New Pricing


fuzzy caterpillar on red leaf

To all those who have expressed an interest in Caterpillar Cafe’s activities, I think I need to explain to you the change in pricing that has just occurred. When I first thought of this project my idea was to have a monthly membership that would cover the cost of rent and other expenses, but as I realized that not all those who wished to come would be able to commit to coming every month, I decided to introduce further activities and a daily pricing, always prioritizing those who had agreed to commit to monthly passes. As the Cafe opened and activities started, the situation became such that I wasn’t sure if I could sustain this initial policy. I tried to encourage monthly applications for the other activities and introduced more English courses. Almost 2 months into this it became apparent to me that monthly commitments were just not practical for most moms, no matter how eager they were to make it a regular engagement. As a result I am lowering the daily prices for all activities. As a consequence of this though, I will no longer be able to provide 50% discounts on Crafts and Playgroup for monthly members. The price is nevertheless most convenient for monthly members, but so as not to discourage people who just cannot, no matter how much they would like to come on a regular basis, I have taken this difficult decision to shift in focus. I hope that this will cater to a wider audience and reach those who have been thus far looking in without daring to walk in. This is to let you know that you are indeed welcome to come in and bring all your kids 0-12, whether they eat, drink, play or not!


Announcing an exciting new artistic collaboration!


Art is the highest form of self expression, it transcends all boundaries and speaks to the heart and mind in mysterious, magical ways. It comes in many forms: music, graphic, plastic, literary, etc.. It breaks down barriers and communicates in a transcendental way messages that we might never dare speak. This magical language belongs to everyone, and children are the foremost beneficiaries of it. Children speak to us through their art all the time, their scribbles, drawings and plays (acting, with puppets, figurines, and virtually anything they can get their hands on) is their form of expression. It is through it that we get to see their inner souls, and if we listen carefully, we can understand what they are still too verbally inept to communicate in words, we can get to know what they like, what they want, what they love and what they fear, without a single word being spoken. Magically, also, they get to realize that their feelings are being heard and taken to heart, even when they are unable to name them. At Caterpillar Cafe we hope to allow for such communication to flourish, be it through open ended play, free style painting and drawing, puppet theater or craft making. It is with this in mind that I have approached a remarkable local artist, who was very excited to have the opportunity to share her expertise with young learners and has agreed to host every last Thursday of the month’s Craft session at the Caterpillar Cafe. I am elated about what this will mean for so many and can’t wait to see the children’s excitement when they get their first work of art taught by a professional artist in her own right! I hope this will be a memory to be cherished and carried on for many years to come!

Here is a preview of what this inspiring artist does on a regular basis: http://www.amiramade.com/



Ezdien and Suhaib

Friendship is what makes life magical, it’s sharing what is special and valuable with someone who is happy to see you happy. It’s a unique bond, brought about through regular, meaningful interaction. For kids this might mean playing together, sharing toys, meeting frequently enough to create lasting memories. As we grow and become more sophisticated and in tune with the outer world, we start relating friendship to loyalty and commitment and these traits will pour over into adulthood. These bonds often happen haphazardly in school, playgrounds, neighborhoods, or within families. But what if you just moved to a new country, don’t have any neighbors or have no family close by? Or what if the neighbors or family that you do have, don’t share the same language or simply play significantly differently or spend all their free time studying? Kids go to school for 4-5 hours per day, 5 days per week and spend most of that time glued to desks, listening to the teacher.There is very little time to bond and share, and these relationships are often relegated to the school grounds, since kids live so far apart and don’t spend extra curricular time together. Then at home it can be all the more complicated to feel safe sending kids out into the yard, not knowing who might pop by, or what might be flying overhead. Supervised play may be available, but limited to bouncing around for an hour while moms get gocked at or even harassed, and in such environments, kids engage in physical play that doesn’t necessarily require interaction with other kids. They might see each other, exchange a word or two, such as “move” or “careful” and there you have it, play time is over and no bonds were created, no links made.

Friendship is characterized by mutual sympathy, honesty, altruism and understanding and is fostered by time spent in each other’s company, in the pursuit of enjoyable activities, feeling free to be oneself and make mistakes, without feeling judged. This becomes increasingly important as kids grow into young adults, valuing each other’s viewpoints and relish being a part of a bigger whole.

If at first geographical closeness might be the determining factor, parents can facilitate a more sophisticated outlook by seeking out further alliances with parents who share more than location, perhaps a philosophy, a way of life, a world view. These friendships can then blossom into life long relationships that can enrich one’s life in countless and invaluable ways. Making friends is a process, and it is facilitated by proximity, regular interaction and opportunities to share ideas, feelings and moments with each other. The Caterpillar Cafe aims at being this catalyst for moms seeking out meaningful interactions to enrich their kids’ lives as well as their own. But before you toss this blog to the side as a meager attempt at self promotion, let me share with you that I am in the same boat, a mom, seeking meaningful interactions for my kids and with like minded moms in this city that we now call our own. I know I am not alone, but after years of waiting for someone like me to make this opportunity available, I decided to facilitate it myself, and invite you to come along and see for yourself if it’s as valuable for you as it is for us.


English Conversation Classes for kids 6-12

Front door

Once the school break is over the Caterpillar Cafe will be starting English Conversation Classes for children who are taking English in school and have a grammatical basis as well as some vocabulary with which to work. The teacher is a native English speaker (bi-lingual English/Italian) and speaks with a Canadian accent. She has more than 10 years experience teaching a second language, from Reception all the way up to University level, including Libyan kids learning English. As Anglophones we have noticed the difficulty and shyness kids feel when trying to communicate in English, despite their eagerness. This class is an attempt to aid such children gain confidence in their English speaking abilities and to improve their English comprehension skills. It will be held twice weekly, in the afternoons, thus catering to kids who attend school in the mornings. If there is sufficient interest for a morning session, one may open up, please contact Caterpillar Cafe to learn more about this course.


English crash course for kids (6-12)

Seeing as exams are almost over and kids will have 2 weeks off, I thought I might offer an intensive 8 hour course, with singing, word games, play and activities to improve their confidence in English speaking and listening skills, as well as expand their vocabulary. Also, since it’s a skill everyone needs at some point or other and kids are unlikely to get it anywhere else, I will introduce cursive writing. In order to maintain high participation and interaction, I will limit the class size to 15 kids between the ages of 6 and 12, and all of them must have taken at least 1 year of English already, so we can dive into words and not dwell too much on the alphabet. If you or someone you know might be interested in this, please email, sms or pm me to book your spot. Price is 100 LyD for the entire course, which will span the 2 weeks of vacation, 4 times per week, 1 hour each of intensive English speaking and communicating on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Time to learn and have some real English speaking fun!


Why Caterpillar?


Some of you may be wondering why a Cafe would be called Caterpillar? What does a bug have to do with that sumptuous, delicious hot drink? Actually Caterpillar came to me long before Cafe did, in fact Cafe was an incidental last minute addition! A Caterpillar is a bug that comes from an egg and after growing sufficiently, wraps itself into a cocoon and eventually turns into a butterfly. I love the idea of the various stages it undergoes in order to become something beautiful and admirable. This is how I see childhood, and this is what I would want for my kids, a healthy upbringing, complete with all that makes life whole (love, play, community, friendship, sharing, laughter, strong morals and a proper education along with healthy nutrition, sleep and physical activity), so that they can then go out into the world and make it a better, more beautiful place. For me, growing up in Switzerland, was amazing in many ways, but there was a magical place, where kids could meet other kids and play with intelligent toys they either didn’t own or had nobody to play with at home, I took this place for granted as a child, but when I had kids of my own I realized how many toys I could remember playing with, but never owning. Here we learned responsible handling of toys, because if we ruined them we’d have to pay for them, and it all came out of our allowance, this place was called Ludoteca (library of toys). When my oldest son was born I lived in Montreal and I liked to take him to a very similar place called the Joujoutheque (same name, same idea, but it also offered a wide variety of courses related to parenting and running an efficient household). I realized quickly after moving to Libya that good quality toys were practically non existent here and the social structure is such that comfortable socializing for women with young children is extremely difficult. I yearned for a place where I could take my kids to play with quality toys and socialize with other kids like I did growing up and my oldest son did as a toddler. I yearned for a place where I could sit and actually talk to their moms without feeling stared down by anyone and without having to worry about my kids getting bored or hurt. So I got busy and collected as many toys and books as I could carry and brought them here, found a place, made a plan and got going. I cannot give my kids my childhood, but a ludoteca, joujoutheque, or something like it, I can, this is something I can offer them, and with them other kids in the area who might also be yearning for such an outlet. This is an exercise in sharing for my kids, but surprisingly enough they were all to glad to do so, if it meant they’d make some friends. So Caterpillar is a description of childhood (including my own kids’), but also an idea that wants to help make this a better and more beautiful place, it’s a small project in its infancy that wants to open new horizons and opportunities for children and mothers alike. In many ways, it’s everyone’s story, it’s everyone’s potential, it’s a hopeful approach in a place where hope is a lifeline fueled by optimism, and what is more hopeful than childhood? And… of course anything looks and feels better over a nice hot cup of java!