A new parent and toddler group - The Munchkin Club - was launched at Mourneview Community Centre on Friday.
It all started after a group of parents and grandparents came together to see if they could open up a parent and toddler group in the south Lurgan area as the parent and toddler group that was running on Fridays closed its doors.
Chairperson Sonya Blair explained: “We still think there is a need for a parent and toddler group within the area because we talked with the local nursery school and found out a good percentage of the children starting nursery don’t have the social and basic skills eg knowing how to tidy up their plates and cups after snack and dinner, their basic colours and numbers etc.
“We also found out some children found it hard to settle and have friendships due to not having much interaction with other kids their ages.
“Our hopes and goals are for to have the children that come to our parent and toddler group to be socially and mentally prepared for nursery education.
“We are hoping the children will form friendships and bounds with other children from the parent and toddler group that will be going into nursery at the same time as them and therefore it won’t be a frightening experience for them.
“We will also do our best to have the children prepared in knowing how to clear up their plates and cups after snacks, learn their basic colours and numbers and be able to socialise with other children through play and activities.
“Not only do we want friendships to develop with the children but are hoping some of the parents/guardians also develop friendships especially those that would maybe not have anywhere to go and are on their own for a majority of the day.”
Weekly charges for the group are £1 per adult and 50p per child. The club will run every Friday from 10:30am to 12:30pm
DUP Councillor Carla Lockhart congratulated Sonya and the team of workers who have set up the new Munchkin Club
She said, “It is great to see new services and facilities coming to the area.
“I would commend Sonya and her team for all their hard work in promoting and starting this new facility. It will compliment the services that are already in existence and will allow parents from the area to avail of toddlers facility right in the heart of the community.
“I was so encouraged to see so many parents and kids there on the first day and I have no doubt that it will grow from strength to strength.
“With Surestart investing £100k in the area it is outlets like these that will see real delivery for the community. I look forward to working with Sonya and the team and all other service providers in the area.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson who visited the new group on their first day said: “I was delighted to be invited to come along and see this new group on their very first day!
“It’s no easy task for a group of people to come together and start up a parent and toddler group and I commend Sonya Blair and her team for all the hard work they are putting in to provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for the children as well as for parents and grandparents alike.
“Groups like this provide that all important first step on the ladder where young children can play and learn together and I have no doubt at all that friendships formed at the Munchkin Club will live on throughout their lives.
“I encourage anyone who is interested in the group to contact Sonya either through their Facebook Page or by email.”
The Munchkin Club email is: firstname.lastname@example.org