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Has the Playtime Cafe grown too big?

by on September 5, 2012

Each week one or more new families comes to Playtime Cafe. Most of the ‘old’ families keep coming. As the Americans say, ‘You do the Math.’

Today I spent most of the morning in the kitchen making coffee. When I finally came outside, I thought a carnival must have arrived – there were people everywhere: mums, dads, kids, toys, ride-in cars zooming around, castles, noise, chatter. No wonder so many coffees were ordered.

At music time we couldn’t fit on the (enormous) rug. Tried to take a photo but couldn’t fit everyone in the frame!

I estimated there were over twenty families there. At least forty five people all up.

Nice, but it gives us a problem: what to do with the next people who come?  It’s crowded already.

Should we:

  • set a cap on numbers and close the group to new members?
  • split into two and start a second morning?
  • let it grow into a massive group and just gear up for it (more equipment and personel, etc), losing the ‘close-knit’ feel it’s had?

From → General

  1. Sophie Febery permalink

    We had the same problem with Music and Movement in Methven (which another church was running) and it had about 30-35 Mum/Kid sets each week.

    Advantages of this: It’s a great place for people who are new to Methven to come and connect with people. It is a place where people who have no other friends can come and feel part of something.

    Disadvantages: With a group that size, it can get a bit clickey, and people can get left out. It actually probably ended up a less friendly place because of the size. Another disadvantage is that with such a large group there was (a) very irregular attendance (there were over 100 families on the role but only about 30 would come each time), and (b) not much commitment to helping out.

    Something that worked well for a while was keeping it as one big group, but splitting into two groups (under 2s and over 2s) for the music time, in two different rooms. After the music time people would chat in the age-specific group a bit first, then come through for morning tea with everyone.

    If you have the resources, you could split it into different days, and you could have a rough age-guide for the days (of course families often have more then one kid, in which case they join the age group for the oldest kid). However I can see it would get exhausting! WIsh I was there to help 🙂 You’re doing such a great job!!!

  2. Sigh, I wish you were here to help too, Sophie. We really miss you guys.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts!

  3. Be thankful that you have the option to add another morning. Our Playtime is kicking goals also, but we are limited to 1 hour and 1 morning of the week because we are meeting in the school hall. That said, we are meeting in the school hall during school time for an hour every week!!! What an amazing opportunity. Praying that God uses Playtime Cafe for his purposes!

    • Thanks for your prayers brother. Great to hear your playgroup is rocking! You’re right, we’re very blessed with such good facilities at Canterbury. And they’ve been renovated lately…

      Just lacking manpower!

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