Physically Distanced but Socially Connected

Interactive Playgroup Sessions Delivered Remotely during the COVID-19 Lockdown


  • Brittany Huber
  • Joanne Tarasuik
  • Nancylee Merzel
  • Deborah Njegac


playgroup, parent-child engagement, COVID-19, remote interaction, social connection


In 2020, Melbournians were subjected to one of the world’s longest and strictest pandemic-necessitated lockdowns. Prior to lockdown, many Australian families received social support from their local playgroup, a group of children (birth-5 years) and their parents who meet regularly to play and socialize. Playgroup at Home LIVE (PAHL), the online adaptation, was developed to address a recognized need. Survey responses from 338 (out of 2,046) PAHL participants suggested that families experienced similar benefits between PAHL and in-person sessions; these included social connections, routine, and play, which may have mitigated the negative impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on children and their parents.