The preschool years can be a great time to join a playgroup. Playgroups provide preschoolers a great way to meet friends and begin learning social skills. They can also be a great resource for moms to make friends with other moms. If you cannot find an existing group in your area, you can start your own playgroup. With some thought and planning, you can start a preschool playgroup that will be fun for you and your child.
How to Start a Preschool Playgroup
Think about the type of playgroup you want to start. You should consider the ages of the children that you would like to have in the playgroup. Consider limiting the playgroup to four to five children. If you want to schedule a playgroup that meets during the weekday, you should look for families in which one parent stays home with the child. If you are work outside the home, you may want to target families with similar schedules. You should also consider parenting philosophies when asking families to join the playgroup. Playgroups are often most successful with parents who have similar parenting philosophies.
Find families to join the playgroup. To find families for the playgroup, begin asking parents in your neighborhood or religious group. You can also ask friends if they know anyone with similar-aged children who may be interested in joining a playgroup. You can also create a group on Meetup.com to find other parents in your area. Other ideas to find families include hanging a notice at your local library, nearby parks or pediatrician offices.
Have a parents-only meeting to plan the playgroup. At this meeting you should decide how often the group should meet and where the meetings should be. Some preschool playgroups take turns meeting at members’ houses while other groups meet at parks or other public places. If you decide to meet at homes, you should decide if the group will be primarily free play or if the host is responsible for planning a short activity. Another topic to decide is if each family will bring their own snacks or if the host will provide snacks.
Create a schedule for your playgroup. Once you have the basics decided, your group should decide what day and time the playgroup will meet. If you are taking turns hosting, have each member sign up for a playgroup to host. If you are meeting in public places, be sure to have a rainy-day location just in case.
Decide how you want to communicate with one another and create a contact list. You may want to set up an email group, such as Yahoo! Groups, to keep the calendar and communicate with one another.
Have fun with your playgroup. Encourage each member to follow the guidelines that your decided upon as a group.
Schedule periodic parents-only meetings to discuss how the group is going and talk about any issues. Be sure that any changes to the group or new families added to the group are agreed upon by all members of the playgroup.