Playgroups and neighbourhood houses

Playgroups

Gumnuts Playgroup

Gumnuts Playgroup is a Stonnington Council facility run by volunteer parents.

Gumnuts provide children aged 0 to 5 years with an indoor and outdoor space for parents and/or carers to attend with children and experience play in an unstructured, open-ended way with a large variety of toys and equipment to enrich their skills, knowledge, friendships and happiness.

Visit the Gumnuts website for opening hours and more information.

Location: 7 Winter Street, Malvern.

Jack and Jill Playgroup

Jack and Jill is a parent-run, Council-supported playgroup for babies through to preschool-aged children. New members and parent groups are welcome.

Jack and Jill also run Spanish playgroup sessions.

Visit the Jack and Jill Playgroup Facebook page, or email jackjillenrolment@gmail.com for session times and more information.

Location: Phoenix Park Children's Hub, 25 Quentin Road, Malvern East.

McArthur Street Playgroup Association

McArthur Street Playgroup Association is a parent-run, Council-supported playgroup for babies through to preschool-aged children.

The playgroup offers a stimulating environment with plenty of quality toys and activities that your child can become familiar with. Sessions run daily from Monday to Friday.

The McArthur Street Playgroup Association also provides an opportunity for you to be part of your local community and build an instant network of friends for your children who are of their own age and live near each other.

If you are interested in looking to join a pre-existing playgroup or registering a playgroup of your own, please email mcarthurplaygroup@gmail.com

Location: Maternal and Child Health Care Centre, 22 McArthur Street, Malvern.

Malvern Special Needs Playgroup

Malvern Special Needs Playgroup is a respite playgroup staffed by a coordinator, kindergarten teacher, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, and speech pathologist. The staff are assisted by experienced and trained volunteers helping each child individually.

The playgroup conducts two four-hour sessions per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays during school terms with a limit of 12 children per session.

For more information and session times, please contact Ms Meredith Biggs via email mbiggs@mspn.org.au or call 0490 295 836.

Location: Maternal and Child Health Care Centre, 22 McArthur Street, Malvern.

Join a playgroup

To find a playgroup in your area, visit the Playgroup Victoria website.

Start a playgroup

Interested in starting a playgroup? It’s easy – all you need is a couple of friends and a place to meet. For more information visit Start a Playgroup.

Supported playgroups

Stonnington provides Supported Playgroups to families who require additional support to enhance their child’s learning and development and offer families the opportunity to be referred to services within the community and to build a connection with the community and other local families.

Families are referred via Maternal and Child Health services or other community service agencies. Each term Supported Playgroups support up to 25 families within the Stonnington area with a view to transitioning these families to community playgroups and other services as necessary. 

Tuesdays: Grosvenor Street South Yarra

Thursdays: Nature Play at Hedgeley Dene Gardens

Families receive information on Smalltalk parenting ideas, which are designed to support children’s learning and development. Smalltalk has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to improve the learning outcomes of children living in families that can benefit from additional support.

  • free 10-week playgroup for families with children aged from birth to five years
  • get tips to help your child's learning and development
  • meet other families with young children in your local area
  • fun activities
  • free in-home support sessions.

Eligibility criteria for parents and carers

  • A family member in the household must hold a valid concession card, such as a Health Care Card, Carers Card or Pension Card (or visa equivalent for refugees and migrants),
  • Be a family in which a family member identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,
  • Be a family looking after children in kinship care arrangements, or
  • Be a family referred from Child First, Child Protection or Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Services.

Operating hours during school terms

  • Tuesday, 10 am to 12 pm at Grattan Gardens Community Centre, Grattan St, Prahran
  • Thursday, 10 am to 12 pm at Hedgeley Dene Gardens, Malvern East.

Supported Playgroups also offer in-home coaching to three families per term. This consists of 6 to 8 visits during the term and focuses on creating a stimulating environment within the home through creating routines and practising the Smalltalk parenting strategies, which are:

  • warm and Gentle
  • tuning In
  • following your child’s lead
  • listening and talking More
  • teachable moments.

There is also a huge emphasis on Parental Self Care.

For more information call 03 8290 1333, or email mchcadmin@stonnington.vic.gov.au

Neighbourhood houses

Neighbourhood houses provide a place for people to come together and connect with other residents. They provide a range of services and activities from playgroups to art classes and disability support. To find out more go to Neighbourhood Houses Victoria. 

Phoenix Park Neighbourhood House

Phoenix Park Neighbourhood House is a not-for-profit community organisation offering a diverse range of activities and classes. It is a safe and welcoming environment that is accessible and affordable for all members of the community.

Bookings are essential for all courses at Phoenix Park. For more information, phone 03 9530 4397, or visit at 22 Rob Roy Road, Malvern East.

Prahran Community Learning Centre (PCLC)

PCLC is a welcoming, inclusive and safe place that offers pre-accredited Learn Local classes, health and wellbeing programs, occasional child care, as well as art and other special interest classes. PCLC supports people in need by distributing food parcels, other goods, and making referrals to other support services.

For more information, call (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm) 03 9510 7052, email admin@pclcentre.org.au or visit their website.