The Museum is delighted to announce the debut of Lavar y Jugar (“Wash and Play”) at Snow White Laundry in Southampton. Every Monday at 10am, CMEE Educators stop by and lead a program designed to get kids (and grownups!) singing, dancing, and playing while they wait for the wash. We spoke to Leah Oppenheimer, the Museum’s Director of Community Outreach, about where this incredible idea came from, what parents can expect, and the importance of community here in the East End
How did the idea for Lavar y Jugar come about?
There was a fair amount of press back in early 2018 when the Clinton Foundation reported that their six trial laundromat programs had improved children’s affinity for reading. I saw the report on PBS Nightly News and thought, “Wow, this is a no brainer from the Museum.”
What’s a typical Lavar y Jugar “session” like?
Our sessions follow a pattern well established by our program Cantemos: Music, story reading, a little parent reading, instrument play, dancing and crafts.
Why are parent/child programs like this so important?
Our sessions emphasize warmth, lots of love, and and all around silliness. Speaking to moms as peers, potential friends, and allies is a vital part of the program. If moms are comfortable with us, their children will be too.
Programs like this are cultural “gifts” to the community. In my experience, Latinx families have a tremendous investment in their families, but here in the East End there’s sometimes a lack of support. Families with small children can sometimes struggle with the transition into a new culture. This program helps opens the door to the East End community through books, art, and opportunities to meet other families.
Who’s teaching it?
We have two incredible Latinx mothers who have agreed to teach! They understand the goal of connecting young families to the larger world of books, art, and education without being formal and stuffy. They both have fantastic senses of humor and deep compassion for the difficult lives of new immigrants with children.
Where and when does this program take place?
Currently, our program is on Monday mornings at 10 AM at Snow White Laundry in Southampton. As we grow in experience and resources, we hope to find other villages where we can expand this venture.