St Mary’s Toddler Group has been running very successfully now for well over a year. Presently we are a group of fifteen members of our congregation who welcome the Toddlers and their carers each Monday morning from 9.30am until 11am during term time. The Toddlers are aged from birth to three years old and we have an average of twenty-seven each week along with their parent/carer.
Our young friends arrive at 9.30am when the church is adapted to their needs for play, creativity, exploration and socialising while their carers (mums, dads, grandparents – sometimes all of them together) are able to chat while watching over their children. Each person is given a label with their name on it so no one is ever unidentifiable. This is where we, the helpers, fit in. Our aim is to circulate amongst the adults and make sure no one is left on their own. Occasionally we even get to hold a baby while a sibling needs a nappy change, or an accompanying adult has a cup of coffee. It also enables people who aren’t part of our church community to see for themselves what a welcoming place St Mary’s is. This was evident when we saw the huge numbers who attended our Christmas services and will hopefully consider coming along for other church events soon.
During the session we are served with fruit toast, biscuits, coffee, tea, juice and water by our dedicated kitchen helpers. Seeing the children sitting together around small tables and in highchairs is a remarkable sight and makes it all worthwhile. This is followed by singing and marching before they all leave very happy and quite exhausted – both children and adults and helpers.
It is thriving so much that our waiting list is longer than the people who are on the current register. Because of this we are considering having a second session. It would run on a Monday afternoon, after the morning session at 1.30pm to 3pm.
THIS IS WHERE YOU MAY BE ABLE TO HELP
Would you be willing to come along occasionally, to either session, to chat and welcome our visitors, or help make tea/coffee and fruit toast?
If we had sufficient people this means you would be committing to two or three sessions each half term. We don’t meet during the school holidays or Bank Holidays. It would give us more people to call on if anyone doesn’t feel up to coming any Monday.
For those of you who might want to help but perhaps don’t want to circulate or haven’t got a full morning to give, some of us go along at 8.45am to get the church ready for the session. The chairs are turned around making a huge play space, toys are brought from the Mel Weir suite where they are stored, and the small tables are moved to make them available for activities and then refreshments. This task is usually completed by 9.20am when you would be free to either stay or go home for a much-deserved cup of coffee and rest.
We do ask that you give this some thoughtful consideration. We would welcome anyone, man or woman, young or old to help us with this very worthwhile activity, it would be a shame to see it fizzle out. I am happy to speak to anyone who may have questions or if you want to pop in sometime on a Monday morning to check us out before committing, then please feel free to do so. Coffee is usually served about 10.20am.
Carol Nesbitt and the Team