Playgroup welcomes families with young children
Hudson – The winter weather can leave many parents of young children feeling isolated. Recognizing that, Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann, the education director at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, is inviting parents and children to a weekly playgroup that meets in the church hall from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.
The playgroup is an opportunity for both parents and children to get out of the house and socialize with other families in the community. Although the group meets in the church and is run by AnachekaNasemann, who is affiliated with the church, she said that the discussion topics are unstructured and do not particularly address religious or spiritual topics.
"We talk about whatever parents wish to discuss," Anacheka-Nasemann said. "This is a nondenominational group. We want to encourage families from all walks of life within the community to stop in."
With two children herself, aged 9 and 6, Anacheka- Nasemann has been involved with several playgroups over the years and believes that her family's participation in past groups has been a valuable experience for her children.
"It is clearly an opportunity for children to make social connections," she said.
With a background, both professionally and academically, in early childhood education, she believes that children who are involved in such social programs benefit when they reach the classroom.
"I really enjoy children at this age," she said. "It is important to create an environment where the children feel loved and safe."
The playgroup, which caters to children between the ages of infant through kindergarten, is often chaotic and noisy. Although the group does set out toys and some informal arts and crafts for the children, the program is run very loosely.
"The church has a nice supply of toys and the hall is a very large space that lends itself well to running around making lots of noise," Anacheka-Nasemann said.
She also feels that the playgroup a great place for children to learn about the importance of community and some of the early life skills like sharing and empathy.
The playgroup not only off ers parents with young children a free weekly social opportunity, it also provides an occasion for parents to gather with other adults.
"I have been involved with lots of playgroups, and they provide a social opportunity and a lot of parenting support," Anacheka-Nasemann said. "We frequently find ourselves talking about parenting, but we are willing to discuss anything."
The support she has received in the playgroup setting, whether it was information about potty-training strategies or choosing a preschool, has always resulted in hearing a diverse range of opinions.
"It is a real value as a parent to be with other parents experiencing similar things," Anacheka-Nasemann said.
For more information about the playgroup, drop in during a playgroup meeting or call the church office at 978-562-9180. The church is located on Main Street in Hudson.
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