United Australia Party

Learning Through Play With Young Mobile Playgroup

Written by: The Hilltops Phoenix

childcare

Struggling to enrol your child in preschool or a childcare centre? Young Mobile Playgroup has been servicing the Hilltops region for more than 30 years.

Young Mobile Play Activities Coordinator Sharen Shoard said the program benefited those families who have been unable to enrol their children into preschool or a childcare centre by giving their children the opportunity to experience an educational-based program that allows children to explore through play and develop skills, including cognitive and fine and gross motor skills.

“We are currently running a Storytime program through the Young TAFE for Koori families,” Ms Shoard said.

“We also have a language/storytime where the children listen to a story followed by some music, dancing and singing.”

Young Mobile Play operates every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. “We rotate venues over a fortnight. Each day we have a morning and afternoon session at different venues. Our afternoon sessions are quieter as they are usually on the outskirts of Young and depend on children’s sleeping patterns.”

“The toys are changed over every month, so the children get to play with the toys at least twice. The craft activities are changed fortnightly, this means everyone gets the opportunity to participate in that activity. The only difference is the parents stay with their children during our playgroup.”

“The number of families and children who attend each session varies, people don’t need to book in, just turn up on the day.”

“Our Young playgroups are always a good size and can vary from 10 to 25 families, each family having one or two children on average.”

They hold a big event to celebrate NAIDOC at Young North Public School, inviting the Koori community to participate and share their knowledge, skills and culture with all of the playgroup families.

This unique service operates with two full-time, fully trained educators and two casual workers.

Funding from the Education department covers Tuesdays and Wednesdays while the Department of Community and Justice (DCJ) makes Thursdays possible.

“Working for Young Mobile Play Activities is a privilege,” Ms Shoard said.

“There are memorable moments every day, just seeing the looks on those little faces when they come in is what makes us get up every day and do it all over again. The conversations we have with the children, they are so honest, so literal, and so funny at times that they just make your heart smile.”

“Parents are so appreciative, and we have been told many times playgroup has been their lifeline; a chance to breathe, vent, connect with others, make new friends, seek out information and enjoy a well-deserved cuppa. Over the years through GIVIT, Ray White Real Estate (A Little Ray Of Giving) we have been able to help some of our families, who were doing things a little tough and put smiles on both the parents and children’s faces.”

“Our training helps us to recognise children who may have learning difficulties and we are able to then guide the parents to the appropriate service to receive the help and support they need,” Ms Shoard said.

“We are not only there for the children, but also to support our families. Whether it is because they are new to town, from a different country and therefore may not be able to speak a lot of English. Perhaps they are struggling financially or in a domestic violence situation. No matter what their need is, we are connected with many services in the Hilltops region and can help them to connect to the service they need.”

Glenice Buck Designs

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