Principles for high quality playgroups: Examples from research and practice

CFCA Practitioner Resource – September 2017


ARTD Consultants. (2008). Evaluation of the playgroup program: Final report for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs. Sydney: ARTD Consultants.

Berthelsen, D., Williams, K., Abad, V., Vogel, L., & Nicholson, J. (2012). The parents at playgroup research report: Engaging families in supported playgroups. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology; Playgroup Association of Queensland.

Boddy, J., & Cartmel, J. (2011). National Early Childhood Care and Development Programs Desk Top Study. Final report: Prepared for Save the Children. Brisbane: Griffith University.

Brockman, R., Fox, K., & Jago, R. (2011). What is the meaning and nature of active play for today’s children in the UK? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8(15), 1–7.

Bruce, T., McNair, L., Siencyn, S.W. (2008). I made a unicorn! Open-ended play with blocks and simple materials. Community Products (UK) Limited. Retrieved from

CCCH (Centre for Community Child Health). (2011). Policy Brief: Community Playgroups in Australia. Brisbane: Playgroup Australia.

CCYP (Commission for Children and Young People). (2015). A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation. Melbourne. State of Victoria, Commission for Children and Young People.

Commerford, J., Robinson, E. 2016. Supported playgroups for parents and children: The evidence for their benefits (CFCA paper no. 40). Melbourne. Child Family Community Information Exchange, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

DEECD. 2011. Guide: Practice principles for planning supported playgroups. Supported Playgroups and Parent Groups Initiative (SPPI). Melbourne: State of Victoria.

DEEWR. 2009. Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved from

FaHCSIA (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs). (2011). Family Support Program: Family and Children’s Services. Part C: Community Playgroups. Canberra: FaHCSIA.

Gibson, H., Harmon, B., Guilfoyle, A. (2015). Social capital in metropolitan playgroups: A qualitative analysis of early parental interactions, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(2), 4–11.

Hancock, K., Cunningham, N., Lawrence, D., Zarb, D., & Zubrick, R. (2015). Playgroup participation and social support outcomes for mothers of young children: A longitudinal cohort study. PLoS ONE, 10(7).

Hancock, K., Lawrence, D., Mitrou, F., Zarb, D., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J., & Zubrick, S. (2012). The association between playgroup participation, learning competence and social-emotional wellbeing for children aged four–five years in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(2), 72–81.

Hanna, B., Edgecombe, G., Jackson, C., & Newman, S. (2002). The importance of first-time parent groups for new parents. Nursing and Health Sciences, 4(4), 209–214.

Harman, B., Guilfoyle, A., O’Connor, M. (2014). Why mothers attend playgroup, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(4), 131–137.

Holzer, P., Bromfield, L., Richardson, N. (2006). Child abuse prevention: What works? The effectiveness of parent education programs for preventing child maltreatment (Research Brief No. 1). Melbourne: National Child Protection Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Hunter, C., Price-Robertson, R. (2014). The good practice guide to child aware approaches: Keeping children safe and well. Melbourne. Child Family Community Information Exchange, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Jackson, D. (2011). What’s really going on? Parent’s views of parent support in three Australian supported playgroups, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(4), 29–37.

Jackson, D. (2013). Creating a place to “be”: Unpacking the facilitation role in three supported playgroups in Australia. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(1), 77–93.

Leske, R., Sarmardin, D., Woods, A., Thorpe, K. (2015). What works and why? Early childhood professionals’ perspectives in effective early childhood education and care services for Indigenous families. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood Education, 40(1), 109–118.

McDonald, M. (2010). Are disadvantaged families “hard to reach”? Engaging disadvantaged families in child and family services. Melbourne. Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

McDonald, M., Turner, C., & Gray, J. (2014). Evidence into action: Playgroups for diverse communities. Melbourne: Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups.

Mead, S., Hilton, D., Curtis, L. (2001). Peer Support: A theoretical perspective, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal (25)2, 134–144.

Moore, T., McDonald, M., McHugh-Dillon, H., West, S. (2016). Community Engagement: A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families. Melbourne. Child Family Community Information Exchange, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Myers, J., Gibbons, K., Arnup, S., Volders, E., & Naughton, G. (2015). Early childhood nutrition, active outdoor play and sources of information for families living in highly socially disadvantaged locations. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 51(3), 287–293.

National Childcare Accreditation Council. (2006). Safety in Children’s Services. Retrieved from

Owens, A. (2012) Curriculum decision making for inclusive practice, National Quality Standard e-Newsletter ( 38). Retrieved from

Playgroup NSW. (2015). Retrieved from

Playgroup WA. (2016). Retrieved from

Strange, C., Fisher, C., Howat, P., & Wood, L. (2014). Fostering supportive community connections through mothers’ groups and playgroups. Journal of Advanced Nursing 70(12), 2835–846.

Wanless, S. (2016) The role of psychological safety in human development, Research in Human Development, 13(6), 614.

Warr, D., Mann, R., & Forbes, D. (2013). Once you’ve built some trust: Using playgroups to promote children’s health and wellbeing for families from migrant background., Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(1), 41–48.

Weber, D., Rissel, C., Hector, D., & Wen, L.M. (2014). Supported playgroups as a setting for promoting physical activity of young children: Findings from a feasibility study in south-west Sydney, Australia. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 50(4), 301–305.

Williams, K.E., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J.M., Viviani, M. (2015). Systematic literature review: Research on Supported Playgroups. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.

Williams, R. (1999). Cultural safety–what does it mean for our work practice?, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 23(2), 213–214.