This project aimed to understand the benefits to schools, families and children when schools host supported playgroups. Findings suggest that parental connections with the local school were strengthened; parental participation increased relationships with other parents and school community, which – in turn – promoted basic elements of school transition, including familiarity with school routines.


  • William Buckland Foundation $150,000
  • Supported Playgroups Consortium $85,000


2012 – 2015


McLean, K., & Edwards, S. (2015). Beginning the conversation about young children’s technology use in contemporary times. Chapter in S. Garvis and N. Lemon (Eds.), Understanding digital technologies and young children: An international perspective, (pp.155-166). New York: Routledge.

Edwards, S., & McLean, K., & Lambert, P. Fostering children’s everyday mathematical knowledge through caregiver participation in Supported Playgroups in Schools. In S. Phillipson., P. Sullivan & A. Gervasoni (Eds.), Engaging families as the first mathematics educators of children. Dordrecht: Springer.

McLean, K., Edwards, S., Colliver, Y., & Schaper, C. (2014). Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(4), 73-80.

McLean, K., Edwards, S., Schaper, C., & Colliver, Y. (2013). Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Catholic University.

McLean, K., Edwards, S., Lambert, P., Wickham, D., & Schaper, C. (2015). Supported playgroups in schools: Stakeholder perspectives on belonging, home learning and young children’s play. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Catholic University.

Lambert, P (2015). Supported playgroups in schools and parent perspectives on children’s play. Melbourne, VIC: Australian Catholic University. The thesis was passed with minor amendments and praised by both examiners for making an original contribution to knowledge at a level beyond that expected of this degree.

McLean, K., Edwards, S., Evangelou, M., & Lambert, P. (2017). Supported playgroups in schools: bonding and bridging family knowledge about transition to formal schooling. Cambridge Journal of Education, 1-19. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2016.1268569


November 18, 2016

ILSTE Research Team

Professor Susan Edwards

Research Status


Research Partners

Supported Playgroups Consortium (Catholic Education Office Ballarat; Department of Education and Training Central Highlands Wimmera; Playgroup Victoria, Ballarat City Council, Best Start; Australian Catholic University; 5 regional primary schools)



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