Saturday, January 28, 2012

# 2 Barnardos Parent & Toddler Group,Dun Laoghaire

Location:    Barnardos Branch in Dun Laoghaire,
                 14 Tivoli Terrace South
Times:        Fridays from 10.00 to 12.00
Prices:        € 2 per session (€ 5 enrollment fee)
PROs:         friendly staff, partly structured play, outdoor play area,
                 separate baby play area, reasonable price
CONs:        crammed and chaotic
Overall:      ****

A very warm welcome to my first official follower :-)! It's great to see that people are looking at my blog. You are aware though, that by doing so you make me feel EVEN MORE committed to it, don't you ;-)?

I'm trying not to be biassed as I have only been to two different toddler groups so far. But at a very reasonable € 2 per two-hour session I can tell you straight away that there probably isn't any better toddler group in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (in terms of price/performance ratio). You have to pay a € 5 enrollment fee at your first visit but that's no big deal (Remember I had to pay € 7 at Cuidiu for only one session?).

The toddler group is run by a local branch of Barnardos, which is Ireland's leading children's charity. And they just have loads on! It really would go beyond the scope of this blog, so you should definitely check out their website.

At Dun Laoghaire's Barnardos branch they have different play areas, such as a water and sand area, a painting corner, an outdoor play area and also a separate baby play section. That's basically due to the fact that they also participate in the free pre-school scheme (ECCE), so they are used to accomodating for children.

Overall, they are a bit more structured than toddler groups run by volunteers. From 10 to 11 it's "Choice time", which just means that the toddlers choose activities by themselves. At eleven, small tooth-friendly snacks and drinks are provided by Barnardos ("Snack time"). From 11.15 it's "Outside time" and at ten to twelve before it's time to go home they sing together.
These are suggestions only and you do not have to comply with them. Your child is making the decisions for you anyway ;-).

To make a long story short, I am very happy with that toddler group. The staff are very friendly and committed and I'm already going there on a regular basis.
The only thing that I don't like is that it's always really crammed and chaotic (I know, that's a pretty big BUT). Yesterday, I tried to count the amount of infants running about. But it simply wasn't possible. And it's not just them. You also have to count in their parents and the members of staff... That doesn't leave you with much space.

However, given that it's so cheap I'm not surprised that many parents choose to go there and I would definitely recommend it to you.

As announced two days ago, tommorow I'm gonna tell you about Fun Fitness in Sandyford. So, stay tuned ;-)!


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