CHILDREACH CENTRE: ‘Freedom’ for children; Solace for parents

CHILDREACH CENTRE: ‘Freedom’ for children; Solace for parents

“We believe that every parent wants the best for his or her child. If the best is not being provided, it is because of some barrier – such as inexperience, depression, illness, aloneness or poverty. It is our goal to help lift this barrier, and bring joy to both parent and child” — Childreach founder,  Dr. John McKim.

I want the best for my children! That is exactly what I had in mind when I started bringing my boys – who are under 6 years old – to Childreach Centre. It was during the winter months when activities at home were seemingly not enough for the boys, and overexposing them to screen time was tempting and I resisted it by bringing my children to the Centre.

At the Centre, my boys had fun all the time. I didn’t have to worry about the kind of toys they were playing. I didn’t have to worry about them fighting over one thing, in fact, they were playing well along with others. They shared and let go of the toys they wanted without a fuss like it was a natural thing.

I didn’t have to worry about their safety because I know there are other involuntary pairs of eyes watching them.

Indeed, the Centre brought me and my children joy. From the very first day of our visits, we leave the place with a contented happy heart, every single time. It is where my boys play freely as kids, and I don’t have to stress over the mess they were making or moving toys around from one place to another.  Age-appropriate books for children are available, and arts and crafts materials are provided too, to nurture their artistic side. My one-year-old had his first scribbles with paint at Childreach.

Freedom to explore on their own, Childreach Centre is a safe haven for children to be just kids.

At this place, my children get to access so many educational toys that are not available in our home. Childreach Centre is a toyland for children giving them the freedom to explore, and a solace for their caregivers.

My boys enjoyed the Boggle Jr. (right) and Jenga we borrowed from Childreach Centre.

‘My Village’

Whenever I think of the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child,” to me, the Childreach Centre is my “village”. It has provided me relief on hard days when I needed a break from the daily commotions I have to go through with my boys.

When I have doubted myself on how to parent these high-spirited boys of mine, Childreach provides tons of resources on parenting. It also offers free workshops about different aspects of dealing with children positively. It helps parents who are doubting themselves due to lack of experience, who has no one to turn to or just need the affirmation that they are doing good, after all, there’s no one formula in raising a child.

Along with the free workshops childminding is also provided, so parents do not have to worry about their children being left behind. Among the topics of the workshops are: To Yell or Not to Yell, Building Resiliency, Teaching Kids to Care: Lessons in Empathy, Do I have to Say Sorry? and many other topics beneficial to caregivers and children.

Grateful clients

With the hundreds of parents and caregivers bringing children to Childreach Centre, I am certain that each and everyone is grateful for having this facility that provides us help, comfort and a safe haven for our children.

“This place is a blessing,” says Amani. “I have been here since I had my second child, (who is now 6 years old).”

“This place allows me to sit while my children are having fun,”  says Michelle, mother of two, who lives nearby but just found about Childreach recently.

Some of the activities that my children indulged in, while at the Childreach Centre.

Rabia, a first-time mother who is just finding her way with motherhood, worries about her son Hassan unable to get along with other children so she was happy to discover Childreach Centre, where her son can be with other kids in a child-friendly environment.

Parents and caregivers bring their children to Childreach Centre to experience playing with others in a very accommodating and kid-friendly atmosphere.  

I cannot emphasize and reiterate enough how grateful I am for having Childreach accessible for me and my children. Besides space itself, we also enjoy borrowing toys from the toy library. For an affordable price, the toy library and the parents’ resource center, I see it as a gem to homeschoolers — myself included.

Another thing exceptional with Childreach Centre is the welcoming and approachable staff who are gracious in responding to any inquiries from parents and children.

Other Services

Childreach Foundation is an institution that has been in existence since 1975 and continuously provides free services. Other programs for children are Wild Child Outdoor Playgroup that takes place in different locations three times a week; and French Drop-in Playgroup.

Mothers can have a coffee break and adult conversations with like-minded parents at the Coffee Time program for mothers while their children are looked after.

Meanwhile,  those who are experiencing family life or parenting challenges can seek help from Childreach through its Parent Connect, a telephone and an email service available to answer any questions related to parenting.

For more information about its programs and services visit http://www.childreach.on.ca or call 519-434-3644.

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