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The right to play, rest, have fun

28 November 2023, Impact of Our Work

Child rights matter every day of the week

In a tight community in Northern Victoria, children aged 0-5 years and their carers come together every week at Play2Learn, where their right to relax and enjoy is recognised. Here they have the opportunity to socialise and learn through play. It’s a rights-based approach we practise every day in the programs we deliver.

Play helps a child develop their confidence

Mum Philippa has been bringing 4-year-old Charlie and 2-year-old Ivy to Play2Learn for over a year. She shares that both her kids like coming to the playgroup.

“The children get to meet other children around their age group. They have morning tea. They get to play different activities ... They do drawing or slime,”  Philippa says.

The young mum is happy to observe the growth in Charlie and Ivy’s confidence since they’ve attended Play2Learn:

“They’re a bit more confident in leaving my side to go play, talk to other kids and play alongside other children, and just being able to socialise with other children in a positive way.” 

“They’re also doing activities on their own, their colours, drawing, writing. We’re starting to write letters.”

4-year-old Charlie enjoys making friends at Play2Learn.

As for Charlie, it’s a playgroup that encourages him to have fun, and develop a stronger voice:

“[I like] playing with friends and telling people, ‘Eat your tea now!’ Because it makes them big and strong,”  the young boy says, flashing his cheeky grin.

Play helps kids achieve their growth milestones

Mum Karissa has been bringing 4-year-old Ava to Play2Learn since she was a baby.

She shares, “When we first came here, she was a baby, so she obviously just rolled around and had cuddles with everyone. But because she's got autism and she was non-verbal for a while, it took a while for her to be able to play with other children.”

4-year-old Ava now plays with other kids, and has started calling them by name.

As she grew up, Ava slowly began to play with other children in the playgroup. “So she began by running in the opposite direction, to her slowly going towards them. She's now allowing them to play alongside her or play with her. So it's been really great.”

“In the last 12 months she's really come out of her shell … She's actually now starting to say each of the kid’s names as well, which is a big thing.”

Next year will be Ava’s last year at Play2Learn as she gets ready for big school. Karissa has dreams for her daughter’s future:

“My dream for Ava is to be able to fit into all social areas with all kids or different type of kids, to be able to go to mainstream school and learn, just like her peers and be able to communicate her needs to the teachers easily.”

A place where kids blossom

At Play2Learn, Team Leader Evelyn has witnessed the development of many children like Charlie, his sister Ivy and their friend Ava.

“It’s so amazing to see them grow. We have some kids who started very shy, very reserved, don’t talk a lot.” 

“Then just over 12 to 18 months they blossom into these very energetic, loving, really confident little kids when they come here and that’s really, really nice to see.”

Play2Learn is a playgroup delivered by 54 reasons, part of Save the Children Australia, and currently running in more than 200 sites across Australia. It helps the development of children through play, and provides parenting support to help give children the best start in life.

Photos: Lucia Ondrusova / Save the Children.

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