Edition 09 â€˘ January/February 2011
The local magazine for families with children 0-12 years www.familiescheshire.co.uk
In this issue >Nurseries and early learning >What is your mobile phone doing to your child? >Take time out for YOU Covering: Poynton, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Knutsford, Prestbury, Macclesfield, Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach, Northwich, Crewe, Nantwich and surrounding areas
Locally speaking A Royal visit
Welcome Happy New Year! Our resolution this year is to find more time for ourselves – and not feel guilty about it. It’s perfectly natural to put your children first and ensure their happiness and wellbeing, but it’s no good turning yourself into a quivering wreck at the same time. Have a read of “Whatever makes you happy dear” on page 12 – and let yourself be the priority for a change.
Choosing a nursery for your child can be a very emotional decision, and often it’s difficult to know where to start. This issue we tell you more about the types of nurseries available, how you can get help with the costs, and some advice from other parents on what to look out for. Many of us are guilty of letting our children play with our mobile phones – with so many smartphones and their apps geared towards toddlers and kids, you can be forgiven for believing it’s a harmless, educational activity. It’s been a huge wake-up call for us to learn more about the damage we’re actually potentially doing to our children – see our article on page 16, and find other related material online. All in all, it’s another jam-packed issue full of great reads and advice. Enjoy!
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Welcome Locally speaking News The baby page Childcare & early learning
Next issue: March/April 2011. Circulation: 17,500 copies of Families Cheshire are available through nurseries, schools, libraries, selected shops and other points throughout Cheshire. If you would like free copies for your organisation, please let us know. Contact details: Families Cheshire, PO Box 581, Macclesfield, SK10 9FN Tel: 01625 801 801 www.familiescheshire.co.uk Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising/artwork: email@example.com Events, diary dates, out & about: firstname.lastname@example.org Cover photograph by: teneight, Fence House, 84 Buxton Road, Macclesfield SK10 1JS. Tel: 01625 500488 www.teneightstudios.co.uk
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Travel Parents’ place Health & safety Out & about
Design: Through Creative, The Old School, Byron Street, Macclesfield SK11 7QA. Tel: 01625 500 939 www.throughcreative.com Print: Bishops Printers, Walton Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 1TR Tel: 023 9233 4900 www.bishops.co.uk Families Cheshire 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 the magazine, but the publishers and distributors can’t be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences.
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Stockport Grammar School was honoured to receive a visit from HRH Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex towards the end of last year. Prince Edward wanted to meet pupils taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as the school celebrated its 20th Anniversary of the Award, and
the achievement of the 1000th Award. Children at different stages of the Award demonstrated their activities that included route planning, volunteering, music, photography, sport, animation, tactical games, fencing, dancing and climbing. To find out more about the Award scheme, go to www.dofe.org.
Local Enjoy-a-Ball firm The start of scoops Swift Award something new Enjoy-a-Ball franchisees Sharon and Gary Bassett ended 2010 on a high by celebrating a Swift Award – a scheme that recognises British businesses who deliver excellent customer service and are dedicated to going the extra mile to make the lives of their customers easier. Based in Pontybodkin, Sharon and Gary run Enjoy-a-Ball sports coaching classes for children aged 2½ to 10 years in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Wrexham and Mold. In addition to the Swift Award, they were also a double winner at the What’s On 4 Awards 2010 (Most outstanding activity leaders and Best national activity for children aged 5-12). The team also offers children’s parties focussing on Enjoy-a-Ball fun and games with plenty of action and an energy-packed Summer Camp. For more details on a free introductory session at a local class, parties or Summer Camp, call Sharon or Gary on 07932 182148 / 07796 190169 or e-mail email@example.com.
With the fun festive season over, January can feel a little flat for the children, so what better time to start a new hobby? Being part of a group away from school gives children the chance to make a whole new set of friends as well as the chance to acquire new skills that can last them a lifetime. Anna McBride, principal of Starlight Theatre School in Bramhall, suggests dance as a great fun hobby for children, boosting confidence and fitness. Anna says: “Dance is a fantastic, feel good hobby that can be enjoyed by all ages. Passing exams comes second to the children enjoying what they do, however we find when they are having fun they learn faster and the results show.” Starlight Theatre School teaches Ballet, Tap and Modern Theatre. With examinations available and the opportunity to star in shows (the next show is set for June 4th at Stockport College) the pupils get a real sense of achievement, and they get to show off their skills to friends and family on stage! For more information on the school and the classes they offer visit www.starlightschool.co.uk or call Anna on 0161 747 4074.
Marlborough Car Boot Sale Following a successful launch in 2010, The Marlborough Primary School in Tytherington, Macclesfield (SK10 2HJ) is holding its second Car Boot Sale on Sunday 13 February from 11am to 1pm. Pitches cost just £5 and can be booked by calling
Debbie on 07702 171612. It’s a great way to help you start the year with a good clear out and as the saying goes: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” You never know what you’ll find in someone else’s boot!
Inclusion in our locally speaking section is always FREE get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fantastic free monthly Train Club for children The Engine Shed is a new free, monthly Train Club aimed at children on the autistic spectrum who love trains. The club is the brainchild of local Cheshire mum Liz Syed, whose 6year-old son is autistic, and whose great interest is trains of any kind. Liz hopes that many other children and their families will enjoy it too, and benefit from mutual support. The first
Party with a difference If you’re looking for a unique venue for a special occasion, you’ve just got to try Glo Family’s boutique playcentre in Cheadle. It’s a gorgeous venue for Baby Showers, complete with a Baby Gift List service and choice of afternoon tea and cakes or champagne and canapés. It’s also perfect for party planning. Many parents find their stress levels soar as birthdays approach, so Glo Family offer the perfect package to enable you to relax amidst the chaos. The team are experts in catering for the kids and their venue, a converted Victorian
Cooking up a storm Cheeky Chef Isla Brown from Hermitage Primary School, Holmes Chapel
Success in the Swimming Pool
Not only is Satellites of Macclesfield one of the friendliest swimming clubs around, it also boasts a string of successes against much larger city based funded clubs. Such as reaching the Arena Premier League ‘A’ Final this December for the first time in ten years, winning the Deva League against
meeting will be held on Saturday 29 January from 2-4pm at the Chorley Village Hall, Knutsford Road, Wilmslow SK9 7SF. Everyone is welcome, including brothers and sisters of all ages – for all, or part of the session. Thanks to the Cheshire Railway Modellers, there will be large Hornby layouts for the children to enjoy. There will also be train sets of all kinds, for all
church - is a beautiful and atmospheric space, a refreshing alternative to the usual play-centre. You can enjoy delicious home-made food for all ages with not a turkey twizzler in sight. And while the kids romp on the pirate ship, parents can kick back and enjoy a home-made cake. There’s a range of entertainers on offer: Princess and pirate parties, Pyjama Drama, Build a Bear, Star Wars.... whatever your requirements Glo Family can probably source it. This is a really special place and well worth a visit if you’d like a stress free occasion in a beautiful setting. Go to www.glofamily.com or call 0844 8007380 for more.
ages and abilities, train books, craft activities, puzzles and other hands-on train activities. Free refreshments are also on offer – please email Liz (email@example.com) or call her on 01565 872010 to help her in planning and catering if you’re intending to attend. www.engineshedcheshire.com
RAD Ballet, I.S.T.D. Tap and Modern Theatre classes in Bramhall for children of all ages from 2½ years Call Anna on 0161 747 4074 www.starlightschool.co.uk
Pupils from Hermitage Primary School in Holmes Chapel ended off last year with a 5-week after school cookery club run by The Cheeky Chefs. Head Teacher Mrs Jarrold believes it’s important for all children to learn how to cook. “The children get a great sense of pride from making something the whole family can enjoy. The Cheeky Chefs is a popular after school club where children can learn new skills they will go on to use for their whole lives.” The 5 week club saw the children preparing and baking their own Christmas cakes before decorating them with marzipan, icing and creating their own handmade decorations. The Cheeky Chefs Cookery Club offers After School Clubs, Day Time Classes and Holiday Cookery Classes for children aged 4 to 15 years. They can be contacted on 01477 534485.
Cheshire based clubs in October, plus swimmers having success at both National and Regional level last year - a huge achievement for a club that is self funded and run by volunteers. The new Head Coach, Lisa Atkinson, originally from Cheshire and herself an ex Winsford swimmer, has brought a fresh approach and exciting new training regime to the club. 14 year old swimmer Issy said: “We train hard but we also have lots of fun, our coaches really motivate us.” The club offers both competitive training and swimming lessons and has been running since 1972. Have a look at their website www.swimsatellite.co.uk or contact their Head Coach Lisa for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading Nanny agency throughout Cheshire and North West • A range of full and part-time childcare services including, nannies, live in/out, babysitting, maternity nannies, emergency care, mothers help, housekeepers & special needs nannies. • All candidates are thoroughly vetted, interviewed and reference checked • Home visits, to enable us to fully understand your requirements
Tel: 01925 768188 or 07766 290802 Email: email@example.com www.nannyplus.co.uk
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News Gruff-tacular Chatterbox Challenge celebrates its 10th Anniversary Year
I CAN, the national children’s communication charity, has recently launched its 10th Annual Chatterbox Challenge and is calling on all children, families, nursery staff and early years workers to register and get involved. The Chatterbox Challenge, sponsored by Openreach, a BT Group Business, is a fun activity to put in your diary as it supports I CAN’s work with children who struggle to communicate. Chatterbox Challenge is a mass participation activity with singing, rhyming and craft activities for children aged 05 to develop their communication skills whilst raising money for I CAN’s work with children who have speech, language and communication needs. One in 10 children have a communication difficulty, understanding words and communicating their feelings. This year, the Chatterbox Challenge is a key event in the Hello campaign during the 2011 National Year of Communication. To celebrate the 10th anniversary, this year’s Chatterbox Challenge includes a Guinness World Record™ attempt at 11am on 1st March 2011 for the
largest game of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes held in multiple venues across the UK. This year’s Chatterbox Challenge is being supported by cast of The Gruffalo stage show, who said, “Children learn best when they are entertained and the Chatterbox Challenge is a great way to engage children in learning whilst having fun. As actors, we all rely on our ability to communicate with an audience and we are thrilled to be supporting a campaign that raises awareness and funds for a charity like I CAN who help children who struggle to communicate.” Playgroups, primary schools and nurseries can request a free Chatterbox Challenge activity pack from the website - www.chatterboxchallenge.co.uk. The pack activities have been developed by I CAN speech and language experts. Around 10,000 children actively participate in the event every year and in the 10th anniversary year, Chatterbox Challenge promises to be bigger and louder than ever. Thanks to the generosity of Openreach, all the funds raised go straight to I CAN.
4 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
Watch those birds Soothe their skin
Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch, and the RSPB are once again inviting us to get involved. This year the survey takes place over the weekend of 29 and 30 January 2011, when hundreds of thousands of people can be found with pen and paper in hand, checking out the birds visiting their gardens. Why not take the time to record all of the birds that visit your garden that weekend and join in the world’s biggest wildlife survey, while having fun with your family without leaving the comfort of your own home. You could even help smash the RSPB’s record of half a million participants - after all, the more results they receive, the clearer the picture they’ll get of what’s happening to our garden birds in the UK. Find out more at www.rspb.org.uk. For more information about exciting RSPB activities for young people locally please contact Tina Hanak on 07870 804413 or check out the website at www.macclesfieldrspb.org.uk.
A new campaign has been launched across the country by the National Eczema Society to help the 1 in 5 children in the UK who suffer from eczema. Soak and Smooth is aimed at the 39% of mums who admit that they do their best to control their child’s eczema but wish they could do better. The campaign deals primarily with emollients and how to use them, and is supported by a step by step video tutorial to teach parents how to use emollient treatments effectively. The video, plus details about the campaign and more information on dealing with excema can be viewed at www.eczema.org/emollients___how_ to_apply_them
Handy App Annabel Karmel, the leading expert in feeding babies and toddlers, has launched her first iPhone App aimed at parents with babies from six months through to toddlers. In addition to offering nutritious and easy recipe ideas and tips, videos will illustrate a ‘how to’ guide for cooking techniques as well as guidance on baby’s first foods, with voice activated page turning and an interactive meal planner. “This App will be bringing my recipes to life,” says Annabel. “Not only will it offer parents 70 of my favourite new recipes but also advice and guidance on simple cooking techniques to help make their lives easier and provide good, nutritious food for babies and toddlers.” No need for bulky recipe books any more - get the App from the App Store for £4.99.
The baby page Is your baby living in a toxic environment?
Many of us try to be as green as we can when it comes to our babies. We dress them in organic cotton babygrows, buy natural sheepskins and some of us even use real nappies. But how green really are we? Recently there has been a spate of publicity about the potentially harmful toxins in baby toys, nursery furniture and cot mattresses, so how possible is it to reduce these toxins and truly ‘green’ your baby’s nursery? Raising an eco-friendly baby is not only safer for baby but also reduces the impact on the environment. Most of us already recycle, we try to reduce our carbon impact and are aware of wasteful packaging. We buy fair trade baby products wherever available and we choose organic, locally grown vegetables to reduce our baby’s exposure to toxins like mercury, lead, pesticides and arsenic. And, whenever possible, we do our part to reduce air pollution and leave the car at home. But is this enough? “I already buy organic clothing,” says Alison. “I breast feed my baby and I use real nappies. What more can I do?” The answer is, a lot more. The eco nursery Newborns can spend as much as 80% of the first part of their lives in their nursery, so it is important to make it as green and nontoxic as possible. In short, to create an eco nursery. The Nesting Project is a recent testing campaign that invited parents who had just decorated their babies’ rooms to put samplers in the nursery before sending them off for analysis. The results were surprising, even frightening: the lab picked up a number of pollutants including formaldehyde and other VOCs (substances emitted from everyday products and materials, including household chemicals, solvents, varnishes and paints) arising from newly laid flooring or carpet, soft furnishings, clothing, bedding, textiles and toys. It went on to explain the harmful effects of VOCs, symptoms of which can include eye, nose, throat and skin irritation and allergic reactions, nausea,
headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems. Knowing the exact extent to which the air in your newborn’s nursery is polluted may be more information than you want, or need, to know. But there is no need to panic. There are many ways to detox a nursery, particularly if you’re still at the renovation stage, and while some methods require more effort and cash, others are cheap and easy. Floor: As a general rule a hard floor is best, although bamboo and cork are also ecofriendly options. If you do want carpet, choose one made with natural fibers such as organic wool or cotton and check that it has not been treated with unnecessary chemicals or glues. Add natural wool rugs for softness and warmth. Walls:Choose low- or no-VOC paint and natural pigments made from ingredients such as milk casein, clay, bee’s wax, and natural mineral dyes. Try www.earthbornpaints.co.uk for a wide range of colours. If you prefer wallpaper you can buy recycled or wood chip paper which is ‘breathable’ and doesn’t have a negative impact on air quality. Use products made from recycled and reclaimed materials to decorate nursery walls. Lead paint is an age old problem, and some older houses may still have lead paint on the walls or window sills. If you are concerned about this get the professionals in, as stripping lead paint can release toxins. Curtains: Use natural materials such as wool, cotton, linen or silk. Wash and air the curtains before hanging them up as even natural fibres are treated with substances to make them moth resistant. Electrical: Remove Wi-Fi, cordless phones, mobiles and wireless baby monitors from the baby’s room or better from the house altogether. Children are more susceptible to electromagnetic waves which can be very harmful to development, even leading to long-term illnesses and damage to the immune system. Open the window and let the fresh air in. Also, reduce unwanted chemicals and pathogens the free and easy way by bringing plants into your nursery. Particularly effective plants that remove toxic chemicals from the air are areca palm, lady palm, rubber plant, dragon plant, English ivy, peace lily, gerbera daisy, snake plant, spider plant and weeping fig. If you’re pregnant let someone else renovate! It doesn’t matter how green the products you are using are, it is still safer to keep away from them until the paint has dried. Don’t forget to think green about what you put inside your nursery, too. Families reader Amy said “I was careful about what I put on my nursery walls, but I never stopped to
think about the furniture.” It’s true, most of us don’t. We assume anything and everything we buy for our nursery will naturally be safe. Even cots can be green. Some conventionally-made cribs in manufactured wood products like hardwood plywood paneling, particleboard and mid-density fiberboard are sources of VOCs and harmful flame retardants. Solid wood treated with non-toxic varnish, oil or wax is best. Avoid chipboard wood (made using formaldehyde) or furniture with a plastic coating as they may contain harmful softeners. A good example of an eco-crib is the adaptable Stokke Sleepi baby crib that easily converts into a toddler bed. Available from www.kiddisave.co.uk from £514.49. Mattress: Choose a mattress made from natural materials from suppliers such as www.abacaorganic.co.uk or www.greenbaby.com. Many conventional mattresses use PVC as the mattress cover and foam treated with potentially toxic flame retardants as filling material. A better option is a mattress made from natural coir (coconut husk), hemp, organic cotton, natural rubber latex or organic wool, which is naturally fire resistant. Cot linen: It’s not just baby’s clothing that can be organic. Cot sheets, sleeping bags, blankets and towels are now available in 100% organic cotton. Don’t forget to wash all new linens before use. Toys: Baby toys made from PVC plastic may contain phthalates, the suspected
By Joanna Parry hormone-disruptors that have been linked to liver and kidney damage. Choose toys made of natural, non-toxic materials such as FSC wood, hemp and cotton, and check the manufacturer has used non-toxic dyes and natural oil finishes. Helpful websites www.nrdc.org - for information on how to protect your home, health and the planet www.simplesteps.org www.theecologist.org www.projectnesting.org/start www.naturalnurseryblog.co.uk/ www.ehow.co.uk/video_2050064_de sign-functional-baby-nursery.html for how to design a functional green nursery www.ecohouseagent.com/green-nursery Suppliers Flooring – www.healthyflooring.org Walls – www.earthbornpaints.co.uk, www.MyLittleEco.co.uk/4-paint Furniture – www.thegreenfamilia.co.uk, www.kiddisave.co.uk Mattresses – www.abacaorganic.co.uk, www.greenbaby.com Bathing products – www.greenbaby.com Eco-nursery products – www.hellobabydirect.co.uk
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 5
Childcare & early learning Choosing a Nursery
Childcare comes in a range of shapes and sizes, including willing relatives, nurseries, childminders, nannies and au pairs. Apart from you of course, do nurseries offer the best childcare? That depends on what would suit your child – and finding a good nursery. If your child would thrive on the constant stimulation of other children and adults they trust, using a wide range of toys and outdoor facilities then the answer is probably yes. Other advantages include year-round care and the experience of qualified staff, which can be particularly reassuring for first-time parents. However, if your child is timid, doesn’t like competing for attention, prefers peace and quiet or isn’t ready for such a structured day, then don’t miss our next issue which will focus on nannies, childminders and other childcare options. For now, let’s look at nurseries. When and where to start Nurseries with the best reputations tend to be hot property, and baby units are more scarce than places for 2-5 year-olds, so start looking well ahead of the time you’ll need a place, and join a waiting list if necessary. Some mothers
By Robina Cowan
start while they are still pregnant; others wait until their child is a babe in arms and they have a better idea of what they need. The Families Information Service can supply a list of registered childcarers in your area. For Cheshire East, call 0800 408 2013 or visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/fis. For Cheshire West and Chester, call 0800 0852 863 or visit www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk /familyinformationservice. Your child’s needs Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of the nurseries you are considering, go and look around and ask lots of questions to see if they would suit your child. Although all nurseries follow Ofsted government guidelines, there is room for interpretation in the way the childcare and learning are delivered. For example, private nurseries might serve organic, freshly cooked meals or include additional activities such as dancing, French and outings. Consider issues such as your child’s daily routine (nap times, type of food provided etc), staff qualifications and experience, staff to child ratios and what the staff turnover is like. Check that you are happy with the range of toys and equipment available, cleanliness of the premises, security, the policy on discipline and late collections. Ask to see
6 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
the latest Ofsted report or read it online. Find out if there are any extra charges for nappies, meals, certain activities and the cost of the deposit to go on the waiting list. Factor in the time it will take you to travel to and from the nursery, probably during rush hour. After all this, the most important thing is to absorb the atmosphere and look at whether the children are relaxed and happy, and members of staff are responsive and caring. Nurseries in a nutshell Daycare nurseries • A useful option for working parents, day nurseries are typically open from 8am to early evening and children can stay for all or part of the day • Some parents feel uneasy about leaving their baby in sole care, no matter how well-qualified that person is. It’s reassuring to know that nursery staff can safely take breaks, and that you are covered if a member of staff is off sick • Consistency - your child can stay in the same environment from the day you go back to work until they start school • Social environment - children who attend nursery find it easier to settle into school routines when they join reception classes. The cons: • Some parents feel uncomfortable
because playtime, naps and meals are at more or less set times. Also you’ll need backup care when your child is unwell or if you’re late to collect. Nursery classes in schools • A first step into school, although a school nursery place does not automatically guarantee a place in reception • Convenient if you are already dropping siblings at the school • Stimulation - some children are ready for school earlier than others and readily take to structured, educational play • Age-specific activities are geared to the school children they are becoming rather than the babies they used to be. The cons: • Sessions tend to be just three hours which is not practical for many families. Fulltime places are few and far between. Pre-schools and playgroups • The Preschool Learning Alliance is one of the largest providers of quality childcare in England, offering a wide choice of settings from pre-schools and baby and toddler groups to full daycare places in nurseries and children’s centres • PLA settings are managed by experienced and qualified managers who lead teams of nursery workers and support staff, training them to
Childcare & early learning meet children’s individual needs • Parents are encouraged to be active members, so you can be more involved in your child’s care • Small scale settings are less daunting for shy children The cons: • Tend to be community operations so don’t expect glamorous premises. You may need additional care if you work fulltime although wrap-around hours are available in some settings. Private nursery schools • Stimulation - by two and a half most children benefit from some kind of pre-school environment. They learn without knowing it while using letters, shapes and numbers, looking at books and expressing themselves through making things, drawing and singing • Peer group - the opportunity to make friends of the same age • Might be more flexible on the availability of hours or days you need to fit in with your work schedule • Often smaller scale with a personal touch, and the nursery head is usually involved in the running of the school. The cons: • Some offer wrap-around care but are generally open only for school hours so you will need someone to pick up and collect if you are at work. Help with the costs Nursery fees vary greatly, depending on location, demand and what is offered, but can be from around £100 to over £200 a week. 1. Local authorities receive government funding so they can offer 15 hours a week of early years education to all three and four year-olds from the term after their third birthday. If you choose a nursery which costs more than the funding or need more hours, you top up the difference. 2. Child tax credits and working tax credits are available to help with childcare costs. From April 2011, the ‘child’ element of the child tax credit will be increased for families earning up to £16,190 a year with an above-inflation increase. At the same time though, families earning over £41,400 will no longer be eligible for the full tax credit. 3. Some employers offer childcare vouchers which staff can opt to receive instead of part of their salary. Parents can save up to £1000 a year by reducing their income tax and national insurance contributions.
What parents say about nurseries • Hands-on owners: ‘I would always go for an owner-run nursery. These people are not ‘in it for the money’. They are doing the job because they genuinely like and understand children. It’s a vocational thing.’ Mary, mother of three under six. • Looks aren’t everything: ‘When you’re looking around, don’t be fooled by appearances. Some of the shabbiest establishments are far superior to some upmarket nurseries in terms of quality of care. The best childcare we’ve ever found was in state-run nurseries and playgroups.’ Eliza, mother of four children aged three to eleven. • Socialisation: ‘Although I’m not at work, from the age of two I felt it was important for my son to start learning to get on with a range of other children and adults, to help him when he started school.’ Matt, father of Ollie, three. • Experienced staff: ‘Look at the ages of the staff. Youngsters fresh out of college may have more energy and I’m sure they know all the latest thinking on childcare but in my opinion that’s no substitute for experience. I would always go for a nursery with mature staff, every time. They have more patience and you know they have to be doing this because they want to, they really love the children.’ Clara, mother of three under seven. • Explore all options: ‘Go and see as many different nurseries as you can. Don’t get tied up in the Ofsted and what other people think. You know your child better than anyone.’ Ramona, mother of Klaus, five. More information • Read more local childcare articles on our website www.familiescheshire.co.uk • For local nurseries and links to their Ofsted reports, go to www.findmyschool.co.uk • The National Day Nurseries Association provides a lot of useful information including a free checklist to take on your visit, and contact details for NDNA member nurseries, www.ndna.org.uk/parents, 01484 40 70 40 • The Preschool Alliance website has useful sections for parents and practitioners, including links to find local PLA childcare, www.pre-school.org.uk.
Naturally learning through the power of water
Staff and children at a local day nursery are seeing the benefits of learning through play whilst in the water. kidsunlimited day nursery, which is situated inside the Handforth based Total Fitness Leisure club, participate in a weekly swimming class with a qualified instructor. They are keen to show off their achievements by using the soothing medium of water, to enhance their learning. The half an hour class involves toys, games and songs, which helps stimulate their learning and confidence in the water. Each class is taught in a gentle manner with skills being paced at each child’s ability. “We have seen the benefits of the children swimming on a regular basis; parents have noticed improved sleeping
and eating patterns after a swimming class.” Deputy Manager Angela Brandwood-Green comments, “Water is a forgiving healer, children can become extremely relaxed and peaceful during a lesson. All the children work towards achieving recognised swimming awards too, which they can continue at school.” kidsunlimited offer a wide range of activities for the children in their care through their ku:active programme. Swimming is unique to this setting and is only available due to the close working partnership with Total Fitness. The classes help develop a healthy sense of self, confidence in the water and set the principals for a future healthy lifestyle. To find out more, call 0845 365 2900 or visit www.kidsunlimited.co.uk.
Growing and winning awards
Award winning childcare chain Kids Allowed has had a lot to celebrate in recent months. Not only is it due to open its fourth centre in Spring 2011, it has just won a string of awards. The Macclesfield centre is being built to the same specification as the other centres ensuring lots of natural light, separate outdoor play areas off age specific rooms and a sensory and music room. The centre will also offer a concierge service to support time-poor parents, including laundry and dry-cleaning collection and collecting post, and importantly, providing flexible care in a safe and happy environment for children. Two of the three centres have been awarded an outstanding status by Ofsted.
Kids Allowed also took home the prestigious Nursery World nursery chain of the year award and more recently the Nursery Management Today National training and development award, a testament to the commitment of training and retaining staff. Kids Allowed Chief Executive Officer Jennie Johnson said, “Our ethos at Kids Allowed is ‘making children happy’ and we do this by ensuring we train and retain the best staff and by giving parents a real choice when it comes to child care. When developing the Kids Allowed idea I had to take into account what could be done for working parents to ensure they would feel really happy about leaving their children with us.”
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Childcare & early learning The Foundations of an Excellent Education Terra Nova – more than just a school
An integral part of Stockport Grammar Junior School, SGS Nursery provides children from the age of three with a high quality of care and education, whilst enjoying the benefits of strong links with the rest of the School. Children play and learn in a happy and stimulating environment that encourages positive self esteem and confidence. Play is highly valued and central to children’s care and education. Through
carefully guided play activities the children are encouraged to explore, experience, discover, practise skills and develop ideas. The well resourced Nursery is in a self-contained building on the Junior School campus with its own designated outdoor play area. Nursery children also have use of a wide range of school facilities including the playing fields, swimming pool and Junior School library, all aiding a smooth transition into SGS Infants. We want each child to achieve success in all areas of life; academic standards throughout the school are high, but without undue pressure. Each child is encouraged to grow up with confidence and enthusiasm and to succeed without fear of failure. Junior school pupils enjoy an extensive range of extra-curricular activities, with music, drama and sport featuring strongly. Parents and children are warmly welcomed for regular school day visits throughout the year. To arrange a visit or request a prospectus call 0161 419 2405, or for more information visit the website, www.stockportgrammar.co.uk.
8 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
Set in beautiful surroundings, the recently refurbished Nursery and Pre-Prep at Terra Nova School provides childcare of the highest quality. The nursery children discover and learn within our range of classrooms, as well as creative and music rooms. Whilst outside they can enjoy many inspirational physical opportunities in our various outdoor play spaces, woodland areas and sandpits. We work in partnership with our parents to encourage and celebrate every child. They are wonderful, unique individuals and it is our privilege to provide a stimulating environment, exciting curriculum and nurturing atmosphere. Above all, the children in our care are happy and secure here. Encouraged to thrive and develop at their own pace, the children experience a vibrant and varied exposure to the six areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage. And our specialist French and Music teachers provide exciting sessions each week, alongside access to a range of opportunities in ICT. The Nursery and Reception children and staff enjoy many activities together so when it comes to that all-important transition to ‘big school’, the prospect is
no longer quite so daunting. Our Pre-Prep provides outstanding facilities, fantastic teachers and a broad range of subjects, enabling children to continue their exciting educational journey. We provide a stimulating environment in which your younger children are encouraged to have fun whilst learning. The children receive specialist teaching in Music, Games and French and can also join our after school activities. There are many to choose from varying from Professional Football Coaching to Gardening Clubs, and Dance to Circus Skills. Our curriculum is carefully planned to allow all of the children in the Pre-Prep full access not only to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, but also to a variety of invaluable educational experiences both in and outside of school. As with our Nursery, the surroundings in Cheshire in which our Pre-Prep children learn offer exciting opportunities for them to use their imaginations and first hand experiences whilst developing responsibility and independence. To see the wonderful opportunities on offer for your child today, contact the Registrar on 01477 571261.
Childcare & early learning You don’t just choose your child’s school. You choose their future.
The Ryleys in Alderley Edge was established over 130 years ago, and has developed a reputation as one of the best independent preparatory schools in Cheshire, with places at the School being much sought after. With nine out of ten new registrations coming as a result of recommendations, what better endorsement of a school’s credentials could you wish for? Starting at age 3, the extremely popular Nursery gently prepares its pupils for the start of their educational journey, and provides the boys and girls with the advantage of familiarity with the school when they come to take the next step
on to formal education. As the children move through the school, the small class sizes and subject specialist teaching ensures that each and every child receives the individual attention, motivation and encouragement necessary to fulfil their potential. The Ryleys provides so much more than just an academic education; it provides unrivalled opportunities to discover and nurture talents outside of the classroom, including music, sport, art and drama. By the time they leave The Ryleys, pupils are equipped with the skills, character and confidence to see them achieve their future goals. Initially a boys-only school, The Ryleys has now adopted a co-educational approach, providing a fully rounded education and preparing both girls and boys for life and work in the 21st Century. The Ryleys prepares its pupils for both day and boarding schools, with all leavers in 2010 progressing to schools of their choice. To arrange a visit to see for yourself what opportunities await your child, call 01625 583241.
Little Griffins - where small is great
The Little Griffins nursery was established in 1992 as an extension to Beech Hall School and offers care and education to children from the age of 6 months. At 5 years of age a child attending the nursery has the opportunity of continuing their education through the school and, as a priority, they will be offered a place in the school’s Reception class. The nursery is a single storied building set in a quiet part of the school grounds. It benefits from a private, fenced garden in which there is a large soft play area covered by a sunshade sail. For older nursery children there is a separate infant soft play area with more challenging climbing frames and slide. These excellent outdoor facilities allow children to play safely at all times of the year, and importantly encourage a child’s physical development. Our nursery children are looked after by highly qualified, long standing and experienced staff in a safe and stimulating environment. Children are split, according to age, into 5 separated areas and on entry to the nursery each child is allocated a ‘key person’. The ‘key person’ will act as the primary carer for your child, and
will be responsible for most communications with you. In this way we endeavour to offer continuity of care and develop a strong partnership with parents in achieving what is best for your child. As children move through the nursery, staff will record your child’s development through a personalised ‘learning journey’. As activities become more challenging with age older children have the opportunity of Music and French lessons with specialist teachers from the school’s infant department. As we approach our 20th anniversary we are proud of the nursery that we have become - a nursery that has developed practices and procedures which mark it out as an excellent childcare setting. You will find our nursery a truly welcoming place – come and see for yourself. Little Griffins nursery is open 50 weeks of the year between the hours of 7.30am and 6.00pm. Full and part time places are available, and a flexible billing system that allows for term time only attendance, amongst other benefits, gives parents more choice in meeting their childcare needs.
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 9
Childcare & early learning Boost your future earnings
A new report claims that having a good nursery teacher can increase your earning capacity in later years by as much as £10,000. Researchers have found that pupils with an excellent nursery education went on to earn more than their peers from similar backgrounds whose earlyyears teaching was less effective. The Harvard-based researchers examined the long-term effect of a standout earlyyears teacher working with pupils aged 3-5, looking at factors including the impact these teachers had on the
eventual earnings of their former pupils. The research found that adults who received better early-years education were likely to have significantly higher salaries than their poorly educated peers. In fact, 5-year-olds who made the typical improvements to be expected following a good early-years education would earn an additional £600-700 a year by their late 20s, an amount that could be expected to increase proportionately throughout their working lives. The study also showed that pupils who learnt more at this early stage were more likely to go on to university than their peers, and less likely to become single parents. Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers’ Association, added, “The influence of early years on a child’s long-term education is crucial. The better the experience of the child pre-five, the better value you will get from them post- five.”
Toucan Learn – encourage your child to learn and grow
Toucan Learn is a fantastic online resource aimed at parents, carers and childminders who look after children up to the age of five. The website has hundreds of activities for children that all link in to the Early Years Foundation Stage so you know your child is learning valuable skills through their play. To make choosing an activity easy you simply enter your child’s details and the site offers suggestions tailored to their age.
Heidi Robinson, a childminder from Bollington, says “I have frequently used Toucan Learn as inspiration for what to do with children in my care. It is an easy to use site with some great ideas. The website allows me to record what activities each child have done which is a great tool when you have more than one child in your care. Plus I can even complete a Daily Diary online to then share with the parents so they can see what their child has done with me that day.” For more information visit www.toucanlearn.com.
“Everything the school has provided for our children has been nothing short of outstanding” The King’s School in Macclesfield begins to mould the inquiring young mind as soon as boys and girls come into the Infants. Experienced, dedicated teachers are fully versed in contemporary educational philosophy. They plan role-play, debate and practical experiments into lessons to encourage creativity, imagination and ensure each child’s full engagement. The results speak for themselves. At Key Stage 2 in English the pupils enjoy an 82% pass rate at Level 5 against the
10 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
national average of 47%; in Science, 77% against a national average of 47% and in Mathematics 67% as opposed to 35% nationally. King’s is unique in that, following co-education in the early years, it offers single sex schooling from 11 to 16, when it matters most, bringing the students back together once again for a co-educational Sixth Form before higher education. This superb system not only delivers huge educational benefits but also offers small school communities
providing the outstanding pastoral care for which King’s is renowned. The school offers an eclectic range of opportunities for all pupils from orchestras to fencing, debating to surfing, a rugby tour to New Zealand to an equestrian club. The school boasts an international reputation for cultural, sporting and adventurous endeavour giving pupils fantastic opportunities to discover and develop their talents. To find out more about what we can offer you, go to www.kingsmac.co.uk.
Travel Holiday 2011: how to do it for free, for less and (if you’re one of the lucky few who have some cash...) for more! We all need a holiday, but how are we going to manage it in the harsh new economics of the year into which we’re headed? Joanna Moorhead shares some ideas on how to do make it work – whatever your budget (and even if you’ve no budget whatsoever!) It’s that time of the year when our thoughts invariably turn, as we shiver in grey, cold Britain, to warmer climes and sun-kissed beaches. The kind of places we hope to end up in a few months’ time, when it’s summer once again, and we’re getting away from it all for those magical two weeks we call our annual holiday. Of course holidays with kids are always tricky... and one of the trickiest aspects of all is always financing them. This year more than usual, finding the money to pay for a holiday is, for thousands of families, going to be harder than ever. But chins up – we’re not giving up! There are still ways to do it...and for those who do have some money to spend, the bargains are likely to be hotter than ever. Holiday for free! Yes, you really can go on holiday without spending any money at all. Even if you just manage not to pay for your accommodation, you’ll still be making a huge saving. Here are a few ways of achieving a relatively cost-free break. Houseswap: The world falls into two camps on houseswapping. There are those who swear by it, who’ve stayed in the best villas around the world because of it; and there are those who can’t think of anything worse than having to leave their house pristine for another family when they go away, and who fear being palmed off with some tenement hovel while its owners live it up in their luxury pad. The truth about houseswapping is that it IS hard work... you might not be paying for your accommodation, but you
need to go to a lot of trouble beforehand to make sure you a) have the perfect swap and b) that your own house is properly organised for the incoming family. Top tips from seasoned swappers are to find a family that’s as much like you as possible, and to ask lots of questions and look at lots of photos of the place you’re going to. Also, don’t rule out swaps with friends or relatives – these can be easier to organise, and you can top and tail them with some together-time with your mates as you overlap at one or both homes. Wildcamping: it ain’t for everyone, but those who love ‘real’ camping say they really, really adore it. What it means is camping in the remote wilds – not on campsites (where you have to pay), but in the absolute back of beyond, where there’s no infrastructure at all. The downside, of course, is that it’s usually illegal (unless you have the landowner’s permission) but if you’re headed to Scotland you’re in luck since the right to camp on hill land is now enshrined in public-access law. For more information, see www.outdooraccessscotland.com. Work for your keep! Working holidays, in fact, aren’t usually free – but they are very, very cheap. The National Trust, for example, has holidays from £90 a week including food and hostel-type accommodation. No previous experience is necessary, as you’ll be led by trained volunteer leaders and staff. The trust says it’s a great opportunity for families, especially those with older children, to spend time together as a family... you’ll be involved in ‘team activities’ and you’ll be helping to improve the environment. Children must be at least eight years old. For more information, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/wtrust/w-volunteering/w-workingholidays.
Holiday for less In general, you get what you pay for with holiday spending. But it is possible to make your money go further – you just have to work out a strategy, and stick to it. Bargain-hunt: There are bargains around on the holiday front this year... and as usual, the trick is either to book well ahead, or to wait until the very last minute (and if your income is looking dodgy at the moment, the late-booking option could be the best). Uncertainty is tricky when you’ve got kids, but try to keep them happy by promising that you will go somewhere, you’re just not entirely sure exactly where...but work out a few basics, so you can tell them it will definitely involve a beach, a flight (if it’s abroad) and the chance to play with other kids (if you’re going somewhere where there’ll be other families). Holiday with another family: This can make your outlay a lot cheaper, because the costs will be divided in two. If you’re holidaying with another family, the cheapest thing to do is either to stay in the UK or to go to France or somewhere else by ferry, since that’s the cheapest way to travel. Look for bargains like La Blanchere in the Vendee region of France – it’s a four-bed farmhouse set in a twoacre garden with a games barn and an aboveground swimming pool. It’s available for just £700 a week in high season – so for two families sharing, that’s quite a bargain. For more information, see www.recommendedfamilyholidays.co m/top25places.html Holiday for more If you’re going to spend a bit of money this year, you’re in luck because there will be plenty of choice – and you should be able to get somewhere that gives you excellent value for money, given that many families will be looking for a cheaper option. Shop around: so, you definitely need to
shop around. Tell travel companies about deals you’ve been offered by competitors – and see whether they’re prepared to throw more into your deal, or to cut the cost. Make clear from the start that you’re looking for a holiday that’s pricy but also offers great value. For example, Aztec Villas has wonderful villas in Cyprus that give you everything you’re ever going to need on a family holiday. The resort of Penera has everything on your doorstep – cafes, restaurants, beach, water park – so although they’re not a cheap option, you won’t necessarily need to hire a car. Plus, the company makes sure the villas are stocked with all the clobber families with young kids need but don’t want to have to lug around... pushchairs, DVDs, toys, balls, inflatables, Wii games. Prices around £1,100 (not including flights) for a villa sleeping eight in August. For more information, see www.aztecvillas.co.uk Go somewhere unfashionable: For example, Mexico, with it’s problems, isn’t looking like the hottest holiday destination – but I was there last summer with my family for a fortnight, and those problems are light years away from your allinclusive hotel on the Yucatan peninsula. We stayed at Club Med in Cancun, which was superlative – it’s got the best position on the Cancun holiday strip, it’s well away from the business of the town, the food is delicious and even our older children enjoyed the teen hang-out called, oddly, Carwash. Plus watersports, children’s clubs and childcare, pretty views, a great beach. For us, Mexico was a family holiday of a lifetime and it wasn’t a let-down – and given that the Yucatan is packed with allinclusive hotels, and that it’s not had a great press of late, it should be a great place to get a lot more for your (considerable) outlay in summer 2011. For more information, see www.clubmed.co.uk
Take the effort out of teaching your kids to ski
The NipperGrip is a must for any family going skiing with young children. Developed by Sussex husband and wife, James and Katherine, over years of teaching their three children to ski, the NipperGrip is a ski
harness for children up to 8 years old. It’s unique in that it has a handle on the front and the back so you can pick your child up whichever way they fall. The NipperGrip makes getting on and off chairlifts easy no more panics or having to stop the lift while you untangle your child on the floor. The NipperGrip also comes with detachable reins so you can control your child’s direction and speed as they ski along in front of you. But its use isn’t limited to skiing, it’s also good for cycle training, roller or ice skating. Order online at www.nippergrip.com.
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 11
Parents’ place Whatever makes you happy dear
We all need something to take ourselves out of ourselves. Something that is about more than just being a mum, wife, partner, employee or boss. Getting together with a group of friends is always cathartic but with just dinner or drinks there are, as Margaret puts it “always one or two people who dominate.” But, as she says “if there is an activity where you can all participate, it is a different sort of evening.” To book club or not to book club When book groups first became popular, I could not have been more interested. An avid reader of just about anything since I was a child, I had let things slip after my children were born. Reading breaks had become sleep breaks or rubbish television breaks or no breaks at all as I tried to catch up on all I needed to do in a day. So when I got the chance to join a book group I jumped at it. Unfortunately, I joined at exactly wrong time. After looking at To Kill A Mockingbird and a harrowing account of the Holocaust, I offered to host the next session. J M Coetzee’s Disgrace was proposed. It was another gut-wrenching tale and maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received phone call after phone call on the day from mums sending their regrets. In the end it was just me and one other. I like to think that the group came to its natural end. However, I never had the nerve to join another. Happily most book club mums have been spared my experience. “The best things about my book club are that I have a really good time with people whose company I enjoy and also I read more novels than I otherwise
would. I sometimes think we should be a little bit more serious about discussing the book and I think anyone who was serious about literary criticism would find it very frustrating! It is a very cosy book group, with lots of food, wine and chocolate involved!” (Clare) Cultural jaunts If you are at all worried about the chatter overwhelming the debate take the example of a group of mums who have decided to take the idea of a book group one step further. Once a month they plan a cultural jaunt into town. It can be to a gallery, a museum, the theatre or the cinema. Being right up close and personal to the topic spurs the debate and distracts the group away from, well, distractions. And food, wine and chocolate can still play a part! Finding the calm inside Happiness with a group of friends can also come in a quieter, more spiritual form. About a year ago, neighbours Sue and Ann were chatting about how impossible it was to take any time out without feeling guilty. They thought that if they could just discipline themselves to get together and sit in a room quietly it could help. According to Sue: “We wanted to keep it simple. The one thing we could do was to stop our minds running with a million things a minute. “The group gathers around a real fire in a garden or a candle in someone’s front room. Sometimes they exchange thoughts, sometimes one of the group takes the rest through meditation, guided visualisation or breathing exercises. Sometimes they just sit there and “enjoy the silence.” Sitting still: nothing more but it is very energising, and it fills us with the
12 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
By Kate Birch
simple joy of being away from the hustle of our daily lives. It is not about religion but it is definitely spiritual, connecting with spirituality; we all come from different religious backgrounds (or none for some).” They are more conscious of “key times” in the year, of the Equinoxes and summer and winter Solstice. “It is always special: no TV, no gimmicks, connecting with each other and being outdoors; the simple things in life are always the best!” Often the group will concentrate on sending out good intentions, thinking about others, focusing, for example, on people in war torn countries. And sometimes one of them has had a tough time in her own life. As Ann puts it: “Because we are all mums, we can provide support and understanding.” From the sublime to the ridiculousness that is the karaoke group! But if quieter pursuits are not your thing and you are more of an exhibitionist, do what I do. And here, I have to blame one friend who, a few years ago, thought it would be fun to get a group around the newly purchased SingStar mics for a bit of karaoke. For some of the mums it was a fate worse than well, childbirth, but the rest of us embraced it enthusiastically. What started off as a disorganised bit of fun has become slightly more organised – core group of eight, gettogethers every six weeks or so and outings to various karaoke clubs. Singing talent is not a prerequisite. We don’t take ourselves at all seriously (although Britain’s Got Talent beckons.) We have all become closer and karaoke has seen us through highs and
lows. After I broke my leg, it was my first outing. A lift was provided, as were shoulders to lean on, both figuratively and literally as I hopped up and down the steps. Then I sang my heart out despite an aching leg and swollen feet. Another mum found solace in it after “a very sad bereavement.” The singing and companionship made her feel “less heavy-hearted.” And it is such fun! When Melanie had her 40th birthday party, we all, with very little persuasion, fell in with her idea of putting on a performance at it. Melanie got in Helen Hampton of Popchoir to coach us and help us with some (very simple) choreography. (Helen has worked with Michael Jackson, Queen and Bjork among others and now with us!) I just thought ‘I always wanted to be in a band and this is the closest I can get to it. And my friends are all going to be appreciative no matter how bad we are.’ Well, they were appreciative, very much so. Even our (blissfully unaware) husbands did not make quick exits as we assembled at the microphones. They even complimented us afterwards. It was one of the maddest and most joyful things I have ever done. And that is the whole point. As different as all these groups are, what connects is that they are all about being happy and energised. They are about something other than family or working life, (although if you need the support, it will be there). Ultimately you go home feeling that, as Margaret explains, “instead of being a mum you are someone in your own right with your own hobbies and interests.”
Getting started: - www.bookgroup.info Use this informative web site to track down a book group in your area. - www.mymumsbookclub.co.uk encourages school mums to form their own book club then register on the site and spread the word. - www.bemindful.co.uk Mindfulness combines meditation, breathing techniques and paying attention to the present moment. Check out The Mental Health Foundation’s new online course with support from Bupa. - www.thevocalacademy.com Private singing lessons or monthly adult (16+) group singalongs in Northwich. - www.orchard-studios.co.uk Let your hair down, get singing and record an album – book a party night at Orchard Studios, Congleton - www.rockchoir.com Pop, gospel and Motown choirs for all ages and abilities in Altrincham/Sale, Chester, Knutsford, Nantwich Wilmslow/Handforth.
Parents’ place Parent2parent
Hanny Bell lives in Adlington with her husband Steve, and their 3 boys – Austin (11), Bradley (10) and Dexter (6). Favourite shop: TK Maxx. Big labels at small prices!!! Favourite park: Lyme Park Favourite children’s club/class: Richmond Rovers JFC Favourite day out: Go-Ape!! Favourite child friendly restaurant: Gusto, Alderley Edge . They have a good kids menu if you go early teatime; my youngest loves to ‘make your own pizza’. Also, the staff are really friendly. Proudest eco friendly moment: Creating my own small holding where I grow my own fruit and veg, and have chickens, pigs, sheep and a cow. Best planet saving tip: Rethink bottled water - nearly 90% of plastic water bottles aren’t recycled, and they take thousands
of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water. It’s a great choice for the environment and your wallet. No parent should be without: A sense of humour (and a gin and tonic!!) Parenting pet hates: Having to make unpopular decisions. Most embarrassing moment: Having a bikini malfunction after attempting the giant waterslide on our last family holiday in Egypt. Favourite family holiday spot: Camping in the Lake District (when the sun is shining!) Otherwise, a nice beach in Spain. Best children’s book: My boys have loved the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. Best children’s DVD: Bedtime Stories Most played with toys: At the moment it’s Paper! My kids can spend hours, cutting, gluing, drawing, colouring and stapling. Biggest waste of money: My gym membership. Wish I had time to go!! Most successful recipe/food: Our home reared ‘Bell’s Bangers’. Why you like living where you do: I love the space for my animals, and the fantastic views of the countryside. Anything else to share: Just wishing everyone health, happiness and prosperity for 2011. If you’d like to be our next Parent2parent interview, just let us know - email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Advertise in Families Cheshire Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email email@example.com
Mums in business
Sharon Burrows, Hullabaloo Kids
Tell us a bit about yourself. I am 39 years old (big one next year!!), married to Mark and we have an adorable 3 year son, Luke. We also have a 7 year old dog called Fizz and we live in Nantwich. I was a Travel Agent Manager for 14 years, and then I moved to Sales. To relax I dance with an amateur dance group and put on a show for charity every year – we do ballet, tap and modern. I also present my own show called Toddler Talk on an internet community radio station, www.redshiftradio.co.uk What is your business? Hullabaloo Kids, which is Baby Signing classes, Toddler Dance classes, Facepainting and party entertainment, in South Cheshire. How did you get started? After having Luke I made the decision to start my own business and bought Hullabaloo Kids. This started as a franchise but I am now a sole trader. I developed Tippy Toes
Toddler Dance for walking babies and then branched out into party entertainment and in particular Professional Facepainting. What does the future hold for the business? I would like to employ staff in the future and have people running my classes, as I’m finding it hard to split myself in two these days! I’m also looking forward to working in more nurseries and pre-schools in the area. What is the best bit about what you do? Having influence and control over other people’s children. When facepainting, seeing their delight when they see themselves in the mirror. Any bad bits? Having no control over my own child!!! How do you fit work around family life? I give myself days off to spend with Luke and try not to answer my phone or check emails. I work most evenings marketing and catching up on paperwork. What advice would you give to other mums looking to work for themselves? Go for it and give it a try especially if you have a supportive husband like I do. To find out more about Hullabaloo Kids, go to www.hullabalookids.net.
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 13
Parents’ place Give post-Christmas debt the elbow with cash for a month
As the trees and tinsel come down for another year, thousands of Britons will face a different kind of new-year hangover: post-Christmas debt. Estimates suggest that we will have spent an extra £1.6 billion this past Christmas, up 1.9% on the previous year, despite spending cuts and job losses. In 2009, the average household spent £665 on presents, food and drink, decorations and travel
during the festive period. Many families pay for the expense of Christmas using their credit and debit cards and, before they know it, they can run up debts that last long after the last mince pie has been eaten. In fact, one third of personal insolvencies that occurred in March were triggered by overspending during the festive season. Katharine Hill, Director of Policy, Research and Development at Care for the Family says: “Christmas is a magical time for families but buying a tree, toys for the children and all the trimmings is expensive. Many parents find themselves giving into temptation and putting it on plastic, which can leave them struggling in January when the credit card bills start landing on the doormat. If the debt lingers from year to year then they may find themselves in real trouble.” If your family has overspent this Christmas and you need to make cutbacks, consider taking up Care for the Family’s Cash for the Month challenge. The initiative encourages controlled spending by foregoing credit and debit cards and only using cash throughout the month.
New Year, New You
Want to change your eating habits, feel more energised and more importantly do you want to look good naked? Then sign up to Weightloss Bootcamp - a weekly session running for 6 weeks at Glo Family in Cheadle - and starting on Wednesday 12 January at 7.45pm. It’s run by Ernesto De La Cruz, a Cuban Personal Trainer and professional dancer whose nutritional expertise and fitness know-how are second to none. In the hourly class you’ll learn how increase your metabolism, reshape your body and change your eating habits for good. You’ll be weighed and
measured on weeks 1, 4 and 6. You will also be exercising under the guidance of Ernesto who will be able to show you the most effective types of exercise to do and how much you should be doing each week. Motivational emails and texts during the 6 weeks will help you on your way. When you sign up for Weightloss Bootcamp, you’ll receive a shopping list and food diary to help prepare you for your course. At just £48 for the whole 6 week course, you have nothing to lose but body fat! Glo Family members receive a 10% discount on the course. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0844 800 7380 to book. www.glofamily.com
Ernesto De La Cruz
14 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
“It’s estimated we spend a third more when we use credit and debit cards,” continues Katharine. “Using plastic is psychologically different to paying by cash. With cash we receive tangible evidence that money is no longer available to us. With Cash for a Month we’ve kept things simple: standing orders and direct debits stay the same, but cash is used for everyday shopping. Most families who have already taken part in the challenge have said that they found they had spent less and were going to be far more careful about how often they used cards to pay for things in future. For some people, it was the first time they really noticed how much they were spending every week.” To take part in Cash for a Month sign up by completing the form at www.careforthefamily.org.uk/cashfor amonth. If you’re concerned about debt, Care for the Family has the following advice: Know the Worst: Work out your income, then your expenditure, on a weekly or monthly basis to help you see where you can cut back.
Check which benefits you may be entitled to: For example, basic Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Income Support, free milk and vitamins, and help with NHS costs. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk/ index/life/benefits.htm for further information on benefits. Make a budget and stick to it: Making a budget is simpler than many people think. If you need some help to get you started, visit www.careforthefamily.org.uk/ debtbuster/budgetsheet.asp. Avoid impulse purchases: Always ask yourself three questions when making purchases: Do I need it? Can I afford it? And, if you are buying anything on credit, what is the total amount I will be repaying? Finally, don’t ever pay anyone for debt advice: There are many organisations that specialise in debt counselling and debt management and their services are free. For further articles and resources on money and taking control of your finances visit www.careforthefamily.org.uk/supportnet.
Parents’ place Read them a treat today Many children are starting school having never been read a story, a recent survey revealed. More than half of all primary teachers in the UK have taught children starting school with no experience of being told stories at home, and the stories pupils do know often come from watching Disney cartoons. “Too many children are left to watch TV instead of being read a bedtime story,” says Pie Corbett, an educational advisor to the government. “This isn’t just an economic thing, it’s across the whole of society. You get a lot of children coming from very privileged backgrounds who’ve spent a lot of time in front of the TV and not enough time snuggled up with a good book. The TV does the imagining for you – and it doesn’t care whether you’re listening or not.” Research shows that children who are read to on a regular basis are most likely to do well at school – being read to boosts language and develops creativity and imagination. “The
best writers in the class are always those who are avid readers,” says Corbett. “Reading really matters.” So turn the TV off and pull out those books. Hugless Douglas By David Melling Published by Hodder Children’s Books RRP £5.99 Hardback ISBN 978-0-340-95063-0 This book introduces us to Douglas who is due to appear in a number of forthcoming Hodder titles and will no doubt become a hit as he is such a lovable character. Douglas is a big brown, huggable bear, who wakes up one morning in need of a hug. He sets out to find one and tries to hug just about everything in sight but some of these hugs just don’t seem right: too big; too small; too
heavy; or even too busy. Finally he is led to a cave where he finds his mother and she gives him the most perfect and warmest hug that he could possibly imagine – exactly the sort of hug that he had been after all day long. This heart-warming story of Douglas’s quest for the perfect hug makes a perfect tale to share with little ones. Make sure you give them a big hug at the end... Reviewed by Emilie Amos
Aunt Severe and the Dragons By Nick Garlick. Illustrated by Nick Maland Published by Andersen Press Ltd RRP £4.99 Paperback ISBN 184939055X When Daniel’s explorer parents vanish, he is forced to live with his strict and rather strange Aunt Severe. Aunt Severe takes his toys away, feeds
him cold spinach sandwiches and makes him collect rubbish. His problems only get more complicated when he finds four lost dragons hiding in her garden. Daniel wants to help the talking dragons but before he can do anything three of them are captured by mean Gotcha Grabber for his zoo. This leaves Daniel with the fourth dragon (the not so-seemingly clever one) to rescue them. This is a great little chapter book to share with younger children. The storyline, which is highly imaginary, flows well with simple cliffhangers at the end of each short chapter. It is an easy and compulsive read with a few supporting pen and ink illustrations. The story touches on how perseverance wins the day and that everyone is capable of something good. Reviewed by Louise Turner
Female entrepreneurs seeking female entrepreneurs After successfully operating a children’s party franchise for the last three years, Verity Graham and Jackie Johnstone have taken the next step and bought the whole company! They are now the proud directors of Jabberjacks Franchising Limited. Seeing the opportunities for growth in their own franchise, the two entrepreneurs decided to take over the company and give other budding self starters the chance to take a piece of the cake. The company, established for over 10 years, offers fun filled children’s parties and classes, designed to take all the stress away for parents. Now they are looking for other like minded people to become Jabberjacks franchisees and take the company to the next stage. Verity said “For women looking for a new challenge, with freedom to design your own work/life balance, low start
up costs, minimal risk and an excellent training package, Jabberjacks is ideal.” According to the British Franchise Association (BFA), the number of women in franchising is growing and set to rise. In the late 1990s, just 20 per cent of franchise owners in the UK were women. In 2010 that figure stands at 27 percent, with 34 percent of all new franchise owners being women. There are many women looking to return to work after maternity leave or having taken time-off to raise children. Juggling work commitments with family at home can be difficult and the
opportunity to work from home within the constraints of their current job is often more limited, so franchising represents an excellent opportunity for women to start a business, and the children’s franchises sector is amongst the most popular sectors. Verity and Jackie recognise that starting your own business can be daunting and have devised a very supportive training package that guides new franchisees through with hand holding, as well as the practical aspects of accounting and an initial marketing strategy. Franchisees can be up and running (and earning)
within 3 months. Jackie added “The key attributes for women wishing to become Jabberjacks franchisees are:- energy, enthusiasm, quick thinking and patience. Clearly you need to enjoy working with children.” By becoming a Jabberjacks franchisee you are buying into the opportunity to create long lasting memories for a child. What more job satisfaction could you ask for? For more information please visit www.jabberjacks.co.uk or call 01509 413873.
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 15
Health & safety The Risks to Children’s Health from Mobile Phones By Patty Hemmingway
Have you heard that mobile phones carry health risks, and that children are at an even greater risk than adults? Dr Devra Davis, environmental and public health specialist, research scientist and grandmother, could not believe this, but what she found out alarmed her so much that she wrote a book, Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your family, 2010. She writes that, “Contrary to the firmly held beliefs of many respected authorities, invisible radio frequency radiation can alter living cells and create the same types of damage that we know increase the risk of cancer and neurological disease. Neither the danger nor the safety of cell phones is yet certain. How we manage that uncertainty could avert a global public health catastrophe... children are growing up in a sea of radio frequency radiation that did not exist even five years ago.” My own concerns about cell phone radiation and other forms of digital pulsed microwave radiation had been aroused a few years ago when I began seeing an increasing number of children showing symptoms after exposure to mobile phones, mast radiation or wireless radiation. These included hyperactive behaviour which reverted to normal when the children were away from the irradiated environment, skin rashes and eczemas that did not improve with treatment, night terrors and mood swings, lowered immunity in previously
healthy children, and sudden nose-bleeds. A major concern about mobile phones has always been that radiation can penetrate deep into a child’s skull because it is so much thinner and smaller than an adult’s. Standards for phones are set for a large, thick-skulled, man, although half of the world’s four billion cell phones are used by people under twenty. The SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) printed on the box relates simply to the phone’s capacity to heat tissue, as manufacturers and standard setters initially refused to believe that there could be any other detrimental effect from radio frequency radiation. This is strange as our bodies run on electrical currents, which are easily disrupted by pulsed frequencies, as has been demonstrated in a study by Dr Magda Havas and colleagues, showing heart arrhythmias triggered by DECT (cordless) phones. (tinyurl.com/yfd2dfw). In the digital age this poses new health risks depending on a person’s susceptibility, the density and intensity of the radiation, and the length of time they are exposed to it. Children are certainly more susceptible because they are still growing, and their neural circuitry will not be fully formed until they reach their early twenties. Until then, they need protection from anything that could interfere with their brain’s development. In France, this research has led to the decision to ban children in primary school from using mobile phones, and discouraging mobile phone advertising aimed at children. They are also removing
16 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
wireless communication systems from public places such as libraries, and hospitals, after workers complained of feeling ill at work. The Bioinitiative Report in 2007 was the work of a group of eminent, international scientists, who examined existing research into the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, and especially its impact on the immune system, behaviour, childhood cancers, breast cancer, and brain tumours. This epic work concluded that the safety standards for exposure need to be revised downwards. Dr Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute was being cautious when in 2008 he drafted a memo to staff, warning of the dangers of mobile phones, and urging them to limit their use because of the risk of cancer. Top of his list of precautions is that children should use mobiles only for emergencies, in recognition of the fact that their growing brain tissue is likely to be more sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones. Alasdair Philips from Powerwatch, an independent group that investigates the safety of mobile phones, revealed that safety advice was generally to be found only in the small print. Manuals for the Blackberry (The Torch), for example, warn users to “use hands-free operation if available and keep the device at least 25mm from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers)” when it is switched on. Dr Davis’s advice is, never carry a live mobile phone next to your body, and always use a headset. You can see her video for teenagers on her website, www.environmentalhealthtrust.org, or check out the guidance from a group of concerned parents, who have looked closely at the science, www.wiredchild.org, which includes: • Keeping calls short or sending texts
• Replacing wireless equipment with non-wireless • Changing to a low-radiation or analogue baby monitor • Turning all wireless equipment off at night, in the car, and when near pregnant women, or children. Patty Hemingway (RMANM) is a family homeopath, with a special interest in electromagnetic radiation sickness www.pattyhemingway.com Useful Websites www.environmentalhealthtrust.org how to use phones safely www.wiredchild.org - news and science for children and their parents. www.bioinitiative.org – for Bioinitiative Report www.powerwatch.org.uk - the latest research, clearly explained www.es-uk.info – support to people with symptoms of electrosensitivity Books Radiation Rescue: 4 steps to safeguard your family from the other inconvenient truth – the health hazards of wireless technology. Kerry Crofton, 2009 Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family. Dr Devra Davis, 2010
Other related material is published online. www.familiescheshire.co.uk
Health & safety Car Seat Safety - Do the two finger test Finally! BPAs banished from baby bottles Do the Two Finger Test when using thick coats or snowsuits this winter A recent poll of 1000 mums has shown that 76.3% of British parents put their children into car seats while wearing a thick coat or snowsuit. Worryingly more than half (55.9%) are unaware that this can affect the harness tension, potentially placing their child in danger. The survey conducted by baby company Morrck with parents of children aged four and under, highlights a little known safety hazard – that bulky winter clothes can result in car seat harness straps being too loose to be effective. “Parents may be very surprised at the amount of slack a coat or snow suit can cause. For a car seat harness to work properly, the straps need to be tightly strapped against the child’s chest. When a child wears a snowsuit or thick coat, the straps are usually adjusted to the thickness of the coat, not the chest. If the car was in an accident, the coat could compress, making the straps too loose and reducing the level of protection for the child,” explains Isobel Thompson, mum of three and founder of Morrck, creator of the Baby Hoodie. To test whether you have correct harness tension when using a coat or snowsuit, Morrck advises you do the two finger test: 1. Put the coat on the child. 2. Strap the child into the car seat and tighten to ensure a snug fit. 3. Remove the child from the car seat – without loosening the straps. 4. Take the coat off the child. 5. Strap the child back into the seat – but don’t adjust the straps.
5. Do the Two finger test. If you can fit more than two fingers underneath the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the harness tension needs to be tightened or avoid using the coat in the car seat. Morrck’s Baby Hoodie helps keep babies both warm and safe as it fits into a carseat, with slots for the harness straps to pass through. The baby is strapped in as normal with the straps tight against their chest. The hoodie is wrapped around the baby, keeping him snug and warm, but is easy to fold open once the car heats up. As it has no fastenings, clips, zips or Velcro, it also offers easy access to the harness release button. Morrck’s Baby Hoodie has been tested by an independent testing facility and is certified as having passed the relevant elements of the ECE Reg R44.04 car seat safety test. Costing from £32.95, they are available from www.morrck.com.
Protect your kids
footprint. DigitalME recognises that whilst the Internet is an infinitely powerful tool, it also presents risks. Lucinda Fell, Childnet International Policy and Communications Manager, says, “‘Safe’ embraces the positive opportunities afforded by the Internet, encouraging young people when sharing on the web to ask Who? What? Where? These are important messages for primary pupils to consider.” The programme is free to schools and optional, paid for training, certificates, badges and other resources support the programme further. To find out more visit www.digitalme.co.uk/safe
‘Safe’, the new social networking safety programme for primary schools, is launched this winter by DigitalME. Backed by Childnet International, ‘Safe’ is designed to support primary school pupils in learning the essential skills to enjoy social networking, whilst remaining safe online. With children sharing content online and joining social networks at an increasingly younger age, there is a greater need to ensure primary aged pupils are equipped with the knowledge to understand potential risks and the skills to manage their digital
The European Commission has just announced a ban on the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) plastics in baby bottles, which will come into effect during 2011. The controversial chemical is still currently used in some baby bottles sold in the UK, although many brands have stopped using it, and there is evidence to suggest it can interfere with healthy growth and body functions, mimicking the effect of the hormone oestrogen in the body, to which babies are particularly vulnerable. “We have been calling for a UK ban on selling baby bottles containing bisphenol-A plastics for several years,” says Belinda Phipps of
the NCT, “and are thrilled their import and sale will soon be outlawed across the EU. When you put hot liquids into a bottle containing BPA, particularly as the bottle gets older and more scratched, the chemical can leach out of the plastic and be absorbed into the baby’s body. However, now there are viable alternatives and so there is no reason to continue using this chemical when there is concern about potential risks to young babies.” She adds, “we would now like to see BPA plastics banned in other products, as the chemical is also used in the linings of some formula tins and baby food containers.” Watch this space… www.nct.org.uk.
De-stress this New Year If you’re feeling the effects from eating too much at Christmas and all the stress of the season, here are a few tips to help lift you up while you wait for Spring. Cuddle up: The British Heart Foundation has already researched the links between cuddling and our emotional states. Did you know, when we get a cuddle, we release Oxytocin, which is the hormone which gives us that warm fuzzy feeling – so hug your nearest and everyone can be a winner! Positive thinking: Regularly visualise or write down what you want to achieve, believe that you can do it – and great things will happen. It may sound a little bit airy fairy – but it’s true. Slowly it will creep into your subconscious and all will be revealed! Smile: Give yourself a free face lift! It takes more than double the amount of muscles to frown, so let your face rest a bit and you’ll appear younger for longer! Massage: Stay warm with a quick massage – get the whole family involved or give yourself a quick pummel by
making a fist with your hands and massaging your whole body as quickly as you can. It’s a great way to wake yourself up, and also helps you get rid of any tension so you can start the day with a clear mind. Relax and Beat Illness: Relaxing can help strengthen your immune system. By actively taking time out to chill, your nervous system learns how to settle itself in all levels of situations from different weathers to stressful times. This results in it directing the immune system to attack viruses developed with less energy than required by someone who does not take the time to relax and in turn, makes any illnesses less extreme. We can all become healthier and happier by consciously making a few changes here and there. And before you know it, those resolutions that seemed so difficult will be a breeze! For more exercises or information, visit www.relaxkids.com and see how they can help you.
Be safe, go nut free If you have a child with a nut allergy you’ll know how frustrating it can be trying to find a nut free cake. But search no more! The Just Love Food Company was set up in 2010 by food manufacturer Mike Woods, whose own children have severe nut allergies. They guarantee that their products are 100% nut free and their range is expanding every day. Their nut free birthday cakes are
available in Sainsbury’s and other products are available online. Find out more at www.justlovefoodcompany.com.
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 17
Health & safety RoSPA extends its blind cord campaign with 60,000 free safety packs Recently, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) announced that it would be expanding its national campaign by launching new web content and distributing 60,000 safety packs free of charge to anyone who requests one. Both the society and CAPT (Child Accident Prevention Trust) are working closely with the industry body, the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) to alert people to the risk of
young children of getting caught up in and strangled by looped blind cords. For more information or to order your free pack, go to www.rospa.com/about/ currentcampaigns/blindcords. You’ll find comprehensive safety advice on RoSPA and CAPT’s websites: www.capt.org.uk/safety-advice/ keeping-your-child-safe-strangulation, but these are the essentials: • If you have blinds or curtains with looped cords, reduce the risk by:
• Tying up the cords securely out of children’s reach, using one of the many cleats or cord tidies that are available. • Moving your child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair away from the window blind. • If you can, moving other furniture away from the window blind too, as young children love to climb. • If you are choosing new blinds, look for blinds that do not have a cord or
that have a concealed cord, particularly if you’re fitting them in a child’s bedroom. There’s a very good reason CAPT, RoSPA and BBSA are working so hard to raise awareness, and that’s because it’s vital the message gets through. As recently as 10 October 2010, Leah Edwards, a 17-month-old twin from Chelmsford died in her cot after becoming entangled in a blind cord.
their local area, if they do need advice from an NHS professional; and • Reinforce the message that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions such as heart-attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents. Remember: • If you are a normally healthy adult, there are a number of services you can go to if you need treatment or advice if you have a minor illness, ailment or injury. • Your local pharmacist provides an easily accessible service on your
high-street, and can give confidential, expert, free advice without having to go to A&E or waiting for a GP appointment. Text ‘pharmacy’ to 64746 to receive three FREE texts with the details of your nearest pharmacies. • A&E and 999 services are for people with a life-threatening or serious condition that need immediate attention. • By choosing the right service, people can help to ensure that emergency and urgent care services such as A&E and 999 are reserved for people with lifethreatening conditions, such as heartattacks, strokes and serious injuries.
• A&E is one of the most costly NHS service and the average cost for someone who attends A&E and leaves without needing any further or follow-up treatment is £124.
Choose Well is a national campaign, supported by local doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, to ensure that people choose the right place for healthcare advice or treatment. The campaign aims to: • Promote self-care for minor illnesses and injuries, such as coughs, colds and flu, stomach upsets, minor cuts and bruises, backache and minor sports injuries; • Give people up-to-date information about the NHS services available in
18 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust support and run this campaign locally and we are asking you to pass the message on to colleagues, patients, family and friends. For more information visit www.cecpct.nhs.uk/choose-well.
Out & about
These listings are for guidance only - please check before you go to include your upcoming event in our listings, email email@example.com
Activities Daily throughout Jan Glo Family, Cheadle Creative Play - Chinese New Year themed activities 11am & 2pm, Free
Sat 8 Jan Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am, Free taster session Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm
Mon 10 Jan United Reformed Church Hall, Wilmslow Rosie Health’s Baby Rhyme and Sign 8 week beginners course 1.30 – 2.30pm, For babies & toddlers 4 mths – 2 yrs £35 per family for 8 week course, or £5 on the door
Tues 11 Jan St Gregory’s Primary School, Bollington Rosie Health’s Café Maman 5 week course for mums with babies up to 6 months. Baby massage, taster sessions of baby yoga, music and signing, baby resuscitation, weaning. 1.30 – 3pm, For babies 0 – 6 mths £38 for 5 weeks (includes refreshments & massage oil)
Fri 14 Jan St John’s Wood Community Centre, Knutsford Rosie Health’s Café Maman 5 week course for mums with babies up to 6 months. Baby massage, taster sessions of baby yoga, music and signing, baby resuscitation, weaning. 10.30am – 12 noon, For babies 0 – 6 mths £38 for 5 weeks (includes refreshments & massage oil)
Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm
Sun 6 Feb
Alderley Edge Festival Hall Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12.30pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p
The Kingsway Lower School, Cheadle Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12.30pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p Brereton Heath, Davenport Lane Winter Welly Walk Ages 6 – 11, Booking required (01625 504505)
Sat 29 Jan
Sat 12 Feb
Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm Chorley Village Hall, Knutsford Road, Wilmslow The Engine Shed - Train club aimed at children on the autistic spectrum. 2 – 4pm, Free, but please notify attendance in advance to assist with catering
Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm
Sun 23 Jan
Tatton Park Scarecrow Festival Normal Park Entry Charges Apply
Sun 20 Congleton Park Build a Bird a Home Booking essential (01625 504505) – available from 23 Jan.
Sun 20 & Wed 23 Feb Churnet Valley Railway, Froghall Barney Buffers & Friends Entertainment at Froghall & Cheddleton Stations. Adults £10, Seniors £10, Children £5, Family £25 (2 adults, 2 children)
Sun 13 Feb
Poolside at The Moor, Knutsford RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - The world’s biggest bird survey. 11am – 12 noon, Ages 6+
The Marlborough Primary School, Tytherington Car Boot Sale 11am – 1pm, Pitches cost £5 (Call Debbie: 07702 171612) The Salt Line (meeting point TBC) Bird Box Making 10.30am – 3.30pm, £2 per box. Booking essential (01625 504505) – available from 13 Jan.
Daily throughout February
Wed 16 Feb
Glo Family, Cheadle Creative Play 11am & 2pm, Free
Bridgend Centre, Bollington Bridgend Centre Walk 10.30am, Adults £2, Children £1
Sat 5 Feb
Sat 19 Feb
Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm Rode Hall, Scholar Green Farmers’ Market & Snowdrop Walk
Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm
Sun 30 Jan
Sat 19 – Sun 27 Feb (Closed Mon 21 Feb)
Thurs 24 & Fri 25 Feb Silk Museum, Macclesfield Vicious Vikings - Artwork & jewellery workshop. 10am – 12 noon, Ages 6 – 11 £5 per session (payable in advance). Booking essential and commences 2 weeks before event.
Sat 26 Feb Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm Chorley Village Hall, Knutsford Road, Wilmslow The Engine Shed - Train club aimed at children on the autistic spectrum. 2 – 4pm, Free, but please notify attendance in advance to assist with catering
Sun 27 Feb Alderley Edge Festival Hall Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12.30pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p
Sat 15 Jan Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am Flamencista - Flamenco for kids aged 6 - 13 1pm – 2.30pm
Wed 19 Jan Bridgend Centre, Bollington Bridgend Centre Walk 10.30am, Adults £2, Children £1
Sat 22 Jan Glo Family, Cheadle Pre and Post Natal Pilates 10am – 11am
www.familiescheshire.co.uk | Families Cheshire 19
Out & about Theatres
Thurs 3 Feb
Sun 27 Feb
Sat 8 – Sat 15 Jan
The Lowry (The Lyric Theatre) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare 4kidz)
The Lowry (The Studio) Peter And The Wolf
Daneside Theatre, Congleton Babes in the Wood
Fri 4 & Sat 5 Feb Thurs 20 – Sat 29 Jan Knutsford Little Theatre Cinderella
The Lowry (The Lyric Theatre) Flawless – Chase The Dream
Sun 6 Feb Fri 21 Jan Stockport Plaza Dance Extravaganza
Buxton Opera House Andy & Mike’s Big Box of Bananas
Tues 8 Feb – Sat 12 Feb Fri 21 & Sat 22 Jan Buxton Opera House My Fair Lady
Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent Horrible Histories – The Awful Egyptians and The Ruthless Romans
Sat 15 & Sun 16 Jan
Fri 11 & Sat 12 Feb
The Lowry (Quays Theatre) U.Dance North West 2011
Buxton Opera House The Wind in the Willows
Wed 19 – Sat 22 Jan
Sat 12 Feb
The Lowry (Lyric Theatre) Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella
Stockport Plaza Chris and Pui
Fri 28 – Sun 30 Jan
Tues 15 Feb – Sat 5 Mar
Buxton Opera House Chinese State Circus
Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent The Sound of Music
Sat 29 Jan
Tues 15 & Wed 16 Feb
Palace Theatre, Manchester Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night
Palace Theatre, Manchester G*Mania – inspired by the TV Hit Glee
Sun 30 Jan
Fri 18 & Sat 19 Feb
The Lowry (The Studio) Who’s Been Sitting In My Chair?
Palace Theatre, Manchester Sleeping Beauty (Ballet)
Tues 1 Feb – Sat 5 Feb
Sat 26 & Sun 27 Feb
Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella
Stockport Plaza Chinese New Year Spectacular
20 Families Cheshire | www.familiescheshire.co.uk
Contact information: Glo Family: 0844 800 7380 / www.glofamily.com Rosie Health: 07961 614882 / www.rosiehealth.com Cheshire East Ranger Service: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/rangers Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop: 07748 601248 / www.kidscarbootandswapshop.co.uk The Engine Shed: Liz: 01565 872010 / www.engineshedcheshire.com Rode Hall: 01270 873237 / www.rodehall.co.uk Tatton Park: 01625 374 435 / www.tattonpark.org.uk Churnet Valley Railway: 01538 750755 / www.churnet-valley-railway.co.uk Macclesfield Silk Museum: 01625 612045 / www.macclesfield.silk.museum
Contact information: Daneside Theatre, Congleton: 01260 278481 / www.danesidetheatre.co.uk Knutsford Little Theatre: 01565 873315 / www.knutsfordlittletheatre.com Stockport Plaza: 0161 477 7779 / www.stockportplaza.co.uk Buxton Opera House: 0845 127 2190 / www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk Palace Theatre: 0844 847 2277 / www.manchestertheatres.com/palacetheatre The Lowry: 0843 208 6000 / www.thelowry.com Regent Theatre: 0844 871 7627 / www.ambassadortickets.com/Regent-Theatre