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Heard around the Playhouse

Heard around the  Playhouse


mom with baby“Every other Wednesday I meet with my 12 year old friend Lydia in a welcoming space at GiGi’s playhouse for a lesson in sharing and learning. Reading with Lydia is an adventure for both of us! Lydia and I have enjoyed making connections with each other’s lives which enhances our experience with the books we read.  We have sent a letter with Flat Stanley across the United States to my daughter Jessica’s 7th grade English class in San Francisco, and have watched a sea lion video from a recent vacation while reading about the habitat of these beautiful water creatures!  I’m learning to read her cues for frequent breaks and we use them to share pictures and stories of our families, explore American Girl Magazine and watch video of her amazing cheerleading squad. I marvel at her command of an iPad and her love of sequencing and matching words with definitions. We play games often to facilitate learning concepts like who, what, where, when and why, and we eat lots of chocolate!

All this in the four short months since we first met, I knew Lydia would teach me more than I could ever teach her. I’ve learned that smiles and hugs are understood universally and that targeting a students learning style is the key to successful teaching.  Lydia’s devoted parents share proudly that her love for reading and learning was cultivated by the literacy program at GiGi’s . I hope to help Lydia build upon this!”



“Math is hard for many students.  Math can be even harder for our children with Down Syndrome. Often they need more repetition, more hands on teaching, more explanations and definitely more time, practice and guidance.  My son Sam, who is a 3rd grader at Berg Elementary in Newton, Iowa, has a great team at school to make him successful.  Recently we also became fortunate enough to have Ms. Helen tutor Sam in math at GiGi’s Playhouse in Des Moines.  She meets with him every week and coordinated her teachings with what he is studying at school so that he can do his best work.  We are very grateful for the volunteers at GiGi’s.  They do this work because they love our kids and they see our children as these smart, awesome and wonderful little people.  Thank you GiGi’s Playhouse for the opportunities to make our children thrive!”

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