Playgroup grows in Ward Jackson Park

Maria Harrison with visitors to the parlour at the Place in the Park.
Maria Harrison with visitors to the parlour at the Place in the Park.

A POPULAR baby and toddler group has added another play date to its weekly routine to cope with popular demand.

The playgroup held inside Place in the Park, at Ward Jackson Park, in Hartlepool, has held a weekly session for youngsters and their parents and carers every Thursday for the past four years.

After starting out with around eight members, the fun and relaxed group has grown to boast 17 regulars.

So the cafe bosses have decided to throw open the playgroup’s doors on Tuesdays as well.

The children, who range from birth to five-years-old, enjoy playing with a variety of toys, games, dolls, books, plasticine and paints.

In the summer months the garden area of the play group is opened for a paddling pool, football, and other fun outdoor games.

Maria Harrison, who runs Place in the Park, said: “Due to the success and demand of our Thursday morning session, we have decided to introduce a second session on a Tuesday morning starting next week.”

She added: “We have a lovely group of children who attend the playgroup and it is great to see them grow and develop from shy individuals when they first arrive, to when they come running in without a second glance to meet their friends.

“It is actually sad for us all when the day comes that they have to leave us to go to the big school. We feel that playgroup gives the development to go on to primary school.

“We try to teach the children how to learn to share and that’a a valuable lesson for them when they start school and teachers often comment on the difference between children that have attended playgroup and those that haven’t. Mums, dads, grans and granddads all have a chance to chat and have a cuppa while the toddlers are allowed to play in a safe environment discovering new toys, games and making friends.” Playgroup is on from 9.30am to 11am and costs just £1.50 which includes a snack and a drink of juice for the little ones.