Much more than a child-care facility, Family Futures has expanded its efforts into another west flat area school.
With so many young families living in the city’s west flat area, it only makes sense to go to them rather than have them travel downtown, the non-profit organization’s executive director Donna Strauss said.
“By putting these things out in the neighbourhood and out in the schools we hope it’s convenient enough for everybody to get there on their own,” she said, noting that many parents are without reliable transportation.
Last week saw Family Futures introduce a One, Two, Three, Play With Me playgroup and Baby Café at Westview Community School.
On Friday, the first One, Two, Three, Play With Me playgroup will take place at Queen Mary Community School.
“The idea behind it is to develop a rapport in the neighbourhood and a place for these young families to come with their kids before their school age, to have an opportunity to interact with other people -- to have a place to socialize with their peers,” Strauss said, adding that the two programs are open to parents of children aged three and younger.
“The schools have always wanted to engage the young families in their communities … so that when it comes time to registering their kids for pre-k when then they’re three or four-years-old they’re comfortable coming to the school.”
Taking a break from volunteering at a similar initiative headed by Kids First at King George School, Fay Harrison said that it’s great to see parents interact with their children in a positive, constructive manner.
By putting these things out in the neighbourhood and out in the schools we hope it’s convenient enough for everybody to get there on their own. Family Futures executive director Donna Strauss
“The focus isn’t drop your kid off, the focus is to stay with your child, learn to interact with them,” she said.
“The main benefit is teaching and learning, for the parents to learn how to interact, play with and be with their child in a good way … It’s not a babysitting service, at all.
“It’s really for parents who aren’t in school or doing something else -- who are home with their kids, and it gives them a chance to meet other parents, as well, and to feel comfortable in the school, which is a really good thing.”
Everything is free to parents, Strauss said, noting that every get-together is a casual atmosphere where kids and their parents play, work on crafts, play games, sing songs and enjoy a snack and story.
Parents get a free book at every meeting to bring home to read with their children.
Get-togethers take place at Westview Community School on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays beginning at 10 a.m. each day, and at Queen Mary Community School on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m.
For more information on Family Futures, which provides not only child-care service but various early learning and parenting services, visit their website online at www.familyfuturespa.ca.