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Families Chiltern, PO Box 1037, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 1ZF. Tel/fax: 01494 673427, Email:


速 The free useful magazine for families with young children

Issue 66 : March/April 2014

Welcome to our March/April spring issue In this issue: 3- 5 6

News from around the Chilterns Beating the blues


How to deal with depressed and anxious kids.


How to choose a nursery Make sure you get the right childcare for your kids.


Helping at home Natasha Doran explains how we can help our children get ready for school.


Paying the bills Joanna Moorhead looks at what help’s available for paying for childcare.


‘Don’t leave me this way!’ How to cope with separation anxiety.

14-15 Getting to grips with NVR Sian Goodspeed looks at non-verbal reasoning in the new Bucks 11+.


The benefits of inclusion Why one school can fit all.


Playtime! Different types of play uncovered.


Happy Mother’s day Words of wisdom from mums near and far.

20-21 14 eggtastic things to do Do something new this spring time.

22-23 Easter camps Keep the kids busy all day long.


OK, I admit it.Yes, I’ve probably spent too many rainy Sunday afternoons in Cressex. And yes, I’ve probably clicked-and-collected once too often. But the fact remains – in a world of global warming, economic cooling and general uncertainty, John Lewis is increasingly the rock to which I cling. And so I sit on my John Lewis desk chair typing this on my John Lewis computer, the dog (insured by John Lewis) at my feet. And if they ever went into energy or banking, they would probably have my mortgage and my electricity, too. I suspect I’m not alone here, either. Maybe it’s just the longing for order and certainty in a chaotic world; maybe just a fondness for elegant and reasonably priced soft furnishings and home accessories. Whatever it is, I just wish there was a bit more of it around. A customer services department not located in Outer Mongolia; sales staff who know the difference between a table and a tablet; cashiers who don’t try to flog you extended warranty every time you buy anything with a plug on it. And then I realize that the utopia I dream of – Lewisland, that’s to say – can never exist in reality.That the world, sadly, is imperfect, and we must make the best of it.That my surname is not Lewis, but Thomas. And that it’s highly unlikely I will ever have a son named John.

Allison x

Get creative! Nature-inspired fun.


If my surname were Lewis, and I ever had another son, I would be tempted to call him John. He would be a wonderful child, this Lewis junior: always cheerful and helpful, informative on a variety of subjects from washing machines to mobile phones, offering free delivery within a selected area and, most importantly, never knowingly undersold. He would, I am afraid to say, put my current offspring to shame, so that in moments of particular frustration I would ask why they couldn’t take a leaf out of their brother’s book. Why, in short, they couldn’t be just a bit more like John Lewis.

Allison Thomas, Editor

Win free stuff! Lots of goodies up for grabs.

26-29 What’s on in the Chilterns 30

Ed’s reading room The latest new books reviewed.


Get cooking!

Find us on Facebook, FamiliesChiltern Editor: Allison Thomas Design: David Fowler. Printed by Warners (Midlands) plc. Published six times a year, next issue: May/June Party issue, advertising deadline 1 April.

Cover picture:

Congratulations to all our competition winners.

Delicious treats from Splat Cooking.

PO Box 1037, Beaconsfield HP9 1ZF. Tel/Fax: 01494 673427 email:



Visit for lots more news, features and local info.

Don’t forget to visit regularly for lots more chances to win. Honk!: Rachel Harris, Great Missenden. Horrible Histories: Helen Davies, Speen.

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Get out and about with our round-up of what’s happening.

News from around the Chilterns New cookery classes at Beverley Glock Cookery School Looking for inspiration for what to cook? Or just bored of eating the same old dishes? Families Chiltern cookery guru Beverley Glock’s new cookery classes could be just what you need to encourage you to get back in the kitchen. Lasting two hours, the new classes are styled around ‘lunch with (new) friends’. Beverley will help you make two to three dishes which are ideal for all the family to share, as well as being quick and easy to make – perfect for time-starved chefs. ‘I want to teach real people how to cook real food and inspire them to be a little more adventurous with their everyday meals, and if it means knocking off the frills to achieve this, then that’s what I’ll do,’ says Beverley, author, broadcaster and founder of Splat Cooking Parties. And with dishes on the menu as tempting as Vegetable Korma with Chapatti and Raita, Three Bean Chilli with Tortillas and Guacamole, and Superfood Salad with Smoothies who could resist? Find out more at Plus if your kids want to get involved with raising funds for Sport Relief, Beverley is launching The Buckinghamshire Bake-Off on Saturday 22 March at The Potting Shed, Askett. Mike Bushell, BBC Sports Presenter, will be there presenting the prizes and confirmed celeb judges include Paul Davies from ITN News. There are four categories and four age groups per category (under 7 years, 8–11 years, 12–15 years and adults) so loads of opportunity for young budding bakers to win medals and prizes. For more info and entry forms, go to

Happy birthday to the Pauline Quirke Academy in Amersham The Pauline Quirke Academy in Amersham celebrated their fourth birthday in January and, with support from the parents, the Principal and teachers decided to throw a birthday party. Some of the students have grown up with PQA

and have been members since the academy first launched and so it was a great opportunity to have a party. Principal Liz Charleston said ‘Four years has just flown by and the students have even more to look forward to as they will be performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre London in July in front of an audience of over a thousand. We can’t wait to see what the next four years bring!’

and teach them valuable skills they can use in the future – whichever secondary school they move on to. Aylesbury lessons take place on Saturdays and children are invited to attend a free trial session before they commit to the course. Flying Start also run a range of maths, English and 11+ courses at their Chesham tuition centre and Little Chalfont satellite centre. For further info, visit, email hello@ or call 01494 772898.

Flood-stricken Longridge needs your help

PQA Amersham first opened its doors in 2010 and is now one of 60 academies set up by Pauline Quirke all over the UK. Tuition is provided for 4–18 years olds and students spend three hours rotating through hour-long sessions in comedy and drama, musical theatre and film and television. The Pauline Quirke Academy Amersham runs at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School on Saturdays from 9.45am– For more information, go to or to book your free taster session please contact Principal Liz Charleston on 07443 460390 or email

New Flying Start 11+ courses in Aylesbury

Due to demand, Flying Start Tuition’s popular 11+ courses have recently launched in Aylesbury, at Berryfields Primary School. Designed for pupils sitting the Buckinghamshire 11+ tests, lessons provide pupils with comprehensive coverage of all the necessary areas, ensuring they feel confident and fully prepared for the big day. In addition to preparing children for the 11+, Flying Start’s courses raise pupils’ attainment at school

Longridge Activity Centre ( uk) in Marlow is calling on local people to come and help the flood-damaged centre to get back to its former glory, during the weekend of March 15 and 16. The site often floods but this year it has suffered more damage than normal, with most of the buildings submerged in water. Centre manager Amanda Foister says, ‘Our aim is to get the centre back to being the beautiful fulcrum for adventurous activities that we all know it to be, the charity are looking for lots of help and donations of equipment for this weekend. The aim is to get the centre looking even better than before. All ages and all abilities are very welcome, as there will be jobs for all. In the lead up to the weekend, we’re also calling on local businesses to volunteer a team to help with the clean up.’ If you can help, please contact the Longridge Site Manager, Emmaleen Dean on 07540 411782.

Continued 5

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Going for gold Congratulations to the Chiltern Open Air Museum, who won Gold Award for Small Attraction of the Year at the Beautiful South Awards in January. Run by Tourism South East (TSE) for over 20 years, the Beautiful South Awards celebrate the very best the South East has to offer. Museum Director Sue Shave said, ‘We are very honoured to be awarded Gold for Small Attraction of the Year and to represent the best of Buckinghamshire attractions in these awards. This award is a testament to the hard work of all our staff, volunteers and Friends of the Museum who provide such a great visitor experience in our fantastic historic buildings collection.’ Chiltern Open Air Museum reopens on 29 March, visit for more info.

New parent and child swimming classes to open in Chesham Aqua Vie, a 12-yearold family run business, will be launching classes in a hydrotherapy pool in Chesham this April. The parent and child classes are based on the Alexander Technique, also known as Shaw method. This means teaching children and babies how to enjoy the water without stress, learning to swim underwater. Primary preswimming skills are taught, which are essential to a good technique and true water confidence ensuring pool safety and preventing the creation of poor habits in the water, that later become hard to undo. The classes also teach streamlining, which is the basis of speed and alignment of the spine, for effortless swimming where less equals more. Bookings are now being taken for

baby’s and children’s group lessons on Sunday mornings from 9am after Easter. For more info, call Jan or Julia on tel 01923 245 773, mobile 07525 657 987, email, to go to

Get arty with Activity Ark Love arts and crafts but don’t like the mess? Then head along to the newly launched Activity Ark sessions and enjoy getting creative with your kids without having to clear up afterwards. Run by local mum Natalie, the sessions are aimed at preschool children and are currently running during the term time at the Holy Trinity Church Hall, Penn on Mondays; and at Hazlemere Community Centre and Hobbycraft High Wycombe on Fridays. Classes also run during the holidays for kids aged up to 12 years. All classes cost £5, with siblings rates available. To find out more visit www.activityark. com or visit the Facebook page (Activityark), where there’s also the chance to win free classes for six weeks and a t-shirt.

Get ready for Sport Relief 2014 Get your jogging pants on for this year’s Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games ( Friday 21 to Sunday 23 March). And this year you and your children can join in the fundraising by running, swimming or cycling. You don’t have to be the Brownlee brothers to take part either, running distances start at just one mile. There are runs all over the area, including Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Waddesdon Manor and Wycombe Rye. And budding Rebecca Adlingtons can join in with public Swimathons at Aylesbury Aquavale, Chiltern Pools, Sportspace Hemel and Wycombe Sports Centre. Alternatively, if you fancy something a bit special, dig out your bike and head to London for the chance to cycle at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – choose from 25 or 50 miles, or a three-mile family route in the park grounds. To find out more, visit

New preschool opens in Little Chalfont Looking for preschool care for your little ones? Launched last September, childcare agency Busy Living’s preschool in Little Chalfont offers a choice of day care, including early-bird sessions from 8.30am, preschool sessions 9am to noon and lunch clubs from noon to 1pm. Smaller children are looked after at the Toddler Group, starting on Tuesday mornings after the February half term, all parents, grandparents and carers are welcome to come along and you don’t need to prebook, just stay and play. Set up in 2003 by Linda Walshaw and Annette Cook, Busy Living provides local parents with a choice of childcare options including evening babysitting, daytime care in your own home and mobile creches. There are five Ofsted registered settings including an afterschool club and holiday club at Elangeni School in Amersham; an afterschool club at Robertswood School; a breakfast, afterschool and holiday club at St Josephs (both in Chalfont St Peter); and a new breakfast and afterschool club at Bearbrook School in Aylesbury. Both the preschool and the toddler group are based at the Methodist Church in Chalfont Avenue, Little Chalfont. To find out more, visit or call 01494 722318.

Get crafty me hearties Looking for something to do on Saturday morning? Head down to the Junior Scholars’ shop in Watford on Saturday 8 March for a fun-filled morning of creative play. The Treasure Island craft morning is open to all children aged four to ten (accompanied by an adult). Kids can create a colourful collage of their ideal treasure island paradise and try to win some prizes, or have fun colouring, drawing, playing with puzzles and educational games. Snacks and refreshments will be served and all children will receive a lucky dip prize. Registration starts at 11.15am; craft sessions start at 11.30am and 12.30pm, and entry costs £2 per child. To find out more, visit www. juniorscholars. or


Cooking Classes Workshops Splat Cooking Parties For children Real Cooking Classes for adults

0870 766 8290



Advertising deadline for the May/June issue, 1st April

Beaconsfield High School Old Girls Reunion

Name your stuff

Calling all Becky High old girls. If you have fond memories of the Tower Block, the royal-blue checked uniform, the Taylor Centre and even the secondyear porta-cabins then put Saturday 29 March at 7pm in your diary. Join other old girls and find out what your friends and teachers have been up to since you left and how the school has changed, most notably with the opening of the new Kingsley Block. Tickets are £15 in advance and include a light supper and welcome drink. For more info call 01494 673 043 or email Tickets can be purchased by posting a cheque payable to Beaconsfield High School to the school address (Wattleton Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire HP9 1RR, mark your envelope ‘Alumnae’). For more info, contact Sarah-Jane Melvin on 07811 401722 or email

Kids lose stuff – water bottle one week, school jumper and guitar the next if our house is anything to go by. If your kids are as absentminded as mine, check out the new Labels4Kids Snappy Tags school multi-pack, including snapon tags complete with applicator for clothes, plus vinyl labels for lunch boxes and shoes, and two bag tags. Other new Labels4Kids products include TSA luggage straps personalised with name, as well as cut and bagged sew-on labels with pre-sealed edges to stop fraying. Find out more online at, and also check out the Facebook page for lots of competitions.

Little Bear Feet dance classes now in the Chilterns

Major new research into early detection of autism and ADHD is seeking babies

If you and your toddler enjoy spinning around the sitting room to Strictly Come Dancing, shimmy your way to a Little Bear Feet dance class, now in Beaconsfield and Penn. Run by fully qualified dance and drama teacher Clare Maloney, the classes are based on a bear called Melody and her adventures as she travels through Nursery Rhyme Land, and are designed to help build children’s confidence and develop their physical and social skills. They also naturally lead in to further ballet, tap or modern dance training, and they’re good fun. ‘It’s great to see the children grow in confidence over the weeks,’ says Clare. ‘It’s also a lovely opportunity for the parent/carer to have some fun and dance with their child and I’m sure the adults enjoy practising their dance skills as much as the children!’ Classes are suitable for children from 18 months and are currently held in Beaconsfield (Friday) and Penn Street (Tuesday). For more info and to book a free trial lesson please contact Clare on 07949 569558, email or find on Facebook at littlebearfeetinbucks.

The leading’Babylab’ at Birkbeck, University of London, is launching a new Europe-wide study of the early emergence of autism and ADHD. With over £2.5 million in funding, Professor Mark Johnson and his team are now embarking upon the Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings (STAARS) project, which will map brain development from birth in order to identify the earliest signs of these lifelong social communication and attention disorders. The research will focus on infants who have older siblings with autism or ADHD as these infants are at particularly high risk for these disorders.

Take a trip to a museum Stuck for an idea to fill a wet weekend? Check out new website www.thamesvalleymuseums. org for the lowdown on over 70 museums in the Thames Valley area (a far greater concentration than anywhere else in the UK, except London). Some have an international reputation, such as the Ashmolean in Oxford and the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, both of which were rated in the Times’ Top 50 Museums In The World. But there are other gems – the Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, the Cole Museum of Zoology in Reading and Oxford Castle – that you might not have heard of before. Look out for those with a Family Friendly logo, which promises a relaxed atmosphere and activities for both adults and children to enjoy together.

Although parents may notice symptoms of these conditions from infancy, children are often not diagnosed until they are in nursery or school. Earlier diagnosis of these children would help make it possible to design earlier and more effective interventions that may prevent symptoms from developing, and help improve quality of life for individuals with autism/ADHD and their families. Can you and your baby help? Expenses are paid and mothers we met said they spent a very special day with their child which they really enjoyed. To find out more STAARS project, visit

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 11 PLUS EXAM TUTORS WITH EXPERIENCE AND RESOURCES FOR THE NEW CEM EXAM MOCK EXAMS 2014 • Our course of mock exams for the new CEM 11 Plus Exam • Allow your child to experience the challenges of the exam • All exams have different content • All sessions include exam strategies / post exam troubleshooting • Report included • Our mock exams were rated as “Excellent” by our 2013 pupils and parents • Exams run from April-September • Professional tutors

With over 70 drop-in weekly workshops in a variety of subjects, live music, theatre and comedy on Friday and Saturday nights, exhibitions, volunteering opportunities and much more! A welcoming and sociable place to be, get down to Queens Park Arts Centre to discover your creative spark.

2015 / 2016 EXAM - REGISTER WITH US NOW • Group Tuition -Starts September 2014 • For year 4 and 5 pupils • Limited 1 to 1 /mini group places available

Tel: 01296 431 272 / 01296 424 332 Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7RT

Contact Kathryn on 01242 221271

To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email



Parenting Pic: ©

Dealing with anxiety and depression in children Ramni Kortman-Bedi, of Believe Energy, looks at how to help your children combat depression. According to the Office of National Statistics, 4% of children suffer from an emotional disorder such as anxiety or depression; Girl Guiding UK has found that 63% of girls aged between 11 and 21 have experienced levels of stress; and the BBC has found children as young as five are being referred for treatment for depression and anxiety. Having had a child suffer from stress to the point where it caused him physical pain, I understand first-hand what it feels like for a parent to realise that their once happy and vibrant child now has an emotional problem that they don’t understand, and has no idea how to rectify. But children can recover relatively quickly and it is easy to help them vocalise and solve their problems.

Recognising the symptoms There are many reasons why children suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, including bullying by other children or older people in responsibility, cyber bullying, and unsettled home lives. Due to the high stress of current day living and emotional situations, children now find themselves suffering more from emotional outbursts, anxiety, panic attacks, sleeping and eating issues, anger and aggression, not fitting in with society’s norms, fear, hearing and seeing things they cannot explain, phobias, stress and depression. Symptoms may display as vocal outbursts and crying, sometimes over very small issues; becoming socially withdrawn and hiding away from others; hiding their face; making up illnesses; anger and unreasonable changes in behaviour; separation anxiety; continuous feelings of sadness or hopelessness; increased sensitivity to rejection; changes in appetite; changes in sleep and difficulty concentrating; fatigue and low energy; physical complaints (such as stomach-aches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment; reduced ability to function; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; impaired thinking or concentration; and thoughts of running away, death or even suicide. It’s worth noting that childhood depression is different from the normal ‘blues’ and everyday emotions and learned behaviours that occur as a child develops. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if disruptive behaviour that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork or family life develops, it may indicate that they have a depressive illness. However, keep in mind that while depression is a serious illness, it’s also a treatable one.

allowing them to be and have some space, can be priceless as they’re more likely to open up at these times and feel that it’s safe to show their true emotions, instead of hiding them. ✎ Talk to all the family – other siblings may not understand why one child is receiving so much attention, as they can’t see a physical problem or comprehend an emotional problem. Ask them to give the child some space. ✎ Sometimes you may need to fight the battle for your child. Prepare to do this as all children not only need to feel unconditional love, but also need to feel supported, believed and respected. Don’t let your child down, even if others around you can’t see the problem. And follow your instincts, you will do the right thing for them. ✎ Give your child space to catch up again with life. The beauty of children is they can recover relatively quickly in comparison to adults, but it’s still vital to give them time to find their feet again and come to some sort of vocalised solution/ending to the problem that they’re happy with. Draw a line in the sand and move on, though, as you do not want this to become an issue that will cause them suffering into adulthood. You might also want to consider a workshop or course. Children are taught to look after themselves physically, but they are rarely taught how to take care of themselves emotionally, which is equally important to their physical wellbeing. At Believe Energy we help children be the best they can be, the ‘I Am Important’ sessions are fun and non-invasive, based on releasing them energetically from any suppressed emotions and traumatic experience that directly link with challenging behaviour, and then empowering the child with positive energy that will positively support and nurture their future growth and development. Children are shown tools and techniques which can be used throughout their lives – our aim is to build their confidence and self-worth, promoting healthy attitudes and positive relationships. Believe Energy Children’s ‘I Am Important’ Workshops are running on March 9 and April 27, from 10.30am to 1.30pm in Chalfont St Giles, Visit or call 0758 8593108 for more information.

How to help When you realise your child is suffering, do not feel guilt or embarrassment – your child needs help and this is about them, not you. ✎ The first thing you can do for your child is to talk to them – try and get to the root cause of the problem. Understand that this may be very difficult for them as they may feel they’ll get into trouble if they tell, especially if it’s another adult causing the problem, and they may also find it difficult to speak to you, if so ask them to write it down. Do not trivialise the problem if it doesn’t seem important to you, as it will be to them. You may need to ask some probing questions to get your child to open up – a lot of the time your child will say that they don’t know what the problem is, just that there is one, or maybe several. If they are too young to do it themselves, you may need to vocalise the problem for them. ✎ Notify the school, ask for their advice and how they have found the child’s behaviour recently. They are with your child every day and need to be made aware of the issue immediately. Schools should have strategies and specialised personnel in place to help with such issues, but they can only help if they know. However, in some cases, a change in geography for the child can solve the problem immediately, but still give your child time to recover from their ordeal. ✎ Visit your GP, and ask their advice. They’re unlikely to prescribe drugs but can offer practical advice or counselling. ✎ Let your child have some time off. You may feel pressurised to send them back to school, but a few days in a stable environment, just 6


Advertising deadline for the May/June issue: 1st April

路 Self Protection and Anti-Bullying 路 Safe, Disciplined and Fun

FREE! Four weeks Beginners Course Every Monday and Wednesday at 5pm Chalfont Leisure Centre Nicol Road, CHALFONT ST. PETER SL9 9LR Every Saturday at 2pm The Beacon Centre Holtspur Way, BEACONSFIELD HP9 1RJ

Special rates for families Minimum age 4 years. All our instructors are Enhanced CRB checked.

7th Dan Black Belt International Instructor

Tel: 01753-882012 or 07885-294418 To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email



Under 5s special How to choose your child’s nursery It’s one of the most important decisions you’ve made for your child in their life so far. So which nursery is the right one – and how do you know? By Joanna Moorhead. There are all sorts of different nurseries out there – big ones, small ones; ones run by the local council; and ones run by independent companies. There are nurseries attached to primary schools and there are stand-alone nurseries. When you start out looking for one, the sheer choice of what’s out there can make it all seem very daunting (for a more detailed breakdown see our box right).

Pic: © Maygutyak -

But here’s the first, the most important, and possibly even the only thing you need to know about how to make your choice. Listen to the voice inside your head, heed your instinct about what’s right for your child, and you’ll almost certainly make the ‘correct’ choice. Because the truth, of course, is that there isn’t a ‘right’ nursery or a ‘wrong’ one; there is, however, a nursery that will suit your child best because it will mesh in with your own and your partner’s ideas about how to raise a child, and what matters most in their life. All of which is why what you feel inside you about a nursery will give you the biggest guide as to what to go on.

Looking round To kick the process off, you’ll need to put together a list of nurseries in your area (or perhaps in the area where you work, if you’re thinking your child can be cared for at nursery while you work nearby). Comb through the nurseries in your area online and look at the Ofsted reports for any you think sound promising. Think about what factors matter most to you in a nursery (see our checklist) and then make appointments to look around a selection of those that have, or might have, spaces. When you look round, don’t be too anxious about all the questions you need to ask or whether you’re going to miss something vital. Instead, switch on all your ‘vibes’ and take in the holistic sense of the place. Does it feel friendly and welcoming, and a fun place to be? Do staff treat you warmly – are you convinced by what they’re telling you? Do you, in a nutshell, feel a sense of confidence about the place; would you feel confident about leaving your child, here in the care of the people you’ve met? If the answer is yes, the nursery you’ve just seen is a possible one for you; if you have any doubts whatsoever about this most crucial thing, whether you’re confident about leaving your baby there, cross it off your list at once.



Nursery checklist What are the most important things you’re looking for in a nursery? Here are some things you need to think about:

✎ Start early Putting your name down when you’re pregnant might seem crazy, but if you’re going back to work when they’re tiny it’s not that long and a lot of nurseries have long waiting lists.

✎ Cover the basics Check what the fees include (nappies, food, formula?); make sure you are happy with the security (how are parents/visitors allowed in and out of the premises?); is the equipment clean and in good condition? What is their policy on sickness (most nurseries have quite strict rules on sickness, but how about coughs and colds?). And ask about communication – how will they feed back to you how your child has been during the day – a detailed sheet or just verbal feedback?

✎ Staff Look at the ages of the staff – it’s good to have a mix of ages, enthusiastic youngsters and older staff who have perhaps had children themselves. Ask about staff turnover, if they stay a long time

Advertising deadline for the May/June issue: 1st April

Under 5s special it means more continuity of care for your children and that they are happy working there. Also ask about the ratio of staff to children and whether your child will have a keyworker and the chance to bond with one particular member of staff.

✎ Flexibility Check how flexible they are, if you have to work an extra day one week is there the opportunity to add another session? And how flexible are they to your child’s routine – if your toddler has to have a nap in a dark room, is there the chance to do this or are they expected to just drop off in the corner with the other children playing around them?

✎ Food Does the nursery provide food or do you have to bring it in every day? Is there a choice and how can you see what your child has eaten? How important is it to you that food is organic? Do you like the idea of nursery children eating alongside staff – ie, the family model – which some nurseries practice?

✎ Outdoor play space This varies hugely from nursery to nursery, think about how important outdoor play is to your child, and decide how much importance you’re going to attach to whether the nursery has a garden, how big it is, and how many activities take place in it.

Photos on this page : © Berkhamsted Nursery

What’s in a name? Day nurseries Usually open 8am–6pm for most of the year (some close for a week at Christmas), these nurseries often take babies from three months and are a good option for working parents. Nursery schools and preschools Usually take children from 2.5 to 3 years, they are often quite small and allow children to make friends of the same age. Often only open for half-day sessions, usually in the morning, so not convenient for working parents.

Nursery classes in schools Convenient if you have already have siblings at the school and a good introduction to a school environment but often only offer short sessions. Remember a school nursery place does not guarantee a place in Reception in that school. Playgroups Again sessions are generally short, for a few hours, with the aim of helping your child get used to a sociable learning environment. Some playgroups encourage parents to stay, often good value for money as they are run on a not-for-profit basis.

Montessori schools Based on a method which fosters and guides children’s in-built curiosity and develops their whole personality, the children can often choose their activity from work stations around the school. Steiner schools Aim to foster imagination – formal education isn’t introduced before the age of six and creative play is focused on more than the three Rs. Workplace nurseries Very convenient if your child is close to you, but consider the location – if it takes you an hour to get to and from work, hauling your children around might not be such a good idea.

Gateway School

Great Missenden

An independent co-educational day school for children from 2-11 years

At Gateway we seek to develop and celebrate the individual abilities and talents of each child, instilling an enduring love of learning, in an environment which nurtures the children to live life to the full.

• High academic standards within a broad curriculum • Small teaching groups • Montessori based Early Years Unit with 15 hours free funding • Provision 8.00am - 6.00pm during term time, with a wide range of after-school clubs You are warmly invited to visit our school: School Open Morning Saturday 8th March 2014, 9.30am - 11.30am Early Years & Reception Open Mornings Friday 28th March 2014, 10am - 11am Friday 9th May 2014, 10am - 11am Gateway School, 1 High Street, Great Missenden, Bucks, HP16 9AA Headteacher: Mrs S La Farge BA(Hons), PGCE email: or telephone: 01494 862407.

For more articles on nursery education, visit



Under 5s special Getting ready for school

As a mother of a five-year-old son and Head of Pre-Prep at Thorpe House School for boys, I’ve experienced preparing for the exciting start of school as both a parent and a teacher. Every parent wants to prepare their child for the challenges of school, so here are some top tips for a successful start. The important thing is to make the advent of school a happy event. The lead up should include plenty of opportunities for your child to develop socially at toddler groups, through play dates and eventually preschool or nursery. The preliminary skills, which help your child to feel confident and able to cope in the new atmosphere of reception class, include:

✎ Basic organisation of their belongings ✎ Taking their turn and listening to instructions ✎ Being able to dress themselves ✎ Managing toilet visits ✎ Basic table manners ✎ Knowledge of the alphabet ✎ Recognising letters ✎ Recognising and writing their name ✎ Knowledge of colours ✎ Recognition of basic 2D shapes ✎ Recognition of numbers to 10 ✎ Counting to 20 ✎ Ability to focus on an activity for 10-15 minutes, for example on a jigsaw puzzle.

Reception children learn their phonic sounds, and this will be helped along by you through plenty of clear speaking, listening and gentle correction. Encourage your child to be confident in speech; gently correct their mispronunciation. Reception children must acclimatize to a long and stimulating day, so an established and disciplined routine is vital.

Should my child be able to read? Books must be a part of the daily routine; sharing books undoubtedly gives them a head start. The local library should be a fairly frequent destination; demonstrate to your child the value of books and the joy in making independent choices. Discuss the content of books with your child. Being able to decode words is an important skill, but real comprehension comes from being able to make sense of the vocabulary, content and inferred meaning. Discuss the pictures and use them to find clues and information; encourage empathy by asking for your child’s opinion about the story. I invested in a set of home reading scheme books for my son, and we made a good start through his ‘last baby summer’, before Reception. However, go with your instinct: if they’re not ready to read, don’t force it as it will only serve to put them off. If your child loses interest, leave it and revisit later. Have fun playing ‘Snap’ with high frequency word cards, to spark their interest in reading; this is invaluable in the early stages of learning to read. Preschoolers should learn the alphabet and the corresponding basic phonic sounds if possible – I advise teaching the letter names and sounds together.

PRE-SCHOOL (Based at The Methodist Church, Chalfont Avenue, Little Chalfont) Funded + Non-Funded Places for 2-5yrs Open Daily for Early Bird at 8.30am, Pre-School 9-12pm, Lunch Club 12-1pm

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Pic: ©

Natasha Doran, Head of Pre-Prep at Thorpe House School, explains what teachers would like parents to do at home to help prepare children for school.

Under 5s special I can write my name! Being able to recognise and, better still, write their name is a great advantage to a Reception child. Label your child’s books, toy boxes and bedroom door with their name. Have your child trace over a large copy of their name to practise the letter formation.

Fine motor skills In preparation for learning to make those exciting first steps in independent writing, your little one needs to build up muscle tone in the fingers and arms. This is easily done through having fun together using play dough, baking cookies or junk modelling. Scissor use is a key area and investing in a good pair of safety scissors, with rubber handles, will really help with both fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. Encouraging fun with pencils and crayons allows

Aim to have your child count to 20 before school starts, and have fun counting in 10s, 5s or 2s, or backwards, and even into negative numbers. My son and I love playing hide and seek by counting in different ways. Timing how long simple chores take will help develop responsibility, independence, an understanding of time and number knowledge. It’s vital to encourage a love of learning. Excitement about starting school, delight in books, language and numbers, being a sociable, polite and caring child who embraces responsibility, will help ensure a positive start to school life and fill your child with pride of being part of this new world. If your child has these basic skills, academic development will blossom. Enjoy that magical first day and the exciting journey ahead. For more information about Thorpe House School go to Open Mornings will be held on 11th March and 9th May or drop in for a morning of fun play and coffee at the Nursery and Reception morning on Saturday 22nd March, from 10am to 12.30pm.

Abacus x Maths Learning Course  Excellence, Diligence, Creativity. For Children 4-11 Years Old.

children to be creative, whilst getting used to the pencil grip. My way of teaching pencil grip is, ‘pinchy, pinchy, round the back!’ – meaning grip with forefinger and thumb and place the index, ring and pinky fingers behind the pencil. Another guide is, ‘frogs legs, sitting on a log’! It takes time, and some children are still honing their skills well past Reception age.

I can count! Instilling you child with a fascination and love of all things numeric will ignite their interest in numeracy in preparation for school. Use mathematical language with them to describe objects being tall, short, round, etc. Songs with numbers and general counting are key.

• Maths for Right & Left Brain Development • Times Tables with imagination – even 5 year olds can learn all the 1-12 times tables. • Master the foundation of +, -, x, ÷ using the abacus. • Cognitive training with the use of the abacus (visual, auditory processing, attention, logic) • Help children prepare for SATS and 11+ exams. Amersham Common Village Hall Hemel Hempstead (Boxmoor) St Albans (Fleetville Community Centre) Also, Online Class Available

For FREE TRIAL CLASS, Tel: 01442 800 808

In the Club house of Beaconsfield SYCOB Football Club A spacious, safe and caring environment where children can develop physically, creatively and intellectually. Large secure garden with outside ‘classroom’. Open 9am to 3pm, Monday – Friday, term time only, morning, afternoon or all-day sessions available. Registered to accept the free education funding. For more information or to arrange a visit, call Larraine on 0755 344 8717 or email

For lots more features on preschool education, visit



Under 5s special How to pay for nursery Childcare costs are increasing so what’s available to help with the bills. By Joanna Moorhead.

Childcare Solutions

For all your childcare needs

Nannies, Maternity Nurses, Babysitters, Event Nannies, Mobile Creche Service and more... Call 07847 922483

For more details on all our services visit

‘Get yourself a good night’s sleep’ Does your baby need feeding at night? Has your child got sleep problems? Do you need help with breast-feeding? Or are you just longing for a lie-in?

Tel: 07947 885887,

According to a recent survey from, childcare costs are soaring – up by 19% over the last year. Every parent knows that what matters most about any sort of childcare is its quality – it’s vital that your child is safe, happy and in a stimulating environment while you’re at work – but the money matters, too. So what’s available to help pay?

Childcare vouchers

Ask your employer if they are part of a childcare voucher scheme, as they can potentially save you a chunk of money each year. It’s a salary sacrifice scheme, which means you pay for your nursery (or holiday childcare) costs out of your pre-tax wages and National Insurance contributions, saving you lots of money. For instance, if both parents are working, pay basic rate tax and claim the maximum amount of childcare vouchers (£243 per month each), they can pay for £486 of their monthly childcare costs with vouchers and save up to £930 each per year. If your employer doesn’t currently run a childcare voucher scheme, why not suggest it? There are lots of providers (including KiddiVouchers, Childcare Vouchers and Computershare Voucher Services) and it shouldn’t cost your employer anything. Another thing to note is that childcare vouchers don’t just stop working when your children leave nursery – you can claim them until your child is 15, and pay for holiday camps as well as other childcare providers.

Free nursery places

All children aged three and four are entitled to 15 hours free ‘early education’ per week (for 38 weeks of the year), and some two year olds are, as well. This can be in a Children’s Centre, nursery, some playgroups and preschools, nursery schools, nursery classes in schools and academies or with a child minder. Once your child is three, you can start claiming their free place after the following dates: 1 September, 1 January or 1 April (so if your child was born on 5 August, they could start nursery on 1 September following their third birthday). For your two-year-old to be eligible for free early education, you must be claiming one of a number of benefits and from September 2014, the number of qualifying benefits will increase, so more two-year-olds will be eligible (see below).

Tax Credits Tax credits are payments from the government. If you’re responsible for at least one child or young person, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit. If you work, but are on a low income, you may qualify for Working Tax Credit. You can often get both types of tax credits. They aren’t taxable.



What’s happening in 2014? Childcare is always a political hot potato – and with a General Election looming, politicians are saying and doing more about it. Here’s what’s new on the childcare horizon:

* From September this year, more two-yearolds will be offered 15 hours of free childcare each week as the eligibility criteria are being expanded. See your local authority website for more information – they’ll be publishing full details of who’s eligible and how to find a place (visit to find out how).

* The new tax-free childcare scheme comes into effect from 2015. Under that, parents will be able to claim 20% of the cost of registered childcare up to £1200 per child per year. Both parents must be working to qualify, or a single parent must be in employment.

* Last year’s report from the Department of Education that proposed making changes to the child to staff ratios in nurseries and for childminders was shelved after the Liberal Democrats objected, but the government has consulted on relaxing ratios and quality criteria for out-of-school childcare with the aim of making it easier for schools to offer provision. At the moment the issue is with the Department for Education and an announcement is expected soon.

* Under the Children and Families Bill, currently going through Parliament, Ofsted will be made ‘the sole arbiter of quality’. This means that local authorities will not be able to impose their own quality conditions on providers who offer childcare under the existing scheme offering free places for three and four year olds (provided these providers are not rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted). Some parents will see this as a good thing, as it could lead to a wider choice of providers; or they might see it as a bad thing, as local authorities will be able to do less to force childcarers to improve their services.

✎ For more information on free nursery places, visit

✎ Check your entitlement for tax credits at

✎ The Family and Childcare Trust is a campaigning organisation with a helpful bank of information for parents, www.

✎ Working Families aims to help parents and carers achieve a work-life balance, visit

Advertising deadline for the May/June issue: 1st April

Under 5s special Don’t leave me! Does your little one find it hard to be without you? Dr Lucy Russell explains what you can do to help. Of course, children are all different. Some are the first to join in at every party or playgroup, and others cling like trembling limpets to their parent. Both can be healthy responses, and show that these children are at different stages in feeling safe enough to explore away from the ‘secure base’* of their parents, which is a gradual process. And naturally personality interacts with this important life stage, but if you’re the mum at the back of the party with your child hiding behind your knees, or if every drop-off at preschool means floods of tears, separation anxiety can be upsetting for everyone involved. When babies are born, evolution has led them to seek close proximity to a parent or caregiver. The world is a scary, threatening place and, to be blunt, without this caregiver they will die. So they have sophisticated means of keeping us close (such as crying). As they grow, they begin to look to their adult constantly to help them make judgements about the world. ‘Is this situation safe? I will check Mum’s face. If she looks relaxed and happy, that means I’m safe.’ The adult caregiver is their ‘safe base’. As the child slowly begins to grow more confident, they’ll explore further and further away but still check in at the safe base at regular intervals. After a while, children begin to be confident enough to judge the safety of situations for themselves. At a party with a preschool class of familiar children, they may head into the action without giving you a second glance. In new or unexpected situations, however, they will still need the safe base. Children develop this confidence at their own pace and a large amount of variation is normal. Why does my child cling to me each morning before school, when all their friends are confidently chatting and lining up ready to go in? Well, the chances are, this is absolutely normal. They are still very young, and school (or preschool/nursery) is a daunting place, full of noise and complex social interactions, and demanding a big leap in independence. It’s not surprising that some children would rather be at home with mummy or daddy. Most children just need a bit of time and reassurance. Crucially, they need to be assigned a warm and caring adult at school (or preschool or nursery) who can be their temporary safe base, the person they look to for reassurance. Sometimes, it can help to provide your child with a ‘transitional object’ to help them feel safe – this is something of yours (like a scarf or picture) that can remind them of you and help remind them of the feeling of safety and security. There are a few things which can interrupt this gradual development of independence, some of which may set a child back just temporarily, and others which may require extra support from a professional. Sometimes life events, such as a bereavement or illness in the family, can prevent a child from getting the secure, contained feeling they need in order to

Pic © Lorelyn Medina -

progress in their development; this is because these events increase uncertainty and may disrupt this crucial process. If a parent is physically or mentally unwell, they may not be able to offer a child the high level of reassurance and safety they need. Or if a parent has experienced a high level of stress or worry, when a child ‘checks in’ with the parent to ensure a situation is safe, they may not get the reassurance they need, instead picking up on a parent’s stress, fear or worry and feeling ‘the world is not a safe place, so I’d better not explore it’. If you fear that your child’s separation anxiety is severe enough to warrant support from a professional, do not worry. It is not your fault, and there is much that can be done. Over time, a professional such as a clinical psychologist, will help you to help your child feel safer and more secure, so that they develop the confidence to separate from you in the knowledge that you will always be there when they return. * This term was first used by John Bowlby, founder of attachment theory. You can read more about this in the books Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development by John Bowlby and Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain by Sue Gerhardt Written by Everlief Child Psychology in West Wycombe. For an informal discussion, or to make an appointment, call 01494 521332 or email , or visit

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School matters Developing non-verbal reasoning skills for the new 11+ tests Following on from the last few editions’ features on developing English and maths skills, Sian Goodspeed of Flying Start Tuition offers advice on helping your child prepare for the non-verbal reasoning elements of the new Bucks Secondary Transfer Tests (11+).

Non-verbal reasoning forms part of many secondary school selection tests and makes up 20% of the new Buckinghamshire Eleven Plus. It involves reasoning about shapes and diagrams, most commonly by spotting patterns, finding similarities or differences, figuring out sequences or breaking codes.

but not flipped and they cannot change in size or colour ✎ 3D questions: these are less common and may involve having to identify the component parts of a 3D shape; working out which two shapes can fit together or which is the plan view of a given 3D shape.

Non-verbal reasoning question types

There are many elements to NVR question types and these can include: ✎ Pictures consisting of different shapes, shading and outlines ✎ Pictures involving shapes which shift in some way, eg, they may transpose, rotate, reflect or overlay ✎ Pictures involving shapes which change in some way, eg, increase or decrease in number or size; parts of the shape may be repeated or removed ✎ Patterns may involve number sequences, eg, an increasing number of shapes may be added to each picture or shapes may have the same total number of sides.

Typically, non-verbal reasoning (NVR) questions at 11+ level require pupils to select an answer from a choice of five pictures, although this does vary from test to test and across question types. The most common types of NVR questions include: ✎ Similarities: identifying the picture which goes with a set of pictures ✎ Odd one out: identifying the picture which does not go with the rest ✎ Sequences: finding the picture or pictures that will best complete the sequence ✎ Matrices: identifying the missing picture in a grid, usually comprising six or nine pictures ✎ Codes: working out the missing code for a picture based on the properties and codes of the given pictures ✎ Rotations: spotting the picture which is or isn’t a rotation of the given picture ✎ Reflections: spotting the picture which is or isn’t a reflection of the given picture ✎ Nets of cubes: matching the cube to the correct nets and vice versa ✎ Combined shapes: involves working out which picture is made up of the two given shapes. The shapes may be rotated

Can non-verbal reasoning be taught? Non-verbal reasoning tests are designed to assess a student’s ability to apply their logical reasoning skills to problem solving. Since the questions are all picture-based, they are not reliant on the English language and are often cited as a way of assessing a child’s innate intelligence, rather than their learned ability. However, like most things, regular practice of these question types certainly makes a significant impact on a child’s speed and accuracy and there are specific techniques which pupils can learn in order to fine tune their skills. Non-verbal reasoning requires good spatial awareness (understanding the relation of objects to each other even when they change position) and visual acuity (the ability to observe detail and visually manipulate images) along with logical deduction skills. Many of the questions involve mathematical concepts such as reflection, rotation, direction and shape, so a good grasp of these is also important. Although these skills come more naturally to some than others, it is possible to improve techniques by being systematic and disciplined, studying each element of the pattern or sequence carefully and ruling out the options one at a time.

Tips for boosting your child’s NVR skills Buy a good technique and practice book, such as Schofield & Sims Understanding Reasoning – Non-verbal Reasoning, which provides 14


detailed, worked explanations for each question. Teach your child the techniques and then encourage them to do regular practice at an appropriate level. There are many NVR workbooks and practice papers on the market, as well as plenty of free downloadable resources to get you started. As with any practice, little and often (eg, ten minutes several times a week) is better than sitting down for large chunks of time. In addition to question practice, there are a number of activities to help develop spatial awareness, logical reasoning and visual acuity, for example:

✎ Jigsaw puzzles ✎ Model-making kits ✎ Construction kits such as Meccano and Lego

✎ Games such as ‘Spot the difference’ and Sudoku

✎ Computer games, such as Minecraft ✎ Apps and websites with games specifically geared towards NVR practice

✎ Develop an understanding of symmetry by drawing shapes onto paper and asking your child to draw in the mirror image – use a mirror to help, if needed. ✎ Use tracing paper to draw over a shape and then rotate it ✎ Cut out nets of cubes, drawing different shapes and patterns on the faces and predicting which faces will meet when the cube is folded up and which way up the patterns will be in relation to each other. These activities are fun, pressure-free ways of developing the skills that will feed into NVR question types and can be started from an early age. More importantly, such tasks help children to develop their creativity and ability to solve problems, as well as gaining a better understanding of the world around them. For further ideas and links to useful websites, visit the resources page of Flying Start’s website: www. For information on Flying Start Tuition’s Non-Verbal Reasoning holiday courses and other Eleven Plus courses, visit www., email or call 01494 772898.

May/June issue : advertising deadline 1st April

School matters Matrix:

Odd one out:


Answers: Matrix: B Odd one out: A Similarities: A Combined shapes: E

Combining shapes:

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School matters The benefits of inclusion By Rachael Ross, Chair, Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association When I went to school in the mid ‘70s and ’80s, children with any form of disability were not actively encouraged into mainstream education. This absence of anyone with a disability was also reflected in the wider community. Consequently when I left school, and for much of my early adult life, I had never even met or spoken to a person with a disability, leaving me awkward and unsure how to interact in their company. Thankfully times have changed, and children with a wide variety of additional needs are now commonplace in mainstream education. Children like my son Max (below). Max is eight and happens to have Down syndrome. Until the 1970s it was still widely believed that children with Down syndrome were uneducable, and they were denied that most fundamental of childhood rights; an education. We now know that with the right specialist support these children can learn alongside their peers, and today more children than ever before are being successfully included in mainstream schools. That’s not to say that special schools do not play an equally important role – it has to be a decision based on what’s best for each individual child and their specific needs. For Max, the benefits in attending mainstream education are huge. Speech and language issues are a significant problem for nearly all children with Down syndrome and can lead to frustration and isolation if not tackled head on. Studies show that when they attend mainstream school, these children develop at least two years faster with spoken language and literacy.

They also benefit from having positive role models. Max needs to be around his typically developing peers, not just for PE and playtime, but there needs to be meaningful interaction. He needs to feel that he is part of the class, part of the wider school community, with the same opportunities and responsibilities as the other children. Otherwise how can we expect him to interact successfully with society as an adult? We are very fortunate that Max’s teachers have created a welcoming and caring environment where he is very much a part of school life. When we visit, I am always overwhelmed by the genuine affection and friendship shown to Max by both staff and pupils. Many of the children have grown up with Max, and see it as nothing unusual that he is in their class working with them. In turn, I’m sure the children benefit from being with Max. They learn to celebrate differences. They learn acceptance and patience, and will hopefully grow into more tolerant adults which will lead to a more accepting and integrated society. Inclusion is helping to steadily improve society’s attitude towards Down syndrome, fuelled by more positive media portrayal. Several top retailers including M&S, Next and Boden have used children with Down syndrome in their advertising campaigns. Actors with Down syndrome have played characters in popular TV shows such as Glee and Downton Abbey. Individuals are becoming role models, and are themselves changing misconceptions, like Simon Beresford, who in 2007 became the first person with Down syndrome to complete the London Marathon, and now eight marathons later is an inspiration for people around the world. More is being achieved than ever before, but there is a still a long way to go. Down syndrome is the most common cause of intellectual disability and yet funding does not reflect this. The situation has worsened in the recent economic climate, and parents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of access to specialist support like speech and language therapy, which help enable their children to participate in mainstream education. As the Coalition Government plans to ‘end the bias towards mainstream’, there is a real risk that 30 years of slow uphill progress will be undermined unless there is adequate investment in training, research, resources and specialist support. We have seen glimpses of what can be achieved as children with the right skills and support go on to lead more independent and productive lives, enter employment, and become valued members of their communities. But as yet, there has never been an entire generation of children with Down syndrome that has passed through the system with adequate and sustained support in all areas of need, continuing into early adulthood. Until this happens, we will never be sure of their true capabilities.

Some facts about Down syndrome Approximately 1 in 1000 babies in the UK are born with Down syndrome. Most people born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21, making a total of 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. In 1960 the life expectancy for someone with Down syndrome was ten. In 1983 it was 25. Today it’s 60+. Studies show 87% of children with Down syndrome attend mainstream primary schools, but only 25% go on to mainstream secondary schools as access to specialist support like speech and language therapy declines further. It’s estimated 80% adults with DS could enter employment with the right support, only 20% are given the opportunity.

Rachael is the Chair of Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association (Footprints) which offers friendship, advice and a wide range of educational services to children, their families, schools and professionals in Portsmouth and across the South East. To find out more visit 16


May/June issue : advertising deadline 1st April

Radley College is an independent boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18. The Foundation Award at 11+, 13+ and 16+ are for boys currently in state education with academic potential and interest in music, art, drama or sport. The award provides financial support of up to 100% of full fees for two initial years at preparatory school and then for a further five years at Radley.


11+, 13+ & 16+

Entry is through assessment in December 2014. Applications close on 1 November 2014. Sample papers are on the website.

For details: The Registrar, Radley College, Abingdon OX14 2HR Tel: 01235 543174

To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email



Playtime Dr David Whitebread, Senior Lecturer in the Psychology of Education at Cambridge University, shares his views on what constitutes effective play and tackles some of the myths and misconceptions around the types of play children engage in today.

Pic: © Mat Hayward -

Physical play Most parents would recognise that physical play (such as running, climbing and gymnastics) helps a child develop their whole body and hand-to-eye coordination, and is important in building strength and endurance. But it also provides a crucial means for children to develop their emotional intelligence. Encouraging children to get physical isn’t just about letting them loose outside, it’s also about creating opportunities at home. So encouraging play through things like craft activities helps children with their fine motor skills, essential when it comes to learning to write and even playing musical instruments. Due to their absorbing nature, it has even been shown to help children develop their concentration and perseverance skills. Do it: Create an obstacle course in the garden and then set time targets and challenges (ie, do the course on just one leg!). Give craft activities a purpose, for example create posters for an Easter egg hunt or party.

Play with objects Touching, sorting, building and making objects encourages children to organise their thinking and helps them learn how to solve problems. Children have to pick the right strategy to complete the task, and then stay on track to complete it. Creativity comes in here, as does the use of language, as children often talk to themselves when they approach these tasks as a way of organising their thoughts. Do it: Get your children to build their own skyscraper, arm them with different materials to build at home or in the garden.

Symbolic play Artistic activities such as drawing, dance and even developing silly rhymes gives children the opportunity to develop their language and

interpretation skills as they start to decode what’s going on around them. It can even make them nicer. A study in 2010 of almost 100 four year-olds found that children who take part in music making were more likely to show cooperative and helpful behaviour. Do it: Get your children to create their own music compilation for their best friend or family member. Encourage them to add their own tracks for that special touch.

Pretend play Pretend play can have a serious side, too. Dressing up, playing with dolls and miniature figures gives children the chance to rehearse some of the scenarios they already see or face in their future, whether it’s expressing how to care for someone (such as their favourite doll) or tackling aggressive situations. Do it: Make a challenge to act like a member of their family, or their favourite TV character for a day. It might be their mum, Homer Simpson, or Daddy Pig.

Playing with rules We live by rules and playing by the rules in sports, board games, card games and computer games helps children adjust to the reality that they cannot always do, say, or act how they wish to. The use of electronic and computer games by today’s children is a particular area of anxiety for parents and teachers. Too much screen time obviously prevents your child from doing the range of other activities that is beneficial to them, so keep these tech tools in your armoury, but keep time restricted on use. There is some evidence that well-designed video games can enrich play resources for children and their families. Do it: Many parents are concerned about video game overuse, but the key is to make it interactive. So get involved – challenge them to their favourite game in return for them participating in an activity of your choice.

Sensory play at Gymboree High Wycombe Gymboree High Wycombe offers award-winning classes from newborns to 5 years; you and your child can build creativity, confidence and lifelong friendships through classes in sensory baby play, play & learn, art and music. Gymboree is offering a free trial class to Families Chiltern readers, book online at www. or call on 01494 527 994.

Little Bear Feet dance classes TM

Come to our fun parent and toddler classes and join Melody Bear ® as she dances her way to Nursery Rhyme Land.

Classes held in Beaconsfield and Penn Street. Contact Clare to book your FREE trial class.

Call Clare on 07949 569 558 Email:



‘Melody Bear and Melody Movement are the registered trademarks of Jill Ewing’

Dr Whitebread is supporting National Science and Engineering Week (14–23 March), which aims to raise awareness of the important role science has in many aspects of our lives. A whole host of scientific topics will be explored during the week, with free events planned across the UK. To find out more, visit

Pic: © Octopus (part of Octopus Group) Samantha Currie

The science of play

Mother’s day Mum’s really do know best Mothering Sunday is coming up on March 30 and here at Families we think we should be celebrating the universal wisdom of mothers. Families’ friends near and far share the best advice they’ve been given when it comes to being a mum…

x My own mother always says, ‘You shouldn’t need a specific day to celebrate mothers and that mums should be appreciated every day’. This is of course true, but who can resist giving your kids the opportunity to present you with breakfast in bed with their beautiful homemade gifts and cards, even if the carefully prepared meal usually consists of a cold cup of tea and some soggy cereal… x Make the most of every opportunity to play with and listen to your children, says Helli from London. Give them your full attention and show genuine interest. The time when they want to tell you everything is so short – before you know it they’re teenagers, everything is a secret and you become the most embarrassing person on the planet. x A favourite told to me by a friend at NCT – ‘happy mum, happy kids!’ x While Layla May says her mum used to have, ‘There are no problems in life, only opportunities,’ stuck up on her wall. A good one to remember when your children have scribbled on the furniture, said no for the 100th time or kept you up all night!

x Kaz’s mum told her to take all ‘advice’ with a pinch of salt. Lots of people, from great Aunt Joan who never even had kids to strangers on the street, will tell you how to do or not to do things when you’re a mum. It’s worth remembering that most advice is more about them than you, and you don’t have to listen… x Lastly thanks to Petra, whose mother Janet has come up with my favourite bit of advice: ‘It’s 5’o’clock somewhere!’

x Pick your battles, says Sarah from Leeds. I think this is a piece of advice that gets more valuable the older my children get, although was given to me when my eldest was reaching the terrible twos. Then it was about nap times and refusing meals. Now it’s about what to wear to a party and homework. By picking your battles you let your children know that there are some things that aren’t up for debate. If you nag about everything, the important things get lost among the things that really don’t matter. x Remember, nothing lasts forever, says Elizabeth. When you’re in the middle of ‘that time’ it seems never ending, whether it’s sleepless nights, teething, weaning, potty training, tantrums, sulks, illnesses. But beware, the next thing waiting around the corner could be better or worse! x My eldest son was born without a left hand, says Caryl Hall, Editor of Families Cheshire. After the initial shock had worn off, all I could think about was, how will he crawl, how will he develop, how will he cope? After meeting with a specialist surgeon he gave us the best advice ever – don’t mollycoddle him. So from the earliest age, we encouraged him to get out there and have a ‘can do’ attitude. It paid off – he was (and still is) a lot more capable physically than a lot of his peers, much to everyone’s amazement. So instead of being pitied, he found he was admired instead.

Want to spoil your mum this Mother’s Day? Check out our what’s on pages for things to do in the Chilterns.



Spring into action Eggtastic things to do this Spring Ride the rails with Thomas Thomas and friends are at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre this Easter weekend (18– 21 April). Take a ride on Thomas as many times as you like, before meeting lots of the other engines and of course the Fat Controller, who’ll also be posing for photos. There’s lots more fun too – fans can dress up as Thomas characters, have their faces painted, enjoy the entertainment shows and join in the fun in Thomas’s Imagination Station, as well as ride on the miniature railway and explore the engine sheds. The centre also has plenty of picnic spots, a café, shop and lots of free parking. Find out more online at www.bucksrailcentre. org and book your tickets in advance at www.

Once again Cadbury’s is supporting the National Trust Easter egg trails and there are lots of special events planned at some of the area’s properties. Over the Easter weekend (18 to 21 April) there are trails at Ashridge, Claydon, Cliveden, Coombe Hill, Greys Court, Nuffield Place and Stowe, as well as other fun activities. At Hughenden there’s even more time to find your chocolate goodie, with the trail running from 5 to 22 April, while at Waddesdon Manor, there’s a spring trail to enjoy from 5 to 17 April and then the Easter egg hunt from 18 to 21 April. For more info, see our what’s on pages and also visit and search via venue.

If you fancy a bit of stately pomp and glamour mixed in with your Easter fun, how about heading up the M40 to Blenheim Palace? Birthplace of Winston Churchill, this spectacular palace is a world heritage site and sits among grand formal gardens and more than 2000 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland. The Pleasure Gardens are the place to head for family fun. Here you’ll find a miniature train, lavender garden and tropical butterfly house; and children can run off some steam in the giant maze and adventure playground. An Easter Egg Hunt will be running on 18 and 19 April; then on 20 and 21 April, Peppa Pig and her family, plus Fireman Sam, will be making appearances throughout the day. Other family activities will include a bouncy castle, crafts and traditional fairground rides (extra charge). Find out more online at

Make some yummy Easter nests Get the kids cooking, chocolate nests are easy to make and taste delicious. Just melt 200g chocolate (milk, dark or white) in the microwave (best to do in 20 second bursts, stirring in between) or over a pan of simmering water. When it’s melted, stir in 100g of All Bran until coated. Then spoon into cupcake cases, leaving a small dent on the top. Add a few mini eggs on top in the dent so it looks like a nest with eggs in it. Leave to set for about an hour – and then enjoy!

Search for some bluebells

Plan an Easter show This one can run all holidays long – get the kids to plan a show, complete with egg-related jokes, for a performance at Easter. This is good for getting children to think about words and stories, as well as getting creative – designing a programme or making costumes, you could even take a trip to the charity shop for props.

Find a witch in a bottle Take a trip to Oxford’s kookiest attraction, the Pitt Rivers Museum (, which has free admission. Founded in 1884 to house the personal collection of General Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827–1900), Victorian soldier turned ethnologist-cum-archeologist, the total

More than half the Chiltern woods are classified as ancient woodland and this, combined with the lime-rich soil, means that we are often treated to a fantastic display of bluebells in spring. Good places to see a wonderful carpet of blue are Ashridge Estate, Cowleaze Woods (nr Stokenchurch), Wendover Woods and Christmas Common woods. For more info and ideas, visit

Pic: © NT Jenny Woodcock

Pic: © NT Jenny Woodcock

Go on an egg hunt!

Enjoy the grandeur of Blenheim Palace

collection now comprises half-a-million artefacts, making an enormous curiosity box of the weird, the wonderful and the downright wacky. The madly eclectic displays include musical instruments, textiles, puppets, jewellery, votive offerings, model boats, suits of armour and everything inbetween, with most exhibits still bearing their original, painstakingly handwritten labels. Look out in particular (on the ground floor) for the spooky shrunken human heads collected from cannibals in Indonesia and a famous witch in a bottle, although no one has yet dared open it to see if she’s still in there – as the old lady from whom the witch was acquired remarked, ‘ . . . and they do say there be a witch in it and if you let un out there it be a peck o’ trouble’.

Pic: © National Trust

Schools out and hopefully the sun will shine! Here are some ideas to beat the boredom blues.



May/June issue : advertising deadline 1st April

Spring into action

Pic: © © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Catch a butterfly

will include top aerobatic teams the Breitling Wingwalkers and Trig ‘Pitts Pair’ plus an Army Lynx helicopter that will ‘loop-the-loop’. The iconic Canberra PR9, a first generation jet bomber turned Cold War spyplane, returns to the air show scene alongside WW2 classics like the Hawker Hurricane, Curtis Kittyhawk and a Catalina flying-boat. There’s also plenty to enjoy on the ground including live music, falconry, re-enactment groups, a large gathering of vintage and classic vehicles, tank rides, trade and craft stalls and children’s amusements. Bring a picnic or enjoy the on-site food and drink outlets. Tickets cost £15 (£12 in advance), children 5–15 years £5 (£4 in advance), OAPs £10 (£8 in advance), under-5s free. And there’s plenty of free parking available, with the gates open at 10am with the show finishing at approximately 5.30pm. Find out more and all the latest news at www.

Decorate your own eggs

Sensational Butterflies, an interactive exhibition that allows you to wander among hundreds of beautiful free-flying creatures, returns to the Natural History Museum this April. Housed in a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum’s east lawn, the exhibition takes you on a journey through the life cycle of the butterfly – spot caterpillar eggs waiting to hatch, get up close to silk-like chrysalises and enjoy hundreds of adult butterflies and moths from around the globe taking flight around you. To find out more, visit

Take a trip to the Abingdon Air and Country Show Fasten your seatbelts… this year’s Abingdon Air & Country Show will once again be taking to the skies on Sunday 4 May at the former RAF Abingdon airfield, just off the A34. Flying displays

Painting and decorating eggs (real or cardboard) can be a fun activity to do together. Either hardboil some eggs or perhaps blow them; this can be a bit messy but it’s quite good fun. Just get a sharp needle or scalpel and make two holes in either end of the egg, making sure one is bigger than the other; puncture the yoke, then put a straw in the smaller hole, place egg over a bowl and blow until the egg contents have come out; wash and let egg shell dry. Decorate with paints, glitter or set your children the challenge of finding things outside to use as decoration. You could also hunt for a tree branch to bring inside and hang your decorated eggs on to make an Easter tree.

Step back in time at the Chiltern Open Air Museum Reopening for the year on 29 March, there’s lots going on at the Chiltern Open Air Museum this spring for all the family to enjoy. Meet the lambs (12–13 April) and find out all about Victorian lambing traditions, before having a truly scrumptious day out over Easter (18–21 April)

with a celebration of all things sweet and sticky – make some traditional Easter treats, join in with historic cooking and enjoylots of family friendly crafts. There’s lots more to do, too, including playing with historic children’s games; dressing up as a Victorian; meeting the animals, including the heavy horses Joshua and Samuel; and exploring the woodland walk and visiting the bird hide. Find out more at The King’s chocolate maker in the Chocolate Kitchen

Although famous as a Tudor palace, Hampton Court was also home to the Georgian royal family and a new exhibition opens on 17 April celebrating this era. The Glorious Georgians celebrates the 300th anniversary of George I’s accession and there will be lots of themed activities over the Easter weekend, including the grand arrival of George himself on his horse and chocolate making in the palace’s original Georgian Chocolate Kitchen. Other highlights include the Tudor Kitchen, Henry VIII’s crown, the Real Tennis Court and of course the famous Maze. Find out more at www.

Have a Wonka-inspired day at Kew Gardens One of Roald Dahl’s best-loved books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be brought to life at Kew Gardens this Easter (5 – 21 April) in partnership with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. There’ll be arts and crafts workshops based around the four main Chocolate Factory rooms featured in the book – in the Chocolate Room you can create your own chocolate bar with a chef from the Roald Dahl Museum café (small charge); come up with your own recipes and designs for sweets and chocolates in the Inventing Room; go nutty drawing and colouring in the Nut Room; and lastly listen to revolting rhymes, story telling and poems by Dahl in the Television Room. Plus there’ll be a traditional Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday 20 April. Find out more at


There’s lots more inspiration for ideas to keep the kids busy at

Meet the Georgians at Hampton Court Palace






Pic: © Historic Royal Palaces/Richard Lea Hair

The Little Letter Company now have their popular Easter Box craft sets available for pre-order. These delighful box sets are delivered addressed directly to your child and contain a range of ten Easter-themed craft kits to dip into throughout the Easter break. Other than scissors and tape, the kits contain everything you need to create the pre-designed crafts, for £20 including postage. Order at

Pic: © Peter March

Get crafty

Easter holiday fun ‘What can I do today?’ The Easter holiday is looming large. If you’re wondering what to do to keep the kids busy check out these camps, most of which will be running during the summer holidays, too.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road with Perform this Easter If your children love dancing, acting and singing then don’t miss Perform’s Wizard of Oz Experience this Easter. Children are invited to take a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to discover the ruby slippers, brave the haunted forest and explore the strange and colourful world of their imaginations as they join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion for the adventure of a lifetime. The Wizard of Oz Experience will be running from 7 to 9 April in Amersham (Community Centre, Chiltern Avenue; 2.30–4.30pm) and Beaconsfield (St Michael’s Hall, Grenfell Road; 10am–noon). The course costs £95, with 10% off if you book by 1 March. For more info visit or call 0845 400 1270.

Book now for Super Camp fun

Keep the children busy this spring with a little help from Super Camps, who are running various courses in the area (including some over the May half term). Choose from one of three programmes. Multi-activity Camps (ages 4–14) feature up to eight activities a day, with no two days ever the same. Raw Adventure (ages 7–14) is great for adventurous mini-explorers, with children being challenged to

Easter and summer tennis camps and term-time coaching at Chesham Bois Tennis Club These camps and after school courses cater for all standards and we welcome players as young as 2 yrs old. Come and have fun at Chesham Bois Tennis Club. Apply early to avoid disappointment.

create a tribal environment, from setting up their own tribal camp, to creating a tribal identity with flags, names and songs. Finally, ‘A Passion For’ camps (ages 6–16) are perfect for children keen to develop new skills, whether they’re a budding artist, inventor or chef, this year even sees the launch of a new business course aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs make their first million… All three camps will be running at The Beacon School, Chesham Bois; Bourton Meadow Academy, Buckingham; Swanbourne House School, Winslow; and Westbrook Hay in Hemel Hempstead. Multi-activity and Raw Adventure camps will be held at Griffin House near Aylesbury; multi-activity and ‘A Passion For’ camps will run at the Royal Grammar School in Wycombe and at the Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth; and multi-activity will be available at Thorpe House, Gerrards Cross. Camps run 9am–5pm, with extended hours (8am–9am and 5–6pm) also available. Childcare vouchers can be used. For more info, call 01235 467300 or book online at Camps will also be running over the summer holidays.

Learn to type

Learning to type is a crucial skill for kids these days, it saves time, aids concentration and helps with dyslexia and dyspraxia. Touch Type Titans will be running a five-day course (31 March to 4 April, 9.30am–12.30pm) which aims to teach children to touch type quickly and accurately, with all fingers and without looking, in a fun and rewarding environment. Suitable for children aged nine years to 18, the course costs £140 including software worth £29.95, and will be held in Amersham. For more info, call 01494 723631, email or go to

Ace of Base

Aiming to make every school holiday fun, BASECAMP at Berkhamsted School offers activity day camps for children aged 3 to 16 years. Various camps are available, from sports and music, to crafts and cooking, as well miniBASECAMP – an activity camp designed for 3–5

Visit for an application form or call Peter on 07885 206587 Fun off site outings... • Ten Pin Bowling • Urban Farm • Archery • Dogs Trust • Go Karting • Horse Riding • and many more...

Fun on site activities... Dance • Football Zoolab • Trampolining • Arts & Crafts • Themed days & much more!

An activity day camp during Easter & Summer school holidays AGED 4-11 YEARS • OPEN MONDAY- FRIDAY 8am- 6pm Email: or call 01895 678682 for more info.



Deadline for May/June issue = 1st April

Easter holiday fun year olds which can be booked for morning or afternoon sessions, as well as a whole day. Look out too for extra-special summer camps in association with the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy and the Brendan Cole Performing Arts Academy. BASECAMP is available every school holiday and offers a wrap-around care option from 7.30am until 6.30pm. For more info, visit, or like their Facebook page for details of special offers.

Keep your kids busy at Busy Living Playschemes Action-packed days are in store at the Busy Living Playschemes, running over Easter at Elangeni School in Amersham and St Joseph’s in Chalfont St Peter. Activities will include cooking, theatre, sports, martial arts, dancing, singing and lots more so your children will have the chance to make friends and learn a new skill at the same time. The holiday club is open to all children between 4 and 11 years, from 8am to 6pm, with a minimum four-hour booking and discounted full-day rates, sibling discounts are also available. For more info, call 01494 722318, email or visit

Hungry Caterpillars in Denham If you’re looking for childcare with lots of fun, check out Hungry Caterpillars Kids Club in Denham. The camp, which has been running for over ten years, recently achieved an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating and promises an action-packed holiday for kids with over 30 activities including dance, drama, horse-riding, football, raft-building and cookery. Off-site trips to Black Park and Urban Farm, ten-pin bowling, wallclimbing, archery and more are also available. The camp is open Mon– Fri 8am–6pm throughout the holidays for children age 4 to 11. For more info, call 01895 678682 or email

Serve up an ace

All mini Andy Murrays and Laura Robsons can hone their tennis skills at the Pete Lavery Tennis Camps, running at Chesham Bois Tennis Club this Easter. Catering for all standards, from tots and mini tennis through to all-day junior camps, the camps promise something for everyone. For more info go to www.peterlaverytennis. com or call 07885 206587.

Go wild this Easter

Learn some new skills and have fun at the Wildchild activity days planned for the Easter holidays. There’s lots to choose from including an Introduction to Fencing day (9 April) where kids can develop specific skills and improve speed and co-ordination and tactical thinking; an Animation Day (10 April) which all wannabee film-makers will love, with the chance to make their own animated film; an Archery Day (14 April) with lots of fun competitions and games; Escape from Wildchild Wood Outdoor Adventure Day (15 April), an adrenaline-fuelled outdoor adventure including den building, abseiling, zip-wire, low-ropes and orienteering; and a Wild Wheels Skateboard School (16 April) which is good for both beginners and anyone who wants to learn cool new tricks. All equipment is included. To find out, go to www.wildchildactivities. com or call 0845 3717099.

Keep kids happy at Kiddies

The Easter playscheme at Kiddies Academy in Beaconsfield offers a great chance for kids to have fun and take part in lots of fun activities, including arts, crafts, cookery, sport, drama, music, outdoor play and more. Open from 7th to the 18th of April, excluding bank holidays, for all day or morning/afternoon sessions. For more info, visit www. or call 01494 673088.

For lots more ideas for Easter activities, visit



Make the most of the holidays Easter fun for all ages

the non-invasive weeds to the compost or green bin.

Susan Jarman, founder of Blossoming Cooks, a cookery school with a nature twist in Beaconsfield, has some almost chocolate-less suggestions to keep the kids busy this Easter.

This is also a good time to start sowing seeds – give each child their own large pot or patch of ground and help them to weed it, break up the soil and then plant seeds. A wild-flower mix is perfect as they grow quickly and attract bees and butterflies. If the children are busy with their own patches, they will hopefully not disturb YOUR flowerbed too much…

Feather your nest Late March and April is the time of year when garden birds such as robins, blackbirds and song thrushes get very busy building their nests. So settle in front of a window to watch them gathering small twigs, leaves, moss, feathers and spider webs – used to hold the interior of the nest together.

When attentions start to wander, challenge the kids to have a go at building their own nest. Older ones can gather larger sticks and weave them together using mud, filling in the gaps with smaller twigs, while for preschoolers you might like to use some modelling clay to make a shallow bowl, which they can fill with twigs. Hunt around the garden for leaves and moss to line the nests.

Bake your own Field of Dreams brownies

Egg and nest race An interactive music, movement and singing group for pre-school children, toddlers and babies. Class venues:Chesham, Little Chalfont, Seer Green. For more information and to reserve a place Telephone Julie: 07790 535661 or 01442 399776 email:

Raid the shed and make an obstacle course in the garden using hoops, wellies, stepping stones, whatever you can find. Each child must complete the course carrying a hardboiled egg in their homemade nest – who will complete the race with their egg still in the nest? TIP: Remember to scatter all of the natural material back around the garden when you’re done for the real birds to use.

Create your own watering hole Strategically place a plastic basin of water outside and in front of a big window for the birds to drink from and take a dip – in the colder months it can hard for birds to find clean, unfrozen water. Birds need extra energy at this time of year as they are breeding, so you could also try tempting them with some homemade snacks: in a large bowl, rub together the lard and flour until it resembles a bowl full of little fat maggots; place on the bird table near the basin of water – and you’ve got hours of birdwatching at your very own watering hole. Encourage children to keep a record of the birds that visit, perhaps with pictures and observations on how often they visit.

Arkee Sparkee’s (2–5yrs) @

Identifying bird calls Check out this link to hear some real bird songs and then see if you can identify them, in the garden or out on a walk – birdsong.shtml.

Holy Trinity Church Hall, Penn (Mon), 10–11am Hobbycraft High Wycombe (Fri), 11–12 noon Hazlemere Community Centre (Fri), 9.30–10.30am


Create and Craft Classes Fun for a fiver!

Book a birthday party, 07891 056530



Setting children off with a weeding job is perfect at this time of year – they can dump old tomato plants out of pots to their hearts’ content without incurring parental wrath and they’re unlikely to pull up any nonweeds as little will be growing yet. Make sure you give them a container or wheelbarrow to put the weeds in, unless you want them scattered all over the garden, and then move

You will need: 400g caster sugar; 225g butter, melted; 60g cocoa powder; 1tsp vanilla extract; 4 eggs; 225g plain flour; atsp baking powder; atsp salt; 200g mini marshmallows; small fondant flowers; & blue glimmer sugar – for sprinkling.

1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a rectangular baking tin. 2 Take a large roomy bowl and combine all the ingredients in the order given apart from the marshmallows and flowers. 3 Using a clean finger, create evenly spaced holes in the batter and pop a mini marshmallow into each hole, as if planting seeds. Cover over holes again with batter. 4 Sprinkle some blue shimmer sugar over the cake, ‘to water the seeds’. 5 Bake for 20–25 mins. 6 Once cooled, decorate with fondant flowers – your seeds have grown. Blossoming Cooks offers pre-school cookery and nature lessons for toddlers in a friendly, home environment. Each cooking class contains an outdoor nature activity, which may include an energetic educational game, learning about some of the inhabitants of our gardens or some planting or growing to inspire the next generation of little green fingers. To find out more visit

Now taking bookings for May/June issue, call 01494 673427

Competitions Enter now for the chance to win a Sarah & Duck DVD, family tickets to Odds Farm, an Arty Harty print and the second diary of Dennis the Menace.

If you’ve got preschoolers in the house, there’s a chance there’ll be fans of Sarah & Duck, the CBeebies animated series about a girl with big eyes and a green hat, and her flappy, quacky best friend Duck. The lovely series follows the duo as they embark on a series of simple but exciting adventures – trying to reach a rainbow, pretending to be a penguin, or helping an umbrella to stay dry. On sale this February, the DVD includes the first ten episodes of the travelling twosome’s colourful adventures and as the episodes can also be downloaded, kids can also watch them when on the move. We have three copies to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us the name of Beatrix Potter’s famous fictional duck, is it a) Donald, b) Daffy or c) Jemima Puddle Duck. Entries by 1 April please. Sarah & Duck Lots of Shallots, on sale from 17 February, RRP £10.20.

How to enter Enter all our competitions online at Or email your answer to competitions@ Please see each competition for closing date.

Terms and conditions Only one entrant from same email address or household will be accepted. Winning entries will be randomly drawn from all correct entries. All decisions of Families Magazine are final and no correspondence will be entered into. No prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize. Families Magazine is not liable for any delay or failure by the Promoter to deliver any prize or for the quality of the prize or for any loss or damage arising in connection with the competition. By entering the competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to these terms and conditions.

Win one of three Sarah & Duck DVDs


Win a family ticket to Odds Farm There’s lots of fun at Odds Farm Park this Easter. From 5-22 April, children can follow the Easter Bunny Trail around the farm and get a yummy treat, bottle feed lambs and then board the daily tractor and trailer rides for a fun tour of the farm*. Meet the farmers and get extra close to the animals in the hands-on area – stroke bunnies, hand feed goats and sheep, meet cheeky pigs and more. Plus in the giant indoor playbarn you’ll find a massive adventure play area including a four-lane Astra Slide, two large drop slides, a netted area with zig zag chicanes and much more. With special toddler and under 5’s areas, an adventure maze, go-karts, log play areas and crazy golf, there’s bags of fun for all ages. *(April-October, weather permitting). We have four family tickets (two adults and two children) to give away to the first readers out of the hat to tell us what animal you can bottle feed at Odds Farm this Easter? Is it, a) pigs, b) cows or c) lambs? Entries by 1 April please. Odds Farm Park is located just minutes from Junction 2 of the M40, near Beaconsfield. For more information, including other special Winter events and prices, visitors should call 01628 520188 or visit

Win a unique print for Mother’s Day Want to give mum something a bit different this year? A personalised print of all her favourite things from makes a truly unique gift. Designed and printed in stylish shades of grey with red accents, this print comes mounted and professionally framed in a solid wood frame in a choice of black or white with a smart silk finish. is a boutique online gift store that specialises in unique personalised gifts, and as all products are lovingly designed and handcrafted by British artists and designers, you’ll be supporting our local economies. Standard postage and packaging is free on all orders. To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us in which film Julie Andrews sang about her favourite things, was it a) Mary Poppins, b) The Sound of Music or c) Despicable Me? Entries by 25 March please. ArtyHarty ( will email you a 100% discount code for use on the site, this may be used for the purchase of any single personalised print on the site and will be valid for three months only.

Win The Diary of Dennis the Menance, Beanotown Battle ‘I’ve had the WORST NEWS EVER! The boring Mayor has entered Beanotown in a FLOWER competition and you know what awful stinky creatures flowers attract? SOFTIES. Me and Gnasher are going to have to think of a brilliant emergency menacing plan to save Beanotown from the invasion…’ So starts the second Diary of Dennis the Menace, out this May. Written by Roald Dahl Funny Prize-shortlisted author of The Wrong Pong series, Steven Butler, this ribtickling book will delight Beano fans everywhere. We have three copies to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us the name of the superhero in the Beano, is it a) Superman, b) Banana Man or c) Spiderman? Entries by 1 April please.

Register online at for our newsletters with exclusive web-only competitions.



Compiled by Zoe Miller

MARCH Saturday 1st ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS IDENTIFICATION Wycombe Museum. 2–4pm, all ages, drop in. BACK TO THE FUTURE Great Missenden Memorial Centre, Link Road, 3pm. BARNEY LIVE! The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 1pm & 3.30pm.

Sunday 2nd

Friday 14th

CRODSCOLLOPING CHOCOLATE DECORATING Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm, 4+ yrs, £5. Friday 7th VEGETARIAN FAMILY MEALS Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. 10am–1pm, £40.

ITALIAN PASTA & SAUCES WORKSHOP FOR ADULTS Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough, 10am–1pm, £40. TINY TALK TIME Wycombe Museum. 10.30–11.30am & 1.15 –2.15pm, for under 5yrs, £2. Saturday 15th

Saturday 8th BUCKSWASHLING BIRDS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–3pm, all ages, drop in. FAMILY FUN – MARCH HARES & OTHER MAMMALS College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring. 11am–3pm, all ages, £3.

TRY ORIENTEERING Wendover Woods. Orienteering courses for newcomers & families, start between 10–11.30am.

Sunday 9th CRAFT BAGS Colne Valley Park, Denham, 10.30am–3.30pm, all ages, drop in. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

2TOGETHER SERVICE St. Michael & All Angels Church, Amersham, 10am. ROALD DAHL’S WAR Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 1–3pm, 6+ yrs, free for museum visitors. Tuesday 11th CHIDDLERS HOUR Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.10–11am, for 0–3 yrs, £2.50 or £12 for 6 sessions. NATURE TOTS College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring. 10–11.30am, £3.


LITTLE ANGELS St. Michael & All Angels Church, Amersham, 10.30am. From Wednesday 12th to Saturday 15th RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 7.45pm plus Saturday matinee.


SCIENCE TRAIL Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.11am–5pm, all ages, drop in.


Sunday 16th

Wednesday 12th

26 26

Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th

HANDS-ON SCIENCE Wycombe Museum. 2–4.30pm, all ages, drop in. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 2.30pm. Tuesday 18th LUNCH CLUB Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough, 11am–1pm, £35. Friday 21st BREAD MAKING WORKSHOP FOR ADULTS Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough, 10am–1.30pm, £40.

Entries in What’s On are free – send your details to:

Sunday 23rd GO WILD ABOUT NATURE Wycombe Museum. 2.30–4pm, 6+ yrs, £4. SID’S SHOW The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 2pm.

Monday 24th to Saturday 29th FAME

MOTHER’S DAY LUNCH The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross. Delicious 3-course lunch, a glass of bubbly and a gift for Mum. MOTHER’S DAY ORCHIDS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in. MOTHERING SUNDAY AFTERNOON TEA 3.30pm & 4pm, afternoon tea with glass of fizz, booking essential. MOTHERING SUNDAY EVENING DINNER 6.30pm & 7pm, booking essential. Both Waddesdon Manor, nr Aylesbury. STEAMING DAY Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am–5.30pm, all ages. STOWE SCENTS FOR MOTHER’S DAY Stowe Landscape Gardens. 10am–4pm, all ages, drop in.

Amersham Adventures Fun holiday activities in the outdoors, based in the woodlands and grasslands at Mop End Shelter building, bush craft, bug hunting, crafts and themed adventure days. Friendly and experienced staff. Extended Whole day activities (9.30am-3pm) for 8-11 and 11-14 year olds - £23

hours now available

Half day activities (9.30am -11.30am) for 5-7 year olds - £11.50 Amersham Field Centre at Mop End Tel: 01494 721054 email:

APRIL Friday 4th MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY WORKSHOP FOR ADULTS Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. 10am–1pm, £50. Saturday 5th CLAYDON EXPLORERS: PATTERN PLANNER Claydon House, nr Buckingham. 11am–4pm, all ages, drop in, £1. WILDLIFE ON THE MOVE Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Wildlife train ride with commentary, booking not required. Trains at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm & 3pm. Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.

From Saturday 5th to Sunday 20th HUGHENDEN’S EASTER EGG TRAIL

Wednesday 26th LITTLE ANGELS St. Michael & All Angels Church, Amersham, 10.30am. Friday 28th FAMILY MEALS WITH MINCE 10am–1pm, £40. THAI COOKERY ADULT WORKSHOP 10am–1pm, £45. Both Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough, TINY TALK TIME Wycombe Museum, as Friday 14th. Saturday 29th BLEDLOW PRESCHOOL FAMILY FUNDAY Bledlow Village Hall, Chinnor Road, Bledlow. From 11am, activities, stalls, refreshments and more. MOTHER’S DAY TRAIL Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in. Sunday 30th GROW WITH STOWE Stowe Landscape Gardens. 10am–4pm, all ages, drop in. MAKE MUM’S DAY Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. 11am–4pm, all ages, drop in. MOTHER’S DAY Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Mums free with fare payer, plus free posy. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm & 4.30pm.

Pic: © David Levenson NT

Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. Egg hunt & crafts, plus prize, £2, all ages, drop in.


From Saturday 5th to Monday 21st EASTER FAMILY FUN Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common. Easter bunny trail with treat, feed the goats and lots more. See page 25 to win a family ticket.


From Saturday 5th to Tuesday 22nd EGG HUNT Wycombe Museum. Egg hunt with prize. 10am–4.30pm, £1.50, all ages, drop in (except bank holidays). SPRING TRAIL Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. Garden trail with prize, 10am–4pm, £2, all ages, drop in.



d no blues ! all r hythm an

For your FREE introductory session tel: 01494 716861 Classes in Amersham, Beaconsfield and The Chalfonts


Music classes for babies and young children! Action songs and rhymes Music and movement Fun with percussion Musical games Since 1993 thousands of children across the UK have grown up with Monkey Music. Our unique teaching curriculum was written by classically trained musicians, and introduces music to very young children in a way they can easily understand and enjoy.

From Saturday 5th to Wednesday 23rd EASTER BUNNY BONANZA! Mead Open Farm, Billington. Meet the Easter bunny, real chicks and lambs.

Rock ‘n’ roll - from 3 months Heigh ho – from 12 months Jiggety jig – 2 & 3 year olds Ding dong – 3 & 4 year olds It’s fun, formative and a great way of making friends!

Continued 5

All details correct at time of going to press but to avoid disappointment, please check before setting out. FA M IL IES


Sunday 6th NEXT 2 SUNDAYS

STEAMING DAY Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Aylesbury.


Monday 7th NEXT 2 MONDAYS

EASTER ARKY ART Holy Trinity Church Hall, Church Road, Penn. Easter Arky Ark sessions, 10–11am, 2–12yrs, £5. EASTER COMMUNITY DAY Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. Family day with Easter trail & crafts, 10am–3pm, 5–14yrs, free, drop in. POTTERY WOOLLY JUMPERS Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+yrs, £20, booking essential.





From Monday 7th to Thursday 10th EASTER MATHS, ENGLISH, ELEVEN PLUS FUN HOLIDAY COURSES Flying Start Tuition, 6 Broadway Court, Chesham. Courses in English, maths and non-verbal reasoning, for years 4–6.

Tuesday 8th


BREAD MAKING WORKSHOP Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. Bread, rolls, breadsticks, flatbread & fougrasse, 10am–1pm, 6+yrs, £37.50. BUNNY BUNTING & CHICKS ON STICKS EASTER Wycombe Museum. FUN Create decorations, 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, all ages, £2.50, drop in. CANOPIC JAR HEADS Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. EASTER FUN 10am–noon & 1–3pm, £2.50, drop in. FIZZWINKLING FLOWERS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, EASTER Great Missenden. FUN 10.30–11.30am, £3, 6+yrs. NATURE TOTS College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring. EASTER Nature discovery, games and crafts. FUN 10–11.30am, children must be accompanied by an adult, £3.





Tuesday 8th & Thursday 10th COOKIES EASTER COOKING FUN Nr Chesham, 10am–1pm, for 5+yrs.


BE OUR GUEST Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. Special house tour, 10.45–noon, £5, booking essential. BUZZWANGLING EGG BOXES Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.10.30–11.30am, 6+yrs, £2. EGYPTIAN JEWELLERY Bucks County Museum & Roald Dahl Children’s Library, Aylesbury. 10am–noon or 1–3pm, £2.50, drop in. POTTERY MUSHROOMS Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+yrs, £20. TRAIL TRACKERS NEXT 2 Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. WEDS & FRIDAYS Orienteering, tree climbing, hill rolling & more, 11am–12.30pm, all ages, £3, booking essential.

EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA! College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring. 11am to 3pm, £3, drop in. SHABTIS Bucks County Museum & Roald Dahl Children’s Library, Aylesbury. 10am–noon or 1–3pm, £2.50, drop in. TWIT MUGS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.11am, 1pm & 3pm, 6+yrs, £3.




Friday 11th

Email, Wednesday 9th

From Monday 7th to Tuesday 8th SCOOBY DOO: THE MYSTERY OF THE PYRAMID Wycombe Swan. www.wycombeswan.

REVOLTING RHYMES Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.12.30pm & 2pm, 5+ yrs, £3. SHIMMERING SHEEP ARTS & CRAFTS Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+yrs, £20.






BOGSWIZZLING CLOTH BAGS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.11am, 1pm & 3pm, 6+yrs, £3. DISCOVERING ATLANTIS Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. 9.30am–3pm, 8–11yrs, £23 EASTER ARKY ART HobbyCraft High Wycombe. 11.15am–12.15pm, 2–12yrs, £5. Hazlemere Community Centre, Rose Avenue. 9.30–10.30am, 2–12yrs, £5. EASTER BASKET WORKSHOP Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7–14 yrs, £20. ONCE UPON A TIME Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. 9.30am to 11.30am, 5–7yrs, £11.50. WILDLIFE DAY WITH RSPB






From Wednesday 9th April to Sunday 13th STEAMING DAY Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Aylesbury.


Thursday 10th BUG HUNT Pond & wood bug hunt, 9.30–11.30am, 5–7yrs, £11.50. BUG SAFARI 9.30am–3pm, 8–11yrs, £23. Both Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. BUNNY BUNTING & CHICKS ON STICKS Wycombe Museum. 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, £2.50, all ages, drop in. CATS GO CAMPING Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 9.30am–2.30pm, 7+yrs, £20.




Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. 11am–3pm, £2, all ages, drop in.


Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th FUN ON THE FARM: MEET THE LAMBS Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, 10am –


Sunday 13th EASTER FUN

MUSTANG OWNER’S CAR DAY Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. 10am–5pm.


There’s so much going on, we can’t fit it all in! Visit for lots more

Monday 14th

Wednesday 16th

JUST SO STORIES The Old Town Hall, Wycombe Swan. 2pm & 4.30pm, £9. MOP END SAFARI 9.30–11.30am, 5-7yrs, £11.50. WOODLAND SURVIVAL 9.30am–3pm, 8–11 yrs, £23. Both Amersham Field Centre, Mop End.




Monday 14th to Thursday 17th MATHS, ENGLISH, ELEVEN PLUS HOLIDAY COURSES Flying Start Tuition, as Monday 7th.

EASTER EGGSPLORER 9.30–11.30am, 5–7 yrs, £11.50. EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA 9.30am–3pm, 8–11 yrs, £23. Both Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. MAKE A MUMMY! Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. 10am–noon or 1–3pm, £2.50, drop in.

Sunday 20th EASTER FUN



Thursday 17th EASTER FUN

Monday 14th & Tuesday 15th EASTER FUN

THE ENERGY SHOW BY SCIENCE MUSEUM LIVE Wycombe Swan. www. wycombeswan.

BRASS RUBBING Micklefield Library, High Wycombe. Brass rubbing, 2.30–4pm, all ages, drop in. FARMER BOGGIS’ CHICKEN FARM Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.11am, 1pm, 3pm, 6+ yrs, £2. WOODLAND ANIMALS IN CLAY Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe. 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, £2.50, all ages, drop in.

DINOSAURS EASTER FUN Amersham Field Centre, Mop End. 9.30–11.30am, 5–7 yrs, £11.50, booking essential. SWISHWIFFLING SPRING GARDENS EASTER Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, FUN Great Missenden.11am, 1pm, 3pm, 6+yrs, £3. XBAND STUDIO BAND CLUB Little Chalfont, 9am–5.30pm EASTER Learn singing, keyboards, guitar and drums FUN the fun way… with a band! For 8–18 yrs. Call 07887 508040 or email Tuesday 15th & Wednesday 16th EASTER

FUN PEPPA PIG’S BIG SPLASH Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.


EASTER EGG TRAIL Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted EASTER EGG TRAIL Claydon House, nr Buckingham EASTER EGG TRAILS Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham. EASTER SPECIALS Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm & EASTER TREATS Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, 10am to 5pm.

Register online at for our newsletters with exclusive web-only competitions.

Monday 21st BOGGSWIZZLING CLOTH BAGS Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.11am, 1pm, 3pm, 6+ yrs, £3. EASTER EGG FESTIVAL Chenies Manor House. 2–5pm, adult £7, child £4. Friday 25th



PERFECT PUDDINGS Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. 10am–1pm, £40. TINY TALK TIME Wycombe Museum. 10.30– 11.30am & 1.15–2.15pm, £2. Saturday 26th

Friday 18th to Monday 21st COOMBE HILL EASTER EGG TRAIL Chilterns Countryside, Lodge Hill, Butlers Cross. DAY OUT WITH THOMAS Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Aylesbury. 10.30am–5.30pm. Adult £15; child, £11; & family, £44.50 – advance booking cheaper.

Tuesday 15th


Friday 18th CADBURY’S EASTER EGG HUNT Boarstall Duck Decoy, Nr Bicester.

EASTER EGG TRAIL EASTER Roald Dahl Museum & FUN Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in.



DAWN CHORUS Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. 5–7am, adult £15, child £10. MEET PEPPA PIG Mead Open Farm, Billington. 10am–6.30pm. Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th


WORKING HEAVY HORSE WEEKEND Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. 10am–5pm. Sunday 27th




BANANAS IN PYJAMAS Elgiva Theatre, Chesham. 1pm & 3.30pm. STEAMING DAY Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Aylesbury. WYCOMBE ARTS FESTIVAL Wycombe Museum. 2–4.30pm, all ages, drop in. Tuesday 29th


BABY WEANING STAGES 3 & 4 Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. 10am–1pm, £40.



Book reviews Reading with Ed Ed the blue owl is back with a selection of his favourite new children’s books for spring.

FOR 5-7 YEARS Arthur and the Witch by Johanne Mercier

realises not all children are as happy as she is, particularly one of her sisters whose rather odd behaviour causes a lot of concern. The family are expecting a very special delivery at Christmas time – could this be part of the explanation? In this delightfully humorous tale, the strength of family life shines through. ED SAYS: ‘This lovely book with its super illustrations will be enjoyed by newly confident readers. It is also ideal for reading together.’

(Phoenix Yard Books £4.99)


Arthur discovers a secret hiding place full of blueberries and picks lots of them as a surprise for his grandmother. She is delighted and makes a pie for Arthur and his grandfather, but when she realises where Arthur found the fruit she becomes rather worried. So Grandma calls Cousin Eugene who she knows will have good advice in these difficult – but amusing – circumstances.

The Great Brain Robbery by Anna Kemp (Simon and Schuster, £5.99)

ED SAYS: ‘A super story for boys and girls alike, reading on their own or reading together – and it’s complemented by fantastic illustrations throughout.’

My Funny Family Gets Bigger by Chris Higgins (Hodder £4.99) Mattie is excited about going back to school but

All the children in Frankie’s class are desperate to get their hands on the latest toy, a mechanimal. Frankie is delighted to receive a Gadget the Rabbit for his birthday – but it soon becomes obvious that all is not right. There is a dreadful scheme afoot to infiltrate children’s minds using these robot toys. Will Frankie and his friends be able to stop this evil scheme before it is too late?

ED SAYS: ‘This madcap action-packed adventure is a real page-turner. There are fantastic characters in this laugh-out-loud tale that’s enhanced by amusing illustrations.’

The Woebegone Twins by Christopher William Hill (Orchard Books £9.99) Here is the latest tale from Schwartzgarten, the town children love to read about but would probably sooner not live in! The twins Greta and Feliks live with their adored Aunt Gisela who used to be an actress. Through her they come across some amazing people such as Mr Morbide who has a remarkable resemblance to a vampire. The twins soon learn that people and events are not always as they first seem! ED SAYS: ‘This is a brilliant story with wonderful characters. It will delight readers who prefer the extraordinary to the ordinary and who enjoy books in which imaginative ideas burst from the pages.’

Ed’s Reading Room is part of www.edontheweb. com, a DTI award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on fitness walking and healthy eating. You are very welcome to contact Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email at

Get ready for World Book Day This year’s World Book Day hits the shelves on 6 March, and needs your help. Which books have changed your life? Which books thrill you, scare you, make you laugh? Which books do your children devour again and again? Nominate your favourites now at World Book Day is the biggest celebration of books anywhere, with millions and millions of book tokens given out, great free books for kids plus events taking place in schools, libraries and bookshops. Don’t miss out – register online to keep up to date with the exciting Big Booky Events and to get your free books.

A local company who specialize in Wills Visiting your home at a time convenient to you. Offering friendly guidance and advice in plain English. Extremely reasonable fees quoted to you in advance.

Protect the needs of your family. Contact: Sally Bakkes T:01494 713 947. E: Registered in England No 6702879. This firm is Compliant with the IPW Code of Practice.



Advertising deadline for the May/June issue, 1st April

Get cooking! Treats for Mother’s Day Spoil your mum with these gorgeous Bakewell tarts – perfect with a cup of tea at any time of day! With thanks to Beverley Glock Cookery School.


Chiltern Childcare Nanny & Nursery staff agency For all childcare needs

Amanda Thornberry 0797 975 4671 / 01494 766375

To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email


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Designed by FLOW : Telephone 01823 491347, email: Printed by Warners (Midlands) Plc, Bourne, Lincs. Copyright Š Families Chiltern 2014. Any original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s own risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families Chiltern is part of a group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take care preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the contents or for any consequence.

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