Due to record numbers of families wanting to attend playgroups and access additional support, a new Play Matters Australia (PMA) Ipswich Hub opened today, to coincide with National Playgroup Week (20-26 March).
There are 4000 families in Ipswich with children under five, and many of these will benefit from the new hub in Redbank and the expanded services PMA provides.
It will be home to playgroups for babies, toddlers and young children, music therapy groups, peer support groups for parents with children with a disability and special events such as Messy Play Matters involving mud, slime, and spaghetti.
Play Matters is a national not-for-profit that supports over 500 playgroups, play experiences, and music therapy to more than 15,000 Australian families every week. This year, the charity turns 50.
Play Matters Australia Executive Manager National Programs Julia Oreopoulos said post COVID, the organisation had seen unprecedented growth in baby playgroups in the Ipswich area.
“Play Matters has been servicing Ipswich for 50 years with early intervention programs and community playgroups, and much of what we offer to local families is free of charge,” Ms Oreopoulos said.
“Play Matters also invests in research that supports the positive impacts of play, music, and movement on children’s brain development.
“What we know from research is that learning through play is vital to children’s development. Play impacts cognitive, emotional, and social development. It helps children fine-tune their motor skills, problem-solving and hand-eye coordination, develop their language and social skills, and enhance their physical and emotional wellbeing.
“Importantly, playgroups also focus on the parent/child relationship, and help ensure caregivers are given the skills and confidence they need to empower them in their important role as parents.”
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed Play Matters Australia to Ipswich.
“We are delighted that Play Matters Australia has chosen to open a hub here in Ipswich,” Mayor Harding said.
“Ipswich is a city of families and children. We know the first five years of a child’s life is so important and building a strong foundation through play sets them up for a love of learning.
“It’s also great to have a dedicated space where parents and caregivers can connect with each other and I congratulate Play Matters Australia on providing this service.”
The Ipswich hub is located at 1/59 Brisbane Rd, Redbank.
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