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A new play space for moms and children.

It seems that Cairo wasn't made for young toddlers, nor has any consideration for them at the moment, save for Playtime.

Nestled in Degla, Maadi is a new project by three dynamic founding partners, catering to Cairene mothers who find it difficult to amuse their children in a productive and healthy manner.

Playtime is the brainchild of Nadine El Alaily, Farah Ragai and Nada Shibaya. The project is a culmination of experience in working with young children as teachers, and the disappointments of new mothers who have found little by which to inspire and entertain their children in Egypt.

An activity center housed in a cozy and intimate villa Playtime promotes development through play, for children aged four months to eight years. A picket fence and wooden gate creates a charming setting for active young imaginations and mothers alike.

The concept of Playtime is different than a playschool or nursery; Playtime offers an outlet for mothers with babies and young children to take part in activities aimed at serving the needs of both.Aa

Classes ranging from the conventional music, dance and storytelling to the unconventional baby gym and baby massage all hint at a meticulously planned program, including Pilates for moms, modern dance classes, Lamaze classes, aerobics and a support group for breastfeeding mothers to exchange information.

While children enjoy themselves and develop various skills, moms can get in shape and socialize with friends at Greco CafE[umlaut], which is opening a branch in Playtime with outdoor seating in the garden area.

Playtime is a project initiated by young mothers who were experiencing first hand what tasks and goals they need to be working towards with their babies. The importance of developing creative thinking skills, an appreciation for books and the process of being read aloud to, learning how to explore one's own physical capabilities through the experience of movement, rhythms and sounds are all emphasized at Playtime.

Most importantly, classes designed for babies and toddlers require the presence and active participation of mothers, creating an intimate outlet where mother and child can further develop their bond as they work together towards developmental milestones.Aa

Baby Massage is led by a qualified physiotherapist who walks mother and child through nine classes during which moms will learn how to properly massage their children. Baby Gym is aimed at helping babies develop muscles strongly to be able to properly walk with the main focus being to slowly develop fine motor coordination and enhance their attention span.

The majority of these classes have been provided by Dados, a center previously established with outlets in Heliopolis and Zamalek that offers early stimulation classes for babies and toddlers. Led by highly qualified instructors and supervisors, Dado's promotes cognitive, emotional, perceptual, sensory, motor and speech development skills, and has been judged by Nadine and Farahs' sons as highly entertaining and pleasurable.

With the boys' decree, how could mothers go wrong?

Children aged three to eight have more complex classes developed for them. Learn to Cook, Ceramics, Story Time and Step Right (a mix of jazz, classical ballet and gymnastic exercises) are some of the programs tailored to an older age group.

Artastic is a specialized arts camp for children that ran for five years during the summer in Hacienda Resort by sisters Aya and Shahira Akel. The sisters will introduce different media and enhance children's creative skills with a broad art program teaching in an art studio or outdoors in the villa's garden under a shady pergola.

A ceramics workshop with a firing kiln is being set up for art projects, hinting at how seriously Artastic is taking its commitment to introducing children to the extensive art program. A fourth participant in Playtime is Shorouk Bookstore, which will have a corner designated to selling books on all matters related to parenting and child development.

Playtime is not a center intended to replace or parallel the work done at a nursery or elementary school, rather it is a center for children to compliment what skills they are developing after school as do extracurricular activities.

Siblings who finish at the nearby Cairo American College, Irish Nursery or Small Talk nursery can stroll over with mom after school and do something educational and entertaining while each child's sibling finishes their day at nursery or school.

Playtime is taking convenience as a major consideration, fully aware of the needs of mothers and what their daily schedules of running errands and fetching children from schools are like. A convenient drop-in service is available for mothers running errands for a maximum of two hours for children aged three to eight, during which children will be able to watch educational DVD's, play with board-games, and socialize with other children under watchful supervision.

Opening on Nov. 15, Playtime will be a great addition to the lives of mothers with young children. And, of course, fathers are encouraged to join the fun at any time.

Address: Villa 16, Road 210, Degla, Maad, Cairo. Tel: (02) 2754 4172 AaAa

Prices and Promotion:

-Five-class coupon for LE 90 per class (10 percent discount)

-Ten-class coupon for LE 80 per class (20 percent discount)

-Price per individual class registeration is LE 100 (10 percent discount offered for family members)

-Five- and 10-class coupons can be shared by any member of the family

Daily NewsEgypt 2007

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Date:Nov 7, 2008
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