Launch of Playgroups are for everyone!

07 November 2020

MEDIA STATEMENT

Launch of Playgroups are for everyone!

Overcoming uncertainty and welcoming all abilities at playgroup

At Mt Hawthorn Playgroup on Monday 9 November, Playgroup WA launched Playgroups are for everyone! This project was funded by the Department of Communities with the purpose of raising awareness of disability in the playgroup community in Western Australia, with a particular focus on being inclusive to all abilities at playgroup. Member for Perth John Carey, City of Vincent Mayor Emma Cole and Playgroup WA CEO David Zarb gave speeches to the playgroup families and those involved in the project.

The project involved research and interviews with playgroup families and inclusion professionals, followed by the creation of a series of heartwarming short films, information sheets and a poster exploring what it means to be inclusive to all abilities and ways to achieve this. These are available on the Playgroup WA website under Inclusive Playgroups and Playgroup WA will be sharing these with the playgroup community, in newsletters and on social media.  The short films were aired at the launch event.

Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said, “Parents with children who have a disability can face many challenges accessing opportunities to play and interact with other children, so inclusive and accessible playgroups are vital.

“Playgroups should indeed be for everyone so kids of all abilities can come together and learn from each other and develop the confidence they need to live their best lives.

“The McGowan Government is proud to support inclusive and accessible communities that deliver greater opportunities and better outcomes for everyone.”

Playgroup WA CEO David Zarb said, “Our research found there is still some uncertainty in our community around disability. People who have children, or the adults themselves, with higher needs or disabilities can be uncertain about how they will be accepted at playgroup and other settings. While people who have limited experience with disability are uncertain about how to address these differences or needs.”

“The reality is that it’s not that hard and that’s the point. Being inclusive is something that most young children do naturally. They don’t judge, they’re all just kids and they enjoy playing,” Mr Zarb added.

By removing any stigma or fear around challenging behaviours or additional needs, people can become more comfortable at playgroup.

“A warm welcome and a variety of options in a playgroup setting, to suit different needs, is often all that’s needed. Focusing on the child and what they like to play, and making an effort to find out what they need to be comfortable and happy at playgroup, are some of the simple things people can do at playgroup to adapt and include people of all abilities,” Mr Zarb explained.

“All families can benefit from socialising with people who have different abilities. Children have that opportunity to learn from a young age how to get along with a range of people. Being part of an inclusive playgroup creates a true sense of acceptance and belonging, which can have lifelong benefits for our whole community,” Mr Zarb said.

When parenting a young child, every day is a discovery about what they like to do, their personalities, strengths and abilities. All children are unique and develop different abilities at different times.

“It helps to forget the label, chat with the family and go forward together. When people get to know the child and the family, and see what the child enjoys, as well as what bothers them, then instead of feeling helpless and startled, people feel a connection. There can be a shared delight and a wonderful, shared sense of achievement when a child begins to settle at playgroup after a tricky start,” Mr Zarb said.

Media Enquiries: Caroline Ince, Marketing Manager, Playgroup WA: caroline.ince@playgroupwa.com.au or phone Playgroup WA on 9228 8088

 

About Playgroups are for everyone!

Through a grant from the Department of Communities, Playgroups are for everyone! is an initiative aimed at WA playgroups having increased awareness of disability and being inclusive to all abilities at playgroup. In consultation with families and inclusion professionals, Playgroup WA produced a series of heartwarming films, information sheets and a poster to display at playgroups, that explore what it means to be inclusive. It’s about being welcoming and truly open to all abilities, not judging and asking what can be done to help all people feel comfortable at their playgroup. To watch the videos and view the other resources, click here: https://playgroupwa.com.au/news-notices/inclusive-playgroups/

About Playgroup WA

Playgroup WA has been supporting and establishing playgroups throughout Western Australia since 1972. A playgroup is a place for parents and other carers to bring their children aged 0 to 5 years, to socialise and play. It’s an opportunity for both the adults and the children to connect and make friends in their local community. Many of Playgroup WA’s playgroups are community playgroups, led by parent volunteers. Playgroup WA also has supported playgroups and services for specific groups, including intergenerational playgroups, Play Connect for children with development delays or autism, playgroups located on school premises, multicultural and Aboriginal playgroup programs and postnatal support groups. For more information, visit our website: https://playgroupwa.com.au/