Supported playgroups have been developed as a way to provide low intensity support to families. They are facilitated playgroups that may also provide health and wellbeing services to parents and carers of infants and young children. Supported playgroups are typically run by a trained facilitator or co-ordinator and are generally delivered in a group setting on a weekly basis, with both the parent/carer and child present. Community based services such as schools, kindergartens and child health services often provide the setting for these groups.
The Evidence Brief involved a targeted search of the literature on supported playgroups. There is limited high-quality evidence to suggest that supported playgroups have benefits for improving child outcomes. Few studies report the impact of these programs on child outcomes and the quality of the research is low. Preliminary research findings suggest that attending supported playgroups may result in benefits to children across a range of outcomes including physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and school readiness. Attending supported playgroups may be beneficial for assisting the family to better engage with the community as a whole. Attending supported playgroups may also be beneficial for assisting the family to better engage with the community as a whole. From the initial research available, it seems that supported playgroups with specific interventions attached have better quality evidence for their benefits than other kinds of supported playgroups.