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A leisure centre that welcomes not only kids but their parents, too, Source: Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Madrid offers play centres that also teach how to be better parents

Madrid offers play centres that also teach how to be better parents

The 'Casa Grande' centres welcome families who are in the mood to bond and learn

The Madrid City Council informed residents at the start of this month that it had opened ‘Casa Grande’ centres, as a way to encourage families with very young children to socialize and learn from each other. The mission behind these centres, of which there are four in the Spanish capital, is to allow the kids to make new friends and for their parents to learn how to be better at parenting.

The centres’ sessions are free to attend with registration

The only requirement is that the children should be under the age of 4. This is so because in the early years of parenting it often ends up being a socially isolated task. That makes many parents wonder whether they are doing it well and if they are raising their kids the right way.

The centres are there to give the chance for both parents and their offspring to socialize, outside of work and kindergarten hours. The sessions take place from Tuesday to Sunday, with two shifts in the afternoon (4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and Tuesday and Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The project has a common dynamic in all the houses, each session beginning with the reception and preparation for the family group. This is followed by a common activity, with songs, reading stories or free play, complemented by workshops for accompaniment and listening, as well as informational and group reflection spaces. The session ends with a song or a farewell to the mascot of the centre, being placed until the next session.

Each centre has an interdisciplinary team of professionals trained in psychology and social education and who specialize in early childhood care and families. Parents can turn to these experts with questions about parenting and issues they may be encountering.

Adding to this dynamic, each centre organizes a monthly program in which they hold their own workshops, music, reading, or plastic activities that, as far as possible, respond to the demands made by families.

The ‘Casa Grande’ centres (located in Carabanchel, Ciudad Lineal, Tetuán and Villa de Vallecas) can be attended even if one does not reside in said districts and аре free of charge. The only requirement is to sign up for a session in advance as spaces may run out.

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