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South West

Keep moving | Read more books | Keep learning Issue 303 January/February 2021


My New Year’s Resolutions! This year I want to:

This year I need to:

This year I am going to start:

This year I am going to stop:

This year I am going to learn:



Visit familiesmag.co.uk/go for more copies.


New Year’s mental health resolutions for your family By Helen Spiers On 1 January 2020, many of us were making resolutions about healthy eating, exercise or giving up bad habits, with no idea that a global catastrophe was on its way. The impact of the pandemic is huge, with mental health suffering particularly. So let’s use our 2021 resolutions to focus on being kinder to ourselves. By prioritising our family’s mental health, we’ll be happier, more energised, and ready to face whatever the ‘new normal’ has in store. Resolution 1: Be more open As a counsellor, young people tell me things that they couldn’t say to their parents. They may be worried about hurting their feelings or about their reaction. In other households, talking about feelings may be seen as shameful. But by hiding our own mental health difficulties, we’re not protecting our children, we’re promoting shame and secrecy. Open up about your own emotions and let your children know that we all get scared, sad and angry at times.

Resolution 2: Spend more time together Screens and social media played a big part in the lockdown narrative, and many bad habits were formed. While it may offer short-term respite, excessive screen-time and social media negatively impact on so many areas of a child’s


health and development. Resolutions that restrict or deprive children, however, will be met with frustration and resentment. Instead, resolve to spend more time together - be it a weekly games night or long Sunday walks. You’ll reduce screen-time, improve your relationships, and support your child’s development, communication skills and emotional well-being.

Resolution 3: Build on Strengths Diets fail and gym memberships gather dust because things we don’t find fun are hard to sustain. It’s the same for children. Encourage your child to set positive resolutions. Maybe they’re going to take on their most ambitious Lego project yet or become an even better dancer. Focussing on strengths will build their resilience and give them more faith in


their own abilities, making them more able to cope with adversity. With such busy lives it’s hard to prioritise our well-being - it’s often ignored until something goes wrong. This New Year, be proactive and instigate long-term changes for your family’s health and happiness. For more information, visit www.mabletherapy.com

Helen Spiers is Head of Child and Adolescent Counselling at Mable Therapy which works with schools and private individuals through a bespoke online platform.

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Estelle Stephens illustrations and portraits Estelle Stephens is a local artist. She started drawing humorous cartoons during lockdown to showcase the trials and tribulations of parenting. She launched @mamahoodsociety last July posting daily and received fantastic feedback on the relatability of her stories. She was featured as one of the funniest parents on social media by Today Parents. The popularity of her drawings led her to launch @estellestephensdesigns to showcase her work. When she was approached by a baby brand to draw a child portrait wearing their romper in a vintage style, things really blew up. The illustration was immensely successful and soon orders started flowing for custom portraits in the same design. Find her in Etsy under EstelleStephens where you can order a custom portrait but also home decor illustrations, branding pieces or where she can be contacted for any art designs.

Wear A Hat Day is back Calling all families across the country: join us on Friday 26th March to take part in entertaining, hat-themed fundraising events to help find a cure for brain tumours. After the very challenging year, we know that Wear A Hat Day 2021 is perfectly timed to become a huge event, bringing hope and inspiring the nation like never before! Thanks to the brilliant charity partnership with Venture Studios, they’ve been gifted with inspirational and uplifting portraits of key worker families who, despite having their own devastating brain tumour stories, are determined to show the joy and positivity that is being involved in Wear A Hat Day.

Save the date 26th March

Hope with anxiety During this uncertain time that engulfs us with the coronavirus pandemic, a tsunami of anxiety is continuing to soar. Statistics prove that more than 280 million people worldwide suffer from this debilitating, all consuming and destructive mental illness affecting sufferer and their carers alike. That’s why this extraordinary book ‘Hope with Anxiety’ written by Lynn Crilly, author, counsellor and mental health expert, couldn’t come at a more timely fashion. Hope with Anxiety has been sanctioned by Marjorie Wallace, Founder and Chief Executive of charity, SANE. “We can all benefit from Lynn’s wisdom, HOPE and reassurance that we can not only live with our anxiety, but thrive. We recommend this book to everyone, as it shows how we can all be liberated from fear and foreboding.” Says Wallace. Available on Amazon or www.lynncrilly.com

Boost your child's confidence in 2021 with a FREE Perform Class After such a disrupted and unsettling year, Perform is looking forward to getting 2021 off to a brilliant start with weekly classes packed with high energy confidence-boosting fun. Classes are designed around developing the 4 Cs—confidence, communication, coordination and concentration— and use a mix of drama, dance and singing to bring out every child's potential. The curriculum ensures plenty of fun, with drama games, catchy songs and funky dances. All class materials are written by Perform, with apps, downloads and videos for the children to play at home. Small class sizes— run by two professional actors—ensure plenty of individual attention, plus each child receives a progress report every 10 weeks. Classes are available for ages 4-7 and 7-12 with a new creative theme each term. To book a no-obligation FREE trial at any of Perform’s many venues in SW London www.perform.org.uk/try 020 7255 9120 / enquiries@perform.org.uk

Book before 14th February and quote LSW140221 for a £40 discount

Register to take part at www.wearahatday.org

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Irvine Education is SW London’s NEW bespoke educational services provider Private tutoring, group lessons, mock exams, school advice and academic assessments are among the services available from Irvine Education. Irvine Education is a tutoring agency with 20+ tutors, with thousands of hours of experience between them, covering a wide range of subjects, for students from Year 2 to Year 13. The company was founded in 2020 by Josh Funnell, who was previously managing partner at a successful London-based tutoring company. Josh has assisted children in securing places at some of the most competitive schools in the country. With a passion for delivering high quality educational services, Josh formed Irvine Education with support from City investors. Since launch, the company has acquired a strong roster of pupils from both private and state schools. Josh states “We are excited to bring our combined knowledge and expertise to support students to achieve their academic potential and educational goals, whilst maintaining a professional but friendly rapport, with an appropriate sense of fun.” For more information, please contact Monique Tremblay enquiries@irvineeducation.co.uk 020 7856 0585. www.irvineeducation.co.uk

As we look to the New Year ahead, NEST Creative Therapies continues to provide creative therapeutic services across South West London and Surrey to children of all ages (specialising in Early Years) and adults.

Talking therapies for children and adults—tailored to each person’s needs.

With the complexities the last year has brought us, awareness of ours, and our children’s mental and emotional health is more than ever at the forefront of our lives, with early intervention proving vital; so whether it is support for your nursery, school or in private practice for your child or yourself, we welcome any enquiries. For further information, please visit our website and social media pages to see how we work and the services we offer! www.nestct.co.uk Instagram: @nestcreativetherapies Facebook: NEST Creative Therapies

Organic and 100% recyclable packaging

Hosting international students

Have you ever thought of hosting an international student? Families with children of their own, those with “empty nest syndrome” or grandparents to name a few, all benefit from hosting international students. Hosting can be short term and very flexible to fit with your lifestyle. The experience that a child has when staying with a host can bring lifelong friendships. From learning to adapt to life in the beautiful English countryside, to life in a large busy city, from learning to bake bread to sharing with your host how to cook the best noodles! There really is something for everyone. Why not go to their website www.collegeguardians.co.uk and watch Jen’s Story then register for this wonderful experience? In exchange for your hospitality you will receive a generous compensation package. For information please contact Jane@collegeguardians.co.uk



Pots for Tots for mums with little time A mum, living in Balham, has launched a food delivery service for young children, and has appointed her two-year-old son as Chief Taster. She delivers homemade meals to parents in South London who don’t have time to cook healthy nutritious meals for their little ones. The meals are for children from six months to six years old and are made with high-quality, organic produce, and delivered in recyclable pots. Pots for Tots offers a range of meat, fish and vegetarian options to support a balanced diet. The menu includes hearty meals like cottage pie, chicken fricassee and seasonal risotto, stuffed with vegetables straight from a local farm. The company aims to liberate parents while also making sure every child gets the nutrients they need to grow up healthy. www.potsfortots.co.uk January/February 2021 • Families South West 5



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8 Families South West • January/February 2021


How to prepare your child for school Kate Jefferson MA (Cantab) LLM NPQH, Headteacher, Millbank Academy Starting school is a significant milestone. Whilst it is an exciting time, it can also be a daunting one for many children (and parents!). However, a little preparation can ensure that the transition is a positive one. 1. Get to know the school It is important to familiarise children with their new environment. Ask the school for photographs of key staff and classrooms, and share them with your child when discussing the exciting step ahead. Attend any open days or events that the school may offer before September. At Millbank Academy, we run ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for prospective families, and additional settling mornings for those offered a place. These help to nurture that all-important child-teacher bond. Books can be a helpful way to introduce children to new ideas, and starting school is no exception. Try classics such as Starting School (Ahlberg). 2. Social Development Teaching children to share, to ask to play and to vocalise what has upset them will enable them to advocate for themselves. Those who have attended a pre-school setting, such as a nursery, are likely to be comfortable spending time away from you and interacting with other children. If your child has not had this experience, consider joining a pre-school group. At Millbank, for example, we offer free weekly sensory sessions. 3. Academic development Foster your child’s inquisitive nature and joy of learning by having conversations, sharing stories and playing. When reading books familiesonline.co.uk

together, prompt your child to think about how characters are feeling and to invent different endings. Discuss new words and then practise using them later on in the day. To support early numeracy, build numbers into your daily routine. How many chairs are at the table? What number is the bus? Repetition is key, so play with numbers in short bursts throughout the day. If your child is ready for more, ensure that the learning at home complements what will be taught at school. For example, teaching your child to print letters could do more harm than good if the school teaches pre-cursive writing. 4. Physical development Gross motor skills involve the body’s large core-stabilising muscles and are essential for FamiliesSWLon

children to sit at a desk and to dress themselves. Activities such as hopscotch, wheelbarrow races and skipping games will strengthen them. Fine motor skills involve the coordination between smaller muscles, such as in the fingers, and the brain. They enable children to hold a pencil, pick up small items and fasten buttons. Help your child to develop them by encouraging them to draw and colour. If holding a pencil is difficult, try playing ‘finger gym’ games, such as threading beads and modelling dough. 5. Routine Children thrive on routine, so mirror the school routine at home. It is helpful if your child is accustomed to getting up, eating and sleeping at the new times. Aim to phase out naps. The extra energy used at school will tire them out without having to battle the loss of extra sleep. Offer your child quiet time instead, and move bedtime earlier if needed. Limiting screen time to earlier in the day will enable your child to sleep better and for longer. Limit snacks to mid-morning and midafternoon. It may seem small, but if your child is used to having a full tummy at 11am, they will find the later school lunch a shock! 6. Independence It is important that your child is confident in toileting independently. Don’t worry about accidents, which may continue for a while yet, as most Reception settings will understand. For their own wellbeing, however, children do need to be mostly clean and dry. 7. Raise concerns early Is your child a fussy eater? Are you worried about their language development? Have they been reluctant to pick up a pen? Flag any anxieties you may have with the school before September. This will allow them to prepare fully for your child’s arrival. www.millbankacademy.org.uk January/February 2021 • Families South West 9

LITTLE ANGELS NURSERY SCHOOL A Traditional Teaching Nursery - Learning through Play Ofsted rated 'Good' nursery. Established in 2000, very homely, friendly and staff are fully qualified in Early Years. Age 3 months to 5 years with three spacious rooms to explore, learn and grow in confidence and intellect. There are two large gardens. Open all year 8am to 6pm. 15/30 hours weekly free sessions available for 2-4yrs.

Please contact our office on 020 7274 8333. info@littleangelsbrixton.co.uk www.littleangelsbrixton.co.uk 50 Gresham Road, Brixton, SW9 7NL "Overall, staff provide a stimulating learning environment where children are motivated and eager to learn" OFSTED

Welcome to


Well established, independently run Montessori nursery school offering high quality education in a friendly and caring environment. Small classes with qualified staff ensure excellent levels of pupil contact. Extra activities include sport, drama, music and forest school. Lovely outdoor garden.

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The benefits of nursery and things to consider By Gabrielle Nash Choosing good quality childcare is one of the most important decisions a parent will make. Whether you are a new parent thinking about returning to work or a stay at home parent considering the options for your toddler, finding a good nursery may very well be your best option. A day nursery provides a structured and safe environment. Assessed by Ofsted, the UK’s school and childcare regulator, nurseries have to meet certain requirements in areas like sta ratios and hygiene. Additionally, a quality nursery will support your child’s development by o ering a stimulating environment, providing a foundation for school and benefiting their social skills. Sally is mother to Finn, aged 18 months. She describes the experience of her son starting nursery as amazing, with his development quickly accelerating: “Within weeks, Finn was walking and starting to understand so much more. It’s been wonderful to see how social he’s become and how much he enjoys spending time with the sta as well as other children.”

flexibility, you may need to consider your options, because late pick-ups from a nursery are discouraged. Of course, this is less of an issue if you can work from home.

Where do you live and how do you get to work? The logistics of drop-o s and pick-ups are important when considering childcare options. Is there a nursery on your way to work or close to home?

What is your child’s personality? Assessing whether a nursery is suitable for you and your child, depends largely on your circumstances. If you want a stimulating pre-school environment, then it is undoubtedly a good option. However, if you are a working parent, who needs to leave the house to go to work, there are a few things to consider.

Your child may be gregarious and outgoing, in which case nursery is ideal. Or you may have a more reserved child, for whom a large nursery could be overwhelming. With babies, this is more di icult to assess. It’s worth remembering that a nursery may not o er the same one-to-one care as a childminder or nanny, but they will have more sta in a baby room.

What hours do you work?

For more from Gaby, follow her on Instagram @thelondonishmum

If you have a set start and finish time, this aligns well with a nursery as they generally work on set hours. If you need more

What to check out

Additional resources

Word of mouth. Whilst the regulator’s report is important, local parents’ recommendations are also useful, so speak to others about their nursery choices.

Whilst word-of-mouth will give you real life assurances about the childcare settings on your shortlist, there are plenty of other resources to help you make an informed decision.

Parental visit. Sometimes a nursery can seem chaotic with lots of noise and potentially crying, but this does not necessarily reflect the nursery’s quality. Are you greeted warmly? Do the sta seem stressed or responsive?

Ofsted rating. Check the nursery’s Ofsted report. Look out particularly for Ofsted’s grade and summary of the setting. www.ofsted.gov.uk

Sta . Ask about sta turnover, sta ratios and whether your child would have a “key person.”

Childcare options. To get a greater understanding of your local childcare options, from nurseries to nannies, you can search at www.childcare.co.uk

Environment. This should be clean, not necessarily tidy! The children should have regular and structured access to the outside, as this supports their physical development. Play. Young children learn best through play. Ask about the options and how activities are introduced. Routine. How does the nursery meet basic needs? eg meals, hygiene, and naps. Does the environment for these seem appropriate? Child’s progress. How are parents updated on their child’s progress?



Help with costs. Depending on where you live and your circumstances, you may be entitled to government support. For more information, visit www.childcarechoices.org.uk Further support. It’s important to plan for childcare costs and factor them into your childcare decision. A more comprehensive guide to support with childcare costs can be found at www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/help-ourchildcare-costs

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Little Learners named ‘Most Innovative childcare business’ in London


ongratulations to Little Learners, an award-winning group of nurseries, which has won the award for Most Innovative Childcare Business (London) in the LUX Parent and Baby Awards 2020.  Now in its 2nd year, the awards honour businesses and initiatives which guarantee that families receive the best possible care and support to accommodate the growth and development of their child.  With nurseries in Balham and Battersea, Little Learners offers structured sessions for toddlers aged from 15-36 months. Influenced by Montessori principles, and with a view to preparing children for onward education, its teachers maintain an engaging environment with a consistent structure to help even the youngest feel secure. “We are thrilled that our efforts have been recognised in this way,” said Michelle Reynolds, founder of Little Learners. “This is such a critical—and sometimes underestimated—age for children, and we offer a well-defined alternative to a traditional nursery setting, which fills an important childcare gap.”

Little Learners was selected for its innovative approach to childcare, the use of sustainable materials and its ability to ignite curiosity,

imagination and shared thinking while delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). www.claphamlearners.com

Please visit our website for a virtual tour of our school. Please contact the school for more information about visiting us.

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Children’s difficulties in communicating during Covid-19


e find it hard enough as an adult to communicate and speak through a facemask; for a child this is not only impossible, it has far reaching implications for their education. We asked Alice Clark owner of The Willow Nursery in Clapham, to explain what happened in their nursery. “It is well known that since the first lockdown in March 2020, the whole country has seen a regression in speech and language amongst children. From infancy, children need to read facial expressions and see parents and teachers smiling when they are communicating. At nursery school, young children look to their teacher for changes in expression—when they are asking a question, when they are looking pleased or disappointed, when there is a potential danger. They also need to hear a change in the tone of their teacher’s voice. In a noisy classroom, this is a challenge for any child. If they cannot see or


When a challenging child needed a quick reminder of how not to push playdoh into the keys of our precious piano, a noise of disapproval from the teacher and a downward turn of the mouth was all but lost, and the event reoccurred several times! Phonics a no-go area with a mask When teaching letter sounds, the child needs to see the shape of the mouth and hear the subtlety of different sounds. Not only were children confused but they thought we had gone a bit bonkers—what on earth were we asking them to do?!

hear properly, young ones become unable to read any given situation and regulate a response, with social interactions becoming threatened.

putting our children or ourselves at risk. We did however, continue our thorough deep cleaning and handwashing and social distancing from parents.

Masks are clearly having a detrimental effect The issues around wearing masks became apparent very quickly so together with the staff we decided that we would remove the facemasks unless we were in extremely close proximity and

In the first couple of days, when wearing masks, we were seeing the serious impact they were having on our children. When commending children on their excellent work, they were looking searchingly at our facemasks, unable to see the wide smiles and upturned mouths.


With Covid-19 causing mayhem— how can children learn to interact and interpret situations when one of the most expressive parts of the body is covered? The decision that we made continued to allow our children to thrive socially, emotionally and educationally, encouraging the development of communication and language, whilst keeping children, staff and parents safe and Covid-free.” 55 Grafton Square, Clapham Old Town SW4 0DE www.thewillownursery.co.uk

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St Mary Magdalen Montessori St Mary’s Summerstown Montessori

SW14 : 020 8878 0756 • SW17 : 020 8947 7359

Calling all young Scientists!

Help us discover how babies & kids learn! We’re recruiting infants from birth to school age to take part in fun studies at the Birkbeck Babylab in central London. Our prime location is easy to reach and we refund travel expenses. We also have online studies you can do from the comfort of home www.cbcd.bbk.ac.uk/online-studies

020 7631 6258 babylab@bbk.ac.uk www.cbcd.bbk.ac.uk

Providing Education and Care in a Warm, Welcoming Environment including Cookery, Ballet, Dance, Football and Singing as part of our curriculum. Private fees or Free Government Funding. Good OFSTED with excellent love and care. Nightingales Nursery has been described as South London’s best kept secret! Tucked away between Clapham South tube and Clapham Common, we are proof that ‘good things really do come in small packages!’

We provide an exciting learning environment, meeting the individual needs of children and families and are ideally situated across the road from Clapham Common, close to Clapham South tube Station and Balham train station.

The nursery is situated in a converted house in the beautiful, secure grounds of Saint Francis Xavier Sixth Form College. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are a small familyorientated nursery. Our aim is to create a warm, caring and stimulating environment, as we realise that choosing a nursery is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will make. We are open 51 weeks of the year from 8:00am to 18:00pm daily and currently have vacancies for under 3’s.

For more information please email e.thompson@sfx.ac.uk or visit our website www.nightingalesnursery.com

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We provide a delightful environment for children from 2yrs of age. Offering the full Montessori curriculum with visiting teachers for Music, Dancing, Yoga, French, Drama, Sports & Gymnastics.

Local children up to the age of 8yrs are welcome to join in with our fun and creative activity days during school breaks. School pick-ups and homework clubs are also available during term time.


0208 673 8037 102 Chestnut Grove Balham, London, SW12 8JJ

TEA TIME FOR TODDLERS This session takes place from 3:30pm to 4:30pm for children from approximately 2yrs of age to attend with an adult

www.themontessorischool.co.uk familiesonline.co.uk


Encouraging constant learning Dr Cath Bishop “Let’s race!” “Who’s going to win snakes and ladders?” From early childhood, it seems natural to compare and compete with others. But, historically, what marked us out from our ancestors was our ability to co-operate in large numbers, communicate and connect through ideas and stories. This is how we learn. Whatever our age or circumstances, we can always learn. And learning sits at the heart of the latest thinking on innovating, resilience and leadership. To help instil a learning habit in our children, let’s look at three areas. Let’s start with co-operation. It’s sadly overlooked or underplayed. Games are often set up to determine winners and losers. In the classroom, children compete to be the first one to put their hands up with the right answer. They learn that they look good when they have that answer, that they are being compared with their peers, and that they look better when others get things wrong. These competitive experiences block them from learning with and from their peers. Teaching, supporting and challenging each other is the most e ective way to learn; co-operation between children is also an essential ingredient for mental health. Next, let’s embrace those ‘why’ questions that drive parents with toddlers crazy – they are the most brilliant basis of a learning mindset. A relentless focus on simply acquiring knowledge and skills without knowing why they matter or what impact they could have, reduces the motivation to keep learning.


To find out more about our warm, friendly, secure and stimulating school call 020 8748 2081 (mornings) or visit barnesmontessori.co.uk

Barnes Montessori Nursery,

The ‘why’ helps us to master the ‘what’ and work out the ‘how.’ Finally, as parents, we need to consider how we answer those questions – or not. We want to be clear. But it’s really not necessary for any of us to know the finer details of how planes stay up in the sky, or how long it takes to get to the moon. It’s much more useful to explore our children’s potential thoughts on these things and maybe find more questions. The future is uncertain – and always has been. Asking questions, developing them and exploring di erent perspectives is the best way to foster a learning mindset, ready to discover new possibilities. Dr Cath Bishop is an Olympic medallist, International Diplomat and Cambridge University Business Coach. Her new book The Long Win: The search for a better way to succeed is out now, published by Practical Inspiration Publishing, priced £12.99. For more information, visit www.cathbishop.com

Innovative app helps with children observation Obversation is the key to following a child's progress in Early Years. In order to facilitate this, Nightingale Montessori has recently chosen to utilise the 'My Montessori Child' App. This has proved invaluable in recording the progress of each child— giving both teachers and parents learning insights, which in turn will support their next steps. Parents have continuous access to their child's records enabling direct communication with teachers. The benefits of the app have been even more apparent during this pandemic as parents have been able to support their children with home learning/activities. The app is used in conjunction with the EYFS. www.nightingalemontessori.co.uk

c/o Barnes Sports Club, 261 Lonsdale Road, London SW13 9QL

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January/February 2021 • Families South West 15


Getting ready for SATs By Claire Winter Covid-19 has caused unprecedented issues and disruptions and one of the key areas of disruption has been in children’s education. Sadly, it is estimated that school pupils are at least three months behind on their learning. Preparing for exams is a stressful time for children, parents and teachers under normal circumstances. However, despite the interruptions Covid-19 has caused, the government is currently still adamant that KS2 SATs will go ahead this year. BUT it has suspended KS1 SATs for one year.

KS1 SATs in Year 2 Generally children sit their KS1 SATs in reading and maths in May. They are also assessed by their teacher on science, writing, speaking, and listening. But, in 2021, teachers will assess children in reading, writing, phonics and maths only. They can choose to administer past KS1 SATs papers to help inform their teacher assessment judgements, if they wish. The teacher assessments are not an o icial score and are not used in national assessments.

KS2 SATs in Year 6 In Year 6 SATs are a more formal process of testing and children will sit KS2 SATs 2021 in English reading, English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and maths. Students will also be assessed by their teachers in other subjects including speaking and listening, writing, and in some cases, science.

Everyone is aware that children have missed large parts of the curriculum. Parents also need to remember that SATs are mainly used to assess the school’s performance. However, they can also be a good way of understanding how well your child is doing in key subjects at school. Alongside Year 7 CAT (Cognitive Ability Test) exams, many secondary schools will look at Year 6 SATs results as part of the decision making process when grouping students into sets or streams in Year 7. Again, this is nothing to be concerned about because secondary pupils are assessed regularly and moved into di erent sets and streams throughout their time at school, depending on their progress. This country has just been through an unprecedented time in education, which has involved home schooling through a pandemic. Under these circumstances, it’s more important than ever to try not to get too stressed by SATs. Instead, take steps to help and prepare your child as best you can. If you do feel worried, try not to show it. Instead, do your best to help your child feel calm and confident about the assessment.

SATs revision tips

Catch up on learning

Make sure you and your child understand the gaps in their education. Taking a look at the curriculum or talking to your child’s teacher will help you understand where these are.

Becka Heaps, founder of Parent Intuition (parentmattersuk@ gmail.com) ran a free homework club called Homework Matters during lockdown 2. Here are her tips:

Have a planner. With your child, create a plan of what needs to be learned or revised and how much time to spend on it. Make it fun, and try to think of interesting ways to revise the topics.

Mind maps are your friend. When you’ve identified the gaps in your child’s knowledge, ask them to create a mind map around each subject. This is a great visual way to represent the gaps and then record their progression.

Create a checklist. Ticking o what they have learned can boost your child’s self-esteem as they can see the progress they have already achieved. Seek additional support. If your child/children are struggling, look for useful support resources online, such as websites like BBC Bitesize, TES or perhaps online tutorials. Create space. Ensure you child has a quiet space, preferably at a desk, where they can complete their work without being disturbed. Be a role model. Be involved. Listen to their struggles, help with their revision and celebrate their success.

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Have fun! Children are more likely to learn if they are enjoying themselves. Play games, make up a song, set quizzes! Why not practice the SATs test as a game show quiz? Little but often is key. Twenty minutes of concentrated learning is far more e ective than an hour of unfocussed revision. Identify a subject, focus on one topic, learn it, then stop and do something else. Nail the basics. It’s tricky to simplify a fraction if your child doesn’t know their tables. Keep it simple, start where they are at, and build on their knowledge.


Exciting new buildings for The Study Prep School


he Study Prep School, Wimbledon is pleased to announce that its new building at Wilberforce House, a two storey structure comprising an impressive Performing Arts Centre, six new classrooms, a bright and airy library and a new entrance for visitors, is now open. The Study has long been renowned for its excellence in the creative arts and the new performing arts space will be the central hub of music, drama and performance for girls across the whole school to enjoy.


Miss Vicky Ellis, new Head at The Study Prep told Families: “I am incredibly proud to have joined The Study at this very exciting time. The new building not only looks impressive with a design that is sympathetic to its unique position on the edge of leafy Wimbledon Common, but it will also provide our girls with wonderful modern, light and bright learning spaces. Older girls based at our Spencer House site in the Village will also


enjoy the facilities, especially the impressive Performing Arts space where their love of drama, dance and music may be encouraged to its full extent. We have no plans to increase the number of girls at the School, these new facilities have been conceived to enhance the girls’ learning environment rather than to expand the school.” www.thestudyprep.co.uk

January/February 2021 • Families South West 17


How to improve your child’s concentration By Gail Hugman

If ever there was a time to help your child improve their learning skills, it is now! Even when routines are not disrupted, many young children need help developing the skills of listening and concentration required in the classroom. Here are some ways you can help your child.

Concentration DEFINE focus and concentration – primary aged children need to feel things in their body to help their brain properly understand the meaning. To help your child FEEL concentration, ask them to balance a book on their head! After the book has stopped falling o , the giggling has ended and you see that they are focussed, TELL them that what they were feeling whilst trying to balance the book is ‘concentration.’ EXPLAIN that concentration means using all your energy to do one thing at a time. If you get distracted you need to take control inside yourself to get back to the job. Taking control is a grownup thing to do! Teach the Bubble Strategy (below) to use in class.


really means and the di erence between listening and hearing. For example, hearing is something that happens automatically. Listening is something we DO which means we can get better at it with practice. •

Tell them you’re going to see how well their brain is learning to listen. Say a simple sentence for them to repeat back to you exactly as it was said: e.g. “I put my coat on and went outside to play.”

Can your child repeat it word perfectly? They might need to do it several times. Suggest they repeat the sentence in their head when you say it because that will help their brain remember it. They can do this when their teacher is speaking to them at school too.

Only around 2% of the population ever have any formal training in listening and yet it’s one of the most important skills we need for learning. Help your child get o to a great start with the following steps:

Gail Hugman is the founder of Lessons Alive. Gail has 46 years’ experience teaching and motivating children to be the best they can be in school and in life. This article contains extracts from her book 100 Things to Learn Before You’re 10, available at www.theendlessbookcase.com.

For further information, visit www.lessonsalive.com

Talk with your child about what they think listening

The bubble strategy

Concentration exercises

This will help your child manage distraction in the classroom. Talk to your child about the classroom and what distracts them.

This plan is for ten minutes before school each morning for at least one week but can go on throughout the school year or until your child feels they manage to focus well in class. Substitute and change activities as the weeks go on but always make them timed.

Look at the school timetable and show your child the blocks of time when they need to be listening and concentrating. Tell them to help their brain focus in the classroom, they need to imagine they are inside a big, invisible bubble. It can be any colour they like! Inside the bubble all they can hear is their teacher talking; all other noise is outside the bubble and in the distance. They can shake o their bubble when they go out to play and go back into it in the next lesson. Give them a small, pretty stone or bead for their pencil case and tell them that every time they see it, it will remind them to concentrate, listen and check that they are using the bubble when they need it. After school, ask them how their concentration was in the lessons in which it was needed.

18 Families South West • January/February 2021

2 minutes warm up each day - choose one of these Throwing ball to wall and catching - this helps to ‘get your brain going.’ Throwing ball to person – or hand to hand - and catching. Hopping from foot to foot. 2 minutes learning essentials Copy out 5 words to learn spelling OR copy out and say a times table to learn. 2 minutes to release tension and develop hand control Squeeze a stress ball or equivalent (plasticine). 3 minutes to mentally prepare for the day Look at the timetable and when they will need to focus. Remind your child about bubble strategy and how to focus. Check their bag to make sure they have what they need.



2 16




Granard Primary School “Growing together; Achieving together”

A child’s first school is an important stepping stone into education. Granard is friendly, caring and inclusive. We nurture each child’s academic, sporting and music opportunities to enable them to succeed academically and socially. We provide a caring and nurturing environment for children from Nursery to Year 6 (age 3 — 11).

To find out about our excellent teaching, the support we offer and see our wonderful facilities, visit our virtual tour at https://bit.ly/GranardPrimaryTour For further information, please contact the school office on 0208 788 3606.

20 Families South West • January/February 2021

Nursery Places available: Free 30 hours where eligible Free 15 hours part-time 15 hours top-up available Breakfast and After School Care available


A village school in the heart of London ‘A hidden gem’ says the Good Schools Guide

Stellar 11+ results to top London schools. • Specialist teachers in key subjects. • Parents effusive over our lockdown and in-school learning. Critical thinking and interview preparation throughout Year 6. • STEAM lessons for all (nationally accredited). Pastoral care as important as academic success. • Spectacular LAMDA results Music embedded in the curriculum. • Amazing outdoor space. • Sport for all.

Prepare for the future; enjoy the journey!





• 020 7610 8085

January/February 2021 • Families South West 21


LOCAL SERVICES WE LOVE Complied by Melissa Reynolds Now more than ever we are turning to services that are close to home or can come to our home. Families has a great selection of services operating in the SW London area that you need to add to your go-to list! CeCe & Me

Mobile shoe shop

Sam has set up CeCe & Me to make buying children’s shoes more convenient to provide advice about the best options and can deliver locally. Appointments can be virtual, over Skype or on the phone; when possible she is operating as a pop-up shop at child friendly venues around SW London and offering home appointments. Shoes by Bobux, Ricosta, Pediped, Camper, Froddo and Livie & Luca from prewalkers to size 28 (UK10). Go get it: www.ceceandme.co.uk/book-a-fitting @ceceandmelondon

Private ultrasound service Hey Baby 4D Wandsworth offers a variety of private ultrasound services to suit all stages of your pregnancy. Early reassurance scans available from just 6 weeks (4 weeks earlier than the NHS). Same day appointments are available if you want to check on the progress and wellbeing of your pregnancy in those early days. Hey Baby's VIP 4D scans provide you with a full 30 minute immersive experience in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Go get it: www.wandsworth.heybaby4d.co.uk @heybaby4dwandsworth

Frame from home Save yourself the trouble, let the framer visit you. London picture framing experts will help you with framing paintings, prints, posters, baby shoes, photographs, certificates, embroideries, medals, coins, since 1999. Every type of framing from custom and handmade frames, perspex cases, mirrors, aluminium mouldings. No call out charge.

Quinn’s Little Things

Go get it: www.framefromhome.co.uk

Quinn’s Little Things Colliers Wood mum Romana Budinska is the brains behind the new sustainable shoe and clothing line Quinn’s Little Things. Unable to find shoes to adequately support her own young child, Romana worked with a podiatrist as well as manufacturers in her native Czech Republic and Slovakia. They also offer a line of vintage style tights with braces. Go get it: www.quinnslittlethings.co.uk; @quinnslittlethings

JM Photobooks

Help with your photo books We all have thousands of photos stored on our computers of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and hope that one day we'll have time to print them and stick them in a photo album. The reality is that no one has time to do this anymore. With ten years experience, Justine can help you design a bespoke photo book and turn those forgotten memories into beautiful hardback photo books to cherish for ever. Go get it: www.jmphotobooks.co.uk @jmphotobooks

22 Families South West • January/February 2021


Portraits from the pavement Despite the lockdowns this year, people still wanted photos done, or wanted them done to commemorate such an event. Claire Wakefield took a step back from wedding photography took to the sidewalks and started photographing people in their doorways or on their steps. A portion of her fees were donated to the NHS and this time around a portion of her Christmas sessions were donated to Mind Charity. Claire now has a side brand (Family by Claire) which are offered all year. Go get it: www.clairewakefield.co.uk; @familybyclaire

Balloons in London Balloons aren’t just for children anymore! Balloons in London have taken the balloon garland and made it the new occasion accessory. Whether it’s a birthday, a graduation, wedding or just your average weekend get together, Balloons in London is ready! Their big, bold and colourful balloons can be delivered or picked up from their South West London Studio. Go get it: Call Annie 07932557596 or @balloonsinlondon

Claire Wakefield

Buggi, buggy subscription service Buggi is the UK’s first buggy subscription service that allows parents to change their buggy to suit their needs, and their wallets! For a monthly subscription fee, users can rent the buggy of their choice and then switch every 6 months should they choose. With Buggi in business this means fewer prams ending up in landfills and it’s easier on everyone’s storage since you can hand it back. Go get it: www.buggi.co.uk @buggi_uk

South London Nappies This parent-led, social enterprise nappy library is self funded by hires and donations and staffed by volunteers. They hire washable nappies throughout South London and provide advice and guidance on the use of cloth nappies. Their kits are for hire for newborn, baby and toddler. Kits come with everything you need to use cloth nappies full time, Newborn £50 for 6 months, Baby & Toddler £20 for 3 months. This is not a nappy laundry service. Go get it: www.southlondonnappies.org @southlondonnappies

Balloons in London

This Chocolate Space These bespoke Belgian are handmade by local creator Hera. Chocolate is a passion of hers and she creates chocolates for all occasions. Popular items include children’s birthday lollipops, baby chocolate favours, flavoured hot chocolate bombs and chocolate covered Oreo boxes. Delivery is anywhere six miles from Morden. Go get it: www.handmadebyhera.com @thischocolatespace

Posh Picnix Posh Picnix creates personalised picnics for all occasions. Picnix started during lockdown as a box for one friend and once word spread Balhambased teacher Lucy was in business! From solo and sharing boxes, breakfast in bed to platters and afternoon treats. Picnix can be delivered in London. Made with love and delivered with care. Go get it: @poshpicnix


This Chocolate Space

Posh Picnix

Omami Created by mum duo Sal and Lisa, Omami offers mums the chance to have healthy food that is also convenient! Their products are made in small batches and delivered right to your door. All of their blends are developed with a nutritionist and hold the key nutrients crucial to baby’s development. Go get it: www.omami.co.uk @omamilife



January/February 2021 • Families South West 23

Now booking ahead

24 Families South West • January/February 2021



Reading with your child to navigate tricky times By Smriti Halls A book can be a friend in lonely times, a delightful escape, a comfort blanket to wrap around us when the going gets tough. As a parent, sharing this understanding with your children is one of the best gifts you can give them.

Optimism and hope When life is tricky, sharing stories helps us feel hopeful. What could be more inspiring than reading about a mouse who outsmarts a monster or a young wizard defying the odds? Choose books that are uplifting, joyful and empowering. Through words and pictures, help your child see that whatever they are experiencing, they are not the first and they are not alone. Books can remind children – and adults – of the joy and wonder in life. Of friendship and family and the things that matter. They can help us feel optimistic, happy and loved.

Body language The simple act of sharing a book is a very real, very special way of connecting with your child and vice versa. Sit close together. Listen to the sound of each other’s voices. Take turns to read. No matter how old, your child will always love being read to by you, so allow time for them to hear the reassuring sound of your voice.

Escape There’s nothing more comforting or exhilarating than escaping into a book. Share laugh-out-loud stories, wild adventures, magical mysteries….leave reality behind. Use books to help your children’s imaginations fly. Circumstances might not allow you to travel, but there are no limits to how far your imagination can take you. Laugh. Have fun. Use voices. Help your child feel

unburdened and escape into humour, fantasy and delight.

Pictures A picture speaks a thousand words… encourage your child to simply sit and soak up the beauty of the illustrations in a picture book. Allow them to be immersed in the detail, to read expressions, to tell the story in their own words. Help them take time to feel replenished and restored by the experience.

Facts Seek out information books on topics of interest – or concern. This is a great way to engage with tricky subjects and arm children with facts so that they can feel well-resourced and empowered for any challenge. Most importantly, keep talking, keep connecting, keep reading. Through the books you choose and the way you share them, your child will feel secure, loved and well equipped for daily life, no matter how tricky the times. Smriti Halls is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author and Writer in Residence with BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. Visit www.booktrust.org.uk

Books to process feelings

Regular and often

Leafing through the pages of a book a ords the space and time to think and to process emotions. It can provide a safe space to acknowledge worries, anxiety or sadness, creating opportunities to open wider conversations.

We know how much youngsters benefit from the reassurance of routine and this is particularly welcome at times when other aspects of life feel disrupted.

When reading with your child, make connections between the pictures and story and things happening in your child’s life, as well as emotions they might be feeling. Ask simple questions: “How do you think he’s feeling? Have you ever felt that way? I wonder if she’s nervous. When was the last time you felt like that?” This is can be a tactful and unobtrusive way to approach a tender subject, especially if you are concerned that your child is bothered by something. Be gentle and allow time for your child to respond in their own way, without pressure.

Select a time each day when you will share a story together. You may already have a bath, book and bed routine in place, or perhaps your child prefers snack time with stories as soon as they come home from school. Choose the time that suits your family best and then commit to reading together for at least 15 minutes at that time each day. The repetition will be reassuring and comforting.

Gently turning the pages of a book can be a wonderful opportunity to emotionally connect with your child at a deep level, a chance for them to open up and for them to feel your love and reassurance.



Every now and again, you can make story time a big event! Forget about pizza and a movie… create a bit of magic with books – make a warm and cosy environment. Snuggle up with blankets. Pour mugs of hot chocolate. Hand out cookies. Make this a happy part of the day that both you and your little ones look forward to, no matter what is going on elsewhere. In tricky times, it’s the very best medicine.

January/February 2021 • Families South West 25

CLUBS AND CLASSES Upbeat pop and rock courses Upbeat music offers Saturday sessions, private tuition and multi-activity music holiday camps. Try out new instruments, sing and dance, audition for one of their Senior bands, write and record a song, perform at a gig. Or have your very own Upbeat Pop party ON their OFFline. For children 4-18 years. Join the band! www.upbeatmusiccourses.co.uk The Little Gym At Home Want to keep the children active? Make sure to visit The Little Gym @Home! The Little Gym Wandsworth and Fulham online have a great selection of pre-recorded videos for ageappropriate activities for children 4mths-12yrs. Little Gym teachers have designed gymnasticsbased activities in a class experience to keep your child moving, learning and keeping fit at home. More uploaded each week on their YouTube channel “The Little Gym UK”. www.youtube.com/c/TheLittleGymUK Try Time rugby Fancy getting your 2-7 year old outside, being active and having lots of fun? Try Time Kids’ Rugby offer classes on Saturdays and Sundays in Battersea, Clapham, Fulham, Wandsworth, Wimbledon and NEW: classes now in Streatham and Tooting. They invite you to go along and give them a try. Book a free trial for 2-7 year old girls and boys. www.trytimekidsrugby.com/come-along

Award-winning, original, multi- sensory musical classes. Bubbles, costumes, massage, sensory textures and lights, puppets and more. Also deliver fabulous parties. Classes designed for each stage of your baby’s development. Baby bells: Newborn- sitting Beeps: Sitting- Standing Happy house: Toddler & siblings * Classes in Clapham, Battersea, Balham, Putney, Kew, Wandsworth, Fulham, Chelsea, Barnes, Sheen, Earlsfield, Southfields and Victoria. Kimmy@hartbeeps.com * Classes in Streatham, Wimbledon, Colliers Wood and Tooting Niamh@hartbeeps.com www.hartbeeps.com

Music lessons improve concentration and memory A study shows young musicians who play an instrument, practise frequently and regularly perform have increased memory and attention skills. The findings come from a recent study, which showed how musically trained children performed better at attention and memory recall exercises. They also had greater activation in brain regions related to attention control and auditory encoding. www.frontiersin.org

Helping children believe they can do anything Singing, dancing and acting classes for 4 - 18 year-olds

BATTERSEA 07956 288928 battersea@stagecoach.co.uk stagecoach.co.uk/battersea

NEW MALDEN 0208 540 7791 newmalden@stagecoach.co.uk stagecoach.co.uk/newmalden

FULHAM 07498 213142 fulham@stagecoach.co.uk stagecoach.co.uk/fulham

PUTNEY 020 8099 9861 putney@stagecoach.co.uk stagecoach.co.uk/putney WIMBLEDON 020 8946 3400 wimbledon@stagecoach.co.uk stagecoach.co.uk/wimbledon

Stagecoach Performing Arts is the trading name of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited. Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach and Creative Courage For Life are registered trademarks of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited.

26 Families South West • January/February 2021


FEBRUARY HALF TERM CAMPS AND COURSES Stagecoach Performing Arts The Mansel Road Centre, Mansel Road, SW19 4AA 07710 056094 wimbledon@stagecoach.co.uk Book online: www.stagecoach.co.uk/wimbledon Bookings are open and places are limited for Wimbledon Stagecoach half term holiday workshop. Five days to have fun and be creative, working on different musicals throughout the week. Develop confidence and skills in acting, dancing and singing, working in small groups to suit age and ability, led by top industry professionals, no experience necessary, open to everyone aged 6-16 years. 15 - 19 Feb.

Funky Monkey now online too 01732 457 100 www.funkymonkey.info Popular Funky Monkey Keyboard classes are now offering step by step videos to learn the keyboard from the comfort of your own home—learn at your pace. For 5-8yrs and 9-12yrs.

Upbeat music Pop and Rock Courses Saturday sessions, private tuition and multi-activity music holiday camps. Try out new instruments, sing and dance, audition for one of their Senior bands, write and record a song, perform at a gig or have your very own Upbeat Pop party offline. For 4-18 years. Join the band!

Perform’s three day holiday courses Visit www.perform.org.uk/lion to book. 020 7255 9120 enquiries@perform.org.uk 15– 17 February: three day courses from 10am to 3pm each day. This year the theme is The Lion, the Quote LSW140221 for a Witch & the Wardrobe: A drama, dance and singing £40 discount if adventure for 4-10s awaits on you book before the other side of the wardrobe this February. With magical 14th February creatures, snowy landscapes and a triumphant royal victory, this magical production is the perfect half-term treat. Perfect for 4-10 years. In Wimbledon, Chelsea, Clapham South and Fulham.

Youngstars campbookings@young-stars.co.uk 07749 343116 www.young-stars.co.uk 15-19 Feb half term course. Guaranteed fun holiday camps in TEN locations. Fun, games and excitement whilst introducing aspects of several sports including: football, basketball, cricket, lacrosse, hockey, t-ball, tennis, rugby & athletics all within a non-competitive & all inclusive environment. Ages 3-12yrs.

Role Models online info@rolemodels.me 020 3637 7107 www.rolemodels.me Me and My Feelings Course. (10am–11.30am). £225. 5-7yrs. Online Leadership Course. (10a –11.30am). £225. 8-11yrs. Me and My Confidence Course.  (4pm–5.30pm). £225. 5-7yrs. Online Collaboration Course.  (4pm–5.30pm). £225. 8-11yrs.

Summer in the Alps...

The Alps may be an obvious destination for the ski season, but how about a summer visit? A summer visit will set you up for the whole year, with plenty of fresh air to fill your families’ lungs. With reasonably priced flights from London airports to Geneva then a short drive to Morzine, there is a warm welcome waiting from Paul and Francesca Eyre at Chilly Powder. With the main chalet plus two chalets next door, you can organise

‘Express Yourself’ during Children’s Mental Health Week

From 1 to 7 February children and families across the UK are encouraged to take part in Children’s Mental Health Week with the theme ‘Express Yourself.’ Run by the children’s mental health charity Place2Be, children will be encouraged to explore the different ways in which they can express themselves and find creative ways to share their feelings, thoughts and ideas. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography or film, and doing activities that make them feel good. According to Place2Be, around three children in every primary school class has a mental health problem, and many more struggle with challenges ranging from bullying to bereavement - not to mention the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Find a range of resources to help families take part at www.childrensmentalhealthweek


your own meals, or join the party for dinners that you usually only dream of. Family friendly early evening meals for the children and a daytime crèche for little ones not quite as active as you, with drinks in the bar for the grown ups, or in the Jacuzzi on the terrace. For more about Chilly Powder chalets for summer and winter visit www.chillypowder.com and more about summer in Morzine visit https://www.morzineavoriaz.com/activites-de-plein-air-ete.html

These companies usually run February Half term course, please check with them nearer the time Et Patati Patata www.etpatatipatata.com Fun French Day Camp 30 hours of French for 416 yrs, 3 age groups and a Teen programme. Number1 London’s French Day camps. Naomi Martin Touch Typing naomi@nmtouchtyping.co.uk www.nmtouchtyping.co.uk Weekly touch typing courses for children aged 718yrs £250 per week. The Little House of Science 0800 092 1062 info@littlehouseofscience.com www.littlehouseofscience.com Very popular February Half-term Science Camp. Swimway Balham, Clapham, East Sheen, Kensington, Kew Gardens, Putney, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Homeguard@swimway.co.uk 020 8871 3972 www.swimway.co.uk Very popular intensive swimming courses, book early. NEW! Brand new purpose built 20m training pool in East Sheen opening in February 21. Also parents & baby lessons and group adult lessons. All Star Tennis Leaders Gardens (SW15 1LS), King Georges Park (SW18 2GJ), Wandsworth Common (SW18 3RT) and Tooting Common (SW17 8JU) info@allstartennis.co.uk 020 8871 4706 www.allstartennis.co.uk All Star Tennis are award winning camps. South West Swimming School Emanuel School, Battersea Rise. To book or reserve a place contact 020 8767 2723 operations@swswimschool.co.uk www.swswimschool.co.uk Intensive courses 30min classes from 9am-12pm.

Role Models




January/February 2021 • Families South West 27

28 Families South West • January/February 2021



Keep it moving! By Gabrielle Nash One of the pleasant, unexpected consequences of lockdown, was witnessing families taking to their screens for some physical activity, courtesy of the likes of Joe Wicks and Cosmic Kids Yoga. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all stay motivated to be physically active?” With childhood obesity a pressing issue, even more so given the link between obesity and poorer Covid-19 outcomes, staying active is a priority. Instilled at a young age, a love of physical activity stays with a child for life, decreasing their risk of many benefits. But screen time, inability for children to roam unsupervised outside and busy family lives can interfere. The first thing you can do is set boundaries for screen time and use it as a privilege to be awarded to your children, rather than a default activity. It’s challenging to re-create for our children the physical benefits of roaming freely and unsupervised outside, climbing trees, building dens, running around or even just riding bikes in the similar opportunities to be physically active outside. National Trust, Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust outdoor spaces are a great option, as are local parks, commons and heaths, and coast lines. Finding time for family fitness is hard. Making it part of a new activity a day at weekends and during holidays and as many walks to school or nursery and plays in the park as possible at other times. Once something becomes habitual, it is easier to continue. Your attitude is vital. So be positive about any element of activity!

Top tips for getting active Don’t be over-ambitious. It doesn’t need to be a 10 mile hike! Go for a walk, bicycle ride or scoot anywhere for any length of time. Just do it often.

If there is something that motivates your child, find new ways of exploring it. For example, if cycling is a big interest, set them a challenge. If they are little, then cycling to the end of the road many new places you can visit with their bike in a month? Diversify and keep it fun. Don’t see it as a chore! If you do, your children will too. Here are some resources for fun ideas: Boing Kids (www.boingkids.co.uk) Learning Station Music (www.learningstationmusic.com/youtube-videos) Fun Exercises with Kids (www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/ fun-exercises-to-do-at-home-with-kids) Visit Gaby on Instagram @thelondonishmum

Why you should role model physical fitness Why is it so important that us parents get active too?

Make it fun. Try some dancing. Put on a few songs that get your kids up and moving and away from a tablet. Play musical statues. You could even have a “prize” for the winner.

We are the most important role models for our children. Our behaviour influences their behaviour and ultimately, their future health and happiness. So, inspire them and lead by example!

Set screen time limits so kids grow up knowing screens are not the only entertainment option.

If you are already active, great. Can you talk to your children about it? Explain why you do it but avoid talking about weight loss and physical appearance at all costs. Instead, focus on how it helps you to run around after them, carry them, play with them and importantly, emphasise that it makes you feel good!

Make time! Life is busy, so think of creative ways to insert some the bus one stop early? It all counts.

If you are struggling to get active, find simple activities that Look for new options. These could be new outside places to go to enjoy physical activity or new types of activity to try. Set a good example. Live an active life yourself and explain to your children that it makes you feel good and STRONG!



extra walks a week; try some gentle stretches/yoga at home. Then maybe move onto a more organised option: coach to 5k, Joe Wicks, swimming or a walking group.

January/February 2021 • Families South West 29

Nuturing talent and inspiring passion for writing the fun way (8-11 years)

WRITE! A term-time Storytelling Club New! Young Debaters Club email: clare@creativehare.co.uk www.creativehare.co.uk

• Families London South West is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families® is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. • The contents of Families London South West are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families London South West. • Designed and Printed by Ridgeway Press, Wilts. • Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but Families SW, our distributors, the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof. • Paper used to print Families is from fully-managed sustainable sources.

30 Families South West • January/February 2021


Please tell companies you saw them in Families! DEVELOPING SKILLS Creative Hare Leap ahead in creative writing! Nurture your child's imagination and confidence in small, friendly groups that will foster creativity, develop analytical minds, improve spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. Provides excellent experience for school entrance exams. www.creativehare.co.uk Night Zookeeper Make writing magical with this fun and safe writing community for children. Over 1,000 different learning games and activities to improve spelling, grammar and writing skills. Children get instant feedback on everything they write. Perfect from 6yrs. www.nightzookeeper.com

LANGUAGES Et Patati Patata French lessons face to face via Et Zou, their awardwinning e-learning platform. La Petite Ecole du Samedi is FLAM-certified, where children are taught in small groups, highest Quality Mark Standard Award, they follow the French curriculum. 316 years old. Also Intensive French GCSE & A Level and Holiday camps. www.etpatatipatata.com De Yin School Mandarin A traditional Chinese weekend school to develop your child’s intellect and character while learning Mandarin. Learn from native speakers, understand Chinese culture, have fun while learning. Online at the moment. For 3 to 18 years. https://deyinschool.co.uk Kidslingo Award-winning, fun and engaging French and Spanish classes for babies to 11yrs, they teach in nurseries, lunch and after-school clubs, holiday clubs, private groups in venues and @home across SW London. www.kidslingo.co.uk Battersea Spanish Award-winning Spanish courses, now online, so you can learn #EnCasa. Learn from professional teachers. Saturday Creative school for 3+ and 6+ dance, play, learn and create. They also offer bespoke lessons. All levels welcome. www.batterseaspanish.com

BALLET Vacani Ballet classes for children 2.5yrs and upwards with live piano music. Classes include pre-school ballet for children aged 2yrs+ Classical ballet in the Cecchetti method for children aged 5–18yrs; modern and contemporary dance, tap dancing. Also adult ballet classes too. Free trial. www.vacani.com Good Toes Ballet Royal Academy of Dance Ballet classes from Pre-School upwards. Small classes, exam preparation. This small ballet school gives your child the attention they need to be the best ballet dancer they can be. SW11 www.goodtoesballet.co.uk Baby Ballet From six months to six years, these classes will give your child the chance to dance, gain confidence and shine, in a fun, caring and supportive environment. Balham, Clapham and Wimbledon. Founded 15 years ago in the UK, now also available in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. www.babyballet.co.uk

DRAMA Allsorts drama Weekly drama classes across London for 4–18 year olds. Classes range from 1-2 hours and are held on either Friday evening or Saturday. As they are divided into four different age groups, the classes can be tailored specifically to the level of the child, which means they


will continue to be inspired. Also holiday courses and drama parties. www.allsortsdrama.com Let’s Act Award-winning Stage School. LAMDA and musical theatre classes for 15 years. Classes in Clapham, Wimbledon and Earlsfield and Chelsea. These drama classes are designed to be suitable for everyone. Passionate about giving confidence to young people through developing their performance skills.www.letsactdramaclasses.co.uk POP School & Stage Academy Triple treat performance training for stage and screen. Students attend three hours a week of classes and rotate around Dancing, Singing and Acting taught by industry professionals. Also Little Stage Academy for 18mths5yrs. www.pssa.co.uk Stars performing arts club Stars is a young, local, non-franchise performing arts company based in Wandsworth building confidence and self-esteem through creative learning. They deliver lunch time and after-school clubs across London offering dance, drama, singing and musical theatre for ages 3-18yrs. Also offer Holiday clubs. www.starspaclubs.com Take One Stage and Screen Academy A relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere where students can learn to act and have fun. The first class is ‘pay what you like’ to trial the session. takeonefulham@gmail.com @takeonefulham

MUSIC Upbeat music courses Experience the fun and excitement of learning, recording and performing music! Sing & dance, play electric guitars and drums, record your own CDs, perform at an upbeat gig at professional venues. From 4–18 years. www.upbeatmusiccourses.co.uk VChoir Kidz A fabulous online children’s choir, which meet Mondays at 4.30pm via Zoom. All participants are muted but this is a HUGELY INTERACTIVE session! All the kids will move, laugh, sing and connect. No extra charge for siblings. Current and classic POP as well as Rock hits. Suitable for 4-11yrs. Free trial. www.vchoir.co.uk/kidz

Clubs & Classes Directory Dulwich Riding School A family-run school offering lessons for children and adults too. Group, lessons, private and semi-private lessons, park rides and birthday parties. Very reasonable rates. www.dulwichridingschool.co.uk Hyde Park Stables Group lessons for adults and children, all year round in Hyde Park. Horses chosen for their safe temperament. Catering for all abilities. www.hydeparkstables.com

FOR MUMS Teaching Mums Lulu Lincoln works to support mothers through pregnancy, birth and beyond through coaching and resourcing: Home-schooling support and training, tailored coaching and resources for mothers, Educational Resources and coaching for children. “Because motherhood can often be accompanied by loneliness and low confidence.” www.teachingmums.com London Fitness Mamas Fitness solutions around your daily routine! Be the strong, energised and confident woman you’re meant to be in only 14 weeks with fitness coaching. Flexible workouts at home or in the gym. Programme available with access through their app. www.londonfitnessmamas.com Busylizzy Fitness & Fun Unlimited access to online ante & postnatal fitness, expert tuition and educational talks. Have fun with your little one(s) without having to leave the house. Connect and engage with other like-minded parents in the vibrant community of over 2,000 likeminded families and ask experts direct questions. 14 days trial. https://busylizzy.online My Baby My Birth Hypnobirthing classes for a positive birth. Learn relaxation and breathing techniques in a fun and relaxed atmosphere and look forward to the birth of your baby. Suitable for all types of birth, hospital, theatre at home. www.mybabymybirth.com


Mini Crotchets Fantastic children's music group for toddlers in Balham and Fulham. “Mini Crotchets is informal, yet disciplined and great fun.” Also music parties. www.minicrotchets.co.uk

The Chocolate Museum The only place in London where you can make, taste and learn about chocolate. Workshops. Ferndale Road in Brixton. Free entry. www.thechocolatemuseum.co.uk

Fruity Tunes Original material and classic songs played live on real instruments. Sessions designed to appeal to adults and stimulate young children's development and musical appreciation. “Live music feeds live minds!” www.fruitytunes.net

Ma petite cocotte Ultra-fresh, homemade, eco-friendly family meal delivered to your home. Brigitte offers ecological and responsible packaging, using fresh organic or labelled products, from local and quality suppliers. Subscription available. www.mapetitecocotte.com



The Budokwai JudoGym Europe's oldest and most prestigious martial arts club, offering classes in Judo, Karate, Aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Pilates and more. Martial Arts instructors are all highly qualified, experienced and able to offer a range of coaching and instruction for the complete novice through to Olympic standard. www.budokwai.co.uk

If you need a venue for your classes, The Living Room Place in Furzedown, SW16 (between Tooting and Streatham) has space for afternoon sessions. Two clean and fresh rooms for smaller class sizes; tables and chairs available and a fully-functioning kitchen. Also great for baby showers, exercise classes, birthday parties, business/committee meetings, and other smaller events. No outdoor space. www.thelivingroom.place

Pee-Wee Karate Focus on building self-confidence, improving motor and coordination skills and having fun. Basic karate skills like blocks, kicks, punches and stances. Students will learn some basic Japanese language, including counting, start/stop, colours, names of techniques, and more. For children 3 to 6 years. www.fskauk.co.uk


As you can imagine things can change at any moment’s notice. Please check for details on websites.

January/February 2021 • Families South West 31

Profile for Families Magazine

Families London SW Jan-Feb 2021 issue 303  

Information for parents in SW London during lockdown v3. Tons to read and tips of things to do for you and your children. Meanwhile: Keep...

Families London SW Jan-Feb 2021 issue 303  

Information for parents in SW London during lockdown v3. Tons to read and tips of things to do for you and your children. Meanwhile: Keep...