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10 Reasons Why Every Church Should Have a Playgroup

13 October 2009 No Comment

(A short talk given by Judyth Roberts at the Breathe Conference, August 2009)

playgroupWhy talk about playgroups?

Because playgroup is what happens when you put a child in the midst! (Mark: 9:36-37)

  • Families with young children in our society are hungry for our hospitality …
  • Searching for safe places for them and their children …
  • Waiting to be welcomed…

Here are 10 compelling reasons why every church should consider having a playgroup:

  1. It is how we can keep our promise to baptism families and to God, that we will support them as their child grows up. Playgroup is a good place to display information about baptism for families.
  2. Research into the development of babies’ brains has revealed that most growth and the connections inside the brain that affect intellectual and emotional development are 85% complete by the time a child is 3 years. If churches aren’t interested in children until they start school, then most of the early years for forming relationships and nurturing faith are lost.
  3. Both child and adult come to playgroup and stay, so the scene is set for playfulness and relaxed conversation about things that interest them. Many groups support children or parents but only playgroup is equally for both (but it’s the adult who decides whether to come or not each week).
  4. It will get your church talked about in the community, in a good way. People who come will identify with your church; ‘that’s my church!’ they’ll say as they drive past. The partners and friends of people who attend your playgroup will hear all about it and may contribute skills or material things to your group. Your church becomes relevant to many people and moves from the margins to the centre of community life.
  5. childrenChurches tend to have many older people with well-honed parenting skills. Women can share their experience and skills to encourage and support younger women at playgroup.
  6. Starting a playgroup is cheap and uses resources you should already have – hospitable people who can make a good cuppa, a comfortable space and a heart for children.
  7. Having a playgroup means your church can apply for lots of community grants which will not only benefit playgroup, but will also add to the amenities and resources of your church for everyone and alert the local council etc to the fact you are there and a community resource.
  8. We are called by God to respond in love to the needs of young families and share our faith with them. We can counter the negative effects of our culture (eg. isolation, consumerism, competitiveness) by creating a supportive loving culture at playgroup.
  9. Playgroup’s experiential – enabling people to live well. Parents are sick of being told what they need to learn and do to be a good parent. They want to experience what it feels like to enjoy their child.
  10. It’s sensory fun – playgroup is a sensory banquet for young children to taste and see that the world God made is good.
Judyth Roberts
Children and Families Ministry Consultant
UCA Board of Education
Synod of NSW and the ACT
12 August 2009

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