Luca and I attended a new playgroup yesterday. We had gone to another one in December, but neither Jacquie or I were too thrilled with it. Jacquie heard about a different one in town so we thought we'd check it out.
It is held at Parentlink here in Ponoka. Parentlink is a place that offers programs and resources for families. (Anyone interested should check it out in their community- I think that they are in most communities in Alberta). The playgroup runs from 10-11:30 on Wednesday mornings. They start with free play and the moms can visit, then they have story time, snack time, singing, and crafts, then more free play. It is somewhat structured, yet still relaxed. We will be trying to attend as often as we can. It was nice to be with other moms and Luca loved watching the other kids play, and he liked the singing part, too. Soon he will be in all the commotion as well!
Also offered at Parentlink is Wee Sign. It is a sign language class for parents and babies. I had planned on doing sign with my children while they were still just a dream in my heart. Having taken sign, I felt that I could do some basics with them onmy own. But, I heard about this course last year when Donovan was born, and then this year it happened to be offered at the optimal time for Luca (I think that 6 months and up is the preferred age). So, tonight was our first class. It is a 3 week class. I really enjoyed it (it really refreshed my memory of signs that I had forgotten). Luca was laughing at the instructor- he liked what she was doing, so that is good news! He was at least interested!
Basically it incorporates simple signs into your everyday routines, and is in no way meant to be a substitute for speech. Parents are encouraged to speak while they sign (as are hearing people that sign to the deaf, often encouraged to do), but rather to add simple signs such as eat, drink, mom, dad, etc to their lives. Since children can produce movement before speech, this empowers them to be able to communicate earlier and reduces frustration in parents and children. Studies have also shown that children that are introduced to sign tend to have larger vocabularies sooner than those not signing. Simply for the reason that they are able to put actions to words (and vice versa) earlier than if they did not learn sign, as that is what it is (actions to words).
Anyway, so we are doing that on Thursday evenings for the next 2 weeks. Should be fun, and with any luck, Luca will be able to learn a few signs in the next few months. Of course, he is not expected to start signing right away, but if he is signed to regularly, he will eventually come to understand that a sign represents an event/person/activity and will associate it as so. SO, we'll see. I'll keep you all posted.
Jacquie and I are also doing a "moms" activity next Friday and the centre. Child care is provided there while we will be making jewelry- fun! A nice hour or so with other moms to do something for us...imagine that!
Not related to the Parentlink centre, I am also planning on taking a few community cooking courses in the next few months. One is Thai cooking on February 13th and the other is "The art of cooking" in April. They are just 2 hour classes on one night each. I have been into cooking lately, so this should be fun!
Now that Luca is a little older and I am comfortable in our routines, I am feeling a little more ambitious to get out and try things with and without him. Plus, being at home all the time makes me a little stir crazy!