Queensland Supported Playgroup Evaluation

This evaluation of the Supported Playgroup Model in Queensland focused on:

  • The effectiveness of Supported Playgroups in improving developmental outcomes for children and how participation in Supported Playgroups prepares children for kindergarten and school.
  • How participation in Supported Playgroup influences parental outcomes.
  • The role of Supported Playgroups in communities including benefits for isolated communities.
  • Key features, processes and success factors of Supported Playgroups.

The evaluation had four phases including:

  1. A systematic literature review of national and international research to analyse the impact of Supported Playgroups in supporting positive change for child, parent and community outcomes.
  2. An effectiveness study that collected data from 43 participating Supported Playgroups in urban and regional areas across Queensland, with 212 families interviewed and 34 facilitators surveyed. The family interview questions aimed to measure the impact onchildren’s social skills, receptive communication skills and attentional regulation skills through attending Supported Playgroups. The surveys also focused on parental backgrounds and their engagement in their child’s development. In addition Supported Playgroup facilitators were surveyed to better understand their roles and experiences.
  3. A multi-site case study involving eight Supported Playgroups to understand the key features and successes in the delivery of Supported Playgroups. The methodology of the multi-site case study included interviews with playgroup facilitators and local community members.
  4. Secondary analysis of large quantitative datasets from the Australian Early Development Census, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, examining the impact of participation in Playgroups on children’s development and early learning status and parenting and community outcomes.

The findings and recommendations have been acted on by the Queensland Department of Education who have collaborated with QUT to produce a Facilitator Practice Guide and Organisation Practice Guide for supported playgroups, and 14 accompanying videos.



Williams, K.E., Berthelsen, D., Viviani, M., & Nicholson, J. (2018) Facilitated parent-child groups as family support: A systematic literature review of supported playgroup studies. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi: 10.1007/s10826-018-1084-6

Williams, Kate Elizabeth, Berthelsen, Donna C., Viviani, Maria, & Nicholson, Jan (2016) Queensland Supported Playgroup Evaluation: Final Report. (Unpublished)

Williams, Kate E., Berthelsen, Donna, Nicholson, Jan M., & Viviani, Maria (2015) Systematic literature review: Research on Supported Playgroups. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)

Funding / Grants

  • Queensland Government Department of Education & Training $200,000