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R E E 速速 Cambridgeshire Issue 12 September/October 2011

! Back to School

! 10% off Polarn O. Pyret ! Clubs and Classes ! Weaning your Baby

The Useful magazine for families with children from birth to teenage

Editor’s Welcome ! Welcome to the twelfth issue of Families Cambridgeshire - the really useful magazine for parents and children! I hope that you all had a fantastic summer holiday and managed to make the most of the few sunny days that we had! After a lovely holiday with seventy (!) of our family, we’ve managed to have some super days out here in Cambridgeshire - aren’t we lucky to have so many attractions here on our doorstep. For any inspiration, do check our Out and About pages. So now it’s back to school....if your child is starting or changing school, or you’re looking ahead for next year, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our education pages. And to fill in those dark evenings ahead, there are masses of tips for Clubs and Classes, including many activities during the half term break. So good luck to all of those children (and their parents) who are starting a new school this term and as always, I do hope that you enjoy this issue of Families Cambridgeshire and feel free to contact me with any news or events that you would like to see featured in future issues. Please mention Families whenever you contact one of our advertisers.

Best wishes

News - September/October 2011 World Rivers Day Festival Camboaters, the group that represents boaters on the river are holding a river festival on World Rivers Day, 25th September 2011 from 10am to 6pm on Jesus Green, Cambridge. World Rivers Day held on the last Sunday of September is a global celebration of the world's rivers and waterways. It highlights many of the values of rivers, strives to increase public awareness and improve stewardship. In an atmosphere of celebration the festival will encourage, educate and help facilitate positive actions so that the community will learn to live in a more environmentally sound manner, be more culturally tolerant, and be more appreciative of our local rivers. It is a festival about engaging in the activities and events rather than merely watching. Activities will include rowing, fishing, canoeing and punting demonstrations along with various stalls for all the family


Jolly Phonics About 4 in 10 children leave primary school well below the expected reading standard, and therefore struggle once they get to secondary school. They may have had difficulties with reading because they were taught to memorize words in a 'whole word' approach, which meant they were left unable to 'decode' unfamiliar words, as they lacked letter sound knowledge. At the end of the first year of using Jolly Phonics, children's reading age is typically a year ahead of their peers.

Cover photograph courtesy of Steven Pepple,

In this issue 02 News 04 Baby Page 06 Halloween 08 Choosing a School 09 Clubs and Classes

13 Child’s Education Starts at Home 15 Out and About

Circulation 12,000 copies of Families Cambridgeshire available through schools, nurseries, libraries, selected shops and restaurants. If you would like copies for your establishment please let me know. Contact Sara Carr, tel: 01223 319437 mobile: 07748 183700 Print: Bishops Printers Limited, Portsmouth tel: 023 9233 4900 Design: Louis T Koehorst tel: 01223 576688

Families Cambridgeshire is part of the Families Group established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take every care preparing for the magazine, but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences.

-Schools use different methods to teach reading, including the synthetic phonics method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read words. Currently synthetic phonics is being advocated by the Schools Minister, Michael Gove, as the preferred way of teaching reading and writing, as it enables children to 'decode' new words. The majority of UK primary schools choose the Jolly Phonics programme to teach early years reading and writing because it teaches key skills for literacy in a fun and multisensory way, which engages children and enables them to rapidly improve. Jolly Phonics provides a full, systematic teaching programme, and reading books which correlate to the phases of Letters and Sounds. The 'My Jolly Phonics' home kit is suitable for children aged 3-7. Parents often want to support their child in learning how to read and write, but may not know how.

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By Joanna Parry and Sara Carr

Big Ideas and Big Fun at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas

The multisensory resources in the home kit engage the child, and requires minimum adult supervision, so parents can support their child's learning of reading and writing at home without replacing the teaching at school.

The home kit includes a set of 7 colourful, fun Activity Books, a Games CD, a DVD, a Letter Sound Poster, Jolly Stories book and Jolly Songs which can be played in the car, and FREE carry case and pencils.

Make Life Easier with Munchkin’s Snack Catcher

Fancy exploring the gothic world of Marcus Sedgwick, joining CBBC's Ed Petrie for a spot of stand-up comedy, learning about zombie thrillers with Charlie Higson or learning to draw with Nick Sharratt?


Clear guidance is also included for parents, to help them understand which skills their children are learning and how they can aide them. The home kit is ideal to use for pre-school preparation for being able to learn quicker and easier once they get to school, as extra support for reinforcing literacy skills at home once they start school, and as repetition and practice during holidays when literacy skills can often be lost.

" News

If you do, then come to the Cambridge Festival of Ideas this autumn half-term and take part in a host of amazing free activities.


As well as talks and workshops by wellknown faces, there 1 1 are loads of hands-on 0 2 r e ob 19 – 30 Oct ities and n a activities, including m u h , s e art Explore thnces for free amazing dance 66 social scie 67 displays from 76 call: 01223 eas formation lofid around the world, a For more in ww or visit: w prehistory day where you get to live like a caveman, drumming workshops and circus skills sessions.

Snack Catcher – Forget having to pick up snacks ever again with the Munchkin Snack Catcher. Pop the snack in and it will stay safe even if the container is being held upside down or thrown around. The unique flaps mean that your child can pick up a snack but stops any crumbs from falling out. £3.69

The Festival, which runs from 19 to 30 October, is designed to spread the word on the wonders of learning the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and to give people of all ages free access to the lecture rooms and theatres of the University of Cambridge. See some of the events in our Out and About pages. For a programme, please call: 01223 766766 or visit:

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BACK TO SCHOOL……. The coat to last all seasons

Labels4kids - for cash

How? Flexible, lightweight, high-tec layers that are waterproof, windproof and most importantly for active children…breathable

Children’s labelling comany Labels4Kids are recruiting sales agents. In exchange for a small start up cost, readers who refer friends and family to company’s website can earn money back in commission. You get to show and explain products you like to others who may also benefit from their use, and make some money too. Over the years Labels4Kids has been entered in and won numerous high profile awards, including Online Retailer of the Year in 2010. As well as ordering kits through the website, customers can read blogs on numerous topics on the latest educational and parents related issues. There is also a Labels4Kids Facebook page where news, discounts offers and news are posted. For orders, go to To ask about becoming an agent, email

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Polarn O. Pyret of Sweden have cracked the dilemma for parents everywhere this autumn. The coat solution that can handle warm, windy, raining, snowing and freezing.


Wind and water resistant Fleece Jacket from £35

Water and Windproof Coat from £59

The windproof, water resistant soft fleece jacket fixes into the shell jacket when winter weather arrives. The thumb-holes stop sleeves riding up…and kids just love these! Our philosophy has not changed for over 35 years – children need clothes they can play in and parents need hard wearing coats that look good, feel good and will last all year from September through to summer showers. Online


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Baby Care g

Weaning baby The great weaning debate by Joanna Parry When to start? What is Lactose Intolerance? Fantastic tried and tested tips It’s one of the questions that is bound to be on your mind if you have a young baby: when is the right time to wean? Over the years the guidelines have changed. Many of our parents gave us rusks in our milk when we were only a couple of months old, and when I had my first child nearly 6 years ago I was advised to start weaning as early as 4 months. Now, many mums wait until their baby is 6 months. Either way, weaning need not be a huge chore.

When to do it Department of Health guidelines recommend that the best time to start weaning is 6 months, as it is thought the stomachs of younger babies aren’t mature enough to cope with a more diverse diet, and that early weaning can increase the risk of infections and the development of allergies like eczema and asthma. Premature babies may not be ready by 6 months so consult your health visitor before introducing solids. Often, it’s best to be guided by your own baby. Babies can be ready for weaning if they:

n show interest in the food you or your older children are eating n can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady n can look at food, grab it and put it in their mouths by themselves n have doubled their birth weight n can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will tend to spit their food out and get more on their faces than in their mouths. Never start weaning before your baby is 17 weeks old or put solids such as baby rice or rusk into your baby’s bottle. And remember, there is no rush to wean!

Getting started Many parents start with baby rice mixed with formula or breast milk to get them used to a new texture. Move on to sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet potato and parsnip and fruits - apple, pear, peach and mango. Mashed bananas and avocados are good choices as they don’t need to be cooked. After introducing single tastes, move on to combinations such as potato and parsnip, leak and peas, plum and pear. Once you are well established on the first foods introduce protein - fish and chicken are good as they have a mild taste and can be mixed with vegetables. As your baby starts to chew, mash their food instead of pureeing and gradually let the lumps get bigger. By the time your baby is about seven months old it should be eating solids three times a day, which could include vegetables like courgette, broccoli and spinach as well as meat, fish, hard-boiled egg and cheese. At around this time you can introduce finger foods such as soft-cooked carrots, pasta, slices of melon, strips of omelette or buttered toast, which encourage your baby to chew and will help with their pincer grip. Always stay close to your baby when they have finger foods in case they choke. Remember, solid food shouldn’t replace formula or breast milk. Babies between the ages of 6 to 9 months still need at least 16oz of milk daily.

Top tips n choose a time of day when your baby is not too tired or hungry – late morning is good

n add milk to new tastes to encourage baby to try them n once they’re used to a taste, move that food to the evening meal and introduce another food at lunchtime

n as long as you don’t wean your baby before 6 months there’s no need to sterilise feeding utensils

n puree your own food if you’ve used very little or no salt in its preparation

n make purees in a large batch and freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen pop them into labelled freezer bags You DON’T need to cook everything yourself! There are some fantastic foods on the market that are just as nutritious and ‘homemade’ as if you cooked them yourself. Just more pricey and with packaging that is often difficult to recycle. Check out,, and

Going veggie? There are no medical or health reasons against raising your baby as vegetarian, providing you feed them a well balanced diet. You can make sure your baby has enough iron through pulses, dried fruits, fortified cereals and green vegetables. Vitamin C helps absorption of iron from food so include fruit or juice in the same meal as iron-rich foods. Protein can be obtained from pulses, egg, dairy products, tofu, bread and meat substitutes.




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g Baby Care Allergies and intolerances

Making it easy

Almost 1 in 12 young children suffer from a food allergy. Milk and egg allergies are the most common and tend to disappear before adulthood. The other common allergens are peanuts and tree nuts, fish and seafood, wheat, soy, sesame and kiwi. If there is a history of allergies in your family think about delaying the introduction of certain foods. Start out slowly with very basic purees and wait 3 days after each food is introduced before trying a new taste to ensure your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction. If you decide to wean before six months don’t offer eggs, dairy products, fish, shellfish, citrus fruits or foods containing gluten. Avoid nuts until 3 years of age and honey until your baby is 1.

There are some great products around that can make life easier when weaning:

The Beaba Babycook is

pricey but cooks, purees and reheats all in one. £90 from,, Another one-stop-feedingshop is Babymoov Bebedelice, £70 from or

The clip-on metoo (£33.95) from

There are two types of food allergies. Some are easy to spot – as soon as food is eaten an itchy rash develops, usually around the mouth or eyes. There may also be swelling of the lips, tongue and mouth, runny nose, watering eyes, vomiting, tummy cramps and diarrhoea. In severe reactions there may be difficulty breathing, wheezing and shortness of breath and a drop in blood pressure, which requires urgent medical attention. These reactions are often more common in older children and teenagers. Other allergies can be more difficult to detect, especially if they have delayed allergies. These are sometimes called food intolerances and tend to be more of a problem in infancy. Delayed allergies may cause symptoms such as eczema, reflux, colic, poor growth, diarrhoea or constipation. However, all of these symptoms commonly occur during childhood and an allergy may not be the cause. Trying to work out if the problem is due to a food allergy can be difficult and requires the help of an experienced doctor. However, exclusion diets may be possible with the help of a dietician. Lactose intolerance is not an allergy but is the inability to digest the sugar in milk. Once the problem is dealt with and the gut has recovered the intolerance will disappear, but while the condition lasts it can be managed by using a soybased or low-lactose formula. Most babies grow out of lactose intolerance by 6 - 9 months. Gluten sensitivity can cause celiac disease which, although rare, can be serious. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include loss of appetite, poor growth, swollen abdomen and pale, bulky and smelly stools. Foods containing gluten i.e. anything made from wheat, rye, barley or oats should not be introduced into any baby’s diet before 6 months. When buying baby cereals choose glutenfree varieties and look for gluten-free products such as soy, corn, rice, buckwheat spaghetti and potato flours. The good news is that many children grow out of their allergies. In the meantime there are a range of products from soya yoghurts to dairy free chocolate buttons, lactose- and gluten-free at,,, Se ptem be r /O ct o be r 2 0 1 1

lobster lobster15 is great if you don’t want a bulky highchair cluttering your kitchen. They also do a tiny folding highchair called the lobster (£59.95). Chairs that convert into metoo15 metoo o15 a child’s seat are popular, such as the Stokke Tripp Trapp from do a similar one for £160.

Invest in some wipe-clean

tabards for complete cover. £14.00

Food thermos. £19.00

Stay-put suction bowls that stay on the table, not the floor! £10

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! Family Childrenʼs Favourite On Board With New Stories For Little Ones A series of books loved by children is steaming ahead in 2011 with a new range of paperback books for younger train lovers. The Little Peterʼs Railway series, written by Christopher Vine, are aimed at 3-6 year olds and are part of the popular series of books that have been delighting youngsters for the past three years. The new 32-page books, entitled Little Peterʼs Railway, have been written following a demand by readers for smaller paperback books aimed at the younger fans. Author Christopher Vine, explains: “The hardback Peterʼs Railway books have been so popular since the first one was published in 2008, but I started to get letters from youngsters who wanted a smaller version of the book – one that they could buy themselves or one that they could give to their younger brothers and sisters. I get such great feedback from the fans that I decided I had to deliver what the youngsters wanted. The first two in the paperback series are perfect for little ones aged three to six years old. I hope the readers enjoy reading about the new adventures as much as I enjoyed writing about them.” The original hardback books follow the adventures of young Peter and his wonderful Grandpa. Building a miniature steam railway to link their two houses across a farm, the heroic pair undertake various adventures across the countryside as the series progresses. The Peterʼs Railway series has rapidly gained a host of famous train-loving fans including record industry boss Pete Waterman, Tony Collins - Chief Executive of Virgin Trains and Sir William McAlpine, and have sold more than 20,000 copies. Their popularity looks set to continue with the publication of the new series smaller of paperbacks. The Little Peterʼs Railway paperbacks are a set of delightful books that take young readers on an exciting adventure. With engaging stories brought to life with a range of beautiful watercolour pictures by John Wardle.

Independent day and boarding school for girls aged 4-18

Open Morning

Saturday 15 October, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Sixth Form Information Evening

www.polar Se ptem be r /O ct o be r 2 0 1 1

Wednesday 9 November, 7pm – 8.30pm

Book your place via our website or contact our Admissions Team on 01223 224167 Scholarships and bursaries available St Mary’s School, Bateman Street, Cambridge, CB2 1LY




School B School matters

By Elisabeth Dolton Make sure you have chosen the right school for your child, with these simple ways to monitor the progress of the school and your child So you have been through the dilemma of choosing the school, the application was accepted, your child’s place allocated, uniform bought and named, and they are now settling into their new school. Your job is done...or maybe not. Now it’s time to start thinking about how to monitor your child and the school’s progress. Are the teachers doing their best for your child? Did you choose the right school? But how do we keep an eye on things, simply and easily, without needing to join the PTA?

Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions you as parent will make for your child, therefore getting a clear and accurate sense of day-to-day life at the school is imperative. Unfortunately, it's often easier to get information about a car or household appliance than a school, so an easy first step is to look at published information, readily available about every school. Once a year, look at these figures for your school, and see what’s changed. If an area has worsened, ask your child’s teacher why, and what is being done about it? Your aim here is check that the school is aware of these issues, and has good steps to tackle them. Seek evidence that what is planned is being put into place, and, more importantly, that these actions are making a difference to the education of the pupils. However, school is not just about learning and passing exams. There are a whole range of good things about being at school like building a good group of friends, exploring new activities, learning to get on with people of all backgrounds, going on school trips, so it is important to monitor other factors. The ethos and culture of a school will tell you a lot about what it is trying to achieve. Consider the learning environment - do they post artwork on the walls, have carpet in the classrooms, provide easy access to a books? Check out the school’s own development and performance targets. These are all good indicators on how the school is progressing. Of course the best way to check that the school is right for your child is to ask the people who work there. Regular meetings with teachers are an effective way to monitor your child's progress. Ask for information on your child's performance, results and overall observations.Take a morning off work, once a year, and attend a class if that is possible. Check out pupils behaviour and how is it dealt with. Book a short appointment with the Head teacher. S/he is the person most responsible for the quality of the teaching, the atmosphere, and whether your child will be looking forward to going to that building every day. Ask them what the school's strengths and weaknesses are, the school’s priorities this year, and ask yourself would I hire this person to work in my office? These will all




give you a sense of whether or not the school is delivering its best for your child. Finally, the most important thing to ask is does my son/daughter appear to be content at school? If the answer is yes, then they are likely to be learning which is pretty good. Ask them about their day – what did you do in Maths today? Be specific in what you ask them and vary your topic, PE the next time, English the next. Ask your children to show you their school work, check out their marks and teacher comments. You will be able to gauge a lot about what level they are at. Ask teachers to show you examples of successful work, compare it to your child's work, and listen to their comments about where your child can improve. If necessary, make a plan with the teacher on how you can work together to help those improvements. As a parent, you play an important role in your child's academic achievement. By taking steps to monitor the school and track progress helps you know the school is the right one for your child, and helps your child get the best out of this amazing time. The staff and pupils of St Mary’s School, Cambridge will be holding an Open Morning on Saturday 15 October between 9.30am and 12.30pm to get a flavour of the caring, yet challenging, educational environment we provide our girls. During the morning, you will have the opportunity to join in interactive lessons, meet our inspirational teachers and take a tour of the School led by our students. Tours of our new Junior School and Art and Photography Centre will be running throughout the morning, giving families chance to explore our new Junior School on Chaucer Road. For more information please visit or contact our Admissions Team on 01223 224167. The Perse is the oldest secondary school in Cambridge and has a well deserved national reputation for high academic standards - but it’s not all about exam results. Co-educational from the ages of three through to eighteen, The Perse provides an exceptional learning experience supported by excellent facilities in a caring environment. The qualities of a Perse education were recognised in the 2010 ISI inspection. Inspectors were impressed by the outstanding progress of pupils, the excellent public exam results, the remarkably wide range of high quality extracurricular activities and the outstanding pastoral care. The Perse will be holding various open days this Autumn. For more information please visit or call 01223 403 800. Se pt e mbe r/ Octo be r 2 01 1

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Activities @

By Robina Cowan

Clubs and Classes With the constant wail that schools focus on teaching children to pass tests, adding out of school activities gives your child a chance to shine and have fun outside the classroom. Hobbies lead to new friends, they reveal hidden talents and develop skills that could become a real advantage one day.

Everyone is good at something, and finding it is a huge confidence booster. Just because you drop the ball in PE doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be great at swimming or dancing; the child who isn’t interested in the bright lights can still shine in an arts class or on the sports field. There really is plenty of variety to choose from, as we’ve been finding out. Try our advertisers - they're here because they want you to know about them and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. For more information all year round, children's activities are also listed on our website Practical Considerations While it might seem tempting to guide your child to musical, sporting and artistic genius outside the classroom, they need time for just ‘chilling’ too. Liz Baker is a parent, and also a school teacher. In her view: "there is no point in enrolling in every class going. Don't assume your child will get an academic head start. They will only benefit academically when they are ready, and not before. Remember children get exhausted too - give them time to themselves. Children should choose and be given a taste of each activity before deciding if he or she wants to commit to it long-term there’s no gain in putting your child under pressure." Think ahead. You may need to put your child’s name on a waiting list, particularly for more popular classes. Stay local. Walking distance is best, otherwise getting there and back becomes another chore. Great staff.The best leaders are enthusiastic, skilled, trained, and have eyes in the back of their heads to spot children who need a little more encouragement, particularly when they are new and might feel shy. Additional costs. Will you need specialist clothes or equipment? Does the club offer these second-hand? Is there an annual subscription or insurance charge? How much are exam fees? Look-see. Many clubs offer a free trial class, especially if they run on a term basis. If that’s not possible, ask to pay weekly for the first two sessions. Give it time. Some children are prone to dropping out. Unless you think they are completely and utterly unsuited to the activity, or really, really hate it, stick it out for at least a couple of terms.

Music Music gives amazing educational and developmental benefits. From just three months, babies actively enjoy music groups, and as soon as they can shake a rattle, they can join in too. Belting out a song teaches rhythm and helps develop speech. Those hand actions you do when you sing nursery rhymes? They boost spatial reasoning, which will later be useful in maths and science. Playing an instrument is great for dexterity and co-ordination. It teaches teamwork and responsibility, and improves concentration and memory.At six or seven, children night start with a recorder, keyboard or violin. From eight, guitar is an option. Brass and wind instruments are best left to older children, when children can join their school band or orchestra. Monkey Music 01353 668 622 Melody Movement 01480 493 579




Languages With over 60 different languages now spoken in schools across the UK, we are bringing up our children in a truly multicultural society. Experts agree that the earlier a child starts learning other languages, the better. Children are extremely receptive to new ideas and information, especially when they’re having fun. Preschool language classes build confidence and familiarity on an instinctive level, typically through songs, dances and simple games. School age children should be more aware of grammar and syntax, and supplementing school lessons with a language club will pay dividends - boosting their confidence, vocabulary and appreciation of different cultures. Alliance Francaise 01223 561 854 La Dante 01223 315 191 La Jolie Ronde 01223 210 900

Active Bodies Regular exercise is hugely beneficial to long term health and fitness. It’s easy to see the value of activities that help children burn off some energy at the end of the school day, or build skills in sports which they already enjoy at school. Even the tiniest children can benefit from the social side of playing team games, or the fun element of learning a 'solo' sport like trampolining, tennis or diving. When children are engaged, they pay more attention - 61% of young people claim to be better behaved in PE than other lessons, in most cases simply because they enjoy it more. This is particularly true amongst boys, and children who admit to misbehaving at school - of whom 73% claim to be better behaved in PE lessons. Kinnerz Coaching 01223 571 385 Swimfit Mike’s Tennis Academy 05600 465 344 Bumpercise and Aquatots 01223 569 067 Cambridge Gym and Trampoline Club 01223 510 144

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! Activities More and more parents are hiring private tutors to give their child the edge when it comes to achieving in class, or practicing and preparing for exams. If your child is bringing home good school reports and is happy and settled, there’s no need; however there’s no longer any stigma in finding extra help if you want to, and the best classes are fun as well as educational. Kip McGrath offers a programme of intense study in English and Maths for students between the ages of 6 and 16. Some may be revising for their SATs or GCSEs; others may just want to raise their levels of attainment.

Theatre arts "I like acting and pretending to be someone else and learning songs and dances with my friends," says five-year-old William, who has attended a children's performing arts club for nearly a year. For boosting the confidence of shy or reserved children, drama can't be beaten. And the skills that a child learns through performing arts classes will stand them in good stead throughout their lives - twenty years down the line, they'll thank you when it comes to addressing a meeting room or chairing a conference. Performing arts classes are not only for children with starry aspirations. Theatre arts bring literature to life, and build self-confidence. Learning to perform in front of an audience can help children with public speaking; role playing and improvisation give their minds freedom to develop while developing empathy for other people’s feelings. Stagecoach Cambridge provides quality down to earth part-time training in the performing arts for children aged 4-18 years. The classes are held at Coleridge Community College on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The skills learnt by Stagecoach students don't disappear when the curtain falls - they are skills for life. Please call Angharad on 01223 359974 or email for more information. Stagecoach 01223 359 974 Octagon Performing Arts 01353 661 919 McKenzie School of Speech and Drama 01954 781 487

Arts and Crafts Children love to get messy, and the chance to create their own piece of art is something special. Even the smallest child loves the sensation of clay between fingers, or the thrill of splodging finger paints on paper. Expressing themselves through the arts - whether through painting, drawing, story writing or making 'junk models' - gives children the freedom to unleash their creativity and push boundaries. By providing a balance and a creative outlet, art skills complement and assist literacy and numeracy skills in the classroom. If you’re not artistically inclined yourself, or never have the time to sit down and help your child create a wonderful cushion, collage or clay model, why not leave it to the experts? Annabel Lee 01223 324 030 Kettle’s Yard 01223 748 100

School support Parents choose out of school academic subjects for their children for a host of reasons - perhaps your little one excels in maths and you want to give them more challenging and stimulating tuition - or maybe you simply want to supplement what is being taught at school by introducing the skills needed for independent study and fluency in the subject. Whatever your reason, group or individual tuition can make a huge difference to your child's progress and greatly enhance their school-based studies. Se ptem be r /O ct o be r 2 0 1 1

Each lesson lasts for 80 minutes. During this time students cover work on a computer as well completing written work under the guidance of an experienced tutor. Each session may have up to five students, each working on their individual programme. All students have homework tasks to give continuity to their learning. Contact Kip McGrath, Cambridge North on 01223 304 602

Five benefits of extra curricular activities 1. Curriculum boosting After-school activities and clubs are a great way to complement and extend what children have precious little time for at school, especially art, music and languages. 2. Socialising Claire, mother of four under 10 year-olds, believes it is important for children to make new friends outside school: “It really helps them stand on their own and develop their confidence. There isn’t that pecking order thing that you have in the playground. It’s a chance to break out of whatever mould you’ve been cast in”. 3. After-school care When both parents work, after-school activities on school premises can be incredibly valuable. Most schools offer a mix of teacher—run and externally—organised clubs after school, and even at weekends. 4. A sense of achievement Amanda says: “Kitty, 8, has just reached purple belt and she has been made karate captain. She’s very proud, it’s tremendously good for her.” 5. For all the family When Patrick started tennis lessons, his parents were inspired to get active too. Mum Maria has joined a tennis club for adult group coaching, and daddy Mike cycles to and from Patrick’s lessons with him.

What do the children say? How much extra-curricular activity do children think they should be doing, and what are their favourites? Imogen, 8, says: “I did tap dancing with my friend Molly but I didn’t like it, but I like Brownies and I’m in the school rounders team. I just wish we beat other schools more often!” Her brother, Hamish, 11, concentrates on sports: “I do football, cricket and rugby at school, and karate on Saturday mornings. The extra practice means I get on better teams at school” Danny, 12, says, “When I was younger I did football club, recorder club, cooking and chess club, but now I’m at senior school, I’m just doing football for now” Jackson, 9, says: “I go to swimming, football and piano classes. I’d like to give up the piano because I don’t want to practise every day, but my Mum won’t let me” Ruth, 3, says: “I do ballet like Angelina Ballerina and I wear a tutu.”




childcare 2 It’s the little things that are done differently with the second child Nursery brand Munchkin invites mums to embrace these small changes Leading nursery brand Munchkin has commissioned a survey investigating the difference between having one child and two. With 3,000 mums taking part, there were some very interesting and encouraging results! The study has revealed 75 per cent of mums feel more relaxed with their second child, and as a result are less likely to treat them with ‘kid gloves’. As such, the stats reveal second children will more than likely go onto solid foods slightly earlier with 26 per cent of ‘second time mums’ less likely to make the baby their own special meals after weaning, and simply blend whatever the family is having. When it comes to splashing out on purchases for the new baby, mums are more likely to accept second-hand clothes, and spend less money on toys and treats. In fact, a quarter of all mums admitted to being more relaxed and confident with their second child. Five things mums admitted to doing differently with their second child 1. Leave to entertain themselves for short period whilst they get on with some housework 2. Started weaning them slightly earlier than six months

Dr Amanda Gummer is a leading authority on child development, play and parenting with over 20 years experience. Her aim is for every parent to feel comfortable and relaxed with how they parent their child. Amanda states: “These findings suggest that it’s the little things that mums do that are different with their second child. With two, mums naturally start to work smarter because they have so much to get through each day. Generally when the second child comes along, mums have become much more confident in their parenting abilities and developed their own style.”

Find your nearest store at

Claire Rayner, a spokesperson for nursery brand Munchkin adds: “This poll is very insightful and confirms that having two children means life becomes even more of a juggling act for mums. With the first, there is just one child to look after and mums can give their undivided care and attention. It is understandable that mums will be more confident the more children they have, and we think this confidence should be celebrated.” To celebrate the great work mums do visit the Munchkin Facebook page: Munchkin UK or log on to

3. More willing to accept second hand clothes

Grand Arcade Cambridge www.polar

4. Spend less money on toys and treats 5. Let them watch ‘older television’ at a younger age than their older sibling

Keeping your kids cosy in the cold Kids fashion expert Nicole Frost shares her top tips on affordable ways to wrap up warm this winter

September 22nd, 2011 The CASS Centre, Cambridge University Press Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8BS Onsite parking at the venue

Colder days, darker nights and the reappearance of tights and leggings is more than enough to convince us that winter is just around the corner. A warm coat, some sturdy boots and a selection of hats and gloves are all essentials for keeping your little snow bunnies comfortable this winter but gearing up for the colder weather can be costly for parents.

Arguably the 'worst kept secret' of Britain's mums, the private members site offers up to 70% off the RRP of designer childrenswear in its exclusive weekly sales. With plenty of first-hand experience, Nicole offers her top tips on how you can get the most out of your child's wardrobe to see them through the winter months.

An unmissable fashion event awaits you at our Charity Catwalk show on Thursday September 22nd. Preview the trends and looks for the forthcoming Autumn/Winter season including lingerie boutique, Prohibido! Tickets cost £20 and include a glamorous champagne reception with canapes & entrance to the show where you also have a chance to win a fabulous luxury bag from Boudoir Femme, lingerie from Prohibido & an indulgent pamper package at FinnJordan, Cambridge. All proceeds from the night go to The Red Balloon Learner Centres. Ticket spaces are limited so don't miss out and contact to reserve your ticket or purchase in store now. The perfect excuse for a great girl's night out (if you need one!).

Half-Pint Chic Founder Nicole Frost knows only too well how contending with the British weather and growing children can mean clothes need to be adaptable and interchangeable. Nicole set up members-only website Half-Pint Chic when she struggled to find good quality clothes for her twin girls.

Clothes and coats: "It's tempting to wrap your child up from head to toe but a big, thick coat will hinder their movements and make them miserable. Think layers. A lightweight jumper or jacket is a great item to put over a long sleeved t-shirt and fits perfectly underneath a winter coat - just ensure the sleeves are snug at the wrist the keep winter winds from blowing in.

Red Balloon-Cambridge was set up in 1996 to provide for ‘ordinary children’ who found themselves unable to go to school and who had been subject to sustained, systematic and unendurable bullying.

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Our aim is to recover these children and return them to their former life. They are ‘intensive care’ educational centres for up to 15 secondary aged children (at any one time) who are too frightened to attend school. At least half of them have attempted or seriously considered suicide. Once accepted, they are promised a safe environment with clear boundaries for behaviour, and an individual full-time academic, pastoral and therapeutic programme.

Tel: +44(0)1223 366052 S ept embe r / Oc to be r 20 1 1

2 childcare Your child's education starts at home How home life can make a big difference in the education of children By Elisabeth Dolton Did you know that just by keeping books in your home can significantly increase your children’s likelihood of going to university and that’s irrespective of background, size of family, where they live, parents occupation or any other social factor? Further research has also shown that the biggest impact on a child’s educational development is reading to them from a very early age. So if your child is starting school for the first time this year, or they are already progressing rapidly through the school years, undertaking a few small activities at home can make a huge difference to the development and education of children and powerfully build on the learning they receive from school.

Why bother... Most of us want our children to do well at school and a parents role in that success cannot be underestimated. Studies in Britain have shown that children who are supported by their families with homework are likely to perform significantly better in academic examinations at 16 years old and beyond than those who do not. Recent reports show boys are still having difficulties with literacy (reading, writing or spelling), and girls having difficulties with numeracy, despite improvements in primary school results. Even the best and brightest teachers can be hard pressed to address the individual needs of every child, especially in a crowded classroom. And what if your child shows a particular interest or aptitude towards a certain topic? A love of physics can start at any age. Similarly, if your child finds a topic difficult, your interest as a parent will help, no matter how well or how fast your child understands what they are being taught. Parents small actions can plug these gaps, support children and really boost their development.

K Read to your children - Sharing stories and reading together are vital


to the development of a child’s literacy skills. Just ten minutes at the start or end of the day will be enough to help them to acquire the skills they need to develop as a reader.

K Download free games, activities, and worksheets online – There are many websites offering free activities that encourage basic skill development for children and keep it fun.

1 useful numbers are in almost everything we do. Measure their height 2 and work out how much they have grown, spot speed signs and funny number plates, say the time out load and how long before the next 3 stop, compare the prices of vegetables in the supermarket and how 4 much money you will need to pay, how long tea will take to cook, how much milk you pour on your cornflakes, etc. 5 K Problem solving – Encourage your children to think things through 6 and work things out for themselves. Ask them why they think metal goes rusty, why the sky is grey, why the Police car makes a noise, etc. 7 Point out things that are different to home - buildings, accents, clothes, food, and customs. Experts suggest giving your child a simple 8 map of where they are going, also following a recipe together are 9 great techniques to boost concentration. K Keep talking - New experiences and discoveries are always 0 K Get number crunching – Talk about numbers and show them how

stimulating, so encourage your child to try new things. Look for opportunities to talk to your child about their day - children enjoy sharing what they are learning.

K Put a pen in their hands - Help them develop their handwriting skills by writing words and sentences for them to copy. Point out examples of lovely handwriting and pictures when you see them, encourage them to ‘sign’ birthday and Christmas cards to their friends, and always get them to sign their own artwork.


What activities can be taken? Activities that involve reading, listening, writing, number awareness, sequencing, counting and learning to become aware of the world that surrounds them are perfect. They will help encourage a love and understanding of language, maths and science which are basic tools to boost any child’s education.


Keep a library – A few books placed in reach of your children to pick up any time for browsing or talking about. A recent study conducted in the US found that children coming from a “bookish home” remained in education for around three years longer than young people born into families with empty bookshelves.

Se ptem be r /O ct o be r 2 0 1 1

Overall, making sure your activities with them are fun will make a real difference. Children thrive on encouragement, someone who will listen to them when they are struggling as well as achieving. Giving them a little personal attention that they can’t get in the classroom, all add up to fun learning for your child and peace of mind for you that they are achieving the best they can.




childcare 2

Baby it’s cold outside light a match to see if the flame and smoke go Freezing new year weather is the “Your hands are like ice” up, which means that part of your home perfect time to become your home’s If you’re working from home, or spend a lot of straight time there with little children then organise your is well draught-proofed. Pay attention when own energy doctor. NICOLA BAIRD winter den in the sunniest (south or south-west smoke angles off at 90 degrees as that is a sign of suggests ways to make the rooms you facing) room and make insulation a priority. In a a major draught (the side and base of front and and the kids use most snug and top flat or house you can lay insulation material back doors are often the biggest culprits for this). thickly over your attic floor (buy cheaply from a Quick fix draught-proof. hardware store). Then sort out the draughts. Try "Using the simplest of tools – tape measure, Piling on chunky knits, snugly scarves and fleecelined footwear can be an enjoyable part of winter dressing. But it’s also good to be able to take some layers off when you and the kids get back home - without forcing the boiler into overdrive or racking up your power bills. Doing a full energy makeover on your house could cost around £15,000 – the price of a very posh new kitchen. Expensive as this seems it does also mean that your home will be more comfortable, you make savings on your correspondingly lower power bills and the resale value of your home will increase. It also means you are helping to reduce carbon emissions. But if money is tight try the tried and tested ways families shared with me in my book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children about how to keep their homes cosy.

using well-fitting, thick layers of curtains over sash windows if you’re not ready to replace single glazed windows.There are lots more ideas like this in George Marshall’s Carbon Detox.

Quick fix

or use safety pins to fix up secondhand curtains (found at charity shops, car boot sales etc) behind your own curtains.

"Shut doors! "In the kitchen: if you’ve finished using the oven, turn it off, then open its door to borrow heat while you eat.

“My mother will start to worry” A well maintained, modern gas boiler, with individual controls - thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on each radiator and a centrally sited thermostat – can be an efficient way to keep your home warm in the cold if you take the time to get to know the controls. Match the heating hours with when you are in the house and don’t bother to heat your hall. If your child is already at nursery and you are out during the day you could set the heating so it turns off half an hour before you leave the house.You can also set it for half an hour before you normally arrive home if you like to fling your coat off when you get in.

Anna, 36, mum of Freddie, 4 and Elsie, 2

“My father will be pacing the floor” Turn your efforts to hunt out draughts into a game with the kids. Explain it costs money to heat space. “Money that could be spent on treats” is one way to motivate your assistants, whose mission it is to find all the ways heat escapes from each room. Firstly organise a kit for your energy auditors with a tape measure, notebook, pen and super-sized matches. When it’s breezy outside, look for draughts inside and take a note of flimsy window coverings, gappy floorboards and absent insulation. One trick is to ®


"Add a rug or two over gappy floorboards or try a winter layout by moving large pieces of

"Draw curtains at dusk. furniture so they sit on top of leaky spots. "If the curtain rail is strong enough sew,staple "Fit a portiere rod so that you can put up a door

“We really thought about cutting down draughts because we keep the thermostat at 17C in winter, and the heating isn’t on all day, so if you are staying in the house you wrap the kids up and put on thermal underwear. Elsie wears tights under her trousers and a nice woolly jumper knitted by her grandmother.”


tacks and hammers secure foam or rubber draught proof strips to the sides and base of doors etc.

curtain blocking front/back door draughts. Finish off by making a long snakey door stop (1.5m x 15cm material sleeve stuffed with clothes/sand/crumpled newspaper). “People with young children are at home more so they need more energy-efficient homes so that they can actually afford to keep warm.” Andrew (energy consultant), 55, dad of Ella, 9

“Just listen to that fireplace roar” When Tom Jones smouldered the line to songstress Cerys Matthews at one of Jules Holland’s Hogmanies it’s clear Tom meant his fire was burning well – “baby it’s cold outside!” - but he’d have an even better heat from a wood burning stove, and these days they can be installed in smoke-free zones too (but this is expensive, budget £1-3,000). Far cheaper is to stop unused fireplaces from sucking heat up the chimney by fitting a chimney balloon (an inflatable, reusable device, available from aught+Excluders%2FChimney+Balloon). More homespun solutions include blocking never-lit fireplaces with your plastic bag collection.

Quick fix

"Ifyouarereadingstoriestogetheryoucankeep warm by making sure there’s a cosy fleece/blanketforeverymemberofthefamily.

"Sometimes a hot water bottle makes all the difference between a lovely night in watching your favourite DVD, and an early night. Nicola Baird is mum of two girls. Her book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children is published by Vermilion, £10.99.Also have a look at the blog on

Se pt e mbe r/ Octo be r 2 01 1

# What’s on/Events Tuesdays: 20th September to 18th October

Friday 21st October

Grantchester Village Hall 16:45-17:45

Anglesey Abbey Murder Mystery Evening 19.00

AccessArt Drawing Workshop for Children aged 6 to 10 - Workshop Dates £8 per session, including all materials 01223 262134

Local theatre company bring a special blend of 1960’s flamboyance to an atmospheric Abbey. Booking essential. Adults £50 Children £30 01223 810 080

Wednesday 7th -Tuesday 13th September 2011

Saturday 22nd October 2011

Wicken Fen

Wicken Fen, 5 Miles form Anywhere Walk.

Young fans of the hit CBeebies pre-school series, Waybuloo are in for a special treat this September, when a Pipling's Pod visits Wicken Fen. Youngsters will be able to follow a Peeka Trail to discover a Pipling's Pod from the beautiful land of Nara hidden deep in the fen complete with four life-size Pipling characters. The Pipling's Pod will be open to visitors from 10am-5pm from. To avoid disappointment, parents are advised that there is a maximum height restriction of 4ft and / or age restriction of 7 years for children to enter the Pipling's Pod. 01353 720 274

Enjoy a Wicken walk, following the waterways and paths of Adventurers’ Fen with a stop for lunch at the 5 Miles from anywhere - No Hurry Inn in Upware 01353 720 274

Saturday 10th September 2011 Duxford Air Museum Unseen Duxford. An opportunity to explore parts of Duxford in the company of a museum guide. 01223 835 000

Houghton Mill, Heritage Day - A Victorian Mill Meet some of the people who would have worked at Houghton Mill in Victorian Times 01480 301 494

Monday 24th October 2011 Anglesey Abbey Children’s Discovery Walk. Explore the Abbey in the Autumn. Booking essential 01223 810 080

Monday 24th October - Friday 28th October 2011 Duxford Air Museum, Spitfire Stories Tour Learn more about the personal stories behind the operational role of the Spitfire at Duxford, from the men who flew them and maintained this legendary aircraft from its first days in service and throughout the Battle of Britain 01223 835 000

Friday 28th October 2011

Anglesey Abbey, Heritage Open Day

Anglesey Abbey, Freaky Friday - Wild About Cooking. 14.30

Free event for a peek at domestic areas of the house usually kept under wraps 01223 810 080

Join the chef to make spooky cookies. Booking essential. £5 per child 01223 810 080

Sunday 18th September 2011 Duxford Air Museum Hundreds of single and double deckers gather for this unusual and fun event. 01223 835 000

Wicken Fen 10.30 Discover what it took to live a traditional fen life with the eels, punts and ague. 01353 720 274

Saturday 29th October 2011 Wimpole Hall 08.00, Wild About Mammals Walk Discover Owls and Falcons at Wimpole on this guided walk around the Estate. Booking essential 01223 206 000

Saturday 29th October - Sunday 30th October 2011 Cambridge Museum of Technology 1.00 - 17.00, Half Term Steaming.

Sunday 25th September 2011

A break from school to take away the chills, incorporating The Festival of Ideas 01223 368 650

Willington Dovecote and Stables 11.00, Tudor Fun Day

Saturday 29th October 2011

Tudor merriment in the stunning setting of these rare tudor gardens. 01480 301494

Family friendly River Festival, here on the River Cam on Sunday, 10.00 - 18.00, Jubilee Gardens, Cambridge.

Thursday 29th September 2001 Fantastic all female ban Gig-l at The Bakers Arms East Road Cambridge. 8.30 to 11 .. free entry

Sunday 2nd October 2011 Cambridge Museum of Technology 1.00 - 17.00 Model Railways Day 01223 368 650

Sunday 16th October 2011 Duxford Air Museum, Autumn Air Show

Houghton Mill 17.30, Halloween at the Mill £6.50 including food, lantern making and trail. Are you brave enough to visit the spooky after dark? 01480 301 494

Sunday 30th October 2011 Wimpole Hall, Night Meets Day in the Hall 11.00 Enjoy the unusual experience of seeing the Hall by Lamplight. An evening setting with shutters closed and curtains drawn. Adult £9.80 Child £5.30, 01223 206 000

Anglesey Abbey, Lodes Way Walk 09.00 A long distance walk for serious enthusiasts. Booking essential. £8 including lunch at Wicken Fen 01223 810 080 01223 835 000

Se ptem be r /O ct o be r 2 0 1 1




# What’s on/Events Free Half Term Activities from The University of Cambridge

Saturday 22nd October

Cambridge University Library, West Road. 11-1pm. Angels and demons...and scorpions. Ages 8+. Examine the everyday

[most events need to be prebooked unless stated]

practice of magic in medieval Egypt, including alchemy demonstration.

Lady Mitchell Hall 11-12 noon.

Raised faculty building, Sidgwick site. 12-15-3.45pm.

his novels, including new novel Midwinterblood. Ages 12+

dance and more. All ages. Drop in.

West Road Concert Hall 12 noon – 1pm

Sunday 23rd October

Marcus Sedgwick explores the dark, gothic and unsettling world of

Popcorn comedy for kids – Join Holly Walsh and CBBC's Ed Petrie present funny footage and stand up for the whole family.

Lady Mitchell Hall. 1-2pm.

Charlie Higson's history of horror – the author and actor talks about his zombie thriller series The Enemy and latest book The Fear. Ages 11+.

Lady Mitchell Hall. 3-4pm

Nick Sharratt drawing workshop Ages 5+

Dance extravaganza! - demonstrations from salsa, lindyhopping, lion

Kettle's Yard 1-3pm.

Family printmaking, All ages. Prebook.

Monday 26th October Polar Museum, Lensfield Road 10.30am-3.30pm.

A doggie day at the Polar Museum, All ages. Learn about the work

West Road Concert Hall, Faculty of Music:

Music sessions all day from 11-3.45pm. Includes sessions on steel pans, Brazilian beats, music technology, gamelan and let's get singing. Also a musical storytime of Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood and the boy who cried wolf. Music technology workshop and musical story time is for all ages. The others are generally for seven or eight up. Pre-booking needed for all except musical story time performance.

Newnham College. 11-12.30pm

of explorer dogs and meet them.

Tuesday 29th October Clare College, Ante Chapel, 10am-3pm. Children's heraldic workshop Prebook.Ages 8+

Anglia Ruskin University, East Road 10am-4pm.

Making people laugh – stand-up comedy workshop for teens

Create your own digital storybook Drop in. Ages 8+

aged 12-16.

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Families Cambridgeshire Sept Oct 2011  

Families Cambridgeshire magazine Sept Oct 2011

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