Supported Playgroups

  

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smalltalk supported playgroups are a free program for families across Victoria with children from birth to school age.

A qualified facilitator leads these fun 10 sessions where parents develop their skills and confidence to support their child’s wellbeing and development. 

It starts with smalltalk.

Some simple practical strategies that help your child feel safe and nurtured; that helps their language, communication, and social skills develop; and that really get them interested in the world around them.

There's even an opportunity to learn and practise these strategies in your own home, with one-on-one support.

At supported playgroups, parents and children enjoy a range of fun play opportunities and activities together. Parents also find out about local services and support networks in the community.

smalltalk supported playgroups are state funded.

Priority will be given to:

  • Families with children aged 0-5 years who hold a Health Care Card or another eligible card/visa
  • Families supported through NDIS
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and families
  • Families that have been referred or supported by Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Services
  • Families that have been referred or supported by Orange Door
  • Each term 10 Small Talk Groups are provided across the Mornington Peninsula. Register your interest below and a Small Talk facilitator will give you a call with further information including session locations and times.  

For further information, please phone 5950 1099 or email playgroups@mornpen.vic.gov.au

Join a smalltalk supported playgroup

To join a playgroup or receive in home support, just complete the online form below.

Complete the form

Professional referrals

Service providers can refer a client to the program through our simple online form:

Complete the form

Read Tara's story about supported playgroups

We spoke with local parent Tara to find out more.

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How did you hear about the smalltalk supported playgroup service?
It was recommended to me during the regular Maternal Child Health visits after my son Luca was born. As the only single mum in my mother’s group, I found it hard to relate and I didn’t form any solid friendships. Our Maternal and Child Health nurse really escalated our access into the supported playgroup service and I’m so glad she did.

What influenced you to attend the playgroups?
I put my son first in the world so if there’s something that has been recommended for us and he likes it, I’ll go. Luca is a very active child, he’s always 100 miles an hour. The sessions with Kerry were a great way to get his energy out. Being on my own its easy to get distracted with cleaning or cooking. The supported playgroups are a dedicated time I could give him free from distraction.

How did you find them useful?
The sessions were really wholesome and grounding for me in the chaos of parenthood. Luca is thriving so I’m happy. We’ve progressed through the supported playgroup service, and with Kerry’s continued help we now attend a couple of local playgroups in Hastings.

Would you recommend other families to attend these playgroups?
Yes! Having the regularity of the playgroups each week has been great. I bumped into Kerry outside of the playgroup recently and she’s genuinely interested in you and your family as all the facilitators will be. It’s a relationship you wouldn’t have had before, and her support has given me so much more confidence.

 

Meet Kerry, our supported playgroup facilitator

We asked her a few questions about the smalltalk supported playgroup sessions.

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What happens at the supported playgroups?
For two hours a week over 10-weeks we get to focus on the wonderful! We bring awareness to those neuron-sparking, memory building connections to develop curiosity and connection to the world. Besides having a bunch of fun all our activities are designed to support all areas of a family’s development. Our sessions may look like this:
  • welcome all families,
  • a chance to catch up on your week and share experiences,
  • play opportunities to practice the smalltalk topic of the week,
  • play activities to encourage fun and development such as playdough, painting, messy sensory activities, 
  • snack time, Storytime, songs, and farewell.
Individual sessions are also valued by families to focus on an individual family’s strengths without the group dynamics.

What do you enjoy about your role?
How long do you have?! The delight for me is when a family or child tries something new. The great feeling they get builds and builds. I love to see:
  • a little one developing from being hesitant on arrival to confidently running through the doors with a beaming smile,
  • families talking through routines such as mealtimes, singing songs at random together, reading stories at bedtime, accessing supports and services all which have a life altering outcomes for their children,
  • families joining our Libraries and toy libraries for the first time after discovering the benefits,
  • children accessing kindergarten,
  • families enjoying our free local treasures such as The Briars, Coolart Wetlands and all our stunning nature reserves and beaches,
  • families who find a cultural connection and belonging at Willum Warrain.
Most of all I enjoy families who cross the street to say “hello” and share such wonderful stories about their children who are now in Primary School.

What’s the difference between a smalltalk supported playgroup and a community playgroup?
Supported playgroups are state-funded and free for eligible families. They offer parenting information from the Parenting Research Centre called ‘smalltalk’ and are a pathway into community playgroups. 

Community playgroups may be organised in different ways, either through local parents, community houses, or churches. As facilitators it’s our role to provide information about playgroups to suit individually families.
We work with Playgroup Victoria to form local networks to help families continue on with playgroups or form a new playgroup after attending a term at a supported playgroup.

If families are interested, what do they do next?
There’s a button on our webpage to register. Then as a facilitator we’ll call, introduce ourselves and together figure out which supported playgroup best suits your family. We can then confirm bookings, answer any questions, and send through further information.

 

       

 

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