Playgroup is about community and support and a team approach to Playgroup is a harmonious way to make Playgroup a success!
The old adage, “many hands make light work” is so true for the smooth running of Playgroup, and it fosters a stronger sense of community between members.
It’s not just adults who prefer shared duties and involvement; children love to help pack up, set the table for snack, wipe down tables and even sweep outdoor areas.
At Playgroup, children learn to be responsible, independent and respectful when encouraged to care for their Playgroup environment.
As parents and caregivers it is essential that we model this desired behaviour to our children by actively participating in the running of Playgroup. This can be as simple as demonstrating to your child how to leave the play dough table ready for the next user or, reading a storybook during group/mat time. There are a number of ways that we can all work together to make Playgroup a wonderful experience for everyone. Not all techniques or ideas work, so think about your Playgroup dynamic and what might be a good fit for all the Playgroup members.
Here are a few suggestions to get your team approach started…
- Inform all new members that the Playgroup is a “shared involvement” Playgroup and what this means. For example: ‘pitching in’ with identified jobs.
- Remember that not all people feel comfortable with certain job roles (such as leading song time), so ensure that members can elect how they contribute to the Playgroup. All contributions are valued. Be mindful that if you do the same ‘job’ every week at Playgroup, you’re preventing anyone else from ‘having a go’ and developing that skill. Playgroup is about supporting each other and trying new things too!
- Start a parent & caregiver “skills & talents” register. This gives members an opportunity to share something that they feel confident about with the Playgroup eg: playing a musical instrument, baking, soccer skills etc.
- Try a blank job roster sheet. As members enter the Playgroup they can choose a job to write their name next to and be responsible for.
- Some Playgroups use “job popsticks” where jobs are written on popsticks and parents/caregivers select a popstick upon entry to Playgroup.
- Involve children. There are lots of games that you can play with children that indirectly result in them caring for and cleaning the Playgroup room and equipment. Try the I Spy Game: “I spy three red toys and they’re not in the right homes…Who can find them? Who knows where they go?” OR, try the “Inspector Gadget Game” at group time. This is a lovely theatrical game where children get out their imaginary binoculars or magnifying glasses and look for things that need fixing at Playgroup. Inspector Gadget always saves the day and fixes any problems along the way. Also, what about a “pack up song”…? When a particular song is played at Playgroup, children recognise it as a signal that it’s time to pack up.