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keeping a playgroup together



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 6th 06, 03:15 AM posted to misc.kids
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My 3-year-old daughter and I are in a wonderful playgroup that we've
been attending since her birth. We've been meeting one weekday morning
a week, plus having once-a-month "mom's night out" dinners.

Most of the group is stay-at-home moms, with several of us working part
time. For the past 3 years, we've all been arranging our schedules
around this group because we really want to stick together. Some of use
schedule our work schedules around it, we don't take certain classes
because of the conflict, and so on.

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will go
Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?

We're spread over a fairly large geographical area, so we don't
generally all run into each other as part of other community events or
organizations.

We've considered:
-- we will definately will keep having the mom's night outs, but we
don't think that will be enough to maintain the cohesiveness we have
now.
-- We might have 2 playdates a week, one for each sub-group. We worry
that this will deteriorate -- if we have a bunch of weeks where only 2
or 3 people show up, it will probably fall apart.
-- We talked about meeting in the afternoons, but most of the
3-year-old nap then. Many people have younger kids too, who will be
napping for years to come.
-- meet occasionally on the weekend. Again, afraid attendance will be
low.

Any experience? We have about 12 kids in the group. The weekly
playgroups usually have 3-9 kids each time now.

Thanks!

Jan

  #2  
Old June 6th 06, 03:55 AM posted to misc.kids
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Default keeping a playgroup together


wrote in message
oups.com...

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will go
Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?


I am in a playgroup right now where there are preschoolers and younger kids.
It is a little bit larger than your group. We have 8 moms, most have two or
more kids. There are meetings at various times of the day and days of the
week so that everyone can participate. If DS is in preschool, I go with DD.
If it is during DD's naptime, I take DS. Some meetings, only two moms show
up, but that's just fine, because the kids have a great time, and the moms
can bond in a way they can't with a larger group. Some meetings, most
everyone comes. I think you can do it if you aren't trying to get all the
moms to all the meetings. Get on the meetup boards and stay in contact
there. You can set up your meetings there, too. If you want all the
meetings to have more moms, then you'll have to expand your group.


  #3  
Old June 6th 06, 04:11 AM posted to misc.kids
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Posts: n/a
Default keeping a playgroup together

wrote:
My 3-year-old daughter and I are in a wonderful playgroup that we've
been attending since her birth. We've been meeting one weekday morning
a week, plus having once-a-month "mom's night out" dinners.

Most of the group is stay-at-home moms, with several of us working
part time. For the past 3 years, we've all been arranging our
schedules around this group because we really want to stick together.
Some of use schedule our work schedules around it, we don't take
certain classes because of the conflict, and so on.

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will
go Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?
We're spread over a fairly large geographical area, so we don't
generally all run into each other as part of other community events or
organizations.

We've considered:
-- we will definately will keep having the mom's night outs, but we
don't think that will be enough to maintain the cohesiveness we have
now.
-- We might have 2 playdates a week, one for each sub-group. We worry
that this will deteriorate -- if we have a bunch of weeks where only 2
or 3 people show up, it will probably fall apart.


Have you considered alternating the days such that you have playgroup on
Wednesday one week and Thursday the next? If a solid core of you can go to
either one then the ones with less flexible schedules would still be able to
maintain contact with them, if not everyone.


-- We talked about meeting in the afternoons, but most of the
3-year-old nap then. Many people have younger kids too, who will be
napping for years to come.
-- meet occasionally on the weekend. Again, afraid attendance will be
low.

Any experience? We have about 12 kids in the group. The weekly
playgroups usually have 3-9 kids each time now.


My first time mums' playgroup went through several stages. Once we got into
the pre-kinder years we did experience the same sort of scheduling problems
you're describing but by continuing with the regular dinners and meeting
with the younger children while the older ones were in pre-school and then
school we got around them for a while. We'd also meet up after school in a
park for a picnic in the summer or in an inside playarea when it was wet or
cold.

Eventually, though, the need to meet for the sake of the children passed and
those of us who remained firm friends just incorporated those friendships
into our lives in the usual way and in recent years I have only really seen
the whole group (or what's left of it after 15 years!) at barbecues or
parties.

Tai


  #4  
Old June 6th 06, 06:00 AM posted to misc.kids
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Posts: n/a
Default keeping a playgroup together

In article .com,
wrote:
My 3-year-old daughter and I are in a wonderful playgroup that we've
been attending since her birth. We've been meeting one weekday morning
a week, plus having once-a-month "mom's night out" dinners.

Most of the group is stay-at-home moms, with several of us working part
time. For the past 3 years, we've all been arranging our schedules
around this group because we really want to stick together. Some of use
schedule our work schedules around it, we don't take certain classes
because of the conflict, and so on.

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will go
Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?

We're spread over a fairly large geographical area, so we don't
generally all run into each other as part of other community events or
organizations.

We've considered:
-- we will definately will keep having the mom's night outs, but we
don't think that will be enough to maintain the cohesiveness we have
now.
-- We might have 2 playdates a week, one for each sub-group. We worry
that this will deteriorate -- if we have a bunch of weeks where only 2
or 3 people show up, it will probably fall apart.
-- We talked about meeting in the afternoons, but most of the
3-year-old nap then. Many people have younger kids too, who will be
napping for years to come.
-- meet occasionally on the weekend. Again, afraid attendance will be
low.

Any experience? We have about 12 kids in the group. The weekly
playgroups usually have 3-9 kids each time now.


The group I'm part of is surviving the preschool age just fine. It's
a large group these days -- maybe a dozen families with more than 20
kids. The oldest are 4 or 5 now, and many have 2-year-old siblings.
When the older kids moved from two naps to one, we shifted the time
from midday to late afternoon. When the group grew (a couple of families
joined and new siblings were born), hosting the group at people's
houses became a major chore, so we started renting out a church basement.

We now meet on Fridays from 4:00 to 6:00. It's perfect; lots
of space to run around in, a toy area, a kitchen that we can use,
and tables to eat at. One mom "hosts" each week, which basically
means making sure folks are bringing food and drinks and making sure
the place gets cleaned up at the end. There's often pizza or some
other substantial food, and always lots of munchies (healthy and
otherwise). Most weeks we celebrate somebody's birthday with cake.
Usually my girls eat enough at playgroup that I don't have to do much
about dinner. Nowadays the kids mostly entertain themselves while the
moms (and dads) get to sit and chat.

We also have a mailing list that helps keep us in touch. We're
constantly passing around information about local events and getting
up groups to go to concerts and such. We do a mom's night out every
few months.

My suggestions a
1) change the meeting time to late afternoon, post-nap, so everyone
can attend without affecting school, etc. It's still early enough to
get the kids home and to bed if you're going out that night. If the
food is right, you don't need to worry about making dinner.

2) find a meeting hall you can use so that nobody has to host

3) grow the group a bit so you have a critical mass.


Hope this helps!
- marty (mom to alex & andie, 5 years old)

  #5  
Old June 6th 06, 01:35 PM posted to misc.kids
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default keeping a playgroup together

wrote:

My 3-year-old daughter and I are in a wonderful playgroup that we've
been attending since her birth. We've been meeting one weekday morning
a week, plus having once-a-month "mom's night out" dinners.

Most of the group is stay-at-home moms, with several of us working part
time. For the past 3 years, we've all been arranging our schedules
around this group because we really want to stick together. Some of use
schedule our work schedules around it, we don't take certain classes
because of the conflict, and so on.

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will go
Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?

We're spread over a fairly large geographical area, so we don't
generally all run into each other as part of other community events or
organizations.

We've considered:
-- we will definately will keep having the mom's night outs, but we
don't think that will be enough to maintain the cohesiveness we have
now.
-- We might have 2 playdates a week, one for each sub-group. We worry
that this will deteriorate -- if we have a bunch of weeks where only 2
or 3 people show up, it will probably fall apart.
-- We talked about meeting in the afternoons, but most of the
3-year-old nap then. Many people have younger kids too, who will be
napping for years to come.
-- meet occasionally on the weekend. Again, afraid attendance will be
low.

Any experience? We have about 12 kids in the group. The weekly
playgroups usually have 3-9 kids each time now.


It's a very difficult struggle. You can keep it
going if the group is motivated, but you have to change.
You probably will have to go to multiple formats, and also
tolerate that people will go through phases of not being
able to come. Things will change again as kids move into
elementary school. You have to keep evolving. My
suggestions:

1) Keep mom's night out once a month. You'd be surprised
how effective it is.
2) You might have success with a later afternoon playgroup
(after nap--can make the witching hour easier ;-) ).
You could even follow up with plans to head to a nearby
family-friendly restaurant afterwards for those who
are interested and don't feel like going home to cook
dinner.
3) Maybe add a once a month family activity. Rotate around
who plans the event--could be games night, pool day,
cornfield maze, paint-your-own pottery, park, petting
zoo, kids museum, etc.
4) Start thinking about a transition plan for school-aged
kids. Here, our playgroup eventually moved to Monday
afternoons because the elementary schools have half days
on Mondays. People with nappers sometimes can work the
nap around the Monday afternoon and sometimes can't
(I can't right now, so I'm a no-show most weeks), but
it works for the most part. The post-nap time may not
work at that point, as many kids may start to have
activities then.
5) It helps if you have some means of communication--mailing
list, newsletter, whatever.

Especially once kids hit school age, you have to accept
that people aren't going to be able to plan around it
all the time. Kids get interested in activities, and
there will always be folks who have conflicts with
specific days. You'll never satisfy everyone. Mom's
Night Out and the weekend activities will then be the
main interaction for some folks. Since you have distance
to contend with, it's possible that the weekday stuff
will eventually break down (our playgroup is all in the
neighborhood, and the bus stop is a major factor in
keeping folks together). The monthly activities are
easier for folks to work around. We tweak Mom's Night
Out about once a year to try to find the best time,
since it changes.

You might also think about bringing in new members.
Over time, you will inevitably lose people, and if
you are never bringing in new people, it becomes a
downward spiral.

Best wishes,
Ericka
  #6  
Old June 6th 06, 03:03 PM posted to misc.kids
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Posts: n/a
Default keeping a playgroup together

wrote and I snipped:
My 3-year-old daughter and I are in a wonderful playgroup that we've
been attending since her birth. We've been meeting one weekday morning
a week, plus having once-a-month "mom's night out" dinners.

Next fall, nearly all the children are starting preschool. Some will go
Mon/Wed/Fri and some Tues/Thurs, which means there is no day we can
continue meeting when most people can come.

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?

We're spread over a fairly large geographical area, so we don't
generally all run into each other as part of other community events or
organizations.


I was in a similar situation with DD and my moms' group. Six of us met
with our newborns in a Lamaze new moms support group 8 years ago, only we
had a few moms who went back to work full-time after their maternity leave.
We were also quite spread out geographically. For many years, we met once a
month with the kids. It was usually on Saturday morning at about 10 am
until just after lunch. When they were younger, we tended to meet at
someone's home. As they got older (and more exuberant), we started meeting
at local playgrounds, pools, or special events, like puppet shows or
hayrides. We would plan the dates a few months in advance. This kept up
until they were about 6 years old. Now it's been a year since we've seen
everyone. Hmmm, you've given me an idea.....

HTH,
-Patty, mom of 1+2


  #8  
Old June 7th 06, 10:58 AM posted to misc.kids
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Posts: n/a
Default keeping a playgroup together

In message .com,
" writes

Have you been in a playgroup like this that survived preschool and
stayed in close touch? Any tips on how to do this?

My post-natal group still meets up although our first kids are now at
school. There are 4 mums (was 5 but one moved away). It's evolved a bit
in 5 years. When they were babies, we met in cafes once a week, then
switched to our houses in turn. When preschools and nurseries and
part-time working came into the picture, we changed to Tuesday
afternoons one week and Wednesdays the next to accommodate all the
schedules.

We've all now got 2 children and meet with the younger ones every other
Tuesday at 12.30 so we have time to get to our 4 different schools to
pick up the older ones. This is a bit of a pain with lunch and naps and
sometimes we end up bringing a sandwich with us or turning up an hour
late but we've managed somehow. It does mean the older children now
don't see each other but one of the mothers and I arrange separate after
school playdates for our girls as they always got on better with each
other than with the other two and we wanted to keep that friendship
going even with them going to different schools. It's always been mainly
a mothers' support group and it's been especially useful to compare
notes on what the different schools are doing - definitely worth
carrying on with even without the children!

In September all the children apart from my DS who is only 1, will be
starting at different preschools and I'm not sure how that will work but
I'm sure we'll still meet up somehow.
--
Kate in Bristol
 




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