Whoever said learning can’t be fun has never been part of the Chickadees program in Whitehorse. Designed for toddlers aged between three and five, this pre-school definitely puts the cool in school.

At this joint kids get free playtime, story creation, painting, crafts, fieldtrips, and the ever-sopopular circle time. If these perks aren’t enough, there is also a volunteer option for mom and dad to check out the Chickadees crib.

The fun-loving educational program runs twice a week from 9-11:30 a.m. during the regular school year. Popularity has soared over the years, so early enrollment is recommended.

The Chickadees have been providing education to Whitehorse juniors for many decades. Laura Davidson used to be a receptionist for the Chickadees, and has seen her children and grandchildren go through the program. “It’s a great way for children to prepare for elementary school. They learn to get along with other children, to focus, to follow directions, to listen,” she says.

The program started out as the Parent Participation Pre-School, and was held at the Riverdale Baptist Church. Now it’s held at the Whitehorse United Church on Main Street.

According to Davidson, “It followed a very similar format with parents taking turns helping the teacher. It was a very popular program, and parents lined up to make sure they got a spot.”

Some of the highlights of this pre-school are the interactive show-and-tell and fi eld trips. Forget about showing boring rocks in class, this place encourages real live pussy willows. And when it’s time to go for a spin, these kids might head over to an organic farm to learn about food production. The theory is that learning through experience is a great way to keep the kids’ attention and encourage their minds to think outside the box.

And keeping the parents involved with a handson approach is a great way to further the kids’ learning curb. Keitha Clark is a mother of two, and both her children have been Chickadees. “The kids learn a lot about self esteem and identity,” she says. “They also develop a sense of belonging, and friendships.”

The program requires parents to volunteer four to fi ve times a year. “I really enjoyed this part. It was a great way to further bond with my child,” Clark says. “If I have a third child, I wouldn’t think twice about enrolling them in the Chickadees.”

For more information, visit www.chickadeesplayschool.com.