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What is a playgroup or play school?

Play groups, also known as play schools, are usually a standalone service, also known as a sessional service, where children receive between three and a half and five hours of care per day. These can be traditional services, or those based on a specific educational formula like Montessori.

The routine is, as the name suggests, centred on play based education for three to four year olds, but there are also scheduled times for meals, play, resting and arts and crafts or even out door time.

Generally, children will either attend a play group in the morning, between about 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. or in the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

While play groups may not be the ideal child care solution for parents who work full days, it does offer a valuable service to those who are looking for a structured environment in which to get their children ready for formal education, and for whom the hours are less important than the curriculum.

More questions

For many parents, child minders are the best child care option. Use this list to find out whether you’ve found the right one.
Finding quality childcare isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you know what to look for.
How your baby is looked after in childcare can have a long lasting impact on development, so it’s important to make informed choices.
Play is the single most important learning tool that young children have at their disposal.
Choosing the right child care is important to your child’s development – now and in future. Fortunately, there are some clear signs that the childcare you are considering is a good one.
The so called ‘formative’ years truly are one of the most important periods in any child’s development, and it’s important that parents and caregivers facilitate learning during this time.
Helping your child to learn during the early years sets him or her up for a lifetime of successful learning.
If you’re looking at several sessional preschools, and cannot come to a decision on a particular one, then looking at our checklist can help.
A play school or play group is a great choice if you want to prepare your child for formal schooling, and don’t need to have full day care.
A crèche is one of the better known child care options that offers full day services to a wide range of ages.



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