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Family magascene 12 page supplement for parents

STREET DANCING SINGING & DANCING! We believe EVERYBODY can learn to sing and dance! Our aim is to enjoy ourselves! We have been running classes for 10 years

Come along and try a FREE class! Ages from 5 to 16 year-old girls and boys (Small classes to suit age and ability) Saturdays at Theydon Bois Primary School For information ring Trish on 01992 613074 or 07759 949551 or email:

Pre-school Learning Alliance accreditation

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CallClaireon01992787793or  ClasseslocallyinEppingand BuckhurstHill


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Former Iron Maiden guitarist endorses rock school Budding young musicians are being invited to come along for a free taster session at Clive’s Easylearn Pop Music School.

Network director Clive Brooks said “We’ve done away with boring theory and made music-making simple, fun and direct. Our courses are unique. Tutors love them because they’re easy to teach, and students love them because they’re easy to understand.”

The pop school has recently opened in Epping and can offer lessons to anyone from 7 to 70 in electric guitar, drums, keyboards and bass guitar. The weekly sessions also give students the chance to play Simon Baker, is a professional musician and music together in pop and rock bands from the very first promoter, said “This is a fantastic way for kids to lesson. learn how to play and make that crucial connection between playing an instrument and transferring those Former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton, who skills to playing in a band with other people. We want played on the first Iron Maiden album, is a strong to bring that creativity to the young generation of the supporter and often joins the students onstage at town with this exciting new concept.” their bi-annual charity concerts. To book a free 15 minute taster lesson call 07941 The pop school is owned and operated as a franchise 670575 or book online through by Simon Baker and Andy Wilson, who also run the Stortford Music Festival and are involved in other You can also email Simon and Andy directly music-related businesses in the area. at

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Tiny Mites—my haven’t you grown! Despite the economic doom and gloom reported in the media, Xanthe Bearman has reason to smile as the Essex branch of Tiny Mites Music has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months. Xanthe said, “The Wednesday class in Theydon Bois proved so popular, that we had to split the sessions so now we have babies and toddlers at 9:15am, and two to five year-olds at 9:45am. I’ve also opened classes in Epping and Loughton with support from the local Children’s Centres”. Theydon mum Liz Gordon said “My daughter Rosie loves Tiny Mites, she sings the songs at home and really looks forward to coming to the class each week” Xanthe also employs 4 actress/singers to present the inspiring Tiny Mites Music classes in over 25 nurseries, including Kids Unlimited in Epping. Tiny Mites will also be taking part in the Theydon Bois Diamond Jubilee celebrations this June. Tiny Mites also caters for birthday parties for children aged 1 to 6 years. For more information on classes and parties please call Xanthe on 07771 968778.


‘Olivia’ creator to visit Epping Bookshop Lyn Gardner, Guardian theatre critic and author of the popular ‘Olivia’ series of children’s books will be signing copies of her books at the Epping Bookshop on Saturday 17th March at 2pm. Her latest novel, Olivia and the Movie Stars, tells of The Swan Academy under threat from closure due to a building development next door. Into this tense atmosphere arrive Cosmo and Cosima, the famous acting twins from Hollywood. Lyn’s visit coincides with the Saturday of the bookshop’s 20% discount weekend. March is a busy period for the independent bookshop, as they are involved with several Essex Book Festival events throughout the month, including those surrounding authors Kathy Lette and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (mother of Hugh). For more details, please visit the bookshop’s website at or for the full line up of events, go to

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How to have happy kids V Norris While most children in the UK are happy, the sad fact is that, according to the Good Childhood Report 2012 conducted by the Children’s Society, one in 11 are not. That’s a lot of unhappy kids. This unhappiness has serious consequences: unhappy children don’t enjoy being at home with their family, feel safe with their friends, like the way they look or feel positive about their future.

children’s well-being). Children seem to be increasingly concerned with their appearance. The report discovered that the more a child was unhappy with their appearance, the more likely they were to be bullied. The report also found that children who have experienced regular recent bullying by peers are six times as likely to have low well-being.

Parents might be mistaken for thinking that a child’s happiness can be bought. It’s not the latest smart phone or whatever happens to be the latest fad at the time that The report surveyed 30,000 children aged 8 to 16, questioning really makes the difference to a child’s well-being. What is most their happiness with particular important are the relationships relevance to their relationships with family and friends, their use of which surround and nurture them. That’s not to say that money time, health, their future, home, doesn’t matter. Links between money and possessions, school, financial difficulties and decreased appearance and the amount of well-being were found with choice they have in life. Key children as young as age 8 being findings in the report suggest the aware of such issues. While they extent of control they have in making choices and their relation- may pick up on their families financial worries are sensitive to ships with their families affect income changes, it is not material children’s happiness most of all. prosperity that is the most The risk of low well-being was important thing in their lives. It is found to increase with age (7% of respondents aged 10 verses 14% love. Also, children who feel more listened to and involved in making at age 15). decisions within the family have It was found that a family need not significantly higher levels of wellnecessary be together for a child being. As could be expected, not to be happy. Of particular feeling safe at home had a huge relevance to separated families, is impact on lowering a child’s wellthe fact that it is the quality of their being. relationships with their family that Whilst children identified the matters more to a child than the quality of their friendships as very structure of their family (although important to them, these were not that’s not to say that family found to be as important as the structure change does lower

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quality of their family relationships. Children reporting not having enough friends reported much lower average well-being. Not having sufficient quality time with family and friends also contributed to lower well-being. Half of the children surveyed hoped to go to university after finishing school and the majority of children wanted to do well in their school work. As could be expected, there is a strong link between feeling safe at school and happiness with their life there. What can be done to improve children’s well-being? The report sited the following considerations need to be implemented if we are to have happier children. To improve their well-being children need conditions which enable them to learn and develop. It is important to foster within them a positive view of themselves and an identity that is respected. It is important to children that materially they have enough of what matters and some financial autonomy. It is vital for children to have positive relationship in and out of the home. The home itself needs to be safe, as does their school and local area. Children also need to have opportunities to take part in positive activities to enable them to thrive and develop. These considerations are important for our country’s decision and policy makers if they are to support the well-being of children in the UK.


The Rise of the Playground Mafia get you to buy cakes or secondhand school uniform. The people who mean well, but whose enthusiasm for doing good make them a little bit too much for 8.30am in the morning (drink 10 espressos and you’ve hit their level). Then somewhere in the middle there’s the ‘Normals’, those that don’t fit in with a particular tribe and have a foot in all camps. Not TOWIE Lets start with the ‘Gym-mums’. Forever in lycra and chatting about enough for the Gym-mums (no the latest torture device claimed to fake eyelashes or a boob-job in shave inches off their derrieres. In sight). But just enough slum to not earn the scorn of the Slummies. between munching on half an Imagine expressing all of your apple they manage to make the inner most thoughts about your The ‘Exclusives’ are those that rest of us mere mortals feel like playground experience without don’t socialise with any old riff-raff Waynetta slob. Then at the other fear of any dirty looks during the (stuck up new money mostly). If end of the spectrum you have the school run. And I do definitely you have a million pound house, ‘Slummies’ – the mothers who are suffer from inner tourettes where 4 x 4 and a Black Amex you’re allergic to exercise or wearing playground politics is concerned. guaranteed membership. Then at anything that doesn’t resemble Ok, let’s get down to the nitty gritty pyjamas (their form of lycra has the bottom of the climbing frame of my rant. For those of you who gone at the knees!). They roll into are the outsiders – the Loners or don’t currently have school age Emos (who are either shy, socially the playground with an air of children, this may be an eye ‘couldn’t care less’ and a faint whiff inept or in the middle of a nervous opener. But nod along with me if breakdown or a divorce). Are they of Jeremy Kyle. I admire them I’m preaching to the choir as we go hugely. They look at the Gymplain misunderstood for not fitting inside the playground. I hope mums like they’re something from within a clique? Or maybe they’re you’re prepared. another planet (or perhaps even a the sane ones who have the good snack). Next, let’s take a look at sense to know not to join one in You’d think that your days of trying the ‘Workies’ the parents who are the first place. to fit in with your peers is over suited and booted. They barely once you’ve left school and slow the car down before hurling So there you have it. Is it just me, the kids, lunch boxes, PE kits and or has anyone else noticed that the terms of endearment as they just parents are actually more segreabout miss running the lollipop gated than the kids? All hail the lady over as they’re too busy tutPlayground Mafia, let’s face it – ting about how undynamic the some of them are scary enough to ‘Slummies’ are. give the Sicilians a run for their money! Ooh, and let’s not forget the ‘PTA-ers’, constantly harassing you at the school gates trying to I’m writing this column under cover, deep, deep cover. And I don’t mean under my duvet because its still winter – I mean with complete and utter anonymity. Rather like a really bad spy spoof – because I need to conceal my real identity. The reason? I hear you ask. Two-fold, first – the subject matter is highly flammable and I may just upset everyone I know with my observations. And second, the idea of being able to write so freely is very appealing.


become an adult. This is not the case! The playground is segmented into areas by the type of parents that inhabit them. You choose a tribe or rather more embarrassingly have been assigned to one. Choose wisely on the first day as you can rarely change groups.

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THE FACE OF COMPETITION Tikadi has launched a modelling competition to find a boy and a girl to be the face of Tikadi Teen. This is open to Tikadi Teen Club members and marks the first major competition for the salon group. The Prize The two winners will take part in a professional London photo shoot in May and be treated to the best in hair design and styling. They will be given a photograph from the day and can look forward to seeing their images used in Tikadi’s future publicity and marketing. How to Enter The competition is open to all Tikadi Teen Club members (if you not already a member, don’t worry, you can join easily for free—just call or pop in for more details). Email a photograph to including your name and age or upload the image to the new TIKADI TEEN CLUB Facebook page and get as many likes as you can! The closing date for entries is April 20th, 2012. Those shortlisted will be invited to the salon when the winning boy and girl will be selected! What is the Tikadi Teen Club? This is a club for 13-19 year-olds and is exclusively available at the salon group’s Theydon Bois and Ongar branches. Great hair design and the luxurious salon experience is now a reality for teenagers at affordable prices. There is much to benefit from by being a member. It is FREE to join and members receive a free gift on joining, exclusive offers, discounts on products and heavily discounted hair styling prices. To join just visit a salon or call 01992 815700 (Theydon Bois) or 01277 366775 (Ongar) and one of the Tikadi team will take your membership details over the phone. COMPETITION TERMS & CONDITIONS: Short-listed finalists under the age of 16 years will be required to ask a parent or guardian to fill in a parental consent form. Theydon Bois 01992 815700

Ongar 01277 366775

Coppice Row Theydon Bois CM16 7ES

146-148 High Street Ongar CM5 9JH

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How was parents’ evening for you? Parents’ evening serves an extremely important function. For many it is a valued opportunity to receive glowing reports about the successes of their children. For others it can turn out to be a trying time. Here, Kip McGrath Education Centres share teacher and writer Martin Ballam’s account of how parents’ evening served as an early warning system that enabled him to get his son Jack back on the road to school success. I now look back on last year’s parents’ evening in an extremely positive light: but it sure as hell did not feel like it at the time. From the very first moment he toddled off through the school gates in those little grey shorts. My son loved school. He’d come home bursting with enthusiasm for the Romans, dinosaurs, or any other topic he had been studying. Like parents everywhere, we’d be bombarded with all manner of entertaining questions; and just like countless parents before us, we would love trying to answer them: ‘What’s this Dad?’ ‘Dad, what’s the

‘Capital city of Peru?’

“Our children need us to be happy about their work.” As parents we know that these innocent questions go hand-in-hand with the beginning of our child’s knowledge: knowledge not only about the world and the objects within it; but more importantly perhaps, the development of a successful approach to learning itself. We know that it is through our engagement with these questions that we encourage our children and so develop in them a genuine spirit of inquiry. We know too, the sheer joy that such moments bring to parents and children alike. When little Samantha comes back from school with some horrible browngreen splodge splattered across a piece of rolled up sugar paper, what do we do? We give her a big kiss, stick it on the wall and call it a masterpiece. She


looks as proud as Punch and we are over the moon. As parents we know instinctively that this is probably the way nature intended it. This is the simple bit: our children need us to be happy about their work. Our approval is vital. It gives them the confidence to continue to learn, venture new thought and test out ideas. Learning, when you look at it like this, is a joint venture between parent and child. But what happens – and here’s the difficult bit -when that bond of happiness begins to weaken? How do we remain positive and upbeat when we know there are fundamental problems standing in the way of our child’s progress and happiness? For my wife Cheryl and I, it was around this time last year that things came to the fore at parents’ evening. Looking back at it we now realise that the signs had probably been there for a while. There was nothing we could have put our finger on at the time, simply a sense, - and here I’m going to paraphrase Jack’s words - that something we couldn’t see had indeed been broken. His confidence had gone and those wonderful questions had dried up. Some three weeks into the new Autumn term Jack had woken up one morning determined not to go to school: ‘Dad I can’t do it. I’m stupid, stupid, stupid...’ As he said this he was hitting himself repeatedly on the forehead with the palm of his hand. He broke down and cried into my arms inconsolably. I don’t think I’ll ever forget my sense of deep concern. Where on earth had this come from? Where had his love of learning gone? Where was my little adventurer? A month later at parent’s evening. Mrs Smallwood, his teacher, looked concerned. He was ‘falling behind’ in reading and is not ‘fulfilling his potential’. Her observations chimed with ours. She too tried to

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reassure us. It was nothing too worrying. After all, children develop at different rates and in different ways. Back home we were anxious to avoid overreacting but nevertheless decided to make an extra effort to help him. In hindsight we now realise this was a big mistake. At first he seemed relieved, but very quickly he sensed our frustrations. On occasions we lost patience and that put a real dampener on his confidence. Looking back I don’t blame him. Sitting at the kitchen table with ‘Dad the maths dinosaur’ was hardly inspiring.

teachers. The confidence issue was clearly understood and we could see instantly that the children attending were enjoying their sessions. We were particularly struck by the peace and quiet of the centre. The clamour of the classroom seemed a million miles away and children were being encouraged and praised for even the smallest achievement.

It’s given Jack a chance to put things right. He has been able to go over things at his own pace and benefit from a tailor made programme that fits his requirements. His English and Maths have really taken off, but to us the most important thing is that Since the parents’ evening, the school had been he’s asking us those wonderful questions again. His incredibly supportive. Mrs Smallwood had phoned us beaming face at the end of the session seems to say several times with helpful feedback. In fact it was she it all. He knows we’re happy. Parents’ evening here I who first floated the idea of getting some professional come. support outside the classroom. For more information about Kip McGrath Education A friend recommended a local tuition centre that Centres, visit or contact Kip seemed to have built up quite a good reputation McGrath Loughton Centre Director Hannake Kluge among parents. Both we - and dare I say it - Jack, on 020 8508 2090. were impressed when we saw the centre and met the

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Outsource your ironing and let off some steam You have probably seen the ‘Tired on Ironing’ van driving around the area and nodded in agreement as you visualise the skyscraper-high pile of ironing at home. We talk to mother-of-two Faith Wallace, AKA The Steam Queen, about how she has made a successful business by offering a flexible ironing service for local people. Your buybuy-line of ‘Tired of Ironing’ really sums up what a lot of people think about ironing. Were you confident you could build a business during today’s economic climate when most people are tightening their belts? Anyone can iron but not everyone wants to and it’s that simple choice people make that means I have been able to establish a business. For a lot of people, ironing is too time-consuming or they just really hate it.

of those on lower incomes, they really make an effort to save the money they need each month for ironing, because it means so much for someone else to do it, like a treat almost. When you really want something, then you do what you need to do to make it happen. How did the Steam Queen business come about? After I had my first child three years ago I decided not to return to full-time work for a shipping company and looked into what I could do around a baby. Ironing was perfect as I worked out I could fit in a couple of hours during the day when my son was asleep and then a couple more in the evening.

So is it the privileged who are more likely to use your How did you go about promoting your business? If anyone had seen me walking around Coopersale services? No. My customers are a very broad mix and for some and North Weald with my baby strapped to my back as I delivered leaflets , they must have thought I looked mad! But I got my first clients from doing that and then later started to advertise in local magazines. I also signed up with some online directories and getting the van sign written was a good decision as I do get people calling me when they have seen me SPECIAL out and about. My growth has mainly been organic, OFFER as clients tell their friends and family about my business and so I get a lot of work from recommendations. 1/3RD OFF

PARENTS—Tired of ironing?

Children’s clothes until the end of March & 2-4-1 on all baby and toddler clothes

Professional & reliable FREE collection & delivery Please call Faith 01992 522044 or 07974 025381


What service can your clients expect from you? My rates are competitive but it is really the flexibility that people like. I offer free collection and delivery and some clients moved away from their previous ironing company because the turnaround was too slow, or if they used a shop-based parlour they found they wouldn’t return ironing on a bank holiday, for example. I also communicate regularly with clients and let them know of any special offers.

The Steam Queen is offering a third off children’s clothes ironing until the end of March, as well as a two for one on all baby and toddler clothes. Call Faith on 01992 522044 or 07974 025381.

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SmartNet Essex

Mothers’ Day vouchers available. The perfect gift Special offer on all treatments booked before 31.3.12


Our meetings are welcoming, informal yet productive. If you are serious about making some invaluable business contacts this year, SmartNet Essex provides lively debate, guest speakers and support to its members in their first few years of business. What’s more, it is the first of its kind to offer a Pay As You Go forum. No huge annual fees, no commitment to attend every month. Just call to book the sessions you’re interested in.


and net some business the smart way

Call Julie to book on 07843 260 186 or email (places are limited) £15 fee to include lunch and a soft drink Venue: The King’s Oak, High Beech We meet 2nd Thursday of the month March 8th * April 19th (3rd Thurs)

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Family Magascene Supplement March 2012  

Special 12 page pull out for parents

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