Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

World’s Biggest Playgroup Day – a day for play

Playgroups are an integral element of the Prime Minister’s 2020 proposal for universal, high quality, affordable parent and child centres for all Australian children up to the age of five.

Celebrating the World’s Biggest Playgroup Day as part of National Playgroup Week, we should recognise that playgroups are a significant but often under-used resource.

Playgroups have the capacity to deliver essential education and support for parents. They already provide support through shared experiences and interaction but we need to explore expanding their role as the providers of information and training direct to parents.

This could include parental education in vital areas like nutrition, discipline, identifying behavioural disorders, or promoting parental well being.

Each week more than 135,000 children and babies, their parents, grandparents and caregivers meet together at 8,000 playgroups across the country.

For the past 19 years, Mary Mallett has been central to the development of playgroups and is this year’s recipient of the special award for services to playgroups throughout Australia.

She began her involvement as a mother and went on to become President of Playgroup Australia and this award recognises her years of service to children and families through the playgroup network.

The Australian Government values the contribution made by playgroups to supporting strong families.

Over the next few months, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs will be working with Playgroups Australia to develop new ways of delivering services through playgroups.

The Government is also funding Playgroup Australia to support community playgroups delivered through State and Territory Playgroup Associations as well as delivering Supported Playgroups to families at risk.