Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit September 26, 2012 - 8:45 am

Iqaluit play group wants to expand program at Abe Okpik centre

Parents and Tots Association seeks expanded hours in exchange for work

SAMANTHA DAWSON

The Parents and Tots Association in Iqaluit wants to ensure it can expand the hours that it uses at the Abe Okpik Community Centre space in Apex rent-free in exchange for their painting the space.

“We want to get it in writing, like a contract,” executive director Catherina de Goede said Sept. 25 outside of city hall after the evening council meeting was cancelled because not enough councillors attended to form a quorum.

Right now, the city donates the space to the group every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, but the association is proposing to use the hall at other times outside the donated hours.

The non-profit association hopes “the city recognizes the benefit that our programming provides to all families in Iqaluit, and will grant our request,” the association wrote the city.

The popular play group has grown over the past two weeks, de Goede said.

That’s because of new programming such as sign-up music classes from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The drop-in play group then provides free snacks, with crafts activities, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The music classes are divided up according to age, for babies on Monday, toddlers up to two years on Wednesday, and three to five year-olds on Friday.

De Goede leads the classes with her guitar and accordion, while the kids join in tambourines, maracas and other instruments.

Lately, Parents and Tots events have operated at capacity, with up to 30 kids and their parents in attendance.

The association, formed in 2002, now uses the Abe Okpik centre for nine hours a week.

But they want to expand those hours, using the centre from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., so that there will have the option of afternoon scheduling.

Money for Parents and Tots comes from the Healthy Children’s Initiative, administered by the Government of Nunavut, Brighter Futures—a federal program administered by the City of Iqaluit—the Embrace Life Council, and through the association’s own fundraising efforts.

Taxi vouchers are available for parents who want to attend the play group’s activities.

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