Ava Painting

Ava and I have been going to St Andrew’s Playgroup for the past 18 months and it is a lot of fun. It is great for Ava to play with kids of all different ages in a very casual environment and it is wonderful for me to sit down, have a cup of tea and a chat with the other parents in the group.

Ava At Playgroup

This year I joined the committee to be a part of something and it is kind of nice getting out once a term to attend the committee meetings; eating brownies and drinking tea while we all get carried away and the 1 hour meeting turns into 2 and a half. Working from home can be quite isolating and it is important for me to make connections in other ways otherwise I will go a little batty. I also knew that I had a skill to offer, so at the beginning of the year outlined a plan to design a new logo, build the branding and improve community awareness of our wonderful organisation. With the help of an amazing publicity and fundraising subcommittee we have achieved far more than that and the committee as a whole have been phenominal.

St Andrew's Playgroup design

Despite some roles in the committee have not been filled, this group of parents have achieved amazing things and it was all recognised last week when we were awarded the Ministers Award for Innovation and Excellence at Playgroup’s Victoria inaugural Playgroup Awards.

This award was presented by Minister for Children & Early Childhood Development, Wendy Lovell who said “St Andrew’s was saved by an inspirational group of mothers who worked hard to strengthen the playgroup’s links with local maternal and child health nurses and new mothers groups. These mums understood the importance of playgroup not just for them but for future families – for the friendships and support that happens at playgroup.”

For me she got it spot on. I am so proud of these people and have been thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

The awards night was held at the Arts Centre in Melbourne and was so much fun. We were thrilled to be finalists and felt that it was a wonderful acknowledgment of our efforts and yes, it was another reason to get out of the house mid-week and leave our children’s bedtimes to the husbands. So when we sat down after the award for our category was given to someone else we just relaxed a bit. Our co-ordinator Jane, relieved not to have to give her speech, drank her champagne and Ange and I gave our attention to social networking, giving the rest of our group a positive story on facebook before we broke the sad news. Then our name was called out and I don’t think there was a person in the room who wasn’t aware to the shock we were in at receiving the award, it was such an amazing feeling.

Awards Night - Phone Pics

(please excuse the low grade yet hilarious phone pics from the night)

The night was ran beautifully. There were roaming comedians on entry, Dave O’Neil was MC and there was such a high calibre of presenters including the author of ‘Raising Boys’ and ‘Raising Girls’, Steve Biddulph. It was enlightening to see how many different people are involved in Playgroups Victoria and the playgroups themselves. There are many different playgroup models and it takes some dedicated individuals to keep them running.

Oh and there were also goody bags with lovely bath towels, Eco Store soaps and Baci chocolates.