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News 2004

posted August 11, 2004

The Big Back Yard

Summer kids clubs schedule

Last year we had some week-long summer camps. This year we want to try something different, more spontaneous, more like the fun part of the lazy days of summer. Every weekday one or two of the park staff, or special park friends, will run a club beside the wading pool, open to anyone and free, which will offer something interesting and fun to do. Here is the list:

Tuesday 10:00-12.30: Breakfast club fire cooking, with Anna

The wading pool is open daily, 11:30am - 5:00pm.

Sand pit play area: tap and shovels for building/ engineering rivers etc. are out all the time. Please turn off the tap if you're the last one to leave. (And thanks - to the anonymous donour of all the toy trucks that just appeared this summer.)

Anyone who is in the mood can come as often as they want. Please note this is not a custodial program - parents or caregivers must be in the park, available to their kids. But the adults should bring a good book, because the kids may be off having fun for quite a while.

Parents, if you can't be there and want to arrange for a babysitter to be responsible for your children during that time, we can help you arrange that with a little list of really good caregivers who are available in the park, for $8 per child or $12 for two children. (Some trades are available if you can't afford the rates - e.g. we'll trade you the babysitting if you fix something that's broken in the park, weed a garden, etc.). Talk to the park staff for more information, or call the park at 416 392-0913.

Comments: info@dufferinpark.ca.

posted August 11, 2004

Thursday (6:30) evening family circle time

July - August by the playground

THURSDAY EVENING CIRCLE GAMES: "Ring Around the Moon": circle games for families. Children's librarian Theo Heras from Lillian Smith Library has had a long-time interest in traditional circle games. She's coming to the park every Thursday to lead parents and children of all ages in these circle games. The fun will begin at 6.30 p.m., near the playground rain shelter, and will run from July 8 to the end of August. All are welcome. So on that day, people can do their farmers' market shopping, eat something cheap and tasty from the bake oven, take the kids to the playground for Theo's free circle game session, and then take everybody home tired and ready for bed. Theo said she wants to do these sessions as a gift to the park, since her own grandchildren have spent so many pleasant hours here (and Theo's son Zio now works at the park).

Here is a letter from Theo Heras, about what she's doing at the park on Thursdays:

I am Theo Heras, Zio Hersh's mother. Zio and his family spend many happy hours at Dufferin Grove Park. Both he and Catherine have told me about the wonderful things that go on there. I would like to contribute something.

I am a children's librarian working at the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library. In my capacity as a children's librarian, I have facilitated programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age groups for many years. I am also a singer. I try, as much as possible, to bring these two disciplines together. My programs include lots of music.

This past summer I took a course in early childhood music education. What we learned in that course were circle games, those games that are no longer being passed down from older children to younger children in the school playground. It's a loss really. When we learned the games in our class, there was a great deal of laughter and spontaneity; trust and camaraderie developed among my classmates. It was an exhilerating experience. I came away from the course wanting to share these games and this experience.

What I'm doing this summer (July-August, 2004) is to run an early evening family circle time at Dufferin Grove Park. It's an hour-long program once a week. The program is open to all members of the community, but designed particularly for families with children from birth to about 8-years-old. This isn't so much "music education" as organized play time. Traditional songs, rhymes and games form the foundation of the program.

Yours truly,

Theo Heras

posted July 11, 2004

The yurt returned to the park, June 2004

The yurt returned to the park for two weeks beginning at the end of June (June 18), 2004 (more centrally this time, nearer to the playground). Ian Small and Michelle Oser bought this yurt when they were in Uzbekistan with Medecins sans Frontieres, and they had a yurt-raising and then various activities in the yurt, including music and films, in our park three years ago. The Spiral Garden program at the Hugh MacMillan Centre used the yurt for its children's day camp over the last two summers, and now it's our turn again. This is a magnificent structure. Some people who felt like a nomad for a day helped lash the tent poles together. It also had people sleeping in it every night -- living like a herdsman from Uzbekistan.

posted July 11, 2004

Some Pictures

Kids on Stilts

The Founders of the Sandpit


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