Post written by Angela, Playgroup co-ordinator, Spiel und Spass Playgroup
Who’s behind a great playgroup? In my experience, the more people who work behind the scenes, the longer the playgroup lasts! This is the case for Spiel und Spass, a bilingual German-Australian playgroup based in Turner that I am helping to organise this year. This playgroup has been running for 14 years, and the reason for this is that it is supported by lots of people. I am a native German-speaker and I run the playgroup from week to week.
However, we have a few other people on our speed dial who we can ring when our kids are sick who can turn up, open up and run the group. We also have a craft roster so that everyone in the group gets a turn at taking the responsibility for organising and setting up an activity for the week. This takes the pressure off us.
But what most of our members don’t stop to think about is that we are are supported by a wider organisation, Spielwelt, who runs not only the playgroup, but also the German-Australian playschool and the German-Asutralian Pfadfinder Scout group. That organisation looks after our marketing, finances, our venue, our equipment, craft supplies, grant applications, website, social media, laundry, fundraising, cleaning, and much more. The organisation is made up of many many parents who all pitch in to do these things. In fact, there are so many helping roles in Spielwelt that one of the roles is “volunteer coordinator” who makes sure everyone is supported in their volunteer role and knows what to do, when. There are pages of job descriptions and notes to hand down to each helper, year after year. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes.
So as we playgroup coordinators move through this year, and particularly winter when my kids get sick, I have learnt that things can keep moving and running if I just ask others for help. This prevents burnout and a feeling of obligation to a group, and means that I still feel I am going simply because my children and I generally enjoy it.
Perhaps your playgroup doesn’t have a bigger committee and organisation behind it like we do, but trust me … there are still people looking out for you. The Playgroups Association are some of those people. There are others too: have you stopped to think about the people who look after the venue, who sharpen the pencil crayons, who mop the floors, who bring in the milk for the tea, who dream up the craft ideas, who shop for craft supplies, and so on? They are all helping you on your amazing (and sometimes super tricky) journey of parenthood. You are surrounded by people helping you, when you think about it! So think about it! Appreciate them!
And if you are involved in a playgroup, my advice would be: don’t forget to offer to help behind the scenes, and to say yes if asked to get involved. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for everyone and you will make some great friendships along the way. Every little bit helps us all move forward in our goal: happy playing!
For more information about the German Australian Playschool (GAP):
Office: 6251 7743
GAP during session times: 6257 7323