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Crossing cultural divides through play

- August 24, 2012

How a children’s playgroup in Ashfield is generating community spirit.

Each Wednesday morning in the Ashfield Public School hall, a little bit of magic happens when the Wangal Playgroup convenes for another session of fun, learning, and the occasional tussle over a toy.

Singalong time is the most popular part of the playgroup.
 

The playgroup – for children aged between 0-5 and their parents, grandparents or carers – is a partnership between The Infants' Home, Ashfield Council and Ashfield Public School.

Each session has been attracting about 20 parents and grandparents and about 30 children. One recent playgroup included children from Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, Tibetan, Bangladeshi and Korean backgrounds.

Natural transition to school

The principal of Ashfield Public School, Robyn Hutchinson, says the playgroup acquaints families with the school and the general school setting.

"It provides a natural transition to school and allows families to learn about Ashfield Public School and its opportunities for children," Ms. Hutchinson says.

Crossing cultural divides over the playdough.
 

A way to avoid isolation

Children with anti-social behaviours can learn positive social interactions with the support of their parents or carers. The playgroup also:

Never a dull moment.
 

A world of social interaction

Wangal Playgroup has been running since the beginning of 2012. It is organised by The Infants' Home Community Development Officer Emma Stanton.

"The playgroup gives children who do not speak English – or who come from families who do not speak English – the opportunity to learn English through play," Emma says.

"The singing and story time develops children's concentration span, their language skills and their memory.

"Children can also develop confidence by interacting in games with other children."

  

Time to be on the go and (R) time to relax with a good story.
 

We speak many languages

The playgroup is a place where parents and carers can share information about parenting with each other.

The Infants' Home and Ashfield Council provide parents and carers with more formal information on developmental milestones and positive parenting – in their own languages.

Note: The Wangal people were the original Aboriginal custodians of the lands and waters of the current municipality of Strathfield and surrounding suburbs.

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