Data from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children is used to examine the associations between playgroup participation and the outcomes for children aged 4 to 5 years. Controlling for a range of socio-economic and family characteristics, playgroup participation across the ages of 0-3 years was used to predict learning competence and social-emotional functioning outcomes at age 4-5 years. For learning competence, both boys and girls from disadvantaged families scored 3-4% higher if they attended playgroup when aged 0-1 and 2-3 years compared to boys and girls from disadvantaged families who did not attend playgroup. For social and emotional functioning, girls from disadvantaged families who attended playgroup when they were aged 0-1 and 2-3 years scored nearly 5% higher than those who did not attend. Demographic characteristics also showed that disadvantaged families were the families least likely to access these services. Despite data limitations, this study provides evidence that continued participation in playgroups is associated with better outcomes for children from disadvantaged families.
Hancock, K., Lawrence, D., Mitrou, F., Zarb, D., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J. M., & Zubrick, S. (2012). The association between playgroup participation, learning competence and social-emotional wellbeing for children aged four-five years in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(2), 72-81. https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911203700211