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Issue 51

Septemb er - Oct o

ber 20 12

Give your child a head start at school! The online reading program for children!



Register your child at and use this code: UKB24OXF Hurry, this great trial offer ends on 31st October 2012

Free Drama Class Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our weekly workshops will do wonders for their social, linguistic and physical development as well as being the best fun they’ll have all week.

Classes for 4 –12 year o ld s .uk

0845 400 1276


September/Occtober 2012


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Call 01993 815966 or email Families Oxfordshire designed by Dickidot

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Welcome from the editor of



Hello readers I’d like to say how pleased I am to be the new editor of Families Oxfordshire and to say a big thank you to Felice, for doing a wonderful job of handing over and for helping me with my first issue. It’s been a busy two months in my new role and of course keeping my six year old daughter occupied during the holidays! I have a lot to thank the Olympics for; it kept us ‘glued’ and I found it totally inspiring in so many ways; not least of all for highlighting such a variety of sports to our children…

In this issue

You’ll find the same interesting and useful information in this back to school issue, which looks at local clubs and classes and has a feature to assist you with choosing the right after-school activities and another, on managing time and stress levels which for many parents and children often get overlooked. In coming months, I want to add contributions from local people and focus on specific parts of Oxfordshire in the New Year. For Christmas I’ll be compiling a Where’s Santa listing and a guide to some of the great pubs and restaurants near-by, offering fab grub and value over the festive season. While I know it’s hard to beat home cooked food, it’s always nice to know new places to try and which ones do a decent children’s menu. I’m always keen to hear your views, including what’s on in your area. So please do drop me a line at It’s great to be on board!

News and views


Finding balance for busy families


How to encourage reading


Local clubs and classes


Choosing after-school activities


School matters


Should kids eat less wheat?


How to throw a spooktastic Halloween party!


What’s on


Ema Murphy


Family’s reader giveaway winner’s announcements from Jul/August issue


The draw has now taken place and the 5 lucky winners are: 1. Miss K Griffin of Banbury 2. Mrs V Tyler of Carterton 3. Diane Wood of Didcot 4. Elizabeth Miller of Grove, Wantage 5. Mrs Cheryl Collier of Culham Each will receive an Easy-2-Name – ‘Off to School sets’. Watch out for more offers in forthcoming issues!

Advertise in Families November/December edition Booking deadline: 1st October Email: or Call: 01993 815966


to join in the fun call

01869 325 499

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September/Occtober 2012


24/08/2012 16:06


News & views Drama for Children Improves Literacy and Language Say’s Creation Theatre Creation’s drama training and workshops for young people aim to shape the next theatre generation. Yet, while drama activities are so often sidelined in schools, research has shown that not only is passion ignited from a young age but crucial literacy, language and communication development takes place. Research has shown that dramatic activities are vital to literacy development and research also suggests that the cognitive processes that are used when understanding drama, are similar to those for reading.

Abingdon Welcomes New Antenatal Teacher Expectant parents in the Abingdon area will soon benefit from a new antenatal teacher, Sophie Jamieson. Antenatal classes help prospective mums and dads prepare for their child’s birth and making the transition to becoming parents. Sophie, who has two children of her own, will be running the classes for the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). She says: “Mums and dads often feel anxious as birth approaches, and being able to discuss a wide range of topics in a small group, helps them to make choices that are right for them.”

Meet Celebrity Chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright in Abingdon This Autumn Mostly Books in Abingdon is delighted that they’ve managed to lure former barrister, bookseller, chef, author and renowned raconteur Clarissa DicksonWright to their independent books shop! She’ll be talking about her latest book: ‘Clarissa’s England: A Gamely Gallop through the English Counties’. Ticket details to be confirmed, but the event takes place on Wednesday 26 September at 7.30pm at Mostly Books. To reserve a place call call in to the shop or email

A Creative Day to Float Artists’ Boat – Woodstock! These up-and-coming artists designed their own canal boats at a waterways activities day at Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock last month, by preparing a three-dimensional scene with a canal barge that they cut out, coloured in and decorated. Hannah Merifield, six, from Witney said: “It was fun. We coloured in the boat, cut it out and folded it then made the jug and coloured it in and stuck in on top. Hannah went along with her mum Sue and her friend Nicholas Wells, pictured alongside her, also six.

Lindam Says Prevent Accidents at Home in One Minute Lindam, a leading home safety brand launched Safety Day on 6 September, to highlight to parents in and around Oxfordshire the number of accidents involving children that happen in the home. Lindam says more accidents happen at home than anywhere else, and surprisingly, more children die because of this, as opposed to illnesses. Lindam launched ‘The Difference a Minute Can Make’ and is part of an on-going campaign to improve family safety.

Local Mum Says First Aid Really Does Matter First Aid Matters has been developed by Suzanne Stickley, an ex-paramedic and an Oxfordshire mum of two, who realised that although there was lots of First Aid training in the workplace, there wasn’t anything offered to parents. Her company now offers Family First Aid courses, which provides everything you need to keep your family safe and at just £40 per person for a one day course, (with discounts for group bookings) it’s a small price to pay. Another course just launched, is a free student first Aid program, designed for secondary schools. For more details visit or email:

Young Artists Encouraged to Join ARTBEEZ – It’s Fabulous! is a website where kids can upload and showcase their artwork and sell it to raise money for charity or the PTA of their school. It costs nothing to do this and they can also have their artwork printed on merchandise to create gifts. If they elect to take a membership (which is minimal in cost), they can keep up to 80% of the money they make from selling their artwork, with 20% going to charity. But hurry as membership is FREE until 1st October! What a great way to get kids to showcase their creativity and to encourage them to be entrepreneurial and socially responsible - all at the same time.


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Urgent Reminder: Pitt Rivers Museum IS Open In case you thought otherwise it’s important to know that Pitt Rivers Museum is still open and will continue to be so throughout 2013. There’s been recent confusion as it was announced that the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) was closing in 2013 for roof repairs. Appropriate signage will direct visitors to the Pitt Rivers South Entrance, should the normal entrance be inaccessible for any reason. Admission, exhibitions and events are FREE. Go to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW. Open: 10.00-16.30 Tuesday to Sunday & bank holiday Monday; 12.00-16.30 Monday.


Expectant Oxfordshire Mums Urged to Learn About Natural Delivery A new website founded by Hypnobirthing practitioner, Sarah Buchanan, has been launched to pool birthing professionals and expectant mothers and fathers. www. will provide useful information for those in the early stages of pregnancy, by giving access to professionals online and to help them learn about all aspects of childbirth including delivery, natural-pain relief and the early days of motherhood. It also aims to help Dads-to-be feel more confident and in control during the delivery.

Harry and Amelia Top Baby Names 2011! Harry and Amelia were the most popular first names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2011, replacing Oliver and Olivia from 2010. Amelia climbed four places to take Olivia’s crown as No. 1 girls’ name. Harry jumped two places to top spot in boys’ names, pushing Oliver into second. Major movers include Jacob, climbing five places from 12 to 7 to replace George. Ava and Isabella replaced Evie and Chloe in the top 10 names for girls.

Free Tickets to Children and Oxford Chamber Music Festival… Oxford Chamber Music Festival (OCMF) 2-6 October continues to offer free concert tickets to students (aged 8 – 25) in full time education through the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust scheme, as part of its commitment to attracting a younger audience. Tickets are limited and need to be reserved in advance by emailing The Oxford Chamber Music Festival would love to see Families Oxfordshire readers at their concerts, so follow this link for the full programme (


September/Occtober 2012


Features by Elisabeth Dolton

Finding balance for busy families As parents we want our children to take advantage of opportunities and have enriching experiences, whilst keeping on top of our own demands and duties. So it’s no surprise that families can often find themselves overcommitting and running from one activity to another. A overbusy schedule impacts on us all. Parents feel pressured to maximize every opportunity for their children, and with less family time relationships can suffer. However, too much structured activity can contribute to anxiety, stress, and even depression in children. So finding a balanced lifestyle is key… There are several signs of an overly busy family. Children become tired, overwhelmed and irritable as a result of no downtime, activities are being done out of habit or because everyone else is, or your children spend so much time in activities that you don’t know what else is going on in their lives. Back-to-school makes you think back-to-stress! If your family is overscheduled, ease the pressure by simplifying the daily routine. This is achievable in two ways - cutting back on extracurricular activities, and getting more organized. Scale down extracurricular activities. Limit the number of activities you have in a week to one artistic, one athletic, and one social for example. Focus more on creating a manageable family schedule. As you cut down on outside activities, set aside dedicated time for the family to be together. If you feel it’s important to eat dinner together a few nights a week, or have a set time when you and your children can just chat, arrange the schedule to make it happen. Reserve time to play and hang out.


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Streamline household routines to make time at home more relaxed. Keep spaces that you use every day, like the kitchen counter, free of clutter. Keep things where you use them. After dinner, lay out breakfast, make lunches and gather everything needed for tomorrow’s activities. Have your children lay out their clothes before going to bed. Once you create some organisation in the house, it’s likely to spread. But almost contradictorily, let go of the idea of being a perfect parent and resist feeling guilty if the house is less than immaculate. Take a few minutes to relax after getting home; don’t immediately dive into meal preparation.

Finding a Balance - Top Tips for parents: DD Listen to your children. If they appear fatigued, irritable or overwhelmed they may be overscheduled. DD Talk to your children. Find out which activities they love and which they could live without. DD Ask yourself: “Does my child want to be involved in all these activities, or do I want them to be? Your best intentions may be adding to the pressure DD Don’t forget ‘me time’. Don’t sacrifice your own wellbeing. Find time to recharge and rejuvenate.

Considerations for Special Needs The balancing act of keeping a busy family with special needs on track through school, therapy, doctor visits, and fun can be tough. ``

Focus on priorities, exploit resources for planning, and continually communicate as a family.


Provide a structured lifestyle – everyone benefits psychologically from predictability. Planning family schedules together goes a long way towards reinforcing disability independence.


Implement effective routines - getting dressed, loading the caar, and eating meals can take substantially more time for children with disabilities.


Integrate flexibility into family schedules that allow opportunities to practice disability independence - children can learn valuable benefits of teamwork and planning ahead to meet their goals.


Keep supplies handy. Portable containers for equipment and medications enable smooth transitions to the car and back for instance.

With flexible diligence, parents of children with disabilities can lead families to a fulfilling and well-balanced life, where disability activities are just part of a reliable, reassuring family pattern.

Simple, quick guides to help you help your family

How to encourage reading Many of us know the value and enjoyment of reading. Good readers become better writers, better learners and well rounded individuals. Taking an active part in helping your children become interested in reading is vital. Despite busy days, tired kids, limited time and many distractions, we outline five simple steps that can help. Step 1 Set up reading time every day Decide when and where a reading session will take place, which fits into your household schedule, and keep it. 10 minutes is fine. Encourage your child to read aloud. They don’t have to get every word right, and praise them often. If they are discouraged by their own reading, you read aloud. The pleasure of listening to you read can restore their enthusiasm. Offer to read every other sentence, page, chapter, and have conversations and discussions about the content. Make it fun. Children love sound effects, different voices, pulling faces. Step 2 During reading time Introduce the bookmark. Stop after a few pages and pick up where you left off at another time Provide an accessible, special place for children to keep their own books Use special incentives, e.g. an extra 5 minutes to finish a chapter, a promise to take them to see the film of the book, sticker charts and certificates Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if it’s only pictures, and build on that interest. Gather more information on the same subject. Listen to audio books (in the car too). These help develop visualisation, a critical pre-reading skill.

Let them choose their own books. Don’t worry the books are too young or too easy, early reading success can came from several “non-traditional” sources such as comics. Buy a special notebook and record all the books they have read, add their thoughts and a star rating. Step 3 See the teacher and judge where they are Find out what reading program the school follows, get to know the levels, and aim to supplement the program at home. Prepare a timetable. Know what level your child is at and the next, with some idea of when it can be achieved. There is no race to be the first to read, it just puts things into context. Step 4 Plan specific reading linked activities Extend your child’s positive reading experiences, e.g. If they enjoyed reading about dinosaurs, visit the natural history museum. Encourage activities that require reading, e.g. read a recipe, instructions, and directions, play games that require reading, use a reference book to look up something you have seen. Visit the library and give your child their own library card. They can choose their own library book or listen in on storytime. Step 5 Be a role model ``

Let your children see you reading for pleasure. Read aloud everyday items - menus, road signs, food labels.


Give books as gifts.


Leave books, magazines, and colourful catalogues around your home.


Write short notes for your child to read.

Reading opens up new worlds to your children and gives them a chance to use their imaginations. There are many ways to encourage your child to read, and the best ways always include participation on your part.

Helping reading for children with learning difficulties Books and Audio Follow a book as the audio book plays. Listen to a chapter, and then read it together Turn on the TV subtitles Sub-titles on your TV or DVD help increase sight word vocabulary, whilst developing a sense of flow of written and spoken language Make your child the star of their own audio book Your child can read into a recorder, then follow the book together during playback Everyone joins in Reserve thirty minutes each evening for family reading time. Each family member reads different material and then shares information about it, or take turns reading aloud from the same book. Support their learning Help ensure your child doesn’t get behind in reading material necessary for school subjects, ask for help with obtaining textbooks on CD ROM. Together identify unfamiliar words you come across and show your child how to look up the meanings of words. Children with specific learning difficulties and dyslexia could benefit from the PQ4R strategy (http://learningdisabilities.about. com/od/instructionalmaterials/a/ pq4rstrategy.htm) Further info/websites


September/Occtober 2012


Local clubs and classes You choose!

Need help choosing a class? Here are just some of the ones in Oxfordshire to help you decide:


Stagecoach top Summer Show

Oxford Rhythmic Gymnastics

The summer holidays have been great fun with a spectacular run of performances of Stagecoach’s ‘Hairspray’ at the Theatre at Headington. The antics of Tracy Turnblad and her 60’s style cast wowed audiences and reviewers alike, while the younger performers staged their own quirky take on Little Red Riding Hood with the updated ‘Little Red Hoodie’. Performance is always high on the agenda at Stagecoach - as well as fun and confidence building. Check out classes for ‘Early Stages’ age 4-7 (including a new class opening in Banbury!) with your local Stagecoach principal for all budding young performers, the Senior School for age 8+ and ‘Further Stages’ for sixth formers. Stagecoach classes: Oxford: Maya Sprigg 01869 278600 Abingdon: Julia Howson 0845 113 0320 Bicester: Jenna McKee 07983 378 883 Banbury: Melissa Allen 01869 249318 Thame: Nicky Goodwin 01865 763767

These gymnastic classes are designed for girls from ages 3-16 who enjoy rhythm and who want to master skills that gymnastics provide and which are even more challenging. Gymnasts learn flexibility and strength and how to work with techniques using apparatus such as balls, ribbon, hoop, clubs and ropes. There are beginners, intermediate and advanced classes. For more information contact Zuzana at gymnastics@ or call 07866 846273.

Stimulate your Baby’s Senses

Rock Solid Climbing Wall

Baby Sensory Classes are for babies from birth to 13 months. This is an award winning programme that offers a complete approach to learning and development. Each week provides a different theme, for example: baby pirate, water splash, baby frog, rainforest, colours, sparkles and weather. The classes include hundreds of different activities ranging from baby signing & massage, optic light and puppet shows, bubbles, feathers, water and so much more. If you are looking for fun for you and your baby which to help your baby’s development, call (01980) 849354 or email at readingnorth@ to book a free taster session! Classes held on Mondays in Wallingford at: Wallingford Sports Park, Hithercroft Road, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 9RB Classes held on Tuesdays in Abingdon at Long Furlong Community Centre, Boulter Drive, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 1XP For further details email readingnorth@ or call (01980) 849354.

Based at Oxford Brookes University, Rock Solid offers casual climbing on weekdays and at weekends for children. Special Kids open sessions take place on Mondays for ages7+ and the Rock Stars Kids Club takes place on Sunday mornings for age groups 7-9yrs, 10-13yrs,14-17yrs. For more information telephone (01865) 484373 or visit

01993 815966

Youngstar’s Calling all Young Budding TV Stars! Youngstar is a well-established and exciting part-time Drama School specialising in TV and Film acting, for anyone between the ages of 8-18yrs. Youngstar is the only school of its kind in the UK, nurturing talented actors wishing to follow the television and film route. Youngstar students have appeared in BBC dramas, films and adverts including one such Oxford student who is currently appearing in a BT Olympic advert! To book a free trial at one of our classes in Abingdon or Oxford telephone (01235) 539772 or email

Dance Connection Open Day 2012 On Saturday 29 September Dance Connection will be throwing open the doors to their studios in East Oxford, to welcome children of all ages to come along and watch DC in action! Throughout the day prospective pupils will be welcome to view classes, be entertained by DC squads and most importantly to participate in a variety of FREE dance classes! Dance Connection pride themselves on tailoring a timetable to individuals needs so why not pop along and see what they have to offer? All welcome from age 18 months right up to 18 years! Contact Sam Clifton on 07870 501831 or email

Kids Learn to Swim or Develop Swimming Skills With Jane Brooks (ASA Swimming teacher) who is rapidly becoming one of Oxfordshire’s most well-known instructors. In recent months Jane’s expanded her teaching lessons, now available at five locations including: Spirit Health Club, (Pear Tree Roundabout, Woodstock Road), Wendlebury (Nr Bicester), The Ozone Leisure Complex (Grenoble Road), Minster Lovell and Southmoor. Each class has a maximum of six children and places are available to non-swimmers right through to the more advanced. One-to-one lessons are also available. Jane and her coaches teach in the water, to establish a high level of trust in the children and to speed up their improvement. For further details call (01865) 841409 or 07855 324417 or email

Teach your Baby to Sing and Sign Babies typically use all kinds of signs and gestures as a natural part of learning to talk, like clapping and waving. Encouraging your baby with extra signs, such as milk, more, change nappy or tired will help your baby communicate. Sing and Sign’s unique approach combines action songs, props, pictures and toys in musical activities with weekly themes designed to stimulate speech and language development. It’s easy it’s natural, it’s great fun. Come along and see for yourself! We have a number of classes around Oxfordshire for more information call 01993 709532 or visit

Creating Intelligent, Fun Music for Kids… Hannah Rhodes is running a brand new set of workshops at the Pegasus Theatre from September, so kids can make music and build up a local kid’s music scene to rival those in South America and France. Hannah is also working on a children’s music collective, to perform in theatres, schools and venues throughout Oxford; the first of which is taking place on 15 and 16 September at Pegasus. Listen out for the launch of the Macamusic Music CD. For further details about these wonderful classes contact Hannah on 07941931753 or visit or email

“Outstanding” Latest ISI Inspection Report

Teach your Baby to Swim with Water Babies Enter the enchanting world of baby swimming at locations throughout Oxfordshire including Bicester, Banbury, Oxford and Abingdon. Water Babies teaches core skills to hundreds of babies and children every week which can potentially save their lives. A Water Babies course is very different to traditional swimming lessons, because only warm water pools are used so babies can join us from birth. Their unique methods will enable a baby to feel at ease swimming above and below the water, and they’ll love the sensation of floating in such a warm, calm atmosphere. To find your nearest class visit

Cornerstone Arts Classes and Workshops - Didcot A host of classes and workshops happening for all ages including yoga, baby and toddler ballet, tap dancing and the new Baby Boogie class for parents and tots! Great for energetic children who love to dance, run, bounce and roll creatively without the restrictions of learning specific ‘steps’! Mums, dads, grannies or grandads come along with your tot on Wednesdays at 1pm. Mature Movement Classes is dancing exercise for all ages. Dance is one of the most therapeutic performing arts so what are you waiting for? Call Didcot (01235) 515144 or visit

Little Monkeys Gym Little Monkeys Gym teaches preschool gymnastics to children from the time they can walk up to those who are 4 years of age in Kidlington, Woodstock and Stonesfield. For further details call (01865) 841409 or 07855 324417 or email

Wanted! Mini Witches and Wizards for Singing and Dancing! There’s more than a hint of magic in the air this autumn as Perform enters the Magician’s Chamber, Performs most spell binding term yet. Children in Oxfordshire are invited to don their finest wizard robes, seize their magic wands and enter the weird and wonderful world of Arthurian Legends. As always, Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing workshops will be full of thrills, spills and laughter. Perform focuses exclusively on serious fun so whilst children have lots of fun they are also learning confidence, communication, concentration and co-ordination skills, giving them a head start in life. Perform also offers a FREE trial session, so why not bring your 4-8 year old along in September to discover the wonderful world of Perform. Local classes are held in Abingdon, Brackley, Buckingham, Didcot, Oxford and Thame. For more information contact Emma on 0845 400 4000 or email:


Saturday 6 October 10.00am-12.30pm “We couldn’t find a parent who was less than dewy-eyed about the place” Good Schools Guide 2012 For more details please contact: Mrs Karen Copson 01235 858462 Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 6LN

Maths & English tuition Explore Learning centres provide maths and English tuition to children aged 5-14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning. Explore helps children make fantastic academic progress, in addition the vibrant atmosphere keeps them engaged and focussed enabling them to have fun while they learn. As members, children work with tutors who are great role models, enthusiastic about learning and fantastic motivators. The individual focus allows children to work at their own pace – whether they are finding school tricky or are top of the class!

“The hesitancy and lack of confidence that held her back is gone. Now she tries new things with relish. She counts the days until she can come back here!”

Explore Parent.

Book your free trial session today to find out how Explore Learning can help your child to gain confidence, enthusiasm and new skills.






Here’s your chance to win one of two free music CD’s by Macamu – the great new music classes for kids at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre. The CD’s will introduce children to new sounds and styles from around the world in a fun and accessible way! Simply go to Families Oxfordshire online at, and email your name and address and what you love about music, by clicking on Contact the Editor tab on the homepage. Names will be picked out of a hat and published in the Nov/ Dec issue!


Families Oxfordshire reader competition:

01865 595 509

Inside Sainsbury’s, Oxford

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September/Occtober 2012


By Elisabeth Dolton


after-school activities As the new school year starts, so does the time to choose after-school activities, but take a quick look and you will find a whole range of classes available, from Scouts to Ballet, from French to Karate. So how can we know which ones are best for our child, offer value for money and more importantly, offer something they’ll actually enjoy… After-school activities definitely offer value to your children. Reports indicate those who participate in after-school programs have better school attendance, higher grades and loftier aspirations. They’re less likely to get into trouble are at lower risk of obesity. It is also a great opportunity for children to develop social and leadership skills. The benefits are there, but under which classes?

Consider the mix of activities. The benefits of exercise are huge, so including a sport would be a good start. Extracurricular activities are ideal for children to explore and practice what it means to be a group leader, e.g. Brownies. If you are stuck between two similar activities, consider the usefulness, e.g. drum lessons might be cool, but the guitar might have wider applicability.

Talk to your child and find out how they feel about the activity, and let them choose at least one club or activity themselves. Help them choose activities that reflect who they are and what they want to learn, don’t impose your preferences. Explain that it’s important and fun to try new things, and remember switching activities is normal amongst children.

Finally, remember logistics. The afterschool programme affects you too. Avoid signing on to too many activities that leave you scrambling from one to the next. No one will have fun doing anything if it means arriving late, leaving early, and going without dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Look hard for places you can walk to, it reduces your carbon footprint while keeping you fit for free! Finally do build in some downtime. Children need to have independent play as well as the structured activities, so ensure time is built in for dinner, watching T.V. and relaxing. Leave some activities perhaps for the summer, when different interests can be tried, without the pressure of school demands.

Always check out the quality of an activity. Discipline-based activities that create a quality product over a period of time are great, e.g. putting on a play. Don’t think that high cost equal high quality, some activities are cheaper to run like football. Staff members should be professionals with skills and experience.

After-school activities can provide enrichment, adventure and variety. They can enhance knowledge and build character. Spend a bit more time choosing the right activity programme for your child and you will reap the benefits.

Consideration for special needs children ``

Consider your child’s interests, rather than their needs. Many regular activities can use technology or planning to help their participation, e.g. drama, athletics, cooking, academic


Evaluate your child’s stamina. Check they have the energy for an extracurricular activity?


Talk with the activity leaders about your child’s unique medical and communication needs. Provide them with emergency contact information.


Make sure family downtime is a regular part of the schedule. Sometimes your family needs to have nothing to do — as a group.

Remember the inclusion of children with special needs is beneficial to all. Special needs children achieve more, improve behaviour, and enhance motivation. Children without special needs learn from working cooperatively and grow in confidence through helping others.


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School matters

Independent School Open Days

Abingdon Preparatory School Saturday 13 October 10.00 - 12.00pm For boys from 4-13 years and girls from 4-7 years.

Telephone: 01865 391570

Oxford High Junior School Thursday 4 October 9.30 – 12.00am Reception and Year 1 at: 90 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 7ND

D’Overbroeck’s College Saturday 13 October Time: 10 - 1pm

For entry age 11+, 13+ 01865 302620 Direct into the 6th form 01865 310000

Saturday 6 October 9.30 - 12 noon Junior and Senior Schools open for guided tours, displays/ activities and refreshments. All welcome. No advance booking required.

Telephone: 01993 703921 Email:

Headington Preparatory School Monday 8 October 2.00 - 3.15 pm 26 London Road, Oxford, OX3 7PB

Telephone: 01865 759 113 Email:

Our Lady’s Abingdon School Sixth Form Open Evening

Junior and Senior School

Tuesday 11 October 7.30pm

Friday 9 March 9.15 - 11.45am

Nursery, Junior and Senior School

Contact Admissions Senior School Telephone 01235 524658 Junior School Telephone 01235 523147

Saturday 15 October 10.00 - 1.00pm

Thursday 25 October 7.00 – 9.00pm

01865 318500 Email:

St Helen and St Katharine Saturday 29 September 10.00 - 2.30pm

An independent day school for girls aged 9 to 18 Faringdon Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 1BE

St Hugh’s Oxfordshire Saturday 6 October 10.00 - 1.00 pm Guided tours, classrooms visit and meet staff. All welcome. St Hugh’s School, Carswell, Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 8PT

Mrs Suzy Macpherson Telephone: 01367 870700 Email:

Manor Preparatory School Saturday 6 October 10.00 - 12.30pm

Telephone: 01235 848462

Radley College

Magdalen College School Saturday 22 September 9.30 - 12 noon

Oxford High Senior School

Belbroughton Road, Oxford OX2 6XA Telephone:

Cokethorpe School

Years 2-6 at: 1 Bardwell Road, Oxford OX 2 6SU Contact: Email:

Open Afternoons (book via website) Monday 8 October Thursday 8 & 15 November

Saturday 1 December Time: TBC. Radley College, Abingdon, OX14 2HR

Telephone: 01235 543174


September/Occtober 2012


School matters continued

Cokethorpe Junior School – Welcomes New Term

Year 4 is an important and exciting time in any child’s education. Eight and nineyear-olds at Cokethorpe Junior School are in two small classes of up to 16; each providing an environment where the children can discover and develop their talents and individual personality. The teachers know the children in their care well, building a close and effective relationship with each one to encourage learning, find their academic strengths and quickly respond to pastoral needs. The most able receive extension classes in English and Mathematics. The small classes also allow staff to go well beyond the National Curriculum, both academically and in other areas. Competitive sport is introduced, with U9 fixtures for the girls and boys in principal sports such as hockey and netball, rugby and soccer. There is also an extensive enrichment programme with Year 4s being able to join the Orchestra and Chamber Choir, work towards LAMDA drama qualifications as well as having the opportunity to take part in ballet, modern dance, judo, chess, golf, art, textiles and cross country clubs. Visit


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Help Your Child Get off to a Flying Start this Autumn!

Research has found that at least two thirds of children fall behind in their studies over the summer holidays. This large gap in studying can leave a child feeling insecure in their ability, which in turn can lead to a lack of confidence during September. The beginning of a new academic year is an ideal time to seek extra support. Explore Learning is a network of maths and English tuition centres for children aged 5 to 14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning. With 63 centres located nationwide, they are the perfect way to help your child get off to a flying start in the new term. Visit www.

Online Teaching Resources for Oxon Kids

If you’re looking for a teaching resource to support your child’s school learning at home, give the Reading Eggs (for 3-7 year olds) and Reading Eggspress (for 7-13 year olds) programs a try. They’ve been developed so children can learn to read, through educational games and activities, instilling them with positive attitudes about reading and learning so they have fun using the programs and learning through play. Each can be used on any computer and most tablets making them attractive to children. To trial the programs for 5 weeks for free, go to www. Click on ‘Parents click here’ and follow the set-up instructions. Once your account has been activated and you have added a child, simply enter code UKB24OXF.

Abingdon School Oarsmen Toast Victory

Abingdon School’s 1st VIII rowed to a thrilling victory at the Henley Royal Regatta, beating Radley College in the final of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. This, together with victories at the Schools’ Head of the River and the National Schools’ Championship Eights earlier this year, secures the three major rowing titles for Abingdon this season.

Continuity and Change at Our Lady’s Abingdon

Change is in the air for OLA as staff and parents prepare to welcome their new Principal, Mr Stephen Oliver who starts this September. Mr Oliver is very much looking forward to joining the team and to building on the school’s success. OLA educates girls and boys from Nursery to A Level providing continuity throughout a child’s education. Early Years provides a welcoming environment to ensure everyone feels included as a secure and valued member of the OLA family, making a positive and enthusiastic contribution to a child’s early development. “The outstanding pastoral care does much to ensure their safeguarding, and to foster their personal development and academic achievement.” (ISI Inspection Report 2010). Come along and meet Stephen Oliver and the team at our open morning on Saturday 13 October at 10.00am-1.00pm at Our Lady’s Abingdon, Radley Road, Abingdon OX14 3PS. Tel: 01235 524658. Email: office@ or visit: www.olab.

Abingdon Prep’s on Top Form!

Shellingford Ofsted and SIAS Joy celebrated!

2012 saw Abingdon Prep School celebrating its bestever scholarship results. Fourteen awards were won by boys to leading senior schools including six academic scholarships, and drama, art, music and sport awards to Abingdon School. Crispin Hyde-Dunn, Abingdon Prep’s Headmaster said: “The boys have worked extremely hard for these awards and it is a wonderful accolade for the pupils and their teachers.” Open Morning Sat 13 Oct at 10.00am-12.00pm. www.

Shellingford CE (A) Primary School is celebrating their latest Ofsted report and Church School (SIAS) inspection. It was judged to be a ‘Good’ school by Ofsted and the staff were praised for raising pupils’ achievement through their detailed knowledge of each child. The Governors organised a special assembly to celebrate including parents and pupils, to thank the staff for all their hard work. Shellingford is a popular small rural school near Faringdon and opens its fourth class this September.

Open Morning reserve your place

For entry at age 11 or 13 (01865 302620) Direct into The Sixth Form (01865 310000)

Saturday, October 13th 10am-1pm


September/Occtober 2012


By Elisabeth Dolton

Should kids eat less wheat? For centuries wheat has been at the centre of our diets. Over the last 10,000 years, the earth’s population has doubled ten times, and wheat is one food source that has helped enable this. Wheat feeds more people in the world today than any other food. Yet nutritional therapists are starting to advise reducing our consumption of wheat, in some cases even eliminating it from our diets totally. Why? Wheat is a common part of our and our children’s diets. It is in almost every meal we have - cereal, bread, crackers, biscuits, cakes, pastry, and pasta. It is also recommended by many world governments as an essential part of our daily intake. However, wheat grown today looks very different from how it used to look. Chemicals are used to grow wheat today, as well as preservatives, and the most notable difference is how it’s processed. Today most wheat-based foods are highly processed, removing most of the nutrients. Perhaps therein lays the reason, as wheat is increasingly being linked to common allergy, sensitivity, ADD and hyperactivity in kids, celiac disease, fatigue, weight gain and more. Wheat contains fibre and other nutrients that are beneficial for health and wellness. However, sensitivity to wheat and gluten (a large protein found in wheat) is increasing. Some people have a severe allergic reaction to gluten, known as coeliac disease, which affects as many as one in 300 in the UK. But wheat intolerance is also more prevalent.

Are you paying enough attention to your children’s nutrition?

Symptoms occur after the body reacts to wheat and interferes with its normal processes, causing everything from irritable bowel syndrome to thyroid disorders, arthritis, diabetes, asthma and eczema. Indeed, many nutritional therapists believe too much wheat causes headaches, a feeling of ill health, bloating, tiredness and even depression. There’s little mainstream scientific evidence to support this, but that hasn’t stopped nutritionists advising their patients to cut down on wheat intake or use alternatives to wheat such as spelt, rye, barley, rice and soy. It is very easy to overdose on wheat and end up eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – toast, sandwiches, a pizza. Try cutting wheat down to one meal a day for the family, and eat the most natural and unrefined wheat such as wholemeal or wholegrain bread and whole-wheat pasta. While it may not necessary for most of us to cut out wheat completely from our diets, it’s worth the effort to reduce excessive wheat intake.

eat enough of them. Especially now that the recommended number of servings is for at least 5 a day. In the UK, only 1 in 5 children consumes five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The average fruit and vegetables intake for children aged 5 -15 is 2.5 portions a day, far below the recommendation. (National Health Service/Ofcom).

For most families, there’s a gap ® between what we should eat and what Juice PLUS+ Fruit is a wholefood ® base of apples, oranges, pineapple, we actually eat every day. Juice Plus+ peaches, cranberries, papaya, acerola helps bridge that gap. cherry, dates and prunes. Fruit and vegetables are important for Juice PLUS+® Vegetable is beets, good health but many children don’t


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Wheat free lunch boxes Good quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are the key to a super wheat-free lunch box ``

Quality proteins - Deli meats, cheese and cheese spreads, salads (chicken, turkey, tuna), soup, yogurt, protein bars, hardboiled eggs, falafel


Complex carbohydrates Vegetables and fruits (celery, carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower), rice, whole grain gluten free bread and crackers, hummus, gluten free pasta with pesto and pinenuts, rice cakes with fun toppings (nut butters, jam, cheese)


Healthy Fats - Olive oil, raw nuts/seeds, dried fruit, avocados, olives

broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, spinach, parsley, garlic and tomato. The Juice PLUS+® Soft Chewables are a popular way for children to benefit from the Juice PLUS+® fruits and vegetables powders more conveniently.

Comprehensively scientifically researched, Juice PLUS+® delivers key antioxidants and other phytonutrients that are absorbed by the body. This yy helps reduce oxidative stress yy helps support a healthy immune system and maintains DNA yy positively impacts several key indicators of cardiovascular wellness For piece-of-mind about your family’s health, consider Juice PLUS+® Call Ema on

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By Gabrielle Starky

How to throw a

Halloween party!


Most children love Halloween, the chance to dress up, have fun and eat lots of sweets and chocolate! Here’s how to throw a spooky Halloween bash that guarantees everyone will have a truly wicked time.

Halloween facts and fables

Make a pumpkin lantern

Vamp up the house

Add one hell of a menu

You can also find lots of decorations in card shops, party shops, pound shops and supermarkets. Finally, swap the light bulbs for green or red ones to give the room an eerie glow.

The name Halloween comes from All Hallows’ Eve, the evening of All Saints’ Day, though despite its saintly name, the origins of the ghostly legends associated with the night of October 31 date back to the murky pre-Christian past. In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic festival of Samhain was celebrated on this day, signalling the end of summer and marked with fire festivals during which enormous bonfires were lit to scare aware evil spirits. The Celts believed that at Samhain the earthly and spirit worlds were able to intermingle. The souls of the dead were thought to revisit their homes, while ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies and other supernatural beings roamed abroad searching for living people to possess. The living, to scare away these supernatural visitors, would dress up in frightening costumes and extinguish the fires in their homes to make them cold and unattractive, so that the spirits wouldn’t linger in them.

Head to your nearest farm shop or market for a good pumpkin. To make a scary lantern, first empty out the insides with an ice cream scoop or spoon. Draw a design on the skin and then carefully carve along the lines with a sharp knife. Then put a tea light in the middle for the lamp and display in the window as darkness falls. If you fill the children up, they’re less likely to munch their way through the mound of sweets they gather when trick or treating. The idea is to disguise the food as gruesome grub – sausages can become witches’ fingers which go down well with chips (and lots of gory tomato sauce) or spaghetti can be worm stew and pizza toppings can be arranged to look like monsters’ faces. As a spooky table centrepiece, fill a rubber glove with water dyed with red food colouring and freeze. Cut off the glove and display the iced hand in a bowl of cold water, where it will gradually melt.

Games can be a scream

Pitch them so the younger guests don’t get too frightened. Here are some ideas: Pin the wart on the witches’ nose: as a change to the usual donkey! Apple bobbing: the children put their hands behind their back and stand in front of a bowl of water, trying to remove the apples with just their teeth. The ‘mummy’ game: Split the children into pairs, one is the wrapper and one the mummy. Give them a toilet roll and the one that’s the best wrapped ‘mummy’ is the winner. You’ll need to supply quite good-quality toilet roll so it doesn’t break too easily, and make sure they leave a gap for the ‘mummy’ to breathe. Zombie musical statues: Same as the usual game, just try to use some Halloween music – like The Monster Mash or Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ – and get them to walk like zombies.

Decorate the house with lots of black, orange and sickly green – anything along the lines of cobwebs, haunted houses, witches, ghosts, bats, or pumpkins look great. Cut black card into silhouettes to stick on the windows or cut out paper chains with Halloween shapes.

Dressed to kill

A bed sheet is an old classic for a child’s ghost outfit but there are lots of cheap fancy dress costumes around – the supermarkets and Boots. Use face paints to add the finishing touches, or a mask.

The finale: Trick or Treating!

ggDon’t leave it too late, or it’ll be too dark, and don’t venture far with little ones. Remember, it’ll be cold and the children will have dark clothing on, so watch out for traffic and stay in welllit streets. ggAim to call just at houses with pumpkins displayed, it’s a sign the household are welcoming Halloween guests. ggOnly knock on a door once and leave if there’s no answer. If possible, plan a route with friends who’ll have something ready beforehand. ggTry to keep your group small, four or five children is ideal and adults should hover in the background, keeping an eye on proceedings!

Halloween is a time of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night – but do you really know what it’s all about?

Trick or treat? The children’s game of ‘Trick or treat?’ began as a European custom called ‘souling’. On All Souls’ Day (November 2), beggars would walk from village to village collecting ‘soul cakes’. For every soul cake they received, the beggar would promise to say prayers from the deceased relatives of the person who gave them the cake – an important assistance in helping their souls through limbo and on to Heaven.

ggChildren will need something to collect their treats in, a cauldron or a bag. ggIf anyone does challenge you to a trick, choose something that doesn’t make a mess or cause a nuisance. The children could do something innocuous, like pulling a handful of plastic spiders out of their pocket or singing a scary song.

Happy haunting…


September/Occtober 2012


what’s on family, drama & music Cornerstone Arts Centre 25 Station Road Didcot OX11 7NE 01235 515144


Sun 16 Sep 2pm He’s sneaky, he’s cheeky, he’s Rumpelstiltskin! Live music, puppetry and mischievous storytelling spun together into a golden new version of this classic fairy-tale. Ages 3+


Sun 30 Sep 2pm A tall tale about a little boy in a sticky situation! Floyd’s kite is stuck up a tree. So he throws his shoe up to dislodge it, then another shoe, the cat, a ladder, a paint pot, the kitchen sink…where will it all end? And will Floyd ever get his kite back? Ages 3+


Sun 14 Oct 11am and 2pm Based on the award-winning book by Polly Dunbar and with lively songs by Tom Gray of Gomez. Whatever Ben does - even firing Penguin into OUTER SPACE! Penguin will not talk. But when he finally does start, it’s worth it. Ages 3+


Tue 30 Oct 2pm A fantastic show all the way from France! Just like The Artist there is big screen film and no talking – in addition there is live theatre in front of the screen! Two cinema ushers lark about with hats and disguises when the projector ‘breaks down’. An enchanting story of heroes, heroines and baddies. With popcorn! Ages 5-12 and their adults.

Kenton Theatre New Street Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BP 01491 575698

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

Sun 9 Sep 2.30pm The People’s Theatre Company bring one of the world’s best loved nursery rhymes to life for the very first time. Presented by the team behind How The Koala Learnt to Hug, this magical new show has been written especially for parents to enjoy with their children, so come and relive the delights of this most charming of tales with a feast of first-class games, colourful animal characters and heart-warming family fun. Ages 4 to 104!

Andy and Mike’s TickTock Time Machine

Mon 29 Oct 11.30am & 2pm When the attic at their ‘fun pad’ - locked many years ago by their great, great, great grandfather Wally Bum – opens, Andy and Mike find a mysterious machine inside. The guardian of the machine sends them on a quest to collect the things he needs from the past and the future. Will they make it back to the here and now or be trapped in the mists of time forever? One thing’s for sure: they haven’t a chance without your help! Ages 3+

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra in Concert Fri 9 Nov 7.30pm Most of this country’s leading names in jazz started by playing with NYJO. The 22-piece Orchestra provides a glittering showcase for the very best of our young jazz musicians. Under the direction of Mark Armstrong, and to mark


01993 815966

this Jubilee year, the Concert will open with The Queen’s Suite – originally written for the Queen and presented to her by Duke Ellington. The second half pays tribute to the Great British Songbook and includes several vocal arrangements. (For a fee of £3 students, young people and ticket holders can attend the afternoon rehearsal from 3pm.)

Mill Arts Centre Spiceball Park Banbury OX16 5QE 01295 252050

An Evening of Magic, Comedy & Illusion by Young & Strange

Sun 7 Oct 7pm A spectacular, fast-paced and engaging magic comedy and illusion show, performed by double act Young and Strange. This show features state of the art stage illusions, sleight of hand and magic effects never seen before at The Mill. The show is entwined with a comedy thread with the emphasis on pure entertainment. Young & Strange were recently featured performers on ITV1’s Penn and Teller: Fool Us. Suitable for all ages.

James Campbell’s Comedy 4 Kids

Wed 31 Oct 2pm James Campbell is a stand-up comedian for children, their parents and anyone who likes comedy without the rude words. This year’s show might or might not discuss scooters, Scottish country dancing and what we’ll do with all these gregarious giraffes. Recently, James taught Helen Skelton on Blue Peter to do stand up! Suitable for ages 7+.

Clockheart Boy

Sat 3 Nov 2pm When a boy with no heart is washed ashore, the Professor and his creations vow to bring him back to life. With wide-eyed wonder Clockheart Boy learns the joys of stargazing, dancing, romance and friendship. This original fairytale explores the destructive effects that grief and love can bring; meditating on death whilst fizzing with life. Ages 6+.

Oxford Playhouse and Burton Taylor Studio 11-12 Beaumont Street Oxford OX1 2LW 01865 305305


Sat 15 Sep 11am & 2pm Based on the award-winning book by Polly Dunbar, Penguin fuses puppets, theatre, audience interaction and sing-a-long songs from Tom Gray of Gomez. Ages 3-7.


Sat 6 Oct 11am & 2pm Straw turns to gold, magic and mayhem are in the air. Before the sun rises will our brave heroine be able to solve the riddle and save the day or will rotten Rumpel double cross her once and for all? Ages 3-7.

Dick Whittington

George Street, OX1 2AG 0844 847 1585

Fri 30 Nov- Sun 13 Jan We’re holding out for a hero and there’s only one man that fits the bill... Dick Whittington! Join Dick as he ventures to London to find his fortune - he can’t do it without your help! This year’s Playhouse pantomime is packed full of festive mischief and toe-tapping songs for all the family to enjoy. Signed language interpreted performance: Sun 16 Dec 11am Captioned performance: Fri 28 Dec 2pm Audio described performance: Sat 5 Jan 2pm Touch tours at 11.45am and 12.30pm


Pegasus Theatre

New Theatre

1-4 Oct 7.30 pm & 5 Oct 5pm The British theatrical sensation that has become a true phenomenon celebrates an astonishing 20 years of bringing foot stamping, finger drumming, adrenalin rushing joy to audiences across the globe. If you have never experienced Stomp then this is your chance to see why this breath-taking show continues to thrill audiences world wide. With a universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance, eight performers use everything from Zippo lighters and plastic bags to bin lids and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm. (Please note there will be no interval.)

North Wall Arts Centre South Parade Summertown OX2 7NN 01865 319 450


Sun 7 Oct 11.30am & 2pm Tangles? Split Ends? Frizzy? Flyway? It’s hard enough having a bad hair day but pity poor Rapunzel spending her life in a tower with a wicked witch using her captive’s locks as a step ladder! Theatre of Widdershins have taken this Grimm tale right back to its dark roots, teased out the tangles and styled it into a beautifully coiffured hair piece! Ages 4+.

Magdalen Road Oxford OX4 1RE 01865 812150,uk

50 Years Young Exhibition

Until Saturday 24 November, 12pm to 6pm Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 6pm Saturday Celebrating 50 years of amazing youth theatre, the professional shows and artists to come out of the Pegasus stables. Current and former youth theatre members are invited to a real birthday party on 24 November with guided tours plus disco after an evening show.

Macamu and the Magic Carpet Band

Saturday 15 September at 1.30pm & 6.30pm, Sunday 16 September at 11am & 3pm with activities at 10am & 2pm. Macamu collects songs and sounds from around the world and pops them in his backpack. Come and join him on his adventures, learn lots of new songs and meet the magnificent Magic Carpet Band. For more details visit Workshop & show packages available.

Ready or Not...

Sunday 7 October Shows: 11am & 3pm, Activities: 10am & 2pm Using movement, music and a host of imaginative props, Commotion Dance creates a lively playground on stage. Join Commotion for a fun packed creative dance session before the performance where parents and children play together through movement, games and imagination. Workshop & show package available.

Winnie the Witch

Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 November Shows: 8th -10th at 1pm & 6pm, 11th at 11am & 3pm, Activities: 11th at 10am & 2pm Winnie and her cat, Wilbur, are suffering magical mayhem but with the O Biscuits Collective, a large scoop of sing-a-long songs, a generous dollop of dancing, a light sprinkle of physical theatre and a naughty pinch of puppetry and some help from you things may turn out all right. Workshop & show packages available.

The Theatre 2 Spring Street Chipping Norton OX7 5NL 01608 642350



The Henley Children’s Theatre Group is branching out! New classes for the Abingdon area start September 2012. Singing, Acting and Dancing for 4 to 16 year olds, 2 productions per year Saturday morning classes at Drayton Village Hall, OX14 4LF

Muffin Hurst has encouraged 100’s of children to channel their performing skills or develop confidence in this fun, informal group, where energy and enthusiasm abound.

Please visit

for more details

Tue 20 Nov - Sun 6 January, 7.30pm Come with us as we transport you to a land of magic and fairytales in this timeless classic tale. Ugly sisters, handsome princes and glass slippers all feature in this story of love, laughter and wishes made true. Celebrate the fortieth birthday of the world-famous Chipping Norton panto with this especially sumptuous, breathtaking production.

Looking to work from home ? ne

aroli Tel C

6 426 24 01235 or 12 74385 0778

Do something interesting and with a purpose ?

Great business opportunity ! Oxfordshire

September/Occtober 2012


what’s on events September

Action Medical ResearchMums on the Run 5K

Globe makers

The Gardens, Waddesdon Manor Sun 16 Sep 10.30 start time For more information and to register: run_5k

Museum of the History of Science Oxford Sat 15 Sep 1-4pm Add your stories to the large globe in the Museum’s Top Gallery and be part of ‘The Renaissance Globe Project’ Drop in, all ages.

Creature Colours Oxford University Museum of Natural History Sat 15 Sep 1-4pm Make a camouflage collage or strut your stuff in a peacock headdress. Drop-in

Cabinet of Curiosities Museum of the History of Science Sat 15 Sep 1-4pm Discover unusual objects and put together a cabinet of curiosities. Ages 5-11.

NCT Nearly New Sale Faringdon Junior School, The Elms, Gloucester Street, Faringdon, SN7 7HZ Sat 15 Sep 10.15am-11.30am 0844 2436131

Charlbury Street Fair Weekend Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sep Egg throwing competition, street fair, live music, 10k & 5k runs.

Rochester’s Extraordinary Story Loom The Story Museum Sat 15 & Sun 16 Sep The story of Victorian inventor Barnabas Rochester’s only surviving story manufacturing machine.

Cabinet Of Curiosities Museum of the History of Science Sat 15 Sep 1-4pm Discover unusual objects and put together a cabinet of curiosities. Ages 5-11.

Michaelmas Daisy Weekend. Waterperry Gardens nr. Wheatley OX33 1JZ Sun 16 Sep 10.30am-4pm www.waterperrygardens.


Café Play for under 5’s

you have fun for free. They’ll need a voucher from snakesandladdersabingdon. Audlett Drive, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 3NJ. www.snakes-and-ladders. 01235 522 227

Abingdon Michaelmas Fair at Abingdon-on-Thames

Ashmolean Museum Oxford Thu 20 Sep, 2-4pm On today’s menu: help run our museum play-cafe and shop.

Mon 8 & Tue 9 Oct Annual street fair through the heart of Abingdon town. The smaller Runaway Fair follows a week later.

Watlington Art Exhibition Watlington Primary School, Love Lane, Watlington. Sat 22 Sep 10am-5pm Sun 23 Sep 11am-3pm Special display of pupils’ artwork on show. Art-based activities for children during the exhibition.

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden Oxford Sat 13-Fri 19 Oct Come and have a go with a new trail to celebrate the first Biology Week! FREE with entry to the Garden www.botanic-garden.ox. 01865 286690

Eyeballs and Other Things

Science Saturdays

Museum of the History of Science Sat 29 Sep 12-4pm Dissection of eyeballs and some curious visual experiments. Ages 9+ 01865 277280.

Apple Weekend Chastleton House & Gardens, near Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0SU Sat 29 & Sun 30 12.30-5pm The best of autumn: produce and activities with an apple theme. chastleton-house/ 01608 674981

October 2012 Apple Weekend Waterperry Gardens Nr. Wheatley, Oxon. OX33 1JZ. Sat 6 & Sun 7 Oct 10am-5.30pm Fruity family fun for all the family. www.waterperrygardens. 01844 339226

Day Out With Thomas Sat 6 & Sun 7 Oct Didcot Railway Centre www.didcotrailwaycentre.

Grandparents come free! Snakes and Ladders Sun 7 Oct Look what I can do Granny! Children, bring Granny or Grandad to Snakes and Ladders on Grandparents Day (7 Oct) to watch

01993 815966

Biology Week Trail

Oxford University Museum of Natural History 13 Oct 2-4pm Come and investigate natural history specimens with University scientists. Ages 8+.

We LOVE dog- and dog loves books, by Louise Yates Thame Literary Festival, Christ Church (Hall) Sat 13 Oct 12noon 0871 288 3420

Animal Antics FUNomusica at Oxford Town Hall. Sun 21 Oct 3pm-4pm Join Alasdair Malloy for another of Oxford Philomusica’s well-loved FUNomusica family concerts, this time celebrating members of the animal kingdom big and small! Come along to hear tuneful tigers, melodic mice and harmonious hamsters, as we explore the creatures of our world in typically musical style. Come dressed as your favourite animal! Pre-concert craft activities at 2pm. For ages 4-10

Halloween Howl Millets Farm Centre Mon 22-Tue 30 Oct 10am-6pm (last entry 4.30pm) The Millets Maize Maze is transformed into a spooky world of webs and witches.

Howl-o-ween at Cotswold Wildlife Park Sat 27 Oct-Fri 2 Nov Activities organised with the time of year in mind. Children must be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times. www.cotswoldwildlifepark. 01993 823006

Half Term-Halloween Entertainment at Blenheim Palace Sat 27 Oct-Sun 4 Nov 10.30am-5pm 0800 849 6500

Halloween Half Term Fun

Nov 2-4pm, drop-in Come and investigate natural history specimens with University scientists. Suitable ages 8+.

Cushion Concert-Viola Cornerstone arts centre Sun 28 Oct 11 am and 12 noon under 5s Sun 28 Oct 1.30pm ages 5-8 Listen to the lovely viola-the middle voice of the violin family, and very melodic. 01235 515144

Halloween Fun at the Oxford Castle 6pm to 8pm, on Sat 27, Sun 28 and Wed 31 Oct Ghoulish inmates will be locked up in the old cells of Oxford’s former prison this Halloween to put the fun and frights into trick or treating at Oxford Castle-Unlocked. Trick or treating costs £4 per person. Children are invited to don their Halloween costumes and dare to knock on the doors of the creepy inhabitants for a scarily good treat-safe in the hands of the attraction’s resident tour guides who will make sure the experience is one to remember! Ghost Fest for Halloween! Unlocked is celebrating in style with Ghost Fest, an annual month long festival throughout October. Plus, there’s a family element to the festival with Ghost Fest: Frightful Family Fun. Take the kids down in October half term and take a spooky tour of the castle, hear spine-chilling tales in the crypt and trick or treat along our prison wing! Throughout October Oxford Castle Unlocked is open daily from 10.00am to 5.30pm (last tour 4.20pm). For more information, contact Oxford Castle–Unlocked on 01865 260666 or visit www.oxfordcastle

Thame Literary Festival, Barns Centre Sun 14 Oct 12.30 0871 288 3420

Waddesdon Manor Sat 27th Oct to Sat 3rd Nov Spooky crafts for all the family. Available every Saturday and Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday in school holidays. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Apple and Autumn Fruits Food Fair

National Trust Walking Festival

Waddesdon Plant Centre, Waddesdon Manor Sat 20 & Sun 21 Oct 10am-4.30pm Local craft and produce stalls add to the amazing display of fruits from the Eythrope Gardens. Bring along your apples to be pressed into your own juice.

Waddesdon Manor Sat 27 Oct to Sun 4 Nov Waddesdon offers an inspiring and stunning setting for a variety of walks; old and new; for you to try. Please visit the website to download the walks.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History Mon 29th-Wed 31st Oct 1pm-4pm, Drop-in. Celebrate the launch of the new Winnie the Witch book, with wonderful witch and daft dino activities.

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

Science Saturdays

Roves Farm’s Bonfire and Firework Party 2012 Roves Farm Featuring NO BIG BANGS. Sat 27th Oct 2012

Lollipop & Grandpa by Penny Harper

Oxford University Museum of Natural History Sat 20 Oct 2pm-4pm Come and investigate natural history specimens with University scientists. Suitable ages 8+.

Science Saturdays Oxford University Museum of Natural History 13th, 20th, 27th Oct & 10th

Winnie’s Dinosaur Day

Waterperry Gardens Nr. Wheatley, Oxon OX33 1JZ. 30 Oct-4 Nov 10am-5pm Find the pumpkins and win a prize! Gardens open: April-Oct 10-5.30 Nov-Mar 10-5 www.waterperrygardens. 01844 339254.

Tales To Be Told After Dark

Halloween Half Term Fun

Top Room, Oxford Playhouse Tue 30 Oct 10am-4pm Spend the day creating hair-raising stories at this spooky writing and devising workshop about Halloween. It’s going to be a scream! 8 to 12 years. Tickets £25 via the Ticket Office 01865 305305

Waddesdon Manor Wed 31 Oct-Sun 4 Nov 10.00am-5.00pm Spooky stories in the Cellars. Come and join us this half term week for some freaky fun! Take part in the terrifying trail around the gardens and claim your treat in the Stables shop, stop for a spooky lunch in the Stables cafe and get your face painted. Creepy children’s cartoons and craft activities will be happening in the Power House. Normal admission charges apply.

Compton Verney October half term: The Big Draw Tue 30 Oct - Sun 4 Nov Join us for drop-in creative activities. Compton Verney

The Halloween Show Wed, 31 Oct 11:00am, 2pm 3:30pm Science Oxford SO Live Friend FREE Per Person: £5.00 Family/Group (up to 5 people): £16.00 Things aren’t what they seem in our fun, interactive Halloween Show! But we can promise spooky surprises, eerie experiments, dramatic demonstrations, and ghostly apparitions… not for the faint hearted! Suitable for 6+

Twit Twoo…Little Hoot River & Rowing Museum 30 Oct 2012 10.30am-12.30pm As the nights draw in owls come out to hunt earlier. Make a cosy felt cushion to cuddle up to as you listen to them and learn about their habits. No sewing involved. Age 4 -7 £8.50 Arbib Education Centre

Halloween Folklore and Pumpkins! Coggs Farm Oct 31 Wed 31st (half term) Into October, we celebrate Halloween on the 31st, where you can learn all about the traditional folklore surrounding this time. Have a go at carving a pumpkin or hear about the ghosts in the Manor House.

Autumn-Inpsired Art The University of Oxford Botanic Garden Activities 1.00 pm-3.30 pm, drop in session, no need to book. Be inspired by the Garden and create your own work of art to take home. Part of the Big Draw. FREE with entry to the Garden. Rose Lane, Oxford, OX1 4AZ 01865 286690

The Art of Improvisation Top Room, Oxford Playhouse Wed 31 Oct 10am to 4pm Seamus Allen leads this fastpaced day inspiring participants to fearlessly jump into improvisation. Seamus’ high-energy teaching style will help you gain confidence to create theatre like never before. Age:11 to 15 years 01865 305305

The Big Bug Experience River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames 31 Oct 2012 Free with admission The return of the hugely popular ‘Big Bug Experience’ featuring at least 10 different bug species from around the world including: scorpions, tarantula, giant millipedes, giant cockroaches, prickly stick insects, and more. Compare and contrast them with insects and mini-beasts from the Museum’s collection! 01491 41560

November 2012 The Fascinating World of Weather River and Rowing Museum Henley on Thames 1 Nov 10.30am-12.30pm Learn to become a weather expert by doing weather experiments, making weather instruments, playing weather games, learning weather folklore and recognising different types of clouds. Ages 7 01491 415600

Big Draw Poster River and Rowing Museum Henley on Thames 02 Nov 10.30am-4pm Get ideas from our fabulous exhibition of posters and work together as a family to design your own giant poster to celebrate a special occasion. Combine the text that will be available as a collage and draw in your own images. All materials provided. Free with admission. 01491 415600

Bonfire Night Barracks Lane Community Garden Barracks Lane, off Cumberland Road, Oxford OX4 2AP. 3 Nov 12pm till early evening £5 donation. The garden’s annual bonfire celebration with soup, lanternmaking and storytelling. 07729 655543.

Cogges Family Bonfire Cogges Farm, Church Lane, Witney OX28 3LA 4 Nov Toast marshmallows & eat soup

made from the farm’s garden veg. 01993 772602.

Nursery Rhyme Animals

8 Nov 2-4pm Meet the stars of your favourite rhymes and make 2 little dicky birdsto take home. Drop in. Under 5s.

Science Saturdays Oxford University Museum of Natural History 10 Nov 2-4pm Come and investigate natural history specimens with University scientists. Drop in. Ages 8+.


September/Occtober 2012


Inspiring .....

a love of learning continuity opportunity success

Oxfordshire’s only Catholic co-educational independent school for ages 3-18 ▪ Excellent facilities ▪ Nursery to Sixth Form on one site ▪ Brilliant GCSE & A Level results ▪ Outstanding pastoral care


Saturday 6 October, 9.30am to 12 noon

Open Day

Vibrant independent Oxfordshire day school for 140 girls and boys aged 4 to 11

Saturday 13 October 10.00am-1.00pm 01235 524658

Open Morning Saturday 13 October 10.00am-12pm Independent education for boys from 4-13 years and girls aged 4-7

Abingdon Preparatory School 01865 391570

In the next issue of Families: Scholarships, Christmas and Winter activities, food and health and Where’s Santa listings


Families Oxfordshire Sept-Oct 2012  

Families Oxfordshire magazine Sept-Oct 2012