Program offers area mothers some time to themselves

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Staff Writer

Sometimes even mothers need an opportunity to escape the day-in and day-out pressures that come with raising a child in order to do run errands, do household chores or just to relax and enjoy a few precious moments to themselves.

The First Baptist Church in Greenville has offered parents the chance to have more of these opportunities through a program called Mother's Day Out.

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The program began about twenty years ago and Tim Murfin, minister of children at the First Baptist Church said that they saw the need for a program of this type in the area.

"This gives mothers a chance to do some of the things they need to do while also providing a safe and educational setting for their children," Murfin said. "We felt there was, and still is, a need for this type of child care in our community and felt that we could provide the service."

The charge for the class is set at $50 per month per child and is available from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays of each week. The classes are available to children 2-5 with 2 through early 3 year-olds in one class and older 3 to 5 year-olds in another.

While the mothers are away, the instructors in charge of two classes give the children activities designed to educate as well as allowing them to have fun.

"They learn colors, shapes and other basic educational needs in a Christian environment. We offer preschool education and not a free time for kids to play. Even though that is involved to a great extent, we do provide them with educational learning," he said.

Rebecca Godwin, an instructor of Mother's Day Out, said that most mothers bring their

children in hopes that they will learn how to play with other children.

"The atmosphere is very laid back," Godwin said. "The mothers that we have worked with seem very satisfied with what we do. Their priority is to give their children an opportunity to learn how to socialize with other children and follow someone else's instructions," she said.

Besides Godwin, Rebecca Holbrooke and Jackie Thompson also teach the classes. Thompson and Godwin are both certified elementary teachers and Holbrooke has worked with the YMCA in children's programs.

"We try to instruct them like basic preschool," Godwin said. "We teach them left from right, how to share and play together, colors, following instructions, manners and simple motor skills that many children their age have trouble with."

While in the care of the church child-care providers the kids enjoy activities in a classroom setting and also get to experience fun outside on the church's playground. They also are provided with a snack during their stay.

Murfin said the church wants the service to grow and that they were looking to expand the program to help mothers more frequently.

"We are able to take in more children and wish that we did have some more, but we are very pleased with how the program is going so far and we are proud that we can offer this type service to the community," he said.

The program provides mothers the opportunity to run errands and also give children a place to learn with others their own age.

"What we do is very beneficial. It is very important to give mothers the chance to drive to Montgomery for a doctor's appointment or to get groceries while their children are given the chance to intermingle with other children," Godwin said.