[Before coronavirus] As part of my college course I started volunteering at Parent and Toddler Group at Brunswick Church around September last year. Already it’s just become part of my weekly routine.
I look forward to Wednesday mornings because I’ve already built bonds with the children. Every week is different with new parents and children turning up.
What I enjoy the most about being a volunteer is helping parents with their children if they are struggling which then gives them a breather. I also enjoy being able to speak to a lot of different parents which has helped me with my communication skills and confidence.
I asked some of the parents what they enjoyed about the group. One parent told me, “It’s a really fun group where my son gets to meet other kids. It’s a really lovely community space and a great place to meet other parents.”
Another said, “My daughter’s been coming since she was about six months old and she’s nearly four now. She loves it. It’s nice to get together with all the mums and let the children have a run around. It gives you a break from being in the house. Everyone’s friendly.”
The routine is the same each week. Parents start to arrive with their children from 10am. They sign in and the children get ‘free play’ until 11:30.
The activities that we set each week are: physical development – bikes. We have a home corner where they can pretend to shop or cook food. We have an area with tunnels and another with building blocks or puzzles which helps develop fine motor skills. We always put out a messy area: playdough, gluing or sticking or mark-making.
After free play we tidy up the toys and we set up for a 20-minute snack time. We have healthy foods: fruit, veg, and sometimes croissants, wraps and crumpets. Then Jas – the group leader – brings the children onto the carpet area where we sing songs and read a story. At 12 it’s home time.
Jas always makes me feel welcome and takes my ideas into consideration. A few times she has allowed me to lead the group at song time which boosts my confidence. This group is really inspirational.
The Parent and Toddler Group will return to its usual slot of Wednesdays 10am-12noon after the coronvirus outbreak.
Brunswick Parish Church, Brunswick Street,Manchester M13 9SX firstname.lastname@example.org
0161 273 6608