BUSY HANDS: Flor and Ernesto Valencia, 2, Playgroup Queensland Gladstone’s Debbie Flaherty and Sneha and Vivaan Shetty, 3, at the I Play Gladstone Central State School playgroup’s first meeting for 2015.
BUSY HANDS: Flor and Ernesto Valencia, 2, Playgroup Queensland Gladstone’s Debbie Flaherty and Sneha and Vivaan Shetty, 3, at the I Play Gladstone Central State School playgroup’s first meeting for 2015. Paul Braven GLAPLAY

Gladstone playgroups ready to welcome new members

LOCAL playgroups have started for the year but Playgroup Queensland Gladstone representative Debbie Flaherty said new families were still welcome to join.

The start of the year is generally a quieter time for playgroups and there are plenty of spaces available.

"Today I wasn't expecting such a great turnout after the weather we had last night. It's just great to see everyone again," Debbie said.

"It's great for mums to share their experiences of their child's development through play. There's always a lovely atmosphere."

She is preparing for National Playgroup Day on March 27, when the organisation will host a playgroup celebration - a "little kids' expo" - at Gladstone PCYC.

Flor Valencia and her son Ernesto, 2, attend Gladstone Central State School's I Play Playgroup.

"I like it because it's supervised and they actually learn things here," she said.

The family has lived in Gladstone for more than a year. Mum and son go to playgroup once a week and little Ernesto loves it.

"He likes to play with the water and the ladders," she said.

"When we pass by here on the street and he sees people here he just wants to come in and play."

Sneha Shetty takes her three-year-old son Vivaan to playgroup to help him develop physically, socially and mentally.

The family has lived in Gladstone for two years.

"(Playgroup is) for the mums too, because we get to meet plenty of other mums. This year Vivaan will start day care, but I'll still be taking him to playgroups," she said.

Sneha said her son particularly enjoyed playing with water and digging in the sand pit.

"It's a good platform for interaction. At playgroup all the other kids are playing too and they all join in."

There are more than 20 playgroups in the Gladstone area, suitable for children aged 0-5.

For more information on playgroups or to find a group near you, visit www.playgroupqueensland.com.au or phone 1800 171 882.



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