CONNECTION: Local mothers enjoy time with each other and their children at a recent indigenous playgroup held at South Gladstone State School.
CONNECTION: Local mothers enjoy time with each other and their children at a recent indigenous playgroup held at South Gladstone State School. CONTRIBUTED

Indigenous playgroup benefits families through socialisation

A LOCAL indigenous playgroup will gather for a third time this week and organisers say its exclusivity will benefit the children's futures in society.

Lyn Hughes is an early childhood consultant with The Pyjama Foundation and wants to make the program at South Gladstone State School more available to the indigenous community.

"It's very early days and we have had enquiries about other people but we've decided to keep it as an indigenous playgroup," she said.

Ms Hughes said there was a reason for this and it was not discrimination.

"Traditionally playgroups are mothers who get together to help their children play and socialise together," she said.

"So in Gladstone, there aren't that many indigenous ladies who are at other playgroups.

"The group of mothers have something in common; in this case it's being indigenous and getting together to help their children develop through play."

The group is a partnership between the Gladstone South State School, Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited's communities for children and the Nhulundu Health Service.

"We have a local committee here, its charter is to provide interventions that help children, with their health and well-being 0-12 within the Gladstone community," Ms Hughes said.

Gooreng Gooreng elder Richard Johnson said the group would not only help indigenous children but the wider community.

"It will break down some of those barriers. If you get access to kids at an early age, then you can overcome problems with racism and misinformation," he said.

Mr Johnson said this style of early teaching could not be worse than what had been tried before.

"A lot of problems when I was going to school all seem to be there today," he said.

"And that was a long time ago."

The program may get more help in the future as the federal government early this month announced a $1.5 billion commitment to the Family Support Program for four years from 2014.

This includes GAPDL's C4C (Communities for Children) Child and Family Centre but will depend on the election outcome.

Details

  • Every Wednesday 10am-1pm
  • Gladstone South State School
  • Lunch provided
  • A bus service available between 9-10am and 1-2pm
  • More information, call GAPDL - 4972 1184