This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
A qualitative study of the role of playgroups in building community capacity
Issue addressed: Given that approximately half of all Australian families with children aged 2-3 years participate in playgroups, these settings may provide an important venue for social support and community capacity building. The aim of this study is to assess the benefits that parents and the wider community derive from such participation. Methods: We examined community capacity building opportunities through qualitative interviews conducted with a self-selected sample of 33 playgroup participants. All participants were the child’s biological mother, and many had been involved in the playgroup committee of management, including 11 participants who were currently, or had previously been, a playgroup coordinator. Results: We found that playgroups act as key site for building community capacity through developing community connections, skill building and creating leadership pathways. We found that playgroup committee participation was often women’s first foray into community volunteering, and often translated into future community leadership, such as kindergarten committees of management and primary school councils. Conclusions: Community playgroups play a key role in building the capacity of communities and provide a vehicle for the development of new volunteers. So What: Local governments, schools and other community organisations that rely on volunteer committees would benefit from providing support to community playgroups to foster future community leaders.
HE16124 Accepted 31 July 2017
© CSIRO 2017