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South West

Your local what’s on guide


Nursery guide • School Open days • New Year Offers Half term activities • Living sustainably Issue 293 January/February 2020

PARKGATE HOUSE SCHOOL An independent co-educational nursery and preparatory school for children aged 2½ - 11

OPEN MORNING Saturday 29th February 2020 9.30am - 12.00pm To register please contact Registrar on 020 7350 2461 or book online at 80 Clapham Common North Side, London SW4 9SD

In this issue See page 51



















See more local news and events on:




To advertise: 020 8696 9680 | Editorial: | News: | Adverts/Artwork: Events/Diary Dates/What’s On: | Next Issue: March/April 2020  | ISSN 1354-9553. | All contents ©Families SW 2020.

New Year, P H Y S I O T H E R A P Y


S T R E N G T H  &  C O N D I T I O N I N G

W O M E N ‘ S  H E A L T H

Photos: Venture Studios

Calling all families - Wear A Hat Day needs you!

Online Pilates programmes for you to do anytime anywhere, designed and taught by our physiotherapists - experts in movement and strength – 15% off for Families SW readers with code “Families” The annual fundraising extravaganza Wear A Hat Day is coming back in 2020 – Families Magazine and Brain Tumour Research are calling on you to get involved! Wear A Hat Day 2020 takes place on Friday 27th March, at the end of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Pilates Method

Pregnancy Method

Post Natal Method

Classes working on strength, posture, flexibility and control to deliver you a solid, well rounded work out every time

A series of 9 videos designed to support you throughout your pregnancy - tailored to what is happening within your body each month

Our complete physio led Pilates rehabilitation that will take you from day one post birth to full strength

Over the last decade, this hattastic event has raised more than £1 million in support of the charity Brain Tumour Research. It has become a must-do event for many children and parents and their communities. Taking part is really easy and the charity has some great ideas on their website to help you plan and host wonderful hat-themed fundraising events. Register today to ensure you get your FREE fundraising pack in time:

Four Sides @Home online programmes are a selection of our favourite exercises and classes that you can do where ever you are. As physiotherapists our goal is to work with you to prevent injury, to rehabilitate and develop and maintain strength. We have tailored each session to help you move, feel and live stronger.

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. No family should be devasted by a brain tumour. Wear A Hat Day is a really important campaign be involved with – not only is it great fun but with your participation, it becomes a powerful symbol of hope for all affected by this disease.

Together we will find a cure.

Start your 2020 with a special workout targeted for mums The MummYTummy workout is a 45 minutes of cardio and body conditioning class created by the founder Silvia Galeazzi: Barre, Rebounding, Pre and Post Natal fitness instructor and mum herself.

Looking for 8-10 yr olds for nutrition research We are looking for 8-10-year olds to join an exciting nutrition study looking at the benefits of blueberry consumption on cardiovascular health and cognitive function. We are recruiting for the upcoming half-term holidays in February. We also hold study visits on the weekends. Briefly, the study involves: Screening session: During the screening your child will conduct a few cognitive tasks on a laptop, and we will go through any questions you have about the study. The screening session is informal and can be done at any time of the day. Study day 1: This will start in the morning and will last around 4 hours, with a break in between. We will provide breakfast. Study day 2: Exactly the same as study day 1. There is also a financial compensation of £75 upon completing the study

The MummYTummy workout is for all levels, the aim of this particular method is to gain a resilient attitude and a strong body, with focus on the tummy muscles. With the MummYTummy workout new mums can exercise with their babies. MUMS with bigger children can treat themselves with some me time. Single class £15 • Pack of 3 classes £36 • First trial free! FULHAM MUMS ONLY Monday 9:45am @Vida Studios 2, Fulham High Street SW6 3LQ MUM&BABY Monday 10:45am @Vida Studios 2, Fulham High Street SW6 3LQ

PUTNEY MUMS ONLY Tuesday 9.45am @Esquires Coffee studio 287, Putney Bridge Road SW15 2PT MUM&BABY Tuesday 10:45am @Esquires Coffee studio 287, Putney Bridge Road SW15 2PT

FULHAM BROADWAY MUM&BABY Friday 10:45am @The Move Studios 472, Fulham Road SW6 1BY

For more information please contact or call 020 7848 4162 6 Families South West • January/February 2020

Silvia 07546291546 •

New You Delicious Birthday Cakes Balham 20% discount on your first order*

Pelvic floor

Be assured to receive the most delicious celebration cakes from Birthday Cakes Balham. The artisan baker uses fresh fruits and spices instead of flavours to create a natural, authentic taste and cakes are individually decorated to your liking.

When women start to experience leakage they are often told to do their pelvic floor exercises and that’s it! However it is so important to have the right functional movements and correct exercises so you can activate your pelvic floor. Yes we can remember to lift at the traffic light or when lying down but what about when lifting heavy children, bikes, prams, sneezing, coughing or even running! It’s not always just a case of having a tight pelvic floor. Tight is not always right! What is best is a pelvic floor that works in its full range of movement from “on” to fully relaxed “off”. So a programme of RE LEASE exercises could be the best starting point in this case.

Free local delivery and accommodating special dietary requirements leaves nothing to wish for. Natural cakes from £30, picture cakes from £40, modelled cakes from £70. *discount available January and Feburary 20 and limited to one order per customer

Authentic and healthy Neapolitan cuisine in a child-friendly environment

Join one of these events:  Prosecco and Back 2 Pelvic Floor – 22 January evening with Jo Fordyce, Woman’s health physio, Laura Tilson Osteopath- incl goodie bag £17 Every Woman 6/12 week course starts Thursday 23 January online and live. Incl exercise equipment, SW12 8EW- £137. Private 1-2-1 £210

Welcome to ... A Peaceful Night’s Sleep!

Reviewed by Noemí García, one of Families roving mums “We went to Donna Margherita after spending the morning in the Battersea Art Centre, opposite in Lavender Hill: it is perfectly located! The music and the decoration takes you Special New directly to an Italian Piazza eating al Year Offer* till the end fresco, the genuine taste of Italian of February All day weekend** homemade food with the use of a wood 25% off your total bill (inc wine) and free ice cream for the fired oven. We had the degustation children. (Tues-Fri 5-7pm 20% menu with Bruschetta Napolitana, off) Quote Families Fritturina, organic bread, Ravioli, South West Pappardelle, Spaghetti and the best Zuppa ever with mussels, squid, prawns, langoustines and clams with cherries and bread. The adults loved absolutely everything! The winning dish for our 2 and 4 years old daughters were the pizzas with bear and bunny shapes and the torta caprese for desert. The only use the best organic ingredients with gluten free pasta and and can adapt everything to a smaller portions or combinations for kids and for adults.”

A Special 50% off for a telephone consultancy in January Start as you mean to go on for your child’s sleep only to those who email this 2020 with some guidance and 20 years’ experience from Lisa, a Child’s Sleep Consultant. quoting Did you know children can lose an hour’s worth of 'FamSWJan' sleep a night without a relaxed and consistent routine set in place? This can result in one night’s loss of sleep a week severely impairing their learning ability. Lisa can help implement a plan packed with tips and advice that works for both you and your family to instil a relaxed and calmer environment at bed-time.

Offering three packages: • Generic sleep plan • Telephone consultation to craft a tailored and bespoke sleep plan • Home consultation to discuss all issues face-to-face resulting in a tailored and bespoke sleep plan

183 Lavender Hill SW11 5TE Book now on 020 7228 2660 * Offer excludes 14-16th February **Saturday offer until 6pm.


January/February 2020 • Families South West 7

“Volunteering with Trinity is really flexible. If you can spare a couple of hours a week and have enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, then we would love to have you on board” says Celia Abbott, Trinity’s Retail Volunteer Manager

Learn new skills, make new friends, try something new. Why not volunteer with Royal Trinity Hospice this year?


ow are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far? Would you like to gain new your skills, meet new people and help others? Volunteering with Royal Trinity Hospice would help you tick all of those in one go. Royal Trinity Hospice is the local hospice for central and south west London, and has been so for over 125 years. Trinity’s CQC-rated outstanding care helps improve their patients’ quality of life so they can make every moment count. Through individual and group support, Trinity’s team of experts supports patients to be comfortable, active, independent, mobile and well—be it emotionally, physically, practically and spiritually—for longer. At any one time, 700 patients across parts of seven London boroughs are under Trinity's care. Hospice care is defined by how care is delivered, not where. In fact, only 20% of Trinity’s care happens inside their building on the edge of Clapham Common. The rest happens wherever patients call home, which is where most people prefer to be. Trinity’s network of 32 boutique charity shops help to raise part of the £11 million that is needed every year to keep Trinity running and to ensure its care is completely free. The shops sell quality men’s and womenswear, homeware and collectibles.

experience necessary and you can choose the Join a community of like minded volunteers tasks you wish to do and the hours you want to Trinity’s continued success relies heavily on the volunteer. For example, if you volunteer in one generosity of hundreds of volunteers, who of our shops, you could serve on the till, give up their time to keep the shops “It’s great that I sort through new donations, help running, to raise funds and to can help others and customers and create displays. support patients and their families. Volunteering make a difference through You’ll join a friendly team and it’s a great opportunity to try new opportunities are varied, volunteering with Trinity. things and meet new local so whatever your skills It has helped me to gain people of all ages and and interests there is confidence and experience backgrounds.” something for you. The that I can use in my daily life. Volunteers are at the heart of team provides all the If you’re thinking about everything Trinity does and training and support you getting involved, I’d say through volunteering you can need, plus the opportunity don’t hesitate!” make a real difference to people in to progress and take on more A Trinity volunteer your own community. The Trinity responsibility, and even the team is looking forward to welcoming chance to gain an NVQ you on board in 2020. qualification in retail if you volunteer in a shop. Trinity’s volunteer roles offer the opportunity For more information about volunteering, to make a difference in your community, learn or to register your interest: new skills and meet new people, all in a safe and supportive environment. Volunteering is • contact 020 7787 3203 great for your mental health and general • go online to wellbeing and has been found to counteract the effects of stress and anxiety, as well as volunteering-at-trinity making sure you stay active and connected to • email the local community. Celia Abbott, Trinity’s Retail Volunteer • or pop into your local Trinity shop Manager: “For many roles, there is no

8 Families South West • January/February 2020


WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF YOU THIS NEW YEAR by roving mum Melissa Reynolds

If ever there is a time to start focusing on yourself, it is after the holidays. You’ve run around and bought presents, wrapped them, entertained the relatives, cooked the food and cleaned the mess.  You deserve a break, and we have ten great ways to turn that focus on you.

1. Nothing says taking care of yourself more than treating yourself to some pampering. Everyone needs a relaxing treat like this once and a while, so why not now? Whether it’s a massage, a mani-pedi or a full day (weekend?!) at an all-inclusive spa, you owe it to yourself to unwind and feel good! Families Likes: Gina Conway ( or Spa Verta London ( for their excellent day treatment offerings. Have a bit of extra time? Make it a weekend long treat and try out the Cliveden House Spa (

2. There’s more to pampering than just relaxing your body. Don’t forget that your mind has probably worked even harder than the rest of you this holiday season. Try to work a bit more mindfulness into your everyday life. Try to keep a focused, open mind to create awareness about where you are and what you’re doing. By controlling your experience you are in the moment and not reacting to life going by around you. Families Likes: Mindful and Lovely offers several mindful classes, including those where baby and toddler are invited along. @mindfulandlovely

3. There is never a wrong time to add a bit

Flashdance out. Looking for a slower pace? Tighten up your core with some classes at

4. Even though the weather may not be at its best, do your best to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer. Whether it’s a simple walk, a longer hike or even a family bike ride, fresh air is good for both your lungs and mind. London always has an offering of outdoor activities too whether it’s a charity run, a walking tour or riding lessons, there’s something for everyone! Families Likes: A good old-fashioned walk. Try the Wandle Trail, the Thames Trail Richmond to Hampton Court, Battersea Park or RHS Wisley for starters.

5. January and February are prime months for boredom and depression to set in. What better way to offset that than taking up a new hobby? Not only does it help brighten up this hum-drum time of year but it can broaden your mind, and social circle depending on what you choose! Families Likes: Why not give a book club a try, photography lessons or even a painting or cooking class. You can always find a friend to join you, or go it alone! Give a try. With over 2500 classes to choose from, there’s something for everyone!

Belt it ou


more physical exercise to your life (unless of course you have an injury, so check with your doctor). Even if it’s getting off the bus a stop earlier, walking when you could take the car or choosing the stairs over the lift, every little bit can make a difference, and, as Elle Woods taught us, can improve your mood too! If you’re not one for company, try walking or running on your own or even a personal trainer. Group activities abound in London!

If you’re a mum, you know that a date night with your spouse, or even one with your friends, can be far between. And yet they are important, not to just keep in contact with those you don’t see often, and share interests other than being a mum, but to maintain the bond with your spouse that involves something other than your children. Pick a date each month that works and plan something special.

Families Likes: Nothing gets you moving like some 80s tunes: put the music on and kick your heels in your kitchen. Give a try and let your inner

Families Likes: Start small with maybe a dinner or a movie out. Need a bit of inspiration? Check out and join a babysitting circle to keep costs down.

10 Families South West • January/February 2020

Go outside and get some fresh air

7. Many times we are taught that we should appear to have it all together as mums, even if we don’t. The truth is, no one really does, and everyone needs help sometimes. Do something for yourself by embracing some help wherever you may find it. Maybe try a cleaning service once a week, or some grocery delivery instead of constantly running to the shops. Even a personal organizer could help you feel more organized and together.

Mindful and Lovely at Revive Balham

Families Likes: Many of the major grocery retailers do delivery. Your best bet for a cleaner is word of mouth. Mums know what works and are great with referrals.

8. Sometimes you can make yourself feel better by helping someone else feel good. Volunteering is not only good for the community it’s good for your soul. You’re giving up some previous free time to make someone’s like better and there is nothing more rewarding. Families Likes: There are endless ways to volunteer in London. It could be at your child’s school, your local church or in a Trinity Hospice shop. Check out for ideas.

9. While home is where the heart is, there’s nothing like a bit of travel to build some excitement and energy. While a week in the Maldives is exactly what I’m looking for, travel comes in many forms. It could be a train to explore Oxford or Cambridge, a weekend away, exploring the coast, a quick country hop in Europe or something further. Tailor your travel to suit what you like to do and you won’t go wrong! Families Likes: Get some great ideas from a local travel agency like, voted London’s Number 1 Travel Agent by TTG: you will pay no more than booking direct with unbiased advice.

ut with Singingmamaschoir


Finally, you know yourself better than anyone. Find that time during the day, no matter how small it is, that you reserve for just you. Your own me time. It could be spent on a nap, catching up on some reading or Netflix or just sitting in the park. The point is, it is time devoted to you, and that’s something we all need. Families Likes: Spend a bit of me time catching up on The Crown. British Royals and some historical intrigue? What could be better? No matter what you choose to do to make you more of a priority, make it something enjoyable! Everyone benefits from a happier you!

Take on a hobby like painting


January/February 2020 • Families South West 11


2 16





The horse bolts sooner than you think By Matthew Faulkner, Headmaster Parsons Green Prep


very school worth its salt will advise parents about the pleasures and perils of the internet. The message should be a clear one to all: talk to your children about their usage, agree a plan and then enforce it. But what is it like having the conversations with our children so urgently recommended to us? Children can be wily negotiators and in matters of technology they fight their corner with passion. Many are the parents who have been outgunned and outmanoeuvred by savvy and determined offspring. Technology, and social media in particular, is central to many of their lives and ground is not given lightly, especially by teenagers. They can bat you away with facts and figures, dismay and denials, emotional entreaties and hand-on-heart promises to selfmonitor.

Turning a teenager to your way of thinking is difficult but not impossible. If you are the parent of a 10-year-old, however, the advantage is yours. And this is my point here. We— the parents—hold all the power at the beginning of our children’s technological journey. The power—to decide what technology they have access to, and when and how they use it—is ours to keep or to give away. Give them a free rein early on and they will challenge any attempt to pull them up. Keep the rein tight and you stay in control, but you have to apply the stops early.

Have those e-safety conversations while you can My daughter is now 16. She has grown up in step with the internet and social media. In the infancy of the web, she was an infant. She is now almost fully grown, and the internet is likewise a sprawling adult. We have had conversations over the years about what, when and how she goes online, but it has really been a game of catch up. Just when I thought we

Access to technology should be a privilege rather than a right You do not have to buy your child a fancy phone or tablet just because they claim to need one. Only once they are travelling a lot on their own, or going to a school where it is the norm to have one, need you start to feel the pressure to provide. Until that point, they should just use yours —at the times and in the place you decide.

had a rough agreement about The Sims, along came Facebook. When I thought we saw eye to eye on Instagram, along came Snapchat, and then Whatsapp, and then Depop, and so on.


Be in total control of the device If you do find yourself handing over the hardware, make sure that multiple strings are attached to it. Make it clear that you—and not your child—are the owner of the device. Make sure you know the password, have restricted the available content and have established the times it can be used. The latter two can all be done through your broadband provider, but if you want to go further then install one of the many apps which mirror onto your phone exactly what they see on theirs. For example, gives you 360-degree control of what your child sees and does. If your child does not want to be part of this arrangement, then the answer is simple; no phone. In an ideal world, all this is achieved through conversation and negotiation As we know children are creative debaters when it comes to tech: it is easy to fall for the argument that nobody else is subject to such restrictions, that his or her conversations should remain private and so on, but you concede at your peril. If you can win the argument with a 10-year-old, you will have a much better chance with a 16-year-old. Don’t lose it. Matthew Faulkner is the new headmaster at Parsons Green Prep in Fulham.

January/February 2020 • Families South West 13

14 Families South West • January/February 2020


Burgess Hill Girls If you are looking for a friendly, empowering community for your daughter do consider Burgess Hill Girls in West Sussex. This is a top performing school for girls aged 2 to 18, with weekly, flexi and full boarding options from age 11. The school is set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds within a conservation area

in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. Close to Burgess Hill station and the M23, London is reachable in less than an hour. Why not take a look for yourselves? Their next open day is February 1st. Do book at or call 01444 241050.

"Almost non-selective and yet achieves better results than many more competitive schools.” Good Schools Guide 2019

White House number 2 in Sunday Times Top London Prep Schools Hot off the opening of their new Performing Arts Studio, The White House Prep continues to go from strength to strength with their recent recognition in “The Sunday Times Top 100 UK Prep Schools”. The school was listed at number 2 in London and number 16 for the UK. This is a fantastic achievement and a huge testament to the hard work and academic focus of the children and their teachers. What impresses most is that the children not only achieve such high levels in these national assessments but do so alongside a myriad of other interests

and commitments from music to sport to science and enterprise. In the autumn the new Studio welcomed two Prima Ballerinas from the Royal Opera House to lead workshops in Romeo and Juliet and perform a private show for the children. The children learnt to jump like Mercutio, strut like Tibault and glide like Romeo. It was extraordinary and the children were so lucky to have had the experience. Boys and girls alike are now feeling totally inspired by becoming ballerinas.

Steve McQueen Year 3 exhibition Roving mum Melissa is delighted her daughter’s school, Holy Trinity C of E Primary School in Wimbledon, is taking part of one of the most ambitious artwork displays of children in the UK on display at the Tate Britain. Created by Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, the exhibition shows year 3 students in 2018 from all different types of schools in London. They included state primaries, independent schools, faith schools, special schools, pupil referral units and home schooled children.

The class photos are designed into one large installation that shows the year 3 students at a milestone year in their development. The exhibition runs at the same time that Artangel is staging an outdoor exhibition showing London’s 33 boroughs, showing the future of the city. Each school will be told where they are in the display and will receive a copy of the photo. The exhibition runs until May 2020.


Deadline to apply for a place at a Primary School Have you applied for a place for your child at a Primary School yet? If your child turns four by 31 August 2020 he/she should be starting school in September 2020. The deadline to apply is the 15th January 2020! You must apply

even if your child attends the school’s nursery or has a brother or sister at the school. To download a copy of the council’s booklet and to apply online visit

January/February 2020 • Families South West 15

Shaftesbury Park Nursery Classes NURSERY SHOW-ROUNDS EVERY THURSDAY from 9.30am Giraffe and Zebra Classes We have 2 nursery classes: Giraffe class (2-3 year olds) and Zebra class (3-4 year olds)

Wrap-around care available 7.30am - 6pm

French lessons, Dance & Music

We offer the invaluable opportunity to learn French from an early age. We also offer dance and music taught by specialist teachers.

For further information or to book a place for open mornings please contact the school: T: 020 7 228 3652 E: 16 Families South West • January/February 2020


The Growth of Educational Mapping Have you heard of the term Educational Mapping?  This is increasingly used amongst London parents facing fierce competition for limited school places for children.  Navigating the maze of options arguably starts for some before their child is actually born with oversubscribed nursery schools requiring registration from birth. Many parents recognise the process of ‘mapping out’ a child’s educational journey allows an ‘optimal’ pathway to achieve best school placements... Early nursery choice ensures a child is both happy and motivated to confront early admission challenges at Reception age, thus gaining entry into increasingly ‘selective’ Prep schools. Likewise, careful plotting of ‘best’ Prep schools provides parents with the reassurance that children will be prepared and equipped with skills to succeed in competitive admissions that characterise oversubscribed Senior schools.

Identifying and plotting key schools on a child’s bespoke map is important but increasingly, careful mapping extends to the pathways or routes between each flag on the larger map. Yellowbird Education recognise that whilst good schools are preparing and getting pupils ready for examinations, parents are increasingly looking to supplement school education to ensure the next destination on their child’s map is actually reached.

Busy Sinclair House School! We caught up with Sinclair House who told Families about recent activities. 

Detailed scheduling extends into long school holidays with education workshops, exam preparation and tuition all aimed at preparing children to reach the next stage. The Yellowbird Team further supports families by mapping which schools are available for their child, when best to attend oversubscribed open days and understanding admission processes for individual schools. Undoubtedly educational mapping

is time consuming, but if done well, it is a valuable investment to ensure a successful journey for your child.

• The pastoral care programme is integral to the school culture at Sinclair House, and the school works hard to encourage openness and honesty across the SHS community. Pupils are encouraged to explore different ways of articulating their feelings whether talking to a designated “school listener” or leaving a note in the private “Worry Box.”

• The pupils took part in a range of diverse activities as part of World Mental Health Day including breathing exercises and mindfulness workshops. From Key Stage 2, pupils can opt to do mindfulness sessions in their weekly break times so that children who need a quiet moment can benefit from reflective time.

Yellowbird Education and holiday workshops

• The school celebrated SHS “STEM Week,” designed to encourage children to explore the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in new and engaging ways. Pupils participated in a range of different activities, including coding and robotics workshops, designing and building models of their “perfect

playground,” creating a cupcake periodic table and dressing up as their favourite famous STEM figures. A particular highlight were the Animal Adaptations Science workshops, where the children were braver than the teachers in getting up close to the animals and insects!


January/February 2020 • Families South West 17

‘e pupils’ attitudes to learning are excellent. ey have extremely well-developed work habits and a positive approach to learning.’ ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) Parsons Green Prep 1 Fulham Park Road London SW6 4LJ T: 020 7610 8085 E:

18 Families South West • January/February 2020


January/February 2020 • Families South West 19

School Open Days


SW3 and SW7 The Hampshire School, 3-11y, B&G. Open mornings 30 Jan and 12 Mar. 020 7352 7077 www.thehampshireschoolchelsea. St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Nur-11y, B&G. Open 27 Feb. 020 75892438

SW4 Parkgate House School, B&G 2.511y. Open Morning 29 Feb 9.30am12pm. Register/book via 020 7350 2461 or Eaton House, 4+y, B&G. • Eaton House The Manor now has Open Days for Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School on most Tuesdays during term time: 21 Jan, 28 Jan, 4 Feb, 11 Feb, 25 Feb, 3 Mar, 10 Mar and 17 Mar • Eaton House The Manor Boys’ School on most Wednesdays during term time: 22 Jan, 29 Jan, 5 Feb, 12 Feb, 26 Feb, 4 Mar, 11 Mar and 18 Mar. Heads and senior staff will be on hand to greet visitors and conduct tours, and refreshments will be provided. Book on or contact Head of Admissions, Sam Feilding 0203 917 5050 or

SW6 Parson’s Green Prep, 4-11y, B&G. 020 7610 8085 Sinclair House, 2-11y, B&G. Open 12/3 at 10am 020 7736 9182 Register on ndays L’Ecole des Petits, 3-6y, B&G. Visits are by appointment only. 020 7371 8350 St Thomas Of Canterbury Primary, Nur-11y, B&G, Catholic. 4 Feb at 2pm and 10 Feb at 6pm. Register on 020 7385 8165

Hampshire School Chelsea

SW7 Lycée Français, 3-18y, B&G. Various locations open mornings either 7 (Fulham), 9 (S Ken), 10 (Ealing), 11 (S Ken) or evening 13 Jan (Clapham).

SW11 Shaftesbury Park Primary, B&G, Nur-Y6. Bilingual and International Primary Curriculum. Show-rounds every Thurs 9.30am. 020 7228 3652 www.shaftesburypark.wandsworth. L’ecole de Battersea, 3-11, B&G. Visits by appointment 020 7371 8350 Dolphin, 2.5-11y. B&G. Open Mornings Thursday by appointment. 020 7924 3472 Belleville Primary, 4-11y, B&G. Weekly Thursday tours and by appointment. To book: or 020 7228 6727

SW12 The White House Prep, 2.5-11y B&G and Woodentops Nurseries SW4 and SW12. Babies from 6m. and

20 Families South West • January/February 2020

Hornsby House, Recep -11y, open morning 12 Mar 9am, or individual visits. 020 8673 7573 Ravenstone Primary, Recep-11y, B&G. Open 9am on 7 Jan, 27 Feb and 26 Mar. 020 8673 0594

The Study Wimbledon, 4-11y G. 14 Mar 9.30-12pm 020 8947 6969 Wimbledon Common Prep, 4-7y, B. Open 9.15-10.45 22 Jan, book on website. 020 8946 1001



Granard Primary, 3-11y, B&G. Open 9 Jan. 020 8788 3606

SW15 and SW20 Hall School Wimbledon, 4-16y, B&G. Open Days: 6 Feb 5.30pm and 7 March 9.30am.

SW17 The Kindergartens. SW17: Crescent I and Crescent II, and SW12: Crescent III. Visits by appointment on 01622 833331

SW18 The Roche, 2-11y, B&G. Open mornings 22 Jan & 28 Feb. 020 8877 0823


The Rowans, 3-7y, B&G. Weekly show-rounds. 020 8946 8220

Outside London Hawthorn’s, Surrey, 2-13y, B&G. Open mornings 7/2 and 12/3 after booking or by individual appt on: 01883 743048 Burgess Hill Girls, 2.5-18y. Nur: boys to age 4y. Open day 1st Feb. King Edward’s School Bath, 3-18y, B&G. Open Mornings: Pre-prep and Nur 26 Feb; Junior 27 Feb . Register via or call 01225 820399 Paragon, 3-11y, B&G. Open 27 Feb 9.30-11.30 or contact for tours. 01225 310837 Kingswood Prep Bath, 9m-18y, B&G.

January/February 2020 • Families South West 21

How to li sustainably TA K E I N S P I R AT I O N F R O M O U R Roving Mu m Anna Para does this:

To avoid wasting food:

Check out to find your local Zero Waste shops, plastic free cosmetics shops, second hand electronics, bakeries and markets. Zero waste shops we love include BYO in Tooting market and Streatham, Source and Hetu in Battersea and Sustenance in Brixton

Roving Mu m Jessica Jones does this:

I must say I’m not brilliant with sustainability, but what I’ve tried to do is to try a few changes at a time. Otherwise it gets too overwhelming. This is what I started with. These simple changes actually saved us a few pounds too! We use brown packing paper instead of wrapping paper. It started at Christmas but has carried on for birthdays too. Sometimes we’ll add a piece of ribbon for colour, or sometimes the children will add a personalised drawing. Not only is it recyclable, unlike the majority of wrapping paper, but it’s far cheaper too! I now carry a reusable coffee cup in the changing bag—many coffee shops offer small discounts when using your own, Costa, Starbucks, Pret, as it saves them using a disposable cup.

Roving Mu m Daniela Hale does this:

We slowly changed our shopping habits - We use bars of soap or refills instead of buying new bottles every time - We use reusable shopping bags including the new fruit & veg bags made of netting material that you can now buy from most supermarkets as they are (finally) doing away with the plastic ones. - We often make our own bread to save on plastic wrapping (plus it tastes better!)

Roving Mu m Sa m Davison does this:

Reuse and Recycle

As a mum of two I’ve built up a lot of clothes, toys and books over the years and had to give outgrown items to charity shops or to friends. As the years have gone by I realised how important this was and have tried to make a point of swapping or buying second hand off eBay (they have some amazing bundles if you have Fireman Sam, Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol fans!).

we stew and freeze over ripe fruits in ice cube trays to use with morning porridge/muesli/granola etc. We stew and freeze over ripe veggies in ice cube trays to use to add flavour for pasta sauces. To save paper Cut up or rip any papers/colourful advertising leaflets into strips and fill empty cardboard tissue box, it will provide hours of fun. To use less chemicals I use white vinegar for conditioning in laundry. Using inexpensive distilled white vinegar in laundry will whiten, brighten, reduce odour and soften clothes without harsh chemicals

Roving Mu m Negin Malik does this:

Reduce Reuse and Recycle

As a family we’re doing our best to infuse sustainability into our everyday lives. My love for slow fashion, ethical trade, cruelty free products and mindful living has introduced me to amazing local independent brands. Bloggers and brands such as and @laurasimpleliving are founded by women, mums and entrepreneurs, who work hard to ensure accessible sustainable lifestyles for families with the idea that living consciously doesn’t have to be boring, tiresome or extreme. They have created a platform for the modern family with an eye for quality over quantity.

Roving Mu m Irene Bausas does this:

We use cloth nappies and wipes

I am using cloth nappies with my second one as I felt bad thinking about where our waste ends up. It was quite overwhelming doing the research and finally taking the plunge. There are Facebook groups for cloth nappy users. I also met a lady through the group who became my mentor. It was useful to chat with someone who knows more about it. There’s also the Nappy Lady. You can contact her for an initial free assessment and she’ll make recommendations based on your lifestyle/needs. I am using Little Gubbins cloth wipes (available via Amazon). Reducing waste at birthday parties Re-usable party kits ( is a growing movement, run by volunteers. Party kits usually contain reusable plastic plates and cups good for about 30 children. If there’s none in your area, consider starting one for your community/school. The amount of rubbish we generate after every party is enormous. Parties are a great time to teach the children about sustainability and what we can all do to help reduce waste.

Roving Mu m Melissa Reynolds does this:

I used to be a big consumer of plastic snack bags

One day I found great patterned, reusable cloth ones! My daughter loved having something funky with her snack in it and it could be used again and again and washed if the snack left a stain or smell. I admit I do still use some plastic but also love the reusable ones too! 22 Families South West • January/February 2020

Stop the waste at parties! Order these lovely bamboo re-usable tableware from or

ve more in London? TEAM OF ROVING MUMS... Roving Mu m Sofia Schmidt does this:

We recently opted for a local countryside holiday rather than flying abroad It felt good to know that a one-off travel decision to stay local can have as big an impact as many months of small, daily sustainability efforts. Living in the city, we rarely get the chance to show our kids where their food comes from so this was also a unique chance to let them see the chickens that laid the eggs we had for breakfast (the restaurant was garden-to-table). It opened our eyes to the impact our consumption choices have and inspired us to try to cook and eat more local and seasonal food. We went car-free. Did you know that on an individual impact basis, it’s one of the biggest contributions we can make? Our family hasn’t owned a car for 8 years and haven’t looked back! We do depend on Uber/Gett/Kapten and use a combination of Zip Car and Blue City for longer or pre-planned drives. Weekend car travel takes a bit of forward planning, but we think not owning a car is a worthwhile trade off since we only use a car once or twice month. Not only is it greener but we estimate it saves us net £2000-£2500 per year vs owning a car.

These are some of the plastic free products we use at home. I am currently learning to make my own oat or almond milk and make my own cleaning products with essential oils Pascale Gravell, Editor

Roving Mu m Anna Para does this:

We switched to a green energy provider Switching to a green energy provider is a simple change all households can make with very little effort. We chose Bulb, who are on a mission to make energy simpler, cheaper and greener. Every year, the average Bulb member saves 3.5 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, which is similar to planting 1,770 trees! We’re happy to be doing our little bit to help the environment, and the £50 referral incentive they offer for switching is a nice little bonus too! Use my code please, I’ll share the rewards with all the Roving Mums!

Roving Mu m Noemi Garcia does this:

Re-usable Menstrual cup

I have been using the Menstrual cup for 8 years now. At the beginning it could be intimidating and uncomfortable, but once you get used to it, it is as comfortable and practical as a tampon, you can have it for longer inside (12hours), it is healthier, cheaper and more sustainable. Just clean it and ready to use it again and again avoiding tons of plastics damaging the environment. Widely available now.

Parties plastic free I use a very good company called I can hire a full set of reusables, eco-friendly and good-looking party tableware made of bamboo. They have an affordable door to door delivery and collection service.


Roving Mu m Charlie Avella does this:

Did you know teabags contain plastic? Very few brands are compostable and most end up in landfill. Not to mention the potential build up of micro plastics in your body. Switch now to loose tea and or switch brand. • Many people still flush their contact lenses down the toilet or sink, unknowingly polluting our oceans and endangering wildlife. Thankfully a collaboration between Accuvue and enables you to collect your contact lens waste and safely dispose in collection boxes at participating Opticians (Boots, Specsavers etc ) regardless of which brand or service you use. • Packed lunches can present a real challenge with so many popular brands focusing on convenience over sustainability (yo yo’s, Frubes and the like). Refuse to buy anything individually wrapped and try to home bake treats. I absolutely love the bento style Yumbox ( which removes the need to package anything at all as it holds hummus, dips and yoghurt with its unique leak proof seal. If you do need to wrap the odd sandwich, opt for beeswax wraps over foil/plastic film and substitute drinks cartons with a reusable sports bottle.


Every action in the Internet such as emails, social media uploads, messages etc creates a huge amount of data that are processed and stored in massive data centres which need a vast amount of energy, half coming from fossil fuels. - Activate the data saving option from your web browser. - The mobile network uses more energy than wi-fi so even if you have cheap data on your mobile phone try to use wi-fi where you can. - Sign up if you can, for fibre broadband, as pushing data along a fibre network uses less energy than copper lines. - Limit what you store in the cloud (you don’t need all those copies of the same photo taken seconds apart) - Send links rather than attachments in emails. - Limit your streaming and using SD rather than HD halves the amount of data.

Please share your tips via our Facebook (@FamiliesSWLondon)  and Instagram (@FamiliesSWLon) pages. We’ve created dedicated pages for you to leave messages. The Yumbox

January/February 2020 • Families South West 23


Dress up as a fairy or a doctor, rescue a dinosaur from ice, splash in a stream, paint our hands green. There’s always something fun and creative to do at Squirrels Pre-School!


estled amongst eight acres of beautiful gardens and woodland, just a mile from Bath, lies The Paragon School—a forward thinking, creative and 'Excellent' (ISI report 2017) independent school catering for children aged 3-11.

skills, early literacy and numeracy and fine motor skills.

young age which follows through the remainder of their education at The Paragon. This secure foundation is the basis for their future success.’

Busy, exciting, buzzing, happy!

‘Activities are often developed from the children’s own interests’ says Sarah James, In 2019, the Pre-School collaborated with Head of Pre-Prep, ‘we might investigate a Bath’s egg theatre, to produce their Early Years pumpkin and get messy, plant a salad garden in Christmas production, aptly named a welly or deep dive into a topic such ‘Squirrel’. The children explored as ‘reflection and colour’, ‘The fire ‘theatrical ideas’ with the theatre’s brigade pop in to pay a visit In the words of a parent Director, Kate Cross MBE and from time to time, or we ‘It is now coming to the end of Creative Producer, Tim Bell. might invite a parent in to our second year of being at The As ‘co-producers’, The talk about being a dentist Paragon’s Pre-Schoolers or a farmer, and on Forest Paragon and the school has entered the world of a Fridays, we take a ramble reinforced all of our reasons for squirrel, exploring its in the woods, den moving here from London. The sense journeys, habitat and nut building, worm digging obsession through the of fun, the relaxed feel and general and foraging.’ happiness of the place has made it medium of mime. Parents Waterproofs and wellies and children were then invited are essential kit because a fantastic, busy and to exclusive performances in the sand pit, painting area inspirational place for December to see how the and garden are in constant use. children to be’. production had evolved from their input. The Pre-School children have

Three and 4 year olds enjoy both free and structured play during their day and a familiarity with the school setting offers a secure introduction into a school environment. The children join in with school assemblies and celebrations as well as the Pre-Prep nativity, which makes for a gentle transition to Reception when the time comes. In their bright classroom, it’s all about nurturing curiosity and encouraging skills such as problem solving, social interaction, play, language, emotional development, physical

specialist teachers for French, music, art and sport for which they are timetabled and they can often be seen playing tennis with mini fluro bats, controlling a ball in hockey, or creating an art masterpiece inspired by Van Gogh. ‘For parents weighing up whether to invest in Independent Pre-School education from such a young age, it is these ‘extras’ which make such a difference’ says Mrs James ‘so many cuts are being made in state education for the provision of art, timetabled sport, and music, that children attending Early Years with us have a wonderful, immersive experience from a very

Families relocating from London and overseas are drawn to this ‘Sylvan Idyll’ (Good Schools Guide 2019), renowned locally for its outstanding pastoral care and family atmosphere. Set away from the hustle and bustle of the main road, the Georgian mansion housing the school is surrounded by wildlife, a dingly dell full of wild garlic with a babbling natural spring running through it, bug hotels and branch dens—the perfect territory for young explorers. Around 260 happy children are nurtured to be their best selves here, 20 of whom are ‘Squirrels’ Pre-Schoolers who share the facilities and make use of a wonderful, walled outdoor play area.


The Paragon will be opening its doors on Thursday 27th February 2020 from 9.30– 11.30am for families interested in enrolling for Squirrels Pre-School or the Pre-Prep. Private tours of the school on any day of the week are also welcomed. Contact the registrar to make an appointment on 01225 310 837 or email

January/February 2020 • Families South West 25


What is Metacognition? Families asked Granard Primary School Headteacher Cheryl Grigg to explain why they use Metacognition in the school: “We brought in metacognition in the school following an Education Endowment Foundation report about getting pupils to structure their thinking when undertaking a given task, in order to get them to be more independent and impactful. At Granard, we use the acronym ‘PLUGS’ to structure pupils’ thinking: P = Pace Pupils are asked to consider how long the work will take and to check timings in order to be time efficient. L = Learning Objective Is the learning objective understood? How are pupils proving they are meeting the learning objective?

U = Understanding Is the task understood? What can pupils do if they don’t understand? For example, look through previous work or ask for support from a talk partner. G = Granard Strategies Which strategies will be most useful for the task? For example, which calculation methods could be deployed? Which writing strategies might be effective? Which PE skills will be most successful? Are these strategies working? If not, what are the alternatives? S = Self-Reflection How well is the task going? What are pupils noticing as they are working? Could there be a more effective or efficient way to complete the task? Metacognition is proving successful! “

A hidden gem of a nursery It is always a pleasure to go and visit nurseries. It was even more of a pleasure to visit Chelsea Open Air Nursery School, a community nursery school which has been established here for over an amazing 90 years. You can feel, see and taste the happiness of both teachers and children. There is something orderly yet flowing in this place. The doors of the classrooms are always wide open to the ‘Open air classroom’ with its myriad of opportunities to explore and delight the senses. Opportunities for learning lurk in every nook and cranny. You can clearly see the dedication of the teachers, their

enthusiasm for the ethos of the nursery and for the children’s learning—I wasn’t surprised to learn many teachers have been there for over 15 years or more! It is a lovely, orderly little bubble of happiness and busyness. The nursery has been awarded an Ofsted Outstanding Provider— their 5th Outstanding Ofsted inspection in a row! It is clear the staff are highly qualified and totally dedicated to the children’s learning; this includes several SEND children, a strong Community Programme, parental involvement and a Forest School programme.

Discover Petra’s Place As part of their continued growth, Petra’s Place will be opening a nursery for children with Special Needs in early 2020. Petra’s nursery will specialise in autism although it will welcome children with developmental delay and associated needs. Located at their Fulham Road site the nursery will run alongside their existing multidisciplinary therapy services. They will offer day care to children, as well as 1:1 services and group therapies as requested via their onsite multi-disciplinary therapy team. They work closely with health services and assist with EHC plans in order to be able to

transition into school from the nursery. Their specialist team are also available to support and advise parents who may require support around many issues. They are also one of the few specialised centres to deliver PACT training (Paediatric Autism Communication Therapy) to parents. Please register your interest by writing to Take a look at both websites and to read some background information on the nursery and on the foundation.

26 Families South West • January/February 2020

Bilingual Children’s Nursery in Streatham

Parent Satisfaction Survey

To book your free tour call us today on

020 8127 8581


January/February 2020 • Families South West 27




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

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


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

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

28 Families South West • January/February 2020

TOP TIPS ON SELECTING A NURSERY By Miss Lara Smiles, Head of Nursery, Parkgate House School

Choosing a nursery often comes down to a mixture of instinct from both a visit and the interaction you have with nursery staff when booking, during and after the tour as well as the answers you receive to questions about learning, care and communication. To help you with those questions I have put together my own top tips for selecting a nursery: 1. Look at Year 6 This may seem a bit unusual but is very worthwhile. If you are looking at a nursery with the intention that your child will move from the Nursery into the school’s Reception then take a look at the Year 6 children. Find out how well they are doing and what are their predicted senior school destinations, many of those Year 6s will have been at the school since nursery so those children are a useful indicator of the school's learning journey for pupils. 2. How do they settle children into the nursery? Discover how they settle children into the nursery. For instance, how is the transition from home to school made and how do they help children to settle in who have English as a second language? Do you agree with that approach? Check with them what issues give rise to the involvement of parents. 3. Staffing Identify how many staff there are and whether they are all qualified teachers. Make sure that in theory there is sufficient time for each child by

checking the teacher:pupil ratio. Always find out how long the staff have been with the nursery.

Nursery 6. Engagement Essential to learning is how engaged the children are. When you visit look to see if all the children are occupied and being engaged with by the teachers. Ask them about how they deal with a child that may be struggling with an activity or interaction with other children and staff. 7. Outdoor space and play Look at the amount of outdoor space available and check with the teachers and the timetable how often it is used. Note what equipment for play and learning is in the outdoor space. Ask about trips and activities beyond the nursery, for example Forest School and nature trails.

4. How is the curriculum taught? Nurseries follow the Early Years Curriculum, which contain seven areas of learning: communication and language development; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.

8. Parent communication How does the nursery keep parents informed about progress and assessment, achievements and all the fun of nursery. What are their preferred methods of communication? How frequent is that communication? Ask about the opportunities to see the children’s work and to get involved or help with learning.

Ask the teachers to explain how work is done in particular subjects, such as phonics and numbers. How long do they spend on each topic? Many school nurseries will have the advantage of specialist teachers in languages, music and drama.

9. Transition to reception Looking ahead, how do they go about preparing the children for Reception, regardless of whether they will remain at the school or move schools.

5. Timetable and routine You need a sensible balanced timetable and a routine to get the children used to school life. Look at the timetable to get an idea of what happens each day and week. Ask about timetable planning and staff meetings.

Parkgate House School Open Morning is on Saturday 29th February, 9.30am-12pm. To register, please contact the Registrar on 020 7350 2461 or book online at


January/February 2020 • Families South West 29

FREE MAGAZINES... for your school, nursery, cafe, shop  or club - just ask.  020 8696 9680 |

South West

345 Nursery School provides an outstanding start to a child's educational journey. We ensure that our pupils have gained a sense of independence, self-confidence and a desire to learn. Our independent nursery is situated close to Wandsworth Common and has a very large outdoor space. The curriculum includes Sport, Spanish, Music, Ballet and Tennis. Contact Jill Pearce 345 Nursery School, Fitzhugh Grove, Trinity Road London SW18 3SA Tel: 020 3633 4185

30 Families South West • January/February 2020

Granard Primary School “Growing together; Achieving together”

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

Come and find out about our excellent teaching, the support we offer and see our wonderful facilities, including our swimming pool. Please contact the school office on 0208 788 3606 to arrange a visit.


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

January/February 2020 • Families South West 31

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

Our skilled staff prepare children aged 2-5 years for their next school and start them on a journey of life-long learning.

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

Incorpora ng art, cooking, science, music, sport, languages, drama, yoga and all aspects of the Early Years Curriculum. Please arrange a visit to see the learning and excitement in ac on. Ramsden Hall, 21 Ramsden Road, Balham, SW12 8QX Tel: 020 8166 5932

OAK TREE DAY NURSERY 3 months to 5 years

8am to 6pm (Mon to Fri)

* Excellent facilities * Newly renovated premises * Stimulating, caring and homely environment * Qualified and experienced staff * Outside garden * Good OFSTED report * French * Music & movement * Fun Sports sessions * Early years foundation stage curriculum * Baby unit * Close to public transport * Sensory room * Free settling in sessions * Free baby and parent music sessions * Nutritious and delicious meals Flexible free 15 hours and 30 hours childcare sessions available Sibling discount offered for multiple children Discount for teachers & NHS staff

56 - 58 Blairderry Road, Streatham Hill, London SW2 4SB 020 8674 4844 |

For children aged 18months — 5years Monday — Friday Mornings Afternoon Sessions available Email: or call 07939~268~861 to arrange a visit 194 Ramsden Road | Balham | SW12 8RQ

32 Families South West • January/February 2020


Britain’s got talent—but we’re still wasting it A recent report by researchers from Oxford University contradicts the commonly held view that our education system has developed enough to give everyone a fighting chance. The research found that children of similar cognitive ability have very different chances of educational success: it still depends on their parents’ economic, socio-cultural and educational resources. The research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, found that only about half of the difference in educational attainment between children from advantaged and disadvantaged parental backgrounds is due to differences in their cognitive ability. The other half is due to other factors associated with their backgrounds. Experts are now calling for government to acknowledge that formal qualifications are only one channel for upward mobility for children of disadvantaged backgrounds.

Air quality is worse indoors A new report into the state of air pollution in UK households has found that our homes are experiencing dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. The report commissioned by Clean Air Day found that nearly half of UK homes have high indoor air pollution as a result of dangerous levels of formaldehyde and other pollutants. Data also shows that outdoor air pollution adds to indoor air pollution; it builds up in the home, taking longer to disperse inside than outside. According to the British Lung Foundation children are particularly sensitive to poor indoor air quality as their lungs are proportionally larger in relation to their body weight than adults and immature immune systems mean they are less able to fight off any problems that arise from polluted indoor air. Sources of indoor air pollution include smoking, faulty boilers, open fires, gas cookers and heaters, as well as irritant chemicals from new furniture, air fresheners and household cleaning products. and

Investing in the best for children at The Willow Nursery


hat exciting times for the nursery! First and, as a result of increasing demand, The Willow Nursery School, established for over no less than 30 years, now offers three afternoons a week for older children at their wonderful premises in Grafton Square. The school, which has a large outdoor space, will be able to focus more on outdoor activities in the afternoons with elements of Forest School learning, allowing children to think more critically, solve problems and take risks whilst experiencing awe and wonder. It has been proven that children thrive when given plentiful access to stimulating outdoor environments where they learn through exploration and play By being outside the classroom, it helps children develop a more healthy and active lifestyle, offering opportunities for physical activity and freedom of movement as well as giving them ‘hands-on’ contact

with the natural world. The children love being outside so the staff have created new learning areas: a new mud kitchen for getting hands dirty and playing investigative games, a fabulous ‘boat sand-pit’, flower beds for planting and an undercover area with mirrors and multi-surface boards for understanding about materials. All aspects of EYFS are interpreted through their outdoor learning which might include understanding the changing seasons, growing their own flowers, tending to the vegetable and herb gardens, doing science experiments such as floating and sinking, making fairy potions, nature walks and treasure hunts, story-telling and role play, making art and craft and creating mud pies! Investing in the emotional intelligence of the children with RULER As a strong advocate of the RULER


technique the school ensures it is woven throughout all outdoor activities so as the children explore outside they learn to talk about how they feel—brave, proud, anxious, cooperative, happy or sad. Created by The Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, RULER is an acronym that stands for Recognising emotions in yourself and others, Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions, Labelling emotions accurately–if you can name it you can tame it, Expressing emotions

appropriately and Regulating emotions effectively. The Willow Nursery believes that investing in the emotional intelligence of the children through this method—teaching the children to identify their feelings through colour and being able to recognise how others feel—will help with their transition to ‘big school’ and in life generally. This and the focus on more outdoor activities contributes to happy, resilient and confident children!

January/February 2020 • Families South West 33

St Mary Magdalen Montessori St Mary’s Summerstown Montessori

SW14 : 020 8878 0756 • SW17 : 020 8947 7359

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

34 Families South West • January/February 2020

Providing Education and Care in a Warm, Welcoming Environment including Cookery, Ballet, Dance, Football and Singing as part of our curriculum. Private fees or Free Government Funding. Good OFSTED with excellent love and care.

School Matters

The benefits of audiobooks as a learning tool By Kate Renaud academic benefits. Being able to read more complex books increases vocabulary. Making relationships between what is heard and what is seen can improve spelling. Age appropriate books provide context for the grammar that is taught in lessons, challenging readers to learn and develop the language skills required to succeed. Audiobooks allow children with print disabilities to reap the same rewards from reading as others.


he shared experience of reading to children from babies helps engender a lifelong love of books. Reading provides so much enjoyment: transporting us to secret worlds and far-off lands, hearing about people like us and learning about those who are not. It is no different for children with print disabilities. Not being able to read themselves should not extinguish the love of books, nor prevent equal access to what print offers. There are many reasons why someone can’t read print—vision impairment or loss, physical disabilities that prevent holding a book and special educational needs, in particular dyslexia which affects word recognition, reading fluency, spelling and writing. Audiobooks provide access to literature that these children wouldn’t otherwise have.

Why are audiobooks so important? Aid to learning Appreciating books and what they can teach us is essential for education as well as pleasure. Did you know that over 85% of what we learn, we do so by listening?* Audiobooks should be viewed as a vital resource which can be used both as a replacement to print or a supplement, developing children’s

literacy skills and enhancing their learning. Enhance reading development Reading starts with learning the sounds letters make (phonics) and putting them together to understand words (decoding). Children learning to read are often simultaneously trying to decode words and understand what the text means. When decoding is too hard, it becomes impossible to string the words together to comprehend the sentence, since all effort is going into sounding out individual words. What you read matters Struggling readers often have a comprehension age higher than their reading age. This means that


audiobooks can be an equaliser. Listening to books allows them to access books that match their understanding, so they can keep up with study material in class as well as with their peers. It is frustrating and demotivating to fall behind, but by bridging the gap between comprehension and reading levels, audiobooks can be a vital tool in a child’s growth. Extended vocabulary Reading a broader range of books and genres in this way has many

Calibre Audio Library There are over 3,000 unique titles for children and young readers, grouped by key stage or study level for guidance. All audiobooks are available online by streaming or download or can be borrowed on MP3 CD and memory stick using the free postal service. How to join A lifetime membership is just a one-off joining fee of £20 for under 16’s (£35 for adults) for unlimited borrowing with no monthly subscription. Visit or call membership services on 01296 432 339 to join or for more information.

* ** eading_horizons

January/February 2020 • Families South West 35

NEW BEAUTY APP IN LONDON EXPERT BEAUTY SERVICES AT HOME, OFFICE OR HOTEL Download our app and get £10 Discount code on all our services for 12 months Discount code: FAMILIES10

Calling all baby Scientists!

Help us discover how babies & kids learn! We’re recruiting infants from birth to school age to take part in fun studies at the Birkbeck Babylab in central London. Our prime location is easy to reach via public transport and we refund travel expenses. 020 7631 6258 36 Families South West • January/February 2020

I love Families, it's always easy to find a copy and it's great for family activity inspirations. Dani Tulip, Tooting

All of the local activities are in one place, unlike social media / emails etc where it is drip fed. Sam Davison, Clapham

South West

Researchers at the Birkbeck Babylab expand studies to include school age children At the Birkbeck Babylab, they don’t just study babies. Their team of friendly researchers create fun and interesting studies to learn how brains in babies, toddlers and Take part in brain research with Birkbeck Babylab children develop. They use cutting edge technology and a variety of methods to achieve this. Their studies appeal to both babies and children through play, games and computer animations. Lisanne and Aude, two of their PhD students, are currently studying 2–6 year olds. Lisanne uses motion capture cameras and Duplo toy blocks to learn how the ability to remember instructions and create things in the correct order to achieve a goal develops throughout childhood. The technical psychology term for this is action sequencing and is essential to daily life. For example, learning how to get dressed independently requires remembering the order of underwear before trousers and socks before shoes! Aude is also interested in action sequencing and uses a game on a touch screen computer where children build recipes for their favourite cartoon characters. The way the children plan, hesitate or change their minds while playing will provide insight into how action sequences develop and improve throughout childhood.

Hypnobirthing classes for a positive birth Hypnobirthing will help you let go of your fears and build confidence in the natural process of birth. Learn relaxation and breathing techniques in a fun and relaxed atmosphere and look forward to the birth of your baby! Classes will encourage you to ask questions about your care and options when giving birth. Suitable for all type of births: hospital, theatre or at home. Next group classes: 16, 23, 30 January and 6 February 7-9.30pm at The Living Room Furzedown SW16 1NS. Free taster session to find out more. Contact Paula on 07926 428 081

Recruiting children now! They are currently recruiting children from birth to school age to take part in their research in the heart of Central London. Participants will be compensated for travel expenses. Enjoy a fun day out in London and sign up today!

MG Hypnosis Hypnotherapy is a treatment that uses Hypnosis to alter the way you feel and think and to change aspects of your life, which need improving. Hypnosis is a perfectly natural condition, which we experience every day of our lives, like daydreaming. Under hypnosis, we are capable of making significant changes to our thinking patterns and unlocking unlimited potential to improve and transform our lives. Common conditions treated: stress reduction, exam anxiety, phobias, habits, relaxation, confidence boosting, and motivation. See for more information, or call with questions on 07931 547414.

Would you like to earn extra money? Capital Focus Groups are looking for people who enjoy giving their opinions and are willing to share their views on the products and services they use for many of the country’s largest companies and well-known products. It’s free, it’s fun and you will be financially rewarded as a thank you for taking part! Register now to earn extra money, by calling Liz on 07761 128059 or


Gender reveal Parties becoming popular The American trend of “gender reveal parties” to announce the sex of a baby is a growing trend in the UK. Celebrated at an earlier stage in pregnancy than a baby shower, a gender reveal party announces whether expectant parents will be giving birth to a boy or a girl. Sometimes this will be a surprise for the couple themselves with some asking the sonographer at their 20 week scan to write down "boy" or "girl" on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. It is then given to a friend or relative who organises the party. Traditional ‘reveals’ include a cake with blue or pink sweets hidden inside, a pink or blue confetti-filled piñata or a guest taking off a hat to reveal a pink or blue wig. But more dramatic announcements, including fireworks are becoming more and more common. A very popular venue for gender revel, baby and bridal showers is the Living Room in Furzedown. It is a cosy, home from home venue with a kitchen. January/February 2020 • Families South West 37

BOOK NOW: 020 7228 2660

DonnaMargherita O U R P I Z Z A W I L L S U R P R I S E YO U W I T H I T S TA S T E A N D L I G H T N E S S Come and taste our authentic Neapolitan cuisine! Wood-fired oven, centuries-old recipes and a very kind and friendly service make Donna Margherita a great place to bring your family.

*SPECIAL NEW YEAR OFFER TILL FEBRUARY 29TH *(Excluding 14th - 16th February) - just quote Families South West ALL DAY SUNDAY: 25% off your total bill (including wine) and a free ice cream for children SATURDAY: 12-6pm 25% off your total bill (including wine) and a free ice cream for children TUES - FRI: 5-7pm 20% off your total bill (including wine) and a free ice cream for children

183 Lavender Hill • SW11 5TE 38 Families South West • January/February 2020

February half term fun Languages Et Patati Patata 17-21 February Fun French Day Camp 30 hours of French for 4-16 yrs, 3 age groups and a Teen programme. Number 1 London’s French Day camps. Qualified by Supplementary, GOLD Award Health Safety Security Outstanding Teaching for children. Also Saturday Morning French school at Thomas's Academy, New King's Road SW6 4LY All levels 2.5-16 year olds. FLAM French Government accreditation.

Developing skills Role Models 0203 637 7101 17-19 February 3-day Resilience course Helping your child to Resilience develop their resilience is and confidence one of the most effective courses ways to help them thrive at school, home, work and in life in general. By developing a growth mindset, they can learn to push themselves outside of their comfort zone, embrace new experiences and persist within areas that might not be their strengths. £275 for 8-11yrs. 17-19 February 3-day Confidence course Our ‘Brilliant Me and My Confidence’ course uses the power of stories to help children build their selfconfidence and self-belief. Stories are intertwined with creative activities to help children focus on their successes and feel more positive and assertive. £275 for 6-7yrs.

Naomi Martin Touch Typing 17-21 February Weekly touch typing courses for children aged 7-18yrs £250 per week.

See also our What’s on column for 21 Feb more things to do and Valen-Slime Workshop see this half term plus 10am–1pm 4–8 years weekend activities and things to do with a £25, includes lunch drop off. baby or toddler.

The Little House of Science Holiday Inn Forum, Courtfield Road, London SW7 4DN 0800 092 1062 17-21 February February Half-term Science Camp Geographic Explorers: Deserts, Rivers, Stormy Weather and much more. Daily Monday-Friday, 9.303.30 (8.45am early drop-off), 4-7 and 8-12 years (age adjusted & separated groups).

Active/Sports/Fun All Star Tennis Leaders Gardens (SW15 1LS), King Georges Park (SW18 2GJ), Wandsworth Common (SW18 3RT) and Tooting Common (SW17 8JU) 020 8871 4706 17 to 21 February All Star Tennis award winning camps are back in 2020 starting in half term. As always they will be packed with games, drills, tennis technique, match preparation, fun tournaments, trick shots, prizes and team games. Together with a chance to dress up on the last day! New players are always welcome. 3 to 4yrs: 3-4pm; 5 to 7yrs: 10-1pm and 3-5pm; 8 to 12yrs: 10-3pm; Teens: 12-4pm.

Battersea Sports Centre Hope St, SW11 2DA 17-21 Feb Holiday Fun with sports and games For 6-13 years 10am-3pm (registration at 9.30)

Eddie Catz Earlsfield 18 Feb Funky Feet Valentines Disco 3.30pm-4.30pm 1-5yrs £8.50 per child Price includes one adult Free 18 Feb Frozen Themed Messy Play 1011am Ages 4 months to 3 years £8.50 per child. Price includes 1 adult Free as well as a Free play at Eddie Catz after the event. 21 Feb Create your own Lovable Bear Workshop 10am-1pm 4-8yrs £20 per child drop off


Wimbledon 20 Feb Half Term special: Lasertag 5.30pm-7.30pm £18.50 (includes a meal) 6-12 years drop-off

All Star Tennis

The Little Gym Wandsworth & Fulham 020 8874 6567 Use your half term to try something new. The Little Gym offers gymnastic based development classes throughout the year and the half term break is a good time to try them out with a free introductory class. Call the team to secure a spot. From 6months to 10 years of age. See advert page 9 to claim your free introductory class. Quote FamiliesSW to claim a 10% discount when you enrol.

Alpine French school

South West Swimming School Emanuel School, Battersea Rise To book or reserve a place contact 020 8767 2723 17- 21 February Intensive course 30 min classes from 9am-12pm. Price for 5 day splash varies depending on ratio of class: 4:1-£130; 2:1-£180 and 1:1£290. New customers will need to pay joining fee of £28, all new swimmers receive hat + pair of goggles as a welcome pack. More info about other courses on the website.

The Little Gym

Youngstars  Holiday camps in TEN locations 07749343116 17-21 February February Half Term Every Youngstars camp is guaranteed to be full of fun, games and excitement whilst introducing aspects of several sports including the following: football, basketball, cricket, lacrosse, hockey, t-ball, tennis, rugby & athletics all within a non-competitive & all inclusive environment. Every game, drill and exercise is designed to improve coordination, awareness, motor skills and above all team work. Ages 3-12yrs, check ages with each continued on p.40

South West Swimming School


January/February 2020 • Families South West 39

Go Ape Battersea Park

location. Half day and full day sessions. From £20-£50, extended days available in some locations, check the website.

Outdoor RHS Garden Wisley Woking Surrey GU23 6QB RHS Members go Free To book please visit 15 to 23 February February Half Term family fun whatever the weather Enjoy a range of fun all-weather activities and discover more about the wild weather of the UK while exploring the great outdoors.


Go Ape  Battersea Park Enjoy climbing in trees this half term! The Tree Top Challenge (2-3 hours) Under 16’s £28 (minimum height 1.4metres), 16+ £36. Tree Top Adventure (1 hour) is a high ropes course for all ages, £21 (minimum height 1metre). Supervision policies apply, see website for more details.

Drama and Music Perform Clapham South, Fulham, Kensington and Wimbledon 020 7255 9120

RHS Garden Wisley ©RHS. Photo: Guy Harrop

Quote LSW140220 for an introductory £40 discount when you book. 17–19 February The Ice Queen, February half-term fun Perform are celebrating the release of Frozen 2 with a glittering drama, dance and singing adventure, returning to icy Arendelle with Elsa, Anna and friends. With original music, colourful costumes and a dazzling performance, this is the coolest half-term treat. Three day courses. 4-10 years. 10am to 3pm each day.

Upbeat music courses Thomas’s Academy, New Kings Road, SW6 4LY 17–19 Feb Unique and exciting holiday experience for 4–14yrs. Sing, dance, play in a band, record, write Courses songs and enjoy always end with spending time an exciting UPBEAT PERFORMANCE! with the Upbeat team in a fun and caring environment. Days run from 10–4 and are coordinated and taught by fully qualified teachers and professional musicians. All staff are DBS checked!


Italian villa with child friendly activities Visit for more details

6 April to 9 April 2020 Computer coding workshops Spark4Kids are running all-day holiday workshops that introduce children to computer coding through the medium of games. Available are courses on Minecraft Modding, Roblox Coding, Robotics, Games Design, MicroBit & Arduino coding, Python, HTML/CSS, JavaScript and Unity/C# in a fun, engaging environment. Ages 5-7 years, 8-12 and 13-16.

SUMMER HOLIDAYS Alpine French School This French language school in the French Alps was founded by Brit and mum to 2 young children, Helen Watts. The French summer camps offered are a perfect way for children (and parents) to improve their French and enjoy a great holiday in the French Alps. Choose from morning, day or family Camp options. Children from 5-17 years take French lessons in the morning and in the afternoon, they can either enjoy activities with their new friends or regroup as a family to enjoy the Alps as a family. With activities such as tennis, mountain biking, swimming, cycling, mountain biking, paragliding, white-water rafting, hiking, canyoning, climbing, adventure park, summer luge and much more, there is never a dull moment. Easy access from Geneva airport means easy access from the UK. New for 2020, Alpine French School have 2 school premises in central Morzine, one for adults and one for juniors. Read more about the different possible holidays, course and camps online.

Villa Radicata is ideal for families: it sleeps up to 12 people, offers stunning lake and mountain views, a fenced pool and garden, stair gates for little escapers and plenty of toys and baby equipment (highchairs/cots/sterilizer). Finding time for yourself as well as making sure quality time is spent with your children is a challenge for any parent—Villa Radicata has it covered with a variety of activities, true Italian hospitality, delicious food and peace of mind, knowing your children are happy with their Italian ‘Nonna’. Choose from: yoga, fitness classes, cooking lessons, mini yoga, art, baby Italian, massage for mum and baby, excursions, shopping and horse riding. Contact Rita on 0039 349 5018679 / 07983 821 282 tuscanfamilyholidays

40 Families South West • January/February 2020


January/February 2020 • Families South West 41

It’s about developing New Skills, growing in Confidence, having great Role Models, making new Friends and being super Active but most of all it’s about having Fun! FOUNDATION PHASE DEVELOPMENT FOR 2-8 YR OLDS

42 Families South West • January/February 2020

Clubs and Classes

Here are some lovely classes for your children:

Art classes for children Art History for children Vincent and Frida offer weekly classes dedicated to the Early Art History with lessons on Greek pottery, Tutankhamun Sarcophagus, Trajan’s Column and other wonderful examples from the Early period. Children will learn how to decode the secrets of the given artwork while recreating their own versions of these masterpieces. Classes can be booked separately or as the course. Saturdays 10.30am–11.30am near Russell Square. Such a brilliant idea! Art-K Fulham runs art classes Tuesday to Friday afternoons and Saturdays. In addition they offer a home ed class Wednesdays at 2pm. They provide a fun, welcoming atmosphere for children to build confidence in their artistic skills. Children learn to use mediums including pastels, watercolours, acrylics, clay and papiermâché, while developing observational skills and artistic techniques through a unique and personalised programme. Creative workshops during February half term, half and full days will be available to book! 0755 2547463

Pottery classes Clapham Pottery After school and Saturday mornings classes for children 6+. Children are taught how to make and Great for decorate unique pieces, using a

range of pottery techniques. They are encouraged to work from their own ideas by trained pottery tutors who have worked with children for many years. Play with Clay Based at Streatham & Clapham High School in South London, these popular pottery classes are 6 years and older. Children are welcome to join in any time during the term. Classes are held on Saturday mornings. Fun with Fimo Clay Learn how to work with Fimo clay and make jewellery, animals or photo frames etc. 6+

Pottery painting Great for Mini Potters A gorgeous Half term! studio on Garrat Lane SW18 4HN. For painting ceramics, bespoke clay impressions and baby prints. Also parties and evening classes for grown-ups. Open 7 days a week! Pottery café 735 Fulham Road SW6 5UL and 153 Northcote Road SW11 6QB Pitter Potter 234 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, Greater London, SW15 6TG

Half term!

Art History for children with Vincent & Frida. What a wonderful idea!


Art-K art classes for children

Sports for kids Try Time Kids’ Rugby 2 to 7yr olds run around outside whatever the weather, being active, having loads of fun and learning valuable, lifelong skills. Every Saturday in Battersea Park, Fulham, Wandsworth and Wimbledon. FREE TRIAL Playball Focused educational sports programme specifically designed to promote cognitive and social developement as well as physical growth. Fun and exciting! 2-10yrs. Swimway specialises in private or semiprivate lessons; the children receive full, direct support inside the water from their teacher. This allows them to use only a kickboard as a floatation device without sacrificing any safety measures. Balham, Clapham Common, Kensington, East Sheen, Kew Garden, Putney, Wandsworth and Wimbledon. Waterbabies Intimate classes with a maximum of 10 little ones, a carer per child and one teacher. 30 minutes long classes. Skills taught through song, repetition and play. Teachers tailor each lesson to children’s ability. Fulham, Putney, Southfields, Battersea, Balham, Tooting and more. South West Swimming School Non swimmer, duckling grade 1-4, are fitted with back floats. This buoyancy aid will be progressively reduced once a child is getting confident and able to float, submerge completely without assistance. See page 39 for intensives.

January/February 2020 • Families South West 43

44 Families South West • January/February 2020

Clubs and Classes

Art and Action in one! Kids on the Blox is a unique and innovative concept offered every weekend and holidays for kids aged 6 to mid teens in London SW3. Each Blox offers your Kid a 2-hour skill-based session, comprising of 1-hour skill-based Art and 1-hour skill-based Action (fitness related activities). They go deeper into the elements of play and creativity to help kids explore and express themselves, while having fun! Kids on the Blox also offers Parent & Child Action classes and Teens fitness camps. Their Action mission is to provide kids with a skill-based training system to complement and enhance sports being pursued in and out of school. Their Art mission is to provide kids with a wide range of courses in a variety of art and design subjects, all taught by talented graduates and artists from the most prestigious art schools in the country. Join and become a Kid on the Blox! | @kidsontheblox

The Little Gym tried and tested by our roving mums How was your introductory session at the Little Gym? Roving mum Adelyne de Bryas: “Tommy really enjoyed his introductory session at the gym. I thought we had been really well welcomed by the staff and the place looked so exciting, spacious and clean. I also liked the little waiting playroom area for the children. You don't feel "pushed out the door" and it is a really thoughtful use of space. I thought the facilities were excellent and so needed for little ones. I can see everything is done so my child can progress in skills to reach his development milestones while growing his confidence. We look forward to him starting properly this term.“ Roving mum Noemí García Pérez: “The Little Gym is an innovative idea that combines music, gymnastics, balance and creativity developing children's brains, fitness

and self-confidence at the same time. My 3 year old daughter loved every minute there. She tested her balance on the balance bar and tried to keep sitting on the ball, gaining confidence while jumping farther and farther to the parallel bars or from one trampoline to another. She enjoyed and imitated the monitor when he sang different songs to change from one activity to another and of course, she was free as well to try different activities and challenge herself at any time during the session. The Little Gym has a soft play space with a colourful kitchen to celebrate birthday parties. They organise Holiday camps during half terms and holidays.” The Little Gym currently offers a free introductory class. Quote FamiliesSW to claim a 10% discount when you enrol. For more information: or call them on 020 8874 6567.

Perform is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Families chatted to founder Lucy Quick. How did Perform start? I was a musical theatre actress in Oliver! at the London Palladium and I loved working with children. I had a vision for a drama school that wasn’t about talent or auditions; where performing arts would be used to develop what we now call the 4 Cs: confidence, communication, coordination and concentration. Where is Perform at now? Starting with two classes in 2000, we now run 472 schools across the South East and West, employ over 250 teachers and have almost 8,000 children attending weekly.

What’s the secret of Perform’s success? We put child development at the heart of everything we do. What does the future hold? Opening more Perform schools across the country—we’re just launching in Nottingham—and continuing our confidence crusade to help children fulfil their potential through drama, dance and singing. What are you proudest of? My teachers. They are the most inspirational bunch of talented and enthusiastic people you’ll ever meet.


Try a FREE no-obligation dance or drama class . Visit to book.

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46 Families South West • January/February 2020

Clubs and Classes

12 reasons your child should take up activities away from school Activities that take place completely away from the school environment don’t just keep restless children busy or entertained and help working parents manage their child’s spare time, they can also offer great developmental benefits that will help them academically, physically and socially.

activities, they get the opportunity to explore a range of interests which subsequently broaden their world view. Time management As children get older and move on to secondary school, being able to juggle different aspects of their lives becomes increasingly important. By attending classes, clubs or activities outside of school, your child will be taking on more responsibility for managing their schedule effectively. Sense of commitment Students who participate in outside of school activities develop a sense of commitment to whatever they are involved in. This is because they have to commit to them and give them their all, and this commitment starts to extend to other areas of their lives. A brighter future The skills and habits a child learns during his or her school years help to shape the kind of future they will lead as an adult. As a result, outside of school activities that promote everything from healthy-living habits, to leadership skills, good time-management, and better social or academic performance have plenty of advantages to offer.

New friendships Outside of the school environment, your child is likely to make friendships with children that don’t go to their school and get used to socialising with children of all ages outside the structure of the formal school day. Improving life and social skills Outside school activities provide an ideal environment in which to nurture social skills and confidence. Many extracurricular activities work to teach children the value of working as a team to achieve a mutual goal—a skill that will benefit them in their future endeavours. Boosting academic performance Discovering that they have a talent can give a child a new source of confidence or a passion that translates into their engagement and behaviour at school. For example, performing in drama club can improve confidence in speaking up in class and inspire creative writing. Playing an instrument will help children understand music lessons. Building self-esteem In a busy classroom it can sometimes be hard for a child to make themselves heard. Outside of school activities will give your child the chance to build their self-esteem. Most groups or teams are more intimate than the typical

classroom environment, making them less intimidating for children. Children may also be more interested than they are in their lessons and will engage more easily with the activities involved. Happier children Outside of school activities promote emotional well-being by allowing children to work off excess energy, relax their minds, and overcome the stress associated with school life. Chance to shine Outside of school activities offer your child the chance to be themselves away from the influence of their school friends. Without being judged by their peers as “not cool” or “geeky” your child may thrive in developing new outlet for creative, sporting or intellectual pursuits.

Don’t push them Keep in mind that you shouldn’t push children to over-do it when it comes to extra activities. It’s better for your child to choose something that they really enjoy doing and stick to it, rather than attempt numerous different activities that quickly become overwhelming, and may detract from their ability to concentrate on school work. Of course, you may also have the type of child that just wants to try everything, in which case, it may be best to let them do so and try to narrow down their commitments when you see which activities they particularly favour.

Promoting healthy hobbies Children with a regular activity are likely to spend less static time glued to a smartphone or screen and the interests that they develop during outside of school activities are likely to mean they spend more time practicing skills and pursuing their passions. Explore interests and create broader perspectives When children participate in multiple different


Children love Playball! January/February 2020 • Families South West 47


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48 Families South West • January/February 2020

Free events for your weekends or for half term Imagine Children's Festival  Southbank Centre SE1 8PX 12-23 Feb Get ready for 12 days of drawing, musical adventures, afro dance, jazz, literature, comedy, edible books A huge festival with craft workshops, free family sing song, parties, Poetry for the Planet, many free face painting with Glitterbox, activities nursery rhymes and poems for under5s, rollicking pirate-themed party and more. For children aged 0–11yrs and their grownups. Some activities like shows or the multi sensorial experience for pre-walking babies require a ticket. Full programme online.

V&A Pick up a family trail from the Information Desk and explore the museum through puzzles, drawing and observation. Suitable for 7-12 year-olds. There are also hundreds of exciting hands-on exhibits containing plenty to touch and try out. Back-packs Saturdays Pick up a back pack and explore the museum with fantastic jigsaws, stories, puzzles and games. 10.30am-5pm.

immersive exhibition where all the artworks have a story to tell about design, techniques and time. Works include painted walls, table tops made from yoghurt pots and a giant ragrug created from used t-shirts by members of the public.

Bethnal Green This gem of a museum houses dolls, dolls' houses, puppets, teddy bears, games, childcare, clothing, furniture and art and photography. Everyday drop-in activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, and trails. There's dressing-up, role play and an under 3s area, an indoor sandpit, and regular special events.

The British Museum Digital Discovery Centre, weekends. Learn, discover and create in the Museum's digital centre. Free activities and workshops using the latest Samsung digital equipment, enabling children to bring the world's history and cultures to life through advanced technology.

National Maritime Museum Pick up and play weekends during school holidays. Take part in family activities, discover playful ideas and create large-scale artworks in learning-assistant workshops. 11am-4pm, drop in.

Greeenwich On Saturdays and Sundays free performances and workshops entertain family visitors, while on Tuesdays pre-schoolers can make music and play with parents and carers. Try The great explorer, an interactive game for families. Borrow a tablet device and set sail across The Great Map to explore distant lands and discover treasures from all around the world. Where will you visit and what will you find? Take a photo and share your adventure. 11am-4pm. Character encounters, Saturdays. Join an exciting performance and journey bringing maritime history to life. 12noon, 1, 2 and 3pm.

At Bertie and Boo adventure island, in Balham 31 Jan Come along to the Travel Designers Family Holiday Show from 4pm until 6.30pm. Meet the specialists to discuss your next family holidays over bubbles and nibbles. This is a free yet ticketed event, where childcare is provided from 4pm until 5.30pm, including entertainment and kids tea.

Imagine Festival at Southbank

V&A Museum of Childhood 

Tate Modern

Family Travel Show 

See the What’s on section for more FREE events

People’s Catwalk, Southbank Centre

Clore Ballroom

Forest Hill SE23 3PQ So much to do for free! A music gallery and hands-on base, regular drop-ins and workshops allow family visitors to explore the collection through arts and crafts, music, stories and hands-on sessions. All this within 16 acres of beautiful green space, an animal corner, a butterfly house, a crazy golf course and a Farmers' Market every Sunday. Until 19 April Stages of making Step into an The British Library is open to everyone and offers events for curious people of all ages, tours and great places to eat, drink and shop. Until 1 March Marvellous and mischievous: literature's young rebels Anyone can be a rebel, whether they are standing up for their beliefs, saving the planet or battling against the odds. See how characters from Pippi Longstocking to Princess Pearl break rules and defy conventions to make the world a better place for others.


photo: Laura Mtungwazi

The British Library The Horniman Museum

Hands-On Base at The Horniman Museum

January/February 2020 • Families South West 49

just his mouth and a mic, teaching little ones the art of beatboxing throughout the show. Funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music. Suitable for all ages, from £12. 18 February Heroes and heroines High octane show with lots of interactive elements for all the family to enjoy. Buggies, babies and budding musicians all welcome. 12noon and 2.30pm, £5.27 children, £11.59 adults. 20 February Down with the poetry king Jam-packed with rhymes, games and audience interaction the narrative of the show is shaped by the audience, through outrageous rhymes, wordy challenges and choose-your-ownadventure poems. 11am, £12.

What’s On January and February 2020

THEATRE Little Angel Theatre Half term fun at RHS Wisley 28 February-1 March The largest selection of leading and boutique brands.

Diary dates

Merton Live! celebrates local talent

SEN events Eddie Catz 

Tickets from 1st Feb This family day out will showcase a fantastic line-up of local schools, dance, drama, music and gymnastics groups with performances throughout the day. Plus a host of theatre related activities including: theatre workshops, face painting, slime making, back stage tours, arts and crafts, food and drink. 10am-5pm. £6.50 adults, £4.50 child. Feb 8 At Ricards Lodge High School, Lake Road, SW19 7HB 10am-12pm. Feb 29 At Immanuel and St Andrew's Church, 452 Streatham High Road, SW16 3PY 3.30pm-5.30pm.

Plant Powered Expo

18, 20 & 22 Feb One hour storytelling sessions at the Globe Theatre for 512yrs. Exclusive session of play for all Special Needs children, their siblings and parents. Sessions include full access to the soft play area, disco room with music turned down and soft lights. Quiet chill out area where children can have a little quiet time if needed. Earlsfield 14 Jan & 11 Feb 4.30m to 6pm. Wimbledon 13 Jan & 17 Feb 6-7.30pm.

HMS Belfast £19 adults, 10% off advance tickets. 17 Feb Sea Legs Explore the science and ingenuity needed to keep HMS Belfast and her crew afloat. Travel back to 1942, Half term three years after HMS Belfast event hit a magnetic mine, and inspect the ship and find out if everything is shipshape and ready to go. 11am-3pm, included in admission. 15+22 February Ship Shape Saturdays Drop in and learn about what it takes to conserve HMS Belfast, the largest object in IWM's collection. 11am-1pm and 2-4pm, included with admission.

Women who dare conference Rudolf Steiner House, Marylebone NW1 6XT Buy your ticket on Eventbrite (Search Women who dare conference) 31 Jan A centre stage for visionary women who want to inspire the world. The conference is focused on inspiring you to connect to your deepest desires and motivate you to follow them.

Olympia 1+2 Feb For those looking for outstanding tasty new experiences to discover the benefits of plant based lifestyles. Renowned speakers and chefs in the plant-based community, plus oneoff show specials at many of the 200 + stalls. FREE for under 16s, adults £15.

Window Wanderland  Southfields 8-9 Feb. Streets in Southfields will be transformed into a magical outdoor gallery for all to see. A real community event. 5.30pm-9pm

NCT Nearly New Sale   Clapham & District branch, Broomwood Methodist Church 155a Broomwood Rd, SW11 6BD 8 Feb 9.30-11.30am £2 priority entry for card carrying NCT members. FREE entry after 11am.

The Baby Show  Excel London

50 Families South West • January/February 2020

Mum2mum nearly new sales

As you like it storytelling

CONCERTS Bach to Baby The critically acclaimed classical concert series for baby and you. Outstanding musicians, exhilarating performances. Check the website. 15 Jan, 19 Feb in Kensington 17 Jan Clapham 18 Jan Wimbledon 1 & 29 Feb Streatham 27 Feb Foundling Museum

Mini Maestro family concerts 18 Jan Elgar and Tchaikovsky 4:305:30pm 15 February Mozart’s A Little Night Music 4.30- 5.30pm

The Royal Albert Hall 17 February Shlomo's beatbox adventure for kids World recordbreaking beatboxer makes music using Until 2 February The Pixie and the Pudding This brand new musical brings a tale from Scandinavian folklore to life with puppetry, original music and a sprinkling of pixie magic. Ages 4-11, £13 children, £15 adults. Until 2 February ME... Based on Emma Dodd's early years picture book, this is a lovely and touching story about a parent and their love for their child. Ages 2-5, £11.50 children, £13.50 adults.

Leicester Square Theatre Until 26 Jan The Stick Man This award-winning production, from the team behind The Scarecrows' Wedding, features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves! All ages.

Lyric Hammersmith W6 0QL 11 Jan The crow’s tale Follow Crow as he embarks on a journey that will transform his appearance forever, while kindness, generosity and courage will shine through. For age 3+. 18 Jan Arthur’s dream boat A magical children’s show about a little boy who has a dream. For ages 2-8. 25 Jan Mimi and the mountain dragon High up in the mountains of Switzerland the villagers of Dorta bang their drums, blow their horns and ring the bells to keep the fearsome Mountain Dragon away. For ages 3-11. 1 Feb Mazymeg and the honey bees Weaving together Devon folklore and songs, an original soundtrack by Dartmoor musicians and shape-shifting puppetry this is an enchanting show for all ages. 8 Feb Woodland tales with grandad A show with an important environmental message to share. Ages 3-11.

London Transport Museum 15 Feb The Bear The story of a little girl who befriends a mischievous polar bear. This playful, funny and heartwarming tale is one of imagination and growing up. For ages 3-8. 18-22 Feb Star in the jar A warmhearted story, that perfectly captures the friendship between two siblings. For ages 3-8.

The Magdalene Players Pantomime St Mary Magdalene Hall, Trinity Road, SW17 7HP or 07535 925268 6-9 February Treasure Island! Their 41st annual pantomime: a tall tale full of adventure, daring and high jinks. Join the crew and weigh the anchor, there's buried treasure to be found! Evening and matinee performances available.

Puppet Theatre Barge W9 2PF 15 Jan-23 Feb London international Mime Festival show A little chimney sweep's suffering ends when he is transformed into a water baby. As he plunges into an underwater realm of fish, caterpillars and caddisflies, we are drawn into his adventures in the colourful depths, swept along with his dreams and new freedom. With specially commissioned music, beautiful long-string marionettes and ghostly shadows. For ages 4+.

Orchid Festival Creative

Singing Mamas Choir

Richmond Theatre 

Polka Theatre

New Wimbledon Theatre


At the New Half term Wimbledon events Theatre SW19 Engaged in an exciting rebuilding phase, completing later this year, the Polka is currently sharing space with New Wimbledon Theatre. 21-25 Jan Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Full of unforgettable songs. From £13. 3 Feb WCTT Young Actors & Merton Music Foundations Big Night Out. Featuring memorable music and a new stage adaptation of Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist. An evening of magical music and thrilling theatre in support of two fantastic Merton arts charities. In the NWT Studio 22-25 Jan Little Star Baby Join Little Star as she swings from shooting stars, slides down crescent moons and bounces on fluffy clouds. Using puppetry, music and captivating visuals to delight a young audience, an intimate, relaxed setting makes this the perfect first theatre experience. 6-18 months From £11. 19 & 20 Feb. Polka Theatre Presents: A Treasure Chest of Stories. Workshops for 3 to 4 years. ‘Once upon a time…’ four magical words that will take you on a journey to the farthest reaches of your imagination. Bring in your treasured toy and join the storyteller on a magical story adventure. £15 21 & 21 Mar. The Emperor's New Clothes Expect bright colours and overthe-top characters as Act One reinvents the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale for a world gone fashionmad! From £11

1, 2 Feb 25, 26 Jan Peppa Pig’s best day ever A road-trip full of adventures. From castles to caves, dragons to dinosaurs and ice-creams to Everyone’s muddy puddles – Favourite! there is something for all of the family and their friends to enjoy, including Miss Rabbit, Mr Bull, Suzy Sheep, Gerald Giraffe and more. A live show packed full of songs, games and laughter.

Unicorn theatre SE1 2HZ 31 Jan-1 Mar The bee in me-let’s fly away One ordinary boy living an ordinary life. Full of warmth and sorrow, dreamlike and kaleidoscopic, it celebrates a child discovering inner resources–resilience, determination and ingenuity–and finding a kind of freedom. For ages 8-12.

Colour House Theatre Watermill Way, Colliers Wood, SW19 2RD

8 Feb- 12 April Hansel and Gretel Find out if the bond between a brother and sister can prevail over an evil witch in one of Colour House Theatre’s favourite musical productions. 12pm and 3pm £12/£10.


1 Feb Free Small Size Days Storytelling at Wimbledon Library 18-20 Feb Small Size Days Storytelling Sharpen their skills and encourage curiosity with dressing up, singing and storytelling holiday workshops, created by your favourite theatre for children. 18 Feb PROPerty of Polka A creative acting workshop for budding actors looking at developing short scenes inspired by Polka props and costumes. 10.30am-3.30pm. 8-12yrs £40 19 Feb Sing a song with Polka An all singing, all dancing, all acting Musical Theatre workshop. 10.30am – 3.30pm. 6-8 yrs £40 20 Feb Polka’s Treasure Chest of stories Bring in your treasured toy and join our storyteller on a magical story adventure. 6 months – 5 years. Times vary according to age.

January/February 2020 • Families South West 51

Peppa Pig Live

Streatham Space Project SW2 New venue and bar. Comedy nights and new performers, new works/plays/music for adults and children. Monthly memberships or pay per show. 20-23 Feb, for families. The River Runner New story with ice skating, magic and adventure brought to life with stirring live music and beautiful imagery.


The Hungry Caterpillar Imagine Festival

ages 7+ (unless stated). 11 Jan, 9 Feb Build Roman Britain in minecraft Build a wall in Minecraft to mark the edges of your empire, or make a unique creation inspired by the Romans in Britain. Find out about Roman Britain, from Claudius’ invasion to Hadrian’s famous wall, through the Museum's objects. FREE, drop-in, for age 7+. 19-21 Feb Trojan tales: making and myths Enjoy family activities inspired by Trojan tales of gods and heroes, amazing adventures and mythical monsters. Contribute to a giant art installation and make your own art work to take home. For age 5+.

British Museum 

The Design Museum

WC1B 3DG Digital workshops Takes place at weekends and school holidays on a variety of themes. FREE, 11am-4pm, for

W8 6AG Until 23 Feb Moving to Mars Travel to Mars without leaving London–in a multi-sensory adventure for all ages.

Medicine The Wellcome Galleries at the Science Museum © Science Museum Group

26 Jan, 23 Feb, 17-21 Feb Create and make Once a month on Sundays and during school holidays, informal drop in sessions focusing on light-touch design and making. Ages 5-11. Get into design workshops and courses run for families and young people. Led by specialist tutors, they include input and inspiration from some of the rising stars in contemporary design. Check website for dates. Ages 8-11.

Foundling Museum  WC1N 1AZ 18 Feb Bubble printing Blow giant bubbles to make your own print to take home. 11am and 2pm for ages 5+. 19 Feb Sculpture heads Use clay and create a portrait bust full of character. 11am and 2pm for age 5+. 20 Feb Painting photography Led by photographer Marysa Dowling, you will design the setting, costume and pose for a portrait of yourself, informed by your chosen painting. Book a session on the day. 11am and 2pm for age 5+.

Imperial War Museum SE1 6HZ A Family in wartime Explores the lives of William and Alice Allpress and their ten children and what life in London was like during the war. Secret war The clandestine world of espionage, covert operations and the work of Britain’s Special Forces. First World War Over 1,300 objects including weapons, uniforms, diaries, letters and souvenirs, will be on display as well as a recreated trench with periscopes and a dug-out, along with a soundscape and projection will evoke what daily life was like for the troops.

The Horniman Museum Forest Hill SE23 3PQ 15 February-25 October Permian monsters: Life before dinosaurs A fascinating, family-friendly exhibition you can sift through interactive dig pits, follow an adventure trail around the show, and get creative in an art area as you discover more about this mysterious time period. Until May 2021 Green turtle A magnificent taxidermy mount of a male Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas, on loan from the Natural History Museum is on display in the Natural History Gallery.

52 Families South West • January/February 2020

Museum of London 16+17 Feb Make your own bacteria-inspired monster soup stock puppet at this art Half term drop in. 10.30am and events 1.30pm, ages 3+, FREE drop in. 17-19 Feb Interactive theatre and music performance Come aboard and discover the secrets of the River Thames, looking at its geography and engineers of its past. 11.30am and 1.30pm, ages 3+, FREE ticketed event. 18+19 Feb Grab a lab coat and investigate climate change in this investigative family workshop. Budding scientists can take part in mini demonstrations of water wheels and dams to understand how humans cope with rising water levels. 12noon, 2 and 3.30pm, ages 6+, FREE ticketed event. 22+23 Feb Can you help build the iconic London Bridge? Construct you own bridge from craft materials and test it out. 12noon and 2.30pm, ages 3+, FREE, drop in. 22+23 Feb In 1957 the Thames was declared biologically dead; but now it's home to hundreds of species of fish. Discover more about these species, and the different ways people have fished in the Thames over the years. 11.30am and 2pm, ages 6+, FREE drop in.

Museum of London Docklands Check out the website for other events including stoytelling, art and science workshops 8+9 Feb Chinese New Year family festival Family festival offering performances, martial arts demonstrations, creative workshops and much more over the weekend. Some events will be available to book online in advance and may have a charge.

National Gallery WC2N 5DN Every Sun Family Sundays Activities designed for families to enjoy and learn together, 11am and 3pm. 19 Jan, 9 Feb Sunday studio-drawn from the artist's mind Experiment with materials, techniques, and new ideas in artist-led activities for the whole family. 11am-4pm for ages 5-13. 26 Jan Chinese New Year family festival day Storytelling, creative sessions, song and dance sessions in Mandarin and

Tutankhamun at the Saatchi Gallery

English and a chance to make sweet dumplings. Suitable for all ages. FREE, drop in. 17 Feb Studio play Play-based studio sessions for early years during the school holidays. 11am and 2pm for ages 2-5. 18-20 Feb Re-visit, Re-work, Re-view Look again at paintings, borrowing Bomberg's ideas and tools to rediscover familiar works in a bold, new way. Work with artist Bethany Lloyd to experiment with materials and techniques, colour and line, to create lively new artworks.11am-4pm.

Natural History Museum SW7 5BD Until 14 Feb Investigate for families Get a feel for how scientists work by having a go yourself. Come and explore hundreds of real nature specimens that form the evidence Museum scientists use in their daily work. 7+ Drop-in. All day from 10.30am, FREE, no booking required. Dino snores for kids Ever wondered what goes on at the Natural History Museum at night? 7pm till morning, torchlit trails through the museum, live animal shows and more. For ages 7-11. Jan & Feb dates are sold out, book now for 4 April and 6 June. 21 March Dawnosaurs Early morning fun and learning for families with children on the autistic spectrum. FREE

Water Babies Puppet Theatre

Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich and Björk have taken inspiration from gamelan music, and now you can learn to play this beautiful instrument. Each workshop lasts for two hours. £10 Until 23 Feb Soundpit Play in giant sandpits illuminated by beautiful graphics, creating music with your own movements. Run your hands through the sand, sit in it or even walk across it. You are the composer of your own masterpiece. 45-minute sessions run hourly from 10.15am until 4.15pm. 12-23 Feb Imagine Children's Festival Featuring Michael Rosen, Dermot O’Leary, Cressida Cowell and Konnie Huq. Feed and interact with dinosaurs, celebrate the Harry Potter books and go on adventures with Pippi Longstocking. The festival is dedicated to families experiencing and enjoying all kinds of art and culture together. See also page 49.

Science Museum Until 23 Feb Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security Explore the challenges of maintaining digital security in the 21st century and the unique technologies used throughout the 100-year history of GCHQ - one of the UK's intelligence agencies. FREE, ticketed. 18 Ja, 8 Feb, 7 March Astronights Ticketed overnight event for 7-11 year olds, featuring exciting hands-on workshops, science shows, and a sleepover at the Science Museum Royal Opera House among the amazing exhibits – all followed by a tasty breakfast. 6.45pm 12 January and 29 March Family until 10am. Sundays Discover everything you didn't Medicine season The Wellcome know about the Royal Opera House in Galleries has transformed these fun-packed Sundays, full of the first floor of the creative activities - ideal for all the Science Museum with World’s family. Tickets from £8. five vast and visually largest medicine 4, 6, 8 +9 Feb Alice's Adventures stunning new medical galleries! underground Fun, furious, frantic and galleries for visitors to utterly fantastic! The surreal world of explore: hands-on Lewis Carroll's Alice, is given an extra workshops for 3-6yrs, 30 twist in Gerald Barry's operatic minute science shows, make your own treatment. At less than an hour for the stethoscope 6yrs and much more! whole opera, this short, sharp shot of FREE mayhem is ideal as a family treat.

This Half Term, Polka will be taking over New Wimbledon Studio Theatre


see FREE weekend and half term activities page 49

Battersea Park Zoo Meet the new arrivals: the critically endangered cotton Top Tamarins and Rare breeds from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

Cutty Sark

Battersea Arts Centre Family Saturdays On the final Saturday of every month families take over Battersea Arts Centre for a day of fun, food and FREE activities inc face painting, storytelling, clothes swap, The Bee’s Knees magical indoor space for under 5s and workshops. There is something for everyone to get involved with and space for the whole family to chill out and relax. Workshops details not ready at time of going to press.

Greenwich SE10 9HT The world famous 19th century tea clipper offers visitors four levels to explore. Family friendly events run at weekends and during school holidays. From £24 families.

Morden Hall park February Half Term Wild crafts Roll up your sleeves and join us to make and take home wildflower seed bombs and decorate a grass-head pot! Booking essential. 11am-4pm.

London Transport Museum Southbank Centre  SE1 8PX Until 17Jul Dragon Babies Bring your little ones to shake, rattle and gong. Gamelan for ages 3-5. £5 Until 25 July Family gamelan taster sessions Bring your family and friends to play Javanese gamelan percussion orchestra. Artists as varied as Claude 15-23 Feb Signs and symbols London's transport system is one of the best recognisable in the world. Take a trip in February to pick up a Museum Mission and explore the iconic signs and

symbols that help us navigate around the city. FREE with museum admission.


January/February 2020 • Families South West 53

12-23 Feb Imagine Festival Southbank

Learn pottery Second Saturday of the month 1.303.00pm. These workshops take place in a relaxed environment where the whole family can have fun together and make their own work. £12.50 per person.

Science Museum Your weekends taken care of! There is so much to do here we can’t list everything. We love the interactive Wonderlab with explosive demonstrations and immersive experiences, The Garden an interactive space for 3-6yrs, Engineer your future with problem solving and big thinking workshops, the amazing multi sensory Pattern pod for under 8 and experience the thrill of flying with the Red Arrows in the Fly Zone FREE but many are ticketed.

Tate Modern Family Activities Pick-up activities are a new way to get you talking and creating in the galleries together as a family. Collect Cone, Sculpture Strip or the Time-traveller activity. For younger visitors, Collection Case invites a hands-on exploration connected to the Materials and Objects display and anyone is welcome to take a seat at a digital sketch pad and get drawing. 10am-6pm, FREE

RHS Garden Wisley

Half term event

Surrey GU23 6QB RHS Members go Free To book please visit 25 Jan- 1 March The Giant Houseplant Takeover Step into a house reclaimed by its plants long after its human inhabitants have left. Visitors to RHS Garden Wisley's Glasshouse will find a banana plant has pushed through the roof, carnivorous plants feasting in the dining room and cacti playing chess. You may also spot a few plants have grown rather too large and now tower over their relatives.

Family fun swim with slides Check your local leisure centre for family sessions with waves, slides, floats and toys. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Bright Emporium Clapham Every weekend delve into their books and share their imaginative worlds and characters through creative workshops.

This Half Term, Polka will be taking over New Wimbledon Studio Theatre

Messy Play Let the little ones get stuck in to some messy play that doesn't wreck your home! 9.15-10am. 1-3yrs; 10.15am-11am Ages 3-5. £5 per child. Storytime Sunday Enjoy a reading from your favourite stories, then settle in for some crafting based on the book. 10.30-12pm, from £10.

Congratulations to Fulham Palace for their Sandford Award for high achievement in heritage education

Fulham Palace SW6 6EA Natural play area Logs and wooden objects saved from onsite tree work have been built into a new play area, sparking creativity in order to encourage a lifelong love of nature for the children who use it. Open daily from dawn to dusk, suitable for all ages, entry FREE. Every Monday and Tuesday The Palace Explorers Join the Palace Explorers, weekly parent/carer and toddler sessions for children aged 2-4. £30 termly booking, which includes a drink and healthy snack, booking essential. 9.30-10.30am Every Saturday Archaeologists' club (YAC): Tudor knot gardens The Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC for short) is for 8 and 16! 10.30-12.15 £45 for the term, booking essential. 26 Jan Family fun day: grand designs From Gothic to Georgian, discover the Palace's architecture through games and craft 11am-3pm FREE 26 Jan Hands on archaeology 1-3pm drop in FREE handle objects which have been recovered from this ancient historical site. From clay pipes to plasterwork, explore the 18th century at the Palace through our collection. 28 Feb Opera at the Palace Special evening comprising a selection of arias from classic operas which showcase the talents of four young opera professionals. Young female and male opera singers dressed in evening wear are performing. They are singing together intimately. 7.30-9.30pm

Wonderlab Chemistry Bar © Plastiques Photography, Science Museum Group

London Wetland Centre Barnes An urban oasis for wildlife and people, close to central London. Stroll among the lakes, ponds and gardens. The café is perfect for relaxing, and children will love the play areas. Regular events include: meet the otters, bird feed with a warden, talks, have a go at being a Wildlife presenter, and wetland explorers and more. Puddle Jumping Championships Bring your wellies and wet Half term weather gear and see if event you can complete our Puddle Jumping obstacle course! Prepare to get muddy (that includes parents)! Free with paid admission to the Centre.

Brass rubbing  St Martin-in-the-Fields Creative family fun with an historical twist Brass rubbing in London and throughout the UK was a fashionable Victorian pastime that continues to be popular today. From £4.50. 11.30m5pm

BABIES & TODDLERS Southbank Centre  SE1 8PX Until 17 Jul Gong Babies Join this relaxing music workshop aimed at new parents, carers and non-crawling babies. £5. 12-14 Feb Nest Wonder at the world in a multi-sensory experience for prewalking babies. £14. 17 Jan - 10 Jul Rug Rhymes Find your spot on the poem rug for a short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s. FREE

National Gallery WC2N 5DN Every Sun Family sundays Activities designed for families to enjoy and learn together, 11am and 3pm. Magic Carpet Storytelling For children aged 2-5. Sundays 10.30-11am and 11.30am–12pm. Fly away on the magic carpet, coming to land in front of a different painting each day.

Bring your own baby comedy A funny, friendly afternoon of top comedy and you get to bring your own baby! They provide toys, baby changing, buggy parking, bottle warmers and more. 3rd February Time and Leisure Studio,Wimbledon,SW19 1QG Doors open 11.15 , show starts 12pm £13.20 (including booking fee) 12th February Clapham Picturehouse 76 Venn St, SW4 0AT £11 in advance. Doors open 10.30am for 11am start.

Singing Mamas Choir Venues in Streatham High Road and Clapham Common North Side 07947 609780 Mondays and Tuesday morning A Community of Choirs for Women, with or without children. Sing world songs, folk songs, gospel and more. A warm welcome awaits all singing abilities. £48 for 6 weeks Bursary places for mums suffering with PND and DV survivors.

The Graveney and Meadow pub 40 Mitcham Road SW17 9NA Fridays in May and June Rhythm n’ Babies Music classes for babies and their carers with instruments. 9.30am, £5.

Little Village Voices St Mark’s Church, 53 Rowfant Road, Balham, SW17 7AP Thursdays in term-time 11-12 and running weekly.

Crib Notes Crib Notes is a friendly, non-auditioned choir for parents or carers of young children, based in South London. Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are welcome, and you get to do something for yourself (no nursery rhymes!). Formerly the highly successful Pram Chorus, led by Ruth Routledge, and now run by local musicians Jake Alexander and Eleanor Rastall, and local mum Amandine Olivier. Streatham Mondays 10.30-11.30am @The Well Centre, 16 Wellfield Road, SW16 2BP Brixton Wednesdays 10-11am @Effraspace, 21 Effra Parade, SW2 1PX Balham Fridays 10.15-11.15am @venue TBC drop in £10.

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Profile for Families Magazine

Families London SW Jan-Feb 2020  

Information for local parents. Local What's On guide -- nursery guide, school open days, New Year offers, half-term activities, living sust...

Families London SW Jan-Feb 2020  

Information for local parents. Local What's On guide -- nursery guide, school open days, New Year offers, half-term activities, living sust...