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south east london

In this issue: Half term and Halloween fun School Open Days Mothers Mean Business

The Pointer School (Blackheath)

A Prep, Pre-Prep & Nursery School for boys & girls between the ages of 3 and 11 • First Class examination results (100% success in recent 2012 examinations)

• Numerous extra-curricular clubs (36 in total, from fencing to horse riding)

• Organic food

• Large variety of outdoor and PE activities

• Breakfast club and after school care (8am-6pm)

• Three languages taught

• Christian Evangelical in ethos

• Holiday club (Christmas, Easter and Summer)

OFSTED: “OUTSTANDING IN ALL AREAS“ Telephone: 020 8293 1331

See OFSTED reports on our website


Founded by Muriel & Della Pointer in 1951

THERE’S MUCH talk in playgrounds across London as parents ponder their child’s next school, in a “Headlice High has now become an academy - what does it mean?” sort of way. Knowledge is power. We devote five pages of this issue to league tables, open days, what children want out of a teacher and for good measure, practical help for left-handers. Happily half term punctuates the month, providing time off from weighty matters to watch a show, visit an exhibition, sign up to a workshop or don a witch’s hat and scare little children. Or maybe that’s just me... Robina Cowan, editor

IN THIS ISSUE 2-3 Local News and Views A day of free tennis sessions, cool dancing for boys, touch-typing in Sydenham, a new shop and a job offer from Families

4-7 School News Choosing a new school, open days and the chance to win a classroom!

8 Left Out? Practical tips to help left handed children get to grips with writing

9 The Bookseller Crow Justine Crow recommends a feast of books to curl up with, read aloud or learn from

10-11 Half Term and Hallowe’en Keeping your little rascals entertained when school’s out

12 Family Life Help when you need it in a family breakdown, and saving for your child’s future

13 Mothers Mean Business Amberin Fur on family life and The Vale Practice in East Dulwich

14-18 What’s On All the best days out in and around town

19 What’s New Great products, useful services and tips for family skiing

20 The Back Page Local business contacts to make your life easier

Front cover: Girl wears 3⁄4 sleeve blouse from £10 (two pack), Marks & Spencer, 0845 609 0200,

Next issue out 2 November, copy deadline mid October Families South East PO Box 11591, London SE26 6WB 020 8699 7240

LocalNews email your news to

ildren h c r o f s ie it iv Act Tennis-4-Kids open day Find out how much fun children have at Tennis-4-Kids by joining in with a FREE open day session on 31 October. The day’s sessions are: ages 2-3 years Tiny Tots 10.30-11am with parents; ages 3-4 Little Aces 11-11.30am, ages 4-5 Junior Champs 11.30am-12.15pm; ages 6-8 Grand Slammers 12.15-1pm, all indoors at St Clements Church Hall in East Dulwich. Term time lessons are also available; for bookings and more information, call Gordon on 07877 391005 or see

South London Dance Studios ‘Calling all boys with rhythm and style (and a bit of attitude), who want to learn to dance!’ South London Dance Studios have a new range of dance classes suitable for boys, including street classes (for boys 5-7 years, 7-9 years and 10 years plus) for all abilities. In these classes boys learn current commercial dance styles to lively and contemporary music with the emphasis of the classes on having fun. The boys improve their ability to learn new routines quickly and also develop their technique, strength and flexibility. There is plenty going on for all at South London Dance Studios: • 50 students are doing the Ultimate Dance Challenge in aid of Save the Children on Sunday 14 October, aiming to raise at least £5,000. • they have just had the best examination results ever, with almost all students gaining distinction and the highest mark in a ballet examination being 97% by one of the Grade 3 girls • they’ve had two students in National Youth Ballet for the past few years • students are auditioning for West End shows and successfully competing in dance festivals and ISTD award competitions • over 200 children will take part in a big show in June next year at Alleyn’s school • there are new classes for adult beginners For further information or to enrol, email or call the studios on 020 7978 8624.

Typing on the move Learning to touch type makes life a whole lot easier for children, not just for school work, but also at home to complete essays or catch up with friends on a laptop. With proper tuition, children learn to touch-type surprisingly quickly, and what’s more, enjoy the whole experience. Since setting up in Greenwich in 2004, YES touch-typing has taught thousands of local children. During the summer, the organisation moved to Sydenham High School, where Saturday and school holiday courses are now attracting new families (yes - they teach adults too). To find out more or enrol, call 020 7515 1707 or 07961 427640, or see TOTS ON TUESDAY AT STREATHAM & CLAPHAM JUNIOR SCHOOL

A great place to meet other parents and carers A fun time for babies and toddlers (up to 4 years) ? An opportunity to socialise and share ideas and support ? A stimulating and safe environment ? Stay and play while enjoying a coffee (or tea!) ?


Tots on Tuesday takes place at 10 am until 12 noon every Tuesday morning during term-time. Streatham & Clapham Junior School Wavertree Rd, Streatham Hill SW2 3SR 020 8674 6912


families south east - october 2012

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Ecole Cadet Rousselle L’Ecole Cadet Rousselle in Herne Hill offers classes to young French-speaking children, and a place where French parents can meet other families. In our September magazine we inadvertently listed old contact details: we’re happy to put that right. For up to date information, call 0757 001 0946 or see

wn Ups o r G r o f s w e N Your round? If you know southeast London like the back of your hand, have a car and some free hours once a month, by joining Families’ delivery team you could earn some money. We are looking for a new person to take our magazines to local shops, nurseries, schools and libraries at the beginning of each month. We supply boxed magazines and an address list - you supply a cheery smile and some of your time. For more information, call the editor on 020 8699 7240 or email We look forward to hearing from you!

Cissy Wears Having children shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on taste, as parents discover when they pop into Cissy Wears. The new shop in Hither Green is aimed at “cool parents and kids that rock”, and specialises in childrenswear for 0-8 year-olds from the likes of Lapin & Me, Beau Loves, Mini Rodini and Popupshop; vintage children’s wear for 0-8 year-olds, and handpicked gifts, cards, decor and toys. Find them at 212a Hither Green Lane, SE12 and

Poised for Life October 8-14 is International Alexander Awareness Week (IAAW). The Alexander Technique does not only help adults with various aches and pains: this year’s theme, ‘Poised for Life’ focuses on children. When children and young people are taught to understand the importance of good posture and free movement, this can help them excel in sport, music and in other areas of their lives; while warding off future aches and pains. For more information about the technique, awareness week events, and to find an Alexander Technique teacher, go to For appointments in southeast London, call Jill Payne BA MSTAT Dip Phys on 020 8658 0820 or see

Put the children first The overwhelming majority of Londoners believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors if going through divorce, according to a new survey from Resolution, the national family law association. Nearly three out of four people (73%) say that putting children’s interests first would be their most or second most important consideration in a divorce, and nearly half (48%) would prioritise making the divorce as conflict-free as possible. Despite this, three-quarters of people (75%) believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce, and 37% believe that conflict is inevitable in separation and divorce. Despite the increasing availability of non-court alternatives, 42% think that most divorces involve a visit to court. The survey was conducted to mark Family Dispute Resolution Week in September, held to raise awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown, such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration. A new advice guide, Separating Together: Your options for separation and divorce’, is designed to help separating couples understand and explore non-court based methods of resolving issues arising on the breakdown of a relationship. South East Solutions is a practice group bringing together 24 solicitors specialising in family law to develop and encourage collaborative law in south and southeast Greater London. Each member practices law independently and is committed to working with their clients, other solicitors and their clients’ former partners or spouses to resolve issues arising from the break down of relationships. Three local solicitors with collaborative law specialists are Grant Saw in Greenwich 020 8858 6971, Anthony Gold in London Bridge 020 7940 4021 and Bennett Welch in Crystal Palace 020 8670 6141, For a copy of Separating Together, go to

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Designs on your money 29 October – 2 November 10:00am – 4:30pm

Banknote Big Draw Learn about banknote security features and design your own secure banknote. Enter our competition, with prizes to be won!

Admission free 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and public holidays. Entrance in Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH. Tel: 020 7601 5545 october 2012 - families south east


Education News

Which School Next? If you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, you’ll already know where your local schools are; the next step is to find out what they are like behind closed doors. • Log onto the government website and type ‘choosing a school’ into the search box for lists of local schools, exam results, school profiles and application details • Read inspection reports online at (for state schools) and (for independent schools), but be wary of out-of-date reports as things can change very quickly • Another useful resource is, which has a wealth of information on different school types, school listings, and if you are prepared to make

the investment, offer an advisory service which can be tailored to your child. Having whittled down your choices, ask for a prospectus for all the schools you are interested in, plus their admission criteria and an application form. Read them, and visit the schools. Other parents are useful for a view of local schools. Ask what they think about their child’s school’s strengths and weaknesses, taking with a pinch of salt any extreme comments which might be based on a specific experience and a tad biased. Another interesting exercise is passing the schools at the end of the day. Do the pupils look confident and purposeful, are they chatting in groups but still have the grace to let you pass? Or are they pushing each other around, dropping food wrappers and rubbishing their teachers? Could you see your child coming out of this school?

League tables While unpopular with teachers, league tables are useful for parents, but consult them wisely; they provide a statistical snapshot without any ‘flesh’ or explanation. What they tell you • The percentage of pupils who passed their GCSE and A’levels, and the overall grades • How each school ranks alongside its competitors And what they don’t • The school’s intake, and how much effort has gone into achieving the best grades • The subjects taken A school with a challenging intake may be making magnificent strides through committed teaching, yet on paper would compare poorly to a school whose more able children find exams easier. Schools with impressive GCSE and A’level results may encourage pupils to sit ‘soft’ subjects rather than maths, modern languages or science; and/ or may have a high number of pupils who are tutored out of school. There’s no substitute for visiting a school and asking lots of questions.

The perfect teacher What do today’s schoolchildren think of their teachers? What makes a good teacher? It depends on their age, as Laura Gray found out when she asked three different age groups of children. Knowing what children respond to is helpful to parents when looking around prospective schools. “My search first led me to a five year-old thumb sucker who solemnly informed me the perfect teacher would be: “kind; a good story teller; nice”. Not surprisingly, this child was describing her own schoolteacher. This demonstrates just how important a child’s first teacher is as it is she (usually) who will set the standard by which a child will measure teaching quality for the next few years.


families south east - october 2012

Independent schools One in ten London children is educated in the independent sector, and despite the recession, thousands of parents are still opting to invest in their children’s education. It is certainly worth attending independent school open days to increase your knowledge of what is available locally. These are the schools that typically achieve league-topping results, have the highest expectations of the pupils, have well-funded facilities and offer extensive extra-curricular activities, from sports to music and drama. Large numbers of pupils are on some form of scholarship or means-tested bursary, putting private education within reach of ‘ordinary’ families.

For eleven year-old Emma and her peers, the perfect teacher is: • funny yet not sarcastic • young (mid twenties) • has control over the class • not too strict • enjoys teaching their subject • fun • everyone treated equally

• •

I then asked a group of year 11s. By this age, pupils work more independently and age and gender no longer mattered. The following list was drawn up: • informative • stays on the subject and syllabus without waffle • does not preach

All the students questioned seemed to think being fun and kind were essential but all seemed to agree inadvertently there is not just one recipe for teacher success - probably because the ‘perfect teacher’ will never exist.”

• • • • • •

allows time for argument and debate gives structured lessons so pupils always know where they stand treats students equally offers help at all times fun has high standards which are obtainable organised not patronising

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Schoolwear from Next, 0844 844 8000,

It’s the Open Day season - the best time to explore your options in the hunt for your child’s next school. Schools come in all shapes and sizes, and league tables, prospectuses, Ofsted reports and SATs results are enough to make most parents’ heads spin. The good news is that thousands have survived the process before - here’s how to get a head start:

Your child’s future starts here


Junior School

Independent day school for boys and girls aged 4 –11 Townley Road, Dulwich, London SE22 8SU

Co-educational, academic excellence


Thursday 8 November and Tuesday 20 November 1.30pm – 3.00pm The Headmaster will give a short talk, and visitors may look around the school. It is not necessary to book for Open Days. For further details please see our website We look forward to welcoming you to Alleyn’s Junior School. Please email or call 020 8557 1519 to obtain a prospectus or for any other information.

St Dunstan’s College Co-educational Independent day school for 3 -18 year olds

Impressive academic record “an excellent standard of pastoral care� ISI 2011 New for 2013 - enhanced sporting provision at new Jubilee Grounds Choice of IB Diploma & A Levels in the Sixth Form “St Dunstan’s is like a family to me� Year 11 pupil Senior School Open Days 2012 Saturday, 13 October, 9.30-11.30 Saturday, 17 November, 9.30-11.30 Sixth Form Open Afternoon 2012 Thursday, 8 November, 2.30-4pm

Charity number: 312747 Stanstead Road, Rd, London, 4TY Stanstead London,SE6 SE6 4TY

t: 020 8516 7200

Greenwich Steiner School Acorns age 0–31/2 Kindergarten age 31/2 –6 Lower School age 6–11 Middle School age 11-14

“The outcomes for children are good...they achieve well and enjoy their learning.� School Inspection Service for OFSTED.

Open day dates: Saturday 6th October 2012 Saturday 24th November 2012 10am – 12pm Woodlands, 90 Mycenae Road, Blackheath, London SE3 7SE T: 020 8858 4404 w w w. f a m i l i e s s e . c o . u k

Outperforming expectations on a daily basis Senior School Open Days 4UESDAY  /CTOBER 7EDNESDAY  .OVEMBER


Sixth Form Open Evening 4HURSDAY  /CTOBER





3ENIOR3CHOOL (11-18)


42 Abbotswood Road, SW16 1AW


020 8677 8400


october 2012 - families south east


Education News

Making the Most of

Rose House Montessori School For children aged 2 – 11 years old

Open Days Open Day visits are much more worthwhile when you have a clear idea of what you are looking for before you go, such as:

Amazing premises in converted church buildings. Hands-on, self paced, collaborative, challenging & joyful learning in an environment based on beauty, respect and peace.

• •

Award winning, Ofsted outstanding, Montessori MEAB accredited

Open days Early Years

Primary Years

20. October 2012 & 2. March 2013

24.November 2012 & 2. March 2013

10am-2pm St George’s Church Vancouver Road Forest Hill SE23 2AG

10am-2pm The Chapel on the Hill South Road Forest Hill SE23 2UJ Phone 07810 015698



Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside and without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or self-employed background or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle, please call Skye Edwards

07973 749 846

Don’t be shy of asking lots of questions - good school staff have nothing to hide and will appreciate your interest. Take your child with you to gauge her initial impressions and to see if the staff are interested in her as well as making a good impression on parents You will obviously be most interested in the year your child will be going into; but look beyond to the final year group as well to see the outcome of the school’s teaching Listen to the Head’s address and if you can, talk to him or her too. A good school will have an inspiring, enthusiastic and committed headteacher, supported by a loyal and united management team - and it will show Ask about staff turnover. Some movement is healthy, bringing fresh ideas: too much indicates dissatisfaction and can be disrupting. How young are the staff? Too young can mean inexperienced; approaching retirement can mean a huge turnover on the horizon - look for a balance and engage teachers in a chat about their specialist subject It’s an acknowledged fact that class sizes matter. Government guidelines lay down targets for, but budget constraints make this difficult. Ask the school how they are managing - in some schools children are spending a lot of time overseen by teaching assistants rather than fully qualified staff Where do pupils move on to? This is a good indicator of final results, along with the numbers who move onto their first choice when continuing their education

Thamesbecause small schools build big futures our exceptional independent school for boys and girls

OPEN MORNING SATURDAY 6th OCTOBER 10.00-1.00 For full list of open mornings, enrolment and fee details contact 020 7228 3933 Thames Christian College, Wye Street, London SW11 2HB


families south east - october 2012

community feel where confidence and self development are paramount Where the school is located. In the good old days, children went to their local school and all their friends lived nearby. Not any more. Thousands of children are travelling miles across London to school, which can make for a very early start and a long day - consider how many buses might be involved to and from your home.

On the day •

A state maintained, academy, church school, grammar or independent school A strong preference for single sex or co-ed schooling. It can be interesting asking school heads for their views, as each will support their own intake with compelling evidence! A school that specialises in your child’s strength in science, performing arts or sports. Alternatively, one which scores highly on academic achievement; or maybe a school with a strong

• •

• •

Check out music, science, IT, sports and arts facilities - is there enough equipment and space? Look for examples of classwork to see where teachers are awarding marks and how ‘hot’ they are on things like spelling, grammar and tidy work Enquire about the extra help available for children who are above or below average in a particular subject - your child may need it How accessible will teachers and the Head be if you have a concern to raise? In senior schools, look beyond the headline exam results. Can pupils sit exams in all the subjects they want; are some dissuaded from sitting certain (harder) exams - or even asked to leave (it happens). How many pupils leave to go to another sixth form and how many new pupils join from other schools? A big turnover at this stage will be indicative of how current pupils and their parents view the final years’ teaching. Is there a varied programme of afterschool activities for those who want it, and are your child’s interests covered by them? Are the lunches healthy and fresh? Look for a sample if you can, and ask the current pupils what they think of the school food If you are a working parent, ask about wrap around care and how flexible this is. Can you book into after school care the week or day before? Do they run a holiday camp in the school holidays and what hours does it run? Does the school have an active PTA, and what sort of activities does it organise? (expect fundraising!).

Open day dates The following independent schools are welcoming prospective parents and pupils for 2013 entry. Alleyn’s School 8 + 20 November Junior school 6+7 November Seniors school Townley Road, East Dulwich SE22 8SU, 020 8557 1519, Blackheath High School GDST 6+18 October, 7+13 November Juniors, Wemyss Road SE3 3+18 October, 7+13 November Seniors, Vanbrugh Park, Blackheath SE3 7AG, 020 8853 2929, Colfe’s 10 October Senior school (for yr 6 pupils),

11 October Sixth form. Horn Park Lane SE12 8AW, 020 8852 2283, Dulwich College 17 October, 22 November Junior school 3 October, 8, 14 + 23 November Lower school 8 October, 5 November Middle school Dulwich Common SE21 7LD, 020 8299 9263, Greenwich Steiner School 6 October, 24 November Woodlands, 90 Mycenae Road, Blackheath SE3 7SE, 020 8858 4404,

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News for schools Win a classroom Local schools struggling for space are being given a chance to win an £80,000 classroom that’s big enough for 30 students. The national competition is being run by the leading education magazine and website TES in conjunction with Clearspace Buildings, a UK developer, designer, manufacturer and installer of timber frame and modular timber structures. As well as construction of the classroom, Clearspace Buildings will undertake all necessary planning and building permissions, groundwork and construction and internal finishing, including flooring, lighting and power points. Six shortlisted schools will be selected in December and, following a public vote, the winning school will be announced in January with construction of the stylish new building as early as Easter 2013. To enter, schools are simply required to explain in no more than 300 words why their school deserves a new learning space. The competition is open to all UK primary and secondary schools until the closing date Friday 20 November 2012. Entry is online at or

YES, I can touch-type Touch-typing taught in just 10 hours Book now for Saturdays and October Half-Term Courses in Sydenham

With proper tuition children can learn to touch-type surprisingly quickly and, what’s more, enjoy the whole experience. ■ Improved speed and effectiveness in study. ■ Well presented work increases self-esteem. ■ There are particular benefits for those with dyslexia or dyspraxia.

‘Fantastic –tutor and course.’ Mother of 10 year old girl. ‘Chris was amazed that he was able to touchtype in just 10 hours.’ Mother of 12 year old boy.

Courses now run at SYDENHAM To find out more call:

020 7515 1707

School for gardening Schools across London baked birthday cakes from produce they grew to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, and the fact that 1,300 London schools are now registered with the Campaign. Nearly 16,000 schools have signed up to the Campaign for School Gardening since it began in 2007, and an estimated 220,000 children are now involved. It was set up by the RHS to help children learn about growing, healthy eating and the environment. RHS research proves that gardening in schools can increase a readiness to learn, improve literacy and numeracy skills; and improve children’s self-esteem, confidence and motivation. The Campaign has been so successful that 96 schools outside the UK, including Cambodia, Mexico, India and the US have joined the scheme to have access to the online resources that include lesson plans covering both the primary and secondary curriculum. Schools can register for free. For more information visit: JAGS (James Allen’s Girls School) 13 October Juniors and Seniors 7 November Seniors 144 East Dulwich Grove, East Dulwich SE22 8TE, 020 8693 1181, Rose House Montessori 20 October, early years 24 November primary years Forest Hill, 07810 015698, Rosemead Preparatory School 13 October 70 Thurlow Park Road, West Dulwich SE21 8HZ, 020 8670 5865, St Dunstan’s College 13 October, 17 November Senior school, 8 November Sixth form, Stanstead Road SE6 4TY, 020 8516 7200,

Streatham + Clapham High School GDST 10 November, 4 December Junior School, Wavertree Road SW2 3SR, 020 8674 6912 16 October, 7 November 11 October Senior school, Sixth form 42 Abbotswood Road SW16 1AW, 020 8677 8400, Sydenham High School GDST 3+9 October, 8+12 November Junior School, 15 Westow Hill SE26 6BL, 020 8557 7000 6+11 October, 9+13 November Senior School, 19 Westow Hill SE26 6BL, 020 8557 7000, Thames Christian College 6 October Wye Street SW11 2HB, 020 7228 3933,

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email: or call Norman on 07961 427640

Develop your child’s independence

Kumon’s maths and English study programmes are tailored to your child’s individual needs, nurturing their independence and enthusiasm for learning. To unlock your child’s potential, contact your local Instructor for a Free Assessment:

Blackheath Rizwana Arain 020 8239 0093

South Bermondsey Snezhana Stoyanova 020 7703 2466

Forest Hill Ann Rolfe 020 8699 0264

Thamesmead Kemi Olomo 020 8316 7516

Fees vary. Please refer to your local study centre.

october 2012 - families south east


Education News

Left out?

Supporting your left handed child One in ten children is left handed, but many fail to get the support they need in the early years of their education. Experts say teachers aren’t given the proper training and schools don’t have the right resources. Sarah Butters is mother to a left handed daughter. She takes a look at some of the most common problems faced by left handers and some tips for helping them out.

Messy handwriting If you have a child who is left handed, chances are they haven’t been taught to write. Most are simply allowed to use their left hand. As the right handed parent of a left handed child I admit to having that same attitude. I now know that I was completely wrong. Left handers push the pen across the page, whereas their right handed friends will pull. This can lead to smudging and untidy work which in turn leads to anxiety on the part of the child. At an early stage a left handed child should be encouraged to master the correct handwriting position and paper placement to avoid problems as the writing assignments increase. The paper should be rotated to 45 degrees with the hand and wrist below the writing. Any pen needs to be held in a strong 3 point grip. In Early Years this can be supported with a triangular bodied pencil or a moulded grip around a regular pencil. If your child can get into good habits from the start of their school life, they will avoid problems when they graduate to a fountain pen and longer writing assignments.

pupils can get rid of mistakes easily without using endless pieces of paper. However, if you’re left handed you can end up erasing as you write. Good grip and placement of the board gives left handers half a chance. If your child isn’t completing white board work quickly or neatly enough, it may not be their fault.

Mirror writing I remember being hugely concerned when I discovered that my daughter had completed a Reception assignment using mirror writing. She had begun her words on the right hand side of the page and written from right to left. It’s common in left handed children and when you think about it, it makes sense. If they are sat next to a right hander, they are simply mirroring their work. Encourage them to start on the left hand side of the page by placing a coloured star in the margin as a reminder.

Computers Most ICT rooms are set up with the computer mice on the right hand side of the keyboard. This gives left handed children an automatic disadvantage because they either need to move the mouse or attempt or use their right hand. Don’t presume the teacher knows your child is left handed. Be sure to let all the staff involved with your child know they’re a left hander and will need a different workstation set up.

The ‘right’ equipment

Hook grip Some left handers use a hooked grip to avoid the problem of smudging, and angle the pen in the same way a right hander would. This causes more problems than it solves. The hook grip becomes more uncomfortable the more you write. It leads to an overtight grip and aching hands which in turn lead to messy handwriting. The wrist should always be below the writing line. If your child is developing a hook grip, consider introducing a sloped surface to resolve the problem.

Elbow collision At some point your child will have to share a desk and if they’re left handed this can be a problem. “I always end up banging elbows” explains my nine year old daughter. “That makes my writing messy.” You child should always be placed at the left hand side of a shared desk or next to another left hander. This gives them plenty of space to get their paper positioned correctly and avoid knocking elbows with a right handed neighbour.


Many left handed children learn the basics with the wrong equipment. Give a left handed child some right handed scissors and they’ll find the blade is upside down and so they can’t see the line they are cutting. It means the child has less control and think of themselves as messy. This can be a real problem in the Early Years. Check your school has left handed scissors to offer your child. Ambidextrous scissors don’t exist - trust me! As they progress to writing, shiny barrelled pens are to be avoided. Make sure whatever pen you choose has a good grip so it’s easy to hold even when hands get hot and tired. Pencil grips, left handed fountain pens and Yoropen ballpoints make life a lot easier.

White boards

Lack of understanding

They’re a teacher’s best friend but a left hander’s worst nightmare. White boards and chalk boards are a great learning tool in the modern classroom -

As a right hander, I never appreciated the challenges faced by my daughter. Until she mastered left handed writing, she was labelled

families south east - october 2012

untidy in her written work and lost enthusiasm for putting pen to paper. It wasn’t until I began researching this piece that I realise how much of her attitude is linked to the hand she writes with. The bad news is she’s had a more challenging time than her right handed pals. The good news is she’s in good company. Barack Obama, Leonardo Da Vinci and Bill Gates are all lefties. Now that’s not a bad club to be in!

You can make a difference Keith Milsom campaigns for better support of left handed children in our schools and offers some advice about what to expect from your child’s school. “Despite decades of campaigning and a string of promises from government ministers and teacher training authorities, there is still virtually no guidance provided to teachers on helping left-handed children and no process for identifying left-handers in schools. Make sure you talk to your child’s teacher to make sure they know that he/ she is left-handed and may need assistance and advice. Ask your child’s teacher to talk YOU through the support they’re going to give so you can be sure they really understand. If you’re concerned, refer them to the teacher guidance sheets available from The school should have left-handed scissors available and pens that will help left-handers write in the correct style. If children are left to their own devices it is very unlikely they will find writing and cutting out easy. Apart from the practical difficulties this can mean they are working more slowly than the rest of the class and lose some of their confidence - especially if the teacher tells them off for “not doing it right”. Lefthanders can end up underperforming at school and having difficulty with written exams as a result of a lack of informed guidance at an early stage. It’s important that parents keep the pressure on schools to support their left handed children.”

Useful resources • has some great left handed guidance sheets for parents and teachers. It’s also a comprehensive source of left handed products for all ages such as kitchen equipment, tools and musical instruments • and are also great websites with facts and tips for parents looking to support their left handed child.

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The Bookseller Crow

is a fantastic, volume stuffed shop run by some of the most knowledgeable bookworms in the business. Call in for the feel of a real bookshop, or if you’re too busy, pick up the phone or point your mouse at their website for a fast mailorder service. Justine Crow recommends this month’s best titles. WE’VE BEEN HAVING a clear-out, Spring cleaning in Autumn if you will, to see if we can’t find some books to burn to keep us warm through winter and recession. It was getting desperate – our office at the bookshop was so full of archive boxes containing the accounts we are legally required to keep for centuries that it resembled a Rachel Whiteread installation and you had to shimmy sideways to go to the loo. Jokes aside about discovering veterans in torn fatigues who didn’t know the war was over, I kept hoping we’d find an old bank bag stuffed full of cash we’d neglected to night safe back in ‘97. Sadly, amidst the thousands of used till rolls and bent up Dan Browns we found nothing more exciting than two pairs of trainers, a brand new pruning saw still in its packet (eh?) and a cutting of George Clooney as swoonsome Dr Ross with a handwritten speech bubble attached saying: “Swab anyone?” THE MOOSE BELONGS TO ME by Oliver Jeffers - Harpercollins rrp £11.99. Back out in the fresh air of the shop floor (that’ll be the bracing consequence of the shifting of the jetstream to an area right above the Travel section), it’s all a bit disconcerting: gruff, hairy parents who have long since forgotten how to smile, are walking into the shop, spotting the new Jeffers, and breaking out into aw-shucks grins for all the world like Mr and Mrs Goofy in dungarees. I guess it is the tangible sense of relief that comes with a book that grown-ups ACTUALLY LIKE. This kooky story about a moose with a double identity – is he Marcel or Rodrigo? – and a keen sense of exactly what he wants out life makes it worth actually bearing a child just to have something to read the book to. Well, almost. TUG OF WAR by John Burningham - Jonathan Cape rrp £10.99. This guy must be a hundred and three or thereabouts, but you wouldn’t know it because his books are so fresh and vibrant and funny and idiosyncratic. Not for him cute little twiddly pictures nor twee narrative. One of the finest children’s books ever written, Where’s Julius? effortlessly combines mountains with lunch menus (I am serious), and whole business seminars have been themed on Mr Gumpy’s Outing with teams of stressed out salesmen in cheap suits bonding on imaginary rafts, falling into imaginary water, bleating like imaginary sheep. Beats paintballing. And that by the way, is often the effect Burningham achieves with his exquisite explosions of colour against simple crayon lines, not least in this African tale of wit versus brawn. Sitting here at my desk in the roof, the distinct feeling that I am being watched is finally resolved with these two titles. As my sister-in-law Caro says, with all the nose-tapping expertise of Albert Steptoe (she has been on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip afterall): “You can tell a good painting when its eyes follow you round the room.” I AM CAT by Jackie Morris, Frances Lincoln rrp £11.99, is indeed exquisitely painted and depicts the breadth of the feline family from Scottish wildcats to ruddy great Siberian tigers. And with PUSS JEKYLL CAT HYDE by Joyce Dunbar & Jill Barton, also Frances Lincoln rrp £11.99, I feel it’s never too early to introduce the little ones to a little Gothic horror. One for bedtime, then. With eyes following all over the option. GRANDPA GREEN by Lane Smith - Macmillan rrp £11.99. I have distinct memories of getting clumped for hiding in a topiary garden in the Lake District when I was a child. The enormous green sheared shapes like various grand costume hats were simply too irresistible to merely admire, I needed to be among them. For two hours. There was no tannoy, just a cross curator with a loud-hailer threatening to call the police if I didn’t come out. It was the longest I’d ever stayed silent, funnily enough and I can still smell the yew. Each privet here has a tale to tell from wartime exploits to adventures of ageing, the wonder of a hedge clipped expertly to reflect the personality of the, er, clipper – in this case the eponymous pensioner – as in reality, never failing to impress. Ho hum. A psychologist would have (s’cuse the pun) a field day if I was ever let loose with a set of blades.

PANTONE BOX OF COLOUR, concept by Huy Voun Lee – Abrams rrp £6.99. There’s ‘green’ here. All kinds of green. And yellow and red and blue. Normally I think that anything that unselfconsciously calls itself a ‘concept’, should be consigned to the dump along with our old till rolls, busted shop kettle and posters of the cast from ER. It has pages. You turn them. It is a book. Ah, but then I realise it is a boxed set of SIX books, half a dozen stylish mini tomes each devoted to various hues of one colour. And I’m captivated. How deliciously retentious. As a series of toddler board books, it is gorgeous to look at. As a ‘concept’, it is remarkably good value. WHERE’S DOGMATIX? – Orion rrp £8.99. Sometimes I wonder if the wit of the Asterix stories is lost on today’s young readers. I mean, without wishing to come on all Toby Young, if they have no experience of the classics, how will they get all the dextrous verbal gags in the names for a start? Then I realise that, certainly in the English translation, very little is left for the Latin scholars to chortle over. Chief Vitalstatistix? Mrs Fulliautmatix (read it slowly), the bard Cacofonix, the Viking Haraldwilssen (granted, a seven year old might not ‘get’ that one). The irrepressible cast of village rebels and their hapless adversaries is here at full tilt of the spear with page after page of rumbustious punch-ups, not unlike my kitchen at the weekend, introducing the nascent reader to the Gallic brand without necessarily overwhelming them with too many words. THE CAPTAIN PUGWASH COMIC BOOK COLLECTION by John Ryan – Frances Lincoln rrp £9.99. The theme tune to the telly show must be one of the earliest I recall (it still ambushes me, though as an earworm it is far more tolerable than Big Cook, Little Cook which nearly put me in hospital when my son was small) and with pirates seemingly always in fashion, this is a perfect way to present cabin boy Tom, Cut-Throat Jake and our favourite, jowly, goateed renegade. Is it my imagination or is Jay Rayner a dead-ringer for Pugwash? Fluttering flagpoles, someone better sign him for the live action version quick.. And speaking of comics, if you haven’t come across THE PHOENIX, £2.99, already, cancel the kids’ subscription to the Dr Who magazine instantly and slap this under their noses. Featuring our very own local Gary Northfield’s Gary’s Garden, it is a brilliant, beautifully crafted without preciousness, fast moving, weekly read for children who have mastered the art of humour and, well, art. And judging by the queue at the till when we put a new one in the window, plenty of grown-ups enjoy it too. Your wet Sundays will whizz by! CALMER EASIER HAPPIER PARENTING by Noel Janis-Norton – Hodder rrp £14.99. To have three positive comparative adjectives in the same title as the word parenting is either downright boastful or, abjectly reckless. Do you get your cash back if the ‘revolutionary programme that transforms family life’ fails? I have to admit, judging by the number of copies we’ve sold in the shop, as a ‘concept’, it works! HOMEWORK FOR GROWN-UPS by E. Foley & B. Coates – Vintage rrp £8.99. On seeing the pic of a thoroughly etched Robbie Williams with his newborn daughter, I can’t be the only one wondering when she’ll have her first tattoo. I’ll bet he turns out to have a Hunky Dory “throw it on the fire” attitude towards homework too. It’s not like she’ll ever need to do it. Meanwhile, this is a new edition of a useful crammer for the day your own bundle of joy asks you questions you once knew the answers to before the passing of time coupled with the consumption of Chardonnay blotted out your schooldays. Whatever you do, don’t tell Michael Gove. He’ll get one posted through the letterbox of every household in the country. Right, where’s that pruning saw? If I was a hedge, I’d be feeling pretty nervous right now.

The Bookseller Crow, 50 Westow St. Crystal Palace, London SE19 3AF Telephone: 020 8771 8831 email: ww ww w .. ff a am m ii ll ii e es ss se e .. c co o .. u uk k w


october 2012 - families south east




Seems like only a fortnight ago we dropped them off at the school gates for the new term, doesn’t it? Here we are with another half term and there’s lots for your little rascals to enjoy, whether at a workshop or having a howlingly good time for Halloween have fun!

29 October - 2 November in BLACKHEATH, 01263 823000, Multi activity daycamps offering over 40 different activities including sports, games and crafts. Ages 3-17, day passes from £42, three days from £119.

HOLIDAY DROP-OFF 22 October - 2 November, DULWICH COLLEGE SPORTS CLUB, Pond Cottages, Dulwich SE21 7LD, 07944 485 552, Multi sport daycamps for 4-14 year-olds, offering a wide variety of activities including swimming, football, rugby, athletics, team games, tennis, trampolining and much more. From £32.50 a day, £150 a week, sibling discounts available. 9am-4pm, extended days available.

Children’s Workshops INTENSIVE TOUCH TYPING School holidays and weekends, YES TUITION and Training, Sydenham, 020 7515 1707, Learn a new skill with a touch typing courses run by YES. Children find them fun, and they work - most children are tapping away proficiently in just ten hours. Sessions can be booked to fit around other holiday commitments so children can progress at their own pace. Termtime classes also available.


Park Road SE26 6ET,, email Four day group activities with professional coaches. Each session includes tennis coaching, games and other team events, with a mini tournament at the end of each week. Facilities are available for wet-weather activities if necessary. Beginners and improvers welcome. 9am-12noon for 7-10 year-olds, 1-4pm for 11-15 year-olds, £48 for all four days, one day £14. Book and pay online; or call Chris on 0773 993 6999 or Michael on 07956 995820.


27 October and 3 November in CLAPHAM, 30+31 October in HERNE HILL, 0800 9755 290, 29 October and 2 November in LEE, 30+31 October in BLACKHEATH and GREENWICH, 1+2 November in ELTHAM, 020 8244 2036, Put on your favourite costume and join Theatrebugs for a one or two-day spooktastic adventure, jam-packed with drama, music, dance, arts and crafts. The workshops are suitable for 31⁄2 to 6 year-olds. One day £28, two days £48 includes a snack and drink; sibling discounts available. Day 1: Carla Cat is throwing a party, but Spinny the Spider and Squeaker the Mouse are running late; they need some help to pass the pumpkin in the garden! Day 2: The roly poly pumpkin is back in town - but it won’t sit still. Can the animals catch it before it rolls away for good?

29 October - 2 November in SYDENHAM, 020 8613 8168, Five days of dancing, acting and singing, taught by West End performers, with a show at the end for friends and family. Ages 4-12 years, 9am-3.30pm each day, £125 per child, sibling discount available.


30 October - 1 November, RHUBARB AND CUSTARD CAFE, Hither Green SE13, 07811 108523, Three days of fun-filled, action-packed cooking and craft making for 4-11 year-olds, with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Bonfire Night themes. 9.30am-1.30pm half day £30 or 9.30am-3.30pm full day £45 a day.

24-26 October and 29-31 October 2012 in HERNE HILL and BLACKHEATH, 07943 514408, Inkhead’s three day Exam Busters course covers the creative writing and use of English as part of school entrance exams. Writers who love words show the difference between writing to persuade, argue or advise and writing creatively. The course shows how to plot a story and write within a time constraint. Ages 7-14 years, 10am-1pm each day.

PHOTOBUZZ 25-26 October and 6-8 November, CENTRAL LONDON venue, 0776 1129230 or 07956 447976, Three day courses for teenagers, teaching the basic rules of photography, the functionalities of a camera, and using Picasa to edit, transfer and save images. 10am-4pm each day, £150 per child.






HORNIMAN MUSEUM and gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872, HALLOWEEN ART FUN, 29 October - 2 November. Fabulous free craft sessions for families, celebrating two seasonal festivals - The Day of the Dead and Halloween. Make pumpkin masks and skeleton stick puppets for scares and fun. Families with children aged 3+, banded entry every 45 minutes from 11am-3.30pm. AUTUMN SPOOKS AND SKELETONS, 30 October. Do animals have bones? Which part of a plant has a skeleton? Discover the secrets of skeletons and create your own spooks out in the gardens. Dress up warmly and prepare for a scare! 11.30am-12.30pm, 1.45-2.45pm and 3.15-4.15pm, ages 6+, £2 per child, tickets available on the day.


ARTASTIC ART CLUB 22, 24, 29, 31 October in EAST DULWICH, 23+30 October in BECKENHAM, 07792549874, Jam-packed days with different art activities and fun party games. Ages 3-11, 9am-4pm, £32.50 per child, per day. 29-31 October in BLACKHEATH, 020 8269 1331, At Munchkins’ popular holiday workshops, children are kept busy making their own lunch or tea and a snack to eat at breaktime, plus lots of tasty goodies to take home and share, These action-packed workshops give 4-11 year olds a great opportunity to get messy, be creative and develop their cookery skills within a range of different themes. 9am-12.30pm, £42 per person, per day.

SUPERCAMPS MULTI ACTIVITIES 29 October - 2 November, in CROYDON and SUTTON, 01235 832222, Over 40 supervised activities including sports, arts and crafts. Book single days or full weeks. Ages 4-14, 9.20am-4.30pm, extended hours available. Single day £38, five days £174.


PHOBOPHOBIA 17 October - 1 November, LONDON BRIDGE EXPERIENCE and THE LONDON TOMBS, 2-4 Tooley Street, London Bridge SE1 2SY, 020 7403 6333, Have you ever wondered where Halloween came from? Learn the history behind the London’s haunting past with a family-friendly show at the London Bridge Experience. If you are feeling brave, test your courage by descending into the gothic tunnels under the bridge in the screamie, award-winning London Tombs; and if not, try a guardian angel tour to make sure you finish the tour in one piece! There will also be pumpkin carving and face painting for all the family. Open 10am-5pm weekdays, to 6pm weekends. Tickets from £17 on the door; reductions for advance bookings.


SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM 31 October + 1 November, SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP, 020 7440 4263, Develop a skill or explore Soane’s treasures with specialist guidance. Dates/times vary, 7+yrs, whole day workshops 10.30am-3pm - £20, half days 10.30am-12.30pm or 2-4pm - £12.


29 October -2 November in DULWICH, HERNE HILL and STREATHAM, 0800 107 7947, One day workshops for beginners - try out the keyboard and make music the Funky Monkey way. Learn how to write and play notes, learn famous tunes, play keyboard games, quizzes and activities. Ages 41⁄2-8 years, 10am-1.30pm, £35 includes all equipment and a mid-morning snack.

Hallowe’en Events


26 October - 4 November, CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NE, 0871 663 4477, Wicked witches, goblins and vampires come to life while brave adventurers ride spooky rollercoasters into the dark night. There’s 3D fun in Hocus Focus Hall, plus a zoo and sea life centre to explore. Book online for best price tickets.

IS SYON HOUSE HAUNTED? 25+26 October, SYON HOUSE AND GARDENS, London Road, Middlesex TW8 8JG, 020 8758 1888, Join a ghostly tour, hear terrible tales of horrible history and decide for yourself! Ages 13+, tickets £20, book first.

THE WITCH ACADEMY 27 October - 4 November, EDF Energy LONDON EYE, Southbank SE1, 0871 781 3000, Children are invited to take part in a spooky interactive storytelling experience on board the London Eye. An evil professor has hidden the Head Witch of the Order in one of the famous landmarks that can be seen from the London Eye. Use chanting spells and other activities to




Week long courses jammed full of acting, song and dance!

TEL: 0208 244 4873 10

families south east - october 2012

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THE WITCH AND WIZARD OF BROCKLEY 31 October, PISTACHIOS IN THE PARK, Hillyfields. 0781 717 6018, An interactive spooky, yet sparkly, seasonal experience involving slime, potions and Broccoli, with Tea Dance for Little People. 10am, 11.30am, 3pm and 5pm, £6 per child (siblings under 2 go free), or £8 per child including a face paint.

SPOOKY STORIES free her! Ages 4-9, child tickets £15, adults £25.50, discounts for online bookings.

SOMERSET HOUSE SPOOKS 27 October, SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, With scissors ready and gloopy glue on standby, get ready to cut and paste with Yasmeen Ismail. Make the scariest masks; wands, wizard hats, or whatever else you can conjure up! Witches, werewolves and zombies are welcome too. 2-4pm free family event.

WIZARDS AND WITCHES WEEK 27 October - 4 November, BOCKETS FARM PARK, Young Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9BS, 01372 363764, A packed programme of fun and freaky activities include a spooky quiz trail and creepy crafts. Catch the reptile roadshow from Monday to Friday to see mice, snakes, spiders and lizards. There will also be pony and tractor rides, animal handling and pig racing. Let off steam in the two large indoor playbarns, trampolines and a jumping pillow. Open 10am-5.30pm daily, admission £7.60 for toddlers, £9.20 ages 3-adult.

TRICKS AND TREATS AT CHIDDINGSTONE 28 -31 October, CHIDDINGSTONE CASTLE, Hill Hoath Road, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7AD, 01892 870347, The fun kicks off on Sunday with an afternoon of themed activities including face painting, theatrical make up, pumpkin carving, and apple bobbing. During the following half term week, the Castle is perfect for a little spooky fun. Discover ancient armour worn by Japanese soldiers and look carefully at the helmets which come complete with their own facial hair! The Egyptian collection also has some interesting surprises to discover including a mummified cat from 150 BC, which may have been a temple offering to the goddess Bastet, who was depicted with the head of a cat. The Stuart and Jacobite collection includes the heart, hair, blood and garter ribbon of James II. Admission free for under 5s, £4 children, £8 adults.

HALLOWEEN BOAT TRIP 27+28 October, from the LONDON CANAL MUSEUM, 12-13 New Wharf Road, Camden N1 9RT, 020 7713 0836, Book a spooky ride through the 192 year-old Islington Tunnel. Boat trips take place on board one of London’s community narrowboats specially decorated for the occasion, and accompanied by a friendly costumed crew. Be prepared for some surprise goings-on in the darkness! The Canal Museum itself will be decorated for the occasion, with storytelling for children.

CUTTY SARK TREATS CUTTY SARK, Greenwich SE10 9NF, 020 8312 6608, WITCHES AND WARLOCKS, 28 October. Discover the story of Nannie, Cutty Sark’s very own witch, take part in the Wicked Witches and Warlocks dance, sing-a-long to Witches’ songs, hear spooky tales and more. 11am-5pm. SPOOKY SHADOWS, 29+31 October. Create your own shadow puppet inspired by the poem that gave Cutty Sark her name. 11am-1pm, 2-4pm.

GHOSTS AND GHOULS 28-31 October, ELTHAM PALACE, Court Yard, Eltham SE9 5QE, 020 8294 2548, Let your little horrors scare themselves silly this Halloween with creepy crafts, spooky activities and ghost hunting galore! 11am-4pm.

31 October, MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, Spooky storytelliing sessions for young children. 10.30am, 11.30am and 2pm starts, free.

BRICK OR TREAT AT LEGOLAND 13 October - November. LEGOLAND WINDSOR, Winkfield Road, Windsor SL4 4AY, 0871 2222 001, Legoland will be filled with frightful fun, spooky decorations and lots of Lego pumpkins, witches, ghosts, plus a spooktacular firework display on selected nights. There are over 55 family friendly rides and attractions to enjoy, from the Dragon rollercoaster to the Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show. Tickets from £26.50 children, £33.30 adults.


Come and join the fun on the 31st October

FREE Indoor Tennis Lessons for 21⁄2 to 11 years old Limited availability, first come first served!

Phone 0787 739 1005 Email:

CAPOEIRA 4KIDS Martial Arts, Games, Acrobatics Ages 6 to 10 @FMH SE3 9LL Blackheath Every Wed 4.30pm

contact: Manj

0794 760 8344

27-31 October, BATTERSEA PARK CHILDREN’S ZOO, Battersea Park, Chelsea Bridge Gate SW11 4NJ, 020 7924 5826, Follow the Pumpkin Trail and use the clues to find out which animals have put out pumpkins. The Halloween Fun Day on 31 October will have Spooky Story Time at 12pm and 2pm, Make a Trick or Treat Bag at 11am and 2pm, Spooky Face Painting at 11am and 2pm.

HAUNTED SHARK REEF 29 October - 4 November, SEA LIFE LONDON AQUARIUM, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road SE1 7PB, 0871 663 1678, Visit the Haunted Shark Reef where the Fish Witch lives; come face to fin with over 15 amazing sharks and meet Shaky the Shark. Find out about the most fearsome fish in the ocean, while exploring a whole aquarium full of fun from sharks and rays to rare turtles and crocodiles, and the Penguin Ice Adventure featuring a family of Gentoo Penguins. Behind the Scenes Tours are also available. Open 10am7pm daily, admission from £12.96 children, £17.82 adults, family tickets available.

HALLOWEEN HOUSE WEEK 25-28 October, SUTTON HOUSE, 2 & 4 Homerton High Street, Hackney E9 6JQ, 020 8986 2264, See the haunted rooms of Sutton House, play games and dress up for Halloween. Thurs and Fri 2-4pm, Sat and Sun 12-4pm.

DAY OF THE DEAD 3 November, THE OLD VIC TUNNELS, Station Approach Road SE1 8SW, 020 7993 7420, www.oldvictunnels, In Mexico, Day of the Dead is a time when families gather to remember the lives of their ancestors as it is believed souls come back to visit their loved ones on these days. This colourful celebration is festive rather than sombre and is suitable for the whole family. The children’s workshops are part of a four day Wahaca festival of art, film and music running from 31 October, and will include Sugar Skulls painting, paper mask making and cardboard coffins decorating. 2-5pm, tickets £5.

TALES OF THE MAGIC LANTERN 30 October, CUMING MUSEUM, 151 Walworth Road SE17 1RY, 020 7525 2332, Spooky stories for Halloween, for all ages. 2.30-4pm.

POLKA THEATRE Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB, 020 8543 4888, www.polkatheatrecom BEHIND THE SCHEMES, 30 October. Work with a professional make up artist and learn the tricks of the trade in a Halloween themed make up session. 10am-1pm, ages 7-11, £30. HALLOWEEN SHADOWS, 31 October. Create light sculptures, lanterns and ghostly shadow puppets in a creepy craft workshop for 5-7 year-olds. £25.

Fun French for Children • 3 – 11 years old • Games, Songs & Drama • Native French Teachers • Professional Materials • Free Trial Session

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For SE3, SE4, SE12 SE21, SE22, SE23 & SE24

Call Séverine: 020 8699 7665

Imagination for the Everyday Early years Drama

+ Weekly classes in Lee, Blackheath and Hither Green

+ Schools, nurseries and parties too! - 07801072776

october 2012 - families south east


Family Life

Family breakdown

- when you need help By Mandeep Clair

“We are divorcing and trying to sort out the financial settlement. Could a mediator help us?” Mediation could well be a good way forward. Family mediation is: • an alternative to court proceedings for resolving issues relating to separation, finance and care of children • generally a much cheaper and faster process than courts can offer • a way of helping you reach agreements which take into account all of your needs, concerns and interests • increasingly expected of you before you consider court proceedings • voluntary and confidential • a process by way you can make decisions about your own and your children’s future with the help of an impartial third party. Family mediation is not a counselling or therapy

service and is not about reconciliation. A mediator cannot give you legal advice and it is not necessarily the right process for everyone. Mediation can assist in reducing hostility and improve the chances of long term co-operation. People who are helped to reach agreement through mediation tend to incur lower legal fees and the parties themselves control the pace and content of the negotiation rather than lawyers or the court. It concentrates on resolving shared problems rather than emphasising entrenched and polarised positions through litigation.

How does it work? Communication usually takes place face to face or sometimes in separate rooms, rather than through solicitors’ letters, thus reducing delay and the risk of misunderstandings. Since 6 April 2011, the courts expect everyone subject to certain exceptions to have attended a mediation assessment meeting before commencing financial (and other types of) court proceedings. The purpose of these meetings is to give an opportunity for you to find out whether it is possible for you both to co-operate in resolving your differences and

thereby save the legal fees involved in going to court. As mentioned above, a mediator is not a substitute for a solicitor. You are free to obtain legal advice at any stage before, after or during the mediation process. It is very important where you have been able to agree on the appropriate matrimonial financial settlement that its terms are incorporated into what is known as a consent court order. It is only really once there is a court order in line with the settlement that it is legally binding. It is highly likely that you will need to instruct a solicitor to deal with the drafting of the proposed consent court order because it will need to incorporate particular legal terminology before the court can consider it. In addition, the court will only make the proposed order in the terms drafted if it deems it to be a fair and reasonable settlement having regard to both spouses’ financial circumstances. It is not the case that the court will automatically approve a matrimonial financial settlement just because it has been agreed through mediation or otherwise.

About the author Mandeep Clair is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and experienced family solicitor at South East London solicitors Grant Saw. The practice offers friendly, professional family mediation and legal services including a free one hour consultation. Please call 0208 858 6971 or email

Saving for your children doesn’t have to be taxing By Sarah-Jane Butler We all want to give our children the best start in life but with average student debt expected to rise to £53,000 in 2012 and the average age of first time property buyers now at 35, starting life as an adult is going to be financially challenging. The first thing to do is to open a bank or building society account for your child. You can open it in your child’s name with you acting as trustee. When you open the account make sure you sign an R85 form ensuring the interest they receive does not have tax automatically deducted from it. If an account is opened by a third party, such as a grandparent, you, the parent, will need to sign this HMRC form. When the child is 16, providing they are not a tax payer, they will need to sign an R85 in their own name. Be aware however that there could be tax consequences for you from your children’s savings. If the money you have given to them earns over £100 in interest you, the parent, are liable for tax on that interest. This only applies to interest earned on the savings; gifts made by grandparents, other relatives and friends are not subject to the same conditions.


families south east - october 2012

Alternatives to a deposit account include the Junior ISA. Launched in 2011, these are only available to children who do not have a Child Trust Fund. Just like adult ISAs, all of the returns are free of income and capital gains tax. Both types of Junior ISAs are available with an annual limit initially set at £3000 but due to rise. Most Junior ISAs have fairly low minimum contributions and offer the flexibility of individual and regular deposits or a combination of both. Children can only have 1 cash and 1 stocks and shares Junior ISA. The major disadvantage of a Junior ISA is that the funds are automatically transferred to the control of the teenager on their eighteenth birthday. Whilst the Junior ISA can minimise any potential tax liability on your child’s savings, there are alternatives. Peter Green, Chief Executive of Healthy Investment, a mutual friendly society, explains: “Tax Exempt Savings Plans are great way of investing a modest sum over a longer period of time to build a sum of money that your child will find really useful.” Unique to friendly societies, Tax Exempt Savings Plans allow every family member to invest up to £25 a month. Peter added ‘The parent or other premium payer decides when the plan commences and at what age the policy matures. Traditionally

over an 18 year period stocks and shares have out-performed deposit based investments, which make Tax Exempt Savings Plans a useful tool for parents’.

More information • For further details of tax efficient investing for children speak to an independent financial adviser or to find out more about the Tax Exempt Savings Plans and Junior ISAs available from Healthy Investment contact them directly on 0800 731 2422 quoting FMPC1 • Parental Choice Limited is an introducer appointed representative of Healthy Investment which is the trading name of The Rechabite Friendly Society Limited, authorised and regulated by the FSA • Author Sarah-Jane Butler is founder of Parental Choice. For more information on your childcare options, go to

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Mothers Mean Business Amberin Fur - founder of The Vale Practice Amberin Fur is a mother of three boys from southeast London with her own business. She is still wiping away tears of excitement after being part of the Olympics this summer... FSE: Go on then we know you want to - tell us about the Olympics - how were you involved? AF: As we all experienced together, the London Games were incredible. I think the nation as a whole was taken aback with the wave of goodwill that flowed through this country. I was fortunate to be chosen to be a part of the core medical services for all the athletes in Athletes Village, Stratford. This was a first for the Osteopathic profession so it was truly an honour to be one of a select few to represent our profession in this pioneering moment. FSE: It’s a rare child who dreams of being an osteopath when they grow up - what was your first dream, and how did you turn it into osteopathy? AF: I don’t think I could spell osteopathy as a child, my dream was two fold - to be a gymnast at the Olympics, and to work in Medicine. I chose “the road less travelled” into medicine, and found osteopathy to be an incredibly rewarding profession. To witness and take an active roll in improving a patient’s quality of life, and ease their pain is a reward unlike any paycheque could provide. FSE: You’re not just an osteopath; you set up a thriving complementary medical practice. How did that come about? AF: Upon graduating 15 years ago, I worked in a variety of other practices both private and NHS. There came a point that I wanted a space that could convey what I thought a healing environment should provide. I am a confessed idealist, and wanted somewhere where I was happy to hang my hat, somewhere professional where my patients were at ease and a team that I was proud of. I was lucky to have found my team, and after a year of searching the practice was born. FSE: How easy (or difficult) was it to get started? AF: I think when you love what you do, it is infectious. The hardest bit was taking the first step. I was lucky to have a great team of people around me, and as I am sure you know the core of anywhere is the people. Due to the size of the business and the nature of our business we have had people come and go, but on the whole practitioners stay on. They enjoy the ethos of the practice and love the work that they do, so it makes it all the more easier to be a supportive community. FSE: What does the Vale Practice offer? AF: The Vale Practice offers you a chance to discover your health. For some this is a search for mental peace and other more a physical respite from pain or discomfort. We have a strong team of Osteopaths, Cranial osteopaths, Acupuncturists, Homeopaths, Massage, Counselling, Meditation and Psychotherapy.

We work together and will refer to a suitable practitioner who can help. It is important to note that not everything is for everyone, and it is a matter of exploring what works for you. We help you on that journey. FSE: Treating patients, overseeing the practice, looking after your family which gives you most satisfaction? AF: I think this is a hard question to ask any woman with a family. If I had to order it family, then work. I started my practice knowing that it would give me the flexibility to be available for my children. Seeing them to the school gates provides me with a great deal of satisfaction, as we all know how quickly these years slip by. The growth of the practice has been organic, we all love what we do, and are good at it. I hand pick each practitioner and I look for practitioners with passion as well as skill. It is important to love what you do. So work is beautiful and significant, both to my life and those we help. FSE: How do you juggle the needs of family life with work? AF: I think I am blessed and work hard to juggle and keep the balance. As every mother would agree, multitasking is second nature. I seize every opportunity, and try and keep a clear line between my home life and work so that I can be the mother and the osteopath respectively, fully. FSE: Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d done differently when you were starting out? AF: I think in our earlier years we all need to take a good long look at ourselves and answer, where we are and where we want to be. What is important to us? I knew I was starting a journey to allow me to be a mother and a professional, I knew they were both meant to be an integral part of me, so I worked hard and the rest just fell into place. So in answer to your question no, not because I haven’t made mistakes. There are obviously things I would have, could have done differently. I strongly believe that we learn something from every experience, so I lived and learned and hope to do the same going forward. FSE: Do you have any tips for other mothers thinking of setting up on their own? AF: I don’t believe in regrets, I think you have to had at least tried before you throw in the towel. Be sensible, do your homework, but ultimately if not now...then when?

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FSE: When you have time off for yourself, what do you like to do? AF: Tee hee! Time off! It is true that it comes along once in awhile where I am not wearing one of my hats. If I am looking for solitude I opt for yoga, and for support I welcome meeting my closest friends for lunch. It is remarkable how issues can be resolved over a good meal and company of those who care.

The Vale Practice The Vale Practice is at 64 Grove Vale, East Dulwich SE22 8DT, open 9am-10pm Mondays to Fridays and 9am-6pm Saturdays. For more information about the practice and the therapies it offers, or to book an appointment, call 020 8299 9798 or go to

october 2012 - families south east






On Stage

A high energy treat

★★★★ The Sunday Times

Based on the best-selling book by

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler



What’sOn Find even more activities: then click What's On



watch a sneak preview online at

Diary Dates for Grownups INTRODUCTION TO SQUASH From 8 October, Sydenham Tennis Club, Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham SE26 6ET, 07776 231 676, A new three week course for people who would like to start playing squash. £15 refundable against your first year’s squash membership.

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS From 11 October, BOOKSELLER CROW ON THE HILL, 50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace, 020 8771 8831, Creative writing workshops. In a bookshop - how appropriate. The Crow’s course is £80 for six weeks. Book first in person at the shop or email








7RPDNHDQLQLWLDOIUHHHQTXLU\SOHDVHFRQWDFW Nicola GunnRQ020 7940 4000 All solicitors are experienced and accredited specialists

20 October, TRINITY SCHOOL, Shirley Park, Croydon CR9 7AT Over 30 exhibitors will offer expert advice and showcase their newest products and services for young families. Free all day baby and toddler taster sessions in two activity rooms; free soft play. Plus a nearly new sale. 10am-3pm.

CHILDREN’S NEW AND NEARLY NEW SALE 20 October, St MICHAELS AND ALL ANGELS CHURCH HALL, Pond Road, Blackheath SE3 9JL, 07736 840194 Children’s table top sale of new and used clothing, toys and other essential kit, and featuring local children’s businesses. Coffee and home made cakes for sale too. Run by Twins ClubPlus. 3-5pm, £1 entry. Pregnant ladies bump the queue and get free entry.

BLEAK HOUSE Lloyds Bank Chambers 186 Streatham High Road London, SW16 1BG


The Counting House 53 Tooley Street London Bridge City London, SE1 2QN

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INTRODUCTION TO TENNIS From 31 October and 3 November, Sydenham Tennis Club, Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham SE26 6ET, 07776 231 676, Two six-week courses for beginners and returners who want to start playing tennis or brush up on rusty skills. Learn basic techniques, meet players of a similar standard and have fun playing doubles. £30 for six sessions, book first by phone or email

6+18 October in BALHAM and WESTMINSTER, 020 8675 4036, A beginner’s first aid course covering care of the unconscious baby and child as well as most commonly occurring injuries and illnessessuch as choking, bleeding, breaks, bleeds, burns, head injury and febrile convulsions. 9.30am-12.30pm, £60/£65.

You can choose from the full range of resolution options which includes:

THE BABY SHOW 26-28 October, EARLS COURT Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA, 0871 231 0844, The Baby Show is the only place you can test, try and buy from the biggest range of baby and maternity products, many not available on the high street. You’ll find over 250 brands to choose from, product demonstrations, and experts on hand to advise. Open 9.30am-5.30pm each day, tickets £20 on the door, under 12s free.

11 October, 15 November, CHAPTERS RESTAURANT, Montpelier Vale, Blackheath SE3. The SE London Mumpreneurs runs monthly networking meetings, providing a great chance to meet like minded businessmums, brainstorm any business issues you may have and make new connections. £15 to trial the group includes coffee and croissants, book by emailing Clare at 13 October, St LAURENCE CHURCH HALL, 37 Bromley Road, Catford SE6 2TS A great opportunity to buy good quality baby and children’s clothes, nursery equipment, toys, books and maternity wear. 11am-1pm.

Offering professional and creative solutions for all legal issues including:

Featuring a cast of 21 actors playing over 30 characters, the production takes the essence of the epic novel and celebrates Dickens’ imaginative genius in a bold theatrical presentation. Romance, betrayal, injustice, exploitation, loyalty, murder and even spontaneous human combustion are just part of the story. 8pm start, tickets £10 on the door, £8 in advance.

24 -27 October, Edward Alleyn Theatre, DULWICH COLLEGE, Dulwich Common SE21 7LD, box office 020 8693 4830, To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, the Dulwich Players are presenting Bleak House.

31 October - 4 November, EARLS COURT 2 Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road SW5 9TA, 020 7370 8510, Find out about all the new ski trends and pick up travel tips and ideas. There will be free ski lessons for all levels, free curling, tubing and ice skating, a free lift pass for every attendee, performances by top UK freestyle riders, live music on Saturday and Sunday, wine and beer appreciation sessions. Admission free for under 11s, 11-16 year-olds £7, adults £20 on the door.

INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS SHOW 10+11 November, BATTERSEA EVOLUTION, Battersea Pasrk SW11 4NJ, Everything you need to know about independent schooling, from pre-prep to sixth forms, single sex, co-ed, day and boarding schools. An Education Theatre will host talks from education experts and school heads, while hundreds of school exhibitors will answer parents’ questions and showcase the education they offer. Children are welcome to attend and be entertained by the What On Earth? 8m Wallbook, scheduled talks, Mister Tuck Shop, a free play area for 3-6 year-olds and activities for children of all ages. Open 10am-5pm Saturday, 11am-4pm Sunday. Admission free: register first for tickets by calling 020 7731 7479 or online.

VAL MCDERMID - THE VANISHING POINT 15 November, DULWICH BOOKS, 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich SE21 8SW, 020 8670 1920, The queen of crime is coming to Dulwich in November, when Dulwich Books are hosting a literary dinner with the author. Places will be limited, so to find out more or book a ticket, send an email to

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MODERN BRITISH CHILDHOOD, 13 October - 14 April 2013. A new exhibition exploring how childhood has transformed in Britain during the period between the London Olympic Games of 1948 and 2012. POP UP CIRCUS, 20+21 October. Enjoy gravity defying aerial dance, jugglers, music and a magical performance piece that combines hand balancing and... knitting! 12-4pm, free drop in for all ages. RETRO KIDS, 29 October - 2 November. Journey back in time to the 1950s with a vintage half term week of trails, storytelling and arts and crafts. 10.30am-4pm, free drop in for all ages.

18TH CENTURY TOY WORKSHOP 30 October, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOUSE, 36 Craven Street WC2N 5NG, 020 7839 2006, Discover how Georgian children entertained themselves and make your own 18th-century toys such as whirligigs and button pulls. 5-11yrs, 11am and 2pm, £5. COCKROACH TOURS




HORNIMAN MUSEUM and Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872, Museum open 10.30am-5.30pm daily, general admission free, charges apply for special exhibitions and the aquarium. The museum’s music gallery and hands-on base, regular weekend and holiday drop-ins and workshops allow family visitors to explore the collection through arts and crafts, music, stories and hands-on sessions. All this within 16 acres of beautiful green space. BODY ADORNED, until 6 January 2013. Over time, saris, tattoo parlours, nail bars, distended ears and scarification have become a visible, everyday part of the London cityscape. But how did cultural adornments become integrated into urban London life? The exhibition considers how the movement of people, objects and ideas influenced London dress in the past and explores body adornment in today’s world city of London.

WWT WETLANDS CENTRE, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT, 020 8409 4400 POND DIPPING, 1, 8, 15 + 22 October. Hunt for the many different kinds of insects and other small animals that live in fresh waters. INTRODUCTION TO BIRDWATCHING, 21 October. Identify different birds and understand more about them, 9.30am –11am, £20. AUTUMN PLANT WALK, 27 October. Get a close look at the botanical side of London Wetland Centre. 2.30pm. RAINFOREST ROADSHOW, 27+28 October. Meet an array of Amazon animals including snakes, giant millipedes and whip spiders.

FOUNDLING MUSEUM FOUNDLING MUSEUM, 40 Brunswick Square, Camden Town WC1N 1AZ, 020 7841 3600, CLOCK WATCHING WEEKEND, 27-28 October. Mark the end of British Summer Time by celebrating all things horological. Make your own eighteenth-century clocks and watch Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo. 3-12 yrs. DICKENS AND THE FOUNDLING, until 24 November. An exhibition exploring the relationship between Charles Dickens and the Foundling Hospital.

V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA, 020 8983 5200, This gem of a museum is fascinating for families with young children. The collection includes dolls, dolls’ houses, puppets, teddy bears, games, childcare, clothing, furniture and art and photography. Everyday drop-in activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, and trails. There’s dressing-up, role play and an under 3’s area, an indoor sandpit, and regular special events. If it’s sunny there’s an outdoor space to enjoy a picnic. Open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free. THE BIG DRAW: SIZING UP, 13 October. Help create a large-scale drawing of Robbie the Robot as part of The Big Draw. A chance to try out a range of drawing techniques, using crayons, pencils, pens and chalks. 11am-4pm, free drop in for all ages.

BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R, 020 7601 5545, The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s central bank. Examine intricately-designed banknotes, feel the weight of a genuine gold bar and see the pikes and muskets that were once used to defend the Bank. Children’s activity sheets provide fun for younger visitors. Open 10am-5pm Mondays to Fridays, admission free. THE BIG DRAW, 29 October - 2 November. Design your own bank note, taking inspiration from exhibits across the museum where examples date from the 17th to the 20th century. Prizes for best entries will be awarded across different age groups, and there are also quizzes about the security features designed into bank notes. GOLD AND THE BANK OF ENGLAND, until 10 November. An exhibition examining the part that gold has played during the Bank’s long history. TITANIC DOCUMENTS, until 10 November. See claims for the replacement of Bank of England notes from the relatives of victims of the disaster, on display to the public for the first time.

GEFFRYE MUSEUM EVENTS GEFFRYE MUSEUM, Kingsland Road E2 8EA, 020 7739 9893, Special workshops and quizzes inspire creativity and provide amusement for accompanied 5-11 year-olds on the first Saturday of each month and during school holidays. Places allocated 30 minutes in advance of each workshop. Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, from noon Sundays. DRAWING YOUR SENSES, 6 October. Make a sketchbook and draw patterns inspired by touch, sound, sight and smell. 5-11 yrs, 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm. HARVEST TIME FAMILY DAY, 21 October. Create giant insects and listen to garden-inspired stories and a vegetable instrument orchestra! 10.30am-4pm

mn u t u A rm Tew booking no

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october 2012 - families south east






stethoscopes to hear the audio tour. Admission £4.80 child, £5.80 adults, £16 families.


Find even more activities: then click What's On HALF TERM ACTIVITIES, 30 October - 2 November. Explore national festivals from Eid to Diwali. Bake treats and make decorations. 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm, free. FIZZING FIREWORK DECORATIONS, 3 November. Make rocket or catherine wheel-inspired decorations to make your firework night go with a bang. 5-11yrs, 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm.

CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS, Clive Steps, King Charles Street SW1A, The Churchill War Rooms were originally the Cabinet War Rooms, created in 1938 as underground storage areas for the Office of Works Building in Whitehall. They were soon converted to house the central core of government and to become a temporary military information centre serving the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff of the air, naval and land forces. Visitors can hear the first-hand personal accounts of those who worked in the Cabinet War Rooms during the war. Learn what life and conditions were like underground and experiencing the authenticity and emotional resonance of walking through the corridors where Churchill made history. Open 9.30am-6pm, admission free for under 16s, £15.95 adults.

SCIENCE MUSEUM SCIENCE MUSEUM, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD, 0870 870 4868, Aiming to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum makes sense of the science that shapes our lives, sparking curiosity, releasing creativity and changing the future by engaging people of all generations and backgrounds in science, engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise. Open daily 10am-6pm except 24-26 December. LAUNCHPAD SCIENCE SHOWS. The largest free interactive science gallery in the UK is packed with exhibits which allow visitors to launch a rocket, turn their head into a sound box and control a magnetic cloud. Ages 8-14, free. WHO AM I? Find out what makes you special through interactive activities which use the latest in brain science and genetics. Free. WEB LAB, until July 2013. Five experiment installations bring the extraordinary workings of the internet to life. Both a physical exhibition at the museum and an interactive website, visitors will be able to make music with people across the world, launch information into cyberspace, see where images on the web live, or watch their portrait being drawn in sand by a robot. COCKROACH TOURS, weekends. Dressed in realistic cockroach costumes, visitors journey through the museum, exploring the impact on the climate of scientific and technological developments, from the perspective of one of the oldest, most resilient life forms on the planet. Book first on 0870 870 4868.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, 020 7942 5000, Dinosaurs, volcanoes, precious gems and creepy crawlies - discover the diversity of the natural world through the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens. Fascinating exhibitions display up to 70 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals, with a hands-on education centre where you can meet real scientists at work. Museum open 10am-5.50pm, admission free. DINO SNORES, 12 October. Discover what happens at the museum when all the staff and visitors have gone home. There wil be a torch-lit trail, a live show about creatures that bite and sting, and some fossil fun before snuggling down at midnight. You will also take home souvenirs of the night to show your pals and relatives. And, impress them with stories of how you fought off a ferocious Velociraptor - or was that just a dream? Ages 8-11 and adults, £49 per person, book first. WILDLIFE GARDEN, until 31 October. Escape the city and wander through the tranquil paths of the museum’s Wildlife Garden. With habitats including woodland, meadow and pond, the garden is a haven for thousands of British plants and animals, and demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city. Entrance is via the Museum’s west lawn, admission free.

TOWER OF LONDON TOWER OF LONDON, EC3N 4AB, 0844 482 7777, Tower open 9am-5.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10am Sundays and Mondays. Admission free for under 5s, children £10.45, adults £19.80; book for less online. FIT FOR A KING. Discover 500 years of spectacular arms and armour worn by kings and royal princes in this stunning exhibition on the first


families south east - october 2012


floor of the White Tower. Learn about the personalities, power and physical size of our nation’s kings, from the Tudors, and the notorious Henry VIII, to today’s royal family through the historic collection. POWER HOUSE. Discover the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of royal business behind the mighty Tower walls, from 1100 to the present day. The exhibition showcases the roles of the major organisations that provided the bedrock of England’s power throughout the centuries. ROYAL BEASTS. Find out about the Tower’s imperial Royal Menagerie. Founded during the reign of King John in the early 1200s, it became a regular feature of the Tower for over 600 years. Visitors can encounter a diverse cast of former Tower residents through arresting modern animal sculpture by artist Kendra Haste and new interactive sensory displays. The recently restored north wall walk and the never before opened Brick Tower will host some of the displays, including sights, sounds and smells of some of the animals.

NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT, 020 7881 6606, The history of British land forces from 1485 to the present day, with costumes, paintings, artefacts and special displays telling the stories of men and women who served in British armies across the globe. Open 10am-5.30pm daily, admission free. DRAW YOUR WEAPONS. A colourful and dynamic exhibition exploring the history of the war comic, in partnership with leading publisher DC Thomson. WORLD WARS, 29 October - 2 November. March your tiny troops along to the museum to find out more about the two world wars that changed our history forever. Children can hear tales of the war from celebrated storytellers, try on old uniforms and meet historical characters. 10.30am-5.30pm. VICTORIAN SOLDIERS ACTION ZONE. Learn about life as a Victorian soldier and the part they played in the shaping of the British Empire, through quizzes, games and hands-on activities. WAR HORSE: FACT AND FICTION, until March 2013. Explore the true history behind the popular War Horse novel, with interactive displays, costumes and props from the Spielberg film, plus material from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and the National Theatre.

CUMING MUSEUM EVENTS CUMING MUSEUM, 151 Walworth Road SE17 1RY, 020 7525 2096, Thursdays, FAMILY CLUB. Explore and play with the Cuming explorers. 10am-11.15am for under 5s and their parents/ carers. FACT INTO FICTION, until 24 November. An exhibition celebrating the life of Charles Dickens, exploring his experience of Borough when his father was imprisoned for debt in the Marchalsea Prison. On 1 November a costumed actor will recreate Dickens with tales for younger visitors, 2.30-4pm.

HMS BELFAST On the THAMES by Morgans Lane, Tooley Street SE1 2JH, (Thames Clipper London Bridge City Pier) Discover the exciting stories of those who served HMS Belfast; exploring the nine decks where sailors once hurried up and down its ladders, or take a look at the mess desk where her 950-strong crew ate and slept. Open 10am-6pm, admission free for under 16s, £13.50 adults. GUN TURRET EXPERIENCE. Immerse yourself in the new Gun Turret Experience, a chance to see what fighting at sea would have really been like. Overlooking the front of the ship, or Fo’c’sle, is the forward most of HMS Belfast’s Triple Gun Turrets. Lights, audio, videos and projections will recreate the experience, highlighting the hectic and cramped conditions that would have seen twenty-six men in this confined space at any one time. The guns are trained and elevated onto a target some 12.5 miles (20 kilometres) away in north-west London - the London Gateway Motorway Services Area on the M1 - a reminder of the awesome power of naval gunnery in the Second World War. Entry included in general admission price.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, South Bank, London SE1, 020 7620 0347, Uncover the lady behind the legend at the brand new Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank. The museum presents a vivid retelling of her story and how modern nursing began. The museum’s unparalleled collection features highlights such as Florence’s pet little owl Athena as well as her lamp and medicine chest from the Crimean War. Engaging interactive exhibits as well as regular contemporary art exhibitions enhance the experience, visitors even use

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, Lambeth Road, London SE1, 020 7416 5000, Museum open daily 10am-6pm. Admission free, special exhibitions may charge an admission fee. THE CHILDREN’S WAR. Look at the home front in Britain and the impact of WW2 through the eyes of the children who lived through it. Incorporating hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, it also features the popular 1940s house and part of a post-war prefab. BLACK VETERANS OF WW2, 14 October. Join historian Tony Warner in a consideration of black veterans of World War Two, with a detailed look at the African and Caribbean war effort, featuring video clips and interviews with spitfire and bomber pilots, Nigerian and Somali troops who fought in Burma and lesser-known stories of black and Asian women secret agents and U-boats in the Caribbean. Suitable for adults and older children, 11am-1pm and 2.15-4.15pm. A POPPY FIELD, 27 October - 4 November. ‘Grow’ your own poppy from paper and wire and plant it in the museum’s Poppy Field to remember those who gave their lives to protect their country, from both world wars to conflicts today. 11am-5pm, free family drop-in. CECIL BEATON - THEATRE OF WAR, until 1 January 2013. An exhibition exploring the impact of WW2 on the life of Cecil Beaton: photographer, designer, writer, cartoonist, diarist and socialite. Tickets free for under 15s, £8 adults.

CHILDREN AT THE V&A V&A MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL, 020 7942 2000, During any visit, families can pick up a trail from the Information Desk and explore the museum through puzzles, drawing and observation. Suitable for 7-12 year-olds. There are also hundreds of exciting hands-on exhibits containing plenty to touch and try out. Museum open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free Saturday BACK-PACKS. Pick up a back pack and explore the museum with fantastic jigsaws, stories, puzzles and games. 10.30am-5pm.

MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS, West India Quay E14, 020 7001 9844, Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Regular programmes of weekend and holiday events and workshops help visitors find out more about London’s history, covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life. THE FLYING MACHINE, 27+31 October. How do planes work? How did they change our lives? Learn all about flying machines and test out your own paper plane. Ages 5+, 12.30 and 2.30pm starts. HALF TERM EVENTS, 27 October - 4 November. The museum is hosting a week of free activities for all ages, including storytelling, art play and hands-on workshops. TRANSFORMING OBJECTS, 30 October + 1 November. Discover some of the more unusual objects in the museum collections and give them a new life using collage and computer animation techniques. Ages 4+, 12.30 and 2.30pm starts.

MUSEUM OF LONDON EVENTS MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Regular programmes of weekend and holiday events and workshops help visitors find out more about London’s history, covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life. PUNCH & JUDY, 21 October. Laugh out loud at the raucous puppet show that dates back to the Victorian times. 1, 2, 3pm start times. Ages 5+. HALF TERM EVENTS, 27 October - 4 November. The museum is hosting a week of free activities for all ages, including storytelling, art play and hands-on workshops.

ROYAL MUSEUMS GREENWICH National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark, Greenwich SE10, 020 8858 4422, Royal Museums Greenwich holds the world’s largest maritime collection. It is housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House, and Cutty Sark. The Museums works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people, and is also a major centre of education and research. Open 10am-5pm daily. General admission is free; some buildings, special exhibitions and events have an admission fee. EXPLORE SATURDAYS. Meet a character from the past and take part in an exciting performance that brings maritime history to life. Suitable for ages 6+. Noon, 1, 2 and 3pm start, free.

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DISCOVER SUNDAYS. Be inspired by the museum’s galleries and take part in free design, craft, illustration and music workshops designed for families. Suitable for all ages. 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-5pm, free. PLAY TUESDAYS. Young children can have fun with their families as they explore the museum through making, music, dance and drama. 10.30 and 11.30am, 1 and 2pm, suitable for under 5s; collect a ticket from the admissions desk. THE SECRET LIFE OF STARS. A spectacular show, narrated by Patrick Stewart, explores the fascinating life history of the stars, from the smallest red dwarf to the largest blue giant. Using state-of-the-art digital simulation, it charts the life of a star from birth to death and beyond, and looks at what impact this has on the universe around us. Ages 5+, tickets £4.50 children, £6.50 adults, £17.50 families. SPACE SAFARI, weekends and holiday weekdays. Join teddy bear Ted for live music and rhyme as he journeys throughout the solar system looking for the Great Bear in the sky in a show designed especially for younger children and presented by a Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer. Tickets £4.50 children, £6.50 adults, £17.50 families.

CUTTY SARK CUTTY SARK, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT, 020 8858 2698, The world famous 19th century tea clipper offers visitors four levels to explore. Take in the views from the main deck and steer at the ship’s wheel,

meet the crew who worked on board, explore the various cargoes from wool to whiskey, and see how tea was loaded on board through interactive displays, props, information boards and animations. Family friendly events run at weekends and during school holidays. Open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Sundays, admission ÂŁ6.50 children, ÂŁ12 adults, from ÂŁ20 families. Bundled tickets are available with the other Royal Museum Greenwich attractions. EXPLORE SATURDAYS. Meet a character from the past and take part in an exciting performance that brings maritime history to life. Suitable for ages 6+. Noon, 1, 2 and 3pm start, free with admission ticket.

What will we discover Inside the story sock? What do you think is hiding? Come here and take a look... 

DISCOVER GREENWICH OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE (next to the Cutty Sark), Greenwich SE10, Unlock the history of Maritime Greenwich, through artefacts, artwork, film and stories of former lives to bring the past to life. A permanent exhibition takes visitors on a journey from the College’s Tudor beginnings, through its naval past, as the Royal Hospital for Seamen and Royal Navy Staff College, right up to the present day. Special objects, including personal items from Henry VIII’s palace, as well as fascinating stories from monarchs, admirals and architects help chart the historic town’s development. Activities for children and families play a significant part in the new destination, enabling families to maximise their visit to Maritime Greenwich and for children to explore and understand the history of the magnificent site.


Theatre, Shows and Music LORD OF THE FILES 3-28 October, BROADWAY THEATRE, Catford SE6 4RU, 020 8690 0002, A plane crashes on a deserted island and the only survivors are a group of school children, with no adults and no rules. Golding’s classic novel is adapted into a moving play. Tickets £8 children, £14.50 adults.

UNICORN THEATRE UNICORN THEATRE, 147 Tooley Street SE1 2HZ, 020 7645 0560, HANDA’S SURPRISE, 9-11 October. A blend of physical performance, puppetry, live music and song combine to create this intimate, magical production with audience participation. The stage adaptation of Eileen Browne’s book is back by popular demand this October to mark Black History Month. Ages 2-5. A WINTER’S TALE, until 16 November. A group of actors is performing The Winter’s Tale at the Unicorn. But it’s not going well. In this hilarious new play within a play, four performers present Shakespeare’s story of kings and queens and bears in the forest - a world of petty jealousies and playground rites, in which it’s always the servants who draw the short straw. Ages 7-10. DR KORCZAK’S EXAMPLE, until 13 November. In the final days of an orphanage in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw, food is scarce, tempers rise, and everyone wants to survive. Award-winning playwright David Greig tells the powerful tale of Korczak’s refusal to abandon the orphanage and his insistence that everyone should live by the key values of tolerance and respect, even in the face of injustice. Ages 11-13. I, MALVOLIO, 3 October - 11 November. Tim Crouch re-imagines Twelfth Night in a brilliant one-man show that invites the audience to explore selfknowledge, bullying and shame through the eyes of Shakespeare’s most pent-up steward. Ages 13+. THE MYSTERIOUS VANISHMENT OF POBBY AND DINGAN, 30 October - 3 November. Where do you start looking for something you can’t even see? One boy’s mission to save his family unites an outback mining community. Ages 9+. THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKERS, 6-8 November. Live music, puppetry, physical storytelling and a sprinkling of Elf magic combine to tell this classic tale. Ages 3-7. BURNING BIRD, 14-17 November. Set against the backdrop of the London riots, Burning Bird explores what it means to be young in the city. Ages 14+.

ALBANY THEATRE EVENTS ALBANY THEATRE, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG, 020 8692 4446, THE GINGERBREAD MAN, 14 October. Two children are helping their mother in the garden, but when they are left to their own devices, they accidentally create the Gingerbread Man. Their adventures include puppetry, live cooking, a lot of mess and a delicious ending for everyone. 1+3pm starts, ages 3+, tickets ÂŁ7 each or ÂŁ24 for families. STUCK, 21 October. A tale about a little boy in a very sticky situation. It all begins when Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. He throws up his shoe to shift it but that get stuck, so he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck too, along with the cat, a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an orang utan and a whale. Will Floyd ever get his kite back? Plenty of music and audience participation are promised. 1+3pm starts, ages 3+, tickets ÂŁ7 each or ÂŁ24 for families. RAPUNZEL, 31 October - 4 November. A playful new production about the girl who is taken a way from what she knows and placed high up in a tower above the world. Faced with the challenge of growing up, she is found alone, dreaming... 11am and 2pm starts, ages 3+, tickets ÂŁ7 each or ÂŁ24 for families. DISCO KIDS, 28 October. Dance the afternoon away at a special disco party for under 5s and their grown ups, with a dance choreographer and live DJ. 2-5pm, tickets ÂŁ5.50 each or ÂŁ20 per family.

his acclaimed stand-up comedy for kids. His infectious glee and vaudevillian skills takes the audiences on a giggle-filled, chuckle-stuffed romp though his mad mind. 11am start, children £7.50, adults £9. CLOCKHEART BOY, 28 October. When a boy with no heart is washed ashore, the Professor and his creations vow to bring him back to life. With wide-eyed wonder Clockheart Boy learns the joys of stargazing, dancing, romance and friendship. Yet he soon discovers that a shadow lies over this secluded castle in the form of the Professor’s daughter, who disappeared some years before. 2pm start, children £7.50, adults £9.

LEARN YOUNG HAVE FUN Rally round for a smashing time. A fun ďŹ lled introduction to tennis for 2-8 yr olds. Played indoors with small rackets, sponge balls and scaled-down court. Aids agility, co-ordination and balance. A positive introduction to tennis with lots of fun. Weekend and weekday sessions now available. For further details ring Gordon on 07877391005 or e-mail BACH TO BABY St ALFEGE CHURCH, Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ, 020 8853 0687, Bach to Baby is an innovative classical concert series for babies and their carers to enjoy together. The concerts are one hour long and are designed for children of all ages and their carers. It’s about allowing the babies to dance, sing, or cry, but at the same time giving them an opportunity to listen to great music. The concerts are also for parents and carers to take a moment for themselves - enjoying top quality music performed by professional concert artists - with their babes in tow. Tickets free for accompanied children, adults £10 on the door. GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 26 October. Join violinist Claire Sterling and pianist Miaomiao Yu as Bach to Baby visits America. CLASSICS WITH MY BABY, 23 November. A classical concert presented by award-winning concert pianist Miaomiao Yu, and featuring harpist Camilla Pay.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME Until 27 October, NATIONAL THEATRE, Southbank SE1 9PX, 020 7452 3000, An adaptation of the touching and bleakly humorous award-winning novel by Mark Haddon. Ages 13+.

THE SNOW SPIDER 31 October - 17 November, OVALHOUSE, 52-54 Kennington Oval SE11 5SW, 020 7582 7680, In rural Wales, Gwyn Griffiths receives five strange gifts from his grandmother on his ninth birthday: a piece of seaweed, a yellow scarf, a pipe, a twisted metal brooch and a small broken horse. These items, his Nain tells him, will help Gwyn discover if he has inherited the powers of Gwydion, a great magician of Welsh legend. Putting his gifts to good use, Gwyn overcomes school bullies, terrible sadness at home, astonishing magical experiences and grave danger. Ages 7+, tickets from ÂŁ7.



GREENWICH THEATRE, Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES, 020 8858 7755, DUMBS UP! 21 October. Brilliantly interweaving a kooky gallery of voices with an absurd imagination, Ian Billings has galloped across the world with

Weekends until 11 November, MERTON ABBEY MILLS, Merantun Way SW19 2RD, 020 8542 5511,

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$FWLRQVRQJVDQGUK\PHV 0XVLFDQGPRYHPHQW )XQZLWKSHUFXVVLRQ 0XVLFDOJDPHV Since 1993 thousands of children across the UK have grown up with Monkey Music. Our unique teaching curriculum was written by classically trained musicians, and introduces music to very young children in a way they can easily understand and enjoy. 5RFNœQ¡UROOIURPPRQWKV +HLJKKR²IURPPRQWKV -LJJHW\MLJ² \HDUROGV 'LQJGRQJ² \HDUROGV :LQQHURIWKH%HVW1DWLRQDO3UH6FKRRO$FWLYLW\$ZDUG

october 2012 - families south east


POLKA THEATRE POLKA THEATRE, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB, 020 8543 4888, STICKS AND STONES, until 27 October. It’s August 2011 and riots are spreading. It’s summer, it’s hot and the entire country is holding its breath. 9-13yrs, £8-£12 TOO MANY PENGUINS? 17 October - 16 February 2013. How many penguins are too many penguins? Polar bear thinks one is more than enough, thank you very much! 1-4yrs, £8-£10.






Find even more activities: then click What's On Everyone in Sherwood hates the greedy, evil sheriff because he’s taxing the poor, but Robin Hood and his Merry Men have hatched a clever plant to stop him. 2 and 4pm performances, tickets £9 from £9.

LYRIC THEATRE LYRIC HAMMERSMITH, Lyric Square, King Street W6 0QL 020 8741 6850, LITTLE SUNSHINE, LITTLE RAINFALL, 6 October. Traditional Japanese songs, dance and origami in this delightful tale. 11am and 1pm, 3-7yrs CIRCLE OF TALES, 13 October. A tale from long ago, told with wood and wire puppets and music from traditional African instruments. 11am and 1pm, 4–7yrs THERE’S A MONSTER IN MY PIANO, 20 October. What do you do when you hear a strange noise inside your piano? Call the Piano Doctor

27 October - 6 January 2013, GARRICK THEATRE, 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 0HH, 08444 12 4662, British history is full of barmy people who did nasty things to each other. With blood, battles, murder and mayhem, the show explores stories from Roman, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and the wars, featuring famous figures such as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Florence Nightingale and General Earl Haig. Ages 6+, tickets from £10.

of course! 11am and 1pm, 4-7yrs CABBAGE HEART, 27+28 October. When Jelly wanders into a secret, overgrown garden she finds something that changes her life forever. 27 Oct 11am and 1.30pm, 28 Oct 2pm and 2.30pm, 5-10yrs RUMPLESTILTSKIN, 30 October - 3 November. Magic and mayhem are in the air as this classic fairy tale is brought to life with puppetry, live music and plenty of mischief. 11am and 1pm, 3-7yrs.

SCROOGE THE MUSICAL 24 October - 5 January 2013, LONDON PALLADIUM, Argyll Street W1F 7TF, 020 7492 9930, Bridging the gap between ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, Bill Kenwright’s family musical returns to the West End.

Until 4 November, LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE, 14 Dagmar Passage, Cross Street N1 2DN, 020 7226 1787, Adapted from Carol Ann Duffy’s lyrical book, this heart-warming modern fairy tale is about an invisible spirit who steals children’s tears to light the moon. Wed-Thurs 10am and 1pm, Fri 1pm and 5pm, Sat-Sun 11am and 2pm, tickets from £5.

ROOM ON THE BROOM 21 November - 13 January 2013, LYRIC THEATRE, Shafstbury Avenue W1D 8ES, 0844 412 4661, The witch and her cat are flying happily along on their broomstick when a gust of wind blows her hat, bow and wand away into the night. With the help of a daft dog, a beautiful bird and a friendly frog, the lost belongings are retrieved. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and CRACK! - it snaps in two! When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch; and will there ever be room on the broom for everyone? The production is based on the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and is from the creators of The Gruffalo. Ages 3+.

Art Activities FAMILY ARTS IN DULWICH DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD, 020 8693 5254, Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11am weekends and bank holidays. Listed activities free for families with a gallery ticket or £3 per child. ARTPLAY, first and last Sunday of each month. Creative drop-in workshops for adults and children, with a different activity each session. Make anything and everything from bunting to block printing and all things in between. 2-3.45pm. ANIMATION STATION, 3 November. A one-off drop-in workshop with BFI animator Joanna de Meer. Celebrate Guy Fawkes night by helping to create a stop-motion computer animation. 11am-3pm, £3 per child. TRAVELLING LINES: STORIES AND ART, 4 November. Listen to and participate in stories inspired by paintings in the collection, and create your own artwork as part of the Big Draw. 11am-4pm, £6 per child.

DRAWING ON WIMBLEDON COMMON 6 October, around the Windmill, WIMBLEDON COMMON, Windmill Road, Wandsworth SW18, 0780 910 0487, Visit the common explore line dancing through trees, and drawing with clay coils. Rangers, dancers, horses and pigs will pose as life models. The cafe and windmill will be online with iPads and printers. Washing lines for display and lines of memory will be created. Art materials provided or take your own. 1-5pm, free.

BIG DRAW DAY 6 October, JVA at JERWOOD SPACE, 171 Union Street, Southwark SE1 0LN, 020 7654 0179, A fun afternoon of drawing activities devised by artists to encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage with the practice of drawing. 1-3pm, free.

THE BIG DRAW 2012 6+13 October, TATE LIBRARY, Brixton SW2 1DU, 0751 404 7427 The Friends of Tate Library are hosting an inclusive drawing and art workshop to encourage families to discover the library as a source of fun and learning. The workshop will use the Dickens’ bicentenary as a starting point to explore childhood in Victorian times. 2-4pm, free.

DRAWING ROOM OF MR AND MRS DE MORGAN 2-7, 9-13, 16-20 October, DE MORGAN CENTRE, 38 WEST HILL, Wandsworth SW18 1RX, 020 8871 1144, The temporary exhibition space will be transformed into a Victorian sitting room where visitors are invited to decorate the room with paintings, vases, plates and tiles featuring their interpretation of the De Morgan designs, or patterns and scenes of their own invention. 1-5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11am weekends. Admission £4 adults, children and Art Fund members free.


350 metres of plastic plumbers’ tubing. Contributors are invited to add to the free flowing pipe that explores Dalston Square. Noon-5pm free.

BIG DRAW AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM 20 October, BRITISH MUSEUM, Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG, 020 7323 8299, Meet and draw William Shakespeare and objects showing his world in Tudor England, Europe, Africa, the New World and Asia. Learn how his contemporaries drew with quills, silverpoint and more. A free family workshop with something for all ages and abilities. 11am-6pm, free.

ALL ABOARD FOR STOCKWELL 20 October, starting at STOCKWELL BUS GARAGE, Binfield Road SW8, 07817 444928, A Routemaster bus tour of 20th century architecture with stops for drawing. Suitable for all ages, 1.45-4.30pm, free but book first.

BIG DRAW AT BANKSIDE 26 October, BANKSIDE GALLERY, 48 Hopton Street SE1 9JH, 020 7928 7521, Join the Royal Watercolour Society in a day of experimental drawing, turning water into line. Experiment with the richness and variety of mark-making, experience a range of tools and processes, and play with a mix of solid and liquid media. Suitable for all ages, 11.30am-4.30pm, free.

FACES INTO FOCUS 29 October, SAATCHI GALLERY, Duke of York’s HQ, Chelsea SW3 4RY, 020 7811 3087, Push the boundaries of your drawing and learn how to skilfully colour outside the lines. Using projected images, photography and inspiration from the gallery’s ‘Out of Focus’ exhibition, the education team will present several different challenges including scribbling on the walls, to inspire visitors to create beautiful and extraordinary portraits. 11am-5pm, free.

THE BIG DRAW 31 October, ESTORICK COLLECTION OF MODERN ITALIAN ART, 39A Canonbury Square, Islington N1 2AN, 020 7704 9522, Learn about Bruno Munari’s wacky designs and inventions and follow his top tips for drawing. 11am-2pm, under 16s free, adults £5 admission.

WILD ABOUT ART 27-31 October and 4 November, WWT LONDON WETLAND CENTRE, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT, 020 8409 4400, Take an inspirational walk around the reserve to look at natural shapes and lines in the landscape. A drawing workshop will show how to work from basic lines to recreate a variety of wetland animals, plants and landscapes. 10.30am-noon, suitable for all ages. Suggested £1 donation on top of admission charge.



13 October, Dalston Square, Hackney E8 3BQ, 020 8356 2929, A Big Draw event linking to an ongoing project by artist Julian Wild using

JEWISH MUSEUM, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town NW1 7NB, 020 7284 7324, The museum houses internationally acclaimed collections where visitors

families south east - september 2012

can explore Jewish culture, heritage and identity within the wider context of British history. Open 10am-5pm daily, Fridays to 2pm. Admission £3.50 children, £7.50 adults, £18 families.

ART AT SIR JOHN SOANE’S HOUSE SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3PB, 020 7440 4263, Tucked away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields at the heart of London, this magical, mysterious museum encourages young visitors to explore Soane’s (1753- 1737) was an inveterate collector, filling every nook and cranny of his beautiful home with items that fascinated him. From fossils to classical fragments from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and from contemporary paintings to architectural models, drawings and literature, he intended that after his death both his house and its extraordinary contents should be used to educate and inspire. Free drop-in activities run on the third Saturday of every month, with activities for all ages and families can take part together from 1.30-4.40pm. WATERCOLOUR DAY, TECHNIQUES, 4 October. Spend the day finding out about the different ways in which watercolour can be used. Have a go at wet-into-dry, dry brush and glazes. A workshop for adults of all abilities., £35, book first. HEADS UP, 31 October. Make a fun Soane-inspired character Toby jug from clay in which to keep your special treasures at home. Suitable for children, 10.30am-3pm, £20.

SOMERSET HOUSE FAMILY EVENTS SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, Free family workshops run on Saturdays from 2-3.30pm. Tickets available from 1pm from the information desk. Children aged 6-12 years must be accompanied by an adult.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY TRAFALGAR SQUARE WC2N 5DN Open daily 10am-6pm, Fridays to 9pm, admission free. With over 2,300 paintings in the collection, there are hundreds of reasons to visit the gallery, along with free hands-on art workshops for families at weekends and during school holidays. No need to book, but places are limited and allocated on arrival up to one hour before the start. GO DRAW GLOW, 28-30 October. Transform your drawings of favourite paintings into performances of glowing light.

FAMILIES AT THE TATE TATE BRITAIN, Millbank SW1, 020 7887 8888, Open daily 10am-5.50pm, and until 10pm the first Friday of the month. Family trails are available daily from the Information Desks and are free for 5yrs and under. Go on a journey around Tate Britain and post your discoveries into your ‘Post it’ box as you go. When you get home, open up the box and show your friends what you found. Or you could follow the ‘Join up’ trail: play the listening game, search for shapes, patterns and talking hands, and make your own sculptures. Every weekend the free Art Trolley encourages children to imagine and create, make colourful collages, style a wonderful sculpture or perhaps make a sketchbook and fill it with great ideas.

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What’sNew Protecting your family’s ears Bonfire night displays can be fun for children - but not the bangs! SpongeBob SquarePants earplugs are an easy way to protect little ears from loud noises and also when swimming. The ultra soft ear plugs use the same technology as BioEarsTM; one of the best selling products from the world’s leading innovators in ear care, Cirrus Healthcare. A powerful anti-microbial agent keeps the earplugs free from bacteria, and they’re easily moulded to provide a comfortable seal. They are suitable for all ages, rrp £4.99 for a set of three from Boots, Superdrug and all good pharmacies.

DO play with your food Try giving Ms Food Face a broccoli bouffant or Mr Food Face a gravy beard with these fun plates that are proving popular with little ones (and grown-ups who wish they’d been around when they were young). The plates measure 9” in diameter and are crafted from hotel quality, food safe and high-fire ceramics and come individually gift boxed along with lots of inspirational food art ideas, priced £9.99 each from internet boutique, 01455 631984.

A is for app A new phonics app has been launched to help nursery staff, early years teachers and parents. The Twinkl phonics app is designed to support children in developing some of the key skills taught in Phases 1-5 of the DfES Letters and Sounds framework. Activities are presented in a fun, child friendly way (with lovely twinkl artwork) and cover • the sounds and names of each letter of the alphabet • letter formation • blending sounds in CVC words • the graphemes taught in phases 2-3 (including digraphs and trigraphs) • initial and final blends • alternative spellings for phonemes • high frequency and tricky words for each phase Twinkl is available now at the Apple Store, priced £4.99. Further early years to KS2 resources are available from

One for One In 2006, American traveller Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need: One for One. Five years later, TOMS realised this movement could serve other basic needs and launched TOMS eyewear. With every pair purchased, TOMS helps give sight to a person in need. The range is eyecatching, stylish and affordable, and now available in the UK online at

Anti colic bottle Life with a baby can be quite stressful, so a feeding bottle that reduces colic and sterilises itself sounds like a cracking idea. The MAM Anti-Colic is ready for everything: visiting relatives, travelling or meeting friends. A smart base ventilation ensures that the drink flows slowly; the baby doesn’t swallow any air so colic is reduced. The bottle can be sterilised in a microwave for three minutes with a little water and it’s ready to use. No additional product, no chemical additives - that’s how easy sterilisation can be. Peace of mind for parents and a perfect start in life for babies. The bottles are £5.50 each from, 020 8943 8880.

Top secret ‘stuff’ Had enough of clutter? This Top Secret Stuff Box is the perfect place to store precious pictures, little toys or collectibles. Designed with an aged rusty finish for a ‘pre-loved’ look, the bold colour and retro font appeals to all ages, complete with a traditional catch which can have a lock attached for maximum secrecy. The box is 26cm long, 12cm wide and 15cm high, £20 from, 0844 800 8867.

My child has arthritis The charity Arthritris Care has received awards from the British Medical Association (BMA) for the quality of their patient support materials. In the UK alone, an estimated 12,000 children and young people suffer from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which can be a debilitating and painful disease. The BMA has recognised the value of Arthritis Care’s innovative, informative and supportive materials which help families understand and cope with these conditions. My Child Has Arthritis and other guides can be downloaded free from, or ordered through the free helpline 0808 800 4050.

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Top tips for family skiing holidays Paul and Francesca Ayres moved to Morzine 18 years ago, started a family ski company (Chilly Powder) and had three children. We asked them to tell us about the most important things you should consider when taking your family on a ski holiday. • Don’t rush to high altitude resorts because children can sometimes get altitude sickness. It’s also unsafe for babies under the age of 1 to go up in high cable cars because of the air pressure. • Finding a resort with an easy, short airport transfer will be a blessing! Also check that your airport transfer company is properly licensed and has the child car seats you’ll need. • While your on your transfer vehicle from the airport to your holiday accommodation, try to sit as near to the front of the bus as possible - then there’s less chance of the windy roads making your children sick. • It’s pointless wasting money on expensive ski clothes for your children they’ll only outgrow them by next year! Borrow what you can from friends or try TK Maxx in September and October! • If your children are attending ski school or childcare, make sure you sew their names in to their clothes so they don’t get mixed up with others. • If you’re taking a pushchair to use during your holiday, take one with large wheels. Standard chairs will be impossible to push in the snow but it might be that your holiday company has a stash of them for you to borrow. • Don’t forget that sun block is just as important on a winter holiday as it is in the summer. Take sun block rather than spray so that you don’t have to take your gloves off to rub it in! For more details about Chilly Powder see

october 2012 - families south east



Families South East PO Box 11591 London SE26 6WB Tel: 020 8699 7240 Email: Contact: Robina Cowan


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Families SE October 2012 issue 143  
Families SE October 2012 issue 143  

Families southeast London magazine for October 2012