Save the Children has adapted its Play2Learn program to work around restrictions arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
In Townsville, the playgroups are now taking place online, meaning children can continue learning during lockdown. The sessions also provide routine and structure for the children, with the same teachers continuing to sing their favourite songs and read stories.
The playgroups have different activities each day, including song time, reading stories such as ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ and ‘The Wonky Donkey’, and crafts using items most families already have like old jars, rubber bands, bottle lids and paint.
The children also participate in active play with outdoor scavenger hunts, yoga classes, dancing, and obstacles courses.
For families who do not have access to a computer, Save the Children has arranged activity packs to be delivered each week that include the same material as the online sessions.
Save the Children continues to provide family support services, with workers regularly checking in with families and providing additional assistance where needed.
The organisation is also working with local emergency relief providers to help families needing food parcels.
Save the Children Queensland State Director Jason Ware said:
“Play2Learn is a great program that supports children’s learning and development, and keeps families connected.
“It’s really amazing to see the way our staff have been able to rally in these unprecedented times and move these playgroups online.
“Now more than ever, we need to keep children engaged in education and play so they are well prepared for the future.”
Save the Children Early Childhood Educator Beth Hook said:
“I’m so glad that we’ve been able to make the technology work, and we’re continuing to deliver playgroups to our children and families.
“Parents have told me how connected they feel and the children are really loving it, particularly the active play.
“It’s a great way for children to develop their balance and work on their gross motor skills, but also to release energy and just feel good – very important aspects in these times when everyone is stuck at home!”
Townsville Play2Learn Parent Sinthiya Kirubeswaran said:
“Save the Children are so connected to families – we don’t feel isolated at all!
“Still being able to participate in activities and get support really means a lot to us.
“I feel very encouraged and stimulated meaning I can pass on my positive vibe to my kids.”
- The Play2Learn program runs free playgroups which help young children learn to play, socialise, establish routine and prepare for school
- Save the Children Australia’s Play2Learn program has been running for more than 30 years
- The program is run by trained early childhood staff
- Each session is carefully designed to ensure its relevance and appropriateness for children from a range of backgrounds
- In Queensland last year, 2,247 children and 1,713 parents/carers attended Play2Learn