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Fostering growth at an early age

Toddler Tales helps teach children how to socialize with others.

— The Town of Colonie’s Youth Services Division has tried to bring more of a focus on programs for pre-kindergarten children, and Toddler Tales has been doing just that.

Toddler Tales is a service offered by the town where parents or caretakers can bring their child to the Town of Colonie Community Center on Central Avenue. The program usually takes place on Fridays from 10 – 11:30 a.m., when children can participate in story time, arts and crafts or sing songs with one another.

Alicia Osur, director of Community Services, said the program is mainly a way to get the children, whose ages range from 2 to 4 years old, to interact and socialize with other children at an early age.

“There are not a lot of programs available for young children,” Osur said. “This is one way of getting them out there. It’s a way for children to socialize with each other as some of them might not have siblings.”

There is a $2 donation to pay for the staff and to receive a snack. Donations of toys, snacks and juice are also welcomed.

The program is not something you need to sign up for, though. Osur said people could drop in if they have the time.

“If you’re available that week you can just show up,” she said. “It’s very flexible.”

The program has been running in the town for about 10 years and was started by two parents who approached the Community Center with the idea. Now, the program has grown and now has different themed weeks.

For example, during the Halloween season, Osur said they will be doing an activity that relates to the holiday with either a story or an arts and crafts activity that has a Halloween theme.

“For holidays like Halloween or Thanksgiving we will do something that reflects the time of year,” Osur said. “It depends on if the holiday or event coming up has something the staff came up with in advance.”

After the activities are done for the day, the children then file into the gymnasium, where they are supplied with different toys and balls they can play with.

Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan said programs like Toddler Tales are important for a child’s development. It can be educational and prepares them for grade school.

“As a former teacher, I know how important it is for our youngsters to learn socialization skills before they start their formal education,” Mahan said. “This program also offers parents the opportunity to interact with other who have children of similar ages.”

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