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Wellbeing Is the Goal, Community Is the Key

Wellbeing is the goal, community is the key

I have struggled to find spaces in rural that are welcoming to small children. Other than the Kindersley Aquatic Centre and various parks and outdoor pools in the summer months, I’ve often felt there are limited options to take your kids for an exploratory and fun experience nearby. I mean, you can only visit the Kindersley Mall so many times and have the same debate with your 4-year-old about whether he needs another $2 toy from the machines. And there’s typically a couple onlookers at the grocery store who are less than thrilled you’ve let your boys have some fun with the ‘customers in training’ carts.

That’s why visiting the new Kindersley Early Years Family Resource Centre was a dream. When I arrived, I was greeted by Jensen Reichert, a facilitator for the centre and we got to chatting straight away. She has a background in Psychology and is hoping to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology (which is extremely competitive to get into, but I have no doubt she’s driven enough to achieve that dream). We talked about the challenges of raising young children and how community support is critical in ‘conscious’ parenting which emphasizes empathy, respect and connection between parent and child. I find this difficult to achieve in the isolation of my home.

Various studies have found that happiness levels drastically drop during parenting years for many, while stress and tiredness peak. The centre and its facilitators offer support and care for the whole family’s wellbeing. Lisa Presler, the Program Designer, highlights, “We want whole families to thrive because when people can feel their best, they can give their best back to their families and their communities. It’s a beautiful cycle to get to be a part of”.

The four pillars of the centre are early learning, parent education, family wellness and information and referrals. The centre’s contributors recognize that the key to healthy families is the village that supports them. Presler, shares:

I feel that our caregivers can become more confident in their vital roles, not only through the parent information that our centre offers, but also through the authentic connections to other early years families, which allows them to create a network of support for each other. The centre provides opportunity for families to plant the seeds and their community is there to help foster the growth.

The vibe in the centre is calm – which felt surprising with how many children were there. I suspect this tone was set by the relaxed nature of the Facility Coordinator, Jo Simpson and Reichert who were both caring for the families during my visit. Or maybe it was the well thought out rooms for discovery and rich play-based learning environments for the children and caregivers. As a parent you are always on high alert, scanning the rooms to see if your young child is messing with something they shouldn’t be or bothering another child or adult – so to be in a space where the unpredictable and sometimes explosive behavior of small children is not only expected but accepted – THIS is the gift.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends whose homes may not otherwise be set up for young children to safely play are also welcome at the centre. And guess what? You get to leave the mess behind. I mean tidy as best you can, but you get to leave the toys and activities behind PLUS you get to learn, grow and connect with children without the glaring ‘To Do Lists’ that we all have in our homes and work life.

So, I encourage you to make a play date or better yet, attend their grand opening on Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am with the young children in your life and enjoy the curious and exploratory nature of a young mind – something that is sure to inspire us all.

*To all those who don’t have children and made it to the end of this article…bless your heart – stay with me, I’ve got more things to share outside of family life. See you next time.

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