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AIBU or is that what playgroup is supposed to be?

(69 Posts)
goingwildforcrayons Thu 11-Apr-13 14:30:57

Just come back from Playgroup this morning, first time took DS.

When we arrived, there was no-one obvious who looked in charge, I had to find a person and say we were new, what did we need to do, where do we sign in, fill in any forms etc. No suprise that half way through the session, a woman came round asking everyone had they signed in as there were more kids there than on the register.

The kids were just doing their own thing whilst the parents sat around stuffing their faces with toast. Kids were walking round eating toast, the playgroup leaders/organisers were walking round eating toast (AIB stuck up to think that maybe the leaders should not be walking around scoffing toast?)

Toys were just generally dumped in different piles. Kids played on their own and I didn't see any kids mixing or playing together. I didn't expect them to all stick together like glue, but none of them made eye contact, gave a toy/shared a toy/took a toy off another, followed another around or laughed together. Ages were from about 1 year to 3 years.

I thought there might have been a couple of specific activities to do, in addition to general play, such as musical instrument corner or sing song or something but there wasn't. Or does that not happen at playgroup?

I'm going to try a different one next week and see what that is like.

Was it an actual playgroup or just a toddler group?

Sounds normal for toddler group tbh!

AugustaProdworthy Thu 11-Apr-13 14:33:33

ooh that sounds a bit unusual. Our local one, that I have only attending twice mind, did at least have a story bit and colouring bit organised. That's a Sure Start one but the local Mum organised playgroup sounds like yours- bit chaotic and disorganised. Mine was also really cliquey and post natally I just wasn't up to it.
Can you suggest an activity and lead it though?

SauvignonBlanche Thu 11-Apr-13 14:33:55

Doesn't sound like a playgroup, was it a parents & toddlers session?

schobe Thu 11-Apr-13 14:35:16

Lol at the abundance of toast.

Actually that's something of an improvement on most playgroups. Can you take your own jam, that might cheer you up a bit? And/or some gin in a hip flask?

Tbf it does sound less organised than some. You could always suggest (and lead) a sing-song at the end as that seems to be the norm.

But they're all completely grim ime. Sorry about all the neg-head downer shit but I did hate them.

Alwayscheerful Thu 11-Apr-13 14:35:46

if the parents were there it must have been a Mother & toddler group and sounds fairly normal. if it was a playgroup the parents would have been at home and it is not a group I would leave a child in.

Parsnipcake Thu 11-Apr-13 14:35:52

Structure does vary, but at our best local playgroup there are 5 volunteers ( who have children with them), who offer you a drink when you come in. You sign in and pay, there is a craft table and lots of themed areas, snack time, and then copious amounts of toast for all. We finish with singing for the last half hour. It's a mix of mums, dads, childminders, grand and nannies, and children are left/ interacted with in variable amounts. Surestart playgroups tend to be similar without the tea and toast.

DragonMamma Thu 11-Apr-13 14:36:02

Sounds pretty normal to me.

Ours is run by a couple of cm mums so they are basically just the organisers rather than 'hosting' the group.

None of the younger kids interact with one another, I'm sure my HV said that often doesn't happen until gone 2yo? My Ds is almost 2 and doesn't play with anybody, he just goes about his business whilst I catch up with people. We have free play, toast and fruit, then ride ons/cars followed by a sing song at the end.

KatAndKit Thu 11-Apr-13 14:36:04

I think that was a mums and tots group that you are describing. I don't see a problem with toast. One group round here that is on in a morning offers toast (more for the parents as the group is for under 1s) which is great as sometimes it is hard for new mums to get their own breakfast with all the other stuff you have to do in order to get out of the house on time.
If you want a specific activity (rhymetime, babycise, musical instruments, messy play) there is probably a group for that in your area, you might just be looking in the wrong place. Where I live the Sure Start centre offers all the activities that I mentioned and I went in and got a group timetable from them.

WhoPaintedTheLion Thu 11-Apr-13 14:37:00

I only ever went twice as I found it all a bit would-rather-stick-pins-in-my-eyes, but there was singing, free play, snack, organised activity, singing, home.

VacantExpression Thu 11-Apr-13 14:38:31

Sounds more like a toddler group than a playgroup to me. The toddler group i go to has someone on the door, a register, you are signed in as you pay and deal with the important stuff like whether you want tea or coffee toy wise theres tables with puzzles etc, a book corner, tracks and garages, a section for newborns with soft toys and playmats etc.
On the first time there you have to fill in a registration form with emergency contact details etc. HTH.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 11-Apr-13 14:39:27

I would LOVE your group. I hate singalongs and circle time and so does DD. DC under a certain age don't really 'play together'. I like toast.

JollyPurpleGiant Thu 11-Apr-13 14:41:49

Small children don't really play together. They do parallel play sometimes but they are not developmentally expected to play together.

Sounds like a toddler group. I prefer these as DS finds it difficult sometimes if there is too much structure and busyness.

HappyJoyful Thu 11-Apr-13 14:41:54

If this is the sort of thing I've been to and is in a local church hall and is being run by (in the case of ours kind, elderly, slightly bonkers) volunteers then YABU to criticise. It's not a private nursery.
What did you expect ?
Some are obviously run better than others and some are structured and some aren't.
As long as everyone was happy and friendly then that's all that matters to me. Doesn't suit like it suits what you're looking for? How old is your child? Perhaps you'd be better paying up for a class or something that are totally structured and drove me insane

Meglet Thu 11-Apr-13 14:43:12

Sounds quite normal for a parent + toddler group.

Personally I would prefer some songs at the end too. I'm a sucker for a round of 'Sleeping Bunnies'.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 11-Apr-13 14:44:19

It sounds perfectly normal. Some are more organised than others though. It helps if you think of it as an inside park i.e. the toys are there, but it is up to you to supervise and engage with your chiild, there is no one really in charge, the other parents will chat to each other, the kids may or may not play together, just like the park (but with toast).

Ledkr Thu 11-Apr-13 14:44:47

If its a toddler group a d thus about a pound then what do you expect?
If its a proper nursery or playgroup where you pay more and leave them then yanbu although it does sound homely.

ChilliJo Thu 11-Apr-13 14:45:20

Just to clarify, in different parts of the country groups such as these are known by different names. Where I live a playgroup and a toddler group are one and the same but I have friends in other parts of the country where playgroup is what I know as a pre-school.

Anyway, as you all were grin

ChilliJo Thu 11-Apr-13 14:45:22

Just to clarify, in different parts of the country groups such as these are known by different names. Where I live a playgroup and a toddler group are one and the same but I have friends in other parts of the country where playgroup is what I know as a pre-school.

Anyway, as you all were grin

brdgrl Thu 11-Apr-13 14:46:19

That's what our mums and tots group is like. (I love the toast, it is much nicer than ours at home, for some reason!)
There is someone on the door to sign people in. You can come and go as you please, and the kids just engage in unstructured play. It is really very nice, and at our own group, there is a sense of everyone looking out for the kids. You can relax a bit and eat some toast and chat with another mum.
There is always a 'sing-along' at the end of the two hour period, but apart from that, it is really just up to the kids to practice socializing at whatever level they are at, IYSWIM.

defineme Thu 11-Apr-13 14:46:20

They play alongside each other up to about 3 yrs. It still is good for children to see other kids and get used to being amongst them.
The ones I went to usually had a craft activity and singing or story at the end.
I think it's as important for the carers to get out of the house and see other adults as it is for the kids to have a change of scene/different toys to stimulate them/bigger space to run around.
I mainly went in the winter as I found the park provided all of the above in the summer and less of the shitty nappy smell.

Khaleese Thu 11-Apr-13 14:49:14

No one came to greet you because most probably no one knew that you were new.

Toddlergroups are a lifeline to mums and seem cliquey, they are usually the only time friends see each other.

Stick it out it gets better.

kerala Thu 11-Apr-13 14:50:01

Sounds like a playgroup run by volunteer mums none of whom are paid so running it out of kindness/civic duty so think you are rather unreasonable to expect them to lay on structured activities for your child. You could always volunteer to help run it and set up more structured activities yourself if you feel strongly enough about it.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 11-Apr-13 14:50:59

I think you're expecting too much. It sounds like a parent and toddler group, probably run by volunteers. It's meant to be a social gathering really, not a formal educational session.

Out of interest, how much did you pay to attend?

MajaBiene Thu 11-Apr-13 14:52:50

The toddler group I go to does tend to have someone signing people in on the door. They also do a singing time at the end.

But yes, under 3s don't really play together, they just play with the toys/their mums.

Parents sit round the side and chat and drink tea.

So toddler groups have a designated snack time, some sell tea and cakes, some let parents help themselves.

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