It started almost two years ago and is still going strong. The Maryhill Playgroup – an informal organization that hosts activities for preschoolers on Thursday mornings at the Maryhill Heritage Park Community Centre – is regularly attended by 25 to 30 participants, both children and their parents. That number increases with special events and when special guests and entertainers attend.
“It’s quite a success, actually,” said Liz Lima, who coordinates the weekly group along with Jana Sauve.
“The kids have fun, they interact with each other, we provide an educational theme – everything underlying fun – and they don’t even know they’re learning, really.”
The playgroup is strictly informal – it is not a daycare or babysitting service where parents can leave their children – and is aimed at children of preschool age. There they find friends, fun activities, networks and support.
“We’re just a group of community parents coming together and doing something fun for our kids,” explained Lima.
The playgroup began when some local parents realized there was little in the way of such services in the area.
Run by community members, “everyone and anyone” is welcome, said Lima. Some of the regular activities include story-time, crafts, and tea and coffee for adults.
The group also regularly features special events or guests; on the calendar for the near future are the Independent Living Group from Waterloo, Music Together from Elmira, and a joint fundraiser and car show with the Knights of Columbus set for June 27.
The group is a not-for-profit organization run by volunteers. Because it is not a registered charity it is ineligible for a variety of grants and as a result, securing operating funds is a challenge. Operating costs are covered by donations, fundraisers and grants from the township and local service groups.
The organization was before council last week requesting that it waive $351 in rental fees for the remainder of the year. The cost of renting the facility once a week from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. for a period of 35 weeks is $875. Having received a $300 donation from the Optimist Club and raised $274 through a bake sale, the group asked the township to waive the remainder of the rental fee.
For more information call Lima at (519) 648-9618 or Sauve at (519) 648-3838.