Finding a play group or learning environment for small babies and children can be difficult. Often you are sharing a group with older children running around and playing rough, which can be quite risky when your young baby is either not walking or not yet mobile, or you must pay an exorbitant amount of money to be entitled to attend a session.
The Queensland Government fund multiple Early Years Centres across Queensland which offers an array of free programs in a safe environment for young babies and children. Each centre is open to anyone expecting a child and families with children from 0 to 8 years of age and the centres also provide access to early childhood health, family and parenting support services. Child health nurses are located on site and most centres also offer free immunisation clinics.
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Having personally attended the Acacia Ridge EYC with my daughter, we have found the groups and activities to be interactive, engaging and fun for children of all ages, but most importantly a safe environment for my baby to learn and grow.
If you are looking for the best programs for young children my recommendations are the following:
• Baby and Me (Newborn to 12 months only)
Connect with other parents and or carers with children aged birth to 12 months. Topics include growth and development, self-care, attachment and bonding. Child health nurses are available throughout the session for weigh-ins and measurements and any other items you may wish to discuss. The group also includes singing and nursery rhymes which even the younger of babies benefit from and enjoy.
• Butterfly Wings (Split into groups of under 2 years and over 2 years)
This is a group learning experience focusing on the pleasure and power of using nursery rhymes, interactive songs and stories together. Parents will gain knowledge relateing to early years brain development, emotional intelligence, social interactions, early literacy and numeracy through rhyme and story.
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This is a group for children and their families to interact with others in a play base environment. Opportunities are provided to encourage learning and development. Staff are available to support children and adults within the group.
There are many other services and programs provided by the centres and their information and locations can be found here .
Not only do these centres provide vital information and opportunities for child development they promote a vibrant community which will make your family feel safe, comfortable and supported and we have already made multiple new friends with children and families in the same growth stage as us.