January 18, 2014

Friday's child is loving, giving ... and playful

Family Connections offers weekly Wee People Gym Play

PLATTSBURGH — It was stone quiet outside the City Recreation Center. Not even a bird call heard.

A wall of sound jumped decibels with each step upon entering the gym where 70 children, ages infant through 5, shrieked and squealed at Wee People Gym Play.

“It’s every Friday from mid-September to mid-June except when there are public-school vacations,” said Laurie Booth-Trudo, coordinator of the Family Connections Resource Center.

“Through the winter, we have our highest population. We have 70 children here. It’s all age appropriate activities aimed at developing coordination, learning how to share and expending energy in a constructive way. It’s designed to be an indoor play, to run and play and make noise and be able to do that. Families can find other families to play with.”

Morrisonville resident Crystal Bruyere balanced her son, Wyatt, 1, on her hip while guiding his big brother, Evan, 3, to walk on yellow-plastic stilt cups.

“On Fridays we come here and Thursdays we go to a structured playgroup they have at the other building,” Bruyere said.

A stay-at-home mom, she’s attended Wee People since the fall.

“To get them around other kids for interaction,” Bruyere said.

A bouncy tiger anchors one corner of the gym. There, little legs can jump to their hearts’ content. The gym floor is layered with a myriad of collapsible tunnels, foam pools filled with plastic balls, interlocking-puzzle pieces, and big and small foam blocks to stack and collapse into.

“Most people here are regulars,” Booth-Trudo said. “There are some people I don’t normally see. This is a playgroup we offer each week to the community. It’s the biggest playgroup. This is a place where early-intervention therapists do intervention work with kids because it provides a social context for therapy that they don’t get at home.”

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