Children learn language by interacting with others. When they spend time with other children, they develop language and they learn how to play, and how to solve problems. For many children, the opportunity to play with other children, in both formal structured programs, and informal play settings provides language models that are different from those they learn from the adults in their life. Children can experience a wide variety of language learning opportunities by participating in programs in their community.
Children who are having difficulty learning speech and language can also benefit from attending community programs. For children who are already involved in tykeTALK, participating in community programs provides opportunities for them to practice the speech and language skills that they are learning in a natural play environment. Parents and caregivers can also practice the skills that they are learning to help their children.
Many community programs have staff trained as Early Childhood Educators. These professionals can be informative resources for families as well.
The Ontario Early Years Centres provide wonderful programs for children from birth to six years, at no charge to families. These programs are available throughout the Thames Valley region at many locations. They offer workshops for parents, school readiness programs for children, drop in play times, and many other activities. Specific program information and schedules are available at Ontario Early Years.
In London, the Children’s Museum offers many learning opportunities and special times for you and your child to be together exploring dinosaurs, riding in a rocket or pretending to be a cashier at McDonald’s. Although there is an admission fee, admission is free from 5 pm, until closing on Friday evenings. You can bring your dinner and share it with your family, at the museum. For more information about London Children’s Museum visit their website.
The Thames Valley District School Board houses Parent and Family Literacy Centres in several of its schools, across the district. These Centres provide opportunities for children to share activities with their families and to strengthen literacy skill development. They also provide school readiness activities in literacy and numeracy and give your child the chance to play with other children, while learning new skills. More information is available on the Thames Valley School Board website.
Libraries throughout the Thames Valley region offer a variety of both literacy and craft activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Story times for different age groups help children to learn about different cultures, different people, animals, and to have new adventures through books. Of course, the library has an extensive collection of children’s books and DVDs that can be borrowed, at no charge, when you have a library card. Library cards can be obtained by presenting identification, with your address, at your local library. For more information on public libraries in your area, go to London Public Library, Middlesex County Libraries, Elgin County Libraries and Oxford County Libraries.
Additional information on literacy can be obtained from the following websites:
- www.readingrockets.org/atoz/earlyliteracy development
Throughout the year, special programs are provided in communities across the Thames Valley region. Many of these programs are offered free of charge. The annual Elgin County Teddy Bear’s Picnics in St. Thomas, and locations in both East and West Elgin, provide opportunities for your child to play, while you gather information on the services available to support children in your community. Additional information can be found at the Elgin Middlesex London section on the Ontario Early Years website.
- H. A. Leeper Speech and
London, Ontario N6G 1H1
- Thames Valley Children’s
779 Baseline Road E.
London, Ontario N6C 5Y6
- TVCC Strathroy tykeTALK
82 Frank Street
Strathroy, Ontario N7G 2R6
- TVCC Elgin tykeTALK
34 Churchill Crescent
St. Thomas, Ontario N5R 1N9
- Woodstock Hospital
310 Juliana Drive
Woodstock, Ontario N4V 0A4