The biggest & best toy to ever grace playgroup!
What a morning! NSW Fire & Rescue Bondi Station made a memorable visit to Francis St that left both children and adults beaming with excitement. The arrival of the fire engine at the park was met with squeals of delight from the little ones, their eyes wide with wonder as they realised they were about to meet real-life firefighters.
As the children gathered around the firetruck, their faces lit up with curiosity and awe. Under the guidance of Andrew, our very own playgroup dad & “Fireman Sam,” the toddlers and preschoolers got the chance to get up close and personal with the fire engine. Getting the long hose out and watering the park was a highlight for many! Of course we also had a blast testing out the siren, making the lights flash, and exploring every nook and cranny of the fire engine. The children also met a firefighter dressed in their rescue gear – while the breathing apparatus and protective gear can look scary, the children learnt that this is the person who will guide them to safety in a fire emergency. If you would like to continue this lesson at home, NSW Fire & Rescue has some great educational videos on their Youtube channel.
Meanwhile, the adults also got an education in fire safety:
- never leave lithium batteries charging unattended, they are major fire hazard;
- likewise, don’t dispose of lithium batteries in your regular garbage, seek out safe recycling options (eg Waverley Council customer service, Waverley Library and Officeworks are a few good local options)
- make sure you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in your home (you can buy them from Bunnings); and
- ensure your home has smoke alarms and regularly check they are working.
A huge thanks to Andrew and his colleagues for taking time out of their shift to make our morning super special. Make sure you wave to engine 076 next time you see them out on the streets of Bondi!
More photos as always on our Instagram @bondibeachplaygroups
July 2023: We are better together!
Playgroup is best when everyone pitches in to help set up. Here’s a 3 year old leading the way… yes, we trusted him with the hose!
Please arrive knowing that some set up is needed, and that it’s up to all of us to run playgroup. Our volunteers are attending with their children too, and can’t do it all on their own. Not sure what to do? Ask or follow others lead! Put out some toys, a mat to sit on, chairs for adults, build the train set, set up some obstacles. There is plenty to do. Get your toddler involved, helping is learning.
If you are not up for lifting equipment, you can welcome new attendees and show them how to sign in/pay, where to park the pram, where the toilets are, introduce them to others and include them in your conversations. Be the person you would like to meet on your first day at a new group.
At the end, everyone packs up, sweep out the hall, tidy the kitchen, tidy up the craft. Maybe lead the kids with a parachute play or a story? (Again, perfect job if you’re not lifting equipment). It helps if the children are distracted and makes it easier for everyone to get home for lunch & nap time
We are better when we do it together!
June 2023: New resources are coming!
Bondi Beach Playgroups is not-for-profit, and all of our attendance fees go towards covering our modest budget. We have regular expenses like venue hire, printing, craft and kitchen supplies. But we also save up for special events and new equipment.
We know our water play tables at Wairoa Ave and Vaucluse are really popular, but unfortunately we didn’t have anything similar at Francis St. With the growth of this playgroup, it was time to refresh the resources, and water play was high on the list. Enter our new water play station! It’s taken us a couple of weeks to transport it over to Francis St and then build it (three adults, two allen keys and a whole bunch of toddler “helpers”) and we finally launched it last Friday.
Water play stations like this one are not just fun, but incredibly valuable for developing a whole range of skills. Children learn about concepts of depth and movement as they play with the pumps, tubes, scoops, cups and funnels. The table is at a height where they can interact with other children and problem-solve and experiment together. The table can be used with water, foam, bubbles and other sensory textures, which introduces creativity and enhances the sense of discovery. Play is learning!
The table is excellent quality and has been purchased from a reputable supplier to the education industry. It is sturdy, easy to manoeuvre and built to last.
We’ll be doing plenty of water play over the next couple of months. It’s a good idea to bring along a change of clothes, towel and/or raincoat so your child can fully participate in the splashy fun.
Thanks to all of our playgroup participants who chip in every week. Many collections of a couple of dollars translates into quality equipment and great experiences for all of our children. There’s more to come, thanks to a new grant from Waverley Council, but we’ll save that for the next update. Watch this space!
May 2023: Celebrating our Change Makers in National Volunteer Week 2023
Did you know that Bondi Beach Playgroups is fully run by a team of parent volunteers?
The volunteers are all dedicated to creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for families to connect and play. They turn up, with their own children in tow, to open the doors and start the set up of the toys and resources. Each playgroup session welcomes children, parents and other carers, to meet, share and learn through play in an unstructured and supportive community environment.
Without our volunteers, we simply couldn’t open the doors each week.
They are a wonderful bunch of people, and it’s really lovely to see friendships forming as they work together. Some of our volunteers come to us as a pair of friends wanting to host a session together; others don’t know anyone but can see that being part of a team is a great way to find friends in the neighbourhood. We host a volunteer-only playgroup each term so that we can get together and discuss ideas for playgroup, and also to enjoy the social connections we’ve made (both children and adults!).
Our team was recently featured on Eastern Suburbs Mums to honour National Volunteer Week and you can read more about us here . We’ve also featured a bunch of volunteer profiles over on our Instagram page. If you are interested in joining our team, you can find more information on our volunteering page.
April 2023: Summer is over, the rain is here, but playgroup marches on!
We’re often asked, “is playgroup on if it’s raining?”. Well, the past week proves the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!”. It was absolutely bucketing down for most of our sessions this week, so we maximised our indoor spaces and donned raincoats & wellies for the outdoor time. There were epic train set-ups (we’re calling Petra at Wairoa the Train Queen!) and indoor obstacle courses (thanks Tom our school-aged helper for a cracking design). Playdough was super popular at Wairoa, it’s always a great option for a rainy day. At Francis St, we got a bit muddy and foraged for worms & snails, and even built a “snail hotel” for our new little friends! We also set up some fairy gardens under the fig trees. It sure beats staying at home!
March 2023: Harmony Week Storytime with Waverley Council and Waverley Library at Wairoa Ave
Under sunny skies at Wairoa Ave, we welcomed new and regular play groupers to a morning of stories, craft and connection in recognition of Harmony Week. It was wonderful to see parents, grandparents, children and other carers gathered together to connect, share and play.
We are very grateful for Waverley Council’s support of our playgroups – not just for special events like this one, but for ongoing financial grants and our wonderful venues. Special thanks to Nicole and Stella for not just your help in planning and organising, but being there on the day to welcome families to Wairoa Ave.
Of course, the stories were a highlight! Michael from Waverley Library sure can engage young children and inspire all of us to be storytellers. Waverley Library hosts rhyme time every week, and you can find the schedule on their website. It’s the perfect complement to playgroup in your weekly routine!
Thanks also to Fiona and the Playgroup NSW team for support (and cupcake delivery!). They are always behind the scenes helping our committee and introducing new playgroup participants to our groups. Your help is very much appreciated by the Bondi Beach Playgroups committee.