The Supported Playgroup and Parent Group Initiative
The Supported Playgroup and Parent Group Initiative (SPPI) supports vulnerable parents in 29 municipalities across Victoria. Its objective is to promote improved health, development and wellbeing outcomes for children, as well as build parent confidence and capacity, while supporting the establishment of social networks. Through participation in a playgroup, run by an early childhood professional, it is expected that parents will observe the modelling of developmentally-appropriate play experiences and parenting practices; and that families will be linked to the services and supports they need, including the maternal and child health (MCH) service and, at the appropriate age, kindergarten programs. The SPPI funds the resources needed to create opportunities for children and to build parental capabilities. Four priority groups are targeted under the initiative, with the aim of supporting families who may need additional support to provide their children with the foundations for a healthy and happy life.
The four key target groups comprise:
- Indigenous children and their families or carers
- culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) children and their families/carers, with a focus on recently arrived families
- disadvantaged families with complex needs
- children and families affected by disability.
The investment in the SPPI, the use of supported playgroups and the target groups all reflect research that the early childhood years, particularly from conception to age 3 years, represent the most important developmental period in a young person's life. The living environments, nutrition, relationships and activities that children experience in these early years significantly influence their ongoing physical and mental health. This foundation period also affects whether young people are able to complete their education, transition into the workforce and positively participate in community life.
Download the The Supported Playgroup and Parent Group Initiative report (PDF, 1.23MB) for more information.