Active Life: Play and Learn programs help prepare children for school

NANAIMO – Children in Nanaimo can participate in Play and Learn programs.

By Tammy Toor

If I could be between the ages of three and five again, I would certainly want to be a participant in Nanaimo parks and recreation’s Play and Learn programs.

My daughter started participating when she was four and she continued on finishing at Kinder Prep. Like its name suggests, Lauren was certainly well prepped for her entry into kindergarten.

Here are some reasons why I give top marks to the City of Nanaimo’s Play and Learn monthly early years programs:

Experienced instructors who really love what they do. Most of the leaders have been teaching preschool-aged children for 20 or more years.

One instructor, Angela Vipond, has taught for 30 years. She teaches at Kin Hut and Bowen Park. It’s easy to see that Angela loves working with children. She makes every child feel special, and she has a special way to get their attention using her special musical talents.

You see how proud she gets when ‘her’ children learn something and when they proudly exclaim those magical words, “I did it!”

Children learn skills to prepare them for kindergarten. Children work on numbers, shapes, colours, learn to do simple math, as well as practise their printing skills – all within a fun environment that incorporates music, active movement and nature exploration.

Children learn through play. As children, play is one very important way they learn. It helps them to engage, explore and discover the world around them.

Tracy Stuart, recreation coordinator for the City of Nanaimo, says, “Studies have shown time and time again how vital play is to a child’s healthy brain development. Our Play and Learn programs help children develop speech and language abilities, social interaction while boosting cognitive development.”

If you’re looking for a great early years program for your child, ages three to five, check out the options available through Nanaimo parks and recreation. One program to consider is Pollywogs – one of our newer options taking place at Bowen Park on Monday and Wednesday afternoons starting in January.

Angela loves this location. “Beautiful Bowen Park provides countless opportunities to explore and discover with its many trails, the duck pond, playground and interpretive signage teaching us all about the salmon lifecycle.”

While children are at Pollywogs, parents, too, can also take advantage of the many amenities found within Bowen Park.

For more information on parks and Recreation’s early years programs, please visit www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.

Tammy Toor is a communications specialist with Nanaimo parks and rec.