“DPR appears to be offering no soccer classes for 3 and 4 year olds this fall”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoPville,

For the past 3 seasons, my son has taken a soccer class at the Raymond Rec Center through DPR. He is now 4 and a half, and I was ready to sign him up for the fall. However, DPR appears to be offering no soccer classes for 3 and 4 year olds this fall (in the past there were several at different locations). I have emailed, called, and Tweeted DPR to find out why they are not serving this age group, but, unsurprisingly, I have gotten no response. I thought I would write and see if anyone else has any information about when or if they will offer classes for 3s and 4s again.”

14 Comment

  • DPR sucks and totally missed the boat on what families want in DC. They are losing revenue opportunies left and right. Park View doesn’t have any 3-4 year old programming either and there are tons of kids in the neighborhood. Everyone just pays for private stuff. Same for the swimming classes, they sell out in 10 min and then the instructor doesn’t bother to show up. DPR has always been a dumping ground for the worst employess and has cycled through about 6 or 7 different interim directors in 12 years. After years of petitions and requests, they still cant get the pools fully staffed or open before noon. COmplain to council but not sure that would do any good either.

    • THIS exact rant.
      – The complete absence of little kids programming at the Park View Rec center makes me furious. When they re-opened after renovations, they had lots of preschool tables and chairs, but zero preschool programming. Now they still don’t have the programming and they got rid of the furniture.
      – the DPR swim class programming throughout the city are so hit-and-miss that you shouldn’t even try unless you’re OK with your child actually not receiving swim classes at all that quarter (odds teacher won’t show up, class will be cancelled, pool staff will make up a “chemical imbalance” to shut it down for the morning…)

  • Good way to keep them from suffering concussions. A friend’s daughter’s life has been upended by soccer injuries – knee and 2 concussions. The concussions were not from intentional head-butting moves, either.

    • Was the girl 3-4 years old? They don’t exactly head the ball at that age. Plus there are new restrictions that don’t allow heading until a certain age in addition to equipment that helps prevent injuries. Are you opposed to kids competing in soccer at any age? Or any sport for that matter, since physical activity increases the likelihood of injury no matter what the sport. That said, I think it’s kind of silly to put 3-4 year olds in soccer. They just run around, stare at the clouds, and maybe occasionally try to kick the ball. I think unstructured (and free) play probably has the same benefits. I guess I could see how city kids might have fewer opportunities for that though.

  • First world problem. Some children just “play” at that age, including city kids. Been that way for a long time.

    • Seriously. 3-4 year olds can’t understand the rules of the game and lack the coordination (and motivation) to develop any sort of actual physical skill. They’re just as well off running around in circles.

      • I’ve seen “organized” kids sports at age 6 and below — they are just running around in circles. The difference is that there’s an organizing body making sure a good number of other kids of the appropriate age show up to run around in circles with them at the appointed time. DPR registration fees are usually $10-20 which I think is a reasonable amount to pay for that level of organization. I think people that try to sign their kids up for sports with the city parks organization are more interested in making sure their kid has some level of physical stimulation than putting them on the path to professional sports greatness.

      • I have a FIFA U-8 coaching license. You shouldn’t be teaching kids that age anything other than getting along with the other kids and “This is the ball. You want this ball. And try not to touch it with your hands” Even drills like sharks and minnows at that age are more just chaos than any real drill. But that’s OK. What you’re really doing is getting them used to the sport. Doing super organized drills and even scrimmages where you insist on positional discipline at that age and even up to 6 or so will usually do nothing but make sure your kid hates soccer for the rest of his or her life. And any coach that teaches any kid under the late teen years to head the ball should be removed immediately.

        Oh, and you’re also subtly teaching parents to keep their expectations realistic and setting expectations for their own behavior early.

        • OP here. The reason we liked DPR soccer was because the coach at Raymond ran a very age-appropriate class. They were not playing games against each other, which is absurd at that age. They just did basic ball handling drills that helped them develop coordination and get a very general feel for soccer. We did a much more expensive class that was not age appropriate, and I was annoyed to have wasted money on it, so I was disappointed to not have the DPR class this time, especially since my son enjoyed it so much.

  • They may have a good reason for this, but I’m always baffled about why it’s so tough for D.C. agencies to answer their emails. It’s not like they’re understaffed.

  • DPR definitely should add more kid’s swimming classes, there is an enormous demand in DC.
    When your kids get a little older I’d recommend Stoddert soccer, it is well organized but there is a fee.
    The registration page for the fall lists classes to be taught by the co-director at our school’s nearby Rec even though he resigned in early August – before the registration page even went online. Last spring he was surprised when I told him we’d signed the kids up for a sports class that he had no idea he was supposed to be leading – he was already working rec center aftercare for 60 families – he had to have DPR drop the class.
    Another rec staffer I know puts a lot of work into hosting Halloween and holiday parties for the kids and has been doing a Mother-Daughter tea every year for a decade and not once have DPR supervisors come out to show their support.
    We have great facilities, crumbling ones and a lot of under-used spaces. Did you know there is a ceramic studio for adults at Guy Mason? It would be great if the city could get it together and support the department a little better.

  • We have a nice common room space at Theodore Hagens Cultural Center , but of course DPR won’t schedule any activities except for Senior activities there. Oh, and the beautiful tennis courts at Fort Lincoln Park, but no tennis lessons for kids there either.

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