Ganang Little Learners Playgroup
Come along to this free playgroup and have a yarn with other parents and carers, while your children play and learn. Morning tea is provided.
Belonging, Being and Becoming describe the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.
Who? Playgroup is open to all children under the age of five and their families.
What? Based on the age-old maxim ‘it takes a village’, Ganang Little Learners Playgroup was created under the Early Years Transition to School program through Communities for Children (C4C). These playgroups are designed to be fun and a way for parents and children to connect with other families and their local community. Trained facilitators help support parents in their role as their child’s first teacher and monitor each child’s development. As an interface in community where parenting practice and child engagement can be influenced, we encourage and support all parents to monitor their child’s behaviour and provide a non-judgemental and loving connected environment for our community’s children.
Cost? Playgroups are free to attend.
When and where? We facilitate three sessions a week across Darkinjung Country:
- Mondays, 10.00am to 12.00pm, The Space
- Wednesdays, 10.00am to 12.00pm, The Entrance Community Centre
- Fridays, 10.00am to 12.00pm, Lakelands Community Centre
How to take part? Contact us.
Hallea, aged 2
Amanda is a proud Gundungurra woman. She moved to Darkinjung Country with her husband in 2018 to pursue local work opportunities. Their daughter, Hallea, was born at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Amanda enrolled Hallea, now 2, in playgroup and swimming in March 2022, as she was concerned with the impact pandemic lockdowns and limited opportunities to interact with other children and adults would have on her: “The only people she was really interacting with was me, my husband, my mum who looks after her while we work, and strangers at the shop.”
Hallea now attends playgroup twice a week and swimming lessons once a week, all run by GNL. Amanda describes improvements in Hallea’s fine motor skills, her social-emotional development, and her cognitive skills: “Coming to playgroup has done a lot for Hallea socially and her development. She’s made heaps of friends, and she’s connecting to culture. She’s getting more confident in the water and she’s eating healthy foods that she wouldn’t before because she watches the other kids. She’s better at concentrating and listening, she could never stay sitting down whereas she does now, she’ll sit and listen to a story.”
Playgroup has also had a positive impact on Amanda’s life as well: “It’s been a great opportunity for me to socialise and build my own connections as well. We haven’t been [in Darkinjung Country] long, so I don’t have a great lot of friends down here. But I’ve been able to build those connections now.”
Danielle moved to Darkinjung Country with her husband in 2019. Their son, Levi, was born at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Danielle explains the difficulties she experienced from both moving to a new place and becoming a first-time mother during the pandemic: “It was such a surreal time. I was a new mum and didn’t have any community connections because we’d just moved, and then lockdown happened.”
“Lewis doesn’t have any siblings so all the skills he might normally learn from a sibling – fighting over toys, being able to compete in a safe environment, playing together, even eating a meal together – he didn’t get any of that. They’re skills that aren’t explicitly taught as part of a program but they’re important skills to learn.”
As a result, playgroup is the first place they came after lockdown, where they have been a regular presence ever since: “It was really important for me that we had a safe space to become part of the community. For Levi, he hadn’t really socialised with anyone, so to be able to ease him into a social setting was really important as well.”
Danielle describes how Levi has gone from strength to strength since joining GNL’s playgroup: “When he first came he was not used to other people. He was very shy, and he wouldn’t leave my side. He’d bury his head; he wouldn’t look around like he is now. Fast forward two years, he walks in here like he owns the place. He helps himself to water, he knows where the cups are, he knows all the equipment, he helps pack up. He’s taking ownership in the group as he gets older.”
Danielle also takes comfort in knowing that Levi has developed community connections that will be with him for life: “The other things that’s important for me as our family is all in Sydney, if something was to happen to us, he’s comfortable here and he has a safe space here. So as he grows up, it’s good to know he could walk in here off the street and he knows the staff and everyone knows him, and he has a safe space to go to.”
Frequently asked questions
How is Ganang Structured?
Ganang is structured around play stations that foster cultural connectedness alongside developmental playtime. We offer parents and children the opportunity to experience life with an ‘Aboriginal Worldview’ through reading books together, playing music, dancing, painting, playing, and drawing. Aboriginal stories and culture are part of these playgroups.
Is Ganang led by Aboriginal staff?
Yes. Ganang is led by Aboriginal facilitators. The team has links to local community, land and culture.
How long has Ganang been running for?
Ganang has been running since 2015.