Londonderry Recreation’s Summer Playground Open for Season

The Town’s Summer Playground program started Monday, offering children the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities while school is out.

Daily activities include arts and crafts, games, sports, playground time and visits from special guests, which may include a police officer to talk about safety, a baton twirling show, a story teller or bicycle safety.

Each day has a theme, and children are grouped for activities by age and interest.

The program is available Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 3 p.m.

Staff supervise participants in small groups at Summer Playground, open to children entering first grade in the fall up to age 14.

The program boasts its flexibility, allowing parents to register at any time and children to attend as much or as little as they like; as well as affordability, at $40 per child, $50 for two children in the same family and $60 for three or more children in the same family. The Recreation Department will make accommodations for any family in financial difficulty.

“We don’t want to turn anyone away because of the cost,” Recreation Director Art Psaledas said. “I want to keep it affordable for all parents.”

By scheduling Summer Playground hours around lunch and retaining qualified staff year after year, Psaledas has been able to keep the cost of the program down.

“We have been pretty fortunate, because of the way the economy is right now, to have college kids working for us, as well as two people who work year-round in schools,” he said. “We have one teacher who has about 15 years of teaching experience. It’s a great job for her and it’s great for the kids.”

Summer Playground is held at South Elementary School now until Wednesday, Aug. 12.

“We want to give kids something to do in the summer, to get them out of the house a little and get them active,” Psaledas said.

About 150 children have registered for the program so far, and Psaledas anticipates that number will grow in the coming weeks.

Psaledas said the program started over 30 years ago, and he is now seeing a second generation of children participating in Summer Playground.

“One guy brought his child in, and I remember he and his brother used to come when they were young. I also had a grandmother come in who used to bring her sons to the program, and now she’s dropping off her grandkids. It’s very cool to see,” he said.

This year the program has seen a significant increase in participation among younger children ages 6 through 8, according to Psaledas.

“It serves a great purpose for the young kids. It gets them used to coming into school and playing with the other kids in that setting,” he said.

For more information, contact Art Psaledas at 437-2675 or by email at Apsaledas@londonderry.org.

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