You did it! You endured hours of sidesplitting contractions and an “ohmigosh, I just created life” delivery. You navigated nursing, diapering, and sleeping at the drop of a dime. You’ve endured countless hours of Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer.
And, just when you are ready to take on the world, it hits you. You want something more – a sense of belonging, a connection, for you and your child. Enter the world of playgroups.
Building a Support Community for You and Your Child
A playgroup is a group of similar-aged children (babies to school-age) and their parents that regularly meet. Playgroups invite mom to widen her friendship orb and bond with others while providing children with consistent opportunities to learn socialization and develop their own friendships.
More than that, though, playgroups offer a sense of belonging and connection. This feeling of connectedness is something each child – each person – needs. It lets him or her know that another person cares. It’s that connectedness that builds a community that supports and inspires that child and all children.
When children feel supported by a community, they have an increased interest in contributing to the community and making it function well. That interest inspires children to reciprocate by support those within that community. They begin to encourage each other’s learning. Children learn to trust, resolve conflicts peacefully, think creatively, and care for others. Children learn to take ownership for their own choices.
Children need to feel a sense of belonging, both with similar-aged peers and adults. A playgroup community provides children with adult role models who can help them develop a sense of civic and social responsibility. Those adults become a resource for a child’s learning of how the world works. Social-emotional and academic learning occurs more readily because children have fewer concerns about their place within the community.
Playgroups offer us a time to laugh, to cry, to talk, to listen, but most of all, playgroups offer us a time to feel – feel connected to other parents, connected to the world and ultimately connected to our families. Children are more than our future; they are our present, and playgroups have the power to embrace our children as the tomorrow’s leader today.
Interested in starting a conversation of character in your home? Check out Julie Watson Smith’s workbook, Karmic Acts of Character.