Mel Cowie gives us the lowdown on the Curran Hills Rainbow Families playgroup.
Why did you decide to start a rainbow family playgroup in your area?
My first experience with playgroup with my eldest son was attending Erskineville Rainbow Babies and Kids Playgroup. We loved hanging out with other rainbow families, and building friendships within our community. While I was pregnant with our twins, we moved house to be closer to our families and increase our support network. While we kept attending the Erskineville playgroup, it wasn't an easy task travelling from the Macarthur area into the Inner West with a 3 yr old and newborn twins.
I was approached by a friend, who was working at Playgroup NSW at the time, who suggested I start a Rainbow Playgroup closer to home. So I began discussions with Playgroup NSW and we set up a supported Rainbow Playgroup (Playgroup NSW paid family membership fees & rent for the first few months as a Supported Group). Initially there was myself and another family, and over the past 2 years we have had slow but steady growth, with our group now a Community Group, so we are self funded and continue to grow.
Why do you think it’s important for rainbow family kids to socialise with their peers?
Socialising with other kids from Rainbow Families is great for our kids to normalise that part of their lives, especially living outside the inner city. While there seem to be loads of Rainbow Families out here, connecting with them hasn't been easy. It has been wonderful for our family to meet and form positive connections with other Rainbow Families locally.
What positive impact has the playgroup had on your kids?
An increased sense of pride, normalising our family structure, and feeling connected to the local community. These are just a few things, but important things none the less.
Who comes along to your playgroup?
We have a mix of families at our playgroup, currently there are quite a few lesbian mums, trans parents, visits from gay dads on occasion, and members of our local community who don't identify as LGBTI but support our group and its premise. We have babies, toddlers, preschoolers and older siblings visit in the school holidays.
As an adult member of a rainbow family, how do you benefit from your playgroup?
I love playgroup! I love the social side, getting to snuggle new babies, watching my children grow and make friends, and getting to hang out in a super relaxed, safe, fun environment with people who I really love to spend time with. It strengthens my bonds within my local community, empowers me, and enables our local rainbow families network to grow.
If you have never been along to a rainbow playgroup, but have been thinking about going, my advice is go along and play!
Currans Hill Playgroup meets every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm at Currans Hill Community Centre, Corner of Tramway and Currans Hill Drive, Currans Hill.