5 Reasons Why Playgroups Are Important for Child Development
Published on: March 08, 2020
There’s no doubt that play is fundamental during the early years, and attending playgroups provides benefits for both kids and parents. Alex McInnes shares his view on the many ways in which playgroups can create a great impact on children.
By Alexander McInnes; Photo by Azusa Uchida
The first time leaving your home environment to attend a playgroup can be a nervous and challenging experience for any parent and their child, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives.
Here are five reasons why attending playgroups should become an important part of your weekly schedule.
Develops Social Skills and Confidence
Experts agree that children begin to develop their social skills between the ages of one to three. In a playgroup setting, children learn to negotiate with others, take turns, share, and resolve conflict. In a playgroup, they can do this while still being supported by their parent or main caregiver, which gives them a much-needed safety net to develop at their own pace.
Encourages Physical Activity
From the time a child starts to become mobile, keeping them entertained can be difficult. Playgroups provide well thought out, age-appropriate activities for children that often focus on developing their gross and fine motor skills. The use of indoor and outdoor spaces offer lots of opportunities for running, jumping, and climbing alongside cutting, gluing, painting, and molding. Occupational therapists advise parents to offer many opportunities for physical movement. Every good playgroup should provide these.
Elicits creativity and fosters their imagination
80% of all brain development occurs in the first few years of life and exposure to creative environments can only enhance their development. Having the opportunity to play using open-ended resources allows children to begin to think creatively, develop their own ideas and explore. This also aids speech development as they learn to describe the world around them.
Builds Resilience and Prepares For ‘Big’ School
Attending a playgroup can enable children to cope with new situations, manage stress, and adapt to change. Research has shown that separation from a parent or main caregiver when starting school can be stress-inducing. However, at a playgroup children get to test separation from their parents over time, which builds their confidence and encourages them to be independent from an early age. This will support them emotionally when they go to school on a daily basis.
Opportunities to strengthen the bond between parent and child and make new friends too!
Spending time at a playgroup strengthens the relationship between the child and parent because it creates a shared experience. Parents enjoy seeing their child grow and develop more in confidence as they become more familiar in the playgroup setting.
Playgroups are also fantastic places for parents to meet other parents. To know you are not alone but instead have a network of people to talk to, ask advice, and make friends with can be hugely comforting. Building a community as a new parent or an expat can be challenging as day-to-day activities can often feel so unfamiliar. Playgroups allow parents to come together, have a coffee, and chat.
About the Author
Alex McInnes has lived and worked in Thailand for five years in a marketing capacity for a number of international schools in both Pattaya and Bangkok. As a husband and father of 3-year-old Isobel, he works as the Marketing Manager at Shrewsbury International School and is involved with the inception of their playgroup ‘Shrewsbury Stars’.
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