Page 1

ISSUE 77: January/February 2012



Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

January/February 2012

News & Views New Club Petit Pierrot Parent and Toddler Group in Notting Hill

Cover Picture: Mamas & Papas Winter 2011 Baby Wear Collection

In our first issue of 2012, we are featuring childcare options. If you are planning to go back to work then we bring you the range of nursery setttings you can consider and the advantages of each choice. Don't forget to look at our website for more childcare articles to help you. We have been busy giving our website a bit of a revamp over the holidays. We have worked hard to make it a really valuable resource for parents living in West London, as a onestop shop to find all the things they need for their family. You do need to register to make the information relevant to your area. Do let us know if there is anything that you would like us to do more research on or if there is anything we can do to make the magazine or the website better for you. Email or give us a call on 020 8930 4707. We will be back again at the beginning of March.

Contents News & Views Nurseries Nursery News Health: Living with Reflux Parenting What’s On Education Travel: All aboard for Summer 2012 Baby Page: What is flat head syndrome? Classifieds

3-4 6-9 10 11 12 13-17 18-19

Club Petit Pierrot are opening a new group for parents and toddlers. Sessions will take place in the Crypt of the Greek Cathedral of St Sophia on Moscow Road, W2 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10- 10.45am for children aged 1-3, and on Wednesdays from 11-11.45am for children aged 2-4. The fun 45 minute sessions will be totally in French with parents and toddlers learning together! Children can take part in workshops which have been specially adapted to the language development of this age group. Activities include singing, rhymes, dancing, sensorial activities, arts and crafts and puppet play. The groups will be kept small and taught by enthusiastic native French teachers. Children are welcome to a free trial session. Call 020 7385 5565 or email for more information. Club Petit Pierrot also run groups in other parts of London including St John's Wood/ Maida Vale, Swiss Cottage and Fulham.

New dance classes in Ealing If your child is looking to start a dance class for the new year, bring them along to the new Innovation Dance Studio Ealing, at 96 Pitshanger Lane. The studio is run by Zoe Newell and Emma Hardy, both professional dancers/choreographers, who have given it a full refurbishment. The studio offers a programme of RAD Ballet , ISTD Modern / Tap syllabus classes, and street dance classes for children, alongside a full timetable of adult classes, including ballet, yoga. pilates, street, hip hop, tap, belly dancing and workout classes. The studio has also recently started a variety of baby classes, which give you an opportunity to enjoy some lovely bonding time with your baby, and give them an early introduction to creativity through movement and music. The Spring term runs from Monday 9th January to Saturday 31st March (with half-term from Monday 13th Feb Saturday 18th Feb.) The shop next door to the studio stocks a wide range of dancewear, alongside lovely gifts and lovely baby clothes. For more information call 0208 998 2283

20-21 22 23 Find us on Facebook Families West is designed by Natalie Schmidt of and printed by Ridgeway Press, 12 Campbell Court, Bramley, Tadley, Hampshire RG26 5EG. Tel 01252 885837. Copyright Families West Magazine 2011. 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 its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families West 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 the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.

January/February 2012

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


News & Views Stagecoach Students live at Her Majesty's 17 students from the Stagecoach school in Chiswick had the chance to perform on a West End stage when they took part in a spectacular musical celebration at Her Majesty’s theatre, currently the home of the smash hit musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. Students from 16 other Stagecoach schools including sister school Stagecoach Kensington entertained the audience with a lively programme of songs and routines from favourite musicals which also included original work created by the students themselves. Students representing Chiswick, whose ages ranged from 11 to 17yrs, rehearsed together for weeks beforehand on their contribution, ‘Moulin Rouge’. Dance teacher, Alice Bendall who was herself a Stagecoach student growing up, choreographed an amazing spectacle fusing a dramatic and ultimately tragic story of love and hate through song and dance. It was described by members of the audience as ‘incredible, polished and highly professional’. Many of the student’s own parents were astounded by the high standard delivered and barely able to recognize their own children dressed in fabulous costume and full makeup. Principal, Sally Catlin said, ‘The students were absolutely amazing. They worked so hard on this and it was a total triumph.’ Stagecoach part-time theatre school offers quality training in drama, dance and singing to young people from 4-18 at weekends. For further information about Stagecoach Chiswick, contact Principal Sally Catlin on 0208 398 4709

Great exercise for children

If you agree with Public health minister Anne Milton's statement that “tackling obesity was not just about eating better, but about children spending at least an active hour a day,” then you may want to consider looking at the range of sports Kiddikicks has on offer. We are particularly lucky in West London to have after-school rugby classes in Kensington and Notting Hill, a multi-sport session on Sundays in South Kensington, and also Ligasoccer U6 session in Chiswick, Kensington and Brentford. Ligasoccer introduces small-sided Match Play for maximum exposure to football which is fun and develops super-skills. KiddiRugby introduces tag rugby. KiddiSports offers players the chance to “have a go” at a variety of sports activities. To find out more contact: Sarah on 020 7937 7965 or email All these services are available for nursery, private, school settings and birthday parties also. 4

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Mini Picassos Mini Picassos run art classes for children at 8 Station Terrace, Kensal Rise, London NW10, for children ages 5-7 and 8-12. Activities include paining in acrylics on canvas, drawing with charcoal, sculpting in wire and paper mache. They also run classes for toddlers aged 15 months to 3 years. Activities for the little ones include painting, water play, playdough and singing. Phone to book and your child's first class is free. 07903 638817

Have a say in Ealing Hospital's Maternity decisions

Kensington Mum is a group network

created by a Kensington based mum of two healthy and vivacious kids. She more than understands a parent's challenge in keeping the kids entertained and happywhich is why she has embarked on this voluntary support network. Kensington Mums is open to all mums, dads, carers and guardians who live in Kensington. This group is created so that they can communicate with each other share advice, organise meet ups, sell some of the baby friendly items that no longer fit your little one and capture all those invaluable word of mouth recommendations. By joining this group on Facebook, you will be kept up to date with what's on in Kensington including activities, playgroups and family events. If you would like to receive weekly newsletter then please email her at

Amanda Coppin wrote into Families West to tell us about her new role as Chair of the Maternity Service Liason Committee at Ealing Hospital. “I believe that as women who will be using the maternity services, we must use our voices to express what we want in the services that are provided. Now that Ealing Hospital Trust has agreed a merger with Northwick Park Hospital Trust, we don’t know how the maternity unit will be affected. The hospital are currently building a new birth centre that will change what we have as users. Waiting to see what happens is not an option.” She wants mothers to get involved in the decisions that are being made. Check out the Facebook page (Ealing Hospital Maternity User Group), Twitter @ealing MSLC, or email her at The group hosts coffee mornings to discuss the proposed plans.

Safe mobile use for children Scientists and campaigners call on the Government and phone companies to protect children from the health risks of mobile phones A new report recently published by UK charity MobileWise warns that children’s health is being jeopardised by the failure of Government and phone companies to respond to the growing body of evidence linking mobile phone use with health hazards. The new report Mobile phone health risks: the case for action to protect children brings together, for the first time, more than 200 peer-reviewed studies from a range of research institutions that link mobiles to serious health problems. Endorsed by a number of eminent doctors and scientists, the report highlights the growing and substantial body of evidence that has been obscured in the debate over these risks. Find the report here: Read simple tips to protect your family here: January/February 2012

January/February 2012

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


By Joanna Parry


What’s in a


So, your little one’s growing up and it’s time to start thinking about nurseries. Day nurseries, nursery schools, pre-schools – nurseries come in all shapes and sizes and navigating your way through them can be daunting. Whether you’re going back to work or just want your child to benefit from all that nursery has to offer, here is our guide to finding the best, and right, nursery for you. Studies have shown that children who attend nurseries can be more confident and often go on to do better at school. A good nursery will prepare your child for those first few nerve-wracking weeks at school, plus most children thrive on the stimulation at nursery. Another advantage is the year-round care they offer, and you know your child is being looked after by qualified staff who won’t become ill and need time off work – at least not all at the same time!

Day nurseries Open usually 8am-6pm, day nurseries are a good option for working parents as many will take babies from 3 months. The day follows structured activities interspersed with naps, meals and outdoor play. Day nurseries offer continuity of care and your child doesn’t have to stay all day – many day nurseries will do half days or you can collect early.

Nursery schools Nursery schools are often more formal in the way they structure sessions. They usually take children from 2.5-3 years and provide a grounding for starting school, teaching letters, shapes, numbers and sometimes even early-stage reading. Nursery schools give children the opportunity to make friends of the same age as most require children to do either 5 morning or 5 afternoon sessions, so the same children will be there everyday. They are often smaller scale with a personal touch, too, but perhaps are not so convenient for working families.

Nursery classes in schools The first step in ‘real’ school life, these can be excellent for children who are ready for school and structured, educational play. They are convenient if you already have siblings at the school, but again sessions are often only 3 hours long which may not be practical. Nursery classes in independent schools are more likely to offer full school-day sessions but nursery classes attached to state schools are free! It’s important to remember that a school nursery place does not automatically guarantee a place in reception. 6

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

January/February 2012

Pre-schools and playgroups Playgroups usually take children from 2.5yrs, offering short sessions to 'ease' your child out of the home and into a more sociable learning environment where they can play, learn and have fun. Playgroups have a varied mix of toys, games, singing, story-time, arts and crafts and usually an outdoor area. Parents are encouraged to be active members of the playgroup and their small-scale settings are less daunting for shy children. They are also excellent value for money as they tend to be not-for-profit and are sometimes staffed by volunteers, with parents staying to help out.

Nurseries Say that you saw it advertised in Families West Magazine

Montessori nurseries and Steiner schools -

Montessori teaching is based on a method which fosters and guides children’s in-built curiosity for learning. In a Montessori nursery it is the children themselves, who choose from the range of activities offered. Using sensory materials to provide intellectual, physical and psychological stimuli, Montessori schools aim to develop the child's whole personality.


The aim of Steiner schools is to foster imagination and creativity; they don't introduce formal education before the age of six, concentrating on creative play rather than the 'three Rs'.

Both these options can be great, but might not prepare a child who is going on to a particularly academic school (with entrance exams perhaps) but they do offer a more holistic approach to learning.

Workplace nurseries Much sought-after, workplace nurseries provide full or part-time childcare, but think about the location. If your journey to work is an hour long your toddler may not appreciate the trip home at 6pm and a nursery around the corner from home might be a better idea.

SureStart Children's Centres A number of Centres offer affordable, flexible childcare for up to 10 hours a day. Worth considering!

NURSERY CHECKLIST Once you’ve found a nursery, go and have a look. Go back again if you’re still not sure. A good nursery will welcome a visit and might even let your child join in. By watching the other children you’ll get a good idea of whether it's the right environment for your child.

How to find the right nursery – a parents’ guide: ■

■ ■

■ ■

■ ■

Start early! “It sounds ridiculous, but I put my bump down for nursery when I was pregnant,” says Camille, mother of one. “OK, I wasted a few registration fees, but at least I got a place at the nursery I really wanted.” Near or far? Think about the time it takes to get to nursery. There’s a lot to be said for a nursery around the corner from home, and it helps bring down your carbon footprint. Does the nursery have a welcoming, happy, cheerful atmosphere? Some nurseries offer cosy, home-like environments whereas others have more room to run around in. A child-friendly outdoor space can be a real draw when choosing a nursery, especially for lively boys. Also, check basic things like security, cleanliness and equipment “Looks aren’t everything,” says Kate, mother of 3. “If a nursery is a bit shabby it could still be fantastic in terms of quality of care. And perfect, pristine equipment is not being used!” Watch the staff. Look at their ages – the younger staff may have energy but the older ones have experience and usually more patience. “My preference is always an owner-run nursery,” says Marianna, mum of 2. “It’s their own business and they’ll really care about it.” Are the carers interacting with the children or are they just chatting to each other? Look at staff turnover and ask if the nursery ever uses agency staff Consider your child’s routine. “My little one sleeps 1-3pm,” says Alice, a first-time mum, “so afternoon nursery is no good for me.” Many parents also want a nursery that provides all meals – but do consider what your child is being fed and where it is cooked! What does the nursery offer? How are the sessions structured? Look for a mix of fun along with quieter activities. Are there additional classes such as French and ballet? Do they take the older children on outings? How much is your child learning in preparation for school? Do you want them to learn letters and numbers? “I wish someone had told me about nurseries that feed into schools,” complains Lissy. “I wanted my daughter to go to a school where she needed to pass an assessment, but the nursery I sent her to didn’t prepare her and when she was asked to write her name at the assessment she burst into tears!” 3 to 5 year olds are taught according to a framework set out by the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage but some nurseries will go far beyond this academically. On the other hand, some parents will run a mile from a nursery that hothouses such young children “I wanted a nursery for Annabel where her key worker would chat to me every day and tell me what she had been up to. Some nurseries I looked around seemed too busy to do that,” says Sarah. Read the latest OFSTED report – a great way for detailed info on everything from quality of care and education to cleanliness and opportunities for play. Although all nurseries follow OFSTED guidelines, there’s room for interpretation!

January/February 2012


TEAM LEADERS NEEDED £500–£2000+ per month, work from home. Part time or full time with flexible hours. Full backup support and training. 33 years of success and growth. Are you what we’re looking for? Call Alison or Ian

01923 232242

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


Nordic Kids: Chickens print t-shirt 020 8736 0580

Nurseries NURSERY GRANTS EXPLAINED Nursery fees vary greatly, depending on location, demand and what is offered. They start at around £100 a week and go up to 4 times that, but there are ways to get help with the costs: ■ Nursery Education Grant – all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free earlyeducation a week for 38 weeks of the year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday), and can be applied flexibly over a minimum of three days. Free early education places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools and classes, children's centres, day nurseries, play groups and pre-schools and childminders. Your child will be eligible for the Nursery Education Grant from the term after their third birthday. If you choose a nursery which costs more than the funding or use the nursery for more hours the grant will be offset against your bill ■ Your employer may provide subsidised onsite childcare, or offer Childcare Vouchers as a portion of your salary. Download a guide at or find out more about Childcare Vouchers at Check if your nursery will accept Childcare Vouchers ■ You may be able to recoup some of your childcare costs through the tax credit scheme, depending on the number of hours you work and your household income. To find out if you are eligible go to or TaxCredits

MORE INFORMATION * * * * * * * *


Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Find out about the Early Years Foundation Stage at Download a list of registered childcarers in your area For local nurseries and links to Ofsted reports go to The National Day Nurseries Association provides information for parents. Search for NDNA member nurseries at The Preschool Alliance SureStart has information about childcare options, tax credits and free nursery places, plus links to the Children’s Information Service has contact details for registered childcare providers OFSTED For more articles on choosing a nursery, early learning, independent or chain of nurseries, childminder versus nursery, Montessori education and more visit PS: Remember if you want to read about nurseries in West London then remember to log in: this way you’ll only see results in your area!

January/February 2012


January/February 2012

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


Settling into nursery Five ways to settle your child into nursery Settling your child into nursery Every child is different. Settling your child into a nursery can take up to three or four weeks. Joelle Lax, Manager at LEYF’s Holcroft Community Nursery, suggests assessing your child’s level of confidence and working out a system that keeps everyone happy – from day one. Here she offers her five top tips for a great start. 1. Introduce your child to a range of noises and different groups of people, including children, before they start nursery. This will help them feel more at ease in the lively environment of a nursery. 2. Visit the nursery – with your child. Learn what happens throughout the day. Visiting the nursery allows children to become familiar with different parts of their new environment and also to meet staff and other children. 3. Care about and get involved with the nursery. If children see parents at ease, happy and chatting with staff, they are more likely to feel relaxed, developing a stronger sense of confidence and belonging in the nursery themselves. 4. Allow your child to bring along a familiar object from home – like a favourite teddy bear. These hold positive memories for children and will, by association, help them to develop secure attachments with the nursery. 5. Be patient. Some children will be happier to join in with nursery life more quickly than others. But if you’re patient, the benefits of your child attending a caring and well-run nursery will soon be clear to see.

Buttons Day Nursery School in Ealing celebrates its 10th Anniversary September 2011 saw ‘Buttons’ celebrate 10 years of "providing excellent childcare and education." Some of the things that make ‘Buttons’ unique include being the first nursery school to offer fees that were fully inclusive of Pampers nappies and SMA formula milk and all children’s meals being prepared on the premises using only fresh organic ingredients. The nursery has held ‘Investor in People’ recognition since 2005 and has a ‘Parent Committee’ which meets bi-monthly to enhance communication with parents. A recent OFSTED inspection concluded that the nursery provision was ‘strong’ in all areas with comments such as ‘Parents are very confident that their children are happy and progressing well’ and ‘Children clearly enjoy their time at the nursery’. For more information contact Buttons Day Nursery School on 020 8840 3355, e: 10

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Active Learning Nursery is opening a new centre at the Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground, Hartington Road in Chiswick. It will take children from 3 months to 5 years and will be open from 7.30am to 6.30pm. Facilities include a sensory room, an adventure playground, drama and art, science, discovery and technology studios. The curriculum will include classes in music, dance, drama and art, indoor and outdoor sports as well as language, literacy and numeracy taught by fully qualified specialists for each area of the curriculum. There is an organic menu freshly prepared by a full-time chef. Authorised parents will also be able to access a webcam in all rooms. To find out more call them on 0800 081 1620, e:

Book Week at St Benedict’s Nursery Last term, staff and children at St Benedict’s Nursery were caught up in a whirl of activities centred on ‘Reading together: life in our books and books in our lives.’ The annual Book Week is always a highlight of the Nursery year, culminating in ‘Dressing up Day’ when everyone comes into School dressed as their favourite book character. The children studied the book called the ‘Room on the Broom’, doing several different art activities but the most exciting of all, was acting out the story with props. ICT teacher Mrs Stevenson videoed their performance and children and staff enjoyed watching it on the Interactive Whiteboard. The top year in the Junior School, Form Two, made their own charming picture books to share with the children in the Nursery. They read many stories to the younger children, an activity enjoyed by both parties! Then, for one peaceful half-hour on the Thursday, the whole school stopped work, when staff and children alike settled down on pillows and cushions in classrooms and corridors to read their favourite or current book.

Nursery school cuts ‘hardest’... Early years education will be a big loser in the coming funding cuts, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – and nursery schools with higher numbers of children from well-off backgrounds will fare worst of all, the IFS warned. They tell us that funding for nurseries and playgroups will be reduced by a fifth – higher than the reductions in other educational sectors. Not good news for parents with young children, who are likely to see nursery fees rising in the months and years ahead. ...but financial training could help On the upside, though, nurseries could be run in a more sustainable way if the people who ran them were given some financial training, according to Neil Fenton, director of finance and social enterprise at the London Early Years Foundation. He says there is a certain amount of ‘wastage’ in some nurseries, and he believes the financial management of many nurseries could be improved with a bit of help from financial advisers. The good news, for us parents, is that the people who tend to run nurseries are motivated by love of children before a desire to run a profitable company... the bad news is that, in these straightened times, we’re all having to be a lot more money-savvy. January/February 2012

Photograph by Victoria White 07747617987

Nurseries Photograph by Victoria White 07747617987

Nursery News

New nursery opening in Chiswick

Babies get reflux because the stomach valve hasn’t developed properly. That valve keeps the food and the acid, in the stomach. When it’s not working properly and baby is full, that food and acid comes back up. Symptoms vary dependent on the child and the severity of the case, but the inconsolable crying described by Vicki is common. “Nothing worked. It was utterly heartbreaking. I remember being in my bedroom and shouting to my husband to call an ambulance. We never actually did it, but we were so near on so many occasions.”

Close Caboo Baby Carrier

Before you have a baby, you’re told to see feeding time as a time of bonding. But for some mums, it’s anything but. Families Leeds looks at how living with a baby with reflux can drive you to the very brink of despair. Vicki Gilbert is a third time mum. To see pictures of her, her husband Sean and her happy smiling children in the early stages of baby Joe’s life, it’s hard to believe what was going on every time she closed the front door. “From being a couple of weeks old, Joe would scream and scream,” Vicki remembers. “At one point, the screaming went on for 18 hours a day. He was hysterical when you laid him down for a nappy change. He screamed through every car journey. The only respite we got was a 5 hour stretch at night when he literally passed out from exhaustion. It pushed us to the end of our tethers.” Reflux is the contents of the stomach coming back up into the gullet. The acid causes a burning sensation which can make baby vomit, arch their back and cry inconsolably. It’s thought about half of all babies have reflux in the first 3 months of their lives to some degree, with most developing it at about 2 months. That figure reduces to 5% by the time babies are 10 months old.

Vicki’s story is repeated on forums and in chat rooms across the internet. There are stories of families who have been driven to the brink by their babies’ suffering. Many turn to Alison Scott-Wright, an expert in reflux also known as The Magic Sleep Fairy. “New mothers assume that feeding their newborn will be a positive experience,” explains Alison. “Sadly this isn’t true for those whose babies suffer from reflux. Reflux can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. We have to crack the ‘reflux code’ for each baby to find out what helps relieve the individual symptoms.” Those symptoms vary. For some it’s excessive vomiting, irritability, a white coating on the tongue, excessive mucus, refusal to feed and poor sleep habits. These sleep habits are a product of the pain your child is experiencing, and it’s those habits that can remain long after the baby has outgrown the reflux. For babies with ‘silent’ reflux – that’s all the pain and irritability, without the vomiting – diagnosis is more difficult. But Alison Scott-Wright says it’s vital parents listen to even the youngest of babies. “Babies cry to communicate. If they are crying for long periods of time, then there’s something wrong and, in my experience, it’s usually a digestive issue.”

Vicki Gilbert found support from her local GP and says without that, she’s not sure how she would have coped. He listened, explained and prescribed medication that has, after 7 months, eased Joe’s pain. Leeds based Consultant Paediatric Surgeon Emma Sidebottom says it is important to consult with your health care professionals about treatments – like products to thicken milk which helps baby keep it down, as well as acid blockers. “Some parents experiment with the hungry baby milks. These are designed to stay in the stomach for longer. But if you have a baby with reflux, milks like that will make it worse.” If you’re not getting the support you need from your GP, Emma says you can ask to be referred to your local hospital’s Paediatric Clinic. The specialists there will be able to see children at much shorter notice than waiting for a GP refererral. “Remember that 99% of babies with reflux will outgrow It completely without any treatment,” adds Emma Sidebottom. “Reflux is made better by your baby growing. The two milestones are starting on solids – which stay down better than milk – and children becoming more upright. It will get better.” And it is getting better for Vicki Gilbert and 7 month old Joe. He’s on a cocktail of medication that has brought his symptoms under control. For the past month, life has been a little more normal. Like many children with reflux, he’s developed poor sleep habits but that’s a battle for later. The sleep he does take is in a cot propped up at an angle. Vicki says it’s been incredibly tough, but she hopes other parents of babies with reflux will take strength from her experience. “If your instinct tells you something is wrong, don’t listen to those who say your baby is ‘unsettled’ or ‘colicky’. Seek help from your GP. If they won’t listen, see another GP in the practice. It is NOT normal for babies to scream for hours on end.”



Does your baby...

• • • • • • • • •

Vomit Have bouts of inconsolable crying Arch their back Have frequent hiccups and excess dribble Have a white coating in their tongue Refuse to feed Have poor sleep patterns Have excess mucus Display signs of pain and irritability

January/February 2012


Living with REFLUX

Research, research, research. Go on online forums and chat to others mums. Look at or Also, join my Facebook page and get advice of other parents. • Keep a journal. Include videos of any reflux episodes by your baby and photos. Use these when visiting health care professionals. • Go to your GP and make them listen. This may mean you returning time and again. ain. • Get someone to come along to the GP with you. If you are suffering from a lack of sleep and are emotionally charged, you may need support to get your ur case across. • Remember, you are your baby’s only voice. That inconsolable cry is trying to tell you something. Trust your instinct and don’t be fobbed off. Alison Scott-Wright is author of The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan and an expert in infant reflux. Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR



Why empowering your kids makes for a happier home life Dr Clare Bailey explains why giving choices builds trust and competence competent and trusted. No doubt my parents had to tidy up the edges, but I didn’t see that part. I was not being over-managed, I was shown what to do and allowed to get on with it. So I did my best.

‘The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realisation that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.’ Sloan Wilson

Oilily Autumn/Winter Collection

‘Go and brush your teeth! Now! Why haven’t you done it yet??’ ‘I’m going to ask you twice only, then the naughty step… OK… no bike, no TV!’. Sound familiar? And as you walk out of the room, do you wonder why it has to be such a battle? But put yourself in your children’s shoes – imagine being told to do the same simple thing every day of your life, wouldn’t you prefer just to be trusted to get on with it? It’s so easy to get caught in a cycle where everything feels as if it becomes a power battle – asking them to do a simple everyday task such as brushing their teeth, they don’t do it when asked, followed by escalating threats and confrontation; without even meaning it, the morning’s off to a bad start. And unfortunately this can also start a cycle – you expect confrontation next time and so on, it’s exhausting and upsetting for everyone. For recurring situations of confrontation think about what’s behind their behaviour: •

Is your response stronger or more punitive than perhaps the situation deserves?

Are they upset, confused or fearful and so unable to take on board the message or to learn? Are they really doing it to annoy you? Or are they looking for respect and an opportunity to be trusted to make some of their own choices? Do you really need to be involved in every small detail? Might a ‘you are trusted’ message be more effective in moving towards getting things done.


Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before next time • • • •

Is this important? Whose problem is it, mine or theirs? Does it have to be done now? Have I made it clear what I want them to do and why? With an older child, talking through the problem and what might help develops their problem-solving skills and independence. Can I offer limited choice instead? ‘WHEN you have done…, THEN you can have/do…’, ‘Would you like THIS ONE or THAT…?’ Am I too wound up to notice when they are responding or behaving well, and do I remember to praise these small improvements?

Often if we step back, take a breath and calm down, we can see other options which avoid confrontation. They have an opportunity to learn to be more capable and to make better choices the next time. Time and encouragement at these moments requires astonishing levels of self-control by parents, but can make interactions so much more constructive. Children learn to be more co-operative as they feel respected. Trusting your child involves taking a risk as a parent. I remember being allowed to sit on the counter as a child of five and paint the kitchen wall. I can still remember how much effort I put in when painting around the white light switch in a dark petrol green colour. I felt

Of course you need to have some nonnegotiables about areas such as safety, sleep, eating, family rules etc which are backed up with constructive consequences, but keep these to a minimum where possible. Then you can move into more expansive areas; imagine your older children organizing a birthday celebration for you (give them a budget and prepare to be surprised!), or making dinner one evening, or the young ones packing their own luggage for a trip to Granny’s, or perhaps gathering nice things for an afternoon picnic. They’re likely to put heart and soul into the job and OK things can get quirky, but maybe that is part of the fun. Giving your child choices, even limited ‘This-one-or-that-one’ choices makes them feel trusted and capable. Feeling valued, they don’t need the power battles to say ‘Get off my back, I can do it!’ And when they make mistakes, or things don’t quite work out we can only admire them for having tried and encourage them to try another approach. You can contact Dr Clare Bailey from Parenting Matters about individual consultations held by phone or face-to-face, by calling 01494 677575 or by going to Parenting Matters also run courses you can do from home (or work) in small groups using an interactive web-based, coach-led presentation. January/February 2012


What's On

BABY FIRST AID COURSE 7 Jan 10am-12noon or 2-4pm, Run by the NCT (KandC) and the British Red Cross. Learn to be a competent first aider. Parents will learn what to do in situations such as choking, bleeding, burns, raised temperatures, as well as an unconscious baby or child (breathing or not breathing). The sessions are relaxed with plenty of opportunity to ask questions throughout. Suitable for parentsto-be, carers or those with young children. Venue: St Peter’s Church, Kensington Park Rd, W11 £40 per person or £70 per couple. To book e: or 0844 243 0007

THE SUNWALK LONDON 2012 Entries open in January. A unique family focused walking event from breast cancer charity Walk the Walk. It’s a brilliant fun day out for the whole family. £27.00 for an adult place (all entrants over 18 yrs old can bring one child free of charge to the 10k and 5k events (very small children can take part in strollers, carriers or slings)). This year’s event, themed ‘tropical’, will offer a carnival of fun for the family including a petting zoo, ferret racing, dancing and performances from a selection of leading bands and singers 020 3463 2100 or

R.E.D.I. (FIRST AID) TRAINING 25 Jan, 29 Feb and 21 Mar – Emergency Care. 1 Feb, 7 and 28 Mar – Accident and Illnesses Workshops take place in Fulham. 020 7348 7117

CHINESE NEW YEAR IN LONDON 2012 23 Jan. Chinese New Year 29 Jan. Celebrations will take place in Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue. Festivities begin at noon with an official opening ceremony in Trafalgar Square, followed by a variety of performances featuring music, dance, Chinese dragons, lions, acrobatics and firecrackers. Chinatown will be filled with cultural and food stalls and displays.

EJMS COME AND PLAY OPEN DAY 4 Feb 2.30-4.30pm, The doors of the instrument cupboard are thrown open for the afternoon and children aged 3+ can have a go on any instrument with the help of a music teacher. Venue: Twyford CE High School, Acton W3

SUMMER CAMP AND TEEN TRAVEL FAIR (CAMP EXPERTS UK) 5 Feb For parents looking for interesting ideas for their children for next summer or who want a child to improve their languages, for those with teens needing something special to add that extra dimension to a University application and for those that are thinking of going to the US for University. Venue: 23 Crossfield Road, London NW3 4NU from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL 11-26 Feb A festival of children's writers, music and comedy. Festival highlights include readings from Jacqueline Wilson, Cathy Cassidy and Morris Gleitzman, the cast of The Beano, Robert Winston demonstrating amazing science facts, a staged performance of Michael Morpugo's Private Peaceful, comedy from James Campbell and Jeremy Strong and opera for babies, hip-hop for toddlers and family-friendly orchestral performances of The Jungle Book and Carnival of the Animals. 0844 847 9910

PANCAKE DAY 21 Feb. As well as eating pancakes, there’s a long tradition of pancake races in London. Participants have to toss pancakes in a frying pan while completing the course. The races often raise money for charity! Come along and if you don’t fancy racing, you can always cheer on the runners. More detail check:

WORKINGMUMS.CO.UK LIVE 27 Mar The event is free – and child friendly – and allows you to meet with family friendly employers, seek out flexible jobs, get CV tips and attend informative seminars on everything from returning to work to starting a business or franchise. Venue: Business Design Centre, Islington. Register for your free ticket today at


Osterley Park

DAYS OUT WWT WETLAND CENTRE Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT. 020 8409 4400. Daily 9.30am - 5pm £4.95/ £8.95, under 4s free, family £25. 11 and 12 Feb. REPTILES UNDERCOVER! 10am-4pm. Crocodiles, snakes, turtles, lizards and many more for families and children to meet up close. Throughout HALF-TERM a whole range of reptile related family activities. Follow the Discovery Trail through different types of wetlands or make your own reptile to take home. There will be snake stories and crocodile crafts and pond dipping.

ODDS FARM PARK Wooburn Common Road, Wooburn Common, High Wycombe, Bucks HP10 0LX 01628 520188 Open everyday 10am-4.30pm,(after 19 Feb, closes at 5.30pm) £9.50 adults, £8.50 children, under 2’s free. Children can get up close to whole range of rare breed farm animals as well as play in the heated barn with haybales to climb, a soft play park, indoor sandpit and games area. Special activities this winter include looking out for newborn lambs, navigate your way around the maze.

TOWER OF LONDON Tower Hill, London EC3 0844 482 7799

13-17 Feb 10am-12noon, for age 5+ Carnival in Venice theme, make masks, paintings and drawings. Venue: 9 Dalgarno Gardens, W10 9LL 07763 472516

Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-5.30pm £10.45/£17.05/£19.80, family £55, under 5 free. Events included in adm.



Feb half term Healthy Lifestyle Activity Camp – a wide range of activities including a taste of different sports, games, keep fit activities, arts and crafts as well as healthy lifestyle education. 0845 456 3233

POWER HOUSE Discover the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of Royal business behind the mighty Tower walls, from 1100 to the present day, in a new permanent exhibition on the White Tower’s top floor.

HOLLAND PARK ECOLOGY CENTRE WORKSHOPS 13-17 Feb 10am-12 noon and 2-4pm, for ages 5-10. Sessions based on an environmental or natural history theme with outdoor activities, arts and crafts. Venue: The Stable Yard, Ilchester Place, London W8 020 7938 8186 E: January/February 2012

Until 31 Mar FIT FOR A KING Five hundred years of spectacular royal armour on display. Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


What's On OSTERLEY PARK Lots more Out and About and Half Term workshops listed on our website. Go to

Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex 020 8232 5050. A spectacular mansion surrounded by gardens, park and farmland makes this an ideal place to come with the family. Lovely place to walk followed by a cup of tea and a cake in the café. 16 Feb CRAFT CART 1-4pm, Craft activities for families. 26 Feb FAMILY DISCOVERY DAY 1-4pm, Art, craft and storytelling.


Battersea Park, Chelsea Bridge Gate, London SW11 020 7924 5826 10am-4.30pm. Adult £7.95, children (2-15) £6.50, family £26. Activities are free with usual entrance fee. STORYTIME WEDNESDAYS: 11-29 Feb. STORY & COLOURING-IN FUN! 11am.

National Portrait Gallery

FEBRUARY HALF TERM: 11-14 Feb. LOVE HEART HUNT As you go around the zoo count how many love hearts you can see, then post your answer in the shop to be entered into the draw to win a “Family Day ticket”.


14 Feb. MAKE A VALENTINE’S CARD Drop-in sessions 11am-1pm & 2pm-3.30pm. Lots of drawing, colouring and sticking fun. 16 Feb. BIRD BONANZA DAY 11am, 12noon,, 1.30pm & 2.30pm. Battersea zoo have combined with The People’s Trust for Endangered Species to bring you this event. Come and learn how to help birds and other wildlife in your garden this winter. Make a bird feeder and complete the bird spotting challenge. (45mns) 11am & 1.30pm sessions bookable in advance via PTES website The 2 other sessions are on the first come first served basis.

Say that you saw it mentioned in Families West Magazine.


St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055, Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm. Late opening Thu, Fri 10am-9pm. FAMILY EVENTS: Meet in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall 21 Jan, 18 Feb STORYTELLING FOR FAMILIES 10.30am & 1.30pm. Exciting storytelling sessions followed by a fun art activity. 3yrs+ 21 Jan, 18 Feb FAMILY ART WORKSHOPS 11.30am & 2.30pm. Explore portraits in the collection, followed by an art activity. 5yrs+. 28 Jan. CHINESE NEW YEAR FILM SCREENING: MULAN (1998) 3pm. . FEBRUARY – HALF-TERM HOLIDAY ACTIVITES (every weekday) 13-17 Feb IMAGINED LIVES 11.30am-2.30pm. Art activities inspired by the “Imagined Lives” display. 5yrs+ 13 Feb-17 Feb St. John John’s Church, Mattock Lane, Matto TOUR AND DRAW Ealing, Ealing W13 9LA 11am-1.30pm. Tour Peter’s Church, St. Pete and draw sessions Southfield Road, exploring the Chiswick, London W4 5JU C hi h i k L collection. 3yrs+.

e c n a and D

From Toddlers to Teenagers: ers s:

We welcome children of all abilities

Photography by

Gymnastics, Ballet, Dance Dra Drama, ma, ma Street Jazz/Tap, Boys Street Dance and Art.. For Adults: Stretch Workoutt and Body Blitz. z.

TWISTERS classes es are stimulating and fun. n. We are well known for our ur patience and understanding. g g.

For more information call: Hermione on 0208 933 9997 or Louise on 0208 840 4452

FAMILY AUDIO GUIDE £6 up to 5 audio players, £4 for 2 audio players (one adult and one child) Explore amazing facts and stories about people in the collection with a specially designed recorded tour and interactive touchscreen players 7-11yrs.

Email: w 14

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

January/February 2012



Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN 020 7747 2894/2885 and for family events

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN, 020 7563 9500/ 9551

FAMILY SUNDAYS Fun activities designed especially for families to enjoy and learn together. Free hands-on art workshops at 11am & 2pm every Sunday. Meet in the Education Centre Foyer (Orange St Entrance). For children aged 2 to 5: MAGIC CARPET STORYTELLING 10.30am-11am & 11.30am-12noon. Fly away on the magic carpet, which comes to land in front of a different painting each Sunday. For families with children aged 5 to 11: DRAWING SUNDAYS: 11am & 2pm. Young artists explore how National Gallery paintings can be used as inspiration. Take place in the Gallery only. Families can feel free to drop in and out. (80mns) STUDIO SUNDAYS: 11am & 2pm. Hands-on workshops that start in the Gallery followed by a studio session. (2hrs) MORE GALLERY FUN: TRAILS AND AUDIO TOURS Families can print it out from or pick one up at Information Desks. HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES: FREE HANDSON ART WORKSHOPS at 11am & 2pm every Sunday. Meet in the Education Centre Foyer (Orange St entrance). For children aged 5 to 11: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. 13 & 14 Feb: BURST OF BRIGHTNESS: SUNSETS AND SHIPS! How can you use real colour to build up the seas and skies of your dreams? For children aged 2 to 5: 14 Feb. STORYSCAPE 10.30am-11am. Interactive story-telling session. Discover quirky characters, curious sounds and fantastic places. Family Tours: 14 Feb. LOVE STORIES TOUR 2.30pm-3.30pm. On Valentine’s Day, explore the National Gallery through stories of Love! 8yrs+ and their adult! No need to book for workshops, talks or story sessions but places are limited and allocated on arrival. Children must be accompanied by an adult to all events.

10am-5pm. Free. EVENTS FOR FAMILIES: 4 Feb. FAMILY PUBLIC TOUR 2.30pm. Free, no need to book. Taking you on this exciting, creative, thrilling and interactive journey will be the young curators from St Vincent’s Primary School

When you contact us, please say that you saw our advert in Families West!

January/February 2012

- FAMILY MULTIMEDIA TOUR with interactive games. Small fee. - FREE ARMOUR HANDLING Daily. Find out what a brigandine is and how heavy a bullet-proof breastplate really was. - FAMILY TRAILS Themed family trails available from the information desk at the front Entrance.

5 Feb. THE LITTLE DRAW 1.30pm-4.40pm. Free drop-in for all ages. Come and meet Artist Julia Iwasz, whose work explores the connections between photography and drawing. 13 Feb. RIGHT ROYAL STORIES: ART AND STORY WORKSHOP 10.30am-12.30pm & 2pm-4pm. £7 per child, 6yrs+. Hunt down royalties’ portraits and their favourite objects. Create your very own royal story using drawing and words. 14 Feb. CUPID, DRAW BACK YOUR BOW 10.30am-12.15pm & 2pm-3.45pm. Free drop-in, 5yrs+. Look for pictures and sculptures of Cupid in the Gallery and create and decorate a magical arrow with the power to make two people fall in Love! 17 Feb. VINTAGE TO VOGUE: FASHION AND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP 11am-4pm. £15 per person, 13yrs+. Design your very own clothing, props and accessories out of vintage wallpapers and then learn how to style your outfits with hair and make-up that reflects the style of the 18th century. Finally photograph these one-off masterpieces in a professional studio shoot. SPECIAL EVENT: 18 Feb. A DAY IN THE 18TH CENTURY! Enter the world of the Ancien Régime and celebrate 18th-century French arts and entertainment. Learn traditional dances and songs, get your hair and make-up done in an 18th-century style with a 21st-century twist, try your hands at popular games of chance and even meet MarieAntoinette! Families can make puppets inspired by the commmedia dell’arte and go on a digital treasure hunt, while adults can attend talks on 18th century theatre, painting and decorative arts.

Have a look at our website for more ideas of things to do Out and About

To advertise in Families West please email adverts@ or phone 020 8930 4707


Caroline Lester School of Dance

offers dance classes for girls & boys from 3+ following the ISTD Syllabus Also taking bookings for Ballerina Birthday Parties Contact Miss Caroline on: 0207 385 6139 or 07961 375 606 Email: Website: Dukes Meadow Community Hall, Alexandra Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2TD.

Cooking Parties! • Fun, cooking parties • For boys and girls aged 5-16 years • Cooking classes

Give your child the best party ever! whisking, baking, giggling, rolling, making, laughing, turning, licking, joking

A great way to learn while having fun! Call for details:

0208 876 9912 email: Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


© Natural History Museum

What's On


tangle of stories that are humorous, dark and moving by turn. 14yrs+ 7-13 Feb. GRIMM’S SHEEHA An exciting journey of Grimm's

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM Cromwell Road, London SW7 020 7938 9123. Info: Mon-Fri 020 7942 5000. Sat & Sun 020 7942 5011 Mon-Sat: 10am – 5.50pm Sun 11am-5.50pm. Free. To 11 Mar. VEOLIA ENVIRONMENT WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 10am-5.50pm. More than 100 images combine the work of talented photographers and gifted amateurs. Interactive stations provide insight into what the judges, scientists and the photographers think about each photograph, while encouraging visitors to participate and not just vote for their favorite, but also join the debate surrounding the hot topics of conservation and green issues. £4.50/£9, family £24. 20 Jan to 2 Sept. SCOTT’S LAST EXPEDITION Explore Robert Falcon Scott’s epic Terra Nova expedition to AntarcticaPowerful tales of endurance and celebrating the many scientific achievements.


a dynamic programme of award-winning new circus, performance art, physical and object theatre. Staged across 6 prestigious venues including: Southbank Centre, Barbican, Linbury Studio theatre Royal Opera House, and the Soho theatre.

UNICORN THEATRE 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, London SE1 2HZ 020 7645 0560 11-13 Jan. DEFYING HITLER

DAILY FAMILY ACTIVITIES Weekends and school holidays 11am-5pm. Free. Full listing on

10am, 1.15pm, 1.30pm, 7pm. The candid, witty and moving account of a young man growing up in the shadow of Hitler third Reich. £10/£15. 14yrs+

FILM - WHO DO YOU THINK YOU REALLY ARE? Take part in a virtual journey back through your evolutionary past to where extinct creatures appear to roam around you in the studio. Every day at 3.30pm INVESTIGATE CENTRE - explore hundreds of real natural history specimens, ranging from a shark jaw to a meteorite. Age 7+ Weekends and holidays 11am-5p. HANDS-ON NATURE – DINOSAURS Explore some interesting specimens with the help of the science educators. Weekends and holidays 2-5pm. ANIMAL VISION FOR FAMILIES featuring live animals, demonstrates that there is a world only visible to certain reptiles and invertebrates. Discover how scientific research uncovered the earliest-known eye and how eye adaptations in snakes, iguanas and the preying mantis allow individuals to escape predators and locate prey. 17-19 Jan, Hourly from 10.30am-1.30pm.

BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH 020 7601 5545 Open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. Free. To 23 Mar. SECURE BY DESIGN – THE BOULTON & WATT £50 NOTE To mark the introduction of the new £50 note, this exhibition will explore the design of the new note and its security features. Using a powerful microscope camera, visitors can examine the intricate design details and security features on the new note, including the new motion thread, holograms and fluorescent inks. For children, answering 3 questions correctly about the new note will reveal a code to open a safe containing a prize. 16

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

tales which reveals a vibrant and alternative worldview of the stories we think we know. 8yrs+


18-20 Jan. STALIN’S FAVOURITE 10am,

1.30pm, 7pm. In 1941, the huge popularity of his poem, Wait for Me projected Konstantin Simonov into the literary stratosphere of the Soviet Union. But what price becoming Stalin’s favourite writer? Years later, now ageing and unwell, Simonov looks back on a lifetime as part of Stalin’s Soviet elite and confronts his demons. £10/£15. 14yrs+ 17-29 Jan. SCARECROW

11am, 1.45pm, 2pm, 4.30pm. In a furrowed field stands a lonely scarecrow, but suddenly his field has been taken over by a family of bickering and noisy crows. The story follows their relationship over a year, from their beginnings as enemies, to their conclusion as grudging friends. £9/£11. 5yrs+.


Tales packed with humour, sneaky tricks, daring exploits and dramatic adventure. 8yrs+ 21-26 Feb. A YEAR IN THE FOREST

Younger listeners will be taken on a journey through the forest’s seasons. Listen out for elves, forest gnomes, a talking bird, a cottage, a palace and a witch casting spells. 5yrs+.

THE LYRIC HAMMERSMITH THEATRE Lyric Square, King Street, London W6 0OL 0871 22 117 20

Shows at 11am and 1pm, and followed by a Messy Play session unless indicated. 7 Jan VOYAGE OF THE NUTJELLYNANA

Forgotten in an old attic, three cuddly toys decide to build a rocket ship and boldly go where no toy has gone before. For ages 4-7. 14 Jan GEORGE AND THE DRAGON In a cave under a castle lurks a fiery dragon, but will George be bold enough to challenge it and rescue the princess? This classic story is beautifully retold with captivating puppetry, masks and music. For ages 4-8. 21 Jan GREAT GRAN’S GREAT GAMES Ollie’s

Great Gran can’t run, jump, skate or do anything he can do, but she can swim. In fact, Great Gran took part in the London Olympic Games in 1948, but can she teach Ollie how to swim? For ages 5-10. 28 Jan WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

10.30am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm / 30 mins followed by Messy Play session. Discover how, every night, the new day is made: what do you want tomorrow to be like? For ages 2-5. 4 Feb RED RIDING HOOD An enchanting retelling of a children’s favourite. Remember to watch out for the hungry wolf. For ages 4-7. 11 Feb MUTTNIK, THE FIRST DOG IN SPACE! When Muttnik the stray dog is

captured, she finds herself at the Russian Space Centre learning to fly a rocket and digging holes in the moon. This cosmic adventure features plenty of dance, music and puppetry. For ages 4-7. January/February 2012



This classic story is given a mischievous twist with vivid storytelling. For ages 5-11.

Genies in teapots and hat-munching squirrels in fantastical exploits and daring quests! Puppetry, song, and plenty of opportunities to jump on stage and join in. For ages 3-11.


Owl and the Pussycat set out on the high seas with only some honey, plenty of money and a runcible spoon, to help them find their way. For ages 3-7.


WATERMANS 40 High Street Brentford, TW8 0DS 020 8232 1010 15 Jan THE GINGERBREAD MAN Using puppetry, live

cooking, and a sprinkle of imagination, The Gingerbread Man is brought to life in a whole new way. For ages 3-7. 22 Jan FESTIVAL OF THE DRAGON MOON

T'ang and her teacher are excitedly getting ready for the festival. Yet her father has other things on his mind. The potato harvest has been poor and now it seems that old Yip Yok, the Yak, has stopped giving milk and will have to be sold! However, T'ang suspects all is not what it seems and bravely sets out to get to the bottom of the problem and save her friend Yip Yok. For ages 4-11.

7.30pm, Sun 2.30pm. £18 to £34.

troupe where each of the one third life-size marionettes has been individually crafted to perform its own feat of dazzling dexterity, on the big top stage. Followed by a Free Post-Show Chat Meet the puppets after the show. For ages 3+

Little Venice, Blomfield Road, London W9 2PF 020 7249 6876

A baboon wants to fly to the moon in a hot air balloon. She meets an elephant whose life is threatened by ivory hunters. Can the baboon save the elephant? 3yrs+ Performances 11am & 3pm, or 3pm depending on schedule, please check the website.

7.30pm. £18 to £34. 20- 22 Jan. MOSCOW CITY BALLET: THE NUTCRACKER Fri 7.30pm, Sat 2.30pm &




A Phoenix whisks children off on adventures on a flying carpet. With Arts ‘n’ Crafts Free Family Workshops,1pm – 1.45pm and 3.30pm – 4.15pm Come and have fun making your own Phoenix puppet. Places limited. For ages 4+ 19 Feb RAPUNZEL

Narrated by a wonderful frog, a fun adaptation of the traditional tale. With Arts ‘n’ Crafts Free Family Workshops - 2pm – 2.45pm and 4.15pm – 5pm Come and have fun making your own frog on a lily pad. For ages 3-7. 26 Feb GOLDILOCKS

The classic tale using table-top puppetry and musical influences from around the world. Free Post-Show Chat: Meet the puppets after the show. For ages 2-5.

LYRIC THEATRE Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES 0844 412 4661 / To 15 Jan. THE GRUFFALO A musical

With Arts ‘n’ Crafts Free Family Workshops 2pm – 2.45pm and 4.15pm – 5pm. Celebrate Chinese New Year by making Chinese Dragons. Places limited. Booking required. 29 Jan ALADDIN a large scale contemporary

shadow puppet theatre show, followed by a Free Post-Show Chat – Meet the puppets after the show. For ages 4+ January/February 2012

18 –19 Jan. MOSCOW CITY BALLET: SWAN LAKE Wed 7.30pm, Thurs 2.30pm &

adaptation of the award- winning picture book by Julia Donalson and Alex Scheffler. Follow the quick-thinking Mouse into the deep, dark wood in this magical and musical modern classic. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3yrs+ and their families. £12.50/£15.50.

RICHMOND THEATRE The Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1QJ 0844 871 7651 To 15 Jan. CINDERELLA Jenny Éclair is

making her pantomime debut and will be joined by the legendary star Gary Wilmot. With stunning sets, glittering costumes, wonderful songs, dazzling dances and hilarious family-friendly comedy. £15/£29.

24-26 Jan. PEPPA PIG’S TREASURE HUNT Tue 4pm, Wed & Thurs 10am, 1pm & 4pm. Tickets: Adults £14.50 & £15.50, children £12.50 & £13.50. Featuring true to life puppets, perfect singalong songs and a new story that will charm and delight all Peppa’s fans! FREE FAMILY ACTIVITIES CINDERELLA FAMILY FUN DAY 15 Jan.

12noon & 4pm. Arts & Crafts, Face Painting, Balloon Modelling and more… PRE-SHOW ARTS AND CRAFTS Cinderella (10, 11 & 12 Jan 6pm) The Nutcracker (Sat 21 Jan 1.30pm) Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt (Wed 25 Jan

12noon & 3pm) FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 14 Jan 11am-12.30pm.

Technical Theatre Insight Workshop. Join members of the technical team to explore the theatre and find out about their work through demonstrations and practical activities. 12-16yrs. £7 Book via Box Office.

CAMBRIDGE THEATRE Earlham Street, London WC2H 9HU 0844 412 4652/ 0844 800 1110 To 12 Feb 2012. MATILDA THE MUSICAL

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere of Roald Dahl’s magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers. £20 to £59.50.

GARRICK THEATRE 2, Charing Cross Road, London WC2 0HH 0844412 4662 From Tue 14 Feb. HORRIBLE HISTORIES – BARMY BRITAIN Wed to Fri 1pm, Sat

10.30am & 12noon, Sun 3pm & 5pm. With blood, battles, murder and mayhem, Horrible Histories-Barmy Britain explores stories from Roman, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and WW1 periods and features famous characters such as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Florence Nightingale and General Earl Haig. £14.50, £12.50, £10. 6yrs+

PEACOCK THEATRE Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT Box Office: 0844 412 4322 23 Feb -25 Mar THE HOUDINI EXPERIENCE

Hans Klok combines illusions, daredevil stunts and extraordinary tricks. 7.30pm, plus matinees on Sat at 2.30pm and Sun at 4pm.

NATIONAL THEATRE South Bank, London SE1 9PX 020 7452 3456 15-25 Feb ISLAND (Cottesloe Theatre)

A new play by Nicky Singer. Cameron is reluctant to spend a week of his school holiday on the deserted island in the middle of the Artic Ocean. No computer or phone. He can either assist with his mother’s scientific research or leave camp and explore. He decides to set out to see if the island is, indeed, uninhabited. For “Island” Family workshops visit Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


Education Language World Championships

By Joanna Parry

Boys go single sex New figures show that more and more parents are sending their sons to boys-only prep schools with the intention of giving them a competitive and sporty education. In fact, 72 per cent of boys' schools have seen pupil numbers rise since last year, according to a survey by the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS). The findings also found that just 14 per cent of boys’ schools have recorded a decrease in pupil numbers. However, it also noted a drop in numbers at girls' schools, with 56 per cent of schools reporting that attendances had dropped in the past year compared with only a third who recorded an increase. 324 schools were surveyed, with the results showing that parents were looking to guarantee their sons an "interesting and challenging" education, the IAPS said. Having high numbers of male teachers and excellent sporting and extra-curricular activities could also have played a part in attracting parents, according to the report. The results of the report were published at the IAPS annual conference where David Hanson, chief executive of IAPS, said: “This growth has been achieved by our schools providing world-class education. We are aware of the economic challenges parents face and the sacrifices they make but parents know that investing in education is the best investment you will ever make.”


Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Clifton Lodge pupils in Years 4 to 8 took part in the Language World Championships with amazing results! The Championships are an on-line vocabulary competition with 916 schools taking part across the world and 83,000 + pupils taking part. Clifton Lodge came 209th out of 916 schools and 12th out of all schools in the category doing French. The school is rightly very proud of its pupils’ work and dedication. Individually Clifton Lodge received 6 Bronze certificates (over 1000 points) and 6 Excellence Certificates (over 500 points) with Daniel (Year 7) obtaining the highest score of 1361 points. A small little note to add, thanks to a Year 5 pupil, Clifton Lodge also came 7th in Russian! Well done to everyone who took part! Bon travail! Clifton Lodge School is a preparatory school for boys and girls aged 4 to 13

More schoolchildren have ‘special needs’ A new report shows that the number of children diagnosed with special needs has risen by 10 per cent in the past five years, amid comes with concerns that schools are “playing the system” to disguise poor exam results. According to the Department for Education, around 1.7m schoolchildren in England, which is more than 1 in 5, have been diagnosed with special educational needs and suffer from behavioural problems, learning difficulties or physical disabilities. A report published this winter by the Department concluded that both boys and children from the most deprived backgrounds were more likely to be classified special needs than any other group. The study also underlined the link between special needs and poor examination results, with only one-fifth of children with special needs leaving school with five good GCSEs. But Ofsted is concerned that up to half of children were wrongly labeled ‘special needs’ as a way to mask inadequate teaching, and that “higher expectations of all children” would lead to an actual drop in the number being diagnosed. As a result, the Government has proposed an overhaul of the system, with Ministers trialing the reforms in a number of locations.

January/February 2012


January/February 2012

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR



All aboard for Summer 2012

Chilly Powder

The Alps in August Switzerland isn’t just for skiing: in fact, the Alps can be one of the loveliest places in Europe for a summer holiday en famille. As well as beautiful weather, there’s a wealth of sporty things to do for both smaller children and teenagers. Chilly Powder runs its Morzine chalet hotel through the summer as well as the winter, offering the same attractions (professionally-cooked food, childcare etc) and with the emphasis on comfortable living alongside a wealth of outdoor pursuits. Morzine is an eight-hour drive from Calais, or fly to Geneva and hire a car; the chalet has 17 bedrooms and there’s even a hot tub in the garden. Perfect for: sporty families with children in different age ranges Midsummer prices: from around £120 per adult per night, discount for children, half-board Website:

Affordable luxury – and abroad too Glamping is the way to go: much more reasonable prices than villas or hotels, and a wide range of familyfriendly sites. And what’s new on the glamping block for 2012 is an ever-widening range of top-notch accommodation: for 2012, Select Camp has a new range of what it’s calling its ‘lodge suites’ featuring a canopy bed, free-standing oval bath, fullyequipped kitchen, shower and toilet – and a separate junior lodge tent next to the main suite. Select Camp also has four new sites, three in Italy and one in Spain – and coming soon, a brand new website which should make browsing and booking a lot easier too. Perfect for: Budget-conscious, adventurous families Midsummer prices: from around £24 per person, per night Website: 20

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

It’s the depths of winter, so every family’s thoughts naturally turn to where they will be this summer. Joanna Moorhead has lots of ideas.

Away from the crowds in Norfolk If you love Cornwall and Devon, but are frustrated by the prices and the crowds, why not head instead for Norfolk? Cottage prices for midsummer are cheaper, it will take you less time to get there and it’s much easier to get to and from the beaches and other attractions because the roads are far less clogged. For a comfortable, child-friendly cottage look on the Recommended Family Holidays website under the ‘East of England’ tab. Poppyland Cottages, for example, have a range of properties dotted around a series of beautiful villages, and within easy reach of lovely Blue Flag beaches – and everything on the website has been checked for family-friendliness. Great pubs for lunches and suppers out, too – and Norfolk is also a very good option for families who love cycling. Perfect for: Families with young children wanting to get away from the crowds Midsummer prices: from around £21 per person, per night Website: January/February 2012

Small kids and overseas travel don’t always mix: but if you do go abroad, what you need is a smooth travel company to take care of your transfers and to have looked over your accommodation with a parent’s eye. All this and more is on offer at Aztec Villas, where stairgates, toys and lots more come as standard. Villas are well-maintained and stylishly decorated, situated in resorts that contain everything you’ll need for a perfect holiday – and if you choose a villa at Pernera, all those attractions will be within walking distance. So when you’re not chilling out by the pool you can be enjoying the camel park, the diving centre, one of the water parks or taking voyage on a pirate ship round the bay...before ambling back at sundown for drinks and dinner by your pool. Perfect for: Families with small kids in search of a no-sweat break Midsummer prices: from around £26 per person, per night Website:

Hideaway in Robin Hood’s forest What child wouldn’t be excited to be holidaying in the centre of the wood made famous by the legendary Robin Hood? And what parent wouldn’t be happy to join them, now Forest Holidays are extending their venues to this one? The new lodges, which open this spring, will be set in the middle of 3,300 acres of forest, and include basic cabins to de luxe ‘golden oak plus’ cabins with their own hot tub. Loads to do for all ages – Sherwood Forest has a glorious labyrinth of cycle trails, plus farm parks, arts and craft centres and play areas. Perfect for: active families in search of a change from Center Parcs (and more of a bargain) Midsummer prices: From around £30 per person per night Website:

Camping meets boutique hotel Molly Dishwasher isn’t just an unusual name for a holiday experience – it’s an unusual experience, too. You stay in a shepherd’s hut nestled among acres of meadows and woodland in deepest Sussex. A comfy double for you, bunk beds for the children, all squeezed into a small but beautiful space with oodles of special little touches. Young children adore staying somewhere different, and they love pulling their parents into their adventures – which is what makes Molly Dishwasher such a hit. Plus breakfast included, a BBQ and food on hand, and loads of places to explore in the area including Drusilla’s Zoo, Battle Abbey, Hever Castle and endless beaches. Perfect for: families with small children who want a pintsized adventure without having to travel too far. Midsummer prices: Around £20 per person per night Website: January/February 2012

Pamper yourself in Devon The word ‘barton’ means ‘a small country estate’ in Devon, so head for Libbear Barton and what you’ll be buying is a slice of laid-back country high life, half an hour from the nearest beach. Libbear Barton is a 40-acre farm with four properties: the Georgian farmhouse (sleeping up to 14) and three cottages. Rent one if you’re holidaying with your immediate family, or rent two or even all of them if you’re bringing your extended clan or another family or families along (the maximum number of guests, if you take all the properties, is 39).


Cyprus chillout

The whole place is kitted out with under-fives in mind, so you won’t need to worry about cramming the car with clobber – even buggies are provided. You won’t need to leave the farm every day, because there’s plenty to do there – an adventure playground, indoor swimming pool, woodland and meadows, a fishing lake, games room and loads and loads of play space. For those days when you do want to venture out, north Devon is teeming with family-friendly things to do, and the beautiful beach at Bude is only 15 miles away. Perfect for: groups of families holidaying together Midsummer prices: from £36 per person per night, based on full occupancy in July/August More details:

Generational family fun at Bluestone – whatever the weather Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, West Wales is helping more and more generational families spend quality time together at the all-weather five star short break destination. Set in 500 acres of the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Bluestone provides a tranquil and relaxing environment combined with adrenalin pumping fun and activities suited to all ages and abilities. Guests can choose from a wide variety of activities for all ages: Steep Ravine and its high ropes and tree climbing adventures, woodland walks, kayaking, bushcraft skills and much more. Then there’s the Adventure Centre with its wide range of indoor activities for the youngsters. From the Blue Lagoon water park to the relaxing Well Spa and thermal rooms, there literally is something for everyone within the family. Perfect for: families who want to share time (but not activities) together Spring breaks prices start from £40 per person per night based on 8 people sharing. More details: or call 01834 862400 for more information.

Further afield... If you’re looking for something more exotic, has a choice of hotels in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Europe – all recommended by real families who’ve stayed in them., meanwhile, can help you craft the family holiday of a lifetime whether it’s somewhere far-flung like Thailand or Nepal that you’re after, or luxury in the Med. have wonderful familyfriendly resorts in Corsica, Turkey, Portugal , Sardinia and Greece – ideal destinations if you don’t want a long flight. Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR


Baby Page

What is flat head syndrome? Simone Ross from Kane and Ross Clinics has been practicing osteopathy for 15 years. She has just opened an osteopathic centre at 39 Harley Street. Here she explains what Flat Head Syndrome is and what can be done about it. Seeing a baby with a flattened or misshapen head is becoming a common occurrence in our osteopathic clinic. However, most parents don’t realize the long-term health implications this issue may cause if left untreated. Flat head syndrome, also known as plagiocephaly, is usually caused either in the womb or during the delivery. Depending on the baby’s position in the womb, a neck muscle called the sternocleidomastoid may also become tight, which reduces the neck mobility. Other problems can originate from an “immobile” joint or joints in neck. This most commonly happens during the delivery where the baby needs to be turned: either manually, with forceps or ventouse. If a baby has a joint or muscular restriction and then lies on its back, it is unable to stretch out restriction, causing the baby to lie in one position; and a flat head develops. The most common babies to experience plagiocephaly are larger babies who are swaddled.

Does your baby have a flat head syndrome? -

Look at your baby from the back, is its’ head symmetrical? Look at your baby from the front and draw an imaginary line down the middle of the face – is the baby’s face symmetrical? When your baby is asleep do they always turn their face the same way? Is your baby feeding off both breasts equally or do they have a preference to one side?

When to see an Osteophath? FLAT HEAD SYNDROME can be prevented…if diagnosed and treated early enough. I have worked in Central London hospitals in the post-natal units for the last 10 years where on examining a newborn baby at birth the osteopath can identify and release restricted joints preventing the problem arising in the first place. This was identified by the midwives and paediatricians who would call me usually because the baby would not latch to the breast, I would often find that the baby’s neck was restricted or jaw was not opening properly, preventing the baby from feeding. Of course not all babies are seen by osteopaths at birth and they are brought to the clinic for treatment. The best time to see an osteopath is before the baby is 2 weeks old, especially if you have had an assisted delivery. If you recognize that the baby has a problem get it assessed immediately as they will need much less treatment. Some babies are brought in quite late around 3-4 months, at this stage plagiocephaly has already developed and the baby’s head may only rotate to one side, ear position has usually changed and if it is severe there may be some asymmetry through the face. Osteopathy can still help a lot at this stage but treatment is longer and more difficult. 22

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

Parents often express that they have been to see their GP’s and paediatricians with this problem and are told it will go away. However, if there is restriction of joint movement, the problem will not go away. It may decrease as the baby sits up, but unfortunately it sometimes increase and your baby may also develop permanent asymmetry through the face. This is where one side of the face moves forward and the head becomes “parallelogram” in shape.

What does Osteopathy do? Our main aim osteopathically is to get full range of movement in the neck, as soon as possible. Carefully stretching muscles, fascia and articulating joints, as well as cranial techniques do this. Cranial osteopathic techniques are also applied to the head to reduce the flatness and encourage movement. Treatment is gentle and the babies are usually quite settled during treatment. Once the baby has full range of movement in the cervical spine the flat head stops getting flatter. The parents and carers are given exercises and postural advice to prevent the stiffness re-occurring. Initial treatment is usually intensive maybe two or more times a week for 2 weeks, at this stage if full range of movement is achieved and then weekly possible for a few months. An osteopath experienced in the treatment of plagiocephaly should see the child. Your baby will then be assessed until occipital protuberances develop and then checked on a periodic basis until your baby’s first birthday.

What can parents/carers do? -


When your baby is awake and with an adult they should be turned regularly from side to side and onto their tummies. A specialized soft pillow can often prevent this flatness worsening or developing in the first place. This pillow should be placed in the cot as well as the pram/car seat and when the baby is on a hard surface such as a changing table or floor. Stimulate your baby from the side it does not want to turn to by placing their toys/light to that side. Do not do exercises until the baby has been assessed.

What can we all do? Since the Back To Sleep Campaign in 1994 to prevent cot death we have seen a huge increase in flat head shapes of babies. Although, it is necessary for babies to sleep on their backs it is essential that they have full movement in their necks. Please educate as many mothers as possible as this is a completely preventable problem. If you notice that your baby sleeps with its head in one position only or that it is not feeding as easily from one breast, start using a pillow immediately and take your baby to see an osteopath who specializes in this area to release any restricted muscles or joints. It is much simpler to work preventatively rather than when the problem develops. January/February 2012

Classifieds Parties

Beauty ATTENTION PLEASE Discover how to look younger and become wealthier See how. Free E-book

Blueberry Playsongs Parties! Wonderful musical parties for 1-6 year olds. Contact us on

020 8677 6871


Experienced music teacher gives tuition from beginner to advanced level in the Ealing area. Preparation for Associated Board Examinations. Teresa Ross BA(Hons), LGSM, ALCM, Dip.Mus.Th.

Would you like to advertise in Families West? Please email adverts@ familieswest. or phone

020 8930 4707

07909 818285

Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians



Don’t miss out on your copy of Families West!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! For ÂŁ20.00 we will send the next 10 issues straight to your door. Please complete the form below and return it to us with your cheque made payable to: Families West.

SUBSCRIPTION Name ................................................................................................................................ Address............................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................... Postcode .........................................................................................................................

Arts & Crafts

Email address ............................................................................................................... Phone................................................................................................................................ Art classes from 18 months and up Parents, carers, grandparents

All welcome! St. Mary Abbots Centre, Vicarage Gate, London W8

January/February 2012

Please send your cheque and completed coupon to: Families West Subscriptions, P.O. Box 32231, London, W5 1JR

Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR



Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR

January/February 2012

Families West London issue 77  
Families West London issue 77  

Families West London January - February issue 77