Home Playgroup Central Homeschool Central Kids' Links Fun Stuff Articles Email
|What's A Playgroup? Playgroups in Your Town Contact|
Purpose...Playgroups are designed to bring our community closer together and to give us a basis for teaching our very young children about Islam. It is not a school and it is not a babysitting service. All moms are required to bring their children and stay with them the entire time.
What happens in a playgroup? Playtime at a park or home, circle time (Quran, story, songs) and snack time. Additional activites may include art projects, field trips and any other activity the children and moms would enjoy. The group is dynamic and open to all your ideas. Each group sets its own agenda and may well change its activities on a regular basis. The group reflects the needs, desires and capabilites of its members. Children are not forced to join circle time but, insha Allah, they will see how other children are enjoying it and join them when they are ready and comfortable.
Who can attend? Playgroups are designed for Muslim children of all ages. Most children attending are birth to 5 years old and during the summer months older siblings also attend. Please note that this is a mom-tot function, so moms must stay with their children during playgroup.
How to start a playgroup? It is a simple process.
1. Advertise...through any means available (masjid newsletter or website, phone calls, word of mouth, announcements on message boards, etc.). This is your prime way to let other moms know about the playgroup. Check out Online Playgroup for a good internet resource for finding, starting & managing a playgroup.
2. Establish convenient time and location (once or twice a week for 1 to 2 hours is standard). Playgroups at a park are the easiest but you can also use a room at the masjid if able or you can do it at the moms' homes. Rotating each week or month eases the burden on the hosting mom.
3. Decide what you want to do with your group. Some groups may get together for pure play and snacks. You can also incorporate story time, recitation of one Surah and an art/craft activity. The group can also develop as time goes and may even change as the weeks or months pass to accommodate changing needs. Some groups may want to pay a monthly fee to cover for art/craft project materials.
4. Attend, attend, attend. Playgroups don't work unless the coordinating mom attends and keeps the ball rolling. It can be fairly low maintenance but sometimes you will need to call or email moms to remind them about the group.
Resources? (let me know if you have some other good resources I can add)
Library...The public library is a great resource for wonderful books. You will even find books about Muslim children (Sitti's Secret is a very nice one & you can also find a big list at ArabesQ website). You can add islamic concepts or discussions to any book. The library has a good section on activities for story time and art projects (ask the librarian).
Internet...There are a thousand and one websites out for children. Crayola.com is a good place for coloring pages but it takes time to download site and pages. The Perpetual Preschool has a some good suggestions for activities. Go to our Kids' Internet Links and see more internet sites for your kids. Hey, email me for an excellent recipe for playdough. It is pliable and lasts for over a year without drying up.
Art Supply Stores...Supplies are generally a bit costly but if the moms take turns buying supplies, it is definitely worth it. Michael's Crafts has a lot of fantastic stuff but, again, it is expensive. Looking for sales is worth it. Staples office supply store has tons of stickers that are inexpensive. Of course, K-Mart, Walmart and Costco are good for basic supplies. You can make your own finger paint, playdough, clay dough and many other materials and can also substitute less expensive materials that will work just as well. The Learning Rainbow and Teacher's Helper teacher supply stores also have a felt boards and work books and games for 4 year olds and up.
Islamic supplies...There are a bookstores on the internet like Astrolabe and Halalco. The problem is that you often don't know exactly what you are going to get, so try the masjid's bookstore at MCA first or ask other Muslims if they have something you can borrow or look at to see if it is something you would like to purchase.
Post an existing playgroup, join a group or start a new group in your neighborhood, contact me.
Advertise your playgroup here!
Please contact Kids' Corner coordinator if you have any problems with this web page.