Program for toddlers works to ease eventual transition into classrooms

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Is your little one ready for school?  The transition from preschool to kindergarten can be scary, not to mention expensive. But a program says it can help your child make the grade without breaking the bank.

The Matt Ross Community Center at 81st and Marty Street in Overland Park, Toddle Time is in full swing two days a week.

"This is a time that I cherish to be with her," Shelly Rhodes said.

Rhodes and her granddaughter, Zia, attend Toddle Time once a week. It's a routine the duo started when Zia learned to crawl. She’s now three years old.

“This is where she learned to go down the slide and learned how to play with other kids and fight over toys,” Rhodes said.

Toddle Time is an open playtime for kids ages five and under. It blends timeless classics, like building blocks, with trendy new toys. Ben Adams, the program's coordinator, believes Toddle Time prepares kids for school.

"They're learning to socialize, to have to share, even though sometimes they don't want to," Adams said.

Toddle Time is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  The program has grown a lot since it first started.  This Tuesday, there were about 35 kids playing, but they've had as many as 42 kids at one time.

“A lot of people get up and go to a job, and I have in the past, where you think, 'Oh no, I don't want to do that.' This is different," Adams said.

Adams said he loves his job and loves watching kids, like Zia, grow up. Shelly agreed that's the best part.

"It's been wonderful for me to watch this. To have the time and the opportunity to see her grow and to see her have fun with these other people," Rhodes said.

If you want more information on the program, click on this link.

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