Labor will give more children access to playgroups and toy libraries

Friday, 09 February 2018

Australia’s youngest minds will have better access to play-based early learning, with a Shorten Labor Government to expand community based playgroups and toy libraries with a $6.1 million grassroots grants program.

Playgroups and toy libraries help bolster social connections for both parents and children during their early years of development – that’s why Labor is investing to expand their reach.

Across Australia more than 250,000 children and families use 7,500 playgroups and 380 toy libraries, encouraging play-based learning and social development in babies and young children, and facilitating friendships and peer support for their parents and carers.

Labor’s program for playgroups and toy libraries will see grants of between $5,000 and $15,000 to individual organisations.

It will also enable Playgroups Australia and Toy Libraries Australia to expand and improve their resources, with a further $50,000 provided to each organisation to support further growth, accessibility and development of their community programs.

Labor’s $6.1 million investment in playgroups and toy libraries will provide grants to eligible groups with one off grants of:

  • $15,000 to establish new or expand existing Toy Libraries or Playgroups or undertake minor capital works. The grant will cover the costs involved in setting up or expanding, such as buying toys or refurbishing a space.
  • $5,000 for existing organisations to purchase new toys, books, paints, craft materials or other consumables.
  • $50,000 each to Playgroups Australia and Toy Libraries Australia as the peak bodies to support the expansion of toy libraries and playgroups, by developing resources, advice, information materials and provide insurance.

For many families community playgroups are often a child’s first educational experience outside the home. This is where they learn and develop through social play with other children and adults.

Labor’s commitment to playgroups and toy libraries will once again put the focus back on early education and emphasise the importance of our children’s development and social connections during their early years.

We know that Scott Morrison and the Liberals see education as a cost – that’s why they’ve cut $14 billion from public schools, left preschool funding in limbo and left one in four families accessing child care worse off.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor knows that an investment in early education is an investment in Australia’s future.

Nurturing our children in play based learning, while supporting their parents and carers to build social connections, is proven to develop smarter, healthier children and happier parents and carers.

This is the first ever Commonwealth funding program to support toy libraries and is long overdue recognition of the important support playgroups and toy libraries provide to families and children.

Today’s announcement is on top of Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program, which will see the biggest ever investment for children across Australia.

Labor sees our children as an investment and is committed to giving every child the early education opportunities they need for the best start in life.

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