Learning To Play
PLCM's Baby Moves program offers fun - and learning! - for children from birth to age 4. It offers a safe and fun environment for parents to learn how to engage in age-appropriate play with their children. While children play with their caregivers and peers, great things happen! They build cognitive, language and social skills, they develop fine and large motor skills, and they become eager to take part in community activities. Baby Moves also provides much-needed linkage services for families in need of assistance.
Promotoras (Community Health Workers) staff the program, encouraging families to trust and confide in members of their own community. Manuel's story is a great example!
Manuel clung to his grandma in bewilderment and fear. At 3½ years old, he had seldom been around other children, and the Baby Moves Developmental Play Center was filled with them! As he held on, the Promotora asked his grandmother to sit down and tell her about their home together.
Grandma confessed that, as Manuel's primary care giver, she didn't feel safe or comfortable taking him out to play, so he had very little interaction with other children. Despite Manuel's fear, Grandma felt comfortable at the Center, and began to bring him twice a week. After a short time, Manuel started playing with the other children, and has developed social skills appropriate for his age. Grandma says she encourages more play at home now, too!
Playtime is learning time for everyone
Baby Moves sessions begin with "circle time," where the children and their parents sing and dance together, clap their hands and wave colorful flags. Playtime is next. As the kids explore the games, blocks, balls and crafts available at various stations, their parents and staff members interact with them, as the parents learn techniques to use to promote their kids' development at home.
Ultimately, the parents end up having as much fun as their children! Not only is the program educational, it offers them a chance to laugh, share and network with one another. As one mom says, "This program has been so enjoyable. It has taught me things I can do at home with my son, and I see a difference in him already. He loves coming, too. As soon as he sees the building he tries to climb out of his car seat, he's so excited."