Since Play in the Park launched in South Hedland in term three last year, the fantastic response from the community combined with the growing demand has already seen plans put into place for the program to expand.
Run by YMCA WA through the Child and Parent Centre, Play in the Park is a free, supported program held in both public parks and indoor areas. The program provides children with a range of active and guided play activities, as well as the opportunity to socialise with their peers.
Early Years Assistant Kay-lee Steenkamp has been with the Child and Parent Centre for five months, and has seen the program’s incredible growth in that short space of time.
“It’s so amazing – seeing so many new people coming to the program every day really makes me happy because it shows word is getting out and people are talking about our Play in the Park,” Kay-lee said.
“We’ve been able to target all different cultural groups so we’re getting the message across about why we’re doing it; that it’s not just a play group, we’re doing it for a purpose. I find that most mums now know that - it’s not just a simple play group to go to and put their children into.”
Play in the Park runs on Tuesdays at Wanangkura Stadium, offering obstacle courses, craft activities and exercises that promote motor skills to 20-30 kids. The second weekly session runs out of the South Hedland library and focuses on rhyme time, story time and encouraging the children to have more down time activities like drawing and puzzles.
Based on the fantastic community response, Kay-lee hopes the program will increase from two weekly sessions in the near future.
“We’ve been discussing expanding the program to more than two days a week, we want to start including some after school programs too so that’ll most likely be on a Monday and a Thursday. That would include drum beat and incorporating nature play in our new garden at the CPC and an arts day.”