Train­ing Wheels pro­gram cel­e­brat­ing 15th an­niver­sary

Pub­lic event in Spring­dale in hon­our of pop­u­lar fam­ily pro­gram

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANETTE DOOLEY

SPRING­DALE, NL — Train­ing Wheels Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre is invit­ing for­mer and cur­rent fam­i­lies, staff and vol­un­teers to its 15th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions in Spring­dale Oct. 11.

The farmed-themed event will in­clude an­i­mals from Jigg’s Farm and some lo­cal farm an­i­mals of for­mer par­tic­i­pants. There will also be a free bar­be­cue, games, prizes and other barn­yard fun for all.

Funded by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment, the beloved char­ac­ter Peppa Pig will also make an ap­pear­ance, ac­cord­ing to Erica Chat­man, out­reach worker at the cen­tre.

Train­ing Wheels pro­vides pro­gram­ming and so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for fam­i­lies with chil­dren aged new­born to six years. Pro­grams are of­fered in five lo­ca­tions — Robert’s Arm, Tri­ton, South Brook, King’s Point and Spring­dale.

As an out­reach worker, Chat­man cov­ers all five lo­ca­tions. Train­ing Wheels now reaches over 100 fam­i­lies, she said, with eight to 10 pro­grams of­fered at each lo­ca­tion ev­ery week.

“We en­cour­age par­ent and child in­ter­ac­tion,” she said. “We have play­ground ac­tiv­i­ties, story time, craft time. We have sea­sonal themed events, and we of­fer free snacks with all of our ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The cen­tre’s out­reach pro­grams in­clude a back­pack pro­gram and home vis­its/play dates.

“We bring the pro­grams to chil­dren who aren’t able to get out to our pro­grams.”

Stephanie Butt of Spring­dale started par­tic­i­pat­ing in Train­ing Wheels pro­grams when she was preg­nant with her first child. Maci is now three years old. Her sis­ter Maria is one.

Butt takes her chil­dren to the cen­tre about three times a week.

“I like com­ing here be­cause it gets the chil­dren out of the house to see their friends,” she said. “They can play with dif­fer­ent toys than they have at home. And they en­joy all the work­ers here be­cause they are great with the kids.”

De­vel­op­ing skills

Whether read­ing a story or mak­ing a craft, the pro­grams help chil­dren de­velop many skills, in­clud­ing lis­ten­ing, ac­cord­ing to Butt.

In ad­di­tion to the ac­tiv­i­ties in and around the cen­tre, she said the chil­dren love go­ing on field trips to places in the com­mu­nity such as the Val­ley Vista Se­niors Home and the po­lice and fire sta­tions.

With a fo­cus on par­ent and child in­ter­ac­tion, the cen­tre is just as im­por­tant to the par­ent as it is the child.

“It’s great so­cial­iza­tion for us par­ents,” Butt said. “Just to get out to talk to other par­ents, to see that they are go­ing through the same things you are re­ally helps.”

Any­one who has been as­so­ci­ated with Train­ing Wheels over the years is in­vited to the cel­e­bra­tion from 3:305:30 p.m. at 83 Lit­tle Bay Road (for­mer col­lege build­ing). New par­tic­i­pants are also wel­come.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Out­reach worker Erica Chat­man, left, spends some time with Maria and Maci, and their mom, Stephanie Butt at the Train­ing Wheels Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre in Spring­dale.

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