In Term 4 2015 we were selected from our application to take part in the new project through Wyndham Council that is an extension of local play groups; to introduce and educate parents about learning through play.
Today’s society is so busy being parents, adults, working, house hold chores, running to extracurricular activities for our children, we all tend to get a bit lost and forget to play with our children. Play is the most valuable experience that we can give our children, it encourages so many learning opportunities, the experience and learning that this produces for your child/ren is endless. Parents are the child’s first teacher.
We also as adults in Australia have grown up in a society that is very different to those parents who have arrived in Australia from other countries. The philosophy on parenting and learning for children in each individual country is very different. A lot of parents come from countries where childhood has been very academic based and children are made to go to school or learning environments from such an early age, that they are missing out on the most valuable life skills, imagination development and personal development. These important factors in a child’s development all lead into the academic things we want to see our children achieve such as reading, writing and numeracy.
The Wyndham Council Play Expo has been run once a term from late 2015 in numerous different locations to be able to attract different areas of parents and children, along with different cultures and demographics. This was designed purposely to capture as many families as possible in Wyndham covering the districts 572 square kilometres.
Locations of the play expo have occurred at Werribee Plaza, Tarneit Community Centre, Point Cook Town Centre and Wyndham Vale Community Centre. The final expo for 2016 will be held on the Friday 4th of November in a twilight session from 4pm to 7pm trying to capture working families to be able to attend, being held at the Hoppers Crossing Youth Resource Centre.
Kristin and Bec have been leading the involvement with Wyndham, designing experiences for each expo and working in with other local agencies such as local libraries, kindergartens, maternal child health, Vic University and Gordon TAFE.
Our experiences for all exhibitors are based around what parents can do at home with their children that are encouraging learning through play. As a service we have been providing cooking, icing cupcakes and fruit kebabs, and also threading with recycled homely materials for parents to see that everyday tasks or things that they have in the cupboard, provide learning.
The attendance of families has been huge and we have had great feedback on local social media pages and in the local media throughout the events.
We are hoping that the council has seen this as a valuable experience and that it will continue quarterly for years to come.