Sarasota Manatee parents find lifeline in parenting and play programs

As the puppets came out and the music started up, 2-year-old Iyesha Pramudyasworo looked on, wide-eyed and hesitant.

Staying close by her mother’s side, Iyesha watched intently while a tiger and bear, crocodile and pig – perched on the hands of others – launched into the morning’s first song.

“There’s a spider on your face, on your face,” the group sang, with moms playfully tickling the chins of their toddlers.

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Before too long, Iyesha set out to explore, joining parenting educator Rocio Gormley on a blanket in the grass, then stomping to the dinosaur march and swinging to the hokey-pokey – even pausing at one point to hug a smaller tot.

To Iyesha’s mom, the morning represented more than song and dance.

After three or four months in the Musical Motion program at Parenting Matters in Sarasota, Iyesha was showing significant signs of learning and growth.

Erica Pramudyasworo puts her daughter, Isabella's hair in a ponytail during the Musical Motion program.

Born a month prematurely, Iyesha exhibited developmental delays as an infant in crawling and later in speech, said her mother, Erica Pramudyasworo, 42, of Sarasota. What’s more, because Pramudyasworo had had to return to work as a caregiver right after Iyesha’s birth, she brought Iyesha with her.

“Child care is so expensive, you’re basically working to pay for child care,” she said.

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