Our new playgroup in Werribee teaching African families about healthy eating and physical activities


Health and well-being

For most families, playgroup is about story-time and sandpits, but a new playgroup program for African families in Werribee is also encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

Funded by Wyndham Council’s Healthy Together Initiative and run by VICSEG, the “Let’s Get Active” playgroup project will teach families from Egypt, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia about healthy eating and physical activity for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The council’s community well-being portfolio holder, Cr Bob Fairclough says the project has received $1850 funding through its ‘health together’ grants

“This playgroup project is a great example of the work being done to support community-wide changes for better Health” Cr  Fairclough said.

“Working with the entire playgroup to teach parents and grandparents about healthy eating and fun, and free physical activities for young children will make it simpler for the parents to make lasting, positive health changes”.

VICSEG  Wyndham  programs administrator Karen Diacono said the 15-week “ Let’s Get Active” project was started because Wyndham families wanted more from the playgroup.

   “We were offering plenty of opportunities to improve the children’s literacy and numeracy,

     and learn arts and crafts, but parents wanted more ideas to get children physical active”.

“They particularly wanted something they could take home to keep the children entertained without relying on a TV or an iPad. We’ll also inform parents about free and low-cost local sports and recreation activities”.

The project’s focus on healthy eating will include information about how to use in-season fruit and vegies to improve nutrition while keeping costs down, and understanding misleading food packaging.

“We’ve found many parents in the group think they’re providing a cheap, healthy snack for their children by buying something that’s 99% fat free, for example. But they often don’t realise the same product may be bad for their children’s health because it’s very high in sugar,” Ms Diacono said.

“We’re also going to train playgroup leaders about physical activity and nutrition for young children and their families as part of this project. This will ensure the benefits last longer than this initial program”

The playgroup is open to families from the Horn of Africa. For more information, call 9742 0777.