By Jonathan Guignard
One program in Raymond has been a great way for parents to spend quality time with their children while watching their kid’s progress and grow through interactive learning.
The Stay and Play program at the Parent Link Centre, part of the Barons-Eureka-Warner Family and Community Support Service, has been providing a drop in, no charge, no registration program for children from birth to five years old.
According to their website, the list of things they cover range from songs, rhymes, stories, sand and water play, dress up and housekeeping, blocks, science and creative art activities are all available in an inviting and safe environment.
Mary-Rose McMullin, Parent and Family Coach for the FCSS, has been working there for years and has seen this program help develop strong relationships for parents and their children.
“We are trying to build a parent/child bond more than anything else. We have a lot of professional development resources that we can share with them. We also have a lot of experience among the parent coaches that are here,” said McMullin.
The program is also designed to help with any problems parents may have at home dealing with their children.
“Stay and Play is specifically for parents to have that time with their children to play with them, to see their development and to have one on one interaction with the parent coaches in case they have any difficulties at home,” said McMullin.
McMullin believes it’s important to build relationships between mothers and feels this is a great way for mothers in Raymond to make new friends who face similar issues when raising children.
“We’ve got a well-supported program. For a lot of the mothers it’s a really great support system. We think in these small towns that people always get that, but they don’t always feel that way. Parents need that support so they don’t feel overwhelmed,” said McMullin.
She adds, the children really enjoy the classes and it does wonders for their development.
“You can really see the delight in the children’s faces. Children learn through their senses and often sensory play is messy play. It’s hard for moms to let kids do that messy play that they like to do. Here they get to come and experience those kinds of things,” said McMullin.
Story time is also something the kids enjoy and is extremely beneficial to them.
“Reading is a bases for literacy. The rhymes help them build their language. If you hear rhymes and words over and over again, children learn how the words go together. They don’t have to be taught, they just have to hear,” said McMullin.
The Parent Link Centre has many programs geared to parenting, marriage and relationships and coping. For more information you can contact the centre at 403-752-4301 or visit their website at http://www.bewfcss.ab.ca