Playgroup and Ministry

Why Playgroup?

The playgroup model is an evidence-based and community supported way of connecting the local church to its local community. For many decades now, the value of playgroups in the local community has been identified and appreciated. Hundreds of Christian playgroups are scattered throughout Australia – some meeting in churches, others in local community buildings.

The playgroup context is an excellent environment for children aged 0-5 and their parents/care-givers to connect, belong and grow – in relation to the playgroup community, the church community and to God. With the increasing number of options for ministry with children and their families that a church could adopt, why choose playgroups?

  • Playgroup provides care and support for families. At a critical stage of life, when there are many pressures and where patterns are being established, such care and support is vital.
  • Playgroup is a relaxed space of welcome and grace. A healthy community is very good for the mental wellbeing of parents and simple sensory play is very good for growing children.
  • Playgroup connects. Families and households of all shapes and sizes can connect to God, church communities and one another through playgroup.
  • Playgroup enhances parenting capacity. Through the care and guidance of other families and/or a playgroup leader, there is an opportunity for parents to develop individual strengths, increase parental capacity and find their place in a connected, supportive community.
  • Playgroup provides a lifeline. Many parents and care-givers are facing challenges in life and can be grateful for further
    support. Whether it be isolation, lack of confidence, disconnection from community, vulnerability or disadvantage, playgroup can foster connection and affirmation.
  • Playgroup provides a place for discovery. Tender young humans and their significant grown-ups can discover, alongside Christian families from your church, how the world works and how to do life safely and wonderfully and messily together.
  • Playgroup celebrates the ‘great that you’re here life’. The ‘we’ve got time to listen life’, the ‘tears are OK life’, the ‘crayons and paper are enough life’ and the ‘lived together life‘ model a grace and good-news filled alternative way of being for families and households.
  • Playgroup fosters kingdom belonging. Through the simplicity of play – a large cardboard box, a tray of ice, or a tub of car toys – playgroup is a relaxed and strategic space where the kingdom of God belongs easily – justice, hope, love , faith, risk, generosity , truth telling, forgiveness and  second chances.

Further Reading

A Covid-19 reflection by Alyson Prescott: STILL no use-by date

The Playgroup Framework (Playgroup Victoria)

Ten Steps to starting a playgroup

Ten Steps to starting a playgroup  You may be thinking of starting a Playgroup at your church or wanting to revisit your purpose of running a Playgroup. These 10 steps will keep you focused on the end goal.

What does a Christian Playgroup look like

What makes a playgroup Christian?

There is a tendency to define a playgroup by the shape and content of its program. But a truly Christian playgroup will convey a real sense of God’s Presence. This reality will be expressed through every aspect of the functioning of the playgroup.

Program and environment – which one is important?

Both! A Christian playgroup always endeavours to offer a high quality program. This may include specifically faith related activities – songs and stories. But what makes the playgroup truly Christian is the environment – the emphasis given to caring, loving relationships between all ages. A warm acceptance and openness between people is the best way to impart God’s love and grace.

What does a Christian Playgroup Look Like Download this helpful resource sheet to help you and your Playgroup team explore how you can be intentional in being a Christian Playgroup.

Playgroups can be missional

Playgroups can be missional The principles listed in this resource sheet are being successfully used in many church playgroups to bring people into a relationship with Jesus. As a Christian playgroup, you may choose to prayerfully implement them.