Principles for high quality playgroups: Examples from research and practice
- What is the aim of the Playgroup Principles?
- What are playgroups?
- The Playgroup Principles
- Playgroups are about play
- Playgroups are child-focused, child-inclusive and developmentally appropriate
- Playgroups are about connection
- Playgroups are safe and welcoming
- Playgroups are culturally safe
- Playgroups are flexible
- Playgroups are both strengths-based and strengthening
- Playgroups have organisational-level support and governance
- Supported playgroups draw on skilled facilitators to engage families and link to local services
What is the aim of the Playgroup Principles?
The Playgroup Principles identify the fundamental, core characteristics of high-quality playgroups and, in the absence of strong, robust and consistent research and evaluation studies investigating playgroups (particularly community playgroups), are intended to guide policy makers and those planning, delivering and co-ordinating playgroups in the delivery of high quality, effective playgroups. The principles are not intended to capture the full diversity of playgroup offerings, but rather provide a foundation from which to grow and tailor all types of playgroups to the specific needs of the families attending and the communities they are in.
Development of the Playgroup Principles
The Playgroup Principles were developed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) team. To develop the principles, the authors held workshops and focus groups with professionals who have experience funding, planning, researching and running playgroups. Participants were drawn from all over Australia. The authors also incorporated the limited available research on playgroups.1
Workshop participants consistently reported that the core components of high-quality, effective playgroups were common to all types of playgroups, and therefore these principles are designed to be applicable to all playgroups irrespective of playgroup type (i.e., supported or community). Where some aspects are only relevant to a particular type of playgroup, distinctions have been made and relevant examples given.
1 See www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/playgroups for more information on the project methodology.