Children are encouraged to play with books and interact with them.MY children’s faces lit up when we stepped through the safety gate at The Junction’s Nursery Rhyme Story Time.
First they spotted the finger puppets laid out in a circle, ready for the session. Then they saw the books. And then they locked eyes on the story time tree, replete with colourful, fluffy cushions and delicate, dangling decorations.
I was almost as excited as the kids.
When our first child came along, we did all sorts of things. Gymbaroo, swimming lessons, playgroup. Sometimes a reading session at the library. They were great excuses to get out of the house and socialise, as much as being good for development.
But when the second one came along, it got a little trickier to find things that suited both age groups at the same time.
Here, both children were catered for, and they both loved it.
We sang songs and played with the finger puppets. We read books aloud with the group, and played with fluffy toys that lit up, and games of peek-a-boo with soft, colourful scarves.
Sitting at the story time tree, one of the two teachers read another book to the children.
Later, we made our way over to the craft tables where the kids coloured, cut, glued and glittered some Easter-themed creations.
Owner Marsha Costanzo had worked in business for her whole career.
“After having kids my whole focus changed,” she says. “When I had my first child I wasn’t a very natural mum, and I really struggled.
“What I enjoyed doing was getting out and going to the different playgroups and things that they had around.
“But the one I enjoyed the most and found the most rewarding later on was the reading.”
Breaking the sessions up with songs, games and sensory activities was aimed at keeping the children stimulated and interested.
“I wanted to make sure the kids had their own books to read, so they could learn about books and understand books, and play with them and interact with them.
“I wanted to make it a bit more personal and intimate, without rushing through it. I wanted to work a few different angles to make it a bit different to what the libraries might do.
“The craft is about getting the fine finger motor skills going. A lot of parents don’t like doing craft at home because it’s so messy.”
Nursery Rhyme Story Time has sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and suits children from birth to five.
It costs $150 for 10 sessions, but the first session is free.