Play is a fundamental right for all children.
We believe everyone should feel they can join in and belong to community playgroups, regardless of their abilities.
The PlayTogether program was developed to raise awareness and support community playgroups to be more inclusive for children and families, especially those with additional needs.
We recognised a need to empower families with disability, providing a place to share and belong. Through the initiative, we seek to:
- raise awareness, through training and inclusive play events
- provide opportunities for more families to experience the benefits of playgroups
- provide support to overcome barriers to playgroup participation.
Being inclusive is about ensuring everyone’s needs are met at playgroup. By considering the group’s varying abilities and needs, we can modify the space, activities and materials we use at playgroup so that everyone can play together.
Ten simple things you can do to make your playgroup friendly and inclusive:
- Be friendly!
- Ensure the physical space can be accessed by everybody.
- Define the play areas well.
- Have less visual distractions and background noise.
- Provide a quiet area where a child can spend some time if they need a break.
- Have a predictable routine to each playgroup session.
- Use visual supports to demonstrate what to expect during the session.
- Set up play activities at different levels.
- Have a range of materials at craft time to suit those who struggle with fine motor activities.
- Provide extra components during messy play for children who do not enjoy the feeling of certain textures.
The PALS and PlayTogether programs are supported by the Australian Government, under the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program administered by the Department of Social Services.