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Edition 19 • Sep/Oct 2012

The local magazine for families with children 0-12 years



ÂŽ In this issue >How to encourage reading >Choosing after school clubs and classes >What's on in Cheshire great family days out

Covering: Poynton, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Knutsford, Prestbury, Macclesfield, Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach, Northwich, Winsford, Crewe, Nantwich, Tarporley, Waverton, Chester and surrounding areas

Welcome England’s first nappy recycling service launches in Cheshire

Hello! Well, what a fantastic couple of weeks of sport that was! We’ve found ourselves completely inspired by Team GB and seriously envious of the abdominal six packs sported by the ladies. So inspired and envious in fact, that we’ve headed out for a few tentative – and exhausting – jogs around the neighbourhood, and signed up for the Cycletta bike ride at Tatton Park in October. Not bad for a couple of ageing gals (one more ageing than the other, admittedly) who in all honesty would generally prefer to spend the precious few hours of spare time we have curled up on the couch with a good book and a tub of ice-cream or bar of chocolate. We believe that the Olympics really has done what it set out to do – and inspire the next generation, so this issue is perfectly timed in bringing you a feature on choosing after school activities, and a pretty comprehensive directory of clubs and classes in the region – not all of them sporting, but all of them geared to developing your child into the best that he/she can be. Long may the afterglow of Team GB's superb achievements and competitive sportsmanship last! And of course, as it’s the start of the new school year, our back to school feature covers how to encourage reading from an early age, as well as a must-read for all parents of left handed children. Wishing you all a good start to the academic year, and our thoughts are particularly with those whose children are starting out in Reception or Year 7 – a momentously proud moment for you all indeed. Till next time

Caryl Hall

Jayne Keep

In this issue 02: Welcome 03: Locally speaking 04: Back to school Next issue: November/December 2012 Circulation: 25,000 copies of Families Cheshire are available through nurseries, schools, libraries, selected shops and other points throughout Cheshire. If you would like free copies for your organisation, please let us know.

09: 13: 14: 18: 24:

School news Health Parents' place Clubs & classes What's on

Wiggins arrives at Knowsley Keepers at Knowsley Safari Park are celebrating their latest arrival – a White Bearded Wildebeest calf affectionately called ‘Wiggins’ in honour of bike riding superstar Bradley Wiggins. Initial inspection by the park vet shows good progress and, as with most of the animals at the park, there will be no more interference other than general observation to ensure the best mother and baby bond is maintained. The baby wildebeest is the first calf born since new breeding bull Rufus arrived at the park in 2011. The White Bearded Wildebeest originates from the short grass plains and acacia savannah of Africa and their numbers have seen a rapid decline due to threats such as the spread of settlements and livestock, elimination of water sources, poaching for

meat and the effect of migration barriers, including man-made fences and roads. Jason Doherty, Rhino Section Keeper, comments: “The new bull, Rufus, arrived in 2011 to introduce a new bloodline of wildebeest at Knowsley Safari Park. The birth of this first calf so soon after his arrival is hopefully a sign of things to come, and we look forward to the herd increasing in number. Both mother and calf are doing very well.” The wildebeest herd are currently roaming on the 76 acre rhino section, the home of the important white rhino breeding programme.

Christmas is coming…

Their pricing structure is simple: the cost of the item on the shelf plus a paint-andtake, or a firing charge. Paint as many items as you like per person for a single glazing charge – so you can make gifts for your teacher, grandparents, friends, cat or dog. And their new loyalty scheme means that for every £10 spent, you’ll receive a stamp – six stamps and you get to paint a mug free! Why not plan a group booking to paint your Christmas gifts? Either at your chosen venue – or by appointment at the centre. One of their most popular gifts is a baby’s 1st hand and foot impression plaque – but because these take about 3 weeks to complete, it’s wise to book early. And, every weekend from 24 November, the infamous Santa train will be taking all the excited children to see Father Christmas in his Grotto. For train enquiries and group bookings, call 01625 872919.

Design: Paul Wilson Graphic Design, Congleton. Tel: 07743 111 694, Print: Bishops Printers, Walton Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 1TR Tel: 023 9233 4900

Contact details: Families Cheshire, PO Box 581, Macclesfield, SK10 9FN Tel: 01625 801 801

Families Cheshire is part of the Families group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license.

Editorial: Advertising/artwork: Events, diary dates, out & about:

We take every care preparing the magazine, but the publishers and distributors can’t be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences.

Cover photograph by: Jo Belfield Photography, Tytherington Tel: 01625 420621,

More than 1,300 households in the former Vale Royal area have recently signed up to Cheshire West and Chester council’s weekly ‘Nappy-cycle’ service. Families have been given collection sacks and an outdoor storage container that will be emptied each week. Sacks are the standard yellow and black tiger stripe as recommended for collecting non-infectious hygiene waste, which has a higher thickness than the standard refuse sack to reduce the chance of


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splitting when collecting and bulking them, and the containers have locking sealed lids to reduce odours. The nappies are collected by vans with sealed storage containers to reduce odour and are bulked up and taken to a transfer station, where the yellow sacks are loaded directly into a sealed storage container. They are then sent to the UK’s first nappy recycling facility, owned by Knowaste in West Bromwich. The six-month pilot scheme is expected to recycle 25 tonnes of nappies every week. Plastic and fibre recovered from the recycling process is used for making products including, in the case of plastics, roof tiles, recycling bins and steel or wood substitute, and in the case of the fibres, cardboard and industrial tubing.

After a very successful Summer holiday, the busiest yet in the 17 years they have been open, Brookside Pottery at Brookside Garden Centre is now gearing up for the Christmas (yes, Christmas!) season. Last year, every weekend from September until last thing on Christmas Eve, customers were creating everything from a small bauble to a set of dinner plates!

Locally speaking Cycletta Cheshire – Tatton Park 7 October

Cycletta is a national series of women only charity bike rides – and you can take part at the Tatton Park event this October. With the support of Victoria Pendleton, the series aims to encourage more women to get on their bikes for fitness and fun, whilst also providing a new and exciting platform for women around the UK to raise significant sums of money for charity. Enter as a team or an individual, and anything you raise in sponsorship above your entrance fee can be donated to a charity of your choice. Victoria Pendleton and Catherine Wiggins (wife of Tour de France winner and Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins) will be taking part, together with a celebrity team made up of Carla Kompany (wife of MCFC captain Vincent Kompany), Chantelle Tagoe (wife of footballer Emile Heskey) as well as soap stars Tina O’Brien and Helen Flannagan. It’s a great way to get out there with the girls, get fit and most importantly, raise money for charity. Visit to register.

Free books for schools Elena Cobb, a composer and a publisher who lives in Staffordshire has kindly agreed to link up with Families Cheshire and donate 50 of her music books to local schools in the hope that she will help encourage the next generation of budding musicians. Schools have been chosen at random from those who currently distribute Families Magazine and delivered to the school this September as a thank you from us. Elena’s Higgledy Piggledy series books: for piano with play-along CD, for alto sax with playalong CD and classical guitar ensemble are already hugely popular here in the UK, as far as in USA and even have fans in Hong Kong. "Elena Cobb’s Higgledy Piggledy Jazz books are a very useful resource for those of us teaching jazz to the young and not-so-young. Highly recommended." - Snake Davis, prolific Jazz musician, recording artist and educator For more information visit

A design fit for the Queen

Jubilee celebrations aren’t over yet! There’s still time for budding young designers aged between 5 and 18 to enter “Tea for the Jubilee” – a competition to produce an exclusive commemorative royal cup and saucer. Two winning designs will be re-created by a British Ceramic manufacturer, with three cups and saucers created from each winning design, one for the Queen, one for the winner and one to be displayed at the Potters’ Club in Stoke-on-Trent. Both of the winning designer’s schools will also receive a £2,500 prize fund, provided by the British Ceramic Confederation, to be spent on books and equipment in the design, technology, science or art departments, and the winner and his/her classmates will be given the opportunity to visit the factory where the unique gift is being produced. Closing date for the competition is Friday 28 September 2012 – call 01782 284616 or visit for more information.

Contact: Ranger Dan Coates | 07765 890385 | | Families Cheshire 3

Back to school How to encourage reading Many of us know the value and enjoyment of reading. Good readers become better writers, better learners and well-rounded individuals. Taking an active part in helping your children become interested in reading is vital. Despite busy days, tired kids, limited time and many distractions, we outline five simple steps that can help. Step one Set up reading time every day

Step two – During reading time

• Decide when and where a reading session will take place, which fits into your household schedule, and keep it. 10 minutes is fine. • Encourage your child to read aloud. They don’t have to get every word right, and praise them often. If they are discouraged by their own reading, you read aloud. The pleasure of listening to you read can restore their enthusiasm. Offer to read every other sentence, page, chapter, and have conversations and discussions about the content. • Make it fun. Children love sound effects, different voices, pulling faces.

• Introduce the bookmark. Stop after a few pages and pick up where you left off at another time • Provide an accessible, special place for children to keep their own books • Use special incentives, e.g. an extra 5 minutes to finish a chapter, a promise to take them to see the film of the book, sticker charts and certificates • Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if it’s only pictures, and build on that interest. Gather more information on the same subject. • Listen to audio books (in the car too). These help develop visualisation, a critical pre-reading skill. • Let them choose their own books. Don’t worry if the books are too young or too easy, early reading success can came from several “non-traditional” sources such as comics. • Buy a special notebook and record all the books they have read, add their thoughts and a star rating.

Step three See the teacher and judge where they are

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• Find out what reading program the school follows, get to know the levels, and aim to supplement the program at home. • Prepare a timetable. Know what level your child is at and the next, with some idea of when it can be achieved. There is no race to be the first to read, it just puts things into context.

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Step four Plan specific reading linked activities • Extend your child’s positive reading experiences, e.g. if they enjoyed reading about dinosaurs, visit the natural history museum. • Encourage activities that require reading, e.g. read a recipe, instructions, and directions, play games that require reading, use a reference book to look up something you have seen. • Visit the library and give your child their own library card. They can choose their own library book or listen in on story-time.

Step five – Be a role model • Let your children see you reading for pleasure. Read aloud everyday items menus, road signs, food labels. • Give books as gifts. • Leave books, magazines, and colourful catalogues around your home. • Write short notes for your child to read. Reading opens up new worlds to your children and gives them a chance to use their imaginations. There are many ways to encourage your child to read, and the best ways always include participation on your part.

Helping reading for children with learning difficulties Books and Audio Follow a book as the audio book plays. Listen to a chapter, and then read it together. Turn on the TV subtitles Sub-titles on your TV or DVD help increase sight word vocabulary, whilst developing a sense of flow of written and spoken language Make your child the star of their own audio book Your child can read into a recorder, then follow the book together during playback. Everyone joins in Reserve thirty minutes each evening for family reading time. Each family member reads different material and then shares information about it, or take turns reading aloud from the same book. Support their learning Help ensure your child doesn’t get behind in reading material necessary for school subjects, ask for help with obtaining textbooks on CD ROM. Together identify unfamiliar words you come across and show your child how to look up the meanings of words. Children with specific learning difficulties and dyslexia could benefit from the PQ4R strategy ( m/od/instructionalmaterials/a/pq4rs trategy.htm)

Help your child get off to a flying start in the new term!

Research has found that at least two thirds of children fall behind in their studies over the summer holidays. This large gap in studying can leave a child feeling insecure in their ability, which in turn can lead to a lack of confidence during September. The beginning of a new academic

year is an ideal time to seek extra support. Explore Learning is a network of maths and English tuition centres for children aged 5 to 14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning. With 63 centres located nationwide (locally in Chester, Altrincham, Cheadle Hulme and Heaton Park), they are the perfect way to help your child get off to a flying start in the new term.

Back to school Give your child a head start at school with online teaching resources

With the recent reports in the media about the level of literacy in the UK you may have been left asking questions about whether what our children are learning in school is enough. Searching for additional resources that can be used at home to support their school learning can be a daunting task as there are so many questions to cover: What teaching system should I be using? How much should I pay for resources? How long should we be spending working at home? How much support and guidance should I be giving my child? One of the resources currently available in the market place is Reading Eggs from educational publisher Blake Publishing. The Reading Eggs program is all online and can be used on a computer, laptop and most tablets (with an iPad it can be accessed through the free educational app Rover due to flash compatibility) making it instantly attractive to children. The program has been designed for 3-7 year olds but is also suitable for older children who are struggling with reading. There are currently 120 reading lessons which take children who have little or no reading experience right the way through to them reading books confidently. In addition to the reading lessons there are also a series of spelling lessons, an introduction to comprehension and grammar, a story factory where children can put together their

own books, plus additional educational games and activities to keep children motivated. It uses a teaching system of phonics supporting what children are learning at school. For older children who can already read there is the next level of the program, Reading Eggspress, which has been designed for 7-13 year olds. This program focuses on comprehension and grammar, writing and reading fluency and uses a highly engaging spinning island to draw and keep attention. It includes areas such as the Comprehension Gym where lessons are completed, the Library which holds over 1000 e-books and the Stadium where they can compete against the computer or other children to test their comprehension and grammar knowledge. Both programs support school learning and are also suitable for home educators. It is a paid for resource and offers a no-obligation free trial for all new registrations so you can ensure the product is suitable for you and your children before you commit to purchasing. There are 2 terms of subscriptions, 6 months at £29.95 and 12 months at £39.95 and if you have more than one child you can take advantage of the 50% family discount for any additional children. All free trials and subscriptions include access to both Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress.

To trial the program for 5 weeks free simply visit, click the ‘Parents click here’ button and follow the set up instructions. Once your account has been activated and you have added a child, enter code UKB24CHE.

Bring the great outdoors into school

If you want to make nature your classroom, try Ranger Dan – Cheshire’s friendly outdoor expert. With years of experience working within schools in the Cheshire East Area through his previous role as a ranger for Macclesfield Borough and Cheshire East Council's, Ranger Dan can provide a choice of outdoor educational courses and activities for schools, either on location (field trip), in school grounds or at his wood. Courses/Activities available are as follows:• Life of trees • Minibeast hunting • Pond dipping • Habitat Studies • River Studies • The importance of Water • Environmental Games • Sensory trail • Craft Skills (various courses such as willow weaving/whittling/carving/ woodland crafts/minibeast homes/bird boxes) • Orienteering • Den Building • Bushcraft

Any of these can be combined or taken individually, with session times varying from 1½ to 3 hours, or even full school days (6 hours). Ranger Dan also provides a school grounds/ponds development consultancy service. For more details or to download a price list, go to Or contact Dan Coates on 07765 890385 or via email: | Families Cheshire 5

Back to school Supporting your left handed child 1 in 10 children are 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 mum 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

Elbow collision

The ‘right’ equipment

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.

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 9 year old daughter. “That makes my writing messy.” You child should always be placed on 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!


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.

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 over tight 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.

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

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As they progress to writing, shiny barreled 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. Left handed fountain pens are available from They’re worth the investment for older children as they have an angled nib.

Lack of understanding As a right hander, I never appreciated the challenges faced by my daughter. Until she mastered left handed writing, she was labelled 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 identifiying left-handers in schools. Ensure you talk to your child's teacher to make sure they know that he/she is lefthanded and may need assistance and advice. Ask your child’s teacher to talk YOU through the support they’re going to give it 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 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 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 super source of left handed equipment. is another great website with some top tips for parents looking to support their left handed child.

Back to school Choosing a School

Please call the Secondary / Junior schools to confirm times or for further information. Most schools will be happy to show you around individually should you not be able to attend the planned events.

Choosing a Secondary School

The King's School, Chester 01244 689553 / The King's School, Macclesfield 01625-260000 / The Macclesfield Academy 01625 383100 / The Queen's School, Chester 01244 312078 / Stockport Grammar 0161 456 9000 / Tytherington High School 01625 610 220 / Wilmslow High School 01625 526191 / University of Chester Academy Northwich 01606 42515 / Upton-by-Chester High School 01606 852120 / Weaverham High School 01606 852120 /

If your child is now in year 5 or 6, it’s time to fully investigate your secondary school options. Take advantage of the planned School Open events in the Cheshire area. (Information for some schools was not available at the time of going to press.)

Secondary school Abbey Gate College 01244 332077 / Alderley Edge School for Girls 01625 583028 / All Hallows Catholic College 01625 426 138 / Alsager School 01270 871100 / Beech Hall School 01625 422192 / Bishop Heber High School 01948 860571 / Blacon High School 01244 371475 / Brine Leas School 01270 625663 / Christleton High School 01244 335843 / Congleton High School 01260 387 000 / Eaton Bank Academy 01260 273000 / Hartford High School 01606 786000 / King's Grove School 01270 661223 / The Knutsford Academy 01565 633294 / Malbank School and Sixth Form College 01270 611 009 / Middlewich High School 01606 288170 / Poynton High School and Performing Arts College 01625 871 811 / Queen’s Park High School 01244 981500 / Ruskin Sports College - a Community High School 01270 560 514 / Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College 01270 765031 / Sandbach School 01270 758870 / Shavington High School 01270 685 111 / Sir William Stanier Community School 01270 685360 / St Thomas More Catholic High School 01270 568014 / Tarporley High School 01829 732558 / The Bishops' Blue Coat C of E High School 01244 313806 / The Catholic High School, Chester 01244 981600 / The Fallibroome Academy 01625 827898 / The Grange School (Senior) 01606 74007 /

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Open Event Sat 29 Sept Thurs 4 & Sat 6 Oct Mon 17 Sept Sat 29 Sept Sat 22 Sept Wed 3 Oct Thurs 20 Sept Wed 10 Oct

Sat 29 Sept & Sat 13 Oct Sat 13 Oct Wed 26 Sept Sat 6 Oct Thurs 11 Oct & Sat 17 Nov Thurs 20 Sept Thurs 27 & Fri 28 Sept Wed 19 Sept Wed 26 Sept & Fri 28 Sept Tues 25 Sept

Junior School Open Events Cheshire is home to some excellent state and independent junior schools. Here’s a list of planned events available at the time of going to press.

Wed 3 Oct & Thurs 4 Oct

Junior school Thurs 27 Sept Thurs 4 Oct Thurs 20 Sept Sat 22 Sept Mon 1 Oct Thurs 20 Sept Wed 26 Sept Thurs 27 Sept Thurs 27 Sept Mon 1 - Wed 3 Oct Tues 25 Sept Mon 24 Sept Thurs 20 & Sat 22 Sept Wed 19 Sept Thurs 27 Sept Wed 26 Sept Thurs 27 Sept Tues 25 Sept Tues 2 Oct Thurs 27 Sept Sat 29 Sept

Alderley Edge School for Girls 01625 583028 / Abbey Gate College - Aldford School 01244 332077 / Beech Hall School 01625 422192 / Pownall Hall School 01625 523141 / Stockport Grammar 0161 419 2405 / Terra Nova 01477 571261 / The Grange School (Junior) 01606 74007 / The King's School, Chester 01244 689553 / The King's School, Macclesfield 01625-260000 / The Queen's School, Chester 01244 312078 / The Ryleys 01625 583241 / Wilmslow Preparatory School for Girls 01625 524 246 /

Open Event Sat 6 Oct Sat 29 Sept Sat 22 Sept Sat 6 Oct Sat 17 Nov Sat 6 Oct & Fri 12 Oct Sat 10 Nov Sat 29 Sept & Sat 13 Oct Fri 8 & Fri 16 Nov Sat 13 Oct Sat 10 Nov Sat 6 Oct Sat 13 Oct

School news 525 years of achievement

Free Nursery Tasters at Terra Nova School Terra Nova School and Nursery, near Jodrell Bank in Cheshire continues to go from strength to strength. In the last year, the number of pupils exceeded the 300 mark for the first time but with a staff of 64 it means there is more than one staff member for every 4 pupils. There is no doubt the school is absolutely thriving and pupil numbers have never been stronger. And there’s no better place to start than the Terra Nova School Nursery, which following recent refurbishment and significant investment, is alive with colour, excitement and inspiration. Children explore a range of media, techniques and textures in the creative room. Beyond this, two spacious classrooms offer a host of exciting and challenging learning areas, including a dedicated story corner, literacy and numeracy zones, imaginative role-play areas, small world, construction challenges, computer bays and an investigation area. Fun and learning doesn’t just happen indoors either! Children love the special outdoor learning environment, which boasts a vast sandpit and adventure play area, two large fields and a vegetable and herb garden.

They also enjoy a paved area for riding bikes, a range of playhouses, outdoor painting and water-based activities. For the first time, the School is offering a ‘Free Nursery Taster’ in which parents and their toddlers are invited to come and experience what the Terra Nova School Nursery has to offer. Head of Pre-Prep Rachel Cookson comments, “We believe the first steps of a child’s education journey are very special and require much nurture, creativity, inspirational teaching and affectionate support. When you combine this with the environment we have created for our three and four year olds, the Terra Nova Nursery really is a special place to be. The only way to experience it is to be in it so we have decided to invite parents and their toddlers in for the morning to see for themselves.” The School invites families to their Open Morning on Saturday 6 October as well as the Nursery Taster on Friday 12 October. To find out more, please contact the Headmaster’s PA, Melanie Machin on 01477 571216 or by email at

In its 525th year, Stockport Grammar School has enjoyed a year of prestigious wide-ranging achievements. With pupils throughout the school able to pursue interests outside of the classroom at the over 200 clubs and activities on offer, children had the opportunity to participate in (and win many) numerous competitions and challenges during the Summer Term. Animation Club’s Christian Anderson won a first prize at Manchester University’s UK Schools Animation Competition, as well as commendations in the Key Stage 4 category for his joint work with fellow pupil Yusuf Ahmed.

Three budding engineers from the Lower Sixth were awarded Gold in the British Science Association Creativity in Science and Technology Awards after working with United Utilities at their water treatment work, as part of the Engineering Education Scheme. Golf Society couldn’t have wished for a better end to their first year in action after the team won the inaugural NorthWest Schools Golf Competition, with two pupils taking individual prizes too: James Gaskin won best overall score, while First Year Theo Whitley, who has also been selected for the Cheshire U14s squad, won the nearest the pin competition. For a full list of extra-curricular activities at the school, visit The Senior School Open Evening takes place on Thursday 11 October, 7 – 9pm, with an Open Morning for both the Senior and Junior Schools on Saturday 17 November, 9.30 – 11.30am. Call the school office on 0161 456 9000 for more information.

Vernon Is Outstanding!

Following their recent Ofsted inspection, Vernon Primary School in Poynton has been officially judged as ‘outstanding’ in all areas achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils, leadership and management.

Over a two day period, Ofsted inspectors visited 17 lessons, observed 14 teachers, listened to pupils read and discussed with them the work they had been doing in class during the school year. They held meetings with pupils, parents, governors and staff members and analysed over 125 questionnaires received from parents, carers, pupils and staff. The full report can be found on the Ofsted website or a copy can be collected from the school office. The school can be contacted on 01625 872556. | Families Cheshire 9

School news Local Montessori school becomes the first to gain formal accreditation in Cheshire Chapel Grange Montessori Nursery has become the first Montessori setting in Cheshire to gain formal accreditation under the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation (MEAB) scheme. The scheme offers support and guidance to Montessori schools to ensure that Montessori provision is of a high quality. It also seeks to reassure parents that their Montessori school meets and exceeds all the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Building on the success of the MEAB scheme since it began in the summer term of 2008, 13 schools across the UK have been accredited in the UK during the spring term of 2012, of which Chapel Grange

King's Pre-school: new name, new flexibility The King’s School in Macclesfield has redesigned its education provision for its youngest pupils and has opened a Pre-School to replace its nursery. The new Pre-School will offer children of 3 years far greater flexibility including half-day sessions as well as full time places and holiday provision. Principal of the King’s Infant & Junior Division Caroline Hulme-McKibbin said: “Institute of Education research shows that the quality of the Pre-School that children attend makes a difference to how well they do at school at the age of 14. A successful start to a child’s learning journey is therefore crucial to their future not only to build a strong

platform of learning but to promote confidence and happiness in the classroom.” The redesign of King’s Pre-School educational provision places an emphasis on developing fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, learning through play, the use of the outdoor classroom and a high staff to pupil ratio. Mum Joe Carter, from Macclesfield, whose daughter Emily is signed up for September said “Emily can’t wait. She’s not nervous at all. Her brother came here and he loved every moment and I am sure his younger sister will feel exactly the same way.” 01625 260022 /

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Montessori Nursery was one. Assessors felt that the nursery’s ethos, setting and teaching practice was excellent, and certainly worthy of formal accreditation. The award underlines a 15 year success as the leading Montessori nursery in the North West. Based just outside Wilmslow town centre, the nursery currently has 60 children between the ages of 16 months and 5 years on the register. Please contact Victoria on 01625 532083 or email if you would like any more information on the nursery.

Great Budworth start the year on a high As pupils return to Great Budworth CE (C) Primary in September, they’ll still be basking in the glow from their recent Ofsted and Church of England Schools (SIAS) Inspections. Ofsted graded the school Good overall, with Outstanding for “Behaviour and Safety of Pupils” and “Leadership and Management”. The inspector highlighted many of the changes that have been brought about since the appointment of the Headteacher Mrs Sandra Finney. Quotes from the report include “An exceptionally rich and creative curriculum”, “Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding” “Reading is a strength of the school” and “Break times are a delight to observe”. The SIAS inspection graded the school as Outstanding, stating that it “provides an explicitly Christian environment in which pupils’ personal and spiritual development

is nurtured and grown”. The report went on to say “Behaviour is excellent being firmly based on well-established Christian values of love, care and respect”. Having spent time interviewing staff, Governors, pupils and parents, the report highlighted one comment in particular: “Every child is valued in this school, and I feel supported as a parent”. Mrs Finney congratulated her team of teachers whose dedication and commitment, together with the pupils’ genuine enjoyment of daily life in school left the inspector with a sense of the delightful atmosphere where pupils feel challenged and respected. The school can be contacted on 01606 891383.

School news | Families Cheshire 11

School news The Ryleys welcomes new Headmaster

It’s the end of an era at The Ryleys School in Alderley Edge, following the retirement of Headmaster Pat Barrett. Having joined the School in 1975, and been Head for 15 years, the final day of term was a sad day for staff and pupils alike.

The decision to retire was not an easy one for Pat and his wife Barbara; both were wholly committed to The Ryleys. However, they are leaving following a fantastic Inspection which saw the School rated ‘Outstanding’ in every category. In September, the new term sees Paul Berry take up the reins. Previously at S. Anselms Prep School in Bakewell, Paul is a huge enthusiast for everything a Prep School education represents; small welcoming classes, superb facilities and inspiring teaching, all of which are hallmarks of The Ryleys. If you would like to meet Paul and his family, please go along to their Open Morning on Saturday 6 October, 10am – 12 noon. 01625 583241 /

House of Rompa graduates

Advertise in Families Cheshire Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email

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Staff at House of Rompa Day Nursery in Wilmslow recently said goodbye to the 13 children moving up to “big school” after enjoying a concert performed in Spanish by them called "Casa de Rompa".

The children had made Spanish costumes and musical instruments for the occasion, which showcased all they had learnt during their Spanish classes throughout the year - colours, numbers and songs. After the concert, the children took part in a graduation ceremony where they were presented with a certificate, a gift of favourite books and their learning journeys - a permanent reminder of their happy days at the nursery. 01625 548399 /

Health Simple precautions with iPads allay health concerns

Should our kids eat less wheat? By Elisabeth Dolton

By Joanna Parry

© Orlando Bellini -

© Ernst Vikne

As you get your children ready for this new term, you might have invested in an iPad for both pleasure and work; however some parents are growing concerned about their children’s use of iPads, as even babies and toddlers are now playing with them. “The health effects of iPads are largely untested,” says one mum, “but there have been studies of the effects of the electromagnetic radiation they emit. Scientists hope that the levels emitted are safe but I’m not convinced.” In fact, the International Agency for Research and Cancer and the World Health Organisation now classify the radiation emitted in WiFi mode as possibly carcinogenic to humans. So, should we ponder the warnings before allowing our children loose on the iPad? According to some studies, the radiation from WiFi devices can weaken the brain’s protective barrier, and children’s brains, cased in a thinner skull, absorbs more microwave radiation than an adult’s. The radiation exposure from wireless devices is constant and there are concerns that this cumulative exposure might be damaging in the long-term. The problem is that this exposure generally starts young and continues throughout children’s lives, while the body and nervous system are still developing. The worry is that it is experimental – we don’t know about the cumulative effect of such long-term exposure starting at such a formative age. “These technologies are developing faster than our ability to understand potential health impacts,” says Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff,

Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World. “We're not asking parents to not buy or use them, we're simply asking them to take precautions. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our children's health.” “People need to know that the only safe way for a child to use such an iPad is when it is disconnected from the wireless,” echoes another parent. The Council of Europe now advises that children’s exposure should be reduced, so if you are concerned about the effect your iPad might be having on your child, you could take the following precautions: • Turn the WiFi button off and turn it to Airplane mode to reduce emissions • Don’t let your kids hold the iPad too close to their bodies. To reduce risk of headaches, blackouts, seizures and eyestrain, avoid prolonged use and use in a well-lit room • Don’t leave the iPad on your child’s nightstand or near where they’re sleeping • Limit their use! The UK Chief Medical Officers advise that children under 16 should use mobile phones for essential purposes only, and to keep calls short, so perhaps the same should apply to iPads Some studies show that even if your iPad isn’t connected to WiFi and is just on standby mode, radiation can still be emitted. It looks like there needs to be more research done before we can all rest easy! Inform yourselves (and search for wireless)

For centuries, wheat has been at the centre of our diets. Over the last 10,000 years, the earth's population has doubled ten times, and wheat is one food source that has helped enable this. Wheat feeds more people in the world today than any other food. Yet nutritional therapists are starting to advise reducing our consumption of wheat, in some cases even eliminating it from our diets totally. Why? Wheat is a common part of our and our children’s diets. It is in almost every meal we have - cereal, bread, crackers, biscuits, cakes, pastry, and pasta. It is also recommended by many world governments as an essential part of our daily intake. However, wheat grown today looks very different from how it used to look. Chemicals are used to grow wheat today, as well as preservatives, and the most notable difference is how it’s processed. Today most wheatbased foods are highly processed, removing most of the nutrients. Perhaps therein lays the reason, as wheat is increasingly being linked to common allergy, sensitivity, ADD and hyperactivity in kids, coeliac disease, fatigue, weight gain and more. Wheat contains fibre and other nutrients that are beneficial for health and wellness. However, sensitivity to wheat and gluten (a large protein found in wheat) is increasing. Some people have a severe allergic reaction to gluten, known as coeliac disease (see, which affects as many as one in 300 in the UK.

But wheat intolerance is also more prevalent. Symptoms occur after the body reacts to wheat and interferes with its normal processes, causing everything from irritable bowel syndrome to thyroid disorders, arthritis, diabetes, asthma and eczema. Indeed, many nutritional therapists believe too much wheat causes headaches, a feeling of ill health, bloating, tiredness and even depression. There's little mainstream scientific evidence to support this, but that hasn't stopped nutritionists advising their patients to cut down on wheat intake or use alternatives to wheat such as spelt, rye, barley, rice and soy. It is very easy to overdose on wheat and end up eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – toast, sandwiches, a pizza. Try cutting wheat down to one meal a day for the family, and eat the most natural and unrefined wheat such as wholemeal or wholegrain bread and whole-wheat pasta. While it may not be necessary for most of us to cut out wheat completely from our diets, it’s worth the effort to reduce excessive wheat intake.

Wheat free lunch boxes Good quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are the key to a super wheat-free lunch box. • Quality proteins - Deli meats, cheese and cheese spreads, salads (chicken, turkey, tuna), soup, yogurt, protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, falafel • Complex carbohydrates - Vegetables and fruits (celery, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower), rice, whole grain gluten free bread and crackers, hummus, gluten free pasta with pesto and pinenuts, rice cakes with fun toppings (nut butters, jam, cheese) • Healthy Fats - Olive oil, raw nuts/seeds, dried fruit, avocados, olives

Omega 3 and benefits of fish oil Uniforms, shoes and stationery are just some of the stresses to face parents at this time of year, but how do you ensure your child is on the road to a healthy development if they are a fussy eater? Recent studies have shown that children who have an omega-3 enriched diet have a significantly higher cognitive performance, are protected against some childhood diseases and

go on to have better health in adulthood. Persuading your child to eat fish 2-3 times a week can be a struggle. Nordic Naturals, a range of chewable gummies, are an easy way to get all the benefits of omega-3s and multivitamins into our children’s diets. Each product is naturally fruitflavoured and free from any fishy taste – choose from favourites like Omega-3 Gummy Worms and Nordic Berries. | Families Cheshire 13

Parents’ place Parents in Business

Mark & Jill Redgrave, Therapists Tell us a bit about yourselves. We have worked as therapists in independent practice for the past ten years, and at present we are based at Mosaic Children’s Therapy Centre in Davenham with Kathryn Alexander (occupational therapist). We have been married since 1994, having met in Hartford, Northwich in 1990. Mark is an art therapist and counsellor/psychotherapist and Jill is a speech and language therapist (SLT). Mark’s experience includes working with children from a variety of different contexts, such as children’s homes, psychiatric hospitals, private clinics and schools. As a psychotherapist, he integrates a number of different approaches when working with children, inclusive of Art Therapy and Play Therapy. His main focus is to offer treatment for emotional, social and behavioural problems, with conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to autism and sexual abuse. Jill’s experience as an SLT lies with the paediatric population. She has worked with children with receptive and expressive language delays and disorders, difficulties with production of speech sounds, attention problems, reading difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, and dysfluent speech. We live in the Northwich area with our three children – Paul, Anna, and Benjamin who are now 16, 14, and 10 respectively. They have given us lots of hands-on experience in the area of child development and have enhanced our clinical skills by helping us to understand how children think and what makes them tick. How did you get started? We have both worked in the NHS. Mark has worked in North Manchester as an Art Therapist, whilst Jill worked several years ago with the then Crewe Health Authority and later with the North Manchester NHS Trust. We moved to the Bahamas in 1999, and found that the opportunities for working as therapists in the government system there were limited. We therefore launched into private practice in 2001, and watched our private practice grow over the years

until 2011 when it was at its height of success. Mark found the transition from government to private practice challenging but also liberating. Without the constraints of an institution, he was able to be more creative in his treatment approach with the children he saw, incorporating a number of different interventions such as “sandtray” work, art therapy groups, and play therapy techniques. Jill’s work included twice weekly visits to two private IB World Schools where she provided speech and language therapy services to children in the schools, working alongside teachers and the learning support team to ensure that children with speech and language difficulties were given every opportunity to enhance their speech, language and communication skills. In addition, she saw clients and their families in the afternoons in Mark and Jill’s private clinic. Having returned to the UK in 2011, we were very happy to meet Kathryn Alexander, the occupational therapist at the Mosaic Children’s Therapy Centre, based in the beautiful and picturesque village of Davenham, and we have been working together now for the past several months to form a partnership which will provide a number of different therapy services to children and their families in the Cheshire area. We are also available to work in schools to provide assessment, treatment, advice and training where needed. What does the future hold for the business? We are looking forward to working together as a team to provide therapy services in Cheshire. Sometimes as therapists, we see children who have very specific needs, who only need to see one therapist, but often, we see children with multiple needs who will benefit from therapy across disciplines. In the past, we have both worked together with the same child. For example, Jill has worked with a child with difficulties with production of speech sounds. It took approximately twelve weeks to achieve clear articulation, but then the child was

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having behavioural difficulties at school. After a few sessions with Mark, his teachers at school commented on his vastly improved behaviour. His mother was delighted with his progress, and was amazed at the realisation that sometimes communication problems can affect a child’s social/emotional development. In our previous practice, we did not have easy access to an occupational therapist, so we are very happy to be able to work alongside Kathryn now. What is the best bit about what you do? Job satisfaction in our fields is very high. We are always happy to see the improvements in the children we have worked with, and to know that our interventions have helped to enhance their quality of life, both in the present and in the future. With childhood delays / disorders and emotional problems, early intervention is key when it comes to optimising the chances of long term success. Once a child’s additional needs are being addressed, we are amazed at their increase in confidence and overall sense of wellbeing. It is also a joy to be involved with parents, helping them to assist in the improvement of their child’s additional needs. Working with children and young families helps to keep us young! In private practice, there is also the benefit of being able to “be our own bosses” and to set our own schedules to fit in with our family life. Any bad bits? In the therapy field, there are large amounts of preparation for each session, as well as loads of report writing which can be time-consuming and can sometimes seem tedious. Also, we went into the therapy field with a desire to work

with and help people. The marketing and business sides of independent practice can therefore sometimes seem to be a time-consuming necessity! Overall, though, the benefits of providing therapy in independent practice outweigh the negative aspects! How do you fit work around family life? We try to work out our schedules so that one of us is always available when our children need us. Having older children is helpful, because they can be more independent now, but in earlier days when they were younger, life seemed to be a constant juggling act. Now, though, as long as we have been careful with planning and scheduling, we have found the children to be very helpful in keeping life running smoothly at home as they are more responsible now and able to help with table-setting, dishwashing, hoovering, and all the other daily chores around the house that have to be done. What advice would you give to other parents looking to work for themselves? Having had many years of working for ourselves, we would advise other parents to start small, keeping overheads as low as possible, and then gradually building up your business as demand increases. Always try to think about what your customer/client really wants and attempt to provide them with what they need. Mark and Jill can be contacted at Mosaic Children’s Therapy Centre on 01606 40195. /,

Parents’ place Be careful with music A new survey by Baby Sensory has discovered that many parents are unaware of the risks of playing music through headphones to their baby bump. The research by the baby development classes found that 89% of parents are unaware of the risks involved when playing music to their unborn child: that the amniotic fluid within the womb actually doubles the level of decibels a child hears from 60 to 120. Baby Sensory founder, Dr Lin Day says:

“It is widely researched and publicised that playing music to an unborn child helps mother and child bond and assists with brain development, which I fully support. However, the problem with playing the headphones directly on the abdomen is that the amniotic fluid works as a conductor of sound and can amplify the music which causes it to be far louder for the baby. This can, in some circumstances, lead to hearing problems to the child from birth.” Find out more at

Support for Dads Fathers Reaching Out is a support group for men whose wives or partners are suffering from postnatal depression. When a woman is suffering it can have a massive effect on their partners – men can find themselves having to carry out all the main duties at home whilst working, caring for their wife and their new born child, with sometimes other

children at home too. These responsibilities can cause a lot of stress, but provides an outlet where men can express their feelings and emotions without being judged, and talk to others who have been in the same position. The focus of the site is to provide men with the support they need to cope at this difficult time.

Leading Nanny agency throughout Cheshire and North West • A range of full and part-time childcare services including, nannies, live in/out, babysitting, maternity nannies, emergency care, mothers help, housekeepers & special needs nannies. • All candidates are thoroughly vetted, interviewed and reference checked • Home visits, to enable us to fully understand your requirements

Tel: 01925 768188 or 07766 290802 Email:

Achieving the difference...

“89% of parents are looking for protection against hackers, viruses, cyber-bullying, pornography and cyber-predators.” Are you one of them? Claranet Soho has launched Childsafe to provide powerful protection for household internet connections, allowing parents to fully customise and manage the browsing habits of their children, with the simple click of a button. Monitoring over 6 billion webpages, in over 150 languages, Childsafe is the most complete family protection service available. With today’s 24-hour connected society, it’s easy for a child to accidentally be exposed to material online that they shouldn’t be. You don’t have to look far to find inappropriate content, images, videos, social networks or instant messaging sites and, unfortunately, things like cyber bullying and predation by strangers is becoming more commonplace. Childsafe has been designed to provide parents with comfort and confidence that their home internet connection is protected, safe and secure. Although the vast majority of parents recognise the need to protect their children online, many do not possess the know-how to do so. Childsafe has recruited a series of recognised advisors called Childsafe Guardians to help them do just that.

Selecting a Childsafe Guardian allows a parent to define, with just a single click, a profile of protection that has been pre-built by an advisor that they can trust. Of course, a parent can manually select what they want to protect their families from themselves. Dr Sara Payne, Childsafe Guardian and co-founder of self-help victim advocacy group The Phoenix Post, has leant her support: “When I am walking down the high street with my children, we are not exposed to shop fronts or images that are sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate for children. We need to make sure that we can create a similar environment on the internet - one that prevents strangers from seeing our personal information on social media; and where children cannot gain access to areas that could cause them harm. As a parent, I need to be able to ring-fence what my children see, as I already do in the 'real' world.” A single, non-technical decision is all that is required to have a safe home broadband connection. For more information please contact Claranet SOHO on 01925 855 800. | Families Cheshire 15

Parents’ place New book encourages children to learn to budget How to Budget With Your Pocket Money Published by Dorling Kindersley ISBN 9780956946676 RRP £6.99 According to money expert Annie Chisambo, teaching a child how to budget with their pocket money can help them avoid getting into debt when they reach adulthood. “Most children start to receive their first pocket money when they’re about six or seven,” says Annie. “If handled well, and with the right resources, those early experiences of dealing with cash will teach them useful skills to help them manage their money when they eventually start work and earn wages. Kids are easily tempted to spend money on things they don’t need. Encouraging them to keep a

written record of where their money goes will help them keep track of what they spend, save and share.” In addition to the book – How to Budget With Your Pocket Money – children can find money tips, useful information, plus money themed puzzles and quizzes at Families editor Jayne says: "This is a great book for teaching budgeting from a young age; it keeps things simple but not at all dumbed down for children. The layout, colours and pictures make it fun to read and the quizzes help to check understanding along the way. I will certainly be working through this one with my children when they hit the pocket money phase. I am hopeful they will follow the sound advice on offer – Lily (6) has already saved her first £4 from the tooth fairy and is waiting for the rest!“

Izzy Reviews ‘Miss Moo’ HappyHopperz® for stockists RRP: £44.99 HappyHopperz® is a collection of bright, inflatable animals, similar to a space hopper but with ears and horns to hold onto and feet to steady the bounce – making them much more toddler friendly than the traditional round space hopper. The team at HappyHopperz® has recently launched a new XL version aimed at children from 3 to 6 years and they sent the Families team one to try out….. Izzy (3) yelped with excitement as she

unwrapped the giant blue bull from the packaging. She almost instantly named it ‘Miss Moo’ and so that has been ‘her’ name ever since. Izzy adores hopping around the house and garden on Miss Moo. The Hopper is actually one of the most used toys in our house at the moment. She is even used as a seat for watching TV or eating a snack! All the children play with her, Logan (2) struggles as his legs are a little short (might have to buy him the smaller size then they can have HappyHopperz® races!), Lily (6) frequently has a bounce, and even I (age not to be disclosed) have been known to have a go! Highly recommended by us for garden and indoor fun.

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“I am a mother trying to give my children first-hand experience of my own culture and country while raising them in Britain with my British husband.”

Meghan Fenn is an American mother married to a British man. They have three young children; all born in the UK and all have dual British and American citizenship. Raising children within a cross-cultural family is, at times, challenging and full of surprises. It is also wonderful, educational and extremely fascinating. In Meghan’s book, Bringing Up Brits: Expat Parents Raising Cross-Cultural Kids in Britain, she writes about her experience as an expat mother and also about other crosscultural families from all over the world who are raising their children in Britain. What’s it like raising a cross-cultural family in Britain today? Moving a young family or starting a family and raising children in a country not your own may be a common occurrence, but it does pose challenges in addition to the regular day-to-day trials and tribulations of parenting. Bringing Up Brits shows what life is like for non-British parents raising children in Britain today. Nearly a quarter of all births in Britain are

to foreign mothers - this is a significant part of the population and an important influence in our communities. “Reading Bringing Up Brits made me realise that I was not alone, this book is a very welcome companion to all of us expats finding our way as parents in a foreign country!” - Heidi Walker, American expat mother “You gain empathy very quickly for the situation 'we' foreigners are in, trying to adapt to this culture and nation” - Mi Bewick, Swedish expat mother Bringing Up Brits makes a great gift for your spouse or partner, friend or family member to show your support and understanding of their circumstance. The RRP is £14.99 but you can buy it directly from Meghan for just £12 (including P&P) from, where you can also learn more about the book, read the reviews, listen to podcasts and follow the blog. And why not share YOUR story with Meghan? Email her at

WIN WIN WIN We’ve got a copy of Bringing Up Brits: Expat Parents Raising CrossCultural Kids in Britain to give away to one lucky Families reader. Simply go to and enter now. Closing date for entries: Wednesday 31 October.

Parents’ place 30 years of Dear Zoo This autumn we’re celebrating 30 years of Rod Campbell’s classic picture book Dear Zoo, which consistently features in the top selling children’s titles and lists of the classic/best children’s books. Over 5 million copies have been sold since it was published in 1982 (roughly one in five households in the UK have, or have had, a copy of Dear Zoo in them), and to celebrate, Macmillan Children’s Books is publishing Dear Zoo in Touch and Feel format for the first time, bringing the beloved story to glorious 3D life. With a different texture for every animal and brand-new artwork throughout, there’s a whole zoo full of fun to entertain and delight both newcomers and fans of this timeless story. RRP £9.99 Also launched this year is Dear Zoo Animal Shapes – the popular buggy book now available as a cased board book.

Even the very youngest of Dear Zoo fans will love turning the shaped pages of this sturdy board book to discover their favourite animals from the much loved story. RRP £5.99 And the Dear Zoo app for iPad – where children can interact with the animals as never before – is available for £1.99 at the App Store. Here at Families we love Dear Zoo; it's such a simple story that the little ones quickly learn and anticipate as they hear it again and again. Logan (2) and Isabella (3) love making animal noises as they discover who is behind the flaps in the classic book. Logan really likes the new Touch and Feel version (and cannot break this one as he has a tendency to do with lift the flap books!). The Animal Shapes version, is much simpler and great for younger babies and is available as a clip on buggy book for trips out.

WIN WIN WIN WIN Here’s your chance to introduce Dear Zoo to your own children – one lucky Families reader will win a set of 5 books (2x buggy books, the classic Lift the Flap book, the new Touch and Feel and Animal Shapes versions), and 5 runners-up will win the classic Lift the Flap version. To enter go to Closing date for entries is Wednesday 31 October.

New Maternity Wear boutique opens shop in Knutsford Knutsford’s first specialist maternity clothes retailer is now open. Frustrated with not being able to find comfortable, fashionable jeans – the backbone of her pregnancy wardrobe – motherof-one Alexandra Macleod decided to set up her own shop so that mums-to-be can enjoy shopping to dress their bump, and feel pampered in the process. After months of planning, The Pudding Club opened its doors in July, offering exclusive designer jeans brands, maternity wear for special occasions and a section for professional women looking for stylish maternity clothes for work. With the belief that a good pair of jeans forms the basis of any woman’s wardrobe, whether pregnant or not, Alex made sure that The Pudding Club has a strong emphasis on maternity jeans – Skinny,

Straight, Bootcut and Boyfriend jeans in under bump, over bump and on bump styles as well as a variety of washes including blue and black, white and neon! Alex says: “I want people to feel really special and enjoy the experience of shopping at The Pudding Club. My vision is for beautiful clothes and excellent customer service. Ladies will be able to get advice on putting together a capsule wardrobe to see them through their pregnancy and a big part of that wardrobe will be the perfect pair of jeans!” 2a Minshull Street, Knutsford, WA16 6HG 01565 755595 /

Check out the new gift sets from banana lane, to get free postage just enter FAM2012 at checkout. | Families Cheshire 17

Clubs & classes Consideration for special needs children • Consider your child’s interests, rather than their needs. Many regular activities can use technology or planning to help their participation, e.g. drama, athletics, cooking or academic. • Evaluate your child's stamina. Check they have the energy for an extracurricular activity. • Talk with the activity leaders about your child's unique medical and communication needs. Provide them with emergency contact information. • Make sure family downtime is a regular part of the schedule. Sometimes your family needs to have nothing to do — as a group.

Choosing after-school activities As the new school year starts, so does the time to choose after-school activities, but take a quick look and you will find a whole range of classes available, from Scouts to Ballet, from French to Karate. How can we know which ones are the best for our child, offer value for money, and critically, which ones they will enjoy? And how do we balance busy family life with quality family time? Elisabeth Dolton offers some guidance.

Remember the inclusion of children with special needs is beneficial to all. Special needs children achieve more, improve behaviour, and enhance motivation. Children without special needs learn from working cooperatively and grow in confidence through helping others.

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After-school activities definitely offer value to your children. Reports indicate those who participate in after-school programs have better school attendance, higher grades and loftier aspirations. They’re less likely to get into trouble and are at lower risk of obesity. It is also a great opportunity for children to develop social and leadership skills. The benefits are there, but under which classes? Talk to your child and find out how they feel about the activity, and let them choose at least one club or activity themselves. Help them choose activities that reflect who they are and what they want to learn, don’t impose your preferences. Explain


that it’s important and fun to try new things, and remember switching activities is normal amongst children. Always check out the quality of an activity. Discipline-based activities that create a quality product over a period of time are great, e.g. putting on a play. Don’t think that high cost equals high quality; some activities like football are cheaper to run. Staff members should be professionals with skills and experience. Consider the mix of activities. The benefits of exercise are huge, so including a sport would be a good start. Extracurricular activities are ideal for children to explore and practice what it means to be a group leader, e.g. Brownies. If you are stuck

between two similar activities, consider the usefulness, e.g. drum lessons might be cool, but the guitar might have wider applicability. Remember logistics. The afterschool programme affects you too. Avoid signing on to too many activities that leave you scrambling from one to the next. No one will have fun doing anything if it means arriving late, leaving early, and going without dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Look hard for places you can walk to; it reduces your carbon footprint while keeping you fit for free! Finally, do build in some downtime. Children need to have independent play as

well as the structured activities, so ensure time is built in for dinner, watching T.V. and relaxing. Leave some activities perhaps for the summer, when different interests can be tried, without the pressure of school demands. After-school activities can provide enrichment, adventure and variety. They can enhance knowledge and build character. Spend a bit more time choosing the right activity programme for your child and you will reap the benefits.

Clubs & classes Finding the balance for busy families As parents we want our children to take advantage of opportunities and have enriching experiences, whilst keeping on top of our own demands and duties. So it’s no surprise that families can often find themselves over-committing and running from one activity to another. An over-busy schedule impacts on us all. Parents feel pressured to maximize every opportunity for their children, and with less family time relationships can suffer. Too much structured activity can contribute to anxiety, stress, and even depression in children. Finding a balanced lifestyle is key. There are several signs of an overly busy family. Children become tired, overwhelmed and irritable as a result of no downtime, activities are being done out of habit or because everyone else is, or your children spend so much time in activities that you don’t know what else is going on in their lives. Back-to-school makes you think back-to-stress! If your family is overscheduled, ease the pressure by simplifying the daily routine. This is achievable in two ways cutting back on extracurricular activities, and getting more organized. Scale down extracurricular activities. Limit the number of activities you have in a week to one artistic, one athletic, and one social for example. Focus more on creating a manageable family schedule. As you cut down on outside activities, set aside dedicated time for the family to be together. If you feel it’s important to eat dinner together a few nights a week, or have a set time when you and your children can just chat, arrange the schedule to make it happen. Reserve time to play and hang out. Streamline household routines to make time at home more relaxed. Keep spaces that you use every day, like the kitchen counter, free of clutter. Keep things where you use them. After dinner, lay out breakfast, make lunches and gather everything needed for tomorrow’s activities. Have your children lay out their clothes before going to bed. Once you create some organisation in the house, it’s likely to spread. But almost contradictorily, let go of the idea of being a perfect parent and resist feeling guilty if the house is less than immaculate. Take a few minutes to relax after getting home; don’t immediately dive into meal preparation.

Finding a Balance - Top Tips for parents: • Listen to your children. If they appear fatigued, irritable or overwhelmed they may be over-scheduled. • Talk to your children. Find out which activities they love and which they could live without. • Ask yourself: "Does my child want to be involved in all these activities, or do I want them to be? Your best intentions may be adding to the pressure. • Don’t forget ‘me time’. Don’t sacrifice your own wellbeing. Find time to recharge and rejuvenate.

Consideration for special needs children The balancing act of keeping a busy family with special needs on track through school, therapy, doctor visits, and fun can be tough. • Focus on priorities, exploit resources for planning, and continually communicate as a family. • Provide a structured lifestyle – everyone benefits psychologically from predictability. Planning family schedules together goes a long way towards reinforcing disability independence. • Implement effective routines - getting dressed, loading the car, and eating meals can take substantially more time for children with disabilities. • Integrate flexibility into family schedules that allow opportunities to practice disability independence children can learn valuable benefits of teamwork and planning ahead to meet their goals. • Keep supplies handy. Portable containers for equipment and medications enable smooth transitions to the car and back for instance. With flexible diligence, parents of children with disabilities can lead families to a fulfilling and well-balanced life, where disability activities are just part of a reliable, reassuring family pattern. | Families Cheshire 19

Clubs & classes Local clubs & classes news MAD Academy’s 1st birthday

Tennis Tykes TV

MAD Academy South Cheshire’s Kaythryn Lindblad tells Families how the first year of business has been for her. “I’ve met so many lovely children, parents, grandparents and carers and received so many positive comments that I really can’t wait to start again this year. What sets MAD apart from other parent/child(ren) classes in the area is the fact that it’s really active, fun and energetic. We spend lots of time dancing, jumping, hopping and running in addition to playing instruments, experimenting with props such as hula hoops, pom poms,

Tennis Tykes is now streaming videos of the tennis classes on their website. Why not log onto and watch the top tennis skills of the many talented children on their programme? There is a different video on each of their pages under the caption Tennis Tykes TV and the footage even shows children as young as 2 years old rallying! Just take one of the happy parents, Rebecca Leon, who says: "You really are running an excellent class! My 2 year old can hit the ball over the net from it being

parachutes, balls and skipping ropes, playing listening games, singing both well-known and MAD songs, developing confidence, enhancing a sense of beat and rhythm and learning specific choreographed actions to songs and dances.” Classes take place in Alsager, Sandbach, Congleton and now in Nantwich. Please contact Kathryn for more details and a free trial class on, 01270 876628 or see for more details.

thrown to them!" A number of classes are running a waiting list so don't delay – book today at one of the following venues: Didsbury, Hale, Bramhall and Wilmslow. For further information and to book a FREE TASTER LESSON, please contact Caroline on 07843 342662 or email

10 years for Northwich Dance Company

Jabberjacks still going strong 10 years on

Northwich Dance Company will be celebrating 10 years of dancing next February, and to mark the occasion, they will be holding a spectacular Dance night at Northwich Memorial Hall on Friday 8 February. It’s hoped that the majority of the current pupils, plus some former pupils, family, friends, etc., will all join in the celebrations. There will be a Ballroom and Latin demonstration during the evening by two professional couples, as well as general dancing for all during the evening. Amanda Kirby, founder of the Company, began dancing aged 10 with

Jabberjacks’ activity classes and tailor made parties have been entertaining children from as young as 6 months up to 7 years old across Cheshire for over 10 years. Sue, Wendy, Rachel and their teams offer a professional service, guaranteeing reliability, value for money and most importantly that your children have the greatest Jabberjacks experience. Their weekly activity classes encourage all areas of a child’s development and they take huge pride in seeing and hearing how much both parents and children enjoy them. As members of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, they ensure they offer the best start for a child as they grow and get ready

for starting school. There are many classes across Cheshire including Chester, Northwich, Crewe, Nantwich, Wilmslow and Marple. If you’d like to know more about your nearest class and book a FREE TRIAL, simply visit Or, if you’re looking for a special party that children and parents will talk about for weeks afterwards, then their Playmates parties for 2 to 4 year olds and Juniors parties for 5 to 7 years are just perfect. Both parties offer a unique format, suitable for both boys and girls and thrill all who attend. Best of all parents are ensured a stress free experience from the moment they book!

Happy Birthday to Puddle Ducks!

Turtle Tots

Holmes Chapel based swim school, Puddle Ducks, is 10 years old this September! Originally launched back in 2002 by Tracy Townend and Jo Stone, Puddle Ducks’ ethos has always centred on the needs of each individual child. As new mums themselves, Tracy and Jo felt they could offer a programme that was totally tailored and sensitive to the needs of both Mum and baby. The two mums got together and set up Puddle Ducks, originally operating from Tracy’s Goostrey home, later moving to offices in Homes Chapel. They were shortly to be joined by Ali Beckman, whose technical expertise means the swimming lessons are continually developed to ensure that they are enjoyable and effective, and teaching standards remain second-to-none. From those early days, Puddle Ducks’ success quickly spread by word of mouth. Tracy and Jo then took the step to franchise the business and now, Puddle Ducks is a national brand with over 4,500 babies and children taught every week across the UK.

Turtle Tots is a new and exciting swimming programme in Chester. It begins with aqua-natal yoga classes for pregnant mums, and continues after birth with specialist swimming classes for babies, and then toddlers. Cheshire-based Kim has recently completed STA, aqua yoga, and comprehensive Turtle Tots training, enabling her to run her Turtle Tots business. Kim commented: “I’m really excited to be launching my Turtle Tots business in Chester. I live in Cheshire with my boyfriend

and energetic little boy, Alfie. From an early age I’ve loved swimming and being in the water, and since having Alfie I’ve realised how important it is to introduce babies and young children to the water as early as possible. The pools I will be teaching at are really warm so it’s perfect for babies; and teaching babies and toddlers to swim is not only fun, but incredibly rewarding because I’m teaching them an important life skill.” So come out of your shell and learn to swim the Turtle Tots way! 07793 743678 /

a Dance school in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire through which she took all of her dance teaching qualifications. She continues to go back there for training to learn and improve even further. After moving to Northwich in 2001, Amanda started running a few classes offering Salsa in 2003 whilst still working as a secretary during the day. The school has steadily built up since then, and now runs four busy full nights of classes every week, plus two afternoons a week offering children’s classes. A full schedule of classes is available on the website.

The journey is continually moving forwards and today, Puddle Ducks offers a complete ‘learn to swim’ journey from Aquanatal, Baby & preschool to Swim Academy for school-aged children. At each level, the original ethos of individually tailoring lessons remains strong. The Carthy family have been swimming with Puddle Ducks right from the beginning, and wanted to say a huge thank you for the skills learnt and fun their girls have had over the last 10 years... “Jessica & Charlotte have enjoyed going to Puddle Ducks since they were very young. We wanted them to have the best opportunity to start swimming. The first few years are really special & you have some amazing fun together in the pool. Once they progress, you are able to watch from the poolside with a huge proud grin as they swim past, knowing that they will always be safe in water.” - Colin, Annette, Jessica & Charlotte Carthy. Birthday celebrations will take place both in and out of the pool during September.

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Caterpillar Music expands across Cheshire Due to the success of Caterpillar Music, NEW CLASSES are now available in Holmes Chapel and Sandbach! Jan Ratcliffe, Franchise of the Year and owner of Caterpillar Music in Cheshire, is delighted to be bringing Caterpillar Music within reach of more families in the region. She already has very popular classes in Wilmslow, Bowdon, Appleton, Grappenhall and Lymm. Jan has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher of young children and is early years trained with music as her specialism.

Caterpillar Music activity sessions are for 0 - 4 year olds, and encourage learning through music in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Weekly classes offer a unique introduction to music with exciting themes, activity songs, colourful instruments and amazing puppets. Ring Jan on 01925 860459 to book your free trial or visit to find out more. But hurry as classes do get full very quickly!! Caterpillar Music parties and nursery sessions are also available for children from 0 - 4 years.

Clubs & classes

My Little Pony Parties isn’t just for parties! Pony riding is a popular hobby choice for many girls and boys. If you have a pony-mad child who would like to learn to ride then try Sarah-Jane Slater from Dandy Farm, the home of My Little Pony Parties, who offers private lessons on her very lovely ponies. Dandy Farm in Adlington is a beautiful setting where children can also enjoy pony trekking as a change from lessons. For full details on what is available visit | Families Cheshire 21

Clubs & classes LOCAL CLUBS & CLASSES DIRECTORY Northwich Dance Company Classes for

BABIES Baby Massage Time Group or 1:1 courses in your own home or venues in and around Cheadle and Poynton. 07738 564666 / Baby Massage Works Course in Knutsford. 1:1 sessions available: Katie: 07973 540072 / Baby Sensory Sensory development activities for babies. Wilmslow, Macclesfield, Marple & Bramhall – Tina: 07877 458602 Knutsford & Lymm – Laura 07946 672035 Congleton – Vicky/Jane: 07974 359980 Chester & The Wirral – Steph: 07814 941 048 Middlewich & Nantwich: Samantha 07527 741530 Hullabaloo Kids Baby Signing Classes in mid Cheshire. Sharon: 07973 479471 / Mo Ferrie Baby Massage Classes in Chester & Wrexham. 07765 905389 / My Babytime A range of classes for babies, developmental play sessions and parties in mid Cheshire. Charlotte: 07590 025253 / Rosie Health Baby Massage & Signing classes in Wilmslow, Poynton & Bollington 07961 614882 / Saffrons Yoga Macclesfield Pregnancy and Baby Yoga – classes and 1:1 sessions available. 01625 432997 / Sing and Sign Baby Signing Classes in Chester. Rachel: 01244 372970 / Yogababy Mum and Baby Yoga, Kids Yoga and Yoga for the Special Child in mid Cheshire. Jo: 07850 580855 /

COOKING Cookie Tots & Kiddy Cook Hale & Altrincham – Nikki: 07976 619648 Stockport/East Cheshire – Mandy: 07411 560011. Speckled Hen Cookery School Child and parent/child cooking classes in Holmes Chapel. 01477 537583 /


adults and children at various venues across Northwich, covering a variety of dance styles, including Ballroom & Latin, Salsa, Rock 'n' Roll and Latin Line dancing. Classes are for everyone, from absolute beginners to the more advanced dancer. Children’s' classes offer a mixture of Ballroom & Latin and Freestyle / Streetdance routines for ages 4-15yrs, with the emphasis always being on fun! 01606 49050 /

Starlight Theatre School Bramhall. Anna: 0161 747 4074 /

INDOOR ACTIVITY CENTRES Barnaby’s Playbarn Northwich A stimulating environment where children can burn off all that energy. Activities for all ages and a special area for under 3’s. A range of party options available too. 01606 301321 /

Fun4All, Chester & Macclesfield A safe and secure environment for ages 0 – 11. Main and toddler/pre-school climbing frames, baby play pen and free–play sports zone. Café for snacks and meals and comfy sofas or tables for grown-ups. Parties also available. Funky Town Play Centre, Chester Run, play, and slide on a huge climbing frame filled with ball pits, slides, roller squeezes, rope bridges as well as toddler, disco and sensory zones. Fully stocked cafe and restaurant facilities. 01244 377229 / Funsters Safe, indoor play centre in Crewe for children up to age 12. Cafe and comfy seating. 01270 500525 / JJs Sensory Play Centre Multi-sensory play centre in Macclesfield for babies and young children as well as young people and adults with special needs. 01625 667872 /

Cheshire Craft Workshop Melody Bear ballet classes for 18 months to 4 years – see listing under Music & Social

Dancingkidz School of Dance Dancingtots, Ballet, Streetdance, Musical Theatre and Zumbatomic classes in Northwich. Sharon: 07834 612303 / Diddi Dance Funky dance classes for 24 year olds. Chester, Ellesmere Port, Kelsall – Danielle: 07870 664734 Nantwich – Emma 07792 500981 Footloose Dance Academy Ballet, Tap & Freestyle dance classes in Bollington & Macclesfield. 07951 054547 /

Funky Monkey Cafe Pre-school Ballet. See listing under Music & Social Hullabaloo Kids Tippy Toes Toddler Dance for walking to 3 years (boys and girls) in mid Cheshire. Sharon: 07973 479471 /

Legoland® Discovery Centre Manchester Over 2 million LEGO bricks under one roof – share the LEGO world of colour, creativity and family entertainment. Indoor rides, miniland, climbing frame, 4D cinema. KIDS GO FREE until 31 December 2012 with the advert in this magazine. 0844 844 8181 /

Pirates Paradise, Holmes Chapel Sports areas, swing ropes, climbing frames and a toddler area. Good food and comfortable seating for adults and children. Parties available. 01477 549008 / Polar Palace, Winsford Dedicated areas for babies and ages 1 to 5, as well as trikes to ride. Activity sessions every weekday (term time only). 01606 863623 / The 2 Gyms Playbarn, Winsford Catering for all ages of children and boasting over 3,000 sq feet of play area. 01606 558600 /

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Playfactore, Trafford State of the art giant play frame, interactive toddler play area, Laser Tag arena, electric go karts. 0844 824 6030 /

Topsy Tumbles, Cheshire West Indoor playground fun for the under 5's at EPIC Leisure Centre (Ellesmere Port), Frodsham Leisure Centre, Neston Civic Hall, Northgate Arena (Chester), Winsford Lifestyle Centre and Woodford Lodge Sports Centre (Winsford). Operating all year round with plenty of toys, bikes, push-a-rounds and slides as well as a supervised bouncy castle. Open to all preschool children accompanied by an adult. 01244 377086 ex 201 / Wacky Warehouse Soft play and activity centre in Congleton. Arts & Crafts sessions and parties available. 01260 273575 /

LANGUAGE Cheshire Craft Workshop Baby/toddler sign language classes – see listing under Music & Social. Funky Monkey Cafe Pre-school French with La Jolie Ronde. See listing under Music & Social Jolly Polyglots Petits Pois: French for under 5s Parent/Toddler Groups. Les Grands Fromages: After school Language Clubs for KS2. Private individual/group classes also available up to A level in French / GCSE in German. Christine 07714 216655 / Talking Tots Fun, interactive classes that help pre-school children communicate with confidence. Classes in Cheadle, Wilmslow, Hale and surrounding areas. Debbie: 07899 801186 /

TinyTalk Baby signing and singing classes (018 months). Learn baby signing the fun way with the award winning TinyTalk team through singing nursery rhymes, action songs, storytime AND the all-important extra social time. Now TinyTalk Toddler classes (18 months +) continue the fun developing confidence with speech and communication skills through action songs, games and even a parachute! Northwich & Knutsford – Jenny: 07968 110670 Frodsham, Macclesfield, Runcorn – Claire: 07771 747755 Disley, Bramhall – Anita: 07914 088845

The Cheshire Mandarin Academy Mandarin classes across Cheshire. 07833 712878 /

MUSIC & SOCIAL Caterpillar Music Activity sessions for 0 - 4 year olds to encourage learning through music in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Caterpillar Music parties and nursery sessions also for children from 0 - 4 years. Classes in Wilmslow, Bowdon, Appleton, Lymm and Grappenhall with NEW CLASSES IN HOLMES CHAPEL AND SANDBACH FROM SEPTEMBER! Free trial class. Jan: 01925 860459 /

Cheshire Craft Workshop Great venue in Northwich offering craft sessions, kids clubs and parties. Please ring for details of individual classes/sessions. • Melody Bear: fun ballet class for children from 18 months to 4 years, Tuesday mornings • Makaton baby/toddler sign language classes, from Sep/Oct - days still to be confirmed. • Kids back to school?! Ladies only night, pottery painting, bring your own wine - Friday 28 September, booking essential. • Personalised pottery with children's hand/ footprints - sessions throughout the week. • Build your own bear workshops/parties for groups of at least 4, must be pre-booked. 01606 301269 /

Funky Monkey Cafe Child friendly cafe in Nantwich. Home made food, toys, indoor and outdoor play areas and weekly classes/activities - all for a small charge except pre-school ballet: Mon 1.30 Free pre-school ballet Tues: 9.30 Jabberjacks Wed: 10.30 Pre-school French, 4pm Arts & Crafts for school age children Thurs: 10am Messy Monkeys Every other Saturday : Little Picasso 07846 296882 /

Jabberjacks A learning and fun activity preschool class which helps develop social and physical skills for children aged between 6 months* and 4 years old. Using a unique combination of puppets and traditional music, against a backdrop of drama and play, Jabberjacks ensures all activities delivered in their pre-school classes are both stimulating and interactive. *Please check age range of class Wilmslow, Macclesfield & Knutsford – Sue: 01625 540999 Chester, Northwich & Winsford – Wendy: 07519 238263 Nantwich, Crewe & Sandbach – Rachel: 07501 365537 South Manchester – Clare: 07587 186284

Jo Jingles Music, singing and movement classes for babies and young children. North East Cheshire – Laura – 0161 431 0674 South Manchester: Jacqui 01925 269136 Mid Cheshire – Eve: 01926 739966

MAD Academy High energy, free spirited Music and Dance classes to babies and children aged 3 months to 5 years. A brand new set of classes start in Alsager, Congleton, Holmes Chapel & Sandbach. Free taster session. Kathryn: 01270 876628 /

Rhythm Time Early learning through music – for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Chester & surrounds – Julia: 07789 867 589 Mid/ East Cheshire – Francis: 01270 884583 North Cheshire – Jane: 01270 529224 South Manchester – Kimberley: 01625 533510

Clubs & classes PERFORMING ARTS Helen O’Grady Drama Academy Stockport & E Cheshire – Kalini: 01625 261000 South & Mid Cheshire – Brian: 01270 765586 Pyjama Drama Drama, movement, music and play for children up to 7 years. Stockport & Cheshire East – Alison: 0844 504 5119 Mid Cheshire – Julie-Anne: 0844 272 6590 Razzamataz Affordable performing arts training in Chester which combines both Musical Theatre styles with fast and funky Commercial styles. For ages 4 to 18. 01244 470104 / Rokit Performing Arts Professional training in acting, dancing and singing for young people aged 4 to 18. Based in Knutsford. 01565 654 482 /

Stagecoach Theatre Arts School Performing arts for ages 4 – 18. Altrincham – Marion: 01925 222445 Chester – Karen/Lindsay: 01244 316187 Congleton & Macclesfield – Julie: 01782 777 345 Didsbury – Anne: 0161 789 1349 Northwich – Susan: 01606 45132 Nantwich – Adele: 01782 397866 Stockport – Cathy: 0161 864 3974 Wilmslow – Laura: 01606 782502

Star Tuition/SOS (Star on Sunday) Acting, singing & dancing workshop for ages 5 – 17 every Sunday (term time) in Knutsford, Toby: 07780 850 357 / Upstage UK Drama, singing & dance for ages 5 – 17 in Macclesfield.Chris: 07887 766033 /

SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES A-Star Sports A fun-filled multi-sports experience for children aged 2-10 years offering inclusive, developmental coaching in a positive environment. Weekly classes start with an initial ABC-based programme for the little ones and develop into a core of ten sports and more. Parties, holiday clubs and events also available. Contact Sharon or Gary Bassett via T: 07932 182148 / 07796 190169 E: W: F:

Beavers, Cubs & Scouts 01925 750 223 /

Gymbabes/Tumble Tots/Gymbobs Classes to develop children's physical skills of agility, balance, co-ordination and climbing. Wilmslow & Macclesfield – Nicky: 07814 020 095 Alsager, Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Crewe & Northwich – Ann: 07810 513 845. Sale, Knutsford, Didsbury, Hale & Lymm – Jane: 07812 144450 Chester – Jackie: 01244 303127 Little Superstars Multi sports sessions in West & South Manchester / Cheshire Louise: 07904 344552 / Pixies Cheerleading Squad Allstar Cheerleading Team in Poynton. Kelli: 07852 903909 / Playmakers Ball skills, agility and co-ordination for 16 months – 5 years. Macclesfield/Wilmslow 01625 415151 /

Rainbows, Brownies & Guides 0800 1 69 59 01 /

Tennis Tykes An educational tennis play and skills programme for children aged 2-5 years old. All classes are run by qualified and trained staff, use specially adapted equipment with personal achievement charts for every child. Classes in Bramhall, Didsbury, Hale, and Wilmslow. Caroline: 07843 342662 /

Football Footytotz Early years play programme for ages 2 – 5 in Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple. Nigel: 0845 539 0409 / Premier Football Coaching After school clubs across Cheshire East. 01625 415151 / The Football Academy Football courses and academies in Mid/East Cheshire. 07738 239287 /

Little Kickers At Little Kickers, the focus is on fun, as football is used as a forum to instil a little extra confidence, co-ordination, control and sense of camaraderie. Classes run in four distinct age groups, to maximise involvement and development. Age groups range from just 18 months to 7 years. Classes in Alderley Edge, Poynton, Knutsford & Macclesfield. Fiona: 01625 326177 /


Puddle Ducks Fun and friendly swimming classes for babies, toddlers and primary school age children across Cheshire. Join small, structured swimming classes (up to 8 children), at any age from birth to ten, no matter what your child’s experience or ability. Children develop from splashing and kicking into graceful, efficient swimmers and learn lifesaving and underwater skills. Mid Cheshire – Jo / Jess: 01477 410080 South Cheshire – Jessica / Emma: 01260 281131 Chester – Kerry: 01829 739073

Private lessons and pony trekking for small children aged 3+ on American Miniature Horses. Pony Petting, Activity fun and parties also available. 07832 127433 /

Bank Farm Riding School Private, shared, or group lessons for children and adults in Poynton. Parties also available. 01625 872656/ Mobberley Riding School Lessons for all levels and ages (5+). Group lessons for children on the weekend. 01565 873123 / Redwood Riding School Riding lessons in Chester for children and adults, pony days and parties. 01244 851692 /

skating tuition. Recreational or extreme skating options available. Leo: 07772448653 /

SUPPORT MOSAIC Children’s Therapy Centre Independent occupational, speechlanguage, social / emotional/behavioural and play therapy services for children and young people with additional needs. 01606 40195 /

Swimabout Swim school for ages 3+ (adults too) in Handforth. Small class sizes. Simon: 07515 252708 /

Turtle Tots You are welcome to join a Turtle Tots baby swimming class at any time from when your baby is newborn, until they are 18 months old. At our classes you will learn how to swim with your baby above and below the water and how to teach your baby water confidence and key lifesaving skills. Equally importantly, the baby swimming classes provide the most overwhelming bonding experience! Classes are held on Wednesdays and Sundays in Chester and Whitchurch. Contact Kim on 0779374367 or /

Water Babies Specialised swimming My Little Pony Parties

Flowskate 1:1 tutorials or group roller

courses for babies 0 – 2 years. Mid & East Cheshire Anna: 01270 611111. Chester & Liverpool – Alison: 01925 243643 /

Skating Rollers Club For all levels of skaters – beginners to intermediate. Bring your own skates or hire a pair of rollerblades for just £1. Sessions on weekends at Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Poynton, Knutsford and Frodsham Leisure Centres. Aimed at families and children 4 to 16, but no age limits and no pre-booking required.

Explore Learning Maths & English tuition centres for 5-14 year olds. Children become members and attend once or twice a week for sessions that last approximately 1¼ hours. Every centre is open 7 days a week, no advance booking necessary. Centres in Chester, Altrincham, Cheadle Hulme and Heaton Park. Altrincham: 0161 2410006 Cheadle Hulme: 0161 6698140 Chester: 01244 343433 Heaton Park: 0161 6694839

Kumon Kumon's unique programmes complement the school curriculum and provide far more than just maths or English tuition. They cater for your child's individual needs, allowing them to study at a rate that is just right for them and eventually to take responsibility for their own learning. Congleton – Claire: 01625 262176 Knutsford – Sue: 01565 621142 Nantwich – Sarah: 01270 780810 Northwich – Liz: 01928 735927 Wilmslow – Ian: 01625 532529


Brio Swim Swimming classes at Leisure Centres in Chester, Northwich, Winsford, Neston & Ellesmere Port. 01244 377086 ex 201 / Macclesfield Satellites Learn to swim with Satellites swimming lessons! Based at Macclesfield Leisure Centre, we offer swimming lessons on Saturday & Sunday mornings. 10% 2nd child discount available. Emma: 07749 546307 / /

Kinder Swim Academy Fun and stimulation lessons for birth – 15 years, giving both children and their parents confidence in the water. Kath / Sharon: 07907 263423 / | Families Cheshire 23

What’s on Autumn Portraits in Delamere

This Autumn, Cheshire children’s photographer, Helen Rae Photography, teams up with Abbeywood Gardens in Delamere to help raise funds for a local charity. Portrait Days will enable families to have a mini portrait session in beautiful surroundings overlooking the Kelsall Hills in Delamere with children’s portrait photographer, Helen Rae. Each 45-minute photo session costs a charitable donation of £20 which will be matched and donated to a local charity. Abbeywood is a 45-acre Cheshire garden

Britain’s top Choirs go head-to-head in Manchester Choir of the Year (, the UK’s largest amateur singing competition, is holding its prestigious Category Finals featuring the UK’s top singing talent at the magnificent Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on 6 October. The singing spectacular includes singers of all ages from 8 to 80, with show stopping musical styles from Classical to Glee-style

and family estate nestling in the Delamere countryside, right in the heart of Cheshire. Home to the Rowlinson family since 1987, Abbeywood opened to the public over 18 months ago and is now open for visits and bookings. Abbeywood is becoming well known for its extensive woodlands, lovely gardens and delicious meals and snacks on offer at the café. Helen Rae Photography specialises in beautiful, stylish, informal portraits of babies, children and all the family captured in the most natural way possible. Helen works using only natural light and creates images in places with significance for her subjects across Cheshire. Portrait Days are on 23rd and 25th October. All bookings must be made in advance by calling Helen Rae Photography on 01606 783000 twitter: @HelenRaePhoto

Baby First Aid Course - Saturday 13 October Wilmslow Methodist Church, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AR This two-hour course will give you the chance to learn and practise vital first aid skills that could one day save your child’s life. The session, aimed at parents or carers of babies or preschool age children, is delivered by an expert British Red Cross trainer and will cover topics that typically concern parents, such as: • Unconscious baby or child (breathing or not breathing) • Choking • Bleeding • Burns • Raised temperatures You’ll have lots of practise in lifesaving techniques and plenty of opportunities to ask questions. The course costs £25 per person or £45 for a couple. Discounted rates are available

for students and low income families. If you can’t make this course, but would like to be kept informed about future NCT Baby first aid courses please email and they’ll let you know as soon as a date is set for the next course. As it is not always feasible to arrange childcare for a very young baby, if you do have one that you need to bring with you please let them know. Places are limited so advance payment in full is required to secure your place (details will be sent along with confirmation of your place). CONTACT DETAILS email: or call 0844 243 6115.

Russian State Ballet & Opera House® presents Swan Lake © Oliver Dixon, Imagewise

Classical ballet is transformed into a fairy-tale in what’s bound to be a magical experience for families and ballet enthusiasts in the run-up to Christmas. Book your tickets now for performances in Cheshire: 17 October: Lyceum Theatre, Crewe

18 October: Plaza Theatre, Stockport

The John Rylands Library, Manchester

Wesley Church Centre, Chester CH3 9NB

People's History Museum, Manchester

Throughout October A trolley load of fun: we've filled a trolley with great stuff – dig in and enjoy yourselves!! Free Family Event. 10am – 5pm Tues – Sat 12 – 5pm Sun & Mon 0161 306 0555 /

Sat 20 Oct An all-age drawing session as part of the event programme for “In the Image”, the church centre's exhibition of Modern Christian Art. Artists and art students on site to offer guidance. Dry media only due to exhibition. Clipboards and pencils available. 11am – 2pm, £2 01244 323037 /

Mon 29 Oct Explore Manchester with an artist and draw your journey on an umbrella to take home with you. Family friendly activity suitable for age 7+ 1.30 – 3.30pm, £3 per umbrella (you are welcome to share!) 0161 838 9190 /

numbers which will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out which six of the sixteen singing groups will make it through to the Grand Final in London on 28 October. Children’s performances start at 2pm, Adult and Youth performances at 7pm. Tickets are on sale starting at £10 and can be bought from the Bridgewater Hall Box Office: 0844 907 9000 or

The Big Draw Planned events:

The Big Draw is the world’s biggest celebration of drawing. It has grown into a month-long festival running throughout October in all parts of the UK. Every year more organisers across the world join the Big Draw family and run drawing events to engage their communities in creative activities. This year’s theme is 2012 in Lines – inspired by the most famous statement about drawing ever made: A drawing is simply a line going for a walk – Paul Klee Join in at any of a number of events planned across the region. For more information, go to

Sandbach School CW11 3NS Wed 17 Oct An evening of fun and exciting drawing activities for pupils, parents / carers and siblings. Work alongside your sons to explore a range of materials and processes. We especially welcome those that think they 'can't draw'! Come and rediscover your love of drawing! 5 – 8.30pm, £3 entrance 01270 758870

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Art Sparks Mon 22 – Sun 28 Oct 1 Leicester Road, Hale, Altrincham WA15 9PR Free public event for all ages 07873 263271

The John Rylands Library, Manchester Wed 31 Oct Taking a line for a walk on the wild side: Make different types of marks and lines to create your own print. Free Family event 1 – 3.30pm 0161 306 0555 /

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go

What’s on

To include your upcoming event in our listings, email

NCT Nearly New Sales Top-quality baby and children’s clothes and equipment at bargain prices – straight from their loving owners.

Tarporley & District Sat 6 October, 1 – 3pm (Members entry 12.45pm). Tarporley Community Centre, High Street, Tarporley, CW6 0AY. Sellers: pre-registration essential. 0844 243 6207 /

Stockport Sat 20 October, 10.30am – 12pm Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church, Ramillies Avenue, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7AL. £1 entrance 0844 243 6282 / Chip and pin payments available. No pushchairs or shopping bags. Sellers: registration 21 September – 14 October.

North Cheshire Sun 28 Oct, 12 – 4pm Thelwall Parish Hall, Thelwall New Road, All Saints Drive, Warrington, WA4 2SX £1 entrance. Sellers: name, address & tel to 0844 243 6221 /

Alderley Edge Sat 10 November, 11.15am – 1pm (Members entry 11am). Festival Hall, Talbot Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7HR. £1 entrance 0844 243 6115 / No shopping bags or pushchairs. Sellers: register nearer the time. Facebook: Friends of East Cheshire NCT Twitter: @EastCheshireNCT

Northwich & District Sun 18 November, 2 – 3.30pm (Members entry 1.45pm). Winnington Park Recreation Club, Park Road, Northwich, CW8 4EB No pushchairs are allowed into the sale. Sellers: pre-registration essential. Telephone: 0844 243 6207 /

Fri 7 & Sat 8 Sept

Sat 8 & Sun 9 Sept

Biddulph Grange Garden Heritage Open Days 11am – 5.30pm Free entry as part of the national Heritage Open Days. The tower in the Chinese garden will be open at certain times during the day for visitors (50p pp charge) 01782 517999 /

Water Tower, Chester 11am – 4pm Meet some medieval characters and discover more about life in Chester during the Middle Ages. 01244 972210 /

Sat 8 Sept Astbury Mere Country Park OSCAR sponsored Charity FUN Dog Show Entrance fee £1.00 per dog per class - all proceeds to charity. Registration from 1pm, Dog Show starts 2.30pm. Back by popular demand! A fun filled afternoon for everyone! Bring along your dog and enter one (or more) of the many fun dog classes. Rosettes and prizes for all categories. Book on the day or contact Wilmslow United Reformed Church Kiddy Cook Workshop – Winter Warmers 2 – 3.30pm, Age 5 – 11. £20 07411 560011 / Wacky Woods (Styperson Quarry Wood, Macclesfield) Mountain Bike Instruction 1.30 – 4.30pm, £12, Age 8+ Ride the trails, improve your technique, build small jumps, practice on the pump track. Have some great fun developing your skills and your times with other keen riders. A drink and a snack included in the cost. Takes place every Saturday afternoon during the year. 01625 573086 /

Grosvenor Museum, Chester Saturday 10.30am – 5pm (free children's crafts 2 – 4pm), Sunday 14pm. 01244 972197 / Stretton Watermill, Farndon 1 – 5pm. Free guided tours of the mill. 01606 271640 / visiting High Legh Garden Centre, Knutsford Festival of Transport A spectacle of Historic & Classic cars. The High Legh Railway will be operating all weekend. 01925 756991 /

Sun 9 Sept Sale High School Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm Tatton Park Kiddy Cook – Pick and Cook 10am – 12pm, £22. Aspiring young chefs pick seasonal fruit and vegetables in Tatton’s Walled Garden with a servant from the past and then cook in the Victorian mansion to create a culinary delight to take home. Booking essential. 07976 619648 / | Families Cheshire 25

What’s on Mon 10 Sept Knowsley Safari Park Tour of Britain Stage 2 Finish Free entry to the Park for the day (gates close 1pm) in anticipation of over 100 of the world’s top cyclists completing their sprint to the finish past the elephants and giraffes. 0151 430 9009 /

Thurs 13 Sept Tatton Park Bat Bonanza 6.45 – 8.45pm, Adult £8, Child £6, Age 8+ A night walk around with a ranger to see and hear the furry fliers as they hunt for their evening meal. 01625 374400 /

Sat 15 Sept Astbury Mere Country Park Family Pond Dipping 1pm – 3pm, £2 (Booking essential). Come and find out what lies beneath the surface of a pond. Children must be accompanied. Booking: Patti Pinto on 07757 611963 / Delamere Forest Fungal Foray 10am – 3pm, £4.50 per person Annual fun filled search around the forest with local enthusiast, Fungalpunk Dave. Early booking recommended. 01606 889792 / Tatton Park Kiddy Cook – Pick and Cook 10am – 12pm, £22. Aspiring young chefs pick seasonal fruit and vegetables in Tatton’s Walled Garden with a servant from the past and then cook in the Victorian mansion to create a culinary delight to take home. Booking essential. 07976 619648 / Manchester Cathedral Be a Chorister for a Day Ages 7 – 11, Free, Children must be accompanied. Limited places, booking essential. Workshops at 12 noon, to learn some of the music for choral evensong. The workshops are followed by lunch (bring your own) , a chance to have a go at the Cathedral Explorer Trail, try on some choristers robes and do some brass rubbing before taking part in a rehearsal with the full Cathedral Choir. Choral evensong at 3.30pm, sung jointly by the Cathedral Choir and those who are being a chorister for the day. 0161 833 2220 ext. 238 /

Congleton Town Hall Great Bear in Beartown – Night One Adults £11, Children <14 and concessions £9 or £25 for 2 adults & 2 concessions. Doors open 5.30pm, show starts 6pm. A night of pre wrestling entertainment for all the family. Six contests will be taking place with stars ranging from daring high fliers, technical masters and awesome powerhouses. 01260 271095 /

Fri 21 – Sun 23 Sept Imperial War Museum North Build the Truce Mark International Day of Peace with a weekend of activities and events exploring the notion of truce, including talks and film screenings, themed tours as well as creative family activities, storytelling and theatrical performances for visitors of all ages. 0161 836 4000 /

Sat 22 & Sun 23 Sept Tatton Park Harvest Festival at The Farm Adults £5.50, Child (4-15) £3.50, under 4's free, Family £14.50 (2 Adults/3 child) See the steam engine running, have a go at scarecrow making, spinning, make your own corn doll and duck racing. Woodturning and clog-making demos. Harvest Blessing 2pm with the resident brass band. Normal Park Entry charge applies. 01625 374400 / Rudyard Lake Steam Railway Steam Gala Event All engines as well as visiting engines will be running. 01995 672280 /

Sun 23 Sept Salt Line Car Park, Hassall CW11 4XT Nature Walk 10.30am – 1pm. Join the site Ranger for a gentle stroll along the Salt Line and adjacent Borrow Pit Meadows. The walk will be at a gentle pace with frequent stopping. Children must be accompanied. Booking essential. 01625 383777 /

Tues 25 – Sun 30 Sept Tatton Park The Netherlands National Circus Tues – Fri 4.45 & 7.30pm, Sat 2, 4.45 & 7.30pm, Sun 1 & 3.30pm. A magical treat for all the family. 0844 4155 228 /

26 Families Cheshire |

Sat 29 Sept Chester Zoo Run for the wild 2012 9am Registration: Adults £10, Children £5. Under 2s free. Annual family fun run takes runners and walkers around the zoo and covers approximately 5km. This year all money raised will help support the Black Rhino Conservation Programme. 01244 380280 /

Sat 29 & Sun 30 Sept Stretton Watermill, Farndon Victorian Harvest Weekend 12 – 5pm. Mill tour £2 adult, 75p child Celebrate a traditional harvest with activities including butter making, apple pressing and straw dolly making. Enjoy live performances of traditional music and a taste of some harvest recipes. Free drop in activities. 01606 271640 / visiting Little Moreton Hall The Tudor Mop Festival 11am – 5pm. The tradition of servants being hired at this time of year, led to the creation of ‘Mop Fairs’. Celebrate the end of the harvest with festivities and hobby horse racing. Normal admission charges apply. 01260 272018 / Tatton Park Biennial Events Weekend Visit the Biennial to see international contemporary art specially commissioned for Tatton Park and focussing on 'Flights of Fancy'! This weekend activities for families and children are scheduled alongside talks, performances and tours. Normal admission charges apply. 01625 374400 /

Sun 30 Sept Tegg’s Nose Visitor Centre Bushcraft Day 10am – 4pm, Age 8+. £4 per person or £12 for family of 4. Be Ray Mears for the day and try some Bushcraft Skills at Tegg's Nose Country Park. Children must be accompanied. Booking and payment in advance essential. 01625 383777 /

Sun 7 Oct Tegg’s Nose Visitor Centre Feed the birds 10am – 12pm. Join Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers for a family event making a range of bird feeders and bird food to help our garden birds survive the colder months ahead. Children must be accompanied. 07870 804413 /

Churnet Valley Railway Folk Festival and Classic Cars A swansong to summer with folk music, Morris dancing and gleaming vehicles 01538 750755 / Tatton Park Kiddy Cook – Pick and Cook 10am – 12pm, £22. Booking essential. 07976 619648 / Kingsway School (lower site), Cheadle Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop. 10am – 12pm Tatton Park Tatton Apple Day A scrumptious Sunday at the Farm and in the Gardens to celebrate the wonderful apple. Join in games and children’s activities. Normal admission charges apply. 01625 374400 / Manchester Museum & Whitworth Art Gallery Grand day out for grandparents 12 – 4pm (Museum), 1.30 – 3.30pm (Art Gallery) Free, Drop-in, all ages. Are the grandchildren brimming with energy and you fancy having some fun with them? Bring the whole family and make an afternoon of it with fun free family activities. 0161 275 2634 /

Sat 13 Oct Manchester Museum Big Saturday: Dogs on Show 11am – 4pm. Drop-in (except walking tour), free (except walking tour), all ages. With live dogs in the courtyard and activities for all the family. Meet a Bloodhound, Bulldog, Borzoi, Collie, Pekinese and Irish Wolfhound. Including Barking Dogs Bark and Read – where children can read to dogs, Dog Detective workshops (11.30am & 2.30pm) that explore the science of smell and crime investigation and a Dog Talk on Manchester Dogs (1.30pm) – the street dogs when Manchester was the rabies capital of the UK, the ace ratter Manchester terrier and the Lyme Hall mastiff. To top it all off, departing from the Whitworth Art Gallery is Walkies (1-4pm), a walking tour for dogs and their owners that sniffs around the buildings, parks and stories of this part of town (£5, 0161 275 2634 /

Sat 13 & Sun 14 Oct Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Apple Days 11am–4pm. Celebrate autumn and take part in activities including apple pressing and an Autumn family trail. 01625 527468 / quarry-bank-mill

What’s on Sun 14 Oct Sale High School Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm

Sat 13, Sat 27 & Wed 31 Oct Imperial War Museum North What A Performance 11.15am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm, Free, all ages. See one of the specially commissioned family friendly performances dramatising stories of wartime adventure. Themed to the subject of frontline medicine. 0161 836 4000 /

Sun 14 – Thurs 18 Oct Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Halloween Treasure Hunt 10am – 4pm. Entrance Fee to Grounds: Adults £5, Children £1.50 each to enter Treasure Trail. An Evil Pumpkin Wizard has cast a terrible spell over Abbeywood. Follow the the clues along the trail and try to solve the mystery and save Abbeywood from these darkforces, before the rise of the next Full Moon, when it will be too late! 01606 301374 /

Fri 19 – Sun 21 Oct Tatton Park The North West Food Lovers Festival Over 120 delicious food and drink stalls selling the best produce available from across the region: this year's festival will bring a feast of fun to all the family. Celebrity chef demonstrations and kids cooking. A taste sensation not to be missed! Normal admission charges apply. 01244 405615 /

Sat 20 Oct Wilmslow United Reformed Church Kiddy Cook Workshop – Halloween/Bonfire Treats 2 – 3.30pm, Age 5 – 11. £20 07411 560011 / Dig it Dog Training Club, Betchton, Sandbach Halloween Games Competition 3 classes: Spider Web Jumping, Fancy Dress Agility, Like a Bat out of Hell Steeplechase. Entries and payment in advance

Sat 20 – Sun 28 Oct Tatton Park Get Squashed in the Gardens 10am – 6pm, Adult £5.50, Child (4-15) £3.50, under 4s free. Enjoy the fantastic displays of Tatton’s end of season produce: squashes, marrows,pumpkins, gourds and other tasty home-grown varieties! Follow the trail to Tatton’s special pumpkin tree. Normal Park Entry charge applies. Closed Monday

Turn Detective, Solve the Mansion Mystery Don your deerstalker, pick up your magnifying glass and solve the case of the missing Mansion treasure. A fun, family quiz, throughout the week – (closed Monday) Normal Park Entry charge applies. 01625 374400 /

Sat 20 – Wed 31 Oct Blakemere Craft Centre Scarecrow Trail £1 per trail. Pick up a Trail Form and follow the Scarecrow Trail around Blakemere and along the A49 into the village of Tarporley, collecting the names of each scarecrow as you go. Return your completed forms and be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes! 01606 883261 /

Sat 20 Oct - Sun 4 Nov LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Manchester LEGO Halloween The LEGO pumpkins are back! Expect spooky goings on as MINILAND is taken over by ghastly ghouls and frightful phantoms. Spooky builds in the Model Builder’s Workshop and all children receive a limited edition Halloween badge. 0844 844 8181 /

Sun 21 – Thurs 25 Oct Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Halloween Treasure Hunt 10am – 4pm. See Sun 14 – Thurs 18 Oct

Mon 22 – Fri 26 October Jodrell Bank Explore the Unexplained 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm, Age 5+, Booking essential. Discover the world of weird science in these interactive science shows and see if you can find out if aliens really do exist. 01477 571766 /

Tues 23 – Wed 31 Oct Tatton Park Halloween Hauntings at the Old Hall 12 – 5pm, Adult £5.50, Child £3.50. Family £14.50. open 12pm to 5pm (last entry 4pm). Visit the Horrendously Haunted Old Hall. Solve the Horrible History Mystery and Quiz. Story telling. Face painting and mask making (small charge). Closed Monday 29 Oct. Normal car entry charge applies. 01625 374400 /

Sat 27 Oct Churnet Valley Railway Ghost Train Thrills and family fun in this spooky night-time spectacular. Bookings taken from 1 Sept 01538 750755 /

Manchester Museum & Whitworth Hall Science spectacular! 11am – 2pm. Age 5+, Free Drop-in A whistle-stop tour of research at The University of Manchester. Go on a journey through the heart, find out why lotus leaves don’t get wet and snuggle up to some unusual insects. Meet the scientists and engineers behind the research and take part in fun activities throughout the day. 0161 275 2634 /

Sat 27 & Sun 28 Oct Rudyard Lake Steam Railway Halloween Specials Including special evening trains on 27 Oct. 01995 672280 /

Daily from Sat 27 Oct Biddulph Grange Garden Halloween and the spooky tunnel 11am – 3.30pm. Venture down the spooky tunnel if you dare! Marvel at the marvellous pumpkins carved by the Biddulph Grange gardeners and tread cafefully along the transformed Woodland Walk. Children must be accompanied. Normal admission charges apply. 01782 517999 /

Sun 28 Oct Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Halloween Treasure Hunt 10am – 4pm. See Sun 14 – Thurs 18 Oct

Mon 29 Oct Manchester Museum Meteorite day 11am – 4pm. Free Drop-in, all ages Get your hands on pieces of space rock over 4 billion years old and examine moon rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts. See what happens when meteorites hit the Earth. Do all this and discover how scientists at The University of Manchester are using meteorites to unravel the mysteries of our solar system. Part of Manchester Science Festival. 0161 275 2634 / Imperial War Museum North Science Busking 11.15am, 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm, All ages Live science demonstrations exploring themes including perception and human biology. 0161 836 4000 /

Mon 29 & Tues 30 Oct Lyme Park, Disley Halloween Pumpkins 10am – 12pm, 1 – 3pm, £4, Age 6+ Carve a pumpkin lantern in the Timber Yard to scare the ghosts away. 01663 762023 /

Monday 29 Oct – Fri 2 Nov The Lowry A Wicked Play In A Week 10.30am – 3.30pm daily. Ages 8 – 11, £80 (£70 Salford residents). You may have heard the story of Sleeping Beauty before. A beautiful princess falls asleep to be awoken by her true love’s kiss, right? No, not this time…. let’s hear from the baddies for a change! This is your chance to put on a play in a week! There will be a performance for families and friends on Fri 2 Nov at 3pm. 0843 208 6000 /

Tues 30 Oct & Thurs 1 Nov Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham Family Rut Walks 11am – 12pm, 1 – 2pm, 3 – 4pm. Bellows and battles; the autumn rituals of Dunham’s deer revealed. Normal admission charges apply. Limited places, collect a timed token from the Ticket Office on the day. Suitable for children. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey The Lowry Half Term Drama Drop In 11am – 12.30pm. £3.50 (£1.75 Salford residents) A special visit from Hairy Maclary and friends in the Lyric Theatre brings this favourite children’s book to life in fun-packed drama workshops filled with games and excitement for all the family. 0843 208 6000 /

Wed 31 Oct Biddulph Grange Garden Pumpkin carving workshop 10 – 11.15am, 12 – 1.15 pm, 2 – 3.15 pm, £6 Create your own fabulous carved pumpkin ready for Halloween (and take it home with you). The gardeners at Biddulph Grange Garden will pass on their tips and suggestions for designs. Children must be accompanied. Booking essential. 01782 517999 / biddulph-grange-garden Lyme Park, Disley Terrifying Tales in the Cage 1pm, £3.50, Age 6+. Hear spooky stories told by a professional storyteller and make a horrifying Halloween mask. Meet at the Cage. 01663 762023 /

Thurs 1 Nov Manchester Museum The first CSI: Bloodhounds and crime scent investigation 12.30 – 1.30pm & 2.30 – 3.30pm. Free, Age 11+, Booking essential. Bloodhounds have the ability to track other animals and people by the power of smell. Meet Victorian dog detectives, Barnaby and Burgho, and explore the science of smell. 0161 275 2648 / | Families Cheshire 27

Families Cheshire Issue 19 Sept-Oct 2012  

Families Cheshire magazine for September and October 2012