Jun 012010

Mother Goose is….

“A group experience for parents with their toddlers, focusing on the pleasure and power of using rhymes, songs and stories… This is a nationally recognized Early Literacy Program.”

While that definition is correct, it doesn’t really do the program justice. I did two consecutive sessions of Mother Goose with my son at West Side Family Place. I found it welcoming, endearing and engaging. Unlike other programs for kids that are organized and regimented, this program was mellow, loving and “free” (for lack of a better word). The “curriculum” changed with each session; it evolved, if you will. Most importantly, there were songs, some puppets, some sign language and some pure playtime.

My son, the energizer bunny, lives to do the opposite of what is going on around him. If everyone is sitting, he will stand; singing, he will be silent; sitting in a room, he will fight to escape the room. Never one to be overly held or cuddled, he is an inquisitive, impatient little boy with a huge smile and sense of humor to match.

Some days I think I’m going to lose it, and they’re going to carry me off to the loony bin. You blink, my son’s on the coffee table; you try to do the laundry, he’s pulling the outlet protectors out of the wall. Sometimes, I stop in my tracks, close my eyes and breath deeply, only to open my eyes and see his adorable face grinning from ear to ear about an inch from mine. That’s what gets me through. Well, that and a little “Mother Goose” seemed to help a lot.

The coordinators (Eva & Jill) are loving people; you can tell they care. They are genuinely interested in you and your child. This is a place of comfort and compassion. It is easy going, everyone is welcome, and nothing is perfect or polished. You leave with a good feeling, like you visited a friend’s house. Somehow, as crazy as your child behaves, it’s no big deal. The environment is safe, there’s a slight diffusion of responsibility which allows you to relax so when it’s time to leave, you feel almost refreshed. At least I did. This is a special place.

If you have a child that likes to swing from the chandeliers and there are some days you think you may “lose it”, I suggest you give Mother Goose a try.

West Side Family Place
2819 West 11th Avenue (@ Macdonald)
Vancouver, B.C.

Mar 232010

That’s what I wanted to know last Saturday morning.

I woke up, threw on my clothes grabbed a baseball hat and headed out the door. My destination: Kerrisdale Community Centre. My goal: register my son in “Music Together”.

For those of you who don’t know…

“Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program. Originally offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.”

I was curious; do parents really line up for days to get their kids into certain programs?! So far I hadn’t experienced that kind of craziness.

Upon my arrival at 7:30am, I noticed the parking lot was full. That seemed a little odd. I walked through the doorway of the gym and sure enough there were fifty people standing in a Disneyland-esque line winding through the gym (20 minutes later 75 people). Some brought chairs, some laptops, others blankets but mostly I saw coffee. Damn it all anyways, why hadn’t I brought a cup of the liquid lightening…sigh?

 As I sat on the gym floor studying the faces around me, I was happy knowing that I had already secured a spot at St James Community Square for this program. Strange but true, I had a spot but was hoping to cancel it and get a place at the Kerrisdale location.

At 8:00am sharp, everyone was handed a “Timesaver Slip” (a new term for me). On it was a registration time and a number. I was #3 at 10:00. In other words, I would be the 3rd person to register at 10:00am. (Basically, they were telling us to go away and come back later. I’m sure there are fewer irate people as there is the illusion that you are no longer in line but let’s face it, you’re still waiting).

 So there I was, still waiting but wandering down the street with a latte in my hand. Walking, window shopping, relaxing with time to myself, no yelling & screaming, no whining, and best of all Daddy was babysitting and giving “the little one” breakfast (for a change). Wait a second… of course, lining up at 7:30am on a Saturday is GREAT!

I returned to the community centre at 10:00am and immediately got the class I wanted with no problems. It was over and done. I was almost sad to go home. So much for my peaceful Saturday morning, it was time to head back to my darling 19 month old boy with the energy of 10 men.

Online registration may be a snap, but this was a good experience for me; almost cathartic I’d say.

P.S. I found out later that the line up also contained people wanting the last 5 spots in a KidsPace class. Some of those people had been in line since 3:00am and did NOT get a spot in the program they wanted, OUCH!! I’m sure those people wouldn’t be as optimistic about the experience as I was.


Kerrisdale Community Centre

Westside Music Together

St James Community Square