05 August 2019

Supported playgroups for parents and children: The evidence for their benefits

This paper from AIFS defines the types of supported playgroups and varying models of implementation in operation in Australia, and assesses the evaluation evidence for their benefits to parents and children. The role of the facilitator is critical to the success of supported playgroups. There are varying supported playgroup models in operation and no single set of guidelines or practice principles, making them difficult to research and leading to a lack of cohesion in their implementation. Research into playgroups is very limited; however, the limited evidence suggests that supported playgroups may improve parents' social supports and increase parents' ability to care for young children. Supported playgroups may also improve children's sociability and create new opportunities for them to learn. Supported playgroups have potential to be soft entry points linking families to formal supports when needed and to deliver key messages promoting child health.