Playgroups were first formed in the early 60s by parents who wanted to provide shared play for their children. In 1961 Belle Tutaev wrote a letter to the Guardian about how she set up a playgroup for her own child and offered advice and help to anyone wishing to do the same thing. From this letter the playgroup movement snowballed from one child in 1961 to approximately 390,000 by 1976. The London based Pre-school Playgroups Association (PPA) was born 16th July 1962. At this time playgroups in Wales were part of the PPA, but there was no formal structure within Wales to bind these groups together.
In 1973 PPA was awarded a grant by the Welsh Office and appointed the first national advisor, a part-time secretary and three part-time development officers. The first office in Wales was based in Newport, south Wales. In 1976 the Welsh Office awarded a grant of £18,000.
In response to the growth and development of PPA in Wales the members of PPA the National Council were asked in April 1987 to authorise for Wales to become an independent association. On 1st October 1987 independence was granted and from then on we were known as Wales PPA, our membership trebled in size.
Circa 1992 the Welsh Office funded a management review of the association to enable us to meet the changing needs of the membership. From this review the existing eight part-time development officers became full-time regional executive officers. Wales PPA became a company limited by guarantee in 1996, in that year the Quality Assured Playgroup Accreditation Scheme was launched. In March 1999 our head office was relocated from Newport to Newtown Powys.
The National Council became the Board of Trustees who oversaw and held final responsibility for the management of the association. The board was, and remains, made up from within the 22 areas of our membership. Members of the sub-committees were elected from across the whole membership with the chairperson of each committee being elected by the National Council, together with at least one dedicated staff member. In July 2007 Wales PPA celebrated 20 years of becoming and Independent Association. July 2008 head office was relocated from Newtown Powys to Cardiff.
The current membership of Wales PPA is approximately 900 people, supporting and providing quality learning experiences through play for around 29,000 children. In October 2011 we launched our revised quality assurance scheme, Quality for All (QfA). July 2011 marked 25 years of Wales PPA serving the community.