Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education

Community playgroups – Connecting rural families locally


This project focuses on the role of Playgroup Development Consultants in connecting rural families to community playgroups. The aim of this project is twofold:

1) To identify the connections Playgroup Development Consultants establish in local rural communities in terms of support from local venues and key early years services, including Maternal and Child Health, local council and kindergarten services for promoting community playgroups to families; and

2) To review existing strategies associated with promoting and increasing community playgroup participation in rural communities, and to suggest innovative alternatives for continued participation by families.


  • Playgroup Victoria $14,409.24


  • 2015-2016

Selected Bibliography

  • Gibson, J., Harman, B., & Guilfoyle, A. (2015). Social capital in metropolitan playgroups: A qualitative analysis of early parental interactions. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(2), 4-11.
  • Gregory, T., Harman-Smith, Y., Sincovich, A., Wilson, A., & Brinkman, S. (2016). It takes a village to raise a child: The influence and impact of playgroups across Australia. Telethon Kids Institute, South Australia. ISBN 978-0-9876002-4-0.
  • Hancock, K., Lawrence, D., Mitrou, F., Zarb, D., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J., & Zubrick, S. (2012) The association between playgroup participation, learning competence and social-emotional wellbeing for children aged 4-5 years in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(2), pp. 72-81.
  • McFarlane-Piazza, L., Lord, A., Smith, M., and Downey, B. (2012). The role of community-based playgroups in building relationships between pre-service teachers, families and the community. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood 37(2), 34-41.
  • Needham, M., & Jackson, D. (2012). Stay and play or play and chat; comparing roles and purposes in case studies of English and Australian supported playgroups. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20 (2), 163 – 176.
  • Rodriquez, E., & Tami-Lemonda, C. (2011). Trajectories of the home learning environment across the first 5 years: associations with children’s vocabulary and literacy skills at prekindergarten. Child Development, 82(4), 1058-1075.

Interview: Professor Suzy Edwards chats to ABC Western Victoria about the importance of playgroups

Do your kids go to playgroup? How much value do you think there is in a playgroup? Professor Susan (Suzy) Edwards – research Director of the Early Childhood Futures research concentration at LSIA – chats to ABC Western Victoria about the importance of playgroups to children, parents and communities.

Interview Audio

Useful link for educators and families

Project findings

  • Publications and reports will be posted in this section as they become available.
  • McLean, K., & Edwards, S. (2016). Community playgroups – Connecting rural families locally. Progress Report. Australian Catholic University: Melbourne
  • McLean, K., Edwards, S., Morris, H., Hallowell, L. & Swinkels, K. (2016). Community playgroups – Connecting rural families locally pilot project. A Research Report Prepared for Playgroup Victoria. Melbourne: Australian Catholic University.