It’s that time of year when caring parents are struggling to find meaningful activity for their little ones. With home day cares a popular alternative, and private and non profit day cares experiencing waiting lists, the plethora of choice for parents can be awe-some.

For south end families there’s a new alternative.

Tom and Doris Hartmann opened their Kinder Karate day program this year and they’re targetting the junior kindergarten and kindergarten youngsters with a program that’s unique.

Located in their Ontario Martial Arts Academy at 201 Hurst Dr., Tom and Doris have set up a junior program that involves outdoor play, preliminary karate instruction and the discipline that goes with it. Their huge facility offers lots of running and jumping room, eye-hand coordination games, a crafts area and space for kids to let loose.

The neighbourhood park offers outdoor play area which is a daily occurrence, and the rear of their facility is used for loosely structured soccer, ball toss and chalk art.

Their kinder karate program is designed to coincide with the elementary schools’ A & B junior and senior kindergarten programs. Doris says they’re following the schools’ phonics program, with lots of reading, dramatic play, afternoon quiet time and individual and group work.

“We wanted to offer an alternative to traditional day care,” says Doris. She and Tom opened their facility a year ago and their karate programs all occur after school and in the evening, as well as on the weekends. It’s a busy place during those hours. It made sense to utilize the space during the day time hours to meet a need that many young families are facing.

Children are welcome to attend Kinder Karate on a casual use, or on the two-days-one-week-three-days-the-next schedule that dovetails with the schools.

Doris is enthusiastic about the opportunity for kids to socialize, the tremendous area for large motor skills like jumping, running, rolling, and creative movement. She uses her own background not only as a parent, but working with kids at all levels and her staff person who comes in as needed brings a background that involves working with small children.

The 10 month program is priced at $2500, and can be committed month-to-month or on a contract. The cost works out to around $22 a day per child. Non contract children who use the facility on an ad hoc basis pay about $30 a day.

There are no televisions at Kinder Karate. There are no nintendo games. There are lots of building blocks, art supplies, and equipment designed to help a child get really comfortable with movement. Kids who complete the Kinder Karate program and go on to full time elementary school can join the Little Dragons Program for 4 to 6 year olds to continue their karate training. After that they become full fledged karate students in the Juniors Program. Karate is a martial art that enhances eye hand coordination and develops self discipline in its practitioners.

Doris and Tom are there daily and you’re welcome to stop by. You can check out the program online at www.kinder-karate.com or you can phone 792-0333.

Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Doris.

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