To mark the start of National Playgroup Week, a special playgroup for local children and their parents was held at Parliament House today in Canberra.
The Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, the Parliamentary Secretary for Community Services, Julie Collins, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, joined more than 20 local children and their parents from the Sugar and Spice and Dads Together playgroups to celebrate.
The theme of this year’s National Playgroup Week is Learning Together through Play.
Running from 20 to 26 March, National Playgroup Week raises awareness of the social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of playgroups for a child’s development.
Australian families have the opportunity to share in the fun at 60 celebratory events to be held across the country this week.
Here in Canberra, a World’s Biggest Playgroup will be held at Wakefield Gardens in Ainslie on Wednesday. Local families have the opportunity to join in free, fun activities for children aged up to five years old, including craft and games.
There are more than 8,500 playgroups across Australia.
The Australian Government delivers more than $12 million each year to provide free or low cost playgroups in our cities, regions and rural towns.
In addition, the Government is providing $5 million as part of the Helping Children with Autism package to deliver playgroups that support children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. There are 100 autism-specific playgroups across Australia.
Playgroups give young children aged up to five years old the opportunity to meet, learn and play with other children, regardless of where they live or their circumstances.
Further information about playgroups can be found at: www.playgroupaustralia.com.au