A mother-and-daughter duo running a new type of music group have seen their numbers soar.
The Rev Helene Young and Victoria Mills started Twinkle Toes at Fitzroy Holy Trinity church about 18 months ago.
They began with four families and now have 25 on their books, with up to 34 children attending the Wednesday morning group.
Mrs Young says Twinkle Toes is different from other programmes because there's no expectation that children have to take part in the music. It's also independent and can maintain flexibility in music and songs.
Each alternate Wednesday the group varies slightly. One week it is a "quiet" session for young children and babies, the following week there's a focus on older pre-schoolers in the "busy" session.
As well as music there's time for children to play, and morning tea is provided.
The other difference is the group continues during most holidays - a time when parents are often struggling to find things to do.
"Ninety per cent of other programmes stop then and of course parents have all of their children at home and they don't know what to do with them. We'll do crafts for the older schoolchildren," Mrs Mills said.
She is a visiting teacher for the at-home-based education service called Paua (Pre-schoolers at home uniquely achieving) and has worked with children for many years.
The programme was set up to bring communities together and give opportunities for children and parents to socialise, Mrs Young said.
"Many mothers are lonely and not meeting others in their community. It's certainly been successful from that point of view.
"Some parents have moved out of the area but if they can get a ride they'll still come from other parts of town."
Twinkle Toes also aims to help educate the parents in a low-key informal setting.
"We want to teach the normality of bringing up children. We give parents tips on issues like sleep behaviour, language acquisition and the importance of movement."
Mrs Young is an educational kinesiologist, who bases her Twinkle Toes teaching on the Brain Gym programme. It stresses the importance of movement in the early development of children.
New families wishing to attend Twinkle Toes are welcome. The Wednesday sessions open at 9.30am and entry is by a gold coin donation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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