The Children’s Centre on Byland Road held a fun-day recently where youngsters were given the opportunity to get up close to some exotic animals.
The day was used to provide opportunities for children to talk to their parents, something Children’s Centre manager Diane Leith said is hugely important in a child’s development.
She said: “It’s not about the exotic animals specifically, it’s about the children talking about the things they see around them. It gives children a reason to talk to their parents.”
Mrs Leith explained that young children require a lot of input from their parents to ensure they develop good language and communications skills.
In addition, there were opportunities to play using a variety of bright colours and objects and musical sessions, themselves extremely good at promoting communication.
However, the most popular elements of the day were the unusual creatures brought along by Morley’s Exotic Animals, from Leeds.
They included Stinky-D the skunk, Alexander the meerkat, Godzilla the black-throated monitor lizard and Ian, the Burmese python.
Mrs Leith added: “The fun sessions were all designed to give parents cheap and simple ideas to use at their child or to encourage children and their parents to have conversations about what they see. Morley’s Exotic Animals is great for this, but you don’t need to wait to see amazing animals - just talk about what you see every day and this can really help your child develop the language communication and understanding.”
One example of an everyday activity that parents and children can share is reading a bed time story, said Mrs Leith, adding: “Even if you don’t read very well yourself as an adult, you can look at pictures and create your own stories with your child.”
If you are worried about your child’s language or communications skills, call Whitby Children’s Centre on (01609) 533819 or drop in to the centre on Byland Road, beside Stakesby School.