Deborah (mother of Tara and Charlotte): All right, let’s go.
Tara: Yeah, let’s go.
Narrator: Playgroups, childcare and preschool are a great way for children to start learning social skills, and it gives parents a change of scene too.
Rahnia (mother of Allirah and Ashtyn): I went to my local youth centre and I just said ‘can I start up a young parents’ playgroup’, cos I felt that there was a need for it in the area and that a lot of young parents were very isolated, well I felt isolated. You get a lot of good advice from a playgroup, and you just meet some really good friends.
Narrator: Playgroups are affordable, and are a gentle transition for children to play with other children and adults, with the security of having you around.
Brenda Middleton (playgroup operator, mother of 4, grandmother of 9): We charge $3 a week, per child.
Kids: ‘Happy birthday to you... ’
Onscreen text: Prices vary – check your local playgroups for charges.
Tony (father of Declan and Angus): They are with their peers and I think that’s a really important thing. Kids need to feel that they are part of a group. They start to understand that other adults can tell them things and they can take instruction from them.
Narrator: Kids learn to communicate, share and take turns, and get a taste of what school will be like, and parents can meet and learn from each other. Starting childcare or preschool will give you some free time to do the things you need to do, and help kids learn a little independence too.
Tony: It also means that you know ultimately, at the end of the day, we can go out and work and that’s part of adult needs as well in many cases is that need for fulfilment in employment or whatever we do.
Grace (mother of Zoe and Aiden): I was ready to go out and meet people of my age and kind of accomplish things for myself that would benefit my daughter in the end.
Narrator: But starting childcare can be a challenging transition, both for parents and children.
Playgroup worker: Say bye mum, love you
Deborah: Bye Charlotte.
Onscreen text: Always say goodbye. Sneaking off to avoid tears might seem easier, but trust is more important.
Deborah: This is only her third day at day-care, and that’s so hard, she’s still crying in the background and I can still hear her.
Ricky (father of Trey): I was walking into day-care and as I got closer and closer I thought, ‘No! Let’s turn around.’ But I thought ‘No, be strong Ricky, be strong.’
George (father of Alexander and Amalie): One of the harder things happened when I went back to work as a single dad, I put Alex in childcare. Which was tough at the start. We did visits just for a couple of hours every day before I actually took the job on.
Belinda (mother of 4): Driving past it a few times before they went, show them where all the big kids are going, and all the games they play, and all the activities that they can do.
Luba Torban (early childhood educator, mother of 2): It takes time for them to develop security and trust in the carers so we just take it really slowly, get to know the child.
Belinda: If you have friends of yours, going to the same centre, get them to go at the same time so they’re not by themselves.
Deborah: Just be consistent, I’ll pick her up after lunch for the next couple of times she comes to school and then after that it will be in the afternoon, after she has a sleep and then she’ll know that there’s a routine that’s happening and it won’t be so hard for her. We’ll get there!
Onscreen text: To find playgroups and childcare centres near you, contact:
- Playgroups Australia: 1800 171 882
- Childcare Hotline: 1800 670 305