Patron Sam sings playgroup praises
AS THE mother of two young boys, Australian swimming legend Samantha Riley usually has her hands full but her local weekly playgroup at Elanora gives her and the kids a chance to mix and to play.
Samantha, as patron of this year's National Playgroup Day which is next Tuesday, is helping to raise awareness of playgroups as well as the day's theme of "Let's Get Physical", in response to the spreading obesity affecting many Australian children.
The former world champion breastroker attends Pippies Playgroup at the Elanora Community Centre with her sons Isaac, 2, and Lucas, 18 months, each week to take part in a couple of hours of activities, which cost about $3.
"Some days are quite long for a mum, and playgroups are a chance to get out of the house, tire the kids out and meet other mums," the 32-year-old said.
Sam and her husband Tim Fydler, who works at a real estate agency at Rainbow Bay, split their time between Palm Beach and Brisbane where she operates two swimming schools.
"The kids love it at playgroup, they're a fantastic resource in our communities, allowing our kids to socialise and explore in a fun, learning environment," she said.
Activities such as painting, play dough, dress-ups, gluing "and all those messy fun activities", she said, were on offer at playgroups which she recommended to anyone looking after young children.
Pippies Playgroup co-ordinator Megan Stovin said playgroups accepted children from newborns to five years "so it's a good mix".
"Lots of mums who have moved here from interstate come here and meet new people and their kids, of course, have lots of fun," she said.
National Playgroup Day will be celebrated by more than 8000 playgroups across Australia.
The nearest playgroups can be found through www.playgroupaustralia.com.au or by calling 1800171882 toll free.