Click HERE to see the fall 2014 schedule.
UPDATE FALL 2014: In response to feedback from the moms in attendance, SRECC has adjusted this class to be more like a drop-in play group with lots of toys for the little ones and lots more time for them to interact and play together (while the mommies get to have a “play date” too!). There is still a brief storytime/song at the end, but the class is generally unstructured to allow for enhanced interaction between the children. A wonderful weekly play group experience!!!
Do you love drop-in programs? Do you love FREE drop-in programs? Do you love FREE drop-in programs with stories, songs, music, and movement for the kiddos plus coffee, snacks and time to socialize for the moms? Well, then you are really going to love the subject of today’s post!
That’s because today I am excited to tell you about a NEW, totally FREE drop-in class for little ones ages 6 months to 42 months and a parent/caregiver being offered at the Shirley Reaback Early Childhood Center in Glastonbury.
The Shirley Reaback Early Childhood Center (SRECC) is attached to the Kol Haverim synagogue on Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury, and it’s a satellite location of the main Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford located in West Hartford. And like the Mandell JCC, its programs are open to people of all faiths.
In addition to offering a traditional preschool curriculum, SRECC offers some terrific “mommy and me” style classes for toddlers and their parent/caregiver. But this is the first time they are offering a class that’s also for little ones as young as 6 months!
The new Fun with Friends class will meet on select Friday mornings in April and May for the remainder of this school year, but when it starts up again next fall (2014), it will meet every Friday morning from 9:15 am to 10:00 am (with just a few exceptions; see Momsense for class dates).
I was lucky enough to be invited to write about the very first meeting of Fun with Friends this past Friday, and this class definitely lived up to its name 🙂
As I mentioned before, SRECC is attached to the beautiful Kol Haverim synagogue on Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury. There is a big sign out by the road, so you can’t miss it.
After you turn in, head straight back towards the rear of the building.
There is plenty of parking at the back of the building.
You’ll want to use the entrance to the school, not the main temple entrance. It’s the door nearest to the playground.
You can see there’s a ramp there, so it’s very easy to get to the door with a stroller. If you don’t mind popping the wheels up on the curb, you can head straight for the ramp. The actual handicap-accessible entrance to the sidewalk is up near the temple entrance, if you need it.
The doors to the school are always locked, but there is an intercom system to the right of the door so you can call the office to let them know you are there for the class.
Fun with Friends takes place in the Social Hall, which is a shared space with the temple. Everyone is really friendly, so there will almost certainly be someone to point you in the right direction. And there will probably be a sign near the school office too.
In any event, you’ll want to head down the hallway to your right until you see one of the two entrances to the Social Hall. This one (can’t miss it; it’s next to this giant menorah):
Or there’s one a little farther down the hallway. Both are well-marked.
Of course, since winter refuses to end, we all arrived with our endless cold weather gear. There was plenty of space to shed our layers on the opposite side of the Social Hall where some tables and chairs were set up that day.
The class takes place in this great, wide-open space with plenty of room to move around and let the kiddos explore (in the interest of full disclosure, I took this picture after class had ended, which is why there are toys strewn all over the place; things were much more organized at the start before two dozen toddlers had at them for 45 minutes 🙂 )
When we arrived, there were some yummy breakfast snacks and coffee (yay, coffee!) out on a table. All FREE.
At first we just hung out for a little bit. The moms got a chance to chat. The kiddos got a chance to play with some of the toys that were stationed around the room.
Well, everyone else’s kids did. Here’s what my little guy was doing. Figures.
After a few minutes, it was time for the structured portion of the class, and everyone gathered in a loose semi-circle at the front of the room.
This class is taught by Valerie Schwartz, who also happens to be the parent/caregiver and toddler teacher for SRECC and teaches several other classes there as well. Plus, she has a background in children’s theater, which makes her especially entertaining for the kids and the grownups 🙂
The class was highly participatory, with stories (read from a giant, oversized storybook), sing-a-longs, and even some dancing with colorful scarves (see above). Afterwards, it was time for a little more free play and socializing.
Fortunately, my little guy woke up in time to have some fun before the class ended.
I know I’m biased, but isn’t he cute?!
All in all, this was a really fun morning activity. A playdate for the kiddos…and the mommies.
p.s. Don’t forget to enter our TWO giveaways! Enter to win a family four-pack of tickets to Essex Steam Train’s Day Out with Thomas here; and a family four-pack of tickets to Sesame Street Live-Elmo Makes Music here. Good luck!!!
Fun with Friends Class
Shirley Reaback Early Childhood Center (Kol Haverim synagogue)
Ph. (860) 652-0396
E. firstname.lastname@example.org (Kate Bodmer, Director)
Fridays, 9:15 am – 10:00 am.
Dates remaining for spring 2014 are April 11, 25 & May 9, 23
Dates for fall 2014 are Sept. 12, 19; Oct. 3, 10, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 21; Dec. 5, 12, 19 (no class Sept. 26, Oct. 17, Nov. 28).
- Stroller Friendly: YES. There are ramps and plenty of space to navigate with a stroller.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. Coffee will be provided, but you can also bring your own.
- Baby Changing Station: YES. There is a baby changing station in the women’s restroom (and maybe the men’s too; I refrained from checking 🙂 ), which is located in the hallway you’ll take to get from the preschool to the temple’s Social Hall.
- Parking: Parking at the rear of the building.
- Food for Sale: NO
- Outside Food Allowed: Snacks will be provided; please refrain from bringing in any outside food unless absolutely necessary (i.e. food allergies).
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: Nothing special for you or the kiddos. But remember that you will be sitting on the floor.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: NO
Tips & Things to Bring
- This class is open to anyone and everyone! You do not need to be a member of the JCC, affiliated with SRECC or even a Glastonbury resident. So grab your friends and go!
- This is a drop-in class, but SRECC would prefer if you register in advance just so they know how many people to expect (and how much coffee to have!). You can do so by emailing Kate Bodmer at email@example.com. However, no one will be turned away at the door 🙂
- The suggested age range for this class is 6 months to 42 months.
- Also check out SRECC’s other terrific toddler classes for ages 22-35 months: Wee Wiggles; Kiddie Kapers; and Toddlers in the Kitchen. Registration is now open for next fall. Click here to download a 2014 registration form.
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