Friday, December 31, 2010

End of an era

Although this is predominantly a craft blog, it is also a record, a journal of various events in my life that I would like to remember or mark in some way.  One such event, which I felt I needed to document before this year is over, is the end of my and my children's association with Playgroup.  I am putting these words down I suppose mostly for my own benefit,because Playgroup has played such a big, big part in my life over the past five years.  I have learnt so much and grown so much as a person.  I have gained skills and confidence.  I feel I am a better person for it.  It is something I will truly miss.

Within weeks of Miss A being born in 2004 I began to attend a regular mother's group at my local
Early Childhood Centre.  As a new mum with absolutely no idea what I was doing this was a much needed opportunity to interact and talk with others going through the same baby related things as me, at the same time as me. 
After some months it was suggested to us (the mother's group) by the clinic nurse that perhaps we should consider starting our own playgroup, as our suburb currently didn't have one. 

With some help and guidance from Playgroup NSW we did just that. 
Three mum's including myself started the group and as there needed to be three committee members, hey presto I became the Treasurer. 
So I was very involved with Playgroup from the word go! 

At the time when Miss B was born (literally the day after) in April 2006, my growing family and I moved suburbs.  So I said goodbye to the first playgroup I was a part of. 

2006 for me and my family was frought with ill health (predominantly my two daughters). 
It was a very hard year. 
My confidence as a person and a mother was sorely tested and greatly deminished. 
I struggled quite a bit. 

By the start of 2007 Miss A was 2 and a half years old.  If I had to describe Miss A, extrovert and social butterfly are terms that spring readily to mind.  After being close to housebound (or hospital bound) for 12 months she n.e.e.d.e.d. some form of social interaction. 

birthdays and graduation
And so it was I resumed my connection with Playgroup by finding one in my area.  With a small baby in tow, I had no intention of taking on a committee position, but every Thursday, week in and week out, we attended Playgroup.
This was an absolute highlight of our week.  Just what we needed.  Not only was it a time to spend playing with my children but also the opportunity to mix with adults!  

As time went on, this Playgroup became an integral part of our weekly routine.  Other things could wait or be postponed - but not playgroup.  Miss A and Miss B just would not stand for it. 
It wasn't always easy as I don't have a car and the playgroup was in the next suburb.  So the girls and I had to catch a bus to get there.  But that too was half the fun.  

four years worth of Christmas'
After about a year, the time came to elect a new committee.  Unable to help myself, I put my hand up for the position of Co-Ordinator.  This meant I held the keys and was responsible for opening/closing, set up/pack up, craft activites, replenishing stock, organising outings and special events, plus more............ phew!  I did not do ANY of this alone.  Playgroup works on a volunteer basis, and all members are expected, no make that needed, to chip in and do their bit for it to work.  But all ships need a Captain right? and I was wearing the hat!

What had been a small group of about four mum's when I joined had suddenly exploded to about ten mum's (so 15 to 20 kids) by this stage.  Things were not always easy with that many kids but somehow we always managed to make it work.  And I always went home every week feeling great.  I really loved it.

I held the position of Co-Ordinator for two years running, which is the maximum time allowed (rules you know) and then this year, moved into the role of Secretary.  So, for four out of the five years I've been a member of Playgroup I have held a position on the Committee.

Although I have been more relaxed and organised then in previous years, this year threw up it's own hurdles.  Last year (2009) we had about eight children (including my Miss A) leave playgroup to go on to 'big school' or pre-school.  Most of the members continued to come this year with our other children so we still had roughly 15 kids. 

The start of each year always sees an influx of new members, but this year we were swamped.  Absolutely inundated  - to the point where for the sake of safety and sanity, we had to start turning people away.  Not something I like doing, as I know from my own experience Playgroup can be a lifeline.  But with more than 30 children now in our group it was really getting to be too much.  But the real difficulty lay in the fact we now had children ranging in age from 5 1/2, down to several newborns!!!  The older children, including Miss B, were beginning to find playgroup abit old hat and began playing very..........energetically.  With babies and toddlers around this caused some heart in the mouth moments. 

Then, in October, and almost in unison, the mother's with older children - women and children who I had formed friendships with and watched grow from babies to confident, beautiful children - who I had been seeing every week at Playgroup for the last one, two, some even three or four years, stopped coming to playgroup.  But we still had a large group, and lot's of lovely mum's and children, so although I was sad I was still very busy each week.

It was then that I really had to assess whether Playgroup was still relevant for Miss B and I.  For you see although Miss B will turn 5 next April and was accepted to start Kindergarden next year, we decided to hold her back until 2012.  I assumed when I made this descision that we would continue to attend playgroup next year.  But then I realised that all the older kids, her friends, would be moving on from playgroup next year and the average age of children in our group will be 2 1/2 - 3 y.o.  The signs were there too, that she had outgrown playgroup - she was bored.

So at the beginning of November, when we had our AGM, I advised the group I would be leaving at the end of this year.

As per last year, I organised a Graduation Ceremony for all the children leaving playgroup at the end of the year.  Each child was presented with a Playgroup NSW attendance certificate and a library bag made by me.

Miss A and Miss B's Grandpa - 'Santa' and I
We held our annual Christmas Party during the final playgroup session for this year. And as per every other year we had a special visit from Santa to hand out presents to all the children. 
I thought it especially fitting and touching that this year it was my girls Grandpa who played the part of Santa (and did so superbly at that!) but also because Miss A started school holidays the day before, she got to attend playgroup with Miss B and I.

And so a long and happy association has ended. 

I was presented at the end of the Christmas party with a gorgeous bunch of flowers.

And although it was never my intention to send my children to pre-school, I realise Miss B will need some structure and stimulation coming from someone other than me next year.  She will be five years old for a good portion of the year so I have enrolled her in a pre-school just across the road from Miss A's primary school for one day a week next year. 
This too will mean that for the first time in six years I will now have one day a week to myself.

So to the end of an era and the beginning of new things...................................

Happy New Year


  1. Oh, I know that mixed bag of emotions, I truly do. I also have not a doubt in my mind that there will be other roles for you as your kidlets grow and the involvement of Mums is every bit as important!

  2. Hej Fran
    Oh this post takes me back...
    It really is an important and formative part of your childrens lives ...and as you a Mum it definitely it gives you confidence to grow!
    Nothing ever stays the same...
    Another era now and new and exciting things...
    Whoop! One day to yourself each week, that's a good feeling isn't it? What have you got planned?
    Wishing your daughters fun & happy days at school.
    Wishing you a healthy and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!
    See you next year!

  3. Isn't it a strange feeling for everything to be moving on so much. With my big girl starting school this year I had a strange feeling of loss but excitement at the same time. And I'm hoping to get my little girl in to pre-school this year. She so wants to go, and I think it will do me good to have a bit of one on one time with my boy, but again it's a big change!

    Hey, enjoy your kid-free time coming up! I'm a year of 2 away still, but looking forward to it, in a positive way!

    Happy new year Fran! I hope it brings all you wish for and more x

  4. Yay, Fran! Good on you, sis. You've put a lot of energy and commitment into the Playgroup experience and that phase of your life. Here's to enjoying the next phase.
    Love, Mish xx


Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, you've just made my day!