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Connecting Culture And Community At Playgroups

Story: Alyssa Mackay   
Published On : Aug 23, 2021
Connecting Culture And Community At Playgroups
Playgroups are more than just a great way to entertain the kids for a few hours.

Playgroups like those run by Playgroup Queensland in the Redcliffe area strengthen connections within the community, and reinforce a sense of belonging at a time that can feel lonely for many parents and carers.

Kendi-Grant Freeman is part of the team at Deadly Kindies, who hold outdoor playgroups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families at locations including Margate and Deception Bay.

“Deadly Kindies outdoor playgroups are a culturally safe space for mob,” Kendi said. “Through yarning and spending time with families, we are able to discuss children’s development, the importance of early learning, linking families with their local AMS (Aboriginal Medical Services) and, most importantly, yarning about our children’s health and wellbeing.”

Lee Raw, a volunteer at St Anne’s Playgroup, Redcliffe Anglican Parish, said playgroups were a wonderful opportunity for both parents and children.

“Some children have no siblings so it’s a great opportunity for them to play, share and care with other children,” Lee said. “Also we have found some families have no extended family here in Redcliffe. They have said our volunteers provide a type of stand-in grandparent that their child doesn’t have access to.”

Social interaction has become even more important during the pandemic. With lockdowns keeping many families apart, playgroups offer support to those who might be struggling.

“We are all part of a support network,” Lee said. “If parents and children are missing from playgroup for a couple of weeks we ring them to see how they are."

“Sometimes mums can feel isolated at home with new babies or small children, so playgroup offers them the opportunity to meet other mums while they watch their children play. Many of the mums have become friends and regularly meet through the week for coffee or go to the park.”

Kendi said the whole family could get involved.

“We have aunties, uncles, grandparents, kinship carers, older siblings, everyone,” she said. “We recognise and truly believe that it takes a community to raise our children, and for that reason we encourage the whole family to come down and get involved.”

To find a Deadly Kindies outdoor playgroup visit sldraw@optusnet.com.au.

To find a playgroup in your area visit Playgroup Queensland.
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