More than 150 families have visited the Woodland Wonderland Stay and Play Room since its Sept. 1, 2015, opening and the end of last month.
The Play Room brings together children and their parents for fun and learning. It is free and open Tuesdays (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) and Wednesdays (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) at the Cleveland Public Library Woodland branch on Woodland near East 55th Street.
The Play Room is a partnership among Cleveland Public Library, Family Connections, and the Promise Neighborhood. It was created with the understanding that parents are their children’s first teacher. As such, the Play Room promotes parent-child engagement, stimulates language and motor skills, and exposes parent and child to a preschool-like setting.
Tatiana Wells, Promise’s early learning navigator, explains that the Stay and Play Room has been able expand its offerings this year. In April, it hosted a Mommy & Me Yoga program. At 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will visit and talk about small animals. They’ll even bring real animals! Call 216.921.2023 to register for this free program.
Tatiana says the Play Room organizers also know residents prefer activities in their specific area within the larger neighborhood. So the Play Room has taken the show on the road. In February, it partnered with Care Alliance to visit its center and encouraged families in the East 22nd and Cedar area to attend.
Gena Austin, Care Alliance community engagement representative, helped plan the pop-up visit at the new health care facility. Pre-schoolers could receive a free dental cleaning. They and their parents also learned more about dental care and enjoyed the Play Room experience.
Play Room Facilitator Keesha Tolliver-Funches brought doctor-play kits, which included a lab coat and hat, books about visiting the doctor, and a preschool medical kit. The kits also enclosed dental, eye exam, and anatomy charts. Two other Family Connections staff members, Charniece Holmes and Salema Wiggins, read stories and engaged with the children and parents.
We also collaborated with CMHA self-sufficiency coordinator of Cedar Estates, Veda Graves. She mailed the fliers about the pop-up Play Room to all the residents with young children in the Cedar buildings.
We look forward to more pop-up Play Rooms and special activities in the months to come!