“So many families have mentioned to me they didn’t realize their child could do Y or Z until they saw them implementing new skills in this group setting, and I think the beauty of Play to Learn is building confidence in not only kids, but in families as well that they are doing an amazing job parenting instinctually, and helping to connect for folks the developmental milestones and learning that accompanies child-led exploration and the child-caregiver relationship.” – Katie, Play to Learn Coordinator
Play to Learn is back from Winter Break, and all of our teachers are so excited to welcome both new and returning friends to classes!
If you’ve visited Play to Learn in the past, you probably remember the cheerful music and engaging activities, but maybe you’re a family who’s never attended Play to Learn – so what is it?
Play to Learn is open for all families with children and is typically best suited for children ages six and under. Parents, grandparents, neighbors, family, and friends are invited to participate with the children that they nurture in the thematic curriculum. There is no registration or sign-up required for most Play to Learn classes, so families are welcome to join whether it is their first time or not.
Play to Learn is typically set up in a community gathering space: libraries, community centers, and more. Our outgoing coordinators and volunteers welcome families at the door, and invite them to play individually or with others at various activity stations. They facilitate group activities, sing songs, and dance before gathering everyone in a group circle time.
Near the end, families typically gather around a large, colorful parachute for a collaborative activity and closing words.
“Last week, three families who have bonded during the play groups shared that they met for a playdate going for the first time to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma! Other families have shared that this quarter was their first time returning post COVID to Play to Learn, and how much they appreciate the social, communal support Play to Learn provides. In a tumultuous and often scary world, having safe, brave spaces like Play to Learn where families of all kinds can gather together (at no cost to them) feels vital.” – Katie, Play to Learn Coordinator
Play to Learn is also a great way for both children and their caregivers to make friends and build support networks within their community.
Social-emotional learning, which is an incredibly important and fundamental part of the Play to Learn curriculum and emphasized in, aims to strengthen skills like self-regulation and self-awareness, which can help in identifying and communicating thoughts and feelings, as well as problem-solving tied to big emotions and complex feelings.
“I am so grateful to have been welcomed with open arms, as this was my first quarter working with Play to Learn. I have such wonderful memories of watching the joy on grownups’ faces as they watch their littles reach milestones through play. I am looking forward to seeing everyone back at the project table making their creatively chaotic masterpieces. I just feel so happy when we are all together singing and acting out our silly songs.” – Jess, Play to Learn Coordinator
For a full list of upcoming Play to Learn classes and their locations, visit greentrike.org/play-to-learn.