Are you a parent or carer with young children living in Cairns? 

The Benevolent Society’s Cairns & Gordonvale Early Years Centres are running a FREE Play & Grow program every Thursday morning during school term, from 9:30am-12:30pm at Earlville Shopping Town.  

It’s an opportunity for families to engage with their children aged 0-5 years and connect with other parents in the community. Supported by early childhood educators, as well as child and family practitioners, the early play experiences range from singing and music, to art and craft activities, story time and much more.  

“Our Play & Grow program supports families to provide their children with quality parent-child time that supports child development and parent-child relationships,” says Cassy Bishop, Manager of The Benevolent Society’s Cairns and Gordonvale Early Years Centres.  

Why you should consider joining a playgroup 

According to parenting website Raising Children, playgroups are beneficial to both children and their caregivers. Kids have the opportunity to try out new and creative activities, play with other children of different ages and learn to interact with adults other than their own parents or carers.  
For adults, playgroups are a chance to meet new people and make new friends: share tips, concerns, ideas and experiences; and learn more about your community.  

“There are many benefits,” Cassy says. “It strengthens parent self-efficacy, builds awareness and engagement in a child’s development, boosts secure attachment and increases child development across many domains, including physical and social.” 

Cassy adds that parents need support to ‘build their village’. “Friends can be there 24/7,” she says. “More directly, it has many benefits for improved parental mental health and combats feelings of social isolation and loneliness.” 

Ruth and Kylie smiling in their playroup space
Ruth (Early Childhood Educator) and Kylie (Child & Family Practitioner) at Play & Grow 

Hooray for Play 

The Play & Grow program has been running at Earlville Shopping Town since April 2021, the convenient location making it easily accessible for families. 
“Our playgroups are held in the community in places, like Earlville Shopping Town, where families go as part of their everyday routine,” Cassy says. “We were looking for ways to put a playgroup into the minds of people who may not know about them, or even think of them as a place to get support.” 
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with parents enjoying the convenience and accessibility of the location,” Cassy says. “Others have said how Play & Grow has boosted their confidence and enhanced their connection to their children.” 

WHAT:  Play & Grow program run by The Benevolent Society’s Cairns & Gordonvale Early Years Centres. 
WHERE: Earlville Shopping Town (near Food Court) – 537 Mulgrave Road, Earlville, Queensland. 
WHEN: Every Thursday of school term from 9.30am - 12.30pm. 
COST: FREE early learning play experiences for families with children aged 0-5 years. 
For more information about Play & Grow, email [email protected] or call 07 4034 6800. You can also join the Facebook group