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September/ October 2010 issue 72
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Baby & Toddler Show
‘for your bump, baby and beyond’
Great shopping, and exclusive offers
SUNDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2010 10:00AM-4:30PM Pregnancy and
Lots of free fun activities for the whole family
TWICKENHAM STADIUM The Rose Suite, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DZ
For tickets and more information visit:
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FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
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welcome to Families uponThames 4 News and views 7 Back to school 9 Back to school books Cover illustration by Belle & Boo, www.belleandboo.com Belle & Boo heads up a collection of artworks from the imagination of illustrator Mandy Sutcliffe. Belle & Boo are two of Mandy’s favourite characters. Belle with her bobbed hair, bright eyes and wearing vintage clothing, is insistently curious about the world around her, and is based on elements of Mandy as a child. Boo is her adorable bunny rabbit companion and confidant. We are totally in love with them both as well as the all the delights (books, clothes and stationary) on Mandy’s website . See page 4 for how to win our cover pic. Feels like I have spent the whole summer with my head in a book and I’m not complaining! See page 9 for a selection of back to school books, page 18 for cookery with kids and page 19 for our pick from a great book of London walks for families. Our clubs and classes feature is on page 12 and see page 10 for our investigation into the purpose of homework now that the new term is upon us. As ever, let us know what you think - happy reading!
10 Homework 12 Clubs and classes 16 MMR vaccine
- do the right thing
17 Occupational therapy 18 Cooking with kids 19 Out and about
FRANCES LOATES, editor FAMILIES UPON THAMES PO Box 425 Walton on Thames KT12 5AG Perform_Families-UponThames_QPL-Ad.qxd:Perform t: 01932 254584 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
B U I L D C O N F I D E N C E • B O O S T C O N C E N T R AT I O N • M A K E N E W F R I E N D S • H AV E F U N
FREE Drama Class Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our weekly workshops will work wonders for their confidence, concentration and social skills as well as giving them the best fun they’ll have all week. Book your child’s FREE class today. Call 0845 400 1284 or visit perform.org.uk
0845 400 1284 September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES
news and views... Baby show The London Baby and Toddler will be in Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 19th September, 10am to 4.30pm. Are you thinking about starting a family? Or perhaps you’re already pregnant and want to be as prepared as possible for your exciting new arrival? Maybe you’re confused about childcare options or need help getting your little one to sleep? You may be a stay-at-home mum looking for different daily activities or you may quite simply be having fun raising your brood but always on the lookout for new, action-packed family days out? ★ Phillips Avent will be giving away a limited number of free gifts and a chance to enter their free prize draw to win £100 worth of Avent products. ★ The London Tropical Zoo will be bringing some of their inhabitants on the day (fancy seeing a real baby crocodile?) ★ John Lewis will be there with their first-class range of nursery equipment. ★ First Pix Photography - a specialist baby photographer will be running a competition on the day. ★ Over 100 local businesses specializing in pregnancy, baby and toddler products and services will be on hand. ★ The NCT will be there to talk through all your pre- and post-natal and breastfeeding queries, along with the National Child Minding Association for help and advice on childcare options. There will be free face painting, goody bags for the first 1000 visitors and much more to explore with great goods, exclusive show-only offers and entertainment and activities for all the family to enjoy. For more information and other brilliant offers visit: www.thelondonbabyandtoddlershow.co.uk Tickets will be available on the day or alternatively each ticket that is purchased online will receive a free entrance ticket to The London Tropical Zoo (worth £6.50).
Win our front cover Belle & Boo, and its founder illustrator Mandy Sutcliffe, are giving Families upon Thames readers the chance to win a signed giclee framed print of Mandy’s original artwork created for the front cover of this issue. A gorgeous, collectable prize for one lucky reader. To enter the prize drawer go to www.familiesonline.co.uk/ Locations/Upon-Thames and click on Competitions in the top panel. Closing date for entries is 31st October. Belle & Boo is a children’s interiors and fashion brand created by Mandy Sutcliffe. Launched in 2007 selling framed prints of Mandy’s nostalgic illustrations, Belle & Boo has quickly grown to include a range of eco-friendly stationary, homewares and a range of girls clothing from 6 months to five years. A new ‘TO DO’ book for children is being launched for December – more about that in the next issue! For more information visit www.belleandboo.com
Choose Claremont Claremont Fan Court School is a co-educational independent school for children aged 3 to 18 years old, located on the historic landscaped grounds of Claremont Estate in Esher. Their students receive excellent academic preparation, a high-quality character education programme, and a full range of sports, clubs, and activities. Strong emphasis is placed on academic progress within the context of the child’s growth as a confident, happy and responsible person. They provide a focus on independent learning, encouraging all pupils to reach their potential. Technology plays a part in
See for yourself how exciting and successful education can be. www.claremont-school.co.uk 01372 467841
Don’t let the weather stop play There is no such thing as bad weather. We are delighted to offer Families readers a voucher for 20% off at Polarn O. Pyret (see page 2), the Swedish brand for babies and children. Their desire to make the best children’s clothes in the world starts with the vision to let children be children, and their Layers concept for coats and outerwear is unique. Water repellent, breathable yet windproof fleece jackets, perfect for September, become a cosy middle layer under a waterproof coat in mid-winter. Find out more from the friendly PO.P staff in The Bentall Centre , KIngston or check out the website www.polarnopyret.com Clothes that withstand wear and tear and are handed down from brother to sister. Coats in unisex colours that allow freedom of movement, babygrows that really do grow with your baby and socks with name tags – all well considered designs to make the garment last longer and be used more often. This autumn, Polarn O. Pyret launch a Fleece Jacket made entirely from 25 recycled plastic bottles. The smart soft fleece is water repellent, wind proof yet breathable and never bobbles. Perfect for autumn days out, and as a middle layer when the weather turns cold. The KIngston store stocks the full range of clothing from newborn to 11 years.
The Baby and Toddler show tickets are priced at £4.50 for adults, children under 16 go free! There are also a limited number of FREE entrance tickets up for grabs for Families Magazine readers. For a chance to win, visit www.familiesonline.co.uk
that, but the emphasis on each child asking good questions and finding answers is the centrepiece of the programmes. Students learn to think - vigorously, independently, creatively and with wisdom.
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
Download free eBooks and eAudiobooks from Surrey libraries Ever fancy escaping into another world and leaving the daily routine behind? Now’s your chance, and it won’t cost you a penny. Surrey libraries now have hundreds of free eBooks and eAudiobooks to download at any time, any place, making borrowing easy if you don’t have time to visit your local branch. You don’t even have to live in Surrey to borrow them. There are hundreds of best sellers and non-fiction titles to choose from ranging from romances by Katie Fforde, and thrillers by Patricia Cornwell and Stige Larsson, to Bill Bryson travel logs and classics by Shakespeare. eBooks can be downloaded to any computer or phone with internet access and transferred to other devices such as e-readers and mp3 players. Up to three
Park SMART September All too often we think it won’t hurt to park outside the school to drop off our children, or squeeze our car into a space - blocking someone’s driveway, but the truth is these types of parking practices are often selfish and can bring misery to others. Imagine parking on a narrow road and blocking access to emergency vehicles trying to reach the scene of an accident? It may not be intentional but the consequences can be serious. Remember to think about others and Park SMART. Visit www.drivesmartsurrey.org.uk for more information on Drive SMART.
eBooks can be borrowed for a period of two weeks after which the file automatically becomes inactive, meaning no late fines. Borrow free eBooks and eAudiobooks from www.surreycc.gov.uk/elibrary and unwind from the daily grind!
St James Senior Boys’ School has outgrown its beautiful riverside site in Twickenham and has now relocated to a 32 acre site in Ashford, the site of the former St David’s School. Mr David Boddy, the Headmaster, says that the move gives St James the physical space to pursue its excellence in art, drama, music and sport, and allows popular extra-curricular activities such as Cadets, D of E, Sailing, Kayaking, Rowing, Climbing and Fencing to flourish even more. The school will now move forward strongly with a 3 form intake at 11+ and 13+ and it is hoped that the new superb 6th Form facilities on offer will attract more excellent academic and talented students from home and abroad at 16+. The school’s philosophic ethos has created much interest in educational circles and its enlightened innovative approach has led to the school becoming a member of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition. Check www.stjamesschools.co.uk
Good luck Danielle Danielle Dion-Jones, a teacher at St James’s RC Primary in Twickenham, has been selected as finalist for Primary Language Teacher Award 2010. Nominated by her Head Teacher, Veronica Heffernan, Danielle will now go forward to the national awards ceremony when the overall winner will be announced on Tuesday 16th November at the House of Lords. Danielle specialises in teaching French
if the kids are happy
we’re happy Fab reviews from mum, dad and the kids! Stylish, family friendly villas in Cyprus
Get creative with Story Explorers On 21st September, Story Explorers in Richmond will be celebrating its first anniversary – and what a year it’s been. Since opening its doors in 2009, children from across the borough have been experiencing all the fun and magic it has to offer and many are now dedicated ‘regulars’ who wouldn’t want to miss a week! A creative haven for young children, Story Explorers is nestled in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Grove in Richmond. Sessions run throughout the day (Monday to Friday) for younger children and each week there is a different theme for them to explore. Activities include storytelling, singing, messy play, puzzles, arts and crafts and much more.
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For older children there are regularly changing after-school and holiday sessions, which offer a fantastic alternative to the run-of-the mill clubs. When asked what his favourite thing about Story Explorers was, one devoted visitor said ‘well ….everything’! All the latest information about the sessions currently running can be found at www.storyexplorers.co.uk through Drama and from September will be teaching all children French at the school from nursery to Year 6. She enjoys sharing good practice with other teachers in the borough and is currently leading a project through the national Linked Up Scheme Award called ‘These shoes are made for talking’, working with two local schools and the LA to encourage teachers to develop innovative approaches to language learning by using drama in MFL. Her nominee said she deserved to win because ‘the experience of French that Danielle’s pupils receive is first class! Her passion for language teaching and pupils’ enjoyment is palpable and there is enthusiasm and energy in her approach and much joy.’
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FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
news and views... Cyprus for families
Mother of one, Tracy Broadhurst, decided to leave her high-pressured sales job to set up Aztec Villas after buying a villa in Cyprus herself. She realised there was a gap in the market for a company that provided family friendly stylishly designed holiday accommodation. Tracy says, ‘here at Aztec Villas, we want to make your holiday as calm and hassle free as possible. At present, we specialise in the Eastern area of Cyprus (just south of Famagusta). Every villa and apartment we add to our portfolio has been personally visited and vetted by us. We feel this is crucial so that we can be sure it satisﬁes our extremely high standards and is equipped with all the family friendly ‘must haves’, such as high chairs, stair gates, cot beds, pool/beach toys, Play Stations, DVDs, together with bed linen, bath/hand and pool/beach towels (to save you space in your luggage!), fully equipped kitchens and stylish furnishings. If the properties do not meet these minimum standards, we will not add them to our portfolio.’ ‘We will only be offering a small selection of properties so that we can continue to give our customers a very personalised and professional service’, continues Tracy. ‘We really want to take the stress away from organising a family holiday, so if you haven’t got time to organise ﬂights, airport transfers, excursions etc, we can do that for you. Whatever you need or want, we can arrange it. For example, we recently sourced appropriate formula milk for a child who had an allergy to cow’s milk.’ Tracy’s motto is ‘if the kids are happy, we’re happy’ and the families who use Aztec Villas are certainly happy. Each Villa on their website has a list of testimonials from guests who have recently stayed in them and as Tracy says ‘I’d love people to read what families who have just stayed in one of our properties say – it’s much better than hearing it from me!’ Visit www.aztecvillas.co.uk
Choosing a secondary school is one of the most important decisions you can make. Thames Christian College in SW11 Is a small, independent secondary school for girls and boys. Their open days this year are on Wednesday 29th September, 10.15am to 12.15pm and Saturday 2nd October, 10am to 2pm. For further details please visit www.thameschristiancollege.org.uk or call 020 7228 3933. 6
Catch-a-balls now in Teddington Toddlers as young as 18 months old will be able to enjoy a ‘Sporting Bonanza’, following the launch of a new ‘Mum and Me’ Ball Skills Class at the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington in September. Throwing and catching a ball is just one of the essential skills needed to enjoy many sports today and there is increasing evidence to suggest that children will enjoy a whole host of sports as they grow older, if they learn basic ball skills at a very young age. Catch-a-Balls, who run these fun-packed activity sessions, has developed the programme so that it ensures double pleasure by involving both children and their carers. Heather Horler, Coaching Director for Catch-a-Balls created the scheme and is delighted with how well the programme has been received locally. She comments, ‘As parents and carers, we’re always looking to find fun and exciting ways to engage with our children and these classes build essential skills in all children, irrespective of their physical ability through fun games and activities’. Isabel Syder, mum of two year-old Alex, has been enjoying the East Molesey classes. She told us, ‘We both absolutely love the class. It is great to spend some quality time together and I can see that Alex has started
to focus and concentrate a lot better than when we simply play in the garden. We’ve already planned to come again next term with a couple of friends, so it’s turning out to be a bit of a social event too.’ Classes are suitable for girls and boys of all abilities from the time they start walking, up to school age. Catch-a-Balls also have classes in Guildford, Walton on Thames, Thames Ditton and Surbiton.
To book a FREE taster session, call 020 8398 3034 or visit www.catch-a-balls.co.uk For more about Clubs and classes for your children to join, see pages 12 to 15.
Camilla told us, ‘We were overwhelmed with the amount of people who came every day to the clinics. Most of the rural villages which we went to had no access to any form of healthcare and were too poor to get the healthcare at the hospital which charges to see a doctor and also for medicines. We saw hundreds of people a day. ‘
Support Camilla Last November local GP Camilla Drucker went to Gimbie in Ethiopia for 3 weeks and with the help of a nurse friend they ran outreach maternity clinics. The visit was organized by Maternity Worldwide, a charity which aims to reduce maternal mortality in the developing world, for which childbirth is still incredibly dangerous. They set up links with the hospital in Gimbie and sponsor a safe birth scheme, which pays for any women’s delivery who comes to the hospital. Since Maternity Worldwide have been in Gimbie they have reduced the maternal death rate at the hospital by half.
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
What struck her was that a lot of the problems were simple and if treated would make a massive difference to their ability to work and also to raise their families. Most of the women were anaemic due to poor diet and also parasite infections - this makes them weak and makes their chances of surviving pregnancy and childbirth much lower. When she came back Camilla decided that to support the work that Maternity Worldwide are already doing she would start ongoing rural mobile clinics which would increase the basic health of the women and girls and that would make their chances of surviving childbirth so much higher. When a mother dies the effect is disastrous and often the children die or are abandoned. Camilla says, ‘I hope that if your readers are interested. I can give updates and photos of the women that we treat. In the 40 villages that we will serve we hope to treat over 150 000 women and girls’.
To support Camilla’s project go to her justgiving website http://www.justgiving.com/MaternityWorldwideCommunityClinics
back to school
School for starters JOANNA PARRY offers advice for first-timers.
While some kids rush into their new classroom, unfazed by new faces, for others it’s stressful and scary. ‘I’m dreading Daniel starting school’, says Maria. ‘If it’s anything like when he started nursery he’ll be crying for weeks!’ And it’s not just the kids battling mixed emotions - we can suffer as parents too. We’re reluctant to accept that our little ones are going ‘out into the world’ – they still look so tiny and their new uniforms dwarf them! It can be difficult to predict how you and your child will react to the first days of school but with some preparation you can make this time enjoyable and fun. Even if the first day goes well it can still take time to settle in, as your child realises that school is permanent. ★ Encourage small talk: chat about their day, but don’t be surprised if you get little back. ‘What did you do at school today?’ often gets the reply ‘nothing’ or ‘I can’t remember’. ★ Try asking speciﬁc questions: ‘who did you sit next to at lunch?’, ‘did you use the computer at school today?’ You’ll get a much more positive response. ★ Homework adds pressure too. ‘I was unprepared for the amount of work my son received in his first term and was faced with cries of ‘why do I have to do homework?’ Give your child two choices of when to do it – they’ll feel empowered and be more cooperative. Read to your child as much as you can - it builds up vocabulary, helps them perform better, it makes a good bedtime routine, it is also a very precious moment between parent and child.
Useful websites www.talkingtots.info www.speciallittleproducts.com www.activityvillage.co.uk
239 Halliford School
★ Stick week planners to the fridge to keep on top of school life. www.activityvillage.co.uk has printable rosettes, badges and medals that you can use as rewards, plus back to school games, activities, crafts and jigsaws ★ Cut down tv time. Tv is stimulating, say Relax Kids, and may cause sleep problems, especially if its in the child’s bedroom. On the other hand exercise and playing sports are great stress-busters. Let them run off their anxiety and they’ll sleep better too! ★ Walk to school. It’s a great time to chat and catch up and it gives your child a chance to wake up properly, ensuring they are refreshed and ready for the day. Make sure you start this good habit on Day 1 and don’t turn back! ★ Set a good regular routine with healthy meals and early nights, baths and even massages before bed. A new range of products called Aromagels combine aromatherapy with reflexology to aid sleep and restlessness. For these, plus tips to aid sleep visit www.speciallittleproducts.com ★ Relax. Kids have great CDs for children to help them either simply relax, or de-stress, see their range on www.relaxkids.com ★ Why all the rush? Leave half an hour early and stop to play in the park. Make it fun: run, kick a ball, spot caterpillars, collect leaves, marvel at the changing seasons. Most children nowadays are nature deprived, incorporate nature in your routine. ★ Be organised yourself. Most importantly, try to enjoy their ﬁrst days at school and look forward to the year ahead!
www.familiesonline.co.uk www.ladybird.co.uk/adviceandresources/startingschool www.organised-mum.co.uk
OUR TOP TIPS FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY START TO SCHOOL ✔ Be positive – don’t let your own anxiety show ✔ Prepare in advance and when the big day arrives keep calm, get up early and don’t rush ✔ Talk to your child about what to expect at school ✔ Don’t forget it will all be over soon - once your child is settled the whole thing will seem like a breeze!
Halliford School Russell Road, Shepperton, Middlesex TW17 9HX
An Independent Day School for Boys aged 11-18 and Girls 16-18 set in six acres close to the River Thames
OPEN DAYS 2010 Saturday 2nd October Open Morning - 10.00am-12noon
Our fees are not as expensive as you might think. Small is beautiful. www.thameschristiancollege.org.uk
Wed 29 Sept 10.15 - 12.15 Sat 2 Oct 10.00 - 2.00
Wednesday 10th and Tuesday 23rd November (Tours at 09.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm – please phone for an appointment)
Please telephone the Registrar for a prospectus on
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01932 223593 or visit our website
www.hallifordschool.co.uk Reg. Charity No.312090
Outstanding independent secondary school for boys & girls For enrolment and fee details call 020 7228 3933 Thames Christian College, Wye Street, London SW11 2HB
September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES TCC5019 - Families advert July 10 ART.indd 1
spectacular summer back to school
The Big New Idea JOANNA MOORHEAD investigates free schools and academies.
Education, education, education. That was another government’s mantra – Tony Blair adopted it as his slogan in 1997 – but it could as easily fit the bill for the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.
Why so? Well, according to education secretary Michael Gove, major changes are afoot ... and they’re the sort of changes that many parents have campaigned for over the last few years. In an age when an increasing number of mothers and fathers have questioned all sorts of issues around their children’s schools, Gove has a new message: do it yourself.
‘Free schools’ are the government’s Big New Idea, and here’s how the idea will work. First, you need a group of parents (plus maybe teachers, and other interested parties) who feel there’s a need for a brand new school in their area. Next, you need to gather your case – and get as many supporters as possible. You also need to put together evidence for why the school you’re planning is necessary
Sixth Form Open Evening Monday 4 October 6:00pm
www.claremont-school.co.uk OPEN MORNINGS Whole School Saturday 18 September Saturday 9 October Saturday 13 November 10:00am - 12:30pm The Principal will speak at 10:00am
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
Watch this space!
Find out more The Department for Education website, at http://www.education.gov.uk, has lots of information about both academies and free schools. The Free Schools Network is at www.newschoolsnetwork.org
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C L A An RE MONT FAN COURT SCHOOL independent co-educational school for children aged 3-18
– which may be, for example, that it’s providing a secondary school in an area that doesn’t already have one, and where a lot of children have to travel large distances to get to where they’re being educated. Or, you may want to set up a school with a particular faith bias. Alternatively, you may think that the existing schools in your area are too large, and that some children would benefit from a much smaller establishment. There’s an organisation called the New Schools Network whose job is to talk through whether plans for a new school are viable. Their website is packed with useful advice on how to go about gathering the momentum, the documents, the funding and the premises you need to make a school happen. Setting up a new school, as the site says, isn’t easy – but the network aims ‘to make it as easy as possible’ and promises that it will ‘shortly be publishing data on sites, budgeting, and detailed guides on how to set up a school from start to finish’.
Despite the major cuts that lie ahead in public spending, Mr Gove has promised £50 million to cover start-up costs for free schools. And he’s also given his word that the current planning laws and building regulations, which conspire to make life difficult for parents’ groups trying to set up schools, will be reformed. The government believes that ‘free schools’ have the potential to raise achievement in areas where local authorityrun schools aren’t providing a good education – and he points to the US for evidence that his scheme will work. There, he says that some of the most successful schools have been set up by groups backed by parents and teachers – and he’d like to see the same thing happen here. There’s a similar scheme, too, in Sweden, which again has seen the foundation of many successful schools. But the free schools scheme is only part of the new government’s plans for education. The other main policy concerns academies; shortly after being appointed education secretary, Mr Gove wrote to every primary, secondary and special school in England inviting them to apply for academy status. Academies, like free schools, are outside of local authority control and are funded by private organisations, or by central government. Earlier this summer, Mr Gove said seven in ten top secondary schools had expressed an interest in getting academy status – and he hoped that the ones who did forge ahead with this would help drive academic standards higher, because it would give them more autonomy than they have at the moment. Parents and teachers have worried about academies being too exclusive, and discriminating about special needs pupils; but Mr Gove has promised that academies will be governed by admissions codes which will guarantee fair access to all, and safeguard the inclusive character of comprehensive schools. In all, the reforms Mr Gove is promising have the potential to provide the biggest shake-up in state education in a century, with parents in the vanguard.
spectacular summer back to school
Books for the new term FRANCES LOATES takes a look at the some newly published books to help you through the academic year ahead.
Primary School: A parent’s guide by Kim Thomas and Secondary School: A parent’s guide by Glynis Kozma both published by Need2Know at £9.99. Publishers Need2Know are known for their no-nonsense guides on a range of topics. Both these new additions to the series are written by respected experts in the field who nevertheless manage to take their subject matter back to basics. Kim Thomas’s Primary book begins at the beginning for the parent wondering when legal schooling starts in the UK and what the choices are. Her book helps clarify the jargon, the structures and the law and she does not shy away from ‘been-there’ advice such as to ignore any local myths and gossip about particular schools, urging parents to find out for themselves. The author navigates you from selection, appeals, admissions, supporting the first days, though all the Key Stages up to Year 6 Sats. A communicative school as well as
a small selection of online resources could supply you with all this information but there’s nothing to beat a one-stop shop for all the basic information. By definition Glynis Kozma’s task becomes broader as students take greater responsibility for their learning and the parental role becomes supportive in a wider sense. The author’s background as a personal coach is invaluable here with advice about issues such as boyfriends and girlfriends, smoking, alcohol and drugs. She gives great pointers on all levels of communication, for example, with your child (‘don’t allow your own negative experiences affect their progress’) and with teachers (‘try not to be over anxious or too fussy’). Maths for Mums and Dads by Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew, published by Random House at £9.99. While we have new qualms about parents taking on their children’s homework (see pages 10 and 11) , we’re all for any book which helps parents ‘re-engage with maths’ and puts ‘a bit more enjoyment into maths at home’. After all, maths is everywhere, maths is fun, maths is beautiful. Yet the authors estimate that about 30% of parents ‘fear’ maths which they put down largely to poor experiences as children.
Not only that, maths is taught differently in schools now. Even author Rob Eastaway admits, ‘maths experts can be flummoxed by the new ways maths is being taught in primary school’. The authors combine a lowdown on what is covered in the National Curriculum, year on year (including a wonderful Glossary) with fun games to play together which should be part of family life – not a pushy parent’s add-on to the evening’s homework. Empowering stuff! Jack and the Dreamcatcher by Susie Keen Keen, published by Bing Bang Publishing at £5.99. Surbiton-based Susie Keen has written the back-toschool antidote for when it all gets a bit much. Her book tells the story of Jack’s dream adventure where he learns the skills to cope with bullying at school through what he learns about true friendship, acceptance and triumph over adversity. Sounding overly worthy? The author brings in her passion for endangered species with the Rainforest Animal preservation Society – a gang of wacky, animals to make the story fun. We loved her natural and realistic narrative style which does not make heavy weather of her serious intent. The accompanying CD Catch a Dream Magical Meditation Stories, contains nine stories featuring animal characters from the book. Susie is available for storytelling, creative writing and relaxation/meditation sessions locally, check out www.worldofsusiekeen.co.uk
September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES
spectacular summer back to school
Bored with books? When it comes to homework, the more they get, the more they learn, right? LYDIA WHITTLE searches for the evidence among parents, teachers, students ... and official statistics.
In her recent article, ‘Homework? A total waste of time’, Dr Eleanor Updale regrets ever supporting her three children in their homework and berates the toll ‘homework inflation’ has taken on family life. She recalls how, for years, she, ‘nagged, shouted, bullied and bribed’ her children to complete their work. Sound familiar? Perhaps as the new term starts such scenes have already played out around your kitchen table? It has long been recognised that play time is beneficial for learning in a number of ways, such as information processing, perceptual skills, language learning and other aspects of brain development. So why are such activities now apparently being asked to take second place to vigorous homework assignments? ‘The boys get far too much homework with hardly any time to play’, says Sara, who tells of how when her 6 year-old sons attended a private school, they were given an hour and a half of homework a night in preparation for their 7+ exams. She continues, ‘If any of the homework wasn’t completed by the deadline, they were sent home from school!’ Surely this sort of pressure is unhealthy for such young minds, let alone for parents who have to urge and cajole their tired children to keep on working? No wonder so many parents resort to desperate measures. ‘I have seen many parents do their children’s homework’, Pascale told us, ‘I completely see why … but I never do, if children can’t do it, then they won’t do it.’ Helen feels that homework
amount of homework their child received was about right and in most cases it was too much. As Susan, mother of another 5 year-old, says, ‘I don’t really feel that children should be given compulsory homework until they are much older’. In fact, it seems that if children feel they have the freedom to decide for themselves, they are actually more motivated. ‘My 6 year-old has homework once a week that takes no more than 10 minutes; in fact she often asks for more or makes it up herself,’ Sara told us. Felice, was one of the few mothers who felt her children were given the correct amount of work during their school days but perhaps it’s telling that her girls attended a European School not subject to UK guidelines? ‘Homework was set in manageable chunks from age 6 which helped the children to work in an organised and independent way and to feel responsible.’ Eight year-old Anna attends a private school in Weybridge and Mum Tessa relates how through the winter months she goes to school in the dark and comes home in the dark with homework still to complete, ‘this was really sad, I would prefer her to get no homework at all as the schooling is so intense that when she comes home it would be nice for her to get some down time.’ Shockingly, there was a prevalent feeling that the completed homework was a reflection of their parental competence and an indication of their management of family life. Annette points out that ‘children need the
puts a lot of pressure on both her and husband Adam; ‘the homework my 5 year-old is given encroaches on our family time making it difficult to complete. In turn he has to stay up later to complete reading tasks’. Indeed, of all the parents we spoke to, few thought the 10
right environment to work in’. Similarly, Helen believes her 5 year-old son Oscar at such a young age needs support with all of his homework. But home life can be diverse and complicated, so does this prerequisite not promote inequality? Surely this could be a major disadvantage to
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
to help parents of any ethnic origin give this essential support to their children.’ But perhaps the focus is not about improving skills, as we so often think? Anna B and Anna A, 11 and 8 years old both dutifully answered ‘to improve’ when asked what homework was for. They also recognise that doing homework limits their play time. Maybe the real value of homework is about preparation for the future? Sarah A says, ‘Luckily my daughters didn’t get much homework through primary school, on the other hand, now my eldest is at high school and receives untold amounts of homework which she hasn’t been prepared for by her primary school.’ Pascale, who has five children, told us, ‘All our children on leaving primary school were able to get on with their own homework without me bossing them around (too much). The school has been very good in teaching them good habits,
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‘...they were given an hour and a half of homework a night in preparation for their 7+ exams and if any of the homework wasn’t completed by the deadline, they were sent home from school!’
children who, though no fault of their own, don’t have a certain set of domestic circumstances to return home to? What about children from non-English speaking families, whose parents can’t understand the homework themselves, for example? Izabella, originally from Poland, says, ‘My parents initially spoke very little English, they would have been in no position to help us with reading or writing if we had been set homework’. I spoke to a head teacher whose primary school has two outstanding Ofsted reports; she explained what teachers do to ensure a level playing field. ‘In terms of creating good learning environments’, she says, ‘the school runs homework workshops throughout the school day, after school and during the evening. This gives all children an equal opportunity to complete homework tasks effectively. Also, their reading books and tasks are translated
spectacular summer back to school it has served them very well in secondary. Homework is compulsory but it is not too hard.’ Perhaps without due preparation and a gradual build up of homework children would not succeed in the increasingly competitive international workplace? Maybe there are different levels of attainment in countries which put less emphasis on homework? What about Norway where children start school at age 6? By this stage English children, in education for 2 years already, after spending
Are we even clear as parents and teachers about the actual purpose of homework? Pascale believes, ‘homework should be an extension of learning not to be done so quick that it is a chore and nothing is learnt in the process.’ But do all schools adhere to that view? It would seem that teachers are sending home mixed messages and policies are changing in some schools. Sarah B was told by the school her 6 year-old daughter attends, that when she spells the exceptionally hard words she has been set for homework correctly
Are we even clear as parents and teachers about the actual purpose of homework? a day in a formal educational setting, have completed up to one and a half hours of homework every night (add that up if you dare!) while their Norwegian counterparts simply played their days away. According to the UN’s most recent (2009) Human Development Index, yes. The composite statistic used to rank countries by level of ‘human development’ is produced with data on life expectancy, education and per capita GDP (as an indicator of standard of living.) Surprisingly (or by now, maybe not?) Norway is ranked the highest in the world, along with Australia and Iceland. The UK appears at no 21 (of 182). Undoubtedly, in some cases, homework seems to reflect very positive educational standards, with China having the most amount of set homework up to the age of 11, and a major expansion in education, increasing the number of undergraduates and doctoral degrees five fold in 10 years as well as having the literacy rates of 90.8%. Great news but China’s ranking on the UN’s worldwide Human development report is currently 92. Dr Updale notes that there have been no recent studies of the benefits of current stellar levels of homework in the UK. It is unknown whether there is even a correlation between homework levels and educational achievement.
that, ‘it is “an indication of a good memory, not high achievement.”’ Sarah says it all; ‘It makes me wonder what the heck it’s all for...?’ Claire, whose daughter is 7, was delighted when the school she goes to abandoned the weekly spelling tests quoting research which shows that it doesn’t really help with their literacy. Instead they look up the words they get wrong and add them to their own dictionary. ‘Getting a break from learning spellings has been liberating! … I think that homework can really kill kids’ enthusiasm about learning.’ And as Dr Updale remarks, ‘what drives those children out of the garden, away from the kitchen table and in front of the screens in the first place? What gives them the excuse to cut themselves off? It’s homework.’ It seems that as a nation we have become entirely educationreliant in preparing the next generation to pave their way through our perceived underachieving, ‘broken Britain’. In doing this, maybe we have lost sight of the foundations that truly build strong, successful characters - the family? Without time spent as a family, bonding, growing and having fun, we can’t hope to achieve this. Could it be that by exposing children to extreme schooling and intense homework, we are destroying the very qualities we are trying to promote?
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extra Read more Eleanor Updale’s original article, originally published 7th May 2010 can be read in full at www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6043047 For the UN’s Human Development Index, see http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/ See www.parentchannel.tv for tips on coping with homework stress. See page 9 for our review of Back to school books.
September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 11
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spectacular summer clubs and classes
New horizons www.perform.org.uk
ROBINA COWAN is your guide for a tour of local activities and why they might be great for your child.
Developing interests outside the home is rich in rewards, from new social skills to those of the particular activity. If you’d like your child to join a local class but don’t know which one, let their interests guide you. There’s no point sending a painfully shy child to a drama class if they’ll be cowering in the corner when a good drum-bashing session or IT club would bring them out of themselves more effectively. If they babbled from an early age, they may find a second language comes easily; if they’re forever throwing themselves all over the sofa, consider a gym, swimming or dance class to focus their energies; if they’ve scribbled on the walls since an early age and can’t eat their fish fingers, carrots and peas until they’re carefully rearranged on the plate, consider art and craft or pottery classes, for example.
Given that babies learn their mother tongue practically before anything else apart from motor skills, it makes sense that they can be introduced to a second language before it starts rolling into the school curriculum later in life. Children who learn a foreign language at an early age do so effortlessly. At the most receptive stage of their development they are like sponges and develop a wonderful accent. They learn through verbal and physical participation and communicate without inhibition and selfconsciousness. If children enjoy their early exposure to a foreign language and culture, they will absorb and retain this, ensuring not only a head start in secondary school, but building confidence in all areas of the curriculum. Language classes for children are extremely well designed -
they are fun, happy and busy with plenty of activities including games, dances, songs and even cooking, to introduce the culture as much as the vocabulary.
Ma petite ecole, Hinchley Wood - 020 8224 5672 From ages 2 to adult on Thursday and Friday mornings 9.30 to 11am. From 5 years (infant/junior) Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3.45pm Advanced/junior group on Tuesdays 4.30pm Monday to Saturday for private Tuition, GCSE, A level, A2 and Adults Singing, dancing, games, small play, conversation, art, craft and cooking all in French (small groups) . Le club Francais and El club Espanol, Kingston, Molesey and Twickenham - 020 8979 4586
A 2009 Booktrust survey found that almost two-thirds of parents do not regularly sing
or read nursery rhymes to their children because they did not believe they had any educational value. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that no matter the level of skill, music is one of the best ways to help early language development. Like speech, music has structure, rhythm and rules. It introduces new words and concepts through repetition, encourages turn-taking (just like in conversation), and helps children develop listening skills and attention spans. While some children particularly those from musical families - can take to the violin or piano like ducks to water, it may be more rewarding to start in group singing, percussion and rhythm classes first to learn and appreciate the basics before taking on trickier instrument tuition. Even preschool music classes which include rhythmic singing and clapping songs are contributing so much more than a bit of weekly fun.
Noah’s Ark – 020 8941 8377
A Molesey based pre-school music group which was established in 1998 by Becky Mead, music graduate and experienced music teacher. The Noah’s Ark Music Club philosophy is simple: great singing, dancing, playing instruments, playing musical games and learning through musical fun. Becky’s classes involve many elements such as some use of basic Makaton (baby signing), pitch and rhythm, enjoyment of music in many forms, lots of songs both traditional and modern, puppets, guitar, drums, maracas, bells, step chimes, cymbals and loads more...This small, independent music group has been highly recommended by lots of local mums over the years and is known for its unique approach. Classes are kept small and they are a very friendly bunch! Classes for babies under 1 year, 1 and 2 year olds and 3 and 4 year olds. FREE trail available. Becky also teaches private piano and flute lessons. Call on the number above or email at email@example.com
Mini Stages – 01932 254333 Colourstrings in Richmond – 020 8948 2066 Fun with Music in Richmond
– 020 8332 2275
Yo Baby! In Surbiton – 07970 202 473
Zebedees Music in Cobham – 0870 750 2861
Guitar Tuition – 020 8274 9937 Got2sing in Isleworth – 020 8847 0587
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
spectacular summer clubs and classes SPORTS AND EXERCISE
In June, it was revealed that London has the dubious ‘honour’ of being the region with the highest proportion of obese children, and that Britons are among the fattest people in Europe - so much for the 2012 Olympic effect. Yet pass any school playground at break time and the majority of children are running around, for the sheer exhilaration of moving at speed (typically exercising their lungs too by screaming at the same time!). If your children are naturally active then they’re following their instincts, but those slumped in front of the television or computer could do with a nudge towards a regular activity they’ll come to look forward to. Different sports suit different children; lively, outgoing boys and girls relish competitive team games; tennis develops hand-eye coordination as well as stretching young limbs; swimming builds strength without over stressing joints and ligaments; martial arts teach children to ‘read’ their opponents’ intentions; while dance adds poise, grace and flexibility to everyday movement. Sport Academies is an active, safe, fun and inspirational group where children get the opportunity to learn about some different sports as well as get expert coaching in their favourite sport. The 3 to 5 year olds, (Tiny Tots), get to experience games, mini Olympics and play sports every morning. The older children receive coaching in tennis, rugby and cricket, compete in football tournaments and play team games. All children have the chance to learn a new sport each day with one of the elite visiting coaches. Sports include Parkour, fencing, capoeira, martial arts and yoga. There is even a chance to take part in water sports. Venues in Ashford and Kingston – 0844 335 8217
The Little Gym in Hampton Hill – 020 8977 0099
What to look out for
in Cobham (07824 645 046), St Margarets (020 8607 9995) and Surbiton (020 8398 9360)
Sportscoach in Hampton 01932 254333
Kiddikicks in Brentford,
Richmond and Teddington – 0845 602 8276
Kingston (020 8286 6038), Richmond (020 3092 1313) and Weybridge (01932 847439)
Footie Tots and Footie Wizards in Hampton,
Teddington, Twickenham, Heathrow Gym, Esher and Thames Ditton - 07931 707720
Seriously Fun Swimming in Chertsey – 0844 3511469
Backﬂip Performers in Brentford and Richmond – 020 8940 7998
THEATRE AND PERFORMING ARTS
Drama is a wonderful extension of the ‘let’s pretend’ games young children love to play. Classes open and extend children’s imagination through role play and characterisation. Working to a theme or play introduces literature, classic stories and make-believe worlds which come to life through speech, song and movement. Students explore empathy for their characters and classmates, and learn to work effectively in groups, growing in confidence as they learn to express themselves more fully. Before too long, students learn to make eye contact, speak clearly in front of others and stand up tall when entering a room - attributes which will serve them well whatever their choice of career. All this and usually there is an end-of-term performance where the students have the chance to showcase their new skills in front of an appreciative audience. Perform next term goes into the Wild West. Classes have separate sections, incorporating singing, dancing and acting, helping
Sima’s parties are structured energetic fun action-packed & set to music
1 Check that the atmosphere in the class will also suit your child. Is the teacher a person your child will relate to? Are the classes essentially fun, or does it seem that the teacher is pushing to gain the highest certificates for her pupils? Do classes lead to performances? Some children love this - others shudder at the thought! 2 Make sure the staff are qualified and have the required CRB checks and health and safety certificates. 3 Most classes allow parents to sit in on a session or for children to attend a free trial class. Watch if the children are a) under control - not rigid but well within what you would hope a class to be; b) getting the balance of discipline and fun; c) getting constructive corrections from the teacher.
Football training for under 7s who are nuts about football Get your midfield dynamo enjoying super-skills, fun and exercise CRB checked and FA qualified coaches Training sessions, courses and parties across London
0845 602 8276
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3–18 YEARS Call 020 8447 4530 for your nearest school
ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE... HERE’S THE BEST
JIGSAW WEEKEND PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOLS
020 8447 4530 www.jigsaw-arts.co.uk
An introduction to the world of fitness and football for children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years
Sima’s Action Kids parties for under 6’s Sima’s Dance parties for under 11’s Sima’s Disco-bop & karaoke parties for under 11’s contact Sima on 07956993439 or visit
For children ages 5 to 8 years ALL CLASSES HELD INDOORS - FOOTBALL PARTIES AVAILABLE Call Andy for info and bookings on
September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 13
spectacular summer clubs and classes
what they say ‘Our school never wins
anything in sports so I joined an Under 8s soccer team. We have our own kit, train on Saturdays and play in the youth league against other teams. Sometimes scouts come down to watch - I’m really, really hoping they’ll pick me for the academy.’ Josh, 7
each individual child with their confidence, concentration and communication skills. This has been their most popular over the last 10 years. There will be songs, dances and raps with an end-of-term presentation for family and friends. Local classes in Surbiton, Cobham, Esher, Richmond, Teddington and Weybridge. Perform Plus is for 8 to 12 year olds and the theme for next term will be Christmas Carol. Local classes in Esher. Call 0845 400 4000.
Stagecoach in Richmond, Twickenham, Cheam/ Worcester Park, Surbiton/Kingston, Isleworth, New Malden, Weybridge, Walton and Hinchley Wood – 01932 254333 Theatrebugs in Barnes, Kingston and Twickenham – 020 7350 2995 Jigsaw in Raynes Park – 020 8447 4530 For 6 years and up, Rock Choir welcomes people of all ages to go along and learn to sing rock, pop, gospel and Motown songs in harmony, without the need for previous singing experience. It teaches adults, teenagers and children to sing with upbeat and feel-good weekly rehearsals. Many of the members have never sung in public before and are given the opportunity to perform as part of the Rock Choir experience at local venues and events such as shopping centres, theatres and festivals. Local groups in Teddington, Esher, Kingston, Richmond and Weybridge. Contact 01252 714276 www.rockchoir.com
It’s a rare child who does not enjoy dressing up games, and dance is the perfect way to move ‘in character’, whether 14
as a graceful fairytale ballerina princess, or grooving to a funkier beat. While dancing is great fun it also helps develop coordination, fitness and a sense of rhythm, musicality and expression, promoting selfdiscipline and confidence.
Kensington Ballet in Barnes and Kew – 07957 650042 Diddi Dance in Hampton, St Margarets, Teddington and Twickenham – 07971 278765 Twinkle Toes Ballet in Richmond – 07813 741189
ARTS AND CRAFTS
From the earliest age, children just love to make things. Admittedly they start by making a mess, but in time their painting, sticking, kneading and moulding start to take a pleasing, recognisable form. When clutching a big paintbrush, sticking pasta to a piece of card and squeezing play dough, children are developing motor skills which will later be fine-tuned to manage tasks such as writing and using cutlery effectively. Furthermore, the early attempts are stimulating many senses while introducing new techniques and textures. ‘There’s nothing like using clay to develop children’s artistic abilities’, one local potter observed: ‘usually they don’t get the chance to do pottery until they’re much older, but the younger ones love it just as much’.
Sassy Stirrers – 07789 792676 Papercraft Club – 07841 151325 Children’s Saturday Art Club in Riverhouse Barn, Walton – 01932 253354
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
Krafts4Kidz - 0797 1981879
Arts and crafts for ages 18 months to 5 years on Fridays in Thames Ditton.
Cookie Tots (ages 2 to 4 years) in St Margarets and Teddington and Kiddy Cook (ages 4 to 11 years) in Twickenham - 07799 747175
As soon as children have a grasp of numbers and arithmetics, countless other tasks become easier. In almost every other subject and in many walks of life, arithmetics and maths are needed and a weakness in this area will hold your child back. Extra maths classes not only help improve a grasp of numbers, but help in confidence and add to children’s achievements long-term. Meanwhile, with computers now standard in schools, learning to touch-type makes work faster and more accurate. It is also better for young hands (using every finger rather than just ‘pecking’ with two index fingers) and backs (looking straight at the screen rather than bending over the keyboard). By starting young before bad habits take hold, children have a very useful skill.
Fleet Tutors – 020 8580 3911 11+Tuition in Hampton and Surbiton – 020 8309 6067
Examberry in Kingston and Hounslow – 07733 554 447 Explore Learning at The Heart shopping centre in Walton provides inspirational tuition for 5 to 14 year olds of all abilities. They aim to improve knowledge, increase confidence and encourage enjoyment in learning helping children make fantastic academic progress.
‘We did Alice in Wonderland at the end of last term and I was a dormouse. We sang lots of songs and danced. When I saw all the mummies and daddies coming in it was scary but everyone clapped really hard at the end - I wanted to do it again!’ Amelia, 5 ‘Why streetdance? Because I’m a show off and it’s bare fresh. When I saw Diversity on TV last year I thought - I want to do that. You have to be ﬁt and concentrate but we’re all great mates so it’s worth it.’ Taylor, 11
extra See our directory at
www.familiesuponthames. co.uk for more local clubs and classes listings. www.familiesonline.co.uk has an archive of articles about Clubs and classes. Remember to register on the site to get local information. Children work with tutors who are great role models, enthusiastic about learning and fantastic motivators. All work is mapped to the National Curriculum, so whether your child needs a bit of a boost in their schoolwork, or would love an extra challenge, Explore can create a course that is perfect for them. Call 01932 252033.
In your enthusiasm to bring out the child prodigy in your child, don’t lose sight of the fact that they’re already worked hard at school. If you have signed up Ollie for cello lessons purely in the hope of a specialist school place, or believe that dance school will mean definite fame and fortune via Britain’s Got Talent - think again! First and foremost, find an activity your child will really enjoy. If their interest flags, or changes after giving it a good shot, don’t be afraid to look around for a new activity which might suit them better as they grow and develop.
Pre - school classes
NEW CLASSES OPENING NEAR YOU
Introducing children to a variety of ball and movement skills With fun games and activities designed to improve co-ordination, balance and physical confidence, Catch-a-balls is for children who have mastered walking up to the age of 5 years A fantastic start for many sports including:
020 8398 3034 or visit www.catch-a-balls.co.uk
Book your advert into our magazine and benefit from online exposure via our websites. Find out more by calling us on 01932 254584.
netball, rugby, tennis and basketball
Approved football training for kids aged 18 months to 7 years
Kingston 020 8286 6038 Richmond 020 3092 1313 Weybridge 01932 847439 www.littlekickers.co.uk
Where learningâ€™s a ball
BFP Standard Ad AW 190610_BFP UrchinsAd 64x91 170319 19/06/2010 13:35
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September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 15
MMR - do the right thing Measles, mumps and rubella are contagious diseases which spread rapidly and are known to cause severe health complications in some children. Since 1988, the NHS has been running a national MMR immunisation programme. Choosing whether to have your child immunised is a personal decision for every parent, and one which is best made when you have all the relevant information, writes SARAH MORECOMBE.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE MY CHILD IMMUNISED?
IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN MMR AND AUTISM?
A simple cough or a sneeze is all it can take to spread these viruses, so there is a high chance your child will contract measles or one of the other diseases if they are not immunised. Immunisation not only protects your child, it also prevents them passing on the diseases to other children they come into contact with. Measles, mumps and rubella can have serious complications for children and adults, so by protecting your child, who is likely to come into contact with many other children, you are also protecting your wider family. The safest and most effective way to protect your child is with a free MMR jab. Your child will need two doses to be fully protected. The first is usually delivered at around one year of age, and the second from three years and four months old, or soon after. But if your child has missed their MMR jab, it’s never too late to get them immunised, and you can contact your GP to arrange this.
In February 1998, a group of doctors led by Dr Andrew Wakefield published a report in the Lancet medical journal claiming there was a link between MMR and autism. As a result of this report and the views expressed by Dr Wakefield at a press conference afterwards, there were many stories in the media linking MMR with autism; causing some parents to delay their child’s MMR immunisation or not have it at all. This resulted in outbreaks of measles. Independent experts from around the world have found no credible scientific evidence for such a link. In February 2010, in a statement from the Lancet medical journal, the claims made by Dr Wakefield and his associates, linking the MMR vaccine with autism were fully retracted. The General Medical Council has since found Dr Wakefield guilty of serious professional misconduct, having been ‘dishonest’, ‘misleading’ and ‘irresponsible’ while carrying out research into a possible link between the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, bowel disease and autism. Dr Wakefield has been struck off the General Medical Register.
Measles: Measles is caused by a very infectious virus.Nearly everyone who catches it will have a high fever, a rash and generally be unwell. The complications of measles affect one in every 15 children. The complications include chest infections, fits, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and brain damage. In very serious cases, measles can kill. In 1987 (the year before the MMR vaccine was introduced in the UK), 86,000 children caught measles and 16 died. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known. A cough or a sneeze can spread the measles virus over a wide area. Because it’s so infectious, the chances are your child will get measles if not protected. Mumps: Mumps is caused by a virus which can lead to fever, headache, and painful, swollen glands in the face, neck and jaw. It can result in permanent deafness, viral meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain) and encephalitis. Mumps is spread in the same way as measles. It is about as infectious as flu. Rubella: Rubella (German Measles) is a disease caused by a virus which causes a short-lived rash, swollen glands and a sore throat. Rubella is very serious for unborn babies. It can seriously damage their sight, hearing, heart and brain. Rubella infection in the first three months of pregnancy causes damage to the unborn baby in nine out of ten cases. This condition is called congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). In many of the past rubella cases, pregnant women caught the infection from their own friends or their children. In the five years before the MMR vaccine was introduced, about 43 babies a year were born in the UK with CRS. Rubella is spread in the same way as measles and mumps, and it is about as infectious as flu. 16
WHAT IS THE MMR VACCINE? MMR vaccine is a live vaccine – it contains measles, mumps and rubella viruses that have been modified so that they no longer cause disease symptoms in humans. The vaccine has been developed to produce an immune response sufficient to protect children against the real diseases, with no illness at all or only a very mild version of the illness. The viruses have been attenuated by growing successive generations of the virus under specially modified conditions that select for these mild strains.
HOW DOES THE VACCINE WORK? A child will be injected with the vaccine, which causes their immune system to respond and make antibodies against the viruses in the vaccine. These antibodies then destroy the vaccine viruses, but special cells (lymphocytes) of the immune system ‘remember’ the virus so that there is a prompt response if exposure occurs again. Because the viruses in the vaccine and the natural viruses are very similar, the immune system responds to both. This means that if a child is later infected with the real viruses, these are very quickly recognised by the immune system and large numbers of antibodies are produced rapidly to halt the infection.
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
SOME KEY FACTS ABOUT THE DISEASES AND THE MMR VACCINE • The MMR programme started in Britain in 1988. By this time, children in the United States had been having the MMR vaccine for over 15 years with no safety problems • Worldwide, more than 500 million doses of the MMR vaccine have been given in over 100 countries • The World Health Organization describes the safety record of the MMR vaccine as ‘exemplary’ • In the year before the vaccine was introduced in the UK, 86 000 children caught measles and 16 died • Before the vaccine was introduced, mumps was the commonest cause of viral meningitis in children.
extra This article was supplied by NHS Richmond. More information can be found on the website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/mmr
Never too early
MUNIRA ADENWALLA explains how Occupational Therapy can help premature babies.
Cashmere Bacio from Stellina Baby www.stellinababy.com 020 8894 9617
186 Fun with Music v2 A
To everybody’s surprise, Emily* arrived three months early. She was born prematurely at 28 weeks, weighing 2lbs 2oz as her mum’s water broke early. She stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Baby Unit for ten weeks until she could breathe on her own, nurse and gain weight. When Emily was eight months old chronologically (five months old adjusted due to her prematurity), her mum, Jennifer, noticed that Emily’s arms were tight when dressed, and she struggled to lift her head and push up on her arms during tummy time or to roll over. She also couldn’t hold onto or shake a rattle, used her right side more than the left and had difficulty settling. Although Jennifer knew Emily could have delays because of her prematurity and early medical issues, she was concerned that ‘something wasn’t right.’ Jennifer decided to look into cyberspace for answers. She joined parent forums about babies’ development and special needs where she got advice from other mums. She was advised to: follow her own gut instinct, as she knew her child best and to start as early as possible to prevent problems from becoming worse. Jennifer learned that a child’s early years are a very important time for learning and setting foundational skills that would later affect their movement, speech and language, and ability to self-soothe. After all, babies and children generally love to move, and this is how they learn about their own bodies and environment. She did not want Emily to miss out on such a critical time in her life. Because Emily was having difficulty meeting her milestones, Jennifer decided to look for Early Intervention services (Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and Speech Therapy for children from birth to school years who are at-risk of or have developmental delays). I soon got a call from Jennifer and became Emily’s Occupational Therapist. Our goal was to build Emily’s motor skills, strength, and coordination so she would eventually be independent and no longer need extra support. I identified Emily’s strengths and weaknesses, future goals, and a plan to reach her goals. During Emily’s treatment sessions, her mum and I worked together with her. I taught Jennifer how to integrate therapy exercises into everyday life. This included how to do massages, and how to position and carry Emily while strengthening her muscles, and to help her roll, sit, crawl, and use her hands to play and eat.
Fun With Music! In Central Richmond
During therapy, I find that fun and playful activities really motivate and challenge children, and Emily was no different. As she got a little bit older, we worked on problem solving and being able to do multi-step tasks, upper body strengthening, building her stamina so that she wouldn’t get tired so easily, and manipulating toys and utensils in her hands. These skills would help Emily to learn, play with toys, feed herself, be active and independent with friends and family, and keep her in the right direction to reach all the goals her mum and I set out for her. Emily is a typical child that I would treat, and I encourage parents who sense their child might benefit from therapy and Early Intervention to consider the following: An early start allows children to ‘catch up’ with peers sooner and lessens the effect on future development. It increases child’s potential for learning, social skills, movement, and emotional regulation. When a child has an irreversible medical condition, early Intervention can improve their outcomes and help families develop strategies to support their child. Who Benefits from early intervention? Children with: Prematurity, low birth weight Colic or difficulty settling Developmental delay Down’s Syndrome Cerebral Palsy Traumatic birth histories Multiple births (twins, triplets) Low muscle tone (‘floppy’) or stiffness Plagiocephaly (‘flat-head syndrome’), Torticollis (tilted neck), or Erb’s Palsy Vision and hearing impairments Feeding difficulties Early Intervention helps: Improve posture and movement Develop strength and coordination Reach gross, fine, and visual motor milestones Develop speech, language and social skills Promote emotional Regulation Increase coping skills, self-esteem, attention Promote problem-solving skills and learning *All names have been changed for privacy and conﬁdentiality.
Munira Adenwalla, BSc and MSc (OT) is a Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist. Contact her through www.ot4kids.co.uk or on 07540 113126.
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September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 17
Let’s cook together As the nights draw in and after school means inside, why not spend
Oh yes, it’s a lovely picture, isn’t it, Mum in her pinny supervising smiling children as they stir, chop and roll - spotless kitchen, Cath Kidston accessories, serene Nigella vibe, hello! It’s what we all strive for but some of us have tried and failed (inedible offerings even the dog won’t touch, frazzled nerves, a trashed kitchen and a mountain of washing up for Mum, grrr). Others, well, just don’t know where to start. We spoke to baking expert Helen Nathan, who began her career in catering, is a self-confessed ‘big baker’, mum of three and author of the Flossie Crums cooking books. Helen provided some great ideas on how to get started, keep their interest and why it’s all worth it. For Helen (who spent 20 years in the wine trade) the sense of smell is the place to start, ‘People do not use their noses enough’, she says, and recommends a blindfold game with the very young where they taste things like chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. The fun element can be extended for parties with the crisp tasting game. In contrast to the prevalent ‘eating with your eyes’ message, this approach makes children more open to exciting new flavours. Helen points to findings which prove that people who eat a meal blindfold eat less because their focus is on other senses.
time together cooking?
Another tip is to get the children involved at every stage, ‘Parents are wary of letting them crack an egg, for example – just let them try!’ says Helen. ‘It’s important to stress the hygiene aspects such as hand washing and to taste and smell (as appropriate) as they go along. Never forget the washing up too, it needn’t be a chore when there are lots of lovely bubbles.’ The benefits of cooking together as a family, For how to make these Helen believes, are immense and range Marshmallow Chocolate Cookies from communicating, socialising, reading and see The Enchanted Cookie Tree maths – the whole gamut of life skills in fact - by Helen Nathan which boost children’s confidence. As she says, ‘It’s got to be better than plonking kids in front of the telly!’ What’s more, cooking the delicious cakes and biscuits in Helen’s books, she argues, has health benefits. Helen, who uses butter in her recipes, reminds us that children do need fat in their diets to be healthy. She encourages readers to walk to the shops for ingredients and to have one cake instead of four. ‘Besides, by making your own food you know exactly what’s gone into it.’
Book reviews The Enchanted Cookie Tree is the second in Helen Nathan’s series which began with Flossie Crums and The Fairy Cupcake Ball. These books are the first we have come across which combine storytelling with cooking through the adventures of Flossie, her brother Billie and the various fairies in The Kingdom of Romolonia which is at the bottom of the garden at 22 Maple Syrup Lane.
Slow Cook, Fast Food by Sarah Flower is for any parent who gets exhausted at the mere thought of cooking a meal at the end of a busy day but who still wants to feed themselves and their family wholesome, homemade food. Would that be all of us, then? Resurrecting the slow cooker, this book equips even the most resentful of cooks with recipes that can be thrown together with minimal effort, left to cook all day and served from one pot. From soups to casseroles, egg custards to Christmas puds, you can come home from and find a healthy, home-cooked, nutritious dish without any slaving over a hot stove.
In this story cooking-mad Flossie makes Royal Welcoming Cookies for a special fairy celebration. The book packs in a fun narrative, a set of human and fairy characters to get to know, lessons in baking, plus there’s a fairy to find on every page. Helen provides even more with a set of extra recipes at the end of the book plus a list of baking tips from Flossie, including advice to wash your hands, wear an apron and remember to help with the tidying up. Flossie Crums and The Enchanted Cookie Tree is by Helen Nathan and illustrated by Catherine Black, Avona Books, £8.99. For lots more, including how to join the Flossie Crums Fan Club, see www.flossiecrums.com
Though not written from a cooking with the kids perspective, who couldn’t resist the magic of preparing a set of ingredients together at the beginning of the day, only to return home to the magic of a delicious smelling meal all ready to eat and what’s more, with minimal washing up to contend with? Commenting on her reasons for writing the book, Sarah says, ‘In our busy world we want healthy food and we want it fast but, sadly, the two don’t always go hand in hand. Yet with one-pot meals, and in particular with the help of a slow cooker, you really can have a healthy, nutritious, instant meal waiting for you when you come home after a busy day.’ Slow Cook Fast Food is published by Spring Hill, an imprint of How To Books Ltd www.howtobooks.co.uk and is available at £8.99 in major bookshops and online retailers across the country.
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
Monkey Mike’s Raw Food Kitchen: An Un-cookbook for Kids by Joanne Newell is true to its green credentials in that it’s an ebook. There’s no cooking but lots of chopping and slicing as children are encouraged to transform organic ingredients into delicious recipes which are dairy free, gluten free, vegan and 100% raw. Who can resist Squiggly zucchini pasta and cherry tom sauce, Merry berry milkshake and Cherry banana ice cream - just a selection from the 36 recipes on offer? Written by an Australian mother with a worldwide readership in mind, the values and food sense throughout the book are universal. We loved all the extras: fun activities, workbook pages and food commentaries throughout. You don’t have to be a raw food family to enjoy this book so if you’re looking for super healthy recipes to inspire your children to embrace fresh food, it’s quirky and lots of fun. Available for US$19.95 from www.rawmom.com/monkey-mike
out and about... Richmond Park ramble
We try out a local walk for families from a new book which encourages families to explore London together on foot. ‘It’s surprising how much we don’t know about our Capital City’, writes author Helen Finch. Her quest to devise 14 fabulous circular walks for families all began when she was helping her taxi-driver husband to learn The Knowledge. She discovered free and fascinating places on her travels – a contrast with the better-known museums and expensive attractions you may have visited over the summer. Helen and her family embarked on an adventure which took them all over London, exploring history, wildlife and London legends. With her two boys she devised walks from Alexandra Palace in N22 to Oxleas Wood in SE18 via places like Battersea Park in SW11 and Lincoln’s Inn Fields in WC2. All walks are short (between 1 and 2 miles), incorporate details of stops for picnics and cafes and, best of all, they are crammed with interesting things to look out for along the way. We tried out Walk 1, on our patch in Richmond Park, which begins at Roehampton Gate car park. Leave the car park and join the path in front of the café. Walk to the right. Cross the road at the entrance where you drove in and continue along, bearing to the left. Pass the sports field on your left and divert on the right through Sheen Cross Wood. Continue forward, running parallel to the road. Return to the main path when you reach the crossroads. Cross over the road towards the edge of the sports field, keeping it to your left, and take the pathway (no traffic) towards White Lodge. Continue along this path, taking care not to upset any deer that are roaming free in this area. Pass Duchess Wood on the right, and on the left you will see the amazing Georgian building of White Lodge.
If you look down the next pathway on your right you will get a good view of Pen Ponds. Walk along this path for a short way, keeping White Lodge on the left, and you will reach a car park with a refreshment area. Turn left at a small pathway alongside Spankers Hill Wood, going slightly uphill. There are benches here for a rest/ munch. Follow the path, keeping the wood on the left. Bear left, continuing along the pathway, alongside Treebox Wood, keeping the road on the right. Walk through some trees and the grassy areas of Victory Plantation. You will notice the area opening out. The path will veer slightly to the right and towards the bridge near Kill Cat Corner. Cross the bridge and then go along the path with the road now on your left. There is a notice-board here with information on the wildlife you may have seen in the park. Continue back to the car park at Roehampton Gate.
Getting there: The car park is reached from the A205 Upper Richmond Road West. Alternatively. Richmond, Barnes and Mortlake stations are all 20 to 30 minutes’ walk away from the north side of the park. Length of walk: 1 mile plus Time: 2 hours plus Terrain: Pathways and grass. Some of the paths are cycleways so keep an eye out when walking along with children. Also remember that deer are wild animals so be careful when approaching a herd. Munch stops: Plenty of places to picnic. There is a café at Roehampton Gate; also refreshments at Broomfield Hill and Pen pond car parks.
For a more detailed version of this walk with additional information about what you will see along the way, see Kiddiwalks in London by Helen Finch published by Countryside Books at £7.99. We strongly recommend the other walks, many in central London, which take you to the heart 095 Premier 14:21 P of the city on a nannies fun, learning25/7/09 adventure for all the family to enjoy. Childcare 14/2/10 11:14 584 Surrey
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September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 19
out and about... FUN INDOORS Until 31st OCTOBER, Puppet Theatre Barge performances at Buccleugh Gardens, Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 6UT. For shows and times, 020 7249 6876, www.puppetbarge.com 9th to 12th SEPTEMBER, Our Town: The Kingston Story at The Rose Theatre, 24 to 26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL. Kings have been crowned, battles have been fought and ordinary people have gone about their business. An epic sweep through the history that makes Kingston the community that it is today. Playwright Ciaran McConville and Director Jamie Harper worked with local actors to create this new play, with people’s individual memories forming an integral part of the story. Full of song, dance and the spoken word, Our Town promises to be a unique spectacle for this distinctive theatre. Book on www.rosetheatrekingston.org or 0871 230 1552. 9th to 12th SEPTEMBER, Heritage Open Days. Celebrate England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Once-a-year chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. Free of charge and literally on people’s doorstep, Heritage Open Days are for everyone, whatever their background, age and ability. For full local listings, see www.heritageopendays.org.uk For events within London, check www.open-city.org.uk 11th SEPTEMBER, Hide and Seek at Elmbridge Museum, Church Street, Weybridge, KT13 8DP, from 2 to 4.30pm. Using the Museum’s woodland exhibit as the starting point, this session looks at the role of camouflage in the natural world. Can you make an insect that can’t be seen? Hide and Seek, is part of a series of free, Family Fun days held at the Elmbridge Museum, Weybridge on the second Saturday of each month. Call 01932 843573 for more details. 18th SEPTEMBER, Dusty Does Disco at Winning Post, Chertsey Road, Whitton, TW2 6LS, 3 to 5pm, doors open at 2.30. £5 children, £2 adults, siblings under one free. Tickets available to purchase in advance online at www.dustydoesdisco.co.uk 25th SEPTEMBER, Garlic Theatre presents Old Mother Hubbard at Vera Fletcher Hall, 4 Ember Court Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 0LQ, 2.30pm. For ages 3 to 6, £6, book on 0844 884 8832. 2nd OCTOBER, Create a Mini Scarecrow at Chertsey Museum, The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 2 to 4pm. Drop-in family event. Call 01932 565764 for more details. 2nd OCTOBER, Kids Go Disco Back to School Party at Oceana, 154 Clarence Street, Kingston, KT1 1QP, 2 to 5pm. In support of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. Tickets and more info at www.kidsgodisco.com
23rd OCTOBER, Scarecrow at Riverhouse, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 2 and 4pm. A tale of fun and furrows for ages 4 to 8 years from an award-winning team. Movement, puppets, storytelling and live music. Tickets £7, book on 01932 253354. 23rd to 28th OCTOBER, Half Peppa Pig’s Party at Term activities at The Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington, Richmond Theatre, 30th to 31st October TW11 9NN. Arts activities and live performances all week. Full details of all the fun at www.landmarkartscentre.org 25th and 26th OCTOBER, 2nd NOVEMBER, Family Ghost Tours at Ham House, Ham, TW10 7RS, 11.30am. Guided tour discovering stories of residents who have never left. £8 adults, £6 children. 30th and 31st OCTOBER, Peppa Pig’s Party at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. This BAFTA awardwinning children’s tv show is recreated live on stage featuring beautifully true-to-life puppets, for the first time, from the producers of LazyTown Live! and Roald Dahl’s The BFG. Book at AmbassadorTickets.com or on 0844 871 7651. 6th NOVEMBER, Draw a ﬁrework picture with chalk and glitter at Chertsey Museum, The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 2 to 4pm. Drop–in family event. Call 01932 565764 for more details.
FUN OUTDOORS 5th SEPTEMBER, Kingston Carnival. Free event in Kingston Town centre. For more details, call 020 8247 9513 / 020 8547 1221. 11th SEPTEMBER, Bird Walk at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA , 9 to 11am. Spot migrant birds on passage to faraway land, see the autumn migration at Bedfont Lakes. (All abilities welcome.) Adults £2, children and concessions £1. Call 0845 456 2796 for more details. 11th SEPTEMBER, Cobham Heritage Day, Church Street and St Andrew’s Church, Cobham, from 11am. Lots of fun for all ages. ‘Last Night of the Proms’ event in St Andrew’s Church at 7.30pm. Book tickets for final event on 01932 863324. 18th to 25th SEPTEMBER, Surbiton Festival. Masses of family events, check www.surbitonfestival.co.uk
2nd and 3rd OCTOBER, Live Tudor Cookery at Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU. Built to feed the Court of Henry VIII, the kitchens were expected to provide meals for 600 people twice a day. See the kitchens and experience the sights and smells of a real Tudor kitchen, www.hrp.org.uk 16th OCTOBER, Cornelius & Jones present Pinocchio at Vera Fletcher Hall, 4 Ember Court Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 0LQ, 2.30pm. For ages 4 to 10, tickets £6, book on 0844 884 8832. 19th to 23rd OCTOBER, Carrie’s War at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. A dramatization of Nina Bawden’s classic book, the unforgettable story of one ordinary girl and her brother, packed off to the Welsh mining valleys at the start of WWII. Book at AmbassadorTickets.com or on 0844 871 7651. 20
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010
Our Town at The Rose Theatre, Kingston, 9th to 12th September
Please check all events before you leave home as details may have changed.
Osterley House and Park
3rd OCTOBER, Autumn Art Party to celebrate ‘The Big Draw 2010’ at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Pick up a ‘Big Draw’ trail and explore the autumn landscape for natural treasures to use in the indoor art studio. Get creative using sticks, stones, leaves, cones and feathers to draw and decorate your own woodland masterpiece. Hang your natural ‘work of art’ in the outdoor gallery or take it home. Fun in the art studio is from 1pm Visit the Tudor until 4pm. Dress for mess (and the great kitchens at Hampton outdoors) www.painshill.co.uk
19th SEPTEMBER, Richmond Park Open Day, Holly Lodge, TW10 5HS, from 11am. A fun day out for all the family. Learn how The Royal Parks manage this 2500 hectare Royal National Park. More details on 020 8948 3209. 25th SEPTEMBER, Autumn Art and Leaf Trail, at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, 11am to 1pm. Adults £2, children and concessions £1. Call 0845 456 2796 for more details. 26th SEPTEMBER, Fungus Foray at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, 11am to 1pm. Learn about what’s poisonous, what isn’t and how to tell the difference. Hunt for the mysterious fungi that appear overnight such as Wood Blewit and Shaggy Ink Cap. Adults £2, children and concessions £1. Call 0845 456 2796 for more details. 26th SEPTEMBER, Traditional Spinning and Woolly Crafts at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE, 1 to 4pm. Try your hand at spinning wool on a real spinning wheel. Discover some traditional woolly crafts including weaving, knitting and crocheting. Touch, feel and ask about the crafts that the spinners, weavers and knitters have made and then have a go at making something to take home with you. www.painshill.co.uk 26th SEPTEMBER, Family Discovery Day at Osterley House and Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 12 to 4pm. Hands-on creative fun days for families with a different theme each month. Activities may include art, craft, storytelling or hands-on activities in the House and Garden. Free after admission. No booking required. From 1st OCTOBER, Botanical Play at Kew Gardens, Kew Green, Richmond, TW9. The gardens open a new play area celebrating biodiversity, www.kew.org
Dusty Does Disco
A fun disco for children and their families!
17th OCTOBER, Tree Tales at Osterley House and Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 2 to 3.30pm. Join the Warden for a walk to discover more about Osterley’s rare and veteran trees at two contrasting times of the year. Adult £5, Child £2.50. Advance booking required on 020 8232 5050.
19th OCTOBER, Discover Surrey’s Largest Waterwheel at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE, 10.30am to 4.30pm. Visit the largest working waterwheel in Surrey. Discover how many ‘hogsheads’ of water travel to other areas of the park. Get hands-on with working models. The waterwheel team will be on hand to answer your questions. Waterwheel fun from 1.30pm to 4pm. www.painshill.co.uk
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September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 21
out and about... parties
24th OCTOBER, Fungi Foray at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE, 11am and 2pm. Discover where fungi grow, how to identify them and why thy are important. Advance booking required on 01932 868113.
Balloons – Beautiful & Stunning Colours for
31st OCTOBER, Family Discovery Days at Osterley House and Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 12 to 4pm. Hands-on creative fun days for families with a different theme each month. Free after admission. No booking required.
Children’s Birthday Parties & Other Occasions. Affordable Prices. Great alternative to party bags – Please try us first. Delivery to Party Venue Possible. 020-8399 5679, www.party-bounce.co.uk Popcorn Machine for your Summer/Beach theme parties.
22nd to 31st OCTOBER, Halloween Hocus Pocus at Chessington World of Adventures, www.chessington.com 30th and 31st OCTOBER, Halloween Pumpkin Festival at Osterley House and Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 1 to 4pm. Pumpkin-themed fun in the Walled Garden including cooking demonstrations, tastings, carving and games. Free after admission to the Garden. No booking required.
Bouncy Castles, Inflatable slides, Ball Ponds & much more for Birthdays, Holy Communions, Spring / Summer School Fairs & Other Occasions. Popcorn Machine for your summer & Beach theme parties. Also Tables & Chairs and Balloons available. 020-8399 5679, www.party-bounce.co.uk
30th OCTOBER, Dusty Does Disco Halloween Party, the Winning Post, Chertsey Road, Whitton, TW2 6LS, 3 to 5pm, doors open at 2.30. £5 children, £2 adults, siblings under one free. tickets available to purchase in advance online at www.dustydoesdisco.co.uk 31st OCTOBER, Ghost Tours at Hampton Court Palace, www.hrp.co.uk 31st OCTOBER, Is Syon House haunted? Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Details on 020 8560 0882.. 5th NOVEMBER, Community Fireworks Display, Kingsmeadow Athletics Ground, 422a Kingston Road, Kingston, KT1 3PB. For more details, call 020 8547 5016.
school tuition, language and 244 music Ma Petite Ecole classes
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activities Piccalilys Play cafe 0-5 years - now open in Weybridge.
www.piccalilys.co.uk or ring 07739 724673
Electric Guitar Tuition Member of Registry of Guitar Teachers All Exam grades up to 8 Or learn for pleasure Keith Wild
020 8274 9937 07950 812839
FAMILIES UPON THAMES September-October 2010 22/08/2010 11:06
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11th SEPTEMBER, Richmond NCT Nearly New Sale, Barn Church, Corner of Atwood and Marksbury Avenues, Kew, TW9 4HF, 1 to 3pm. 19th SEPTEMBER, Kingston NCT Nearly New Sale, Tolworth Recreation Centre, Fullers Way North, Tolworth, (Easily accessible from the A3, free parking), 3 to 5pm. Admission £1.50. Priority queue at sale for NCT members. Regrettably, buyers cannot take prams or buggies into the sales hall - but a free buggy park is available. Members and non-members welcome to buy and sell. Contact email: nctKingstonNNS@googlemail.com 25th SEPTEMBER, Staines, Ashford and Egham NCT Nearly New Sale, Egham Leisure Centre, Vicarage Lane, Egham, TW20 8NL, 10.30am to 12 noon. Free parking, coffee shop and soft play area in the centre. £1.50 per adult.
PARENTING 15th SEPTEMBER, Parenting Puzzle, Cleves School, Weybridge, KT13 9TS, 7.30 to 9.30pm. A course to provide families with strategies to enjoy family life more, www.weybridgecc.org 19th SEPTEMBER, The London Baby & Toddler Show at Twickenham Stadium, The Rose Suite, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DZ, 10am to 4.30pm. Pregnancy and parenting advice, shopping and free, fun activities for all the family. Tickets £4.50 per adult, ages 16 and under go free. Meet the Families team on Stand 36. www.thelondonbabyandtoddlershow.co.uk 9th OCTOBER, Infant First Aid Course, Weybridge Children’s Centre, The Pavilion, Churchﬁeld Road, Weybridge, KT13 8DB, 9.15 to 11.30am. Training session designed to give parents the skills, knowledge and confidence to administer appropriate first aid to a child or baby, www.weybridgecc.org 707 11+ Tuition
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September-October 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 23
464 Toad Hall
Providers of quality childcare and education
Open from 8.00am to 6.00pm 51 weeks of the year
• Safe, secure and loving environment • Preschool education curriculum approved by Ofsted • French lessons and additional sports programmes • Qualified, skilled and caring staff • Full and part time care for children from birth – 5 years • Large outside gardens To give your child a helping hand in the early years please contact the numbers listed below for more information or to book a visit Chessington – 020 8391 4447 Bridge Road, Chessington KT9 2ET
Ealing – 020 8571 6867
Comer Crescent, Windmill Avenue, Ealing UB2 4XD
Shepperton – 01932 592525
Shepperton Film Studios, Studios Road, Shepperton TW17 0QD Nurseries also in: Walton on Thames – 01932 226975 or 252858 Ottershaw – 01932 874286, Ripley – 01483 222020
Families upon Thames is designed by Sarah Harmer and printed by Warners, in Lincolnshire. Copyright, Families upon Thames magazine 2010. Colour transparencies and any other original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor it’s agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families upon Thames is part of the Families Group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take every care preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.