Parent-baby classes provide connections to each other and beyond
The St. Charles Park District Early Childhood classes offer new and fun ways to bond with your little one, provide your baby with development opportunities, and may even help you find your parent tribe.
“Our classes provide the stepping stones for your child’s first classroom experience, but just as important, they give you a break from your daily home routine to focus on playing, learning and having fun together,” said Kara Guizzetti-Reif, Early Childhood, Preschool and Day Camp Supervisor.
New this year is Baby’s First Holidays. Using your baby’s tiny hands and feet or a photo, you’ll create a sentimental craft to cherish for years to come. Offered twice per month from September to December, the featured craft will coincide with the upcoming holiday such as Grandparent’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Winter, which includes projects relating to the holidays. Each class provides the materials and instruction.
“We live in a Pinterest world, but some of the DIY crafts can seem overwhelming to attempt alone,” Guizzetti-Reif said. “By signing up, all you have to do is walk in the door. The materials and instruction are provided and the mess is contained, and as a result, you’ll bring home an adorable keepsake to commemorate your baby’s firsts.” If parents have an idea of a type of project or design they would like to make, staff will do its best to assist in creating it.
Fun with Your Little One for ages 1 and younger provides structured, bonding time that includes play, circle time, games, fine motor and gross motor practice and more. The class also functions to meet the needs of parents as they navigate the world of parenting, as instructors will lead discussions on trending topics as well as facilitate parent-led topics. Two options are available for this five-week class that meets from September to October and October to November.
Fun with Your Little One and similar classes help parents make connections with one another. “Parents share that commonality of being in the same stage of life, and we provide that space to share, vent and rejoice together,” said Guizzetti-Reif, adding often times, those friendships continue long after the class ends.
Give your toddlers their first classroom experience in Learn with Your Little One for ages 1-2 or Playtime Pals for ages 1.5-2. Each class meets for 45 minutes, once a week, and exposes your child to their first classroom environment, with a caregiver nearby, according to Guizzetti-Reif. Through routine and repetition, children will be engaged in finger plays, songs, movement games, socialization, art projects and more.
Learn with Your Little One is recommended after attending Fun with Your Little One and Playtime Pals leads into Just the Two of Us for ages 2-3.
Another fall class encourages sensory development while getting messy. During Little Messy Hands for ages 1.5-2.5, children will explore different textures such as play dough, slime, paint, spaghetti and more.
“Sensory play builds connections in a child’s brain that lays the groundwork for completing progressively more complex tasks,” Guizzetti-Reif said. For example, touching pudding with one fingertip, can in time lead to scooping pudding into a bowl with the whole hand.
“Sensory play also supports the development in a child’s communication, social, cognitive, problem-solving and motor skills,” she added.
To register visit www.stcparks.org, or for more information call Kara Guizzetti-Reif at 630-513-4326.