The Learning Together Playgroup at Carlton
The Learn Together Playgroup provides families with a regular opportunity to connect with each other, engage in a range of activities and be introduced to local services.
Who is the playgroup for?
The Learning Together Playgroup is a multicultural playgroup that operates from the Carlton Learning Precinct and is open to all local families and carers, including registered Family Day Care providers.
The playgroup is facilitated by a trained bicultural early childhood professional, with the majority of attendees being from the Horn of Africa and residing in the Carlton Highrise towers. The majority of children who attend are between one and three years of age (about 85%), and the remainder is made up of four year olds and babies under the age of one. Many of the three-year-old children who attended playgroup also attend the Carlton Learning Precinct kindergarten program, which is supported by a strong process of warm referral to early learning.
What are the benefits to families of attending this playgroup?
By participating in the playgroup, families receive weekly cultural connection and socialisation opportunities. Children are also able to participate in a broad range of activities. Within the playgroup, parents and carers are also supported with information and strategies around child development, self-regulation in children, behaviour management and school readiness skills. The playgroup facilitator also models how parents and carers can follow a child’s lead in learning and play and demonstrates how to create simple activities for children to participate in. Parents can take these learnings home to test and try.
Another benefit of the playgroup being on site is that families can also be warmly referred to other on site or local services. An example of this may be the playgroup facilitator introducing a parent to the on site Maternal Child Health (MCH) Nurse prior to an appointment being made, or the facilitator encouraging enrolment in the Gowrie on site kinder and early learning programs. This aids in relationship building between a parent and the new service and can help parents feel more confident and relaxed about accessing services or practitioners that they have been referred to.
Aligning with the Our Place Approach
This is one example of the Our Place approach and the element of High-quality early learning, health, and development in action. This element supports early learning from birth as well as playgroups, child health and parenting support on site. The key features of this element are:
- Early engagement and intervention
- High-quality early learning services and supports
- Continuity in learning between the early years and school
- Positive home learning environments.