or delay in their development.
What happens at Playgroup?
When you come along to a playgroup, you are given the opportunity to encourage your child to participate in a variety of supported activities. These activities cater to a wide variety of ages and stages from birth to school age.
Playgroup sessions can include:
- Free play
- Structured group time
- Songs and stories incorporating specialist visual aids and resources
- Snack time
- Music and movement time
EarlyEd’s playgroup programs help families to be part of a group so that they can:
- Access community activities
- Feel safe, comfortable and accepted
- Make informed decisions about intervention strategies for their family
- Interact well with their child
- Connect with other parents, and share ideas and experiences
- Learn about their local services
- Learn ways to support their child’s development through the use of:
- Visual aids or sign language
- Positive behaviour support
- Early literacy and numeracy activities
- Supported communication strategies
Who runs the Playgroups?
EarlyEd’s playgroups are staffed by experienced, specialist early intervention staff. These can include:
- Special Educators
- Speech Pathologists
- Occupational Therapists
- Family Support Workers
EarlyEd staff offer coaching and support to show families the best ways to help their child to participate in the playgroup setting. They also provide strategies for parents to continue promoting their child’s development at home.
For other community playgroups, EarlyEd staff support the playgroup co-ordinator to:
- Find ways to include all children in the playgroup
- Organise the playgroup to suit children’s individual needs
- Help families find appropriate services in their community
- Offer some support for urgent issues
- Assist children referred to EarlyEd (or other disability services) to access and participate fully in the playgroup setting.
Parents, carers and siblings are all welcome to attend playgroup and be involved in the playgroup sessions. This way, the whole family can develop the skills to play and practice with their child at home and in other settings.
Why go to Playgroup?
Often families struggle to have access to mainstream playgroups, they may feel like they don’t fit in. However, we know families want their child with a disability to have the same opportunities as other children and to participate in mainstream playgroup settings. Successful inclusion requires strategies to be put into place to support a child to participate in a mainstream playgroup.
“The best outcomes for children and young people with a disability are obtained where access to everyday settings is supported appropriately by specialist services.”
Family and Community Services, Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC).
When can Playgroup help you?
EarlyEd playgroups have no waiting lists and are open to all members of the community. If you are worried about your child’s development, if you are on any waiting lists for services or if your child has only recently diagnosed with a disability, then our playgroups can be a great way to start your child’s early intervention and find out more information. Our playgroups are run for children from the ages of 0-5, so it’s never too early or late to start.
Help Your Child to Develop
Playgroups encourage your child to learn new skills in a natural, play-based setting that will help them to know how to join in at home, childcare and in other community settings. Intervention staff can help with all areas of development including hand and movement skills, communication, social skills and self-help/independence skills.
** EarlyEd receives funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services to run our Western Sydney playgroups.
MyTime – Parent Support Groups
MyTime provides support for parents and carers of a child with a disability or chronic medical condition. It’s a place for parents to unwind and talk about their experiences. To learn more visit the MyTime page.