Welcome to the Toy Library…
I love exploring Sydney and despite growing up on the North Shore and living here most of my life, I feel that almost every day I learn something new about this city. This find isn’t a small bar with quirky bartenders and an extensive cocktail list, or a place with a panoramic view. Instead I’d like to welcome you to the wonderful world of the Toy Library.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark in Artarmon, located on Broughton Road at the Kids Cottage Community Centre. I was greeted by a team of volunteers and Helen who is a part of the Committee that was established in 1976. The organisation was put together by Parents and Professionals who saw a need for Early Intervention beyond 1:1 therapy, so that families were able to support their children at home in their play. As we know in all aspects of Early Childhood Development, the best opportunities for learning occur through play experiences.
What is a toy library?
The Toy Library is exactly what it sounds like – a place for families to take their children so they can borrow toys and resources. These vary from Switch Toys, to large outdoor gross motor equipment to access to the parent library. The Noah’s Ark website displays a clearer list for you to have a look at http://www.toys4specialneeds.org.au/toys/
Who can access the Toy Library?
The Toy Library is open to the public, however this is an inclusive service to support children with additional needs; whether physical, intellectual or sensory, temporary or permanent. Many of the clients attend an early intervention program, specialist therapy session, speech pathologist or special education unit and use this resource to continue their therapy programs at home. There is no age limit but toys are generally suitable for children 0-6 years developmentally.
What’s the catch?
No catch – there is a membership fee of $60 per year, but this gives you access to the wide variety of resources where you borrow up to 9 items. This can be done once a month, however it is encouraged to exchange items fortnightly. The items in the bags are all clearly labelled so you know exactly how many pieces to return.
Where are they located, and when are they open?
Noah’s Ark Toy Library has their permanent base at Artarmon at Kids Cottage Community Centre and are open every Wednesday (closed school holidays). They also have a mobile van that travels to other locations;
Thornleigh – 2nd & 4th Monday of every month
Baulkham Hill – 1st & 3rd Monday of every month
Ryde – 1st & 3rd Tuesday of every month
Wahroonga – 1st & 3rd Friday
For further information regarding other Toy Libraries across NSW go to http://www.toylibraries.org.au/area/nsw and as I started researching this on Google, you will most likely be able to access more information from your local community centre.
A very big thank you to Helen and the wonderful and inviting team at Noah’s Ark who donate their time to supporting the community and families with children with additional needs. My visit was an inspiring experience, please get out there and meet your local community volunteers. For any additional enquiries you can contact Noah’s Ark on (02) 9411 4429 or firstname.lastname@example.org – alternatively send me a message and I can help you locate your local community Toy Library.