YOUR GUIDE: 20+ playgroups in the Mackay region
IF YOU’RE the first time parent of a toddler you may be considering taking your little one to playgroup.
Playgroup provides opportunities for children to play and learn, while bringing parents and caregivers together to form social networks and friendships.
Andergrove State School playgroup co-ordinator Judy Corbett has been teaching for 34 years and started the playgroup her own children attended more than 20 years ago.
It’s safe to say, she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to early childhood development through play-based learning.
Ms Corbett said children learnt about themselves and their environment through play.
“The first five years of a child’s life is vital for this type of learning,” she said.
“Parents are a child’s first educators, so playgroup is just as important for kids as it is for mum and dad.
“A lot of parents are time poor and don’t get many opportunities to set up play-based learning at home. Playgroups give access to these activities.”
Ms Corbett said joining a playgroup was a great opportunity for parents to connect in a relaxed environment and build-up their confidence.
Gargett State School principal Fiona Tass-Jennings said playgroups were especially important for families living in small towns, where parents could sometimes feel isolated.
“Playgroup is great for little people, because it builds their social skills and helps them to become school-ready,” Ms Tass-Jennings said.
“But it’s also a great way for parents to build a network of friendships that will potentially last for as long as your children are in school.”
The only thing left to do is find the playgroup right for you. Here’s a list of playgroups throughout the Mackay region:
Andergrove Playgroup: A school-based playgroup established by Andergrove State School providing a regular routine, outdoor play, story and music time and a range of different activities for children from infants to those five years old. Morning tea and coffee is provided. $5 per family. From 9-11am, Wednesdays during the school term, Andergrove State School, Fernleigh Avenue, Andergrove. For more information contact Judy Corbett, ph: 0408 240 715.
Baby Bounce: Sessions are geared towards babies from birth to walking. The program promotes language development and features nursery rhymes, finger play and songs. Free for all. Sessions run while school is in session — 11-11.30am, Mondays, Dudley Denny City and Mirani Libraries. 9.30-10am, Tuesdays, Sarina and Walkerston Libraries. 10.30-11am, Gordon White Library. Dads ‘n’ Bubs Baby Bounce: 10-10.30am, February 22, April 4, May 23, July 18, September 5, October 31, December 5. For more information, visit: mackay.qld.gov.au/libraries/get_involved/children.
Beach Kidz Playgroup: A relaxed and informal playgroup for families in the Armstrong Beach area. Children from infants to age six will enjoy sensory tubs, heaps of toys and activities in a safe place for kids and mums to come and learn. Playgroup meets year round, even during school holidays. $2 per visit. From 9-11am, Thursdays, Llewellyn Hall, Lot 2 Armstrong Beach Road, Armstrong Beach. For more information contact Rae Mott, ph: 0409 446 072.
Coningsby Busy Bees Playgroup: A fortnightly, school-supported playgroup offering a range of different activities for toddlers and prep-aged children. Activities include story time, music, art and craft. Entry is free, tea and coffee is provide. From 9-11am, every second Thursday from February 20 while school is in session, Coningsby State School, 1284 Bruce Highway, Farleigh. For more information, ph: 4959 8315.
Finch Hatton Playgroup: A school-supported playgroup. Safe indoor and outdoor play areas. Entry is free. Wednesday, 9.30-11am, Finch Hatton State School, 86 Mackay-Eungella Road, Finch Hatton. For more information, ph: 4958 3124.
Gargett Playgroup: This school-supported playgroup offers activities and resources for children from infants to five years of age. Sessions include story time, music and offers access to a safe outdoor play area. A gold coin donation pays for coffee and tea. From 9-10am, Thursdays, Gargett State School, 4009 Mackay Eungella Road, Gargett. For more information, ph: 4958 5137.
Hola Amigos Spanish Learning Playgroup: For families with children who would like to connect and be inspired through Spanish language. Little ones will learn songs, play games, do craft and play on the playground while mums have a chat. Gold coin donation welcome. From 10am-noon, every Thursday during the school term, The Shakespeare Street Neighbourhood Hub, 43 Shakespeare Street, East Mackay. For more information contact Toni M, ph: 4957 7222.
Homebush Playgroup: This fortnightly playgroup for Homebush families coincides with the Mackay Regional Council mobile library van visit. It is designed for children from infants to those in Year 1. The group has recently received a grant from Bendigo Bank to invest in the program, so there are heaps of toys and resources for all to enjoy. Playgroup dates for 2020 are as followed: February 21; March 6, 20, 1; May 1, 15, 29; June 12, 24; August 7, 21; October 16, 30; November 13, 27. From 8.30-10am, every second Friday, Homebush State School, 1181 Homebush Road, Homebush. For more information contact Tash Danielles, ph: 4959 7286.
Kuttabul Kids: Network with other young families of the Kuttabul area at this playgroup designed for children from infants to age five. Gold coin donation is much appreciated. 9-11am, Fridays during the regular school term, Hampden State School, 2880 Bruce Highway, Kuttabul. For more information, ph: 4966 0666.
Lily Pilly: A Steiner inspired playgroup focusing on imaginative play, enhanced by seasonal activities. The group values natural and handmade materials to encourage creative play. Designed for infants to age five. The cost is $2 per visit. From 9.30-11.30am, Tuesdays during the school term. Beaconsfield State School, Nadina Street, North Mackay. For more information, ph: 4969 2222.
Marian Playgroup: Connect with Marian tots from infants to age five each week school is in session at Marian State School. Bring a hat, water bottle, your own packed morning tea and a gold coin donation. All are welcome. From 9.15-11am, Wednesdays, Marian State School, 137 Anzac Avenue, Marian. For more information, ph: 4959 4444.
Mackay North Playgroup: A free-form sensory playgroup that encourages messy play. The session operates under a no-phone policy to encourage engagement between parents and children. Families with children from infants to age five are welcome to attend but must be registered with Playgroup Queensland. Entry is $4 per family. Bring a plate of food to share for morning tea. From 9-10.30am, Wednesdays during the school term, Mackay North State School, Harvey Street, North Mackay. For more information, ph: 4940 0333.
Multiple Births Playgroup: This group welcomes families of multiple birth children to connect through play. A space for parents in similar situations to network and build friendships. Entry is free, coffee and tea are provided. From 9-11am, Wednesdays while school is in session, The Shakespeare Street Neighbourhood Hub, 43 Shakespeare Street, East Mackay. For more information contact Toni M, ph: 4957 7222.
Multiples Chatterplay: An interactive play session incorporating songs, rhymes and stories for multiple birth families. For infants to children aged five years. Entry is free. From 9.30-11.30am, March 17, May 12, August 11, November 17, Gordon White Library. For more information, visit: mackay.qld.gov.au/libraries/get_involved/children.
MyTime Mackay: A fortnightly playgroup for children from infants to 18 years with disabilities and or chronic medical conditions. The group provides support for parents and carers of these children and allows young people to play and interact. Entry is free. From 9am-noon, every second Thursday from February 20 at Mackay Children’s Contact Service Inc, 37 Boddington Street, Mackay. For more information contact Nikki Shanks, ph: 4944 1733.
North Eton Playgroup: Families of children from infants to age five are invited to come along and learn through play. Crafts, obstacle courses, water play and a safe outdoor play area are just some of what is on offer. Sessions meet fortnightly and cost is $2 per child. From 9.30-11am, every second Thursday from February 20, North Eton State School, Kinchant Dam Road, North Eton. For more information, ph: 4954 1267.
Northern Beaches Playgroup: Toddlers of the Northern Beaches can meet up with other friends every week during the school calendar for a play and some morning tea. Children aged under one are free, children $2, families $5. Please bring your own packed morning tea. From 9-11am, Tuesdays, Northern Beaches Community Hall, 24 Wallace Street, Bucasia.
PCYC Playtime: Mums can enjoy coffee and a catch-up, catch up while the kids can take advantage of the amazing resources at the PCYC. Children will enjoy the jump castles, trikes, scooters, an obstacle course and so much more. The cost is $4 for members and $7 for non-members. From 9-11am, weekdays excluding school and public holidays, PCYC Mackay, off Norris Road, North Mackay. For more information, ph: 4942 3296.
Pinnacle Playgroup: A community-based playgroup offering a wide variety of age-appropriate activities and safe indoor and outdoor play areas. For ages infant to five years. Families must register with Playgroup Queensland, visit: playgroupqld.com.au. From 9.30-10.30am, Mondays while school is in session, Pinnacle State School, 27 Pinnacle Street, Pinnacle. For more information, ph: 4958 5223.
Prep-Ready Kids: This playgroup is part of the Multicultural Community Program at The Neighbourhood Hub. It’s designed for families with children from age 2-5. Activities focus on developing essential skills to get kids school-ready. From 9.15-11am, Mondays during the school term, The Shakespeare Street Neighbourhood Hub, 43 Shakespeare Street, East Mackay. To register your child contact Toni M, ph: 4957 7222.
Rockin’ Kids Music Therapy and Community Playgroup: A great introduction to music. Children from infants to age five can sing, dance and play musical instruments at this session which uses music to develop social skills and confidence. The second half of the session is more informal, allowing for free play and craft activities. The cost is $3 per family and includes a light morning tea. 9-11am, Tuesdays during the school term, The Shakespeare Street Neighbourhood Hub, 43 Shakespeare Street, East Mackay. For more information contact Toni M, ph: 4957 7222.
Slade Point Playgroup: A school-based playgroup for infants to age five. Lots of different activities are on offer such as craft, fine-motor skills and sensory activities, water play, obstacle courses, sand pit and indoor and outdoor play areas. All are welcome and entry is free, includes fruit snack and complimentary tea and coffee. From 9-11am, Wednesdays while school is in session, Slade Point State School, 362 Slade Point Road, Slade Point. For more information, ph: 4965 7333.
Story Time: A program focusing on language and literacy development in children aged 2.5-5 years. Featuring stories, nursery rhymes and songs. Great for early development. Sessions are free and run while school is in session. 9.30-10am, Tuesday, Mirani and Walkerston Libraries. 9.30-10am, Sarina and Gordon White Libraries. 10.30-11am, Thursday, Dudley Denny City Library. 9.30-10am, Friday, Gordon White Library. For more information, visit: mackay.qld.gov.au/libraries/get_involved/children.
Toddler Time: Encourage social interaction and language at this session for children from infant to 2.5 years. The program uses nursery rhymes, finger play, action songs and stories to build confidence and strengthen literacy. Sessions are free and run while school is in session. 9.30-10am, Monday, Mirani, Sarina and Gordon White Libraries. 9.30-10am, Friday, Dudley Denny City Library. For more information, visit: mackay.qld.gov.au/libraries/get_involved/children.