The parents and parishioners of today would hardly believe it, but when a playgroup was first mooted for Dungog Uniting Church there were more than a few raised eyebrows
The popular playgroup is celebrating 30 years in the church’s Dowling Street hall and its co-ordinator Pam Lawrence has been there since the beginning.
“People wouldn’t believe now that there was once such opposition to the playgroup,” she laughed.
One of the concerns was that the hall would be damaged by the children.
The parishioners quickly realised what an asset the playgroup was and it has been thriving for 30 years, well supported by the church which has even installed a sandpit for the children.
“I could see a great need for it then and now,” said Mrs Lawrence.
“Some great friendships have been formed and the little ones get to play while the parents can actually see them play and get involved.”
The playgroup was started by a former Minister’s wife, Fiona Brown, and despite Mrs Lawrence’s children being too old to attend she became involved from the beginning.
“I’ve looked after children for 41 years and I’ve always brought them along to playgroup since it started,” she said.
The playgroup is held every Wednesday from 9.30am to 12 (except for school holidays) and all denominations are welcome.
“There’s mums and dads, grandparents, carers, newborns, everyone is welcome to come along,” said Mrs Lawrence.
The playgroup costs $3 a family each week and includes the craft activity and a gift at the end of year at the much-anticipated Christmas party.
The children’s birthdays are celebrated and the transition to primary school is often met with sadness Mrs Lawrence said. Each week one of the parents is rostered on to do the craft activity.
Tamara Lye has been taking her one-year-old daughter Harper to playgroup since she was a baby.
“Harper just loves it,” she said.
“She loves that she gets to play with the other kids.”
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