Mommas unite all over Cowichan to share nursery rhymes with their wee-ones
For momma Hanna Maxon, taking baby Cecilia to Cowichan's Parent-Child Mother Goose programs is very much about making connections with fellow moms as it is introducing her wee-one to an extremely positive and fun local resource.
"It's a great opportunity, even for us just to get out of the house so we're not at home alone," Maxon said. "It's an awesome way to connect."
And it's pretty clear Cecilia's a big fan too from the twinkle in her eyes and the smile spread across from cheek to cheek as her mom sings to her Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Often Maxon's met other moms at other events and programs in Cowichan and meeting them for the second time at Mother Goose helps to strengthen their connection.
"Sometimes we make private playdates as well," she said.
Program facilitator Charlotte Brown of Learning Links, the Umbrella Program which shelters several literary programs and events in Cowichan, is on board with Maxon's thinking.
"It's keeping parents and babies from being isolated," she said. "We also always include a pop-out question for the families present."
Questions often get conversations rolling over the coffee/snack period of a session and sometimes all it takes for a mom or dad to hear what another parent is going through is enough to make their day all that much better.
In celebration of Family Literacy Day Jan. 27, School District 79 and Learning Links are hosting a number of Mother Goose sessions for children 0-5 years old and their folks at each elementary school in the Valley on either the Friday, Jan 25 or Monday, Jan 28 at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.
But on a regular basis, Mother Goose runs at eight locations across the valley with various times and for children 0-4 years old.
There are specific sessions for children 0-2 years old as well.
"It is a well-recognized and respected educational program that returns to tradition by using rhymes, songs, and storytelling as a base for enriching parent-child lives and relationships," a poster for the program reads. "No toys, just parent and child having fun and interacting together."
Sessions start with the same song, Roly Poly, Brown noted, an often include several of the songs on a regular basis, with only a couple new ones thrown in the mix, which works well, as children thrive on repetition and routine.
"It's sort of a comforting thing too," Brown said, of the songs that become so familiar moms often use them to sort out negative situations like grocery store tantrums.
"It works because there's just something so calming about something familiar," she said. "So they sing their favourite song."
Moms are encouraged to continue the song and storytelling at home and to keep the literacy flowing by introducing new books and then sharing their tot's favourites during a session.
The program extends 8-10 weeks, depending on holidays and Pro-D Days, and runs for an hour each session. Drop-in is allowed but registration is encouraged.
Parents aren't pressured to attend every session either if they aren't able to commit every week.
And sessions are free.
"When parents come to try it out, they almost always come back," Brown said.
For more information or to register, call 250-709-3050.
How to get involved
Mother Goose Program locations/dates and times
St Josephs School, Chemainus (0-4): Mondays 9:15 a.m.
South Cowichan Library: (0-4) Mondays 10 a.m., (0-2) Wednesdays 6:15 p.m.
Chemainus Community School (0-2): Tuesdays 10:45 a.m.
Duncan Elementary (0-4): Wednesdays 9:15 a.m.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian-Duncan (0-2): Thursdays 1:30 p.m.
Alex Aitken (0-4): Fridays 9 a.m.
Mill Bay Elementary (0-4): Fridays 10 a.m.
Crofton Community School (0-4): Fridays 9 a.m.