The Playgroup Principles

The 2017 Judging Panel will be judging this year’s award nominations based on the seven playgroup principles. The nomination form will ask you to address these principles.

If you have any further questions about the nomination process please contact

A description of each principle is below:


What does this mean?
Birth to three is a critical period of development. Playgroup provides developmental opportunities. Playgroup facilitates parents/child relationships and bonding.
Playgroup supports family wellbeing and transition into parenthood.
Playgroup strengthens communities and facilitates networks and trust.

Things to consider:
• The range of activities provided to support children’s learning and development
• How parents are supported to further their parenting skills and confidence
• How families are helped to build social relationships and connections within their community


What does this mean?
Children learn, experience and process their world through the fundamental act of play. Playgroup provides parents with play-based opportunities and support. Playgroup promotes the importance of play and transferring this to home/lifestyle

Things to consider:
• The type of play opportunities offered to suit the age and interests of children
• How play-based learning is promoted in a way that parents can understand and implement at home
• How families are connected to other early years services
• How parents are encouraged to share parenting information

Nurturing and Supportive

What does this mean?
Playgroup provides opportunity children, parents and their relationship to grow in a nurturing and safe environment. Playgroup nurtures wellbeing and builds social connections, helping families to develop lifelong friendships and supports. Playgroup provides access to community services and helps to create a positive future for all.

Things to consider:
• How playgroup members are nurtured and supported through their playgroup experience
• How parents and children are encouraged to participate and experience enjoyable and fun activities together
• How positive and safe relationships are promoted at playgroup

Capacity Building

What does this mean?
Playgroup allows children to learn and take risks in a safe environment, increasing their readiness for future learning. Playgroup provides parents with opportunities and experiences in a supportive environment. Supported playgroups offer intentional and planned opportunities with access to support and services. Playgroup acts a vehicle to develop and strengthen the community.

Things to consider:
• How the environment supports children to explore and experiment in their world around them
• How children and families are supported through the transition to kinder and school
• How families are encouraged to be involved in the local community


What does this mean?
Children develop skills through their interactions and relationships with others. The playgroup environment helps to enhance parent-child attachment and bonding. Playgroup also helps build bonds and connections between families.

Things to consider:
• Strategies used to let families in the community know about playgroup and become involved
• The ways new families are welcomed and included at playgroup
• How families are encouraged to keep coming every week
• How all families are encouraged to be involved in social opportunities in and outside of our playgroup


What does this mean?
Playgroups provide a physically and emotionally safe, warm and positive environments. They provide an inclusive, supportive, harmonious environment for both child and parent. Playgroups are welcoming, supportive and respectful of all cultures. Playgroup provides an inclusive community, implementing harm reduction. Playgroup honours the social responsibility to respect and include all members of the community in a non-judgemental way.

Things to consider:
• How families are informed about the child safe standards
• How a physically respectful and safe environment is created
• Strategies used to create an emotionally safe environment
• The ways a culturally safe place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children and children from CALD backgrounds is developed and supported
• How a safe environment and experience for children with a disability is developed and maintained.

Playgroup business

What does this mean?
Playgroups rely on families getting along and working together. Playgroups need all families to contribute to the running of the playgroup; everyone can then feel that they are part of the playgroup. This includes: enrolments, communication, information sharing, finances, resources, expenditure, venues, etc.,

Things to consider:
• How families are encouraged to have an active role and be involved in decision making.
• How communication is encouraged and maintained with families
• How playgroup fees are kept affordable for all families
• Strategies used to keep families informed and aware of transparent financial practices.

Embracing diversity (optional question)

If you would like your playgroup to be considered for Playgroup of the Year, please also complete this section of the nomination form.

What does this mean?

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.  “Embracing diversity” is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.

It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

(Summer Diversity Internships and Objectives. University of Oregan 1999)

There is diversity in how we parent and our beliefs about parenting.  Our children are all different. Playgroups provide families with an opportunity to be with other families: children playing with other children, parents socialising with other parents.  A safe, secure and sustainable playgroup relies on respect for others and an acceptance of others differences.

This year, The Big Playgroup Meetup has a theme of embracing diversity.  The Playgroup of the Year award will go to the playgroup that showcases this theme.

Things to consider:

  • How your playgroup displays/shows respect for all children, parents and families
  • How your playgroup provides opportunities for all families to develop a sense of belonging
  • The ways your playgroup responds to differences in culture, parenting, socio-economic status, abilities, religious beliefs.
  • The ways your playgroup promotes acceptance of diversity, celebrates diversity and therefore embraces diversity.
  • The explicit and overt strategies your playgroup uses to address discriminatory or prejudicial behaviours.