Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos presented the Woodend Playgroup with the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence at a special awards ceremony at the Melbourne Aquarium.

It was a great achievement for the group which competed with playgroups across the state to take out the award.

The playgroup has formed particularly close links with other organisations within and beyond Woodend to foster a strong sense of community around its members and activities.

These organisations include the Woodend Library to promote the importance of books and literacy for children, and Maternal and Child Health.

As part of moves to promote a safe and supportive environment the playgroup holds a two-hour open session each week where members can come along and meet other families and organisations.

Other creative pursuits include a bush playgroup held on a Saturday where children and parents can take part in a pram-friendly bush walk in the Macedon Ranges to get in touch with nature.

The Victoria Annual Playgroup Awards, run by Playgroup Victoria, recognise the crucial role of playgroups in bringing children, families and communities together. About 40,000 children from 25,000 Victorian families are involved in a community playgroup at any one time.

PGV is a not-for-profit organisation representing playgroups across the state. It is funded by membership, fundraising and government grants, including $160,000 a year from the Victorian Government.

At the awards evening Ms Mikakos announced an extra $200,000 for PGV to build stronger connections between Maternal and Child Health First Time Parent Groups and community playgroups.


Mary-Anne Thomas said “you need your community more than ever when you have young children, which is why playgroups are so important. They link families, reduce social isolation, and connect people into local services and supports.”