Play Group

We were already encouraged to take Albany to playgroups when she was a baby. What is playgroup, I asked. I couldn't recall my nieces and nephew attending any of these in Singapore. Perhaps it was selective memory because children stuff were of no relevance to me back then. You can say I am fully unaware about parenting 101 in Singapore. That is why with no proper data for comparison, whenever I was asked whether I have plans to return to Singapore someday, I don't have an answer.

Back to playgroup, these events are so common that you can attend one with your children twice or thrice a week if you have the time to. Playgroups are informal sessions that are set up and run by parents and caregivers. The environment is extremely relaxed for parents and fun for the children. There is a wide range of activities set up to meet varying needs but in general activities at playgroup include, music and singing, imaginative play, art & craft, outdoor free play and even outings. Playgroups can be organised anywhere that is safe or accessible - community centres, health clinics, schools, women's centres, church grounds, preschool, kindergarten, parks and playground and even someone's house. Most of these sessions are free, unless there is a special arrangement to bring a plate for example, for an event.

I had attended one held at Gosnells Library when Albany was only 1 year old. Back then she was only one of the few babies who could not walk steadily but she looked completely comfortable with the rest. My sister was visiting us in Perth at that time so my 4 year old niece was able to join in that playgroup. She laughed throughout the session and appeared to enjoy it tremendously, which left me wondering for a second. Is it because there are a lack of playgroups like that in Singapore? If so, why?

Jen takes Albany to a playgroup regularly these days and I fully encourage her to. It is not difficult to find a playgroup because there will be a couple available in close proximity no matter which suburb you live in. In these playgroups, parents and caregiver stay to interact with adults and play with the children. No child is too young as Jen told me even babies attend these and love the new experiences each time. I believe these activities are generally beneficial for toddlers for their sensory and social and learning development. What I like about these playgroup is how it epitomise racial harmony. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a ethnic playgroup. We also see no evidence of locals rejecting playgroups because of their racial melting pot nature. If there is really a racism issue in Australia, getting children to grow up naturally and harmoniously with other races can only improve the situation. On our shores, would you Singaporeans parents interact with Pinoy, PRC and Indian parents on regular basis and encourage your own kids to play with theirs? Maybe your answer will change the way you think about "Racist Australia".

The popularity of play groups is a good reflection of the dynamics behind the Australian society. Though this trend is slowly changing, many young families are still currently operating in a single income model where mothers stay at home to raise their children until they feel ready to go back to the work force. Some may claim that the decision for such a family arrangement as purely financial, dismissing the deep cultural beliefs and values behind it. I will encourage young Singaporean families to embrace this model and try to appreciate the underlying values within instead of putting the dollar signs foremost instinctively like how we always have been. Else, it defeats the purpose of moving to Australia if the main consideration was for the sake of children. For one, a mother makes a better mentor, companion and caregiver better than a Milyn Sardinia Orfiano. Else the father should have married the latter.


  1. Sorry for being Sua Ku but....

    Who is Milyn Sardinia Orfiano?

    1. I believe ASingaporeanSon was just quoting any random name (which unfortunately turns up a real FB profile). I believe he was referring to a Maria Aquino Ilza Domingo.

    2. Wah Biang

      Still catch no ball with this Maria Aquino Ilza Domingo

      Maybe ASingaporeanSon shoudl just say 'a hot chick' lah

    3. ASingaporeanSon is not talking about chiobu lah. Read the capital letters of Maria's name.

    4. Ok ok lah.Too cheem for me.

      Also maid cannnnnnnot be chiobu meh? Cannot only use SG experience lah.

      Need to watch more Korean/ Japanese TV serials and be more open minded mah.....