The ‘Play, Learn, Grow’ Program

Parents and carers have already been doing an amazing job during these challenging times. This program ‘Play, Learn, Grow’ has been designed to provide families with information and ideas of easy activities to do at home. Play Learn Grow is a text message program for parents and carers of two-year-old and three-year-old children in Victoria. It has been developed by the Victorian Government in collaboration with leading early childhood experts.

It provides parents and carers with information, practical advice and easy activities that can support your child’s learning, development, health and wellbeing at home.

Parents and carers receive three text messages a week for the duration of the program. The program is specifically designed to support:

  • The learning, development, health and wellbeing needs of children aged two or three, laying the foundations for children to have success later in life, and
  • Parent and carer wellbeing as they balance a range of commitments.

Whilst we shared this programme with our families in the Jumbo Bulletin some time back, if you haven’t signed up already, to take part, sign up to the ‘Play, Learn, Grow’ program online or text PLAY to 0428 606 027.

It is free to sign up. Participants will be able to opt-out of the program at any time.

This program recognises that the first few years of life are critical for brain development, and that quality experiences during this time paves the way for good health and wellbeing throughout life.

We thought it worthwhile to share ten of the most recent text messages that have been received, enjoy!:

  1. Use size, shape and number words as you’re chatting to your child during the day. For example, when sorting through the washing, talk about how the sheets and pillowcases are big and little rectangles. How many socks are there? How many pairs of sock are there? Count then together?
  2. Size, shape and number are building blocks for numeracy. Helping your child notice these things now gets their brain ready for learning maths later. Next time you’re out walking, let your child gather a mix of leaves, pebbles and other natural items. Then they can line them up biggest to smallest or put them into groups based on colour or shape.
  3. Doing something special for yourself like taking time to call a friend, is one way to better recharge your batteries and stay connected while we are all apart. If me-time is hard to come by, that’s OK. Just getting down on the floor with your child and letting them play can also be rejuvenating. This shared time is great for you both.
  4. One way to save energy is to be less demanding of yourself. If you can’t find the time for a special activity, don’t worry – why not involve your child in household activities like cooking or doing the laundry? They will have great fun and learning just by tossing a salad or pairing socks with you!
  5. Taking good care of your child and managing other demands takes a lot of energy. With coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in place, this may feel amplified, so remember to conserve your energy and regularly recharge your battery by looking after yourself. Try finding some time each day just for yourself or doing something you enjoy instead of finishing a chore. Looking after yourself is not only good for you, it’s good for your child.
  6. When you teach a child a new skill, be playful. Have a giggle together if they put their shirt on backwards, but also tell them its great! It often takes many tries to learn. Keep celebrating your child’s efforts as well as outcomes. You are helping them build confidence and are encouraging them to keep trying.
  7. Teaching the last step in a task first is motivating because it brings success sooner. For example, dress your child until they need to pull down their jumper. Then tell, show and help them do that step. When they master that, teach the second- last step – arms in sleeves. And so on.
  8. Take advantage of your child wanting to be more independent by helping them learn new skills. For tasks that have a number of steps, like getting dressed, teach one step at a time. First explain why & how, then show and guide them through each step. It might take practice but supporting your child to try things on their own is a great way to help them learn and succeed.
  9. Keep using words to describe your feelings and your child’s feelings. Learning words for feelings now will help your child express themself when big issues come up later in life. And understanding that other people have feelings will help them learn to relate to other people.
  10. Imaginative play with toys or puppets is one way to help your child learn about emotions – especially strong emotions like frustration that can be difficult for them to understand and talk about.