Guest Article by Kathy Tellis, whose daughter Larissa, is a GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix participant
“We have been attending programs and events at GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix since it opened. Our daughter Larissa, who will be 15 in September, really lights up when we tell her we’re going to GiGi’s. She has participated in several of their programs: music therapy, Art Explosion, Cooking, Teentastic and the 1:1 math and literacy tutoring, to name a few. With the pandemic, she misses being at GiGi’s in person, but has participated in music, art and dance with GiGi’s online.
GiGi’s is truly a place where kids feel empowered. They are taught new things and their achievements are celebrated. Larissa even has her GiGi’s program certificates on her bedroom door and hanging on her wall. She’s proud of what she accomplishes there, which helps build her confidence! ”
Larissa’s most frequent trips to GiGi’s are for Math tutoring. Math is an essential life skill and GiGi’s helps her develop that skill by not only supporting what she’s learning in school, but finding creative ways to teach different concepts. She CAN learn the skills and content her peers in school are, it just takes her longer and requires different strategies. GiGi’s uses manipulatives to help with learning skills like multiplication, telling time, and counting money, for example.
In Larissa’s sessions, her tutor has used dice, beans, touch math and more to make learning more visual and fun. She’s been fortunate to have the same tutor, Denise, for her last several sessions and that consistency has been a bonus for us. For Larissa, the learning at GiGi’s has been more like playing a game than working. The time goes by quickly for her because she enjoys the learning activities. GiGi’s has researched the teaching strategies that work best to help the kids develop the skills they need. For Larissa, developing her math skills, actually helps improve her working memory, language and speech, all things the kids at GiGi’s can struggle with. Improving in those areas helps her gain more independence and self confidence at home, in school and in the community.
We’re thankful for GiGi’s because they make a difference in the lives of so many who are learning to be empowered, independent and part of our community!”
GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix note: If you’d like to support the growth and development of children like, Larissa, please consider becoming a Math or Literacy tutor. All tutoring is conducted remotely and commitments can be for as little as two hours per week. Please visit https://gigisplayhouse.org/phoenix/volunteer/ to get started.