C4C Bendigo Playgroups (playgroups) are supported and facilitated playgroups delivered by Shine Bright.

Each week (during school terms) three playgroups run in different locations across Bendigo for families with young children. Our playgroups aim to support the development of young children, and build the skills, knowledge and confidence of families, and the capacity of the community where they live.

Playgroups are free to attend.


C4C Bendigo has operated since 2015.

During strategic planning for 2022-2026, in 2021the C4C Steering Committee made a strategic decision to focus on 0-3 year olds, prioritising the delivery of playgroups, as they are a key intervention that will make a difference to families in Bendigo.

Currently C4C Bendigo is funding two evidence based early intervention models:

The new model was developed in 2021 and has been in operation since March 2022.

Where do the playgroups operate?

There are three playgroups operating every week during school terms across Bendigo:

  • Eaglehawk (Monday)
  • White Hills (Tuesday)
  • Kangaroo Flat (Wednesday)

Playgroups operate between 10 – 11.30am.

What is C4C Bendigo Playgroups?

Our model is an Intensive Supported Playgroup, created from the findings of the 2021 review which included the early childhood education evidence base, local professional skill and knowledge, and parent wisdom and values.

The model is documented in a manual written by Dr Kerry Bull, which has facilitated implementation of these playgroups with fidelity to the model, and supports Shine Bright to provide high quality playgroups which are responsive, fun and engaging.

The model’s framework incorporates the following elements:

  • Positive relationships are central.
  • A cycle of planning, implementation, and review.
  • A skilled professional team guides the program.
  • Child, family, and community outcomes are conceptualised through an ecological lens.
  • Community engagement and capacity building envelop the program.

In addition, the model has six fundamental practice principles which are:

  • Developmentally appropriate,
  • Family centred,
  • Strength-based and capacity building,
  • Culturally responsive and inclusive,
  • Collaborative teamwork and leadership, and
  • Evidence informed and outcomes focussed.

How these elements and practice principles interact is illustrated in the following figure.

C4C Diagram

What happens at playgroup?

Delivered by qualified Early Childhood Educators, our playgroups focus on engagement, play and fun in both indoor and outdoor settings, offering activity ideas that can be easily replicated at home.

Our playgroups:

  • Are encompassed in a fun, play based learning environment.
  • Focus on supporting parent-child interactions and language and literacy through everyday activities and routines.
  • Enhance parent confidence, skills and knowledge as we notice and respond to what families are currently doing well.
  • Invite guests to share information and resources.
  • Encourage families to contribute to the program. Family’s interests and strengths inform playgroup activities. To effectively engage with families we create an environment that is non-judgemental, sensitive and culturally supportive.
  • Offer safe, secure and stable environments to foster and nurture a sense of belonging and connection for families.

Playgroups have a limit of 8-10 families per group to ensure the voice of each family can be heard.

Our playgroups are a soft entry point to the wider system of child and family services with a focus on supported transitions and warm referrals.

Families will attend our playgroups for a period of approximately six months. When ready, through warm referrals and supported transitions, they will access mainstream supports such as a community-based playgroup or kindergarten.

Who is eligible?

Our playgroups provide a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for all families.

We particularly welcome referrals from families who may need our playgroups the most, such as:

  • Families with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families.
  • Young parent families
  • Families with low incomes
  • Jobless families
  • Sole-parent families
  • Families with a parent (or child) who has a disability.
  • Families experiencing problems with housing, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health or child protection.
  • Families with children at risk of abuse or neglect.

Our playgroups focus on children aged 0-3, but if families have children aged 4-5, they are also welcome.

Do you have a brochure?

Yes, download our brochure for families.

We also have a letter of introduction for workers, which can be accessed here.

How do I make a referral?

Anyone can make a referral. Families can self-refer, or professionals can refer families they are working with.

There are two ways to make a referral:


Nationally C4C projects must ensure that 50% of funding goes to evidenced-based direct service delivery programs, DSS (2021).

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) describes 3 categories of evidenced based projects:

  • Emerging, which are new and innovative programs that are in the process of being tested,
  • Promising, are emerging programs which have been assessed by five criteria that represent minimum quality standards for a program, and
  • Evidenced-Based, which been evaluated using more scientific methods (such as randomised controlled trails), AIFS (2022)

Our new and innovative playgroup is being evaluated to determine if it meets the criteria of promising status.

Evaluation outcomes will be available by the end of 2023.

For more information on this evaluation contact C4C Bendigo on c4cbendigo@anglicarevic.org.au

Want more information?

Please contact:

Shine Bright/C4C Supported Playgroup Coordinator
p: 0447 576 278


Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), 2022, “Evidence-based, promising or emerging? Clarifying program assessment categories under the Communities for Children Facilitating Partners requirement”, https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2018/01/30/evidence-based-promising-or-emerging-clarifying-program-assessment-categories-under

Bull, Kerry, 2022, Communities for Children and Shine Bright: Supported Playgroups manual,

Department of Social Services (DSS), 2021, Families and Children Activity: Communities for Children Facilitating Partner Operational Guidelines, https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/03_2022/communities-children-facilitating-partner-operational-guidelines-2021.pdf