​Little Thoms Playgroup
St Thomas' Anglican Church Ferntree Gully

With faith and great anticipation Little Thoms Playgroup was launched on 16 July 2012. St Thomas' is very thankful to have received a parish start up grant from the Council for Anglican Early Childhood Services. This Diocesan support has encouraged us to grow and connect with our baptism families and newcomers. Support by a Vestry decision to extend our church playgroup outdoors, proceeds from the grant will also assist us to erect a safe fenced children's play area.  We are very blessed by these gifts and of God's nurturing seeds of new beginnings.

On Monday mornings the church narthex (where we meet after Sunday Eucharist for coffee and fellowship), is transformed with toys and activities, craft and play, painting and mums and bubs and parish helpers.  Little Thoms is fun and the children (aged from one to three years) are encouraged to explore and play.  Everyone participates.  There is listening and story time and activities connecting with the church's seasons and stories.  Already our large narthex windows are a mosaic of creation's colours and life.  There are feathered cockatoos (which the adults equally enjoyed making) and a fishing net full of rainbow fish which the children have painted, pasted and hung.

On one week (photo with blue rocking chair) the theme for the session was 'new toys'. The children were very excited to discover new experiences: a wooden train set table, a slide, a fabric tunnel and tent to crawl and hide in.  Every week the children are free to decide for themselves which play and creative activity to participate in and to share with other children.  Often there is an impromptu parade of 'robots' (here, the children placing, over their heads, empty clear plastic containers that usually store blocks and other play items).  The simplest things make for fun!

Little Thoms encourages 'Messy Play'. All the children, even the youngest, are creative with paints, play dough and more.  It is a joy to see the children explore and grow in confidence in their own abilities through messy play.  Each week there is conversation, food and cuppa time; music and song and praying the Grace.  The Hello Song, (from the EmuMusic CD 'J is for Jesus'), is a favourite with all its actions. Birthdays and special events are always celebrated and the children and adults participate fully, including with the tidying up and packing away into the narthex playgroup cupboards. The boys taking turns to push a small manual carpet sweeper is a sight.

At the heart of Little Thoms is our ministry of God's welcome to all.  We at St Thomas give thanks to God for this ministry of hospitality, where all are welcome to know and share God's love.


By the Reverend Raffaella Pilz
Vicar, St Thomas' Ferntree Gully


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