Page 1


mar/apr2013 issue


The useful magazine for families with young children in York, Harrogate, Tadcaster, Wetherby and Selby

version2_Layout 1 28/11/2012 10:16 Page 1

call to book a free trial session York Area


07882 267971

07725 339257

for children ages 2-6





YORK • SELBY • RIPON • THIRSK Fun filled classes with exciting games and activities for boys and girls aged 2 to 5 years Fun – for children and parents to enjoy together Educational – learning through play Physical – develops real football skills and exceptional co-ordination Social – make new friends To book into the classes or for more info call 07595 297639 or email

11197_Football Tots Poster.indd 1

20/12/2012 16:04


ONSITE FOREST SCHOOL Our students from Year 1 onwards learn outdoor skills in our onsite Forest School. We are able to make use of our extensive School grounds, 16 acres incorporating woodland in the heart of York, to support outdoor learning, including our dedicated “Outdoor And Adventurous” programme for Years 1 - 6. Our Toddler Group is now open for girls and boys from 2 years of age. Our Pre-School, for girls and boys aged 3 - 4 years, offers provision from 7.30am to 6pm, 5 days a week, 51 weeks a year. THE MOUNT JUNIOR SCHOOL, DALTON TERRACE, YORK YO24 4DD

2 Families

Vale of York


welcome to families March is the new January. Well it is in our house anyway. It makes so much more sense to me to begin my quest for a bikini body and healthy mind when spring begins rather than in the depths of winter. So the cupboards have been cleared of junk; sweets, chocolate and crisps have been declared evil and exercise DVDs have pride of place next to the TV. And somehow if I say it here I feel it may come true. After all in the last issue I hoped for snow and look what happened. I should also like to declare a desire for a warm spring and scorching summer. You read it here first.

Editor of Families VOY

in this issue

p4 p6 p7 p8 p9 p10 p15 p16 p18 p20 p21 p23

news the parent business what do you do at? spring is in the air childcare education news all girls’ schools dyslexia gluten sensitivity & coeliac disease ask the doctor what’s on beta mum

Children’s Parties

at Ashville College, Harrogate

• • • • • • • • •

Hall hire & catering options Dedicated party co-ordinator Pool parties Football parties Roller Disco parties Face painting Bouncy Castle Enjoy-a-ball activities Peppa Pig lookalike appearances Contact our events team on 01423 724 827 or email Ashville College, Green Lane, Harrogate HG2 9JP

Mobile Nail Technician Pamper Parties and Childrens 'Sparkle' Parties CND Trained in Manicure, Pedicure and Shellac Also qualified in Diamond Browz

Special offer with initial booking of 25% discount

07748 767656

familiesmagazine Tel: 01405 860831 Circulation: 18,000 Deadline:

The deadline for the M ay/June 2013 edition is early Apr 2013

Front cover:

Clothing from NEXT

Designed by: MOOIdesign Tel: 01405 869045 Printed by:

Warners Midlands PLC w

Copyright Families in the Vale of York Mar/Apr 2013. Colour transparencies and any other original materials submitted for publication are sent at owners’ own risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families in the Vale of York 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 nor for any consequence.

Families Vale of York



High Trees Nursery Open Day

Labels4Kids launches new website Leading UK based international kids’ labelling specialist Labels4Kids is launching their new look website for March 2013. The new website makes ordering so much easier and you can even try designing your labels on the site prior to ordering. The fun site covers labelling for your children, your sport requirements, camping, corporate and even care home items for grandparents.  In addition they have a full personalised clothing site with a separate checkout to produce high quality clothing in both climacool and normal ranges. These are not thin cotton material garments but thick, high quality items that will last. Ann-Maree Morrison, the founder and Managing Director, commented “This website has been a massive investment for us in order to cater for our International Development and I am very proud to be able to show it off to the world at last. The new Labels4Kids site will make ordering so much more pleasurable, with faster load times and better images, as well as allowing on site design and easier access to our social media hints and advice. We have even more big plans in the pipeline”. See the full range by ordering at today. 

New Class Venues for Babyballet Babyballet is excited to announce new classes at Escrick Village Hall and Wilberfoss Community Centre which is great news for little ones who live south and east of York. Cheryl Chan is the new owner and classes will be taken by Miss Lindsay catering for little ones up to the age of five. To find out more about class times and ages visit or email southandeastyork@babyballet. Babyballet York also has new Tuesday morning classes at the newly refurbished St James the Deacon church hall in Woodthorpe - 9.40am TinyToes (18months to 3 years) and 10.25am MiniMovers (3 and 4 years). Plus on a Saturday, due to popular demand, there is an extra class for children aged 4-5 years at 12.30 at Roko Health Club, Clifton Moor to teach the more advanced ‘MiniGroovers’ programme.

4 Families

Vale of York

To celebrate its 50th birthday, High Trees Day Nursery in Clifford near Boston Spa will be holding an open day on 27th April. The nursery has been in the same family for three generations and has served many children around Wetherby, Bramham and Harrogate over the years. To find out more visit

Brackenfield Birdwatch

Great Mums Get Together

Heading into spring it’s time for the annual RSPB Birdwatch at Brackenfield School. The school’s Nursery Class has been busy watching birds from their very own bird hide as visiting birds feed from bird tables in the playground. The children have become familiar with some regular visitors which they recorded with affectionate names such as Barry the Blue Tit, Garry the Great Tit, Rosie the Robin and Colin the Coal Tit. “Our children watch the birds that visit throughout the year and we’re always happy to contribute to the Birdwatch survey,” says Alison Turner, head of the nursery who keeps the bird feeders well stocked throughout the year.

CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, is calling on mums across the country to help raise money for families affected by childhood cancer. Great Mums Get Together is their flagship Mother’s Day campaign, inviting mums to get together with other mums and raise money for CLIC Sargent around a cuppa. The fun-packed fundraising event, which runs from 10th to 17th March, is all about mums having fun hosting their own fundraising events and spending quality time with children, family and friends. Tennis Tykes is excited to announce the There are lots of ways you can get arrival of new coach Louise Bottomley involved – from pamper nights and coffee mornings to dinner parties and to the team. ‘dress-pink’ days at work – and all the “Louise has recently come on board money raised will help CLIC Sargent to teach the successful pre-school continue to provide clinical, practical classes in Wetherby”, owner, Caroline Buncall says. “We and emotional support for children are delighted to have her on board - she has a strong and young people with cancer, and background having played for Yorkshire as both a junior their families. and senior. Louise also has a wealth of coaching experience teaching young children in the Wetherby Castlegarth Tennis If you would like to find out more or to get involved with Great Mums Club and Boston Spa school based classes. Get Together go to Tennis Tykes will be launching new classes at Treasure Island in Boroughbridge from March. For further or contact local Fundraising information on this and details of free taster sessions Manager Jo Warmington on call Caroline on 07843342662/caroline.buncall@ 0113 2883219. or log onto

New Coach for Tennis Tykes

Mount Girls Scuba Too This term a group of very excited Year 6 girls at The Mount Junior experienced the thrills of scuba diving in the school swimming pool with instructors from Overland Underwater. After a classroom briefing and kitted out in fins and masks, the girls entered the water and put on their BCDs. During the next hour they learnt basic skills and safety rules, including how to communicate underwater using hand signals, how to clear your mask of water and how to remove your regulator. Soon they looked like pros and it was off to the deep end to explore the bottom of the pool and play games like underwater frisbee. The scuba diving experience is part of the Junior School’s Outdoor and Adventurous Programme, which as well as Forest School, includes camping, residentials, rock climbing, canoeing and archery.

ASHVILLE ADVENTURE ‘stay and play’

New Tappy Tots classes Jazzy J’s Dance Academy is very excited to announce its new after-school TappyTots class for 4 – 6 year-olds at Bilbrough Village hall on Thursdays from 4 - 4.30pm. Join Jess and Ted Astaire (Tappy Tots resident tap dancing bear) for some tiptapping fun: “The classes are exciting and educational,” says Tappy Tots creator Sue Brierley, “taking children on imaginary adventures where they are encouraged to explore rhythm, movement, musicality and basic tap technique – preparing them for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) Tap Syllabus which they can begin with us at age 6. “We are also excited to announce our first Tappytots show ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ which will take place in July at the Riley Smith Hall, Tadcaster.”

A fun session for pre-school children and their parents. An opportunity to meet the teachers, see the school and engage in activities including story telling, arts and crafts and even feeding the guinea pigs!

Wednesday 20th March 9:30am - 11am

New ‘Join Us’ website Girlguiding North Yorkshire West now has a new website available for anyone interested in joining. The website allows you to see where your closest Rainbow/ Brownie/Guide or Senior Section unit is so you can register interest for either a girl or an adult volunteer. If you’d like to know more about joining in the fun then visit

Come and see what makes Ashville different Ashville College Green Lane, Harrogate HG2 9JP 01423 724815


WIN a 3 WEEK TRIAL with Tappy Tots

No need to book


Tappy Tots are offering 5 FREE 3-week trials if you can tell them the name of their resident bear!! Please contact Jess with the answer on: 07789 911 513 or email For more information on TappyTots classes across Yorkshire visit


A fun and educational tennis play and skills programme for children from 2 years E FRE IAL


Classes across Harrogate, Wetherby & York NEW CLASSES COMING TO BOROUGHBRIDGE FROM MARCH For information call Caroline Buncall on 07843 342 662 • Families Vale of York


theparentbusiness Keeping it in the Family with Tennis Tots Matt McTurk and Matt Ward have become a real hit as the two dads enjoy having their children help out in the family business - of tennis. Tennis Tots was founded in 2008 by Matt McTurk who teaches classes in Harrogate and Ripon and he says it’s been great fun having the chance to teach his daughter too: “Sofia is five now and loves coming along to classes. It’s wonderful to have that opportunity to teach her - being able to combine work with my children is a real bonus. Lucas is just a year old but no doubt he’ll be following in his sister’s footsteps before long!” The other Matt would agree. Matt Ward has recently taken over running Tennis Tots in York and has engaged the help of his three year old daughter Natasha. “I love being able to do tennis with my daughter,” says Matt, “she’s my own Tennis Tot and a great helper. She gives me a hand to set up before the classes and is excellent at tidying up – something that all Tennis Tots become good at, although I am not sure whether this translates to home life too! “Natasha is also great for helping me demonstrate the skills and activities. At each session we try and ask for different children to help demonstrate – as this really helps their confidence and social skills – but

Matt & Natasha

sometimes they’re not quite ready to do it. This is when Natasha steps in! She usually doesn’t need me at this point and often completes the demonstration on her own - even though she’s only three!” Both dads would agree that the most rewarding part of their job is working with children. “Seeing the children build in confidence and improve their skills is amazing,” says Matt M. “We have some 2 and 3 year olds who can already rally and hit both front and backhand with good technique, which is practically unheard of.” “Easily the most rewarding thing I do is working with children,” adds Matt W. “It’s brilliant to see them grow in confidence, achieve skills and develop as mini-tennis players and I love the high-5s from the little ones - it really makes me smile!” Tennis Tots began after trial sessions were eagerly attended by young want-tobe players. “Tennis has been a massive part of my life since the age of 11 when I started playing,” says Matt M who played tennis for Yorkshire and was Yorkshire men’s doubles champion in 2005 and 2006. “I played college tennis in the states for three years and then later played full time on the British tour before making the transition into coaching. I began trialling sessions at my club in Bradford for the preschool age group and because it was so successful I started some groups in Harrogate where I live.” Pretty soon Matt got to the point where he couldn’t deal with demand on his own so he took on some coaches to run the classes. “All this led to us starting up groups in North Leeds and York as well as running the Harrogate/ Ripon and Bradford

locations.” Matt Ward now Matt & Sofia runs those classes in York. “Until I met Matt McTurk, I hadn’t seen any successful approach to teaching tennis to under 4‘s,” he tells me, “but when I saw the classes in action I was sold! It’s a fantastic method for teaching tennis to little ones, as it is pitched perfectly at their level and is a progressive teaching programme.” Matt qualified with the LTA as a Senior Club Coach and coaches players of all ages. “For me it’s really important that the children are having lots of fun as that’s the best way to learn. Obviously the classes are developing tennis skills but it’s about much more than that. Tennis Tots develops confidence, improves hand eye co-ordination, develops colour recognition and numeracy, improves social skills and so much more. So what does the future have in store? “The future’s very bright,” says Matt M. “We have plans to improve on what we’re already doing and we aim to inspire as many children as we can to get involved at an early age. We have recently formed a partnership with Kidzplay centres and we aim to run many of our groups at the Northallerton, Harrogate and Boroughbridge centres to take the programme to more families in 2013.” There’s to be more classes in York too: “We launched a new session in Wilberfoss in February on Wednesdays”, says Matt, “and the plan for the rest of the year is to open more sessions around York, with a target of 20 by the end of the year.”

Contact details: Matt McTurk 07725 339 257 • Matt Ward 0788 226 7971

6 Families

Vale of York



What do you do at?


Families editor Belinda Maunsell went along to York Yoga Studios to find out what happens when the mums and babies get together for a Flutterbabies class. It’s been some time since I’ve been in a room full of babies but as soon as I arrive at Flutterbabies, I remember how wonderfully unpredictable they can be. We had several feeds and changes and one complete change of clothing during our class but that’s the great thing about classes for the very tiniest children everything is so very flexible. Samantha Dalton is now teaching her third set of baby yoga classes at the Yoga centre and has had to move to a bigger space such is the demand:

Save up to £700 per year by making the switch to modern cloth nappies Great nappy packs available for local mums just contact

‘We began in a smaller room but now I have space for up to 15 mums and 15 babies in class,’ she tells me, ‘and the space is perfect for everyone to feel relaxed.’ I have to agree as everyone takes their place at a mat with their little ones and Samantha asks how the week has gone. It’s a great ice-breaker and helps mums feel less on their own when they realise it’s not just their beloved child who only allows them three hours sleep or is sneezing food on a regular basis! Soon Samantha starts the class with stretches for the mums and a ‘hello’ song for the babies. Everything’s very calm and soothing and the babies are swooshed up gently to say hello when it’s their turn. We work on pelvic floor exercises (I say ‘we’ because of course no mum can hear those words without joining in) and the babies are massaged lightly before they start on some more specific moves and songs. We go ‘Round the Garden’ and play ‘This Little Piggy’ - all familiar - but Samantha has the words printed out just in case! Flexibility is also the watchword for the class as mums and their little ones are incorporated into grown-up exercises where babies backward roll down their mum’s legs, help them work on abs and ‘zoom to the moon’. It’s great exercise for the mums and the babies are loving it too! All the while Samantha lends a hand making sure the babies are being held properly and posture is correct. Soon things speed up a bit and the babies are in pairs ‘aeroplaning’ towards each other and learning a new ‘butterfly’ move which looks strangely comforting. For each move, there is a practice and then it’s performed with an accompanying song such as ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’ as well as lots more. Everything begins to calm down again with a game of parachutes and ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ although a few babies are now tired or ready for a feed so it’s not necessarily quiet! Whilst everyone’s relaxing I seize the opportunity to chat to mum Ruth who is changing 17 week old Harriet. ‘We’re getting into the routine of coming now,’ she tells me. ‘At first Harriet fed a lot during the class but she joins in much more now. It’s a great class for us both and Samantha changes the moves each week so that it’s not always the same.’

An ‘outstanding’ education in a stunning rural location

Open Day Thursday 25th April 9.30 - 11.45am Please contact the school office on 01423 771029 to arrange a visit Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, Harrogate HG3 2JG Tel: 01423 771029 email:

There’s also a handout at the end of the class, a handbook to go with the course and at the end of each six week course a certificate - complete with baby’s picture! Baby yoga was a whole new experience for me, and I left thinking it would be lovely to give it a go. I’d have to borrow a baby first though!

Flutterbabies runs in York and Boston Spa as well as Garforth and Headingley.

A fantastic range of hand-crafted gift sets and “alternative bouquets” for any occasion.

For gift s with a personal touch!

No Baby Yoga in your area? If you can organise a group of at least 8 mums and babies, Flutterbabies will come to you. Find out more at: 01937 558500 / 07768 538527

Call: (01482) 638355

Babies, birthdays and beyond...

Families Vale of York


is in the air Where the Easter bunny comes from and other Easter traditions

• Easter was originally a pagan festival – the ancient Saxons celebrated spring with a party in honour of its goddess, Eastre. • The date of Easter changes every year because of Roman emperor’s Constantine’s Easter rule, which stated that it should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. This was because it was a day of maximum light (12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of moonlight). • The Easter bunny also originated with the pagan festival of Eastre, as she was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. • The first documented use of the bunny as a symbol of Easter appears in Germany in the 1500s, and it was the Germans who made the first edible Easter bunnies in the 1800s. • Some believe hot cross buns predate Christianity, as buns decorated with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eastre, with the cross symbolizing the four quarters of the moon. • According to English folklore, buns can be kept for medicinal purposes – if you give a piece to someone ill, it will help them get better. • Eggs are a symbol of rebirth in most cultures and had already been given as springtime gifts before Easter was first celebrated by Christians. • Eggs are coloured brightly to symbolise the sunlight of spring. • Medieval records note that eggs were often given as Easter gifts to servants by their masters. • The most ornate Easter eggs are probably the jewelled and enamelled eggs that Fabergé made for the Russian tsars.

Hold a

Craft Party Paint! Stick! Make! All occasions, all ages All materials supplied Tuition & support given

8 Families

Vale of York

What's the Easter can become one big chocolate fest - so we’ve asked Zhara Armstrong of Treasures to suggest a few Easter toys that won’t rot the teeth and will still be around long after the sugar rush has worn off. These Playmobil eggs retail at £5.99 each and are all suitable from age 3. The eggs contain various toys and there’s something for everyone including a knight, a swan and even a dog with a forest keeper. The egg can can also be used as a money box as it comes with a coin slot in one end. Easter Nanos look great fun for £5.99 and there’s a selection of very cute rabbits from Schleich, beautifully made and hand-painted starting at just £2.99 each.

Mother's Day Treats Forget saying it with flowers. Gift company Say it Personally has an unique solution for Mother’s Day presents. The company specialises in unique, quality gifts with a difference, delivered to the door to make any occasion extra special. We especially like this “Deluxe Sock Bouquet” which looks like a stunning bouquet of flowers, but unwraps to reveal five pairs of ladies’ ankle socks featuring hearts and polka dot designs in pretty shades of maroon, pale pink and cream. The bouquet is made up with silk flowers, foliage and even a butterfly! If you’re on a smaller budget they also have cute “Choc & Sock Bouquets” and “Fizzing Feet Bouquets” in various designs. For more mature Mums how about their “Thinking of You Bouquet” – also beautifully presented, this is full of practical goodies to aid relaxation including an eye mask, fragrance sachet and soap and snuggle socks. Their new range for 2013 also includes unusual gift sets such as Deluxe Chilli-Chocolate, Mum’s Coffee Time, and the tongue-in-cheek “Hiccupping Housework”. All ideal presents for Mum. If you know an expectant mum, why not make her first “Mothers Day” with something from their range of baby gifts and bouquets like their Sunshine Bouquet - finalist of the Gift of the Year 2013? Priding themselves on a fantastic customer service and attention to detail, Say It Personally has a great range for any occasion – babies, birthdays and beyond – all hand finished and beautifully presented for that extra special touch.


fantastic freya Rabbit visit Sylvanian Offers WIN a Sylvanian Farm Set

With Freya Chocolate Rabbit visiting her fans at Treasures this Easter Saturday the toy shop will be offering some fantastic savings on their Sylvanian product range. This beautiful wedding car and the happy couple both have 50% off retailing at £12.49 and £6.49 respectively (usually £24.99 and £12.99) There will also be some great 2 for £10 on several Sylvanian toys: Twin Babies are £7.99 each but you can buy 2 for just £10 (mix & match from a selection of Babies and accessory sets).

Freya Rabbit will be visiting Treasures on Saturday 30th March and Zhara has a new Sylvanian competition for fans to enter. “We have a super ‘Down on the Farm’ set with accessories to be won,” she says. “Entry forms can be collected from Treasures and the lucky winner will be announced after the Easter holiday. We will have a colouring station in the shop on Saturday 30th so if children haven’t already entered they can colour their entry while visiting Freya at Treasures or take it to one of our lovely coffee shops in Wetherby and let Mum & Dad enjoy a coffee while their children work on their entry forms.

Crafty Kids? Book The Bead Bar for children’s jewellery-making birthday parties. Creative fun for kids of all ages! Central Harrogate bead shop with separate Bead Bar where children can get creative making beautiful jewellery. Open all day Mon-Sat. Come and see us!


Call 01423 313030 or visit

WIN a copy of ROOM ON ThE bROOM - and the CAT! If you loved Room on the Broom as much as we did at Christmas then you’ll be excited to know that the magical tale wooshes onto DVD and digital download just in time for Easter. Based on the bestselling book from author and Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, this timeless story about friendship and family is narrated by Simon Pegg with an all-star voice cast including Rob Brydon, Martin Clunes and David Walliams. Perfect family entertainment for the holidays the

DVD retails at £9.99 and is released on March 18th. Families has 3 copies of the Room on the Broom DVD to give away - PLUS a soft toy cat from the film. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, go to competitions and follow the instructions there. Closing date March 31st.

funky Stationery Easter Gifts Jane Miller has some fabulous Easter gifts in store at Seahorse Funky Stationery and Art Stuff in Market Weighton. “I now stock Rachel Ellen Design Ltd children’s stationery sets, colouring books and stickers,” says Jane. “ Rachel lives and works in Nottingham and all her designs are British through and through! We love this knights colouring book. Jane sells gifts, spring cards, school & college stationery - all now in stock.

Families Vale of York




By Joanna Moorhead

© ChristArt -

is changing

Childcare in Britain costs more than childcare almost anywhere else in the world – according to recent figures, 27% of the income of families with young children is spent on the costs of a nanny, a childminder or a nursery. Everyone agrees it would be better if childcare was more affordable – especially for parents with two or more children, many of whom say it doesn’t make financial sense for them both to be at work. But how can childcare be made cheaper without compromising on quality? That’s the question everyone, from government ministers to childcare providers, is grappling with at the moment.

What the government is saying In late January the government announced a new plan to change child:staff ratios for childminders and nurseries, in a move it says will cut costs for parents and raise pre-school standards. Early years minister Elizabeth Truss is proposing that:

“Professional, reliable childcare from Bright Beginnings” Qualified Nannies Maternity Practitioners Nursery Staff Mobile Creches Babysitting Parent helpers Tel: 01904 691698 or 0782 333 2627 Email: info@bbchildcareuk .com

• Childminders, who are currently restricted to looking after three children aged one to five, should in future be able to look after four • They would also be allowed to look after two children aged under one, instead of being restricted to one child under one • Nurseries will be allowed to increase their staff-to-child ratio from the current 1:4 to 1:6 • For under-ones, the ratio will rise from 1:3 to 1:4 • Qualifications would be raised for new nursery staff – they’ll be required to have a GCSE grade C or above in English and Maths Other changes include the introduction of a new graduatelevel early years teaching qualification. Truss says the proposals won’t lead to children being neglected: she points out that the changes she is suggesting will still leave England with higher staff:child ratios than those for childcarers in France, Denmark and Germany, three countries that are often cited as providing high-quality care for pre-school children. Her basic argument is that the current relatively tight ratios have two main effects: they mean higher costs for parents, and lower pay for staff. The changes she’d like to see would, she believes, lead to lower fees for parents and

higher pay for staff, and this in turn would improve the quality of childcare workers over time. But Labour’s shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg says he believes the plans would undermine the quality of the UK’s childcare. “I think this is one area where we’ve got something to teach other countries,” he says. “If you look at France, there’s quite a big public debate about whether they’ve got this right.” Marg Randles, managing director of Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider with 213 nurseries across the country, says This flexibility already exists within settings for 3-5 year olds where providers can choose to adopt a 1:13 ratio where there is a qualified teacher or EYP working directly with the children. She believes Busy Bees baby ratios of 3:9 and toddler (2-3’s) ratios of 3:12 works best across its 213 settings, but others may find they can work within the new ratio guide lines. She welcomes changes that put the decisions in the hands of individual childcare experts and trust they will make the right choice for their children, parents and business. ”But the important issue for Busy Bees is childcare vouchers: currently, employers are allowed to give employees up to £55 a week in taxfree vouchers to pay for childcare; raising this to £75 a week would make a real difference to parents, the chain argues. In comparison, the saving to families if the Truss proposals go through would amount, says Busy Bees, to less than £3.00 per week.

What about tax breaks? Childcare vouchers are one form of tax breaks for parents paying for childcare. However, before the recent Truss announcement it had been hoped that the scheme would be reformed and extended, allowing more parents to benefit from the scheme, and those already using it to save more. Unfortunately these hopes haven’t come to fruition: Ms Truss has said changes are in the pipeline, but that they’re “going to be slightly longer in the gestation than would be ideal”. So the details of the

10 Families

Vale of York

scheme are still being worked out, and it’s been widely reported in the press that there are ideological differences within the Coalition. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, has suggested that changes should be for those on lower incomes, while the Conservatives are believed to want the breaks to be universal. While we wait for another announcement, it’s being reported that the scheme under consideration could be worth thousands of pounds – sources close to the government have said working women with children aged under five could become entitled to claim a flat rate tax allowance of £2,000 a year to pay someone to look after their children. But if that’s the good news, the bad news – sadly – is that with all the political wrangling going on behind the scenes, the plan could take some time...though some experts still believe it could be introduced before the next General Election.

How to cut your childcare costs in the short term So the bottom line is that there’s not a huge amount happening at government level to cut your childcare costs right now – so if you need to get them down, it’s up to you to find a way. Here are a few ideas we’ve come up with at Families: *Change your working hours: as a parent with a child under 16, you’re entitled to request flexible working hours from your employer, provided you’ve worked there for more than six months. You could ask to fit your work into fewer days that are longer – then your partner could collect your child or children from your carer on the days you’re working, and you can cut childcare bills. *If you work part-time and use a nursery, check out whether the fees are lower on certain days of the week (they sometimes are) and see if you can switch the days you work. *Team up with a friend who’s also working part-time and has a child of a similar age. So you look after her child with yours while she’s working, and vice versa. *When you’re choosing a childminder, check whether she can access the free 15 hours’ childcare a week that all three and four-year-olds are entitled to – not all childminders can do this, and it can be worth up to £180 for 38 weeks of the year.

For more on childcare go to

Is a nursery right for your child -and you? Joanna Moorhead takes a look at what a nursery offers Studies show that attending nursery can increase a child’s confidence, because it involves mixing with adults, and other children, from outside the family group. It gives children social skills, and experience from an early age of an environment outside the home. The nursery ‘key worker’ scheme, under which each child is allocated a special member of staff with whom they can bond, helps provide security. Healthy food and menus are another big plus of nursery provision: staff work hard to ensure children are given a balanced diet. And as your child gets older, play and learning opportunities will be targeted appropriately: staff are trained in what young children can do when, and will be conscious of a child’s likely interests and potential.

a shortlist of ones that might work for you (remember to take geography into account: how easy will it be for you and/or your partner to do the drop off/ collect?) and don’t hesitate to ask to visit a second time. Make sure you read the most recent Ofsted inspection report for the nurseries you are considering, and ask whether they have any awards of excellence. Be guided by your instincts when looking at a nursery: it may seem a cliché to say do the children look happy, but it is an important barometer of whether a nursery is good. Be aware of the quality of both indoor and outdoor play areas: are the spaces pleasant, bright, welcoming, and do they seem safe? Ask about meals, how the food is prepared, and what time meals are served. Are you able to provide input for Nurseries work best for parents who your child’s food - suggestions for what have regular working hours, because s/he would like to eat, or recipes? What it’s difficult or impossible for staff to deal kinds of snacks are provided and how with erratic patterns of collection and often are they available? drop-off: nurseries often open early in the morning and some close late in the Watch the children while they’re playing, evening, but they are not as flexible as, and pay attention to how much they’re interacting with the staff. How do the say, a nanny or a childminder. On the other hand, they have the big advantage staff come across - do they seem happy, relaxed, fun to be around? Do that only very, very rarely will they be closed at short notice - so they’re more you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem interested in your child and reliable than one carer who may be ill his/her likes/dislikes and interests? or have to cope with a sudden family Is all well when I’m not there? emergency. As your child is settling into nursery, trust They may be prohibitively expensive if you have more than one child, although your instincts about how well it’s going. You know your child better than anyone many nurseries do offer a sibling else, so if your hunch is that your child reduction. But if you can fit around its March Open Day May Open Day opening hours, if your budget stretches is happy and contented , that’s almost certainly the case. Remember that in the Saturday 9 March Saturday 11 May to the fees, and if you like the idea of early days, he or she will probably get a social environment and a place with For more information, or to arrange a visit, please plenty of activities and trained carers, a more tired than usual -nursery is a big change, emotionally as well as physically. contact Mrs Jackie Hallewell on 01904 727630 or nursery could be the place for your child Both your child and you need time to email and for you. adjust to the new set-up. How to reduce nursery costs Try not to drag out your goodbyes: Most nurseries provide funded places leaving your child will be difficult, for three to five year olds under the especially at first, but keeping it brief will government free nursery education An independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11-18 help you both. Remember that your scheme. If your child is younger, check child may cry every day when you drop whether your employer can offer help them off (and so might you!) for quite towards your nursery costs through the a while; this is a normal part of getting childcare voucher scheme. Under this, used to this big money is taken out of your pay packet change in your before deductions, giving you savings lives. Cope with on tax and National Insurance - in return, it by emphasising you are given a voucher or e-voucher the positives: that you forward to your nursery, and think about why the amount is deducted from your bill. you’re working So it’s a way of getting more childcare (to make money for your money - though it requires your and provide a employer’s co-operation. better standard of living; to ensure How to choose the right you have an nursery interesting life, Start your nursery search well ahead and income, in of the time when you’re actually going the longer term) to need to leave your child: the more and how much confident you are of the choices you your child will make, the happier you’ll be when it benefit from comes to the day you have to head a wider social back to the office. Ask around so network. t: 01904 642666 & 01904 490339 you get other parents’ views on what nurseries are like in your area. Make Families Vale of York


n o i t a c edu


Pupils Sink Teeth Into Biscuit Design Project

Year 5 pupils from Ashville Junior School are sinking their teeth into a mouth watering project. Batley-based Fox’s Biscuits have tasked the youngsters to not only design and make their own brand of biscuit, but also to come up with ideas for packaging and to devise an advertising campaign. Paul Carbutt, the company’s training & development co-ordinator, told the children about how Fox’s make and manufacture biscuits on a large scale, before letting them sample some of the firm’s best-known products. Working in groups, the pupils will have to present their ideas in front of their peers and teachers. The best three concepts will then be presented to Paul in a

Dragon’s Den-style pitch. He will then choose the winning biscuit idea. ‘This challenge is proving to be one of the most popular we have ever run at the school,’ said college head Jonathan Dolman. ‘The challenge will really put their children’s creativity to the test. Not only do they have to come up with a new brand, they also have to design the packaging and create an advert and posters. ‘Paul will have the very difficult task of having to choose an overall winner. However, there is a reward for everyone taking part, as he has invited us to visit the Fox’s factory in March.’

Bankfield Bake-Off This term, Bankfield Pre-Prep has been inspired by the recent Celebrity British Bake Off, which spurred on the team to host a bake off event! The children were invited to join the Catering Manager to make their own sticky toffee puddings. Following a basic recipe, each child followed step by step instructions to make their own puddings. Once baked in the school ovens, children took them home with a portion of the chef’s yummy toffee sauce. Bankfield Pre-Prep was founded in 1997 when Harrogate Ladies’ College bought Kent Road Playschool. The building was rehoused in a large Victorian semi-detached building on the College campus. Inside, there are recently refurbished bathroom facilities on each floor, as well as three large, well-resourced playrooms. The extensive outdoor space includes a garden, soft pore play areas, a mini beast area and a vegetable garden. All children have daily opportunities to explore the natural environment first hand. The school benefits from the excellent facilities at Harrogate Ladies’ College, including the School Chapel for religious festivals and celebrations, a newly refurbished Assembly Hall for music and PE and the Small Hall for concerts. Specialist music and PE teachers join the children and staff each week to enhance the children’s learning and development in the prime areas.

Picture Caption: Tasty Challenge! (from left) Fox’s Biscuits Paul Carbutt with Ashville Junior School pupils Emily Walmsley, Ellie Tate, Emily Waller and Ashville Junior School teacher Suzanne Silva

Visitors are always welcome - go to uk for more information

Question Time at Brackenfield

Brackenfield pupils enjoyed a fascinating visit by the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones recently. After talking to children in assembly about his role in Parliament, Andrew bravely led a Question Time session with year 6 pupils. Topics discussed were wide ranging such as freedom of the press, Britain’s role in Afganistan and the day to day life of Parliament. The pupils were able to pick up many tips on public speaking and debating. They also learnt more about some of the more famous political figures such as the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, especially about what he’s like as a dinner guest! The visit was clearly a great success, since when the question was asked “ Who would like to be an MP?” almost the whole class raised their hands. Principal, Anthony Comerford was delighted that Andrew Jones was able to talk to the pupils. ‘Learning about how the country is governed and the political system is such an important part of a child’s education and is a key unit in Brackenfield’s year 6 syllabus. What better way to learn about this than by straight from our own MP? Our thanks go to Andrew Jones for spending so much of his time with our pupils. It was such a worthwhile morning.’ Brackenfield School is Harrogate’s only stand alone Prep school for 2-11 year olds. This term’s Open Morning is on Friday 15th March 10am -11.30am.

12 Families

Vale of York

Learning Makaton at Riccall Pre-school Children at Riccall Pre-school have been benefiting from learning Makaton signing and staff have been impressed with the results.

‘We’ve been amazed at how Makaton signing boosts the confidence and self-esteem of children with additional speech and language needs,’ says pre-school manager Sam Nesbitt. ‘Being able to communicate their wants and needs means they feel less frustrated and display less challenging behaviour.’


After learning how signing can help children with speech and language delay to communicate effectively they decided to investigate Makaton training. All members of the team have now attended two days of training to gain a qualification in basic Makaton. ‘We use it in conjunction with our “Good Morning” and “Goodbye” songs at each session,’ says deputy manager and SENCo Michelle Brown, ‘and when singing other songs and rhymes.’ Michelle who has completed higher level Makaton training supports the staff team in refreshing their signing knowledge on a daily and weekly basis.

Belmont Grosvenor Choir sing at the UK’s biggest School Choir Concert Youngsters from Belmont Grosvenor joined thousands of pupils from across the country recently to take part in the UK’s biggest School Choir Concert.

The children are, from left, (back row) Caitlin LaBonte and Thomas Arcidiacono Front row: Flynn Lumsden, Nina Brooksbank, Kit Keith

Members of the school’s senior choir travelled to Sheffield to join in Young Voices 2013, a national choral event that brought together more than 7,000 children in a charity concert at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. Young Voices, the largest children’s choir in the world, aims to inspire and motivate children and young people and introduce them to the joys of music and singing. Since the event started 15 years ago, more than one million schoolchildren have taken part. Madeline Shea, a member of Belmont Grosvenor School’s Senior Choir said everyone had loved taking part in the mass musical event – songs performed included U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love), The Beatles’ Let It Be and Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sing. Sophie Johnston, Head of English at Belmont Grosvenor School said the children had thoroughly enjoyed the experience. ‘The concert was a sell-out in Sheffield so the pupils sang to an audience of 7,000 adults, in a choir of 6,500 children. ‘It was a magnificent event and the children particularly enjoyed singing ‘Let it be’ with Connie Talbot and ‘Sing’ with the African Children’s choir, who had sung at Buckingham Palace last summer.’ “I’m certain the children will remember this event for years to come,” she added. 01423 771029


‘As Makaton is used alongside speaking it also encourages the child to say the word as they sign. Although the spoken word many not be clear, adults can understand what the child is communicating and this is a great confidence boost for the child. Children who are listened to feel empowered and continue to communicate through signs and words. As their speech develops they will gradually sign less and less.’

Visual Learners

And it’s not just children with special language needs who benefit says Michelle; ‘Many babies and children are visual learners from birth and babies who are taught Makaton are able to express their needs before they can talk, with signs meaning “milk please”, “more” and “here”, for example. Recognising symbols as representing something may also help a child understand that a group of letters used to make a word represents an object or person and help them when they begin to learn to read.’ Riccall Pre-school is a member of the Pre-school Learning alliance and all staff either have or are working towards level 3 Early Years qualifications; ‘Our manager holds Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and another member of staff is studying for her Foundation Degree,’ says Michelle. ‘Our aim is to create a welcoming, fun and stimulating learning environment for children and their parents to enjoy and we know that with our dedicated experienced and well-trained staff we are perfectly placed to do just that.’

Further information: Riccall Pre-School offers a breakfast club from 8am until 9am. Lunch club is also available from 11.30am until 12.30pm. Morning sessions are from 9am until 11.30am and afternoon sessions start at 12.30pm until 3pm. Children can attend any or all sessions, subject to availability. 15 hours of Nursery Grant Funding is available from the beginning of the term following your child’s 3rd birthday. For more information or to chat about the setting please call 01757 249792 or email:

Outdoor Education at The Mount School Forest Schools keeps alive outdoor skills which are in danger of being forgotten in the technological age and students at The Mount Junior School enjoy regular sessions in their school’s onsite Forest School, run by Woodland Trust qualified teacher Jan Wilson. ‘At The Mount we use our extensive school grounds, 16 acres including woodland right in the heart of York, to support outdoor learning,’ she said. The school runs a dedicated ‘Outdoor And Adventurous’ programme in their onsite Forest School for students from year 1 upwards. Recently Year 4 students made stars by collecting a selection of cones, seeds, twigs and leaves: ‘They were amazed how many different ones there were in the woodland,’ added Jan, ‘the girls even spotted their first daisies of 2013!’ ‘The girls used secateurs to cut five twigs to the same length, forming them into a zig zag using a series of knots and lashings which were then folded into a star shape. The stars were then decorated very effectively in all sorts of ways with the items found earlier. The girls were really pleased with what they had created. ‘In another session, the girls have also used loppers and fire strikers. After learning to use the loppers safely, they worked together to each cut a piece of wood into three pieces for a fire triangle. The girls discussed what is needed to make a fire and what happens if one of these things is removed. They learnt how to make sparks using a fire striker, working in twos to light fairy duvets. Creating the spark was easy but lighting the ‘duvet’ needed more perseverance.’ To find out more about the school visit

Families Vale of York


Footballtots and Sambarca arrive in North Yorkshire Footballtots is a new and exciting football play programme for children aged 2 to 5 designed to develop every child in every way. “The focus of our classes is for children to have fun and learn fundamental skills in the process,” says founder of the programme Brian MacNair. “Footballtots classes aim to develop children socially, educationally, physically and technically and our programme has been designed to incorporate focused skills with games to ensure children develop in a fun and physically active environment,” he explains. “Children love to run and at Footballtots every child gets the chance to run and enjoy moving with confidence and control. However, we also manage to help children learn structure and follow instruction meaning the educational building blocks are developed over time. We start with the basics in all elements of our programme but very quickly the children demonstrate knowledge and ability way beyond the early years expectations. “We play games which develop all aspects of the child but also play fun football games like beat my teddy (our penalty shoot out game!). Children thrive when they are having a good time and Footballtots is where the fun is.” Classes are designed for children aged 2 to 5 and the mixture of fun games with educational building blocks makes the classes perfect for boys and girls. Classes run most days across across York, Selby, Ripon and Thirsk at the following venues: Monday - Clifton Moor Community Centre Tuesday - Haxby Memorial Hall

Sambarca Football Schools Sambarca Football Schools is a unique football coaching programme in York and Ripon for children aged 4 - 16.

“We are unique,” says Brian MacNair, “as we are developing fantastic footballers across York without the need to select the best players first.” All children are welcome at Sambarca as sessions focus on the individual.

Thursday - Bishopthorpe Village Hall

“One ball per child working on basic ball control develops over time into exceptional ball manipulation and exciting football players in real matches,” says Brian.

Friday - Poppleton Road Memorial Hall Saturday - F ishergate Primary School Saturday - Burton Stone Community Centre For more details about classes venues & prices call 01765 620374 or email Do call or email to book a space as Football Tots have a maximum number of children per class and is very popular. If you’re a new customer be sure to quote FAMILIES MAG when booking for the term for a Free Footballtots football

“Sambarca is not about making freestyle footballers, we aim to make every child a better footballer. We do this by developing core skills such as passing, running and tackling but at the correct time we also coach children to understand football tactics.” Derek Hare is the head coach at Sambarca and he doesn’t see any benefit in coaching tactics to children who cannot stop the football confidently or run with the ball under control: “The basics come first and are the strong foundations for all of our players,” he says. “At Sambarca coaches work hard to ensure every child develops a positive attitude and works hard. The best players are often the children who are prepared to work hard towards their own goal of improving and becoming a better player. Sambarca will develop many great football players but we believe our ethos will create children who are determined to succeed in whatever future path they choose.

Our dance and movement classes are a great introduction to physical exercise for kids aged 6 months to 4 years Singing Dancing Skipping Hopping Music Instruments Colours Numbers Balance Confidence Coordination Interaction Fun Certificates Contact Katie to find out where your local classes are...

T: 0113 287 6252 M: 07834 266350

Sambarca is designed for school age children from 4 – 16 years and many existing players have been invited to local professional academies. “The balance between professional academy tactical coaching and technical development from Sambarca may prove very successful in the years to come,” says Derek. In April, Sambarca will be launching their first academy based sessions where the most talented children attending the weekly coaching sessions will be invited to join the Sambarca Academy. The academy will focus on elite technical coaching, introducing tactical coaching and playing more matches against local professional academies.

Girls only sessions

10% off any booking!

To date Sambarca have seen very few girls attend the sessions but they are very keen to change this in 2013.

The perfect present

01423 815024 @HarrogateClimb Harrogate Climbing Centre

Call now quoting FAM01 to claim your 10% discount* 01423 815024 14 Families

Vale of York

Discover more at Hornbeam Park Avenue, Hornbeam Park, Harrogate HG2 8QT *This voucher must to be provided at the start of the session. Terms & Conditions apply. See website for details.

“Many of the girls that attend our sessions have shown fantastic ability with the football and are proving excellent players within their local teams,” says Derek. “We would be very interested to work with local girls teams around York, Selby and Ripon and perhaps organise some free sessions for teams in these areas.” If you would like more details about classes, venues and prices call 01765 620374 or email Again, be sure to call or email to book a space first as classes are very popular and could be full. There’s also a FREE Sambarca session for every new customer quoting: FAMILIES MAG when booking for the term.

All-Girls’ Schools: Aiming High and Exceeding Expectations

Queen Margaret’s School, Escrick takes a look at the advantages girls reap from a single sex education. During the 2012 Olympics, it wasn’t only Great Britain receiving well-deserved recognition; her accomplished female athletes also shone in the spotlight, dominating the courts, fields and water, as well as the podiums. More so than any previous Olympics, female athletes ruled the medal tables and the airwaves, showing the world their dedication and world-class athletic prowess. With over 260 female athletes representing Team GB, it’s especially interesting to note the overwhelming proportion educated in all-girls’ schools. Figures from the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) in advance of the event revealed that almost a third of independent UK girls’ schools had pupils who were hoping to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Though this number may seem high, GSA President Hillary French may have the reason why. ‘Girls’ schools don’t just present opportunities, they enable them. They create an environment where girls feel okay about putting themselves forward and taking risks; this is tremendously helpful in building confidence in young women.’ This environment, free from stereotypes, also allows each and every girl to discover what her passions are and to pursue them without the pressures faced when learning and living alongside boys, especially at this stage of life. Alison Morris, Editor of MyDaughter (the GSA’s advice website on raising girls) points to research showing that in co-educational schools, ‘boys get a disproportionate amount of attention, to the detriment of girls.’ When girls live and learn alongside other girls, they relish and thrive on opportunities to lead and learn, whether it be serving as House Prefect or Netball

team captain. Girls are especially excited by the freedom to play as hard as they work, with a wide variety of sport being an irreplaceable aspect of girls’ schools’ allround educational philosophy. Lesley Walton, chair of the GSA Sports Committee, points to the wide-ranging support systems for girls pursuing sports, noting that ‘when you look at schools which have girls competing at International level, the common denominator is the support and encouragement; girls are given the opportunity to develop in their individual sports and academic support is given to enable them to achieve at the highest level. That’s what makes the difference.’ In addition to one-to-one encouragement and support, Queen Margaret’s further empowers girls to chase their dreams by bringing in successful female athletes to act as inspiring role models. Most recently, professional squash player Jenny Duncalf chatted to QM Sport Scholars about her sporting successes before offering the girls a coaching session on how to reach the top of their game. Later this month, QM will also host the 14th Annual Junior Sports Tournament, inviting hundreds of girls from around twenty preparatory schools to spend the day honing their hockey, netball and cross country skills. In addition to these regular opportunities, QM also offers Sport Scholarships for girls keen to continue their athletic growth.

Professiona l squash p laye Duncalf ch atted to QM rJenny Sp about her sp orting succ ort Scholars esses

school life at QM, and one of the keys to developing girls who are well-rounded and well-prepared to tackle the world when they leave. Recent reports have noted that the more opportunities girls have to participate in different activities at school, the more likely they are to find that they can excel in many different areas. This all-round approach is at the heart of a QM education, which focuses on helping girls aim high and then exceed their own expectations. In addition to Sport, we also offer Academic, Art, Choral, Dance, Drama and Music scholarships.

To find out more about Queen Margaret’s, go to or visit on the next Open Day on Saturday, 9 March.

Sport is an integral part of

Families Vale of York

15 Forster Forest

Dyslexia – so what is it?

Some common myths and how to recognise it It is estimated that 1 in 10 people are affected by dyslexia. Author and campaigner Corinna Shepherd explains what dyslexia is and when parents should seek help. My interest in dyslexia and my passion to help those who struggle with it started around seven years ago. At that time my son was struggling with literacy and was reluctant to learn. At the same time I was on a workplace course, learning about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Because of what I learnt, I suspected he might be dyslexic, so I had him assessed privately by an educational psychologist. She confirmed that he was indeed mildly dyslexic. In response the school did not offer much support and advice, as they felt he was performing adequately. But I knew he was not reaching his potential and he was not happy in that learning environment. Had I not known the signs to look out for, his dyslexia might not have been picked up and he would

have been labelled an average child, who was reluctant to learn at school, along with countless others. My personal experience and interest in dyslexia led me to establish The Chilterns IDL (Dyslexia) Centre in January 2007. Since then I have completed over 2,000 hours of one-to-one assessments and tuition with children and adults, who struggle with words. Out of my work with these children, I came to realise there was little on the market to engage and inspire dyslexic children specifically with the world of words and imagination. I decided it was up to me to do something about it, so I developed the Dancing Kites Creative Learning brand with a range of interactive, illustrated books for the age range 4 to 15.

Develop your child’s skills and confidence The Little Gym is a place where children develop their co-ordination, balance, confidence, listening and social skills whilst having heaps of FUN! The Little Gym provider of the world’s leading gymnastics based programme for children aged 4 months to 12 years is available in Harrogate! Contact us now for more information on 01423 701560. The Little Gym® Harrogate • 1 Cardale Park • Harrogate • HG3 1RY 01423 701560 • • parent/child classes

16 Families

preschool/ kindergarten gymnastics

Vale of York

primary school gymnastics

holiday camps

birthday parties

So what exactly is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is often misunderstood, hard to diagnose and those affected by it often do not receive adequate support. So what is it and how does it affect children? The word dyslexia comes from the Greek, literally meaning “difficulty with words”. The condition can affect spelling and reading and many people believe that is all it is. But it can also affect individuals in other areas, such as: confusing dates and times confusing left and right difficulties getting ideas down on paper sequencing numbers and information following verbal instructions.

Also working memory is usually poor. This shows itself when new information needs to be processed effectively and quickly. While dyslexia can be viewed as a learning difficulty, it can also be seen as a gift. Some talents shared by dyslexics include the ability to think in pictures, being creative and intuitive, being good with their hands. They are often highly aware of their environment and have vivid imaginations. Children with dyslexia often have above average intelligence, yet they struggle with words and processing new information. I have regular conversations with parents about their child, who is struggling at school, yet the school says he or she is doing fine. The child is often frustrated and has poor self-esteem. He or

she might be seeking attention or not concentrating as a way of coping. By the time the parent phones me, their child is often falling further and further behind, in literacy especially, and they do not know where to turn to for help and advice. Having an assessment is a positive step towards getting the support your child needs. Rather than seeing this as a label, view it as a step towards unlocking your child’s potential.

Brought to you by

Kids’ uniform going astray? ...You need

Who is affected? Dyslexia is generally thought to affect between 8% and 15% of the population, 4% severely. So, in a class of 30 children, 3 are likely to have dyslexic tendencies, maybe mild or possibly severe. So everyone is likely to know at least one child or adult who is dyslexic. Children with dyslexic tendencies are likely to be resistant to traditional teaching methods and benefit from a one-to-one, multi-sensory, creative learning environment. Dyslexia often runs in families, with a close relative struggling with it too. Most are born with it and do not grow out of it, though learn to cope with it. It is not directly linked to intelligence. Children and adults with other learning difficulties or sensory disabilities may have dyslexic difficulties also.

How to recognise dyslexia

The easy one-snap way to label clothing! PUSH—CLICK— SNAPPED ON! Call: (01482) 638355

Keep tabs on their clothes...

Brought to you by

More information can be found on my website at www.dancingkites. The BDA and Dyslexia Action are also good sources of information. Find them at and There is much you can pick up about your child as a parent or carer, just by sitting down with your child and a good book, appropriate to their developmental stage and interest level. Areas of difficulty to look out for include:

Kids’ uniform going astray? ...You need The easy one-snap way to label clothing! PUSH—CLICK— SNAPPED ON!

Does your child struggle with reading or spelling? Does he or she avoid picking up a book? Does the child guess at a word, looking at the whole word or just the initial letter?

Call: (01482) 638355

Keep tabs on their clothes...

Does he/she forget how to read or spell a word as soon as he/she has turned the page? Can he/she find it hard to sound out individual letters in simple 3 letter words e.g. cat, bat? Does the child find it hard to rhyme simple words? Does he/she skip little words, such as and, the? Does he/she miss out words when reading? The presence of any, most or all of them does not necessarily mean your child is dyslexic, but I would recommend further investigation if you have any concerns.

The magic of childhood begins here... “The staff's excellent knowledge of each child's individual needs ensures that all aspects of children's welfare and learning are promoted with success.” Ofsted, November 2011

We look forward to welcoming you. 01423 504543

Bankfield Pre-Prep, Harrogate Ladies’ College

Can you grow out of dyslexia? As children grow up, they learn to compensate for their difficulties, the more successful ones using their strengths to overcome their condition. Support during the formative years is vital to help overcome difficulties and unlock their potential in literacy and in other areas.


c Looking for a new

I think my child might be dyslexic. What should I do now? Speak to an educational specialist, such as your child’s teacher. I can also be contacted for a confidential chat on 07721-368978 or visit my website for the Chilterns IDL Centre at chilterns-idl-centre

For more information on my books and a mini dyslexia test visit

Baby Sensory North Yorkshire are currently taking on new franchisees to run the highly successful Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense programmes. If you fancy running your own business and enjoy working with young children why not ask for an information pack by emailing Elizabeth at You can also find more information at Families Vale of York


Gluten Sensitivity & Coeliac - is your child affected? The prevalence of Coeliac Disease has increased five-fold overall since 1974 (1). Yet testing for the condition has been plagued with difficulties and inaccuracies especially in children. Nutritionist Christine Bailey who specialises in digestive disorders and allergies in children discusses new tests available and the signs and symptoms to look out for.

18 Families

Vale of York

Coeliac Disease (CD) is one of the most common (2) lifelong diseases in both Europe and the US . Its prevalence is estimated at around 1% of the population (3). This equates to approximately 3 million Americans and 620 000 people in the UK. The problem is that it is seriously under-diagnosed especially in children. Approximately 78% of sufferers don’t realise they have the disease – in fact only 10-20% have been diagnosed (4). What is also shocking is that there has been an increase in its prevalence over the last 50 years – one study suggested CD has increased by up to 400 percent (5) (elevated Tissue Transglutaminase TTG antibodies). While classic symptoms include diarrhoea, intestinal bloating and

stomach cramps the majority of people including children do not experience any digestive symptoms making detection harder. Left untreated, it can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and other medical complications. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten, which is found in certain foods (wheat, barley and rye). It is a life long condition and requires the complete avoidance of all foods and drinks containing gluten. If your child has coeliac disease, eating gluten will cause a reaction in their bodies that damages or destroys the villi (small projections in the intestines that help us absorb nutrients). When this occurs, the surface of the small intestine is flattened and a child’s body can’t absorb vitamins and nutrients from food. You’re not necessarily born with coeliac disease, although the condition is linked to certain genetic markers there is normally an environmental trigger that causes the immune system to lose tolerance to gluten. For children it can be particularly difficult to diagnose – classic blood tests are accurate only when the villi are severely damaged and in children this may not have occurred. However if left undiagnosed it can lead to development of other autoimmune conditions as well as affecting the growth and development and overall health later in life. If there is a family history of autoimmune conditions and / or coeliac disease then it is recommended you get your child tested. Until recently this would involve a standard blood test from the GP to look for a range of antibodies. If positive, an Intestinal biopsy is often performed. The trouble is these are not particularly accurate(6) and blood tests can be distressing for children. Thankfully there are new private laboratory tests, involving saliva collection. This is not only sensitive and accurate but also easier to undertake for young children. There are also more comprehensive blood tests, which are available privately for older children. Even if your child does not appear to be showing any symptoms, if you have a family history of the coeliac disease it is recommended you get your children tested for the genetic markers (HLA DQ2/8). This blood test will identify whether or not your child has the genetic markers that make it more likely they will develop the disease if they continue to eat gluten. Ask your practitioner or qualified nutritionist for the most appropriate tests for your family.

case study

Disease Signs and Symptoms

Because symptoms in children are often subtle and mimic other intestinal diseases, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or lactose intolerance, the disease is often difficult to diagnose. Some children experience symptoms the first time they are exposed to gluten, while others develop symptoms later in life. Typical symptoms include: • Diarrhoea, constipation • Abdominal pain • Poor appetite • A bloated or painful belly, gas, flatulence • Weight loss or difficulty gaining weight These symptoms can begin during infancy (between 6 and 24 months), after the child begins to eat gluten-containing foods. Additional symptoms, which may develop later, include: • Slowed growth, failure to thrive • Iron deficiency anaemia, fatigue, low energy • Skin rash – dermatitis herpetiformis • Tooth enamel changes • Bone thinning • Joint aches and pains • Headaches • Mouth ulcers • Mood changes, depression • Delay in menstruation If your child is diagnosed with coeliac disease it is important they receive nutritional advice to help with planning a gluten free diet, ensuring they are optimally nourished and also to ensure their gut heals. In many cases nutritional supplements will be recommended. While there are obvious sources of gluten such as breads, pastas, flours, cereals, cakes and biscuits, it is often used as an ingredient in many favourite foods such as fish fingers, sausages, gravies, sauces and soy sauce. Working with a qualified nutritionist can help you plan a healthy gluten free diet. However in some cases simply removing gluten may not be sufficient as many children with Coeliac Disease also react to other foods such as dairy so additional testing and support may be needed.

For further information about testing, nutritional support, cookery days and recipes contact Christine Bailey References available online at

Coeliac disease can take a long time to diagnose as Liz Hutchison found out when her eight year old daughter Emma began to complain of stomach pains. “Emma was struck with sudden stomach pain towards the end of 2011,” says Liz, “and it was almost a year to the day that we finally got a diagnosis of coeliac disease.” “Out of the blue she began to get severe stomach pain, her heartbeat was raised, she was clammy and showed all the outward appearance of having a panic attack. The pain was Liz bad enough to make her scream but the episodes only lasted for around 10 -15 minutes when she would return to normal. After we’d had around three or four similar episodes, and visited the out of hours doctor - once we dashed there so severe was the pain - I became convinced she had appendicitis but nothing pointed towards that being the cause. “Soon Emma was given medicine to quell what was thought to be acid reflux, first Gaviscon and then Renitadine which seemed to do the trick. We had no indication that Emma might have coeliac disease at this point because, believe it or not, her symptoms were so mild! Often there is diarrhoea, a lack of energy and poor growth but Emma was growing well and nothing gave the doctors at York Hospital cause to think it was anything other than ‘undiagnosed stomach pain’ which is very common in children. “By the time Emma was due to start school again in September I began to think she was experiencing anxiety as still her symptoms persisted; the same clammy panicky feeling together with the pain. Emma described it feeling as though she was having a heart attack. At a routine hospital visit in October we first heard mention of coeliac disease although it was suggested more as something to eliminate from the list of potential causes rather than believing it was likely. “Scans showed everything was normal, despite me beginning to fear the very worst. Finally a blood test, which was quite traumatic in itself, revealed Emma had antibodies in her blood which suggested coeliac disease and that a biopsy would be needed. “I had such mixed feelings at this point,” says Liz. “ On one hand no-one wants a child with a diagnosed illness but in a way I was relieved that we had an identifiable reason why Emma was ill and that we could do something to help her at last. She’d begun refusing food, believing it was making her ill and I was starting to worry about that too. “We were told that once the biopsy had been done we’d know immediately if Emma had coeliac disease. The tests revealed her villi in her stomach were smooth which meant they weren’t absorbing the goodness

& Emma Hutchis on

from her food. It was hard to process the information as Emma was still coming round from the anaesthetic but such a relief that we didn’t have to wait a minute longer to find out. “From then on it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind,”says Liz. “We left with some dietary information but I spent a couple of weeks feeling shell-shocked. A good friend’s daughter has the disease so I turned to him for help and gradually I’ve been learning what Emma can and can’t have. Her diet is rather limited as she’s quite a fussy eater but we’re working on it and introducing new things as we go along. “We keep Emma’s food away from the rest of the family’s food and she has her own toaster, board and preparation area to avoid cross-contamination. The first meal I served up went wrong because I contaminated it by mixing up serving spoons but I’m now used to serving her food first and taking extra care. Food labelling isn’t as good as it could be but I take my Coeliac Society Food & Drink ‘Bible’ shopping with me and I have been known to Facebook a coeliacrelated question in the middle of Tesco! That first trip shopping took three hours but it’s getting easier. We have some foods on prescription such as bread, pasta and pizza bases where Emma can have a set number of units a month because coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition, not an allergy. We have a lovely hamper of treats from Gluten Free Direct for Emma to try out too. “School has been very understanding - if she wants a school dinner they will accommodate her and I’ve printed off leaflets for her to give to her friends’ parents if she goes for tea or to play. “Eating out is something we’re still learning to deal with. Pizza Hut and Giraffe were so helpful despite my bursting into tears at the frustration of it all and the realisation that this is not just a passing phase but is for the whole of Emma’s life. But luckily for her we’ve found out what’s wrong and we’re addressing it - and she’s SO much better. We’ve had only one attack since her diagnosis and Emma now tells me her tummy feels ‘happy’ now!

Families Vale of York


ask the

Clare Spencer is a local GP with experience in obstetrics and gynaecology. She lives near Harrogate with her husband and 3 children. Clare juggles life working part time and being mum.



astroenteritis The vomiting bugs have been upon us again this winter and most

children vomit at some time or other. I’m concentrating on gastroenteritis – infection of the gut – as a cause of vomiting and diarrhoea. It generally lasts for 1-2 days and is not usually a sign of anything serious. There are many other causes of vomiting. Persistent vomiting can be a sign of something more significant. You should speak to a doctor if there is any doubt about the cause. In gastroenteritis there is vomiting and diarrhoea. There may be crampy tummy pains, general achiness and a raised temperature.

Gastroenteritis can be caused by viruses – you may have heard of rotavirus and norovirus on the news as two of the common ones. Viruses are passed easily from person to person as the virus can be on a person’s hands after going to the loo. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by ‘food poisoning’ where infected food is eaten. Campylobacter, Salmonella and Escherichia coli (usually shortened to E. coli) are common ones. Another group of microbes called parasites can also be a cause of food poisoning.


The worry with vomiting (and diarrhoea) is that the child can become dehydrated – and babies can become dehydrated more quickly than older children. Signs to look out for are: • floppiness, irritability and lethargy • not the usual wet nappies, or passing less urine in older children • crying without producing tears • dry mouth. Symptoms of severe dehydration in children include: drowsiness, pale or mottled skin, cold hands or feet, very few wet nappies, fast (but often shallow) breathing. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and immediate medical attention is needed.

what to do at home • Keeping them rehydrated is the priority • Encourage fluids – even if your child has been sick. They may prefer little and often. If your child is at risk of becoming dehydrated, you may be advised to give oral rehydration fluids. They are a special powder that you make up into a drink, which contains sugar and salts in specific amounts to help replace the water and salts lost through vomiting and diarrhoea. Babies and older children can have them, although the amount can vary. Discuss this with the pharmacist or doctor. • Allow them to rest after a vomit. They may want to sleep and that is fine. Be prepared for more vomit though, and check on them frequently • If your baby is breastfed, you should continue to breast feed. • Bottle fed babies can be fed with their normal feeds if they will take it. • If your child is not dehydrated, or if it has been corrected, they can have a normal diet. If they don’t want to eat though, that is fine as drinks are the most important. • Medication is not usually needed. Paracetamol can be used to keep the temperature down • If it’s an older child who vomits, it may not help to give them milk, milk products or fatty foods for a couple of days because these are not well absorbed if the stomach is inflamed because of the vomiting.

when to seek medical advice

I think it is important to use your common sense. If you child is vomiting, but not unwell, it may be OK to just look after them at home, watching out for dehydration and encouraging fluids. You should see a doctor if the temperature is very high, if your child is not keeping down any fluids or is becoming dehydrated. Blood in the diarrhoea or vomit can be potentially serious and a sign that there may be something more significant going on. See a doctor if there are underlying medical conditions, particularly diabetes or if there are other concerns about a child. Finally it is important to speak to a doctor if symptoms are not settling and remember that gastroenteritis can be easily passed from person to person. Take extra care with hand washing and keep the disinfectants handy!

20Families 20 Families Vale Vale ofof York York

Book Events For Children HARROGATE Waterstones Harrogate 9th March, Tony Frais. Meet the author of a book about a very brave little spider that does incredible things. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity and you may even be lucky enough to meet Stanley himself! 30th March, Christine Savage. Meet the author of the magical tales of a very special carpet. This is the perfect book for children aged 8-12.

YORK 19th-24th March, York Literature Festival. Children’s events at various venues across the city. Including Parent & baby Bookclubs, Nature Poems for kids & families and The Yo Ho Ho Show. See for more info.

LEEDS West Yorkshire Playhouse 9th-30th March, Refugee Boy. Adapted from the book by Benjamin Zephaniah. The Carriageworks, Leeds 30th March, Peter and the Wolf. Prokofiev’s tale retold with puppetry and music.


what’s on

Dora The Explorer LIVE!

in mar/apr‘13

We’ve ordered everything according to start date – be sure to look out for all the events which run for several weeks / weekends too. And be sure to check before you set off. These were correct as we went to print but may have changed.

things to do, places to go EVERY DAY ANIMAL WORLD AT TOO HOOTS Lots of animals to see, lambs to feed at set times, toys to play on, picnic area, tearoom & garden centre. FREE Easter trail and Easter Egg - see Easter listing dates. Hirst Road, Carlton, Near Goole, DN14 9PX 01405 862854 Throughout the Easter Holidays

children’s sessions

HARROGATE CLIMBING CENTRE Sessions available for children ages 5 upwards throughout the Easter holidays, with morning & afternoon Little Monkeys (5-6 year olds) & RockIts (7-11 year olds) sessions available to book.

9 & 10 MAR MOTHER’S DAY LAVENDER BAGS EAST RIDDLESDEN HALL Make your mum a beautiful smelling gift using herbs from the garden, complete with a handmade label -and have tea afterwards! Free event. 10 MAR MUMS GO FREE RIPLEY CASTLE In honour of Mother’s Day, take your mum for free.

10 MAR CREATIVE COASTERS BRIMHAM R OCKS Decorate a coaster for mum - who will get free entry! 15 - 24 MAR SCIENCE ON SHOW HARLOW CARR Invention and discovery trail to celebrate National Science and Engineering Week. 16 MAR 12PM - 3.30PM FEED AND DRAW THE ANIMALS ROBERT FULLER GALLERY, THIXENDALE Pet piglets, feed newborn lambs and handle soft fluffy chicks, ducklings and goslings whilst you learn all about how they are cared for. Meanwhile inside the gallery see Robert E Fuller’s stunning paintings of even wilder animals. Pencils and paper will be available for young artists who feel inspired. The event is free but places are limited so call 01759 368355 or visit to reserve a place.

23 MAR 1.30 - 3.30 NCT NEARLY NEW SALE ROSSETT SCHOOL SPORTS HALL 23 & 24 MAR ROBOTS LIVE NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM Part of National Science and Engineering week. 23 - 24 MAR SLIMY SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM FOR ENGLAND Celebrating National Science and Engineering Week, join in with explosive wacky experiments from fizzing potions and gooey slimemaking to tornado races. Family fun throughout the day. 25 MAR - 12 APR School’s Out: Easter Half Term Fun NATIONAL COAL MINING MUSEUM FOR ENGLAND A host of free art and craft sessions and fun nature-themed activities across the Museum.

Search for the City of Lost Toys heads to the Barbican Theatre,York and Hull New Theatre this spring. Everyone’s favourite explorer is embarking on a LIVE musical adventure across the UK! In Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer LIVE! Search for the City of Lost Toys, Dora has lost her teddy bear Osito, and the search is on to retrieve him! With the help of the audience, Map, Backpack, Boots, Diego and their courageous friends, Dora uses her map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to successfully pass through the number pyramid and the mixed-up jungle to reach the City of Lost Toys. But watch out - you never know what that sneaky fox Swiper might be up to along the way! Dora the Explorer fans will delight in this two act, song and dance spectacular that invites them to think, sing and play along. To book tickets visit

16-18 APR



16 & 17 MAR SCIENCE & ENGINEERING WEEK EUREKA! A playful approach exploring the wonders of Geomag and K’Nex 23 MAR TABLE TOTS SALE SOUTH HUNSLEY SPORTS CENTRE, HULL

23 MAR - 7 APR


ANIMAL WORLD AT TOO HOOTS Follow the free trail and spot the animals around Animal World with a free egg for all participants. You can also feed the lambs at set times - call ahead to find out. Hirst Road, Carlton, Near Goole, DN14 9PX 01405 862854 Families Vale of York


28 MAR - 14 APR ROBIN HOOD EUREKA! Test your ability to survive outlaw life in Sherwood Forest. www. 28 MAR - 14 APR ROBIN HOOD EUREKA! Test your ability to survive outlaw life in Sherwood Forest. 28 MAR & 25 APR CHILDREN’S STORYTIME HARLOW CARR Suitable for under 5s www.rhs. 29 & 30 MAR EASTER TRAIL BRIMHAM ROCKS Hunt for giant Easter Eggs hidden around the rocks. £2 per child.

Easter Classes

Easter and activities at the A funthemed andgames educational tennis following venues during the Easter holidays: play and skills programme for HARROGATE Kidzplay partyfrom room 2 years children Wednesday 3rd April, Tuesday 9th

29 - 31 MAR EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA THE FARMER’S CART Great Easter Egg Hunt, Chicken Flappin’, egg painting and other activities, 29-31 MAR 11am–4pm School Holiday Fun – Golden Egg Hunt FOUNTAINS ABBEY Team up with your family and friends for a challenging treasure hunt.

April, 10am-10.45am (2-3 year olds), 10.45am-11.30am (3.5 & 4 year olds) E FRE Ripley Town L Hall/Ripley Tennis Court A I R T SSO9th N April 1.00-2.30pm (5-8 year olds) Tuesday LE YORK The Poppleton Centre, Upper Poppleton 29 MAR - 1 APR Tuesday 2nd April, Wednesday 3rd April 9.15Classes 10am (2- 4across year olds) EGG DECORATING Harrogate, Wetherby & York BENINGBROUGH HALL & Roko Health Club GARDENS Wednesday 10th April 10am-10.45am (2-3 NEW CLASSES COMING Decorate an egg and enter year olds) & 10.45am-11.30am  (3.5 & 4 year TO into the competition for prizes olds)BOROUGHBRIDGE FROM MARCH (£1 per egg/entry) www. For information Caroline Buncall (Contact Caroline for call details of the school age classes at Poppleton Tennis Club and on 07843 342 662 • Wigginton Tennis Club)  29 MAR - 1 APR BOROUGHBRIDGE EASTER TRAILS & Contact Caroline for further details of the SPRINGTIME CRAFTS Easter classes at Treasure Island soft play EAST RIDDLESDEN HALL centre £6 per class. Book more than one class per 29 MAR - 1 APR 10am-4pm child -10% discount. School age classes Castle Howard Easter in Harrogate (5-8 year olds) £10. Kidzplay Fair & Lamb National classes in Harrogate and classes at Treasure CASTLE HOWARD Island in Boroughbridge also include free soft Traditional Easter fair with play area afterwards. vintage rides, sweet stall, 07843342662 face painters and Molly the Rabbit. Easter trail and new for

22 Families

Vale of York

2013 the’Lamb National’ -an entertaining and thrilling display of racing sheep! 29 MAR - 14 APR EASTER AT HAREWOOD: EGGS SEEDS & BUDS HAREWOOD HOUSE Family fun celebrating the spring season. 29 MAR - 14 APR EASTER FAMILY TRAIL NUNNINGTON HALL Enthralling trail with Easter egg prize. 29 MAR - 14 APR EASTER 2013 HARDCASTLE CRAGS Cadbury Easter Egg Trail with lots of fun Easter crafts. 29 MAR - 14 APR RAILWAY DETECTIVES NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM Easter egg detective hunting to find the golden egg. 30 MAR

FREYA RABBIT TREASURES Visit Freya Rabbit and enter the colouring competition to win Sylvanian toys. 30 MAR - 14 APR EASTER HOLIDAY FUN TREASURER’S HOUSE, YORK Spot bunnies and solve clues for a chocolate treat. 31 MAR & 1 APR EASTER FUN DAYS NEWBY HALL & GARDENS 31 MARCH & 1 APR CADBURY EASTER FUN HUNT FOUNTAINS ABBEY Egg hunt, face painting, games and eggs! Trail costs £2 31 MAR & 1 APR EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA RIPLEY CASTLE

31 MAR & 1 APR BUNNIES, DUCKS & CHICKS NUNNINGTON HALL The Easter Bunny makes a special visit. Feed a lamb, see new born chicks and real-life bunnies. 31 MAR - 5 APR RIDE THE ZIP WIRE MAGNA For a different kind of Easter! 2 - 14 APR ANIMAL TRACKS FOUNTAINS ABBEY Tick off one of 50 things by picking up a trail and tracking the wild animals that can be found in the estate. Wild craft activities too. 1 APR EASTER EGG EGGSPLOITS FOUNTAINS ABBEY Decorate your hard boiled eggs for an egg & spoon race & egg rolling competitions. 3 & 10 APR LLAMA ROCK WALKS BRIMHAM ROCKS Take a llama for a sroll! 4 APR FUNKY FELTING BRIMHAM ROCKS 6 APR FAMILY NATURE WALK TRACKING WILD ANIMALS FOUNTAINS ABBEY Uncover evidence of all creatures great and small on the estate. 6 APR TABLE TOTS SALE KING JAMES SCHOOL, KNARESBOROUGH 9 - 11 APR DEN BUILDING FOUNTAINS ABBEY Take along your best den building team to create a shelter with branches and leaves.



11 APR 1PM ART-RAGEOUS ADVENTURE BRIMHAM ROCKS Get creative outdoors. 12,13,14, 20 & 21 April Fri 6pm-9pm, Sat 10am6pm, Sun 11am-5pm York Open Studios 2013 VENUES ACROSS YORK Spend a weekend discovering the creative side of historic York with a great chance to pick up a studio map, pop on your walking shoes and seek out a host of hidden spaces in the heart of the city.


21 APR 11AM - 2PM CLIFFE SCARECROW FESTIVAL Join in the fun and games, and hunt down the spectacular scarecrows hidden around the village! Crafts, games, refreshments and competitions to make it an enjoyable family day out! Start point: Main Street, Cliffe, Near Selby. 28 APRIL FAMILY DAY WETHERBY RACES 4, 5 ,6 MAY FOUNTAINS ABBEY GET MEDIEVAL Take in the sights and smells of a 15th century encampment in the Abbey ruins with Rosa Mundi Living History.



beta mum

“Wake up Mum - the dog’s done two poos. On the rug.”

Given a list of ways to be woken up at 6.30am, that’s fairly low on the list. Being woken at 6.30am isn’t a favourite by any method, but poo news definitely gives it an edge I could live without. In this germ-addled season, the dog has had gastro-enteritis. The rug is washable but this involves extracting it from underneath several items of furniture, including a chest/coffee table crammed with our combined and not inconsiderable CD collection. I heave the chest across the room and feel something ping in my shoulder. Undaunted, I use my good arm to gather up the rug, from which I’ve removed the worst, and commence cramming it into the washing machine. Because it is technically ever so slightly too big, this is proper sweaty effort which requires a particular technique of kneeling on the floor and feeding the heavy fabric in, bit by bit, bracing myself against the loo in order to get sufficient leverage to fight the reluctant washing machine opening. This, of course, is made even more difficult by the very fact that the rug is covered in dog poo and I’m trying not to put my hand in it. I finally succeed in fitting a quart into a pint pot and pause for a moment, still kneeling on the floor, catching my breath. My relief is short-lived however, as one of my boys barges energetically into the room, trapping my upturned toes between cold vinyl floor and the bottom of the door. Once I have decontaminated myself, the floor and the dog, I limp back upstairs with a cuppa for my partner. He opens one eye, sleepily, and mutters, ‘Is something going on?’ ‘Well, yes, darling, but it’s all dealt with.’ No, I haven’t gone insane or become the surrendered wife. I have, my fellow mums, an Ulterior Motive. My boyfriend’s not big on DIY. I can’t help thinking this is a disadvantage in a man who has just been offered a place to do a degree in 3D Contemporary Craft, i.e., making things using tools, and I’m always happy to

help, so I offer to give him some practice with the hammer drill. The heavy floor length living room drapes have pulled the curtain pole brackets partly out of the wall and I fear it’s all about to fall onto someone’s head. He chunters like a wasp caught in a glass and I start describing the dog poo I’ve just scraped off the rug. Like all blokes, he chooses to tackle the DIY job by using whatever bit is currently in the drill, while standing on a wobbly chair, wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and an extraordinarily angry expression. I try to help by making useful suggestions and hear words I haven’t heard since I last gave birth (although I must admit it was me saying them that time). Finally, the curtain pole is fixed. Boyfriend collapses on the sofa, spent with the unaccustomed effort, while I vacuum up the drill dust, pull the sodden rug out of the washing machine and ignore the pain in my shoulder as I lug it onto the garden fence to dry. Eventually, twilight descends. I’ve got the rug dry and put it back down, dragging CD chest back into place without actually slipping a disc. I draw the curtains against the chilly night air and pop to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. When I return, my son has made himself cosy in front of the curtains, on a floor cushion, and is playing Minecraft on the laptop and absentmindedly patting the dog. So absorbed is he in his game, he fails to notice that he has actually sat ON the curtains, pulling the curtain pole bracket out of the wall. Again. He has further failed to notice that the dog was not being friendly. The dog was asking to be let out of the French doors and, being ignored, he has deposited the contents of his diseased guts onto the newly-washed rug. Families Vale of York


24 Families

Vale of York

Families Vale of York March / April 2013  
Families Vale of York March / April 2013  

families Vale of York March / April 2013