In 1972 Rosemary Roebuck, a mother of two young children looking for friendship and support, invited a few local families to meet in her Balmain lounge room. Within months, 33 similar groups across NSW had affiliated under the banner of the Playgroup Association of NSW.
Today, more than 800 playgroups affiliated with Playgroup NSW hold around 500 playgroup sessions every week.
What is Playgroup NSW?
Playgroup NSW, the peak body representing playgroups across NSW, is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting families and strengthening local communities through playgroups.
Playgroup organisations are in all states and territories, leading play-based programs and services nationally. The focus is equal opportunity for children in education, health and wellbeing in the first 5 years, and in particular the first 1,000 days. For nearly 50 years, Playgroups have been a fundamental community building block, creating vital social networks and villages, in which children, parents, grandparents and caregivers can play together, share knowledge and experiences, connect, and grow stronger as a community.
Together we support and deliver over 200,000 Playgroup sessions a year, through a range of strengths-based programs, including but not limited to: Universal community volunteer led programs; Targeted early intervention and preventative programs specifically for children and families experiencing vulnerabilities and for children with a disability and their carers; Programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse families; Perinatal mental and parent/child mental health programs, and Intergenerational programs for older Australians.
Over 52,000 families currently enjoy Playgroup NSW membership benefits.
I never thought I could meet such a great community of parents that would become trusted friends and a wonderful support network. The bonus is that my kids love it too! Mum - Hamilton South Playgroup
Why have playgroups and what are the main benefits?
Playgroup is all about creative and unstructured learning through play, which is essential to children’s development, as it helps them explore and understand their world.
Most playgroups meet once a week for a couple of hours. Sessions are lightly structured as informal gatherings where babies, toddlers and preschool-aged children along with their parents or carers come together in a relaxed and friendly environment to connect, play and learn.
Read more about What is a Playgroup?
A strong connection between children and their parents and carers is integral to positive early childhood learning and development. Plus, shared experiences within families and communities have tangible and lasting benefits.
The playgroup environment fosters and supports relationships that not only enhance children’s development, but create a lasting, mutually supportive community of support. Ultimately, these connections contribute to stronger, more socially connected communities.
Essentially, playgroup is one of the first and most important social networks for children and families.
Playgroup offers many benefits to children and families.
How we do it
Playgroup NSW exists because of the thousands of committed and enthusiastic members who attend local playgroups, volunteers who run our community playgroups by serving on their playgroup’s committee and those elected to our dedicated Board of Management.
Playgroup NSW is supported by State and Federal government funding, membership fees, one-off grants and the sponsorship of corporate partners.
Through our peer support programs and supported playgroups we also support families who are experiencing isolation or need support. These programs help us reach out to families who may otherwise miss out on the fantastic experience of playgroup. For more information about our most recent work and accomplishments, read our current annual report.
Playgroup is for you, me and everybody
There is a playgroup for everybody. There are community playgroups catering to a range of children, from babies up to school age. We also have special purpose groups focusing on the needs of Indigenous families, first time mums, grandparents, and groups supporting parents of children with disabilities, as well as other groups.
Read more about the many different types of playgroups we offer.
To locate a playgroup near you, visit Find a Playgroup.
Playgroup NSW is present in almost all areas of New South Wales. Here is a quick overview of our organisation’s reach within New South Wales.
- Over 52,000 members across 94% of NSW postcodes
- Over 500 playgroup sessions held each week
- Approximately 150 of these are facilitated groups for families with particular needs
- 650+ parent and carer member volunteers run our community playgroups
Playgroup NSW leads play-based programs and services for NSW families with children birth to school age, offering development, shared experiences, and family support, that results in active citizens and inclusive communities.
In the first 2,000 days of life, Playgroup NSW positively impacts every NSW child, their family and community.
Be child centric - Children are at the heart of our work.
Lead change - Seek and encourage learning, innovation, and greater positive impact.
Act with integrity - Be honest, accountable and show respect.
Work smart, play often - Be goal focused, mindful of people's wellbeing and enjoy work.
Playgroup NSW is driven by these values, demonstrates them in our work and in our relationships and encourages them across our membership and in all our activities.
If your organisation is like-minded and you are interested in working with Playgroup NSW, visit our Corporate Partners or Service Partners pages.