YMCA Move and Groove Playtime Nov 5th

A Step Ahead in partnership with the Mel Korum YMCA had another splendid movement and play opportunity using the YMCA ‘s incredible GYM. A total of 27 children and 19 parents/grandparents and 5 educators/therapists enjoyed the event. Children and parents moved through David’s inspired semi-wrap around the room obstacle course utilizing giant bolsters, mats, cubes and even a. slide. A few ride toys, 2 teeter totters, 2 toddler climbers and a baby crawl zone were featured activities. There was a bean bag toss, musical instruments, colorful balls ,scarves, animal puppets and giant purple puff balls set in various zones about the room for children to enjoy. The room length trampoline and the pool filled with foam cubes was a very popular area to play in. We were delighted to see many interactions taking place between children such as watching each other as children jointly teeter tottered, playing puff ball into the bucket together, and children watching and following one-another through obstacle courses. Some friendships were formed as two little girls played ball toss back and forth with each other, then followed one another in play. We concluded our event with a giant circle time where and we sang together using clappers,giant bungees and a parachute for our special version of “Wheels on the Bus”. A big thank you goes to David and our new volunteer Bekah who spent an hour helping set up zones for everyone’s enjoyment. Educators Yok ( photographer etraordionaire)) La Guilia, Karen O.T. attended the event and supported their children in play. A big thank you to all the families who took the time to bring their wee ones to this very active play time, I hope you all were rewarded by your children taking long naps!
Look for postings on our website in January for next years YMCA events. Marti Cates.
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Story Alive “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything”

On Oct 27th A Step Ahead in partnership with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and Tacoma School of the Arts transformed the museum to reflect the harvest and fall themed story. Hundreds of hours were spent creating props, and activities to Bring this story to Life for our children. Included were an interactive corn maze featuring come to life props from the story. Children could explore the museum and float pumpkins down the river, dig up vegetables in the giant sand box, build a glow in the dark scare crow in the glow in the dark Bat cave, get fall leaves tattooed on their faces, Create collage or painted pumpkins and so much more. There were so many activities and creative zones that the museum requested to keep the exhibits up for several extra days for their visitors to enjoy. The final act was the SOTA students performing the story in song along with several other songs and chants. most of our children sat mesmerized during the performances even those who by parents accounts never sit that long. Each family received a copy of the book and each child chose a mini pumpkin to take home. It was an extraordinary event supported by numerous volunteers. our reward was hearing many accounts from parents of how this Story to Life event impacted children. One Grandparent was so surprised to hear her grandson with limited speech on the way home in the car open the story and name all of the clothing that followed the little old lady in the story along with the sounds they had produced. Many parents reported that children wanted to hear the story over and over again at home. Another parent reported that her children’s favorite books have been those received in a Story Alive event. The whole intent of Story Alive is to bring meaning to stories and the vocabulary in stories. First we familiarize children through play and interactive experiences with the story characters and events. Then we sing and act out stories to them. Song and actions paired with visual displays of story objects, characters and events reinforce and bring meaning to the vocabulary and events talked about in the story. Many of our children are unable to sit through a story but will sit through a song. As the Tacoma School Of the Arts students perform -sing our stories many of our movers, shakers and squirmers sit mesmerized. Frequently parents share their surprise over their children’s wrapped attention. We also tolerate and allow children to play quietly and tune in from afar if that is what best supports their regulating themselves. All children receive the story so that parents may repeat and reinforce the story at home and encourage their child’s lifelong love of books. Thanks to our director Candy Watkins support in writing grants we make book giving to our children possible.
Please look on our website for future Story Alive Events which will occur in February and May of 2015. You won’t want to miss this(siblings are welcome too). If you are wondering if your child can tolerate such an event please talk to your child’s teacher or therapist and ask for help with supporting your child. We have noise canceling headphones ,weighted vests, and quiet areas available for use at the museum during these events. It’s our pleasure at All Step Ahead to support your child’s success.

Marti Cates

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The Baja Bash 2014

Thanks to all of you who supported our fundraiser on Saturday night!  It was so much fun!  Thanks again to our sponsors: Sound Family Medicine; Favors, Rettig,CPAs; Tom Taylor Insurance; Totem Ocean Express; and Exceptional Families Network.  We couldn’t have done it without you!!

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Our 13th Annual Winter Party – Great Fun!

A Step Ahead hosted its 13th annual Winter Party for families in our program.  This is the second year at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and over 100 attended!  The Museum is such a great place with multi-sensory experiences for all to enjoy.  The water table is always the biggest hit.  Children left with a snack and small prize to take home.  Happy Holidays to all!

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