For over two years, my children and I have had the pleasure of attending Little Fishes Toddler Group at Horfield Methodist Church.
I took my little boy to the first ever Little Fishes session in September 2010. A few months later my little girl was born and Little Fishes has been the first regular playgroup I have taken her to from the start of her life.
Little Fishes has an age limit on children who attend, the cut-off point being two terms after their third birthday. After my son reached this age limit and was unable to attend any longer, finding childcare for him on a Friday morning while I took my daughter to Little Fishes was getting a little complicated.
So sadly, I had to cancel my daughter’s place at Little Fishes 😦
However, things are not all bad as I have my daughter’s name on the waiting list to start again later this year, if we wish, when my son starts school in September.
But I wanted to write a post about Little Fishes, since it is and always has been, our favourite playgroup of them all. This is for good reason. Activities for children are vast and varied. There are costumes to try on, paintings to be painted, crafts to be crafted, books, toys, games, a slide, a tee pee, a parachute, bricks, blocks, songs and stories and much more.
But the most important reason for Little Fishes being such a great playgroup are the volunteers who are kind and thoughtful. When there is a new parent at Little Fishes, volunteers go out of their way to make then feel welcome. The volunteers make a point of pointing out the new parent to the regulars and ask them to say hello.
At the start of each new term at Little Fishes, parents are given name labels to wear which aids conversation and the making of friends (don’t you find it hard to remember other mums names? I usually remember kids names but mums names so often escape me).
Little Fishes volunteers genuinely care about the parents and children who attend Little Fishes. I remember one time, last year, just a few days before my little girl was due to have her hip operation.
On going into Little Fishes on that cold, wet morning, Amelia, one of the volunteers, asked how I was feeling about the impending operation. I had been worrying about the operation, in particular, the anaesthetic, as my daughter was still so little at 15 months. But I thought I was doing okay and was in control.
So I was embarrassed and surprised to start crying (you know those situations when you think you are doing okay and then someone asks how you are doing and you all but fall apart?).
Amelia was so kind to me then and told me that the volunteers would be saying a prayer for my daughter. I am not particularly religious but I appreciated their kindness and thoughts of my daughter and her well being at that time.
I, myself have made several good friends at Little Fishes and know I will continue to keep in touch with them. But my little girl has also made important friendships of her own. When they are very young, a baby’s ‘friends’ will always be dependent on whom their parents are friends with.
But as they get older and develop their own little distinct and unique personalities, children inevitably start making little friends of their own choosing.
My daughter has made one such friend, a little girl with dark hair and huge brown eyes who is a little older than her. This little girl is small and sweet but as protective as a lioness when she feels my daughter is threatened or has been wronged by older, more boisterous children.
My daughter often speaks of this friend first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Together, my daughter and her little friend have forged a bond tighter than glue and it is lovely to see.
I have my daughter’s name on the waiting list to start Little Fishes again in September later this year. My son will start primary school then so it will be easier to take my daughter to Little Fishes then. But September is a long way away.
My daughter’s friend will have left by then as will have many of the mums and children we also enjoy seeing. We would also have only a few terms left before my daughter, too, reached the age limit.
So for now, I will say farewell to Little Fishes Toddler Group. Little Fishes has been an important part of our week for more than two years and thus an important part of our life. Thank you to the volunteers for making it such a great playgroup and for giving us some great memories 🙂
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We too were at the first Little Fishes session and, like you, I was very sad when my oldest became too old for us to go any more. I wholeheartedly agree that the volunteers are incredibly welcoming and make a huge effort to make it such a lovely playgroup. They were amazing at remembering names and always seemed to appear when you needed a helping hand!
Thank you for commenting. Glad that you had a great experience with Little Fishes; it makes such a difference to mums with young children to take your kids to a playgroup organised by such kind, pleasant people. I shall miss it! Hilary