Playing their cards right
By FELICITY JAMES
"WE'VE won" proclaims the sign in the front window of Tweed Heads Twin Towns Play- group premises in Tweed Heads. The Twin Towns Playgroup was awarded the Best Country Multi Session Playgroup in NSW at the Playgroup NSW annual general meeting in Syd- ney in September which also incorporated the NSW Play- group of the Year awards. To qualify for this award, a NSW rural area playgroup needed to hold one more ses- sion of playgroup a week and comply with a number of crite- ria guidelines. The playgroup's co-ordinator Kylie Parker and treasurer Charmayne Chorlton were on hand in Sydney to accept the award. For their efforts, the play- group received an engraved plaque, a cash prize and a num- ber of toys and books for the children. Ms Parker, who has two boys enrolled, described her reaction as "one of surprise". "We were pretty stoked to be chosen, we knew we were final- ists against Tamworth but we were shocked, but very proud to have the plaque up on our wall," Ms Parker said. Anne Westmoreland, the Twin Towns Playgroup's secretary, who has two girls enrolled as well, said the playgroup was unique because of its history of generational members. "Parents that have brought
their children here are now bringing their grandchildren, it keeps our small community playgroup going strong," Ms Westmoreland said. Presently there are approxi- mately 65 parents who are members, with a combined number of approximately 130 children. Dr John Irvine, a renowned
child psychologist, attended the AGM as guest speaker and told the gathering that playgroups were not just for kids. "Parents need to play just as much as the kids and at times the parents benefit more than the children," Dr Irvine said. Ms Parker described going to the playgroup as one of the best things she had done.
"Coming to playgroup is like an outing not only for the chil- dren but for myself as well," she said. "I have met some really great friends that are good for sup- port. "It helps to know that you are not the only one who has children and who deals with the issues related to them.
"Sometimes it's nice to have an adult conversation as well." The Twin Towns Playgroup holds sessions from Tuesday to Friday and has been in opera- tion for over 20 years. The playgroup's ultimate aim is to provide support to both parents and children and also to create a safe learning envi- ronment for the children.