Making
  New Friends
       and having
         Fun
              at the
     Berkshire
    Family Toy
       Library

by Virginia Donovan


Kids can make friends and try out new toys at the
Parent - Infant Play Group.

     The Berkshire Toy Library, a community resource sponsored by Berkshire Country Arc, Girls, Inc.  and United Cerebral Palsy, offers as one of its many services a Parent - Infant Play Group, under the experienced guidance of Toy Library Coordinator Tracy Taylor.
     Regularly scheduled on Friday mornings from 10 - 11 a.m., the play  group provides a place for mothers, and sometimes fathers,  to gather with their infant children and enjoy each otherís company.
     The time is non-structured; the babies play by themselves or with each other and the parents enjoy the opportunity to compare notes and discuss informally any topics that may come to mind.
     I visited the playgroup several weeks ago with my baby girl Willow and found a small, familiar group of mothers with babies of various ages.
     Tracy Taylor, coordinator of the Toy Library, introduced us to the others there and showed me where the infant toys were located. 

Virginia and Willow (r) join in the fun at the
Berkshire Family Toy Library.
     After Willow chose a toy from the
wide variety in stock, we settled our-
selves in a circle on the floor and be-
gan a very pleasant hour of socializing.
     The babies interacted with each 
other, passing the toys around hap-
pily while we mothers talked over our
experiences like travel, breast-feed-
ing and the difficulties of acclimating 
ourselves to lives with  infants.
     For anyone with a baby, and par-
ticularly for a stay-at-home parent, this
group is a terrific resource.  The ba-
bies can explore different types of toys
and can experience playing with sev-
eral other children in the familiar com-
pany of their own parents.  They  learn
to approach each other and to share.
     The parents, meanwhile, can en-
joy visiting with each other in a set-
ting where talking about babies is not
merely tolerated but invited and en-
couraged.
     Willow and I left heartened and
reassured, fortified by Valentineís  Day
cupcakes brought in by one of the 
mothers. 
     All are welcome at the Parent - 
Infant Play Group meetings at the Toy
Library at 155 North Street.

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