What features of your Playgroup encourage new families to come and stay and what attributes cause new families to come once and not return?
Welcoming families to Playgroup is an essential part of the playgroup experience. Think about how you felt the first time you went to playgroup. Did someone welcome you? Were you provided information about how the playgroup ran, what to expect? Did you feel included?
For a successful playgroup the way new families are welcomed could be the deciding factor in whether or not they return.
Some ideas for welcoming new families include:
Welcoming Person: As part of your playgroup roster have a weekly “welcoming person”. This person is responsible for looking after new members and spends some time introducing them to other families and provides them with information about how the playgroup runs. At the beginning of the session, tell members about the visitor so everyone can make them feel welcome.
Welcome pack: Develop an information pack for your playgroup. New families may feel overwhelmed with information when they first start at Playgroup. Having a welcome pack that provides information about the Playgroup allows families to take the information home to read. This could include information about rosters and routines, excursions and an outline of activities for the term.
Have a buddy system: Link a regular Playgroup parent to a new person for the first few weeks (in addition to having a welcome person) to support new families in the first few weeks.
Notice board: Have a noticeboard display sharing what is happening at playgroup for the day. Include a routine breakdown (e.g. morning tea 10am) and some play ideas (e.g. play in the dolls area and visit the 3 bears, be ready to sing and dance at music time, explore the obstacle course outside, have fun dot painting on bark, etc.).
Follow up: It’s often a great idea to have the “Welcoming Person” or buddy contact the family between Playgroup sessions simply to find out if they enjoyed themselves or if they had any questions. Taking that extra effort to follow up families can make all the difference.
Set up a welcome table….
Have welcome table set up at your playgroup and include things such as:
- ACT Playgroups membership forms.
- Sign in attendance sheet
- Name tags
- Playgroup resources (rosters, routines, events).
- What’s happening at playgroup this term?
Calendar of events
- Playgroup charter (goals of your playgroup)
- Money box
- Fruit bowl (to place fruit ready for shared fruit time)