Helping toddlers develop is child’s play

  • Having a ball: Archie Hollis, 15 months, explores the bright ball pen at BSMART’s morning playgroup yesterday. The twice-weekly sessions aim to improve cognitive development. (Photographs by David Skinner)

    Having a ball: Archie Hollis, 15 months, explores the bright ball pen at BSMART’s morning playgroup yesterday. The twice-weekly sessions aim to improve cognitive development. (Photographs by David Skinner)

  • Crawl space: Jack Jones, 1,  makes his way down a tunnel

    Crawl space: Jack Jones, 1, makes his way down a tunnel

  • 15 month old Archie Hollis tries his hand in the ball pen at BSMART during one of its infant development morning playgroups. (Photograph David Skinner)

    15 month old Archie Hollis tries his hand in the ball pen at BSMART during one of its infant development morning playgroups. (Photograph David Skinner)


A twice-weekly playgroup for infants and toddlers is being hailed a “huge success” by organisers.

The Wednesday and Friday morning sessions for children up to the age of 4 allow them to socialise, play and take part in physical activities designed to improve their cognitive development in a state-of-the-art facility on Cedar Avenue.

The drop-in playgroup is run by the BSMART Foundation, a charity dedicated to brain-centred child development.

Director Allison Figuriedo said: “We’re only five years in but Bermuda is still far behind when it comes to neurophysiological development and academics.

“As a Bermudian registered charity it’s always difficult raising the funds needed to help deliver and offer programmes that are vital to early childhood development.”

She said the infant development morning playgroups, from 9.30am to noon, had proved very popular since they launched in the last week of September.

“In that time we have even had visitors from Scotland, England and the US stop in with their children,” Ms Figuriedo said. “Parents have said that there’s just nothing like this in Bermuda.

“The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby’s development and the BSMART playgroups help to maximise this critical period of brain development,” Ms Figuriedo said.

“Playgroups are based on the principle that movement anchors learning and activities are sequentially arranged to foster maximum stimulation and optimal development.”

The BSMART facility at 41 Cedar Avenue includes toys, soft play equipment, bikes and books. It costs $15 per adult and child to walk in or $20 for an adult and two children. BSMART members can buy advance tickets at a discount for multiple sessions.

The charity also runs an after-school programme and is looking for volunteers to assist. Ms Figuriedo said: “For students who have developmental delays and learning challenges and struggle to complete their homework, there can be causing feelings of frustration, distress, and failure; making attention and focus an even greater challenge for them.

“While BSMART provides cutting-edge interventions to help address their neurodevelopmental deficiencies, there is little time to provide additional one-to-one homework support.

“But BSMART knows that students would benefit greatly from this extra help and attention. BSMART is appealing for members of the community to volunteer one hour of their time each week to help a child who needs homework and reading support.

“We also offer a corporate volunteer programme, where employees can volunteer on behalf of their companies.

“Please contact BSMART if you or your company would be interested in giving your time to a child in need.”

Contact BSMART on 295-6909 or info@bsmartfoundation.org

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Published Nov 19, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 19, 2015 at 1:37 am)

Helping toddlers develop is child’s play

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