POPPY (Parents Opportunity to Participate in Play with their Young) Playgroup – South coast Illawarra

Supported playgroups for parents with a mental illness and young children

POPPY Playgroup is a supported playgroup for parents of children 0-5 years where the parent has a diagnosed mental illness. The Playgroup supports parents to play with children giving particular attention to children’s development and play interests and also offers information sessions featuring guest speakers.

The sessions include information on child development and related behaviour issues, stress management, nutrition information, speech therapy, early literacy, child safety, mental health issues, toilet training, family budgeting, Quit smoking, meditation and informal discussions on a variety of subjects initiated by the parents.

The sessions feature regular visits from professionals (eg paediatric registrar, speech pathologist and librarian).

POPPY Playgroup also incorporates Circle of Security parent/child attachment group learning with health services from time to time. Parents have the opportunity to participate in groupwork with a trained facilitator to develop parenting skills and strategies to build on their relationship with their child. Child minding is provided and this groupwork is optional for participating families attending playgroup.

Referrals to a wide variety of health, child and family services in the community are available upon request. Families can also be assisted with pre-school and school entry for children.

A program is developed each term to stimulate the development and learning of the children attending. Activities include early literacy and play experiences. A program of activities is planned each week for children such as play dough, painting, construction toys, books, stories and physical activities. Workers set up activities and model play techniques with the young children, including age appropriate redirection of children’s behaviour demonstrating to parents how to manage children in a positive way. Age appropriate behaviours are explained.

Parents and children are encouraged to participate in the planning of lunch which is provided.

Transport is supplied for the families who require assistance.

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For use by families where a parent has a mental illness, their supporters, and services who work with them.