Monday, June 24, 2013

Past year successes & summer camp!

I am almost overwhelmed with excitement for the summer months! I am very fortunate to be able to take some time off with my kids and slow right down. But before I slip into that mode, this time of year is the ideal time to reflect upon the past year and the success's and changes that are needed as programs are coming to an end and summer camps are beginning.

This past year we introduced several changes to the Nursery School program. During my time off after Isla's birth, I really felt like I wanted Nursery School to be a much calmer and relaxing environment leaving more opportunity for the children to engage in activities, explore new ideas, and to learn social skills through experience - all of the things I was trying to create in my home environment for my own children. In order to accomplish this, I needed to let go of following such a strict time schedule and start finding ways to create more flow in the program. With really only some minor changes to the environment and schedule, such as incorporating more natural elements and offering more opportunities for children to make choices as opposed to set groups, the entire flow of the program just fell into place. The result was a calmer environment and children who were comfortable making choices and stating their own preferences, which in turn allowed us to follow their interests more closely. Even in art, by not having the stress of planning so many themed projects, but offering materials and just letting the children create allowed everyone to explore their own creativity and once again helped us delve deeper in areas that fully engaged the children. Varying the sensory bin from water, sand, ice, beans, goop, play dough and so many other experiences gave some children the time to be in their element and pushed others to go beyond their comfort areas and get a little messy! I am so very happy with the changes and the resulting Nursery School program and I am so excited to share all of these things with so many new children in the Fall. On that note, I would like to extend a congratulations to all of our 2013 Nursery School graduates who were a pleasure to get to know and learn from over the past 10 months - we cannot imagine the extraordinary places each of you will go! Registration for September is now underway with only two morning spaces remaining and a handful if afternoon spots available, for more details visit here.

This year I have also introduced several new programs including a new Social Baby drop in play time as well as a Running Group in partnership with Fit Mom in Barrhaven. The Social Baby Drop In play time is an opportunity for babies under one year to interact and explore the Enchanted Forest area. It is also an opportunity for babies to learn social skills through experience by looking, touching, playing and yes, sometimes grabbing toys from other little ones! It also gave parents an opportunity to chat and hear that they are not alone in their experiences. This was a fun group that allowed me to meet many new families, the size of the group really only started to grow in the last few weeks, so I am looking forward to beginning again in the Fall.

The Running Group with Katie from Fit Mom in Barrhaven was so much fun and the perfect opportunity for me to fit in another work out during the week! The Drop Off care for children over 3 years of age gave many moms the opportunity to run when they otherwise would not have been able to. It was also amazing to meet so many other mom runners, both experienced and new to running. We had a lot of regulars and some who came when it worked with children's schedules.  But each week (except one very rainy day - when I was ready and willing if anyone came;), we showed up and gave it our all. A very inspiring experience and one we will continue again in the Fall.

Gym & Music classes as always are a blast to run and such a nice chance to really get to know so many families in the community. I am very excited to have so many Gym Stars graduates in the Nursery School program in September, it is wonderful getting to see little ones grow over the course of not one, but two years! I expect the Gym & Music class schedule will remain the same and registration will begin in August.

Once again the Before & After school program had a very successful year. With changes in transportation due to the opening of new schools we are sad to see many students leaving the program  who we have come to know over the past several years. We are excited to welcome in students from not just Jean Robert Gauthier, Michaelle Jean, and St Elizabeth Ann Seton, but also students from Mary Honeywell. Next year will once again promise all sorts of adventures from gymnastics, obstacle courses, art, science and so many more fun days - and as always pyjama days on PA days! A Gym Take does still have three spaces available in the Before & After School program.

As all of these programs come to an end, Summer camps at A Gym Tale are just beginning. This summer will be full of themed weeks, gymnastics skill building, games on the pirate ship and castle playground, art projects, outdoor fun on Tuesdays and special visits each week ranging from Spider-Man, Sleeping Beauty, Rays Reptiles, Mad science, karate lesson, acting lessons and so much more. Child care discounts are available or if you are looking to spread out the fun over the summer choose only certain days each week. Full days with extended care from 7:30-5:30, morning or afternoons, full weeks and single days are available so you can customize exactly what your family needs. As of today, there are spaces available each week over the summer. Also, next week is our DISCOUNT week if you are looking for a chance to try out the camp program before committing to more days!

All in all such an amazing year behind us and a great summer ahead of us!