Parents and caregivers will have something different to do each Monday this summer thanks to a new program from Parent Link.
Summer Daze is a new program from the Lacombe Parent Link Centre which is focused at getting kids outside, having fun and of course, developing essential skills.
Parent Link Programmer Carolyn McLaren, who designed the Adventure Daze program, said that this new program offers families and caregivers a number of activities to partake in over the summer.
Each week, there is a new theme to the program, which means that there are always different activities to do.
“Each activity has a hidden purpose that kids don’t even know about,” said McLaren.
As with most of Parent Link’s programs, Adventure Daze exists for more than just allowing kids to have fun.
It allows children to progress in essential areas of child development including in areas such as gross motor, fine motor, social, language and communication skills.
For example, at this week’s beach party-themed session, children worked on gross motor skills doing a beanbag toss where they ‘fed’ fish-shaped beanbags to a cardboard cut-out of a shark.
Adventure Daze provides Parent Link with an opportunity to connect with parents in the area and provide them with information on parenting and child development as well.
It also allows parents in the area to connect with each other.
In addition, it also provides an opportunity for parents to play with their kids directly.
Parent to child play, rather than just child-to-child play is a focus of Parent Link.
“That is always our goal,” said Lacombe Parent Link Centre Coordinator Cora Hoekstra. “We always want to facilitate adult-child interaction.”
McLaren said, while Parent Link has offered summer programs to a certain extent in the past, parents in the area expressed a desire for more.
Parent Link also wanted this year’s summer programming to be new, involved and outdoors as much as possible.
Hoekstra said that research has shown that 55% of children entering Kindergarten in Lacombe are lacking in at least one of the essential development areas.
She added where these deficits tend to manifest the most is in the areas of language and physical ability.
Because it is part of Parent Link’s mandate to prepare children for school, Hoekstra said these findings are concerning. She added that programs like Adventure Daze work to correct this issue.
“Our goal, as Parent Link centres, is to support families to prepare their children for school,” said Hoekstra.
“And I think we as citizens should be concerned,” she said.
Parent Link is a province-wide network dedicated to providing parents with resources in their communities.
It also runs programs targeting and developing children between the ages of birth and six years old.
Adventure Daze runs every Monday morning until Aug. 25th from 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Participants will meet in the park outside the Lacombe Memorial Centre or in case of inclement weather, inside the Parent Link room inside the LMC.
There is no fee for the program and all are welcome.
For more information contact the Lacombe Parent Link Centre at 403-782-4686.