Songs, snacks and playtime for Ottawa's youngest Syrian refugees
'When you play, you learn,' says organizer of downtown playgroup
Four times a week, some of Ottawa's youngest Syrian refugees gather at a downtown hotel for songs, snacks, painting and playtime.
The playgroup at the Radisson Hotel is organized by local community health centres and supervised by early childhood educators.
Its goal is to improve the social, emotional and language skills of the young refugees — many of whom are living in local hotels while their families wait for housing — and also reduce their isolation.
Ottawa Morning's Hallie Cotnam stopped by to meet some of the children.
"This is a great first step for these families who are just learning the language and learning the culture," said Kim Vandermeer of the Somerset West Community Health Centre, one of the organizing groups.
"I think almost anything can be done through play. That's the importance of the playgroup. When you play, you learn."
For sounds from the playgroup, listen below — or if you're on mobile, click here.