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Birmingham   and Solihull




Get active this winter How to find the childcare that’s right for your child


In this Issue... 3 Clubs and Classes 4 News

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5 Education 6 Indoor Activities 8 Childcare 10 Independent Schools 13 Clubs and Classes Directory 14 What’s On 16 Parenting


106 Wake Green Road Moseley, B13 9PZ. Tel: 0121-449-3673


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ello and welcome to the launch edition of Families Birmingham and Solihull – the magazine for parents with children from tots to teens. Find out here what’s on, what’s new and what’s happening in your local area. We aim to be an essential guide for parents searching for a club or class for their child or looking for ideas for family fun at weekends or in the holidays. We will also bring you news and features on a wide range of topics of interest to all parents - from health and education to family friendly holidays. But the key point is that we want this to be YOUR magazine. So please give us some feedback. Tell us what you like, what’s useful, and what you want to read more about and we will include your suggestions in future issues and online at All comments the good, the bad and - (maybe not the ugly) should be e-mailed to: or can be sent via our website. I would love to hear from you!

Wendy Flynn Editor


Families, Birmingham & Solihill P.O. Box 6204 Stourbridge, DY8 9DN. Front page picture by photo artist Abby Wilkes. Abby won the West Midlands Master Photographer Award for her work with children two years in a row. She specialises in photographing children and families creating art from life’s special moments. Contact Abby for more information: 07966 867306.


Day Nursery Schools Quality Pre-School Education and Care • Ages 3 months to 5 years • Small group sizes • Open 8.00am to 6.00pm • Mature qualified staff • Home cooked meals • Ofsted approved


• CCTV and Door-entry security • Grant Funding processed • Teachers specializing in Music, Dance & French (subject to availability) 19 Woodland Road, Northfield, B31 2HU. Tel: 0121-475-8416

Next Issue:

Bookings for adverts are now being taken for the March/Apil issue of Families Birmingham and Solihull. Call or e-mail before February 1, to book space. Tel: 0758 352 6056 Design:

Printed by: Bishops Printers, Portsmouth, Hants Copyright Families Birmingham and Solihull, Jan 2011 We take care preparing this magazine but the publisher and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the contents nor its consequence.

Clubs & Classes Artful play

Artist Annie Murphy will be running a new Baby and Toddler art group on Thursday mornings at MAC Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. The sessions will explore a mixture of art techniques and sound and are designed for babies from as young as 2 months to 2-yearold toddlers accompanied by an adult. Prepare to get messy! The 45-minute sessions start at 10.00a.m. on January 13 and cost £6 for one child accompanied by an adult, and £4.50 for an additional child.

TinyTalk is fun

Have you ever wondered what your baby is saying or what’s wrong when they are crying? With TinyTalk’s baby signing classes, your 6 month old could let you know. They might tell you they are hungry or they would like some milk, or even that they have just seen a duck on the pond.

Crafty Monkeys for under 5’s

Mum Gemma Austin has just launched Crafty Monkeys in Bournville and Harborne - offering arts, crafts and messy play sessions for under 5s. The Bournville sessions have been running at Rowe Heath Pavillion since October and the Harborne sessions are starting at Grove Hall this January. Gemma is offering a free trial lesson at the Grove Hall on January 15. Not only will children have fun, but parents get to leave the mess behind! Call 07402 100 426 to book your free trial.

Funky Feet for children on the go

Busy Solihull mum Abbie Payton is used to being kept on her toes by her young son Finley. So it was a natural move for the graduate of contemporary dance to combine her love of dancing and her love of children by taking on a Funky Feet dance franchise for the under fives. Abbie’s dance classes are now up and running on Friday mornings at Dorridge Village Hall where toddlers and pre-schoolers can limber up, stretch their imaginations and feel the beat. As well as adding some fun and sparkle to the children’s morning, dancing helps to develop spatial awareness, balance, co-ordination and sense of rhythm. For further information on Funky Feet dance classes or parties, call Funky Feet on 0845 680 3865 or e-mail

Former teacher Lisa Mathias became interested in baby signing when she had her daughter Mary-Kay. Now she is running her own baby signing classes in Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield. Lisa says: “The classes last for an hour – the first 30 minutes are structured with singing and signing, and the second half is a social time, a chance to meet other Mums and have a chat over a cuppa while the children play.” The Sutton Coldfield class is held at Banners Gate Community Hall on Mondays between 10.00 and 11.00. To find out more contact Lisa on 07851 627 651 or email

Filming fun

Not many teenagers get up at 5am but 14-year-old Jack Marsh (pictured) doesn’t mind so much when he is on set filming the BBC Drama Waterloo Road. Jack has been attending Spotlight Stage School in Birmingham for the past nine years and he appears as one of the pupils in the current series of Waterloo Road, the popular programme set in a fictional Comprehensive school in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. The programme has featured more than 100 Spotlight students as extras in the past three series. Principal Vicky Richards says: “As it is filmed up North it often means leaving Birmingham at 5am to get to the set as early as 7am. The students have to work incredibly hard, but they love it. They don’t get paid a lot but they see what it is like to work on a professional set. It’s wonderful experience for young people interested in acting.” Spotlight Stage School is based in North Solihull and provides classes in drama, dance and singing for more than 300 students a week, many of whom go on to professional acting or into teaching.

Begin your Kumon journey Kumon’s maths and English study programmes provide your child with the foundations to improve their skill set, inspiring a passion for lifelong learning and building the self-confidence to succeed both in and outside the classroom.

Contact your local Instructor today Handsworth Wood


0121 240 1596

0121 351 4770

Great Barr


0121 378 2130

0121 426 5090


Solihull, Tudor Grange

0121 420 2005 Harborne

0121 745 9505

0121 427 3007 Monkspath

0121 420 2005 Streetly

0121 353 9532 0800 854 714 Fees vary. Please refer to your local study centre. *Terms & conditions apply. Visit for more details.

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Watch those birds

Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch, and the RSPB are once again inviting us to get involved. This year the survey takes place over the weekend of January 29 and 30, when hundreds of thousands of people can be found with pen and paper in hand, checking out the birds visiting their gardens. Why not take the time to record all of the birds that visit your garden that weekend and join in the world’s biggest wildlife survey, while having fun with your family without leaving the comfort of your own home. You could even help smash the RSPB’s record of half a million participants - after all, the more results they receive, the clearer the picture they’ll get of what’s happening to our garden birds in the UK. Find out more at

RSPB Photographs by Ray Kennedy

Mums on the Move

Tinies Nanny Agency is set to expand in the West Midlands as new owner Jayne Dainty takes over the business. Jayne, a mum of four children ranging in age from just 2 to 20 years old, will be capitalising on her business background in retail and manufacturing as she switches career to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts, all of whom work in childcare. “I was a Mum of four juggling a demanding career with bringing up my own children. Tinies is an ideal situation for me in helping to achieve a work-life balance. “That will also be my long term objective at

Honey Pot House Day Nursery

2 Jacey Road, Shirley. Tel: 0121 744 3180

Warm,family atmosphere Secure,confident children. The best possible start in life Come and see for yourself.


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Tinies too – to assist parents in achieving a fantastic work-life balance.” As well as operating a traditional nannyfinding agency Jayne and her team also provide crèche services and event nannies. Development plans include introducing a babysitting service, emergency nanny cover, and providing nannies for corporate events. Tinies head office has moved from Sutton Coldfield to Walsall and their number has changed to 01922 682 232.

Nursery is a flexible friend

The newly-refurbished Honey Pot House Day Nursery in Shirley is extending its open hours to offer more flexibility for working mums and dads. The nursery, which opens at 7.30am, will now close at 6pm which means less stress for a parent delayed by an important meeting or caught up in the commuter rush. “Parents work different hours and some of them told us that the 5.30pm closing time posed problems for them so we wanted to help out and respond to that,” says Parm Sandhu Knott, who took over the nursery in May. Since then the nursery has been given a phased make-over with plans to refurbish the pre-school rooms this month, and a project to improve the children’s garden area due for completion in Spring.

Health risks to children using mobile phones What parent has not been put under pressure to buy her primary age child a mobile phone? But as the peer pressure grows it is worth looking at the risks rather than caving in to their demands to keep up with their pals.

If you want to read more about the dangers to children, or learn about general safety advice for mobile phone use for all the family, you might like to read Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry has done to hide it, and How to Protect Your Family, by research scientist Dr Devra Davis. You can see her video for teenagers on her website Or you could check out the guidance from a group of concerned parents, who have looked closely at the science, www. Their advice includes: keeping calls short or texting; replacing wireless equipment with non wireless, and switching to analogue baby monitors.


Focusing on study skills


t’s school holidays but the Kumon Centre in Harborne is a hive of industry as children drop in to do Maths and English - all quietly working at their own pace. Harborne is one of more than a dozen Kumon centres in Birmingham and Solihull, and the Harborne centre is the first in the UK set up in a large commercial premise on the High Street. There are more than 260 pupils on roll here aged just 3 years old through to late teens and even some adults who use Kumon to improve their numeracy and literacy skills. Vivienne Stiles, who runs the centre, says: “Kumon is all about ownership of education by the children and about children learning to set goals themselves – Maths and English is only the medium. The primary role is to get children into good study habits and help them to focus. “We help them to look at their presentation and to look at methods that get results so that they can complete their work as quickly and efficiently as possible. When they have those study skills they have them for life.” Each child works to their own individual programme and at their own pace with plenty of praise and encouragement along the way. So the centre has a 12 year old boy who is working at Maths A level standard, while another child is dyslexic and is being supported to reach the level expected for her age. “Nobody is watching anyone else or comparing themselves to anyone else. They just get on with the piece of work they want to do.” Most children drop in to the Centre twice a week to do some work and individual homework is set with children encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. Record keeping is meticulous so that at any time Vivienne will be able to tell a parent exactly where a child is at – what they are secure in and what they are working on. Twice a year she holds formal consultation evenings but parents can get a progress report at the centre or on the phone as often as they like.

“No child is ever chastised for making mistakes or for taking too long,” says Vivienne, who knows each child by name and greets them as they come in the door. “Kumon is not focused on SATS or 11plus and there is no exam cramming, but the programme can support children in achieving education goals because of the study skills developed by the Kumon programme.” The children work studiously and quietly at desks supported by the Kumon team who float between students offering support where needed. It is an atmosphere that many a class teacher would envy. As I leave, I hear one seven year old say unprompted: “Miss I like Kumon. I like coming here.” Kumon Centres run in Acocks Green, Edgbaston, Great Barr, Handsworth, Handsworth Wood, Kings Heath, Moseley, Monkspath, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Streetly and Walmley.

Nursery is key to future earnings

A new report by Harvard-based researchers claims that having a good nursery teacher can increase your earning capacity in later years by as much as £10,000. Researchers found that pupils with an excellent nursery education went on to earn more than their peers from similar backgrounds whose early-years teaching was less effective. Chris Davis, of the National Primary Headteachers’ Association, said, “The influence of early years on a child’s long-term education is crucial. The better the experience of the child pre-five, the better value you will get from them post- five.”

World Maths Day March 1, 2011

With World Maths Day just ahead of us, pupils from hundreds of UK schools are preparing to go head-to-head against students from across the globe in a huge international maths competition. This year, more than 2 million pupils from 37,000 schools across 200 countries will take part. There are three age categories – 5-8, 9-13 and 14-18, and you can practice and play on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. Preregister now at The website has devised Ten Top Tips for Numeracy, with pointers on how to help your child learn. Take a look and maybe your child can take part in this unique world event. Issue 1


Indoor Activities

Get active, stay active way through graded levels from red belt to junior black belt, and at 14 they move on to join the adult programme. Paul says: “At top level, Kickboxing requires top level fitness. It develops co-ordination and flexibility and is an excellent cardio workout.” Classes run at Acocks Green, Knowle and Chelmsley Wood. Tel: 0121 708 2116.

Slip, sliding away … family ice-skating


empted to hibernate in winter? We look at fun indoor sports activities guaranteed to lure your family away from the TV and keep you fit and active, whatever the weather.

Water babies go with the flow

Even newborn babies can enjoy swimming with Water Babies, and with the pool heated to a blissful 30 degrees you can enjoy it too. This specialist swim school helps babies work with their natural reflex movements to encourage swimming kicks and arm movements. The tiny tots even learn to swim underwater. Water Babies run classes in Edgbaston, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull for children from birth to school age. Tel: 01283 814 766

Get a kick out of …kickboxing

Kickboxing can be fun for all the family and it gives you a really good workout. Former PE teacher Paul Gilmore runs Phys-Kids and is national coach for the England Kickboxing Team. At five years of age children join the Little Ninja’s programme. Along with keeping fit they pick up some valuable life skills – focus and discipline. At eight they graduate to the Junior Kickboxing programme working their

01283 814 766


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From the age of 3 pre-schoolers can take part in special parent and toddler ice-skating classes at the Blue Ice rink in Solihull. The toddlers wear ice-skates but are protected from tumbles by sitting in toy cars which protect them from falls. As they glide along the ice their little feet are learning how to skate as they stay balanced and upright in their car. Parents skate along beside them to enjoy the fun. Toddler sessions run on Monday mornings and Friday after school, with lessons for ages 6 and up on Saturdays. Families can also skate together at open sessions. Tel: 0121 742 5561

A head for heights? Try indoor rock climbing Toby Forrester, Manager of Creation Leisure Centre at Moseley Road in Birmingham, says many rock climbing enthusiasts started off scared of heights, but conquered their fear to go on to enjoy the sport. On Saturdays join the Crag Rats Club for budding climbers aged four upwards. With one instructor to four children, the centre takes children from rookies through to fully fledged climbers, some of whom go on to compete at a high level. “All you need is a sense of adventure”, says Toby. Tel: 0121 449 8000.

Game, set and match … for indoor tennis fun

David Lloyd’s members clubs are family focused and offer a variety of indoor sports activities including tennis. Children from as young as three can join in training sessions which use soft balls and mini tennis racquets as they develop eye hand co-ordination. Paul

Indoor Activities

this winter Weighton, General Manager at the Great Barr centre, says “We run an All Stars Tennis programme affiliated to the Lawn Tennis Association Coaching scheme. The clubs are open to families at all times so parents often come along and knock a ball around on court with the children at evenings or during the weekends.” Tel: 0121 325 0700

It’s a goal … indoor football

Little Kickers is not just toddler friendly, it’s also Dad friendly as many of the sessions run on weekends and fathers can go along to have a kick around with their kids. The fun football activity sessions are aimed at 2-7 year olds and the games played help develop eye hand co-ordination, balance skills, ball skills, kicking skills and even colour recognition skills for the youngest age group. Parents play along for part of the 45 minute session and at the end of each session there is a goal scoring game which for most youngsters (and probably Dads too) is a real highlight. Little Kickers run in three venues in Solihull and all their coaches are FA qualified. Tel: 0121 744 9730

Get the YogaBug

A yoga session can be just the remedy for the frayed nerves of the overworked and underappreciated Mum, while a session at YogaBugs or Yoga’d Up could be just what the doctor ordered for a calmer, more relaxed child. YogaBugs sessions are for children aged 3-7, while Yoga’d Up caters for the 8-12 year olds, and watch out for parent and toddler

The springboard to confidence for your child

Tumble Tots is Britain's leading National Active Physical Play Programme for children from 6 months to 7 years Tumble Tots now in your area! For your nearest Tumble Tots centre, call 01827 64195

YogaBug sessions which are run from time to time at Solihull children’s centres. A typical YogaBugs session starts with a 5 minute warm up, followed by a 20 minute yoga bugs story incorporating child-friendly yoga poses. Tel: 0845 863 0691

From Gymbabes to Gymbobs

Cooped up indoors with overactive children you can soon feel like climbing the walls. Instead you can channel all that surplus energy at a Gymbabes session. From the age of 6 months your baby can be happily active and on the go with specially designed play equipment. At Tumbletots (walkers to school age) they will be encouraged to climb frames, jump, roll, and balance on mini-beams before graduating to Gymbobs for 4-7 year olds where they continue to develop their physical skills and learn teamwork as well. Classes in Sutton Coldfield and Solihull. Tel: 01827 64195 01527 458799

Nothing is more rewarding than watching a child learning new skills, keeping fit and loving every minute of it! That’s why more and more parents are bringing their children along to our training sessions. APPROVED FOOTBALL TRAINING FOR KIDS FROM 2 YEARS TO 7TH BIRTHDAY

N substitute Call 0121 744 9730

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Finding a nursery that’s right fo


hether you start the process early or put it off until the very last minute, choosing a daycare or nursery place for your child before heading back to work is daunting. To say the least. Expect tears … and I’m talking about yours rather than your child’s. You have bonded with your little one during maternity leave or an extended career break and however much you are looking forward to putting on high heels and a business suit and getting back into the fray, you will feel torn. You want what is best for your child but they seem so tiny and vulnerable and it takes a big leap of faith to accept that anyone could care for them as well as you, or invest the time and attention you know they need. Yet, daycare nurseries can provide a safe haven for your child and offer a stimulating environment where they will make friends, play, learn and most importantly feel happy and secure. So how do you go about finding one that fits best?

See for yourself A good place to start is contacting Birmingham or Solihull Family Information Services who can send you a list of all childcare providers in the location you need with an updated list of vacancies. Before choosing where to focus your search you might need to work out some logistics. If you work in the City Centre but live 40 minutes away on a good traffic flow day, would you prefer your child was in daycare close to home or close to your work place? Once you have decided on your search area the real work begins.

you will get a feel for the way the nursery works, and you will be able to ask some essential questions. Most day nurseries will be grouped into baby section, toddler section and pre-schoolers so even if the nursery is big it can still have a homely feel. Your child will be spending a lot of time here so you should ask to meet – not just the nursery manager – but the individual staff members who would be looking after your child. Will your child have one or two key workers? On your visit observe how they relate to the babies or toddlers in their care. Is their manner warm and caring? How do they talk to and play with the children? How do they deal with a child who is crying? Does any child look alone and listless, or is every baby, toddler and preschooler active and engaged.

Essential questions It can be illuminating to ask about staff turnover. If most of the staff members have been there a long time, it speaks volumes about the stability and security it will offer your child. On the other hand, if there is a very high turnover of staff, it can have an unsettling impact on your child especially if they have built up a close relationship with a carer who leaves. Ask the nursery about how they deal with these situations. You will also want to reassure yourself that the nursery

By all means go online or contact nurseries and ask them to send you an information pack and take note of the findings of the latest Ofsted inspection, but the key to finding the right daycare place is to go and visit. That way you will see for yourself how staff relate to the children;

Birmingham Family Information Service 0121 303 3521 Solihull 8 

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or your child communicates well with parents. Do they chat to you informally each day on handover and tell you if your child was playing happily all day or was feeling miserable and grouchy because they were teething? Do they send home a notebook with information about what your child has been doing at nursery or what they ate? These might seem like details but you will want to be in touch with every aspect of your child’s life even when you are back at work. You should also ask about the way in which they promote positive behaviour and encourage children to share and play together. How do they deal with children falling out or more problematic behaviour? Assess the environment and the facilities on offer at the nursery. Is it a bright, warm, spacious place where your child will be comfortable? Are the toys and play equipment clean? Is there a good selection of books? Are the changing areas and toilets hygienic? Are the areas where babies sleep and toddlers take a nap well looked after and monitored. What are the opportunities for outdoor play in warm weather? You might also ask about the meals they serve to reassure yourself it is healthy and in line with what your child would have at home. If you are lucky you will be impressed by the first nursery you visit, but you should visit several and compare and contrast what is on offer in each before reaching your final decision. Once your checklist is complete and you are satisfied with the basics, you will find that instinct takes over. This decision is as much about the heart as the head, and you will intuitively know where your child will fit best.

Grasshoppers Day Nurseries

Loving, caring and quality childcare in homely settings

Erdington - 0121 384 8096 Edgbaston - 0121 455 6026 Open 7.00am – 6.15pm Harborne - 0121 427 5040 Open 7.30am – 6.15pm

Indoor Play for children & families who love adventure

tFive tier play frame tSuper 2 lane assault course tPurpose built sports arena tTerrific toddler play area tParent/toddler play sessions (weekdays) tStreet dance classes for children tExercise classes for adults tChildren’s parties with themed party room tOpen Daily, Bistro Café Let their imagination run riot at FUNATICZ

Visit us at: Flaxley Parkway, Stechford Retail Park, Birmingham. B33 9AN Tel: 0121 783 0041

l Family Information Service 0800 389 8667 Issue 1


Independent Schools The Priory Priority Priory School is a thriving, Catholic, independent school which welcomes all faiths, situated in 14 acres of landscaped grounds in Edgbaston. Educating boys and girls from 6 months to 16 years, we provide a caring community with high standards of teaching and learning, enabling all pupils to achieve success. The introduction of boys in 2007 saw our move to a fully co-educational model at Priory School. For both girls and boys co-education provides an excellent foundation for the development of realistic, meaningful and lasting relationships and effectively trains young people to take their places naturally in the wider community. Beyond the classroom we provide an incredibly diverse range of opportunities for each child to fulfil themselves artistically, spiritually, culturally and in sport. We believe that the end result of a Priory education is a confident, well-rounded individual – a good team player who is able to think independently and lead when required. The 2010 Priory pupils achieved some outstanding GCSE results with 100% of pupils achieving 5 or more grade A* to C and 78% of pupils achieving 5 or more A* - C grade including English and Maths. An innovative Scholarships and Supported Places scheme is available for pupils entering Year 3 and 7. Visit the School’s Open Morning on Thursday 13th January 2011 or Saturday 12th March 2011 or call 0121 440 4103 to arrange 130x87:Layout a personal tour. 1For 2/11/10 more information Families 11:45 visit Page 1

Open Days Planning for the future Many independent schools in Birmingham and Solihull hold open days in the Spring Term so parents interested in visiting should note the date in their diary now. Saint Martin’s School in Solihull and Edgbaston High School for Girls will both be holding open days on January 8, followed by Priory School on January 13, Solihull School on January 15 and Eversfield Prep School on February 5.

Edgbaston High School

Creating the perfect co-educational environment. The Priory Priory Priority. The Priority. An independent school developing and supporting the talents of boys and girls from 6 months to 16 years. NEW 6TH FORM OPENING IN 2012. GENEROUS SCHOLARSHIPS AND SUPPORTED PLACES ON OFFER ON ENTRY TO YEAR 3 AND 7.

Where every child succeeds

For more details or to book a personal tour call 0121 440 4103 or visit

Sir Harry's Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2UR

Priory School

Open Morning Saturday 12th March. 10am -12noon.


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At Independent schools, at every age and stage, children enjoy a rich mix of learning opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom. The curriculum is broad and there is a wide range of clubs and activities to choose from. Many parents comment on the purposeful work environment and the positive ‘can do’ culture which fosters confidence and achievement, and allows children to develop as individuals. Good pupil teacher ratios ensure that every child is given the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential. As well as holding open days for interested parents many schools encourage parents to visit during school hours to see the schools at work, or invite prospective pupils to visit for a session.

Independent Schools Education, enrichment, excellence at Edgbaston High School for Girls Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions you can make for your child and over the coming months many parents will be weighing up the options available in time for the new academic year. Edgbaston High School for Girls is a purposeful and vibrant community, providing 21st Century education based on traditional values. From the youngest to the most senior pupils the school’s aim is to encourage, develop and support so that each girl leaves EHS having achieved the best possible academic results and developed the skills and confidence to use her talents widely. Pupils enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum with opportunities to excel in all areas of development, both in and out of school. Year on year academic results are exceptional and an extensive variety of sporting and creative interests are encouraged, through which pupils gain self-confidence and personal satisfaction. EHS is now taking registrations for the 11+ Entrance Test to Senior School, due to take place on Saturday 15 January 2011. The next Whole School Open Day is on Saturday 8 January from 9.30am - 12.00 noon. For further information please visit or contact the Registrar on 0121 454 5831 or .

Whole School Open Day Saturday 8th January 2011 9.30am -12.00noon

Senior School Entrance Test(11+) Saturday 15th January 2011 11+ Academic & Music Scholarships 16+ Academic, Music, Arts & Sports Scholarships Means-tested bursaries

Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TS Tel: 0121 454 5831 Issue 1


Reading Eggs


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Child First Nursery


child first day nursery

In Child First we grow our own Child development is something we take very seriously. Of course we care; We use predominantly organic and locally grown food (as well as our own!) Our routines increasingly follow our children not the other way around. We spend a lot of time outside. We kno know pla play is a fundamental and important part of brain development. We want you to visit anytime to see how we are when you are free – no appointment needed.

Child First in Solihull CTC Kingshurst Academy Cooks Lane B37 6NZ 0121 788 8148

developing babies and children, in partnership – drop in and see us anytime

Clubs & Classes Directory Reading Eggs It is never too early to start enjoying books and fostering a love of reading in your child that will last a lifetime. Reading fluently is key to doing well at school, but the good news is that learning to read need not feel like homework. For a fun interactive way to help your child crack reading log on to www.readingeggs. where 3-7 year olds can play a variety of games and activities that will improve their reading skills. Register and enter the code UKF57AME to play for free for a 4 week trial. Set them a challenge they will enjoy and see their reading skills improve.


TINYTALK BABY SIGNING Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield From 0 to 2 years Telephone: 07851 627 651

To advertise here call 0758 352 6056


DIZZY DANCERS Various ages and SEN welcome Based in Highgate, Birmingham. 01527 870889


THEATRETRAIN SOLIHULL Dancing, Acting & Singing

DUBARRIE SCHOOL OF DANCE Ballet, Tap and Jazz age 2 ½ + Branches in Yardley and Shirley Telephone: 0121 744 1422



Classes for 6-18 years Call Sara on 01675 443540


The Rock Project (Solihull) 7-16 yr olds (2 Hour Sessions) GUITAR, BASS or DRUM lessons. Tel: 0845 226 3318

Youth Theatre Group, Age 6+ St Thomas’ Church, Garretts Green Lane, Sheldon, B26 2SA

Telephone: 0121 722 3761

Sutton Coldfield

Drama, Dance & Singing in commercial and musical theatre styles Call Lynn: 01283 814 092

or email:

RIALTO DANCE ACADEMY Salsa, Belly-dance, Cheerleading Waltz, Jive, Street, Break-dance 1 Shirley Rd, Acocks Green B27 7XU Call 07725 000 732 or find us online


GENIE PRIVATE TUTORS CENTRES Run By Teachers For Children • Experienced Teacher for your child • Qualified CRB Checked Teachers • English & Maths • Entrance Exams & GCSEs • Primary & Secondary Edgbaston & Harborne 0121 456 4406 Hollywood 01564 822 882 Issue 1


What’s On THEATRE AND SHOWS Energia – Holiday on Ice

Annual ice-skating extravaganza goes into orbit and tells the story of the universe Venue: LG Arena, Birmingham, B40 1NT Date: Jan 7 and 8 Tickets: children £12; Adults £24 to £30 Box Office: 0844 338 8000

The Secret Garden

Musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel Venue: Birmingham Rep, Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 2EP Date: to Jan 8 Tickets £10 to £32 Box Office: 0121 236 4455


Pantomime fun for all the family Venue: Solihull Arts Complex, Central Library, Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3RG Date: to Jan 9 Tickets: £11 to £16.50 Box Office: 0121 704 6962

The Firework Maker’s Daughter

Stage version of Philip Pulman’s inspiring tale about a girl who wants to become a Firework-maker. Venue: The Old Rep, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY Date: to Jan 28 Tickets: £17.50 adults, £10.50 children, £52 family Box Office: Tel: 0121 303 2323

Dick Whittington

Pantomime featuring Joan Collins and Nigel Havers as King and Queen Rat with Julian Clary as Spirit of the Bells Venue: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TB Date: to Jan 30 (except Jan 4, 10, 17, 24) Tickets: £13.50 to £35.00 Box Office: 0844 338 5000

James and the Giant Peach

Stage2 youth theatre present Roald Dahl’s enchanting story Venue: Crescent Theatre, (Studio) Sheepcote Street, Birmingham B16 8AE Date: Jan 5, 6, 7 and 8 Tickets: £8.50 Box Office: 0121 643 5858

Danny, the Champion of the World

Crescent Theatre Company’s adaptation of Roald Dahl tale Venue: Crescent Theatre, Main House, Sheepcote Street, Birmingham, B16 8AE Date: Jan 15 to Jan 23 (except Jan 17 and 18) Tickets: £14; children £10.50; family £38.00 Box Office: 0121 643 5858


Former X Factor boy band in concert Venue: LG Arena, Birmingham B40 1NT Date: Jan 19 Tickets: £25.54 to £31.61 Box Office: 0844 338 8000

Storm in a Teacup

Presented by Horse + Bamboo. It’s not always easy making friends, especially when you live in a lighthouse surrounded by dangerous rocks, towering waves and troublemaking seagulls Venue: MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston Road, Birmingham, B12 9QH Date: Jan 23, 2.30pm Age: 4+ Tickets: £7 (£5) Box office: 0121 446 3232

Alexandra Burke

Former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke in concert Venue: NIA, King Edwards Road, Birmingham B1 2AA Date: Jan 29 Tickets: from £27.50 Box Office: 0844 338 8000

Demonstration-packed family science show. Time: 2.15 Robot Rebuild Interactive storytelling for under 8s Time: 12.00

Animation Workshop

Modelling workshop that brings inanimate objects to life through the science of stop-frame animation. Time: 12.45

Wallace and Grommit Invention Sessions

Sessions to inspire the secret inventor in all, using kits developed by the BBC. Ages 8 and over. Venue: Thinktank, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7XG Date: Weekends and selected school holidays, Jan - April 2011 Tickets: Thinktank ticket prices: Adults: £12.25, Children: £8.40, Family of 4: £39.00. £1.95 supplement for Animationworkshop. Contact: 0121 202 2222

Adventure Play

Fun and fitness for all the family playframe, assault course, sports arena, toddler area Venue: Funaticz, Flaxley Parkway, Stechford Retail Park, Birmingham B33 9AN Date: Open Daily Parent and Toddler sessions weekdays 9.00-2.00 Tickets: Parent and toddlers £3.00; £4.00 under 4; £4.90 4 plus; £2.50 babies under 18 months or free with paying sibling. Contact: 0121 783 0041

Dancers and judges from the TV show on tour Venue: LG Arena, Birmingham, B40 1NT Date: Feb 5 & 6 Tickets: £35 to £65 Box Office: 0844 338 8000844 338 8000

Moments in Time

Dubarrie School of Dance and Masquerade Musical Theatre Venue: Solihull Arts Complex, Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3RG Date: Feb 9 to Feb 12 Tickets: £10 adults; £8 concessions Proceeds to local charities To book call 0121 744 1422

X Factor Live

The finalists from the seventh X Factor show performing live Venue: LG Arena, Birmingham, B40 1NT Date: Feb 19 Tickets: from £32.50 Box Office 0844 338 8000

Pontypandy Rocks – Fireman Sam Live The hero next door is back with a new show Venue: New Alexandra Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DS Date: Feb 20 Tickets: £14.00 plus booking fee Box office: 0844 847 2302

Travels with Granddad

Disney on Ice

Your favourite Disney characters on ice Venue: LG Arena, Birmingham B40 1NT Date: Feb 23 to Feb 28 Tickets: £13 to £35 Box Office: 0844 338 8000

Issue 1

The Big Bang Show

Strictly Come Dancing Live

Presented by Pickled Image. Meet Granddad, eccentric traveller and storyteller extraordinaire. Enter his battered Bedouin tent to hear magical tales of adventure in real and imaginary worlds. Venue: MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston Road, Birmingham B12 9QH Date: Sun 20 Feb, 2pm Tickets: £8 (£6) Box office: 0121 446 3232



Wild Winter Safari

Four miles of drive-through Winter Safari featuring lions, tigers, giraffe, elephants and lots more. Venue: West Midland Safari Park, Spring Gove, Bewdley, DY12 1LF Date: Every weekend until Feb 13 2011 Time: Open 10.00. Last admission 3.00. Age: All ages Ticket prices: Adult: £9.99. Child: (3-15) £7.99. Under 3’s free. Concessions £8.99. Family Saver (2Ad + 2ch) £32.36. Contact: 01299 402114

Down on the Farm Family-run farm park with farmyard fun – animal-holding sessions with rabbits, guinea pigs and chicks; egg splat cannons in the indoor play area Venue: Umberslade Farm Park, Butts Lane, Tanworth in Arden, B94 5AE Date: Open Daily Time: 10.00–4.00 Ticket price: Adults £5.95, Child £5.65, Senior Citizen £5.65, Under 2s free of charge

Ice Skating

Family Sessions, Disco Sessions, Skating Lessons, Venue: Blue Ice Solihull Rink, Hobs Moat Road, Solihull B92 8JN Date: Open 7 days a week Time: Daytime & Evening

What’s On Tickets: check with venue for details Contact: 0121 742 5561

Cooking, Music, Arts and Craft

Venue: Funky Monkeys,Fort Dunlop, Fort Parkway, B24 9HL Days: Every day: stay and play 10.00am – 6.00p.m. Term time only: Mon cooking 11.00; Wed music 10.45 and Fri arts and craft 11.00 Age: Toddlers up to 8 years. Cost: £3.75 weekdays, £3.75 for under 4, £4.75 4 years and over at weekends. Under 12 months and adults free. Contact: 0121 748 3137

Bumps, Babies & Beyond

Coffee morning and playgroup providing friendship and support for mums-to-be and parents/carers with babies and toddlers (up to 3 yrs) Venue: Emmanuel Church Hall, Little Green Lane, Wylde Green, B72 1YG Date: Every Friday Time: 10.00– 1.30 Cost: £2.50 donation, includes refreshments

Indoor Rock Climbing Sessions

Climbing instruction and taster sessions plus Rock Monkeys kids climbing clubs every weekend. Venue: Redpoint Climbing Centre, 77 Cecil Street, B19 3ST Date: All year round. Time: Weekdays 12.00-22.00, Weekends 10.00-18.00. Age: 5-80!

Birmingham, B15 2TS Date: Feb 16 Time: 1:30 Age: Suitable for all Tickets: Free Contact: 0121 414 7333

National Nest Box Week

Make a little home for your feathered friends to put up in your garden. Venue: Knowle Park, Solihull Date: Feb 17 Time: 11:30am –1.30pm Ticket price: £4 for the bird box Booking essential – 0121 704 8000.

Fun on the Farm

Half-term fun – bottle feeding new-born lambs, and planting your own pots Venue: Ash End House, Children’s Farm, Middleton, near Tamworth, B78 2BL Date: Throughout half term Age: all ages Tickets: £6.50 for children, inclusive of all activities; £5.00 adults Contact: 0121 329 3240

See the network of underground canal routes Venue: car park off Birmingham New Road, DY1 4SB Date: Wednesday to Sunday Time: 10.00 to 4.00, boats run every 30 mins Tickets: £5.50 Adults, £4.95 Seniors, £4.55 Child, £17.90 Family x 4 Contact: 01384 236 275

Dudley Canal Tunnel Trip

Travel the Dudley tunnel and visit the Limestone mine Venue: car park off Birmingham New Road, DY1 4SB Date: February 6 Tickets: £9.75 Adults £8.75 Children Contact: 01384 236 275

Creative Saturdays

On the first Saturday of every month have fun with family and friends making art inspired by the Barber collection and exhibitions. Venue: Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, B15 2TS Date: Feb 5 Time: 11.00–1.00 Age: Suitable for all Ticket price: £8 per child, booking essential. Book a place by phoning 0121 414 2261 or email education@barber.

Valentines Celebration

Cadbury World. Linden Road, Bournville, B30 2LU Date; Feb 12 and 13 Time: 10.00 to 4.00 Tickets: 0844 880 7667

Bird Feeder Making

Join the Park Rangers to make a seed ball or transform a plastic bottle into a bird feeder for your garden. Venue: Hillfield Park, Solihull, B90 4FY Date: Feb 15 Time: 11.00–12.30 Tickets: Free

LIBRARY FUN Local libraries are a great source of fun and entertainment for children. Almost all libraries in Birmingham and Solihull run Storytime, Rhymetime or Craft Activities for tiny tots and pre-schoolers. They are a great way of introducing children to books, firing their imaginations and encouraging their speech development. Many sessions are run weekly during term-time (some are fortnightly or monthly) and most are drop in sessions. For full details of local library activities across Birmingham and Solihull log on to local directory or to:; Boldmere Road, Sutton Coldfield, B73 5TU Storytime for under 5’s (check availability) Day: Monday 2.30 – 3.00 (term time) Storytime for 3-6 year olds Day –Saturday 2.15-2.45 Mini-rhymes for 6 months to 3 years Day: first Thursday of every month 11.00 to 11.20 Tel: 0121 464 1048

Dudley Canal boat trip

Venue: Cadbury World, Linden Road, Bournville, B30 2LU Date: Jan 22/23 and Jan 29/30 Time: 10.00 to 4.00 Tickets: 0844 880 7667

Make your own modroc mutant monster in this fun – and messy! – modelling session, based on a grotesque bronze. Includes 30 minutes of storytelling. Venue: Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, B15 2TS Date: Feb 23 Time: 11.00–1.00 and 2.00–4.00 Age: Suitable for all Ticket price: £8 per child, booking essential. Book a place by phoning 0121 414 2261 or email

Boldmere Library

Cost: Tel: 0121 359 1777 for details

Heritage Weekends

Modroc Mutant Monsters

Handsworth Library

Half-term opening of Thomas Land

Drayton Manor Theme Park, is opening the gates to its popular Thomas Land attraction for the February half-term holiday, giving visitors the chance to experience 12 rides based on Thomas & Friends characters, indoor and outdoor play areas and a 15-acre zoo. Venue: Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, B78 3SA Date: Saturday 19 – Sunday February 27 2011 Time: 12–5pm Age: All ages Tickets: check website for full details about prices

Winter Treasure Trail

Refreshing walk around the park, seek out clues to solve the mystery password and enjoy a craft activity afterwards Venue: Elmdon Park, Elmdon Park Road, Solihull, B92 9EJ Date: February 21 Time: 11.00 – 1.00 Tickets: Free

Soho Road, B21 9DP Tuesday Tots for under 5s Day: Tueday 11.00-12.00 (term time) School break activities, check with library for details Tel: 0121 464 1185

Harborne Library

High Street, B17 9QG Pre-school Stories and Crafts aged 3 plus Day: Monday 2.15 – 2.45 (except summer holidays) Toddler Time for 0-3 Day: alternate Monday and Friday 9.30 – 10.30 (Please check with library to see if spaces available) Tel: 0121 464 1596

Solihull Central Library

Homer Road, B91 3RG Story Times Day Monday 2.00 – 2.30 (term time) and Saturday 11.00 – 11.30 (during school year) Jellybeanz – themed story and craft session for pre-school Day: (booking needed) Check with library for details. Tel: 0121 704 6968

A Family of Funny Faces

Take a plaster cast from a 2,000-year-old hand, then decorate it with precious stones! Includes 30 minutes of storytelling. Venue: Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, B15 2TS Date: Feb 22 Time: 11.00–1.00 and 2.00–4.00 Age: Suitable for all Tickets: £8 per child, booking essential. Contact: 0121 414 2261 or email education@

Dancing about Sculpture: sampad

Inspired by the Barber’s collection of sculptures, South Asian arts organisation sampad will be performing a unique dance revealing the stories behind a selection of works. Venue: Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Issue 1



Sleep solutions


sn’t life hard enough without having to live on very little sleep? Leading baby sleep expert and author of Baby Secrets Jo Tantum discusses a problem many parents face. Most parents are told to feed on demand and so by the time your baby is able to sleep for 12 hours through the night he or she will be used to being fed to sleep and that is what they will continue to do. Rocking your baby and using a dummy all contribute to your baby’s inability to go to sleep by themselves. Firstly, don’t panic. There is always a way to re-teach them. It’s certainly harder as your baby gets older, especially after a year, but it’s still achievable. Here are some top tips from sleep experts: • Start a simple bedtime routine as soon as possible. A bath, massage and feed in the bedroom will help relax your baby. • Unless they had a low birth weight, don’t wake your baby up in the night to feed. Instead, give them a dream feed at 11pm. That means they’ll have a long sleep in the middle of the night, when you have yours. • Try not to rock your baby or feed them to sleep. Cuddle them until they’re calm, then put them in the cot while they’re awake, but drowsy. • Your baby should always be awake when put in the cot so they know what is happening. • The room should be very dark for all sleeps but not pitch black. You can get individual baby sleep advice from Jo Tantum by visiting

Quality Childcare in Birmingham at Busy Bees Visit our fantastic nurseries and see how happy your little one could be in our care Convenient opening hours, Monday to Friday Secure access systems Fresh nutritious meals everyday with menu’s created by Phil Vickery Flexible packages tailored to suit each family’s needs

Book with this advert before 31st January at one of these nurseries and pay no registration fee!* To arrange a visit at our nurseries call: Busy Bees at Blakelands, Great Barr, tel: 0121 356 6304 (Nursery is expanding to become a 91 place nursery) Busy Bees at QE Hospital, tel: 0121 428 4950 Busy Bees in Aston, tel: 0121 333 3733 (‘Busy Babies’ now in nursery - pop in to see this fantastic new area) Busy Bees at St James Road, Edgbaston, tel: 0121 456 4919 (‘Busy Babies’ and ‘Our Imagination Station’ now in nursery - pop in to see this fantastic new area) Busy Bees at Longbridge, tel: 0121 477 8777 *Terms and conditions apply Busy Bees at Solihull, tel: 0121 745 7862

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Families Birmingham and Solihull - issue 1 Jan Feb 2011