Playgroup Tasmania & National Children's Week
Special interest matter speech
Tuesday 17 November 2020
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, from 24 October to 1 November, it was National Children's Week - an annual week celebrated by the focus and attention of the wider community on children, their rights and achievements.
Children's Week is all about celebrating the right of children to enjoy childhood. This year's theme was 'Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others'.
Nationally, Children's Week is organised by the Children's Week Council of Australia, but in Tasmania, the backbone organisation that takes ownership and responsibility of the themes and activities is Playgroup Tasmania, which does extraordinary work in the community with our families.
This year it was very difficult to organise activities owing to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, but Playgroup Tasmania, Housing Choices Tasmania, and all their partner organisations pulled together some very special events, both in person, across the entire state, and online.
This year saw the development of a comprehensive activity guide that was available in hard copy and digital. This year, the focus was also on smaller, locally based activities, and everyone had the chance to participate. Amongst many other things, an at-home scavenger hunt, art competition and teddy bear giving online were a real success. At many locations across Tasmania, movie afternoons, picnics, painting, music and yoga were all available for parents and children alike.
It was truly a fantastic week, and I congratulate Playgroup Tasmania for adapting so well to the unusual circumstances, and pulling together such wonderful events.
For the other 51 weeks of the year, Playgroup Tasmania does wonderful work at the coalface with our families and children. As a not-for-profit, state-based membership organisation, it relies very strongly on people power to provide support and resources to assist with the establishment, coordination, administration, and promotion of playgroups right across Tasmania.
It operates with a voluntary board of governance, and a small contingent of staff, including Chief Executive Officer Jacinda Armstrong, who manages playgroup development officers and administrative staff based in all regions of the state.
As a peak body representing over 35 volunteer-led community playgroups, and 15 organisational playgroups, including Child and Family Centres and neighbourhood community houses, it will come as no surprise that each year over 500 families engage with Playgroup Tasmania, with even more attending playgroups each week.
Playgroup Tasmania also administers a supported playgroup program called PlayConnect, which offers a soft entry for families with children with autism spectrum disorder-like symptoms to be connected for wider support and relevant information.
During National Children's Week, Playgroup Tasmania launched its fabulous new outdoor area at its Holbrook Street facility in Launceston. This playgroup alone services 80 families each week across Launceston's northern suburbs, providing access to learning, productive and fun play, and an opportunity for parents to connect.
This facility will significantly contribute to the wellbeing of our families and children, and will provide fantastic opportunities for families to interact with their community. This very impressive redevelopment was made possible through a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund, as well as through the generosity of the Rotary Club of Central Launceston and the WD Booth Trust.
It is fantastic to know that with hard work, making positive connections and with community spirit, incredible initiatives like this can come to fruition. Playgroup Tasmania is a wonderful organisation doing important work in our communities. I encourage every family with young children to take advantage of what it has to offer and get involved if they can. It is a truly local organisation making our communities better and stronger.