UMF is expanding playgroup program

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FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Farmington’s Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education is offering an expanded playgroup program for infants and toddlers age 3 and younger and their parents or caregivers.

The purpose of the sessions, which will begin the week of Jan. 22, is to provide hands-on experiences for UMF students and safe and appropriate programs for young children and their families.

The groups offer parents and children opportunities for social interactions with each other, as well as other parents and children. They are facilitated by a UMF professor and students.

“We’re extremely excited to be offering an expanded playgroup program this semester with many new features,” said Mellisa Clawson, UMF early childhood and elementary education associate professor. “We now offer playgroups four days a week, with both morning and evening sessions to choose from. In addition, we’ve designed each playgroup with a different curriculum so families may select whatever playgroup best fits their family’s interests, goals and needs.”

Clawson said families may also choose to participate in more than one playgroup, given available space.

Registration for the infant-toddler playgroup program will be held on the UMF campus from 9 to 11a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the ground floor Ricker Addition lobby outside of the playgroup room. Registration and playgroup information can also be obtained by contacting Clawson at 778-1768 or mellisa.clawson@maine.edu. Families may register more than one child. Each playgroup is limited to 12 children.

The following playgroup sessions will begin the week of Jan. 22:

Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Rhythm of Children. The group offers a nurturing environment for parents and children to play and learn together. It is sponsored by the Franklin County Children’s Task Force with the assistance of UMF students.

Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m., UMF playgroup. The group offers opportunities for children’s holistic development, with a special emphasis on interactions with adults and other children. It is facilitated by Clawson and UMF students.

Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m., PACT playgroup. The group utilizes the “Parent and Child Together” model and focuses on promoting quality parent-child interactions through developmentally appropriate activities. It is facilitated by Clawson, an intern in early childhood education and UMF students.

Thursdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m., UMF playgroup. The group offers opportunities for children’s holistic development, with a special emphasis on interactions with adults and other children. It is facilitated by Clawson, an intern in early childhood education and UMF students.

Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m., PIWI playgroup. The group utilizes the “Parents Interacting with Infants” model, offering parent education and opportunities for focused parent-child interactions. It is facilitated by Dolores Appl, UMF professor of special education and rehabilitation services, and UMF students majoring in early childhood special education.

Fridays from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Creative Transitions playgroup. The group is appropriate for ages 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 and emphasizes children’s creative development. It provides developmentally appropriate visual arts, movement, music, literature and dramatic activities for young children and their caregivers and introduces children to preschool experiences. It is facilitated by Clawson, an intern in early childhood education and UMF students.

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