Finding your Tribe

Zita Bush says she and her son, 15-month-old Keeley, had “found their tribe” after joining a Supported Playgroup in Sunshine West.

The two go to playgroup from 10am to noon every Tuesday.

"I fit in there," she said.

“When you find your tribe, you don’t feel so isolated.

“Our playgroup facilitator is amazing because she engages with every kid and every parent.”

Ms Bush recently began a Facebook page to connect mums in her area and said her son had also found his tribe.

“He is confident and reading and trying to say new words and he has his little friends,” she said.

Shannon Palmer, father to three-year-old Darcy, attends a Supported Playgroup in Deer Park.

“Playgroup is something I really wanted to get Darcy into so she is seeing some other kids regularly and it’s preparing her for kinder,” he said.

“The facilitator teaches you different skills each week in regards to bringing up your kid and in regards to yourself.”

Supported playgroup facilitator Kellie Culkin said she loved working with families.

“You can help families with questions about their child’s development and they are able to take parenting strategies home — it has huge benefits,” she said.

Recognising the positive impact Supported Playgroups have on communities, the Victorian Government is investing $22.3 million to expand Supported Playgroups across every local government area in Victoria. Parents will have access to a qualified facilitator who uses evidence-based practice to help parents improve the quality and frequency of interactions between parents and children that promote learning and wellbeing. Parents also have the opportunity to meet other parents and to learn about services and supports in their local area that can assist them.

Expanding Supported Playgroups across the State will mean that 6,000 additional families will be able to benefit from approximately 750 additional Supported Playgroups.

Ms Culkin said Supported Playgroup facilitators were very passionate about their work helping families and reaching as many families as they could.

“It’s great that we are now able to get out there and have more groups and more families take part,” she said.