Edith Cowan University
This study explored how maternal humanitarian entrants (MHE) ascribe meanings to the ways social support works in a facilitated playgroup context. The secondary research question addressed the extent to which accounts of playgroup support could be explained by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (BEST). A focus group followed by case study and follow-up interviews provided the women, staff and stakeholders the opportunity to share their narratives. Rich descriptions of their "lived" experience were central to the research purpose. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to validate the ascribed meanings of ways social support manifested in the playgroup. The role of BEST contributed to understanding the effects of playgroup across ecological systems in the socio-cultural context. Five salient themes emerged from the data: Isolation, Dealing with Issues, Parental Focus, Accomplishments and Benefits and Feelings and Attitudes. The research assists in advocating for playgroups whilst providing valuable insight for other MHE in similar circumstances.