Families Thames Valley East Magazine May/June 2024

Page 1

Thames Valley East

Issue 132 May/June 2024 Familiesonline.co.uk FREETakeMeHome
Education Summer camps & clubs What’s On IN THIS ISSUE

Weekday Open Mornings

Fridays 10th May & 14th June Find out more at www.leightonpark.com/imagine-better

25th May2nd June

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 2
Just imagine – a school that combines the best academic progress in Berkshire, with award-winning personal development and sector-leading pastoral care
w w w. o d d s f a r m . c o . u k / h a l f - t e r m - h o e d o w n
ST GEORGE’S WINDSORCASTL ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL WINDSOR CASTLE A place where children may find their ‘happy ever after’ Local bus service now available Join us for an Open Morning on Friday 17 May
today at stgwindsor.org 240327 Families 87x130 quarter portrait.indd 1 27/02/2024 12:59

From the editors...

We’re here as ever to keep the family fun alive! Remember to check out our What’s On columns on pages 18 and 19, where we list what you can do locally day by day. As we head through the summer term of school, we also help you plan your childrens’ holiday care! There are lots of clubs available from river adventures to tennis and clubs with a variety to suit all. Check out pages 16 and 17 to find out more.

Also don’t miss our Education articles including; ‘Developing skills for good school performance’ on page 9 and ‘Supporting your child’s memory retention’ on page 10. Parenting can be hard, so we hope our topics on ‘Social action’ on page 12 and ‘Seven ways to help your anxious child’ on page 13 help.

We look forward to writing up our next issue which will guide you through the summer holidays!

All the best

Families Thames Valley East 3 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 CONTENTS ENROLLING NOW Singing, dancing and acting classes for 4 - 18 year-olds ASCOT 01344 206466 ascot@stagecoach.co.uk BRACKNELL NORTH (WARFIELD) 07368 849169 bracknellnorth@stagecoach.co.uk HIGH WYCOMBE 07539753718 highwycombe@stagecoach.co.uk WINDSOR AND LANGLEY 01932 988086 windsor@stagecoach.co.uk HENLEY AND MARLOW 07539753718 henleyandmarlow@stagecoach.co.uk MAIDENHEAD 01628 281128 maidenhead@stagecoach.co.uk ASK ABOUT OUR TWO WEEK TRIAL Creative Courage For Life® ...endless ideas for families of young children in Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham Thames Valley East @editorfamiliestve familiestve @familiestveMag In this issue 4-5 News & information EDUCATION 8 Broadening your child’s vocabulary 9 Developing skills for good school performance 10 Supporting your child’s memory retention PARENTING 12 Involving your kids in social action 13 Seven ways to help your anxious child CAMPS AND CLUBS 15 It’s time for Summer camps 16-17 Summer holiday clubs 18-19 WHAT’S ON EARLY YEARS 20 Hot water burns like fire 21 Learning to swim 22-23 BOOKCLUB
Families Thames Valley East is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All Franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd. Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks, SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Thames Valley East are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Thames Valley East. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine but the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof. Editors: Anna Collins and Rachel Bailey 01628 829761 / 01628 788058 editor@FamiliesTVEast.co.uk www.Familiesonline.co.uk Next issue: July/August 2024 Circulation: 17,000 Cover image: depositphotos.com

School Drive Initiative to help disadvantaged school children

School Drive is a registered charity providing free, brand new school supplies to RBWM school children, aged 4-18 years, whose families could not otherwise afford to provide. The initiative was set up by two local mums; Rachael Cox and Vanessa Moore in 2021 following the pandemic, with the realisation that many families would be, if not already, facing financial difficulties.

They work with primary and secondary schools providing disadvantaged children with items including, but not limited to, lunch bags, uniform, shoes, sports kit, stationery, books and 6th form suits.

School Drive operates by liaising directly with school teachers and professionals, offering a free, confidential service. Using their application form staff can request specific items required for the child. All applications are reviewed weekly to consider eligibility, and successful applications are then delivered directly to the child’s school.

Referrals can be sent directly via email at info@schooldrive.org.uk or through the ‘Contact Us’ page of the website www.schooldrive.org.uk

Waterside Quarter welcomes authentic Indian restaurant Bombay Story

Inspired by the lively Mumbai street-food scene, authentic Indian restaurant Bombay Story has officially opened in Waterside Quarter in Maidenhead.

Bombay Story offers a whole new world of Indian cooking with a variety of dishes from street-food, to curries and biriyanis, all curated by an experienced management team and award-winning chefs.

Bombay Story is the latest restaurant to open at Waterside Quarter, closely following the recent successful launch of ToMo Tankovna and joining local favourites El Cerdo, Sauce & Flour, Bardo Lounge and Coppa Club as part of this attractive mixed-use development by Shanly Homes and Sorbon Estates. Thoughtfully designed to revitalise the heart of Maidenhead and provide a lively new restaurant and leisure quarter, the development has become a cornerstone of the local community.

Founders, Jey and Anita commented, 'Waterside Quarter was an obvious choice for our second restaurant thanks to its strong community feel and beautiful waterside location. We are thrilled to be bringing Bombay Story to Maidenhead and offering the very best food and service to our guests. We are keen for diners to try as many of our dishes as possible, as there is something to suit all tastebuds and a huge variety of authentic flavours on offer. We can’t wait to share Bombay Story with the Maidenhead community.'


Get ready to celebrate marmalade day with Paddington Bear!

The Paddington Bear™ Experience, an all new interactive experience inspired by the nation’s beloved bear, opens on May 31 in London’s iconic County Hall.

Visitors are invited to step into Paddington’s world and embark on an exciting immersive adventure through some of the most memorable locations from the Paddington stories. With numerous themed rooms to explore, interactive games, character interactions and lots of surprises along the way, the adventure will culminate in a very special Windsor Garden Street party where visitors will have the chance to enjoy the Marmalade Day festival. It promises to be a fun day out for fans of all ages.

2023 marked 65 years since the lovable bear was first introduced to the world by author Michael Bond. The books have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and have led to numerous adaptations. A third film ‘Paddington in Peru’ will be released in the UK on November 8 2024.


New Director of Sport appointed at Heathfield School, Ascot

Heathfield School, Ascot has appointed Ms Charlotte Baker as Director of Sport. Ms Baker joins Heathfield from Berkhamsted School, where she was Head of Lacrosse. Alongside teaching, Ms Baker is a keen sportswoman and lacrosse professional, coaching at the U18 England National Academy, as well as the Italy Lacrosse U20 National Team who are heading to the World Cup in Hong Kong this summer.

Ms Baker said, "I’m thrilled to be at Heathfield, the school has a great foundation in sports and the potential for an excellent and progressive programme. I am looking forward to developing the sports programme extensively, as well as expanding the all-round positive culture and ethos of sport and exercise for every student."

Headmistress, Sarah Rollings said, "Charlotte’s energy and passion are infectious, and it is brilliant to see how the students are grabbing the opportunities available to them. It is important that every student can access high quality sport and physical activity, wherever their passions lie."

For more information visit www.heathfieldschool.net or join their open morning on Saturday May 11.

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 4 NEWS AND INFORMATION

Rock The Blue Week

To raise awareness for Children's Hospice Week taking place June 17 to the 23, Alexander Devine is asking for support from the local community to #RockTheBlue this June. Show your BLUE colours and help spread awareness and raise vital funds for your local children’s hospice service.

In the last three years, Alexander's favourite colour has inspired dress-up days, danceathons, blue hair days, blue bake sales, blue tombola’s and even a blue ping pong tournament! These BLUEming brilliant fundraisers have raised thousands of pounds for the charity.

Encourage your workplace, community groups, friends and family or your children’s school to get involved by taking part in a bluethemed challenge to help them raise vital funds.


Family fun with National Children’s Gardening Week

This summer, why not get involved in National Children’s Gardening week?

Taking place from 25 May to 2 June, in the 'warm' half term at the end of May means that pretty much throughout the UK, children can plant all their favourite plants with less fear of weather damage or the need for complicated protective growing.

As well as simply good outdoor fun, gardening has been shown to have many benefits to health and wellbeing including being more physically active and feeling happier and more connected with the natural world.

There are many ways to get involved with National Children’s Gardening Week from DIY activities at home, to attending an event at a local garden centre.

More info: www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk

St George’s launches Courage Cup

Royal Windsor Flower Show returns to Windsor Great Park on Saturday June 8 for its popular annual celebration of gardening, nature, cookery and crafts. One of the many new additions at this year’s show is the St George’s Courage Cup, a new competition class launched by St George’s School Windsor Castle aligned to the school’s values of Kindness, Honesty and Courage, to inspire more children to get involved in the event.

The Cup will be awarded to Best in Show from any of the event’s 34 Children’s Classes. With something for everyone, these range from fun gardening activities such as creating a vegetable character, to cooking traditional summer staples like jam tarts, and arts and crafts projects with a focus on pollinators. The age categories allow for those right from their youngest years upwards (6 and under, 7-11, 12-16 years) to take part and all entries are proudly displayed at the event. The St George’s Courage Cup winner also receives £5 prize money.

To find out more about the event and competition classes, visit www.rwrhs.com/flower-show To learn more about St George’s School Windsor Castle, visit www.stgwindsor.org

A shear delight for visitors to Odds Farm Park this May half-term

There’s a woolly welcome in store for visitors to Odds Farm Park, near Beaconsfield, this May half-term (May 25–June 2).

The rare breeds farm is hosting a Half-term Hoedown where visitors can look forward to sheep shearing demonstrations, welly-wanging competitions, arts and crafts and the chance to Do-Si-Do with Farmer Oddsocks and his family in the interactive country dancing sessions.

There will also be the opportunity to meet all the new spring babies who’ve arrived on the farm including lambs, kid goats and piglets.

Louise Winslow, assistant general manager, says: “Sheep shearing is a key event in the farming calendar. We have over 140 sheep on site with shearing taking place every day of the half term holiday.”

In addition, there is also plenty of weather-proof fun in the indoor soft play barn, while outside there is the outdoor adventure play, Marmalade’s Mini Golf course, Tractor and Trailer ride, H 2 Odds water play area and Marmalade’s Mini Rovers.


WIN a family day ticket to Odds Farm Park

Odds Farm Park are offering one lucky reader a family day pass (2 adults and 2 children) to visit the children’s activity farm.

To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous family prize worth over £75, simply answer the following question:

What is the name of the farmer who will be appearing at Odds Farm Park this May half term?

Please email your answer to editor@familiestveast.co.uk quoting ‘Odds Farm Park’.

The closing date for entry is Friday May 24.

Terms and Conditions

1. Tickets redeemable until 3 September 2024. 2. Prize cannot be sold, transferred or auctioned. 3. Tickets are not valid for Odds Farm Park birthday parties or Christmas Spectacular bookings. 4. There is no alternative prize or cash alternative. 5. Travel to Odds Farm Park is not included and winners have to make their own travel arrangements when visiting. 6. Prize not valid with any other offer or promotion 7. The winning entry will be picked at random and contacted following the closing date.

Families Thames Valley East 5 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 NEWS AND INFORMATION

Join Perform for Fairytale Magic or an Intergalactic Adventure this summer!

Perform’s confidence-building summer term classes are off to a flying start and there’s no better time for your child to try a class. Packed with self-esteem boosting activities, these weekly classes are the best fun of the week for every type of child. They help reticent children develop confidence in their abilities and provide an outlet for energetic children to sing, dance and make friends.

The curriculum is focused on building the 4Cs - confidence, communication, concentration and coordination - using drama games, improvisation, role-play, catchy songs and funky dances.

This summer term, ages 4-7s are entering the Fairytale Forest for an adventure based on favourite well-known stories. Ages 7-12s are blasting off on a journey with Robinson Crusoe where he gets stranded in space!


Visit www.perform.org.uk/try to book a no-obligation FREE trial at one of the venues below:

Please find below a proof of your advertisement for the Jan/Feb 2020 issue (No. 106) of Families T VE.

North Ascot Community Centre, Fernbank Rd, Ascot SL5 8LA

4-7s Saturdays 9.30am; 7-12s Saturdays 11.15am

Ultimate family fun at Jump In Trampoline Park, Slough

Experience ultimate bouncing fun at Jump In Adventure and Trampoline Park Slough. The perfect day out for the whole family, come rain or shine!

Bouncers of all ages can defy gravity on the wall-to-wall trampolines, practice their tricks into the giant airbag, or challenge their friends on the battle beam and wipeout zone.

Little ones can enjoy the park in a safe and fun environment during Toddler Takeover sessions, ages 1-6 years. Ages 4+ can bounce to their hearts content during Open Jump or experience the park in a cool nightclub atmosphere at weekend After Dark sessions.

Planning a party? Choose a Jump In party package for a 100%-fun-zero-stress experience! All you need to do is choose a date and time, invite your guests, and leave the rest up to Jump In, completely hassle free. Packages start at £17 per person.

Jump In is the perfect place for your next group booking. School trips, youth group days out and corporate team building can all be catered to. Standard and bespoke packages are available, as well as exclusive hire.


Please CHECK ALL INFORMATION IS CORRECT especially dates, telephone numbers and addresses.

St Peter’s Centre, 1 Thorney Lane North, Iver SL0 9JU 4-7s Tuesdays 4pm; 7-12s Tuesdays 5.05pm

Open Farm Sunday

Any changes need to be made at this stage

Boyne Hill Infant School, Rutland Rd, Maidenhead SL6 4HZ 4-7s Saturdays 9.30am; 7-12s Saturdays 11.15am

Any further amendments will be charged for

All Saints Church Hall, The Causeway, Marlow SL7 2AA 4-7s Mondays 4pm; 7-12s Mondays 5.05pm

Please contact us by return either to amend or approve your advertisement

Hilltop First School, Clewer Hill Rd, Windsor SL4 4DW 4-7s Fridays 4pm; 7-12s Fridays 5.05pm

Virginia Water Community Centre, 3 Beechmount Ave GU25 4EY 4-7s Mondays 4pm; 7-12s Mondays 5.05pm

4 Marlow Rd Youth and Community Centre SL6 7YR 4-7s Fridays 4pm; 7-12s Fridays 5.05pm

Find out more at www.perform.org.uk/try, call 020 7255 9120 or email: enquiries@perform.org.uk

Open Farm Sunday on 9 June provides a unique opportunity for families to explore real working farms and learn more about the countryside.

T: 07867 514138 / 077

Managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), this annual event allows families and individuals to witness daily farm activities, engage with passionate farmers and learn about sustainable practices.

Visitors can enjoy tractor-trailer rides, farm tours, nature trails, bug hunts and even shop at farmers’ markets.

To find an open farm, visit www.farmsunday.org

We are an Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding ’ nursery providing high quality day care for children from three months to five years. Set within bright, modern Windsor Leisure Centre, our setting includes a large toddler room, pre-school room, a new snuggly baby room, and spacious outdoor garden.

Open 51 weeks a year – Accepts 30 hours funding – Highly trained team

Come and look around today: Call: 01753 855543 or email: info@theriversidedaynursery.co.uk


Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 6
E: editor@familiestvea
Little People Media, 29 Maidenhead SL6 3 NY
Thames Valley East
Families Thames Valley East 7 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 OPEN EVENTS ISI Inspection October 2023 pupil wellbeing is central to decision-making by leaders teaching engages pupils' curiosity and imagination Co-ed Nursery & Prep School Rising 3 to 11 years Saturday 18th May 2024, 1400 – 1600 To book, call 01753 541075 or email registrar@etonend.org ‘ ‘ ISI inspection EXCELLENT OPEN MORNING Saturday 11 May 9.45am to 12 noon Day and Boarding for Girls 11-18 heathfieldschool.net +44 (0) 1344 898343 Herries Co-Ed Preparatory School & Nursery from ages 2 - 11, Cookham Dean, Berkshire Small Class Sizes • Specialist Subject Teachers Study Skills • Sports at Bisham Abbey Woodland Activities • Holiday Camps • Wraparound Care Herries Prep School & Nursery Join us for a tour and have a glimpse into an exciting day at Herries! Call 01628 483350 or email admissions@herries.org.uk www.herries.org.uk “Small places can do big things” Joanna Year 5 ISI INSPECTION REPORT ‘EXCELLENT’ in all areas

Broadening your child’s vocabulary

Vocabulary development is often something that parents mention when they approach a tuition company. Unfortunately, this area of learning does not have a ‘quick fix’ solution. Vocabulary acquirement, retention and application takes a long time.

Children need to be exposed to new vocabulary several times in several different contexts in order to fully absorb it and use it in their own writing and speaking, recognise it in a range of uses and be able to adapt it (for example, adding prefixes and suffixes) when questioned in a test environment.

Vocabulary is a vital aspect of primary education, especially for pupils preparing for entrance exams. A rich vocabulary not only enhances language skills but also serves as a key tool for academic success.

Understanding words in various contexts is fundamental for primary pupils. It allows them to grasp the meanings and usage of words, which helps to improve their comprehension skills.

Additionally, a strong vocabulary assists in spelling tasks, making children more aware of homophones and homographs, thus avoiding common pitfalls in their writing, particularly in time pressured test conditions.

For example, in some verbal reasoning papers, children may be presented with a choice of synonyms to match together: wind, reign, meander. In this example, wind (verb) and meander are synonyms but the child may read it as wind - the noun - due to its position next to a word that sounds like another type of weather but is spelt differently.

Having a broad vocabulary proves invaluable when preparing for entrance exams as it enables children to infer meanings and understand the overall message of a text without constantly referring to a dictionary, which although a useful skill, can break the flow of reading.

Encouraging reading for pleasure is a powerful strategy to improve and develop children’s vocabulary. Parents should emphasise the importance of reading anything and everything, from storybooks to comic books, menus during meals and signs while out and about. Such diverse reading opportunities expose children to varied language structures and expressions, contributing significantly to the expansion of their vocabulary banks.

If you can convince them to read some of the classic works of Dickens and perhaps some JRR Tolkien, that is great but all reading material can be useful.

Jemma Z Smith is Director of The Education Hotel. For further advice, visit www.educationhotel.co.uk

With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning.

With high academic standards, outstanding sta and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents.

We believe that self-esteem and happiness are paramount to each child’s success, and we pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Our enhanced curriculum is rich with cross-curricular digital innovations and our pioneering live-streamed events run by our Broadcasting Club share our activities with our global family online. A proven track record with outstanding scholarship success each year. Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years.

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 8 Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a
for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children
Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey
with a love of learning.
Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years.
Call 01753
School Join us for the journey
and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years. With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents. We pride ourselves on developing confident and happy children with a love of learning. Call 01753 862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House School Join us for the journey www.uptonhouse.org.uk IAPS Independent Prep School NACE Accredited School
862610 or email registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk Upton House
Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep

Developing skills for good school performance

Many parents worry about their children underachieving or not reaching the expected level by the time they leave primary school or sit 11+ exams but there is good news. By developing your child’s skills it may be easier to improve their performance than you might think.

Research has shown that to be our most effective as learners, we need to develop a specific set of skills known as executive function skills.

Don’t be put off by the name! You have all these skills. Some of you will be brilliant at them, others less so but you will not be a stranger to them.

We are all born with the potential to develop these skills over time but they are not specifically taught as part of the curriculum in school, even though they are critical for effective learning and for everything we do in life.

Where do you start? Self-control, focus and attention, organisation, memory (especially working memory), planning, time management, critical thinking, task initiation, perseverance and flexibility can all be taught.

As a basic minimum, when children go to school, they need to be able to control themselves, concentrate and listen. If any of these skills are weak, it is likely to be flagged up in the child’s school report.

Being able to boil an egg does not mean you can produce a gourmet meal! Likewise, being able to ‘sit up straight, look at the teacher and fold your arms,’ do not alone make you a good listener. Each skill - gourmet cooking AND listening - is a complex series of things we need to co-ordinate to accomplish a result.

By understanding the skills as a process, we can break down everything that needs to happen. For example, to be a good listener, we need to be able to stop what we’re doing, focus and make eye contact. This last may not be easy for children who are overwhelmed by eye contact, so use discretion.

Proper listening also involves cognitive skills: to concentrate, wait, reflect, make connections with reference, take in and sort information and finally, to respond appropriately.

Can your child stop what they’re doing when they’re asked? If not, work on it for a week and tell them that’s the target. Take each part of the process and focus on it until they get it.

Stages to encourage skill development

Define what your child is aiming to achieve; Explain the benefits of growing that skill to your child; Explain the downside of not having the skill in life; Create opportunities for your child to get feedback on how they’re doing with it; Congratulate small successes! The feedback you give your child helps their brain to get it right and consolidate it.

Support your child’s independence by focusing on developing their core skills as they progress through primary school. Find ways to work together with your child to use everyday life for working on the growing skills.

Plan homework; time activities; organise spelling; and practise self-control.

Gail Hugman is proprietor of Lessons Alive (www.lessonsalive. com) and author of A Short and Simple Book for the Why’s, 100 Things to Learn before you’re 10, plus the soon to be published Making the Pennies Drop, which shows parents exactly how to teach key skills to their children.

Families Thames Valley East 9 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 EDUCATION CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY CLUB Available 8am-6pm for 3-12 year olds Contact one of the centres below to book in your area: Fun Fest Eton fun-fest.co.uk/etonview Phone: 01753 396274 Fun Fest Marlow fun-fest.co.uk/marlow Phone: 07999 888627 Where Children choose fun from many activities A menu of over 40 activities Childcare vouchers accepted inc government tax free Prices start from £24 Full week and sibling discounts available Ofsted Registered TheActingStudio.co.uk Call : 07973 830591 Email : victoria@theactingstudio.co.uk Drama Classes Free Taster Session Confidence Building Improvisation Movement Performance TV, Film, Theatre Acting Technique Agency Connection Audition Technique BRAYWICK NATURE CENTRE : Tuesday 5.30pm-6.30pm : Ages 7-15 Years COOKHAM DEAN VILLAGE HALL : Wednesday 5.00pm-6.30pm : Ages 6-15 years BRAYWICK NATURE CENTRE : Thursday 5.15pm-6.00pm : Ages 4-7 years

Supporting your child’s memory retention

Does your child struggle to remember things they have learnt at school? Cognitive science can help us to understand how our children’s brains work and how they will learn best.

In order to remember, we need to store information in our longterm memory. Around thirty years ago, Australian psychologist John Sweller published a paper which has significantly advanced our understanding of how information passes from the working memory into the long-term memory. The theory that came from his work is called Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and it is worth having a basic understanding of the theory, so that we can support our children when they are struggling to remember information they learn.

When a child first learns new information, it is held in their working memory. The working memory is limited and if it is overloaded, it becomes very difficult to transfer that information into the long-term memory.

Sweller estimated that only five to nine items can be held in the working memory at any one time. Interestingly, it is thought that the long-term memory is unlimited in its capacity. So, to give your child the best chances of success in both formal exams and in being creative, we must help them to shift information into their long-term memories. Once information is stored there, it can be retrieved when it is needed and has therefore been learnt.

The golden rule is to not overload a child’s working memory. A teaching method called ‘chunking’ is now helping children to

retain information for longer. Chunking involves breaking down information into smaller (bitesize) chunks. By focusing on just one idea at a time, children are able to digest and recall the information.

Whilst this may sound simple and even obvious, breaking down information into chunks can be tricky, as they often need to be even smaller than you might imagine. For example, in answering a question about history, consider how many bits of micro information that your child will need. Try to keep information in the five to nine range.

Ultimately, CLT has helped educators to design learning to support the way that children’s brains work. This is, of course, largely the job of your child’s teacher. However, when parents understand and arm themselves with this knowledge, they can use it to support their child’s learning at home and help them flourish at school.

Erin Miller is a teacher with a keen interest in how research can be used in the classroom to improve learning.

Friday 7 June 2024

9am - 10.30am BOOK NOW

inclusive approach to sport.

Open Morning

EYFS Curriculum based education for children aged 2-4

• QTS qualified teachers

• Funded 30 hour places

• Funded places for 2 year olds

• Both am and pm sessions available for 3-4 year olds


Wexham Rd, Slough SL2 5JW

LeaNurserySchoolWexhamSlough www.lea-nursery.slough.sch.uk

T 01753 833 771 E mail@cotwmontessori.co.uk

W cotwmontessori.co.uk

• 2½ - 5 year old classes

• 18 months – 2½ year old toddler class

• Baby, toddler and parent class

Education and play from 6 months to 5 years old within a caring and happy environment To

St Mark’s Hall, Dedworth Road, Windsor SL4 4JS

Families Thames Valley East 11 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761
01753 536492
telephone: Cheryl or Alexis 01753 833 771

Involving your kids in social action

In a world where compassion and empathy are invaluable qualities, parents play a crucial role in shaping their children into responsible and caring individuals. Engaging in social action with your children helps to instil these lifelong values and more. Plus it can be a great way to spend quality family time. Here’s how you can meaningfully involve your kids in social action.

Never too young to talk

Start conversations early. While young children might not grasp complex global issues, introducing the concept of kindness, empathy and helping others sets the foundation for a compassionate mindset. Use age-appropriate language and share stories that illustrate the power of positive actions.

Maximise everyday kindness

Use everyday activities. Teach your children the significance of small acts that make a difference, like picking up litter or turning off lights. These simple actions help normalise active citizenship.

Lead by example

Children learn best through example. Showcase the values you want to instil by actively participating in social action yourself. Whether giving to a charity, helping a neighbour or volunteering your time, your actions provide a powerful model for your kids to emulate. Wherever possible, take the opportunity to include your children in the activity. For example, if you are donating to charity, explain why you chose the charity and what impact your donation may have.

Explore different ways to help

Expose your children to a variety of social action opportunities such as going on litter picks or writing to MPs about causes they care about. This not only broadens their understanding of societal needs but also allows them to discover where their passions lie in making a positive impact.

Empower children to choose

Invite your children to choose a cause that resonates with them. Support them in researching, investigating and exploring different areas of interest. This empowers them to take ownership of their social action and enhances their critical thinking skills.

Commit to it

Establish a dedicated time for social action in your family routine. This commitment can be reinforced through accountability

Benefits of social action

Studies have shown that social action has a vast array of benefits for young people who take part in it. It builds empathy, resilience, leadership and teamwork. It has been linked to higher grades and lower truancy and can help hugely with employability.

Research from the Cabinet Office showed that engaging in social action lowered anxiety levels in young people by over twenty percent. It’s even been shown to chemically contribute to happiness levels through the release of endorphins – the socalled ‘helpers’ high.’

measures, such as creating a charity jar that accumulates funds in response to helping with chores around the house. This encourages consistency and also reinforces the value of sharing one’s time, treasure and talent to help others.

Make traditions

Incorporate social action into family traditions. Whether it’s creating Christmas shoeboxes, donating to a food bank or including a charity birthday wish list, these traditions instil a sense of purpose and giving that extends beyond individual actions.

Reflect and celebrate

Social action should not be a one-off event. Keep the conversation alive by discussing ongoing initiatives and celebrating their impact. This continuous dialogue helps children understand the long-term impact of their actions.

Spending time working towards a shared goal is a brilliant way to strengthen family connection. When that shared goal helps others, such as in the case of social action, you are also helping to nurture compassionate, responsible and socially aware individuals. These values will last for life; research shows that young people who engage in meaningful social action are twice as habitually philanthropic in later life.

So by following these practical steps, you are actively shaping the next generation of change-makers!

Anoushka Freeman represents www.superkind.org, the social action and charity platform for young people who want to be change-makers. Find free resources to help young people learn, be inspired and get empowered to make a positive difference to their communities and the world.

Get inspired

10-year-old Liam Hannon’s dad set him the challenge of doing something to give back to his community. After some discussion, Liam settled on helping homeless people. He enlisted his dad to help him make and distribute sandwiches, each with a special handwritten note or drawing.

By spreading the word to friends, family and through social media, donations and offers of help poured in. The duo has gone from distributing forty bags in their first week to hundreds of bags per week!

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 12 PARENTING

Seven ways to help your anxious child

Seeing your child struggle with anxiety can be so difficult for parents and carers. Our instincts to protect our children kick in and while we may try to take away the source of our child’s worry, this can backfire in the long run.

Really supporting our children to understand and cope with feelings of anxiety means showing them compassion while empowering them to build resilience and it’s a tricky balance to strike! Here are some of my top tips for supporting children when they feel anxious.

Allow the feeling. Instead of trying to sweep away your child’s worries with logic or reassurance, acknowledge and show understanding for their emotions. You could say something like: ‘You’re feeling really worried, it’s so hard when you don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ When we show children that we see their emotions and we’re not upset or afraid of them, they’re reassured that they’re not alone and that emotions are not something they need to be afraid of.

Get moving. Movement, especially rhythmic movement like walking, dancing or jumping, is very powerful for calming anxiety. It soothes the parts of our brain that logic can’t reach and helps your whole body feel that bit less tense. If your child feels overwhelmed or is struggling to calm down, focus on getting their body moving first, rather than on talking it out.

Get your child to help you. Easy, low-stakes chores around the house are an excellent way to connect with your child, build their self-esteem and calm anxieties. When we have a simple, easyto-achieve task to focus on, it helps our brains let go of worries, even if just for a little while. What’s more, helping to care for our homes increases feelings of wellbeing and belonging, which are wonderful antidotes to anxiety.

Remind them of their capabilities. Anxiety can involve picturing the worst-case scenario and it’s tempting to dismiss these thoughts in an effort to reassure our kids. However, often facing the worst-case scenario head on is much more powerful. Even if your child’s fears aren’t rational, you can still chat about a plan for the eventuality they’re picturing. Whether it’s a zombie apocalypse or getting lost in a new school, you can have a conversation about what they would do, how they could handle challenges and who they could turn to for help.

One-on-one time. Having the undivided attention of one of their parents or carers is incredibly powerful for all aspects of children’s mental health. It doesn’t need to be a grand or complicated day out; taking them along to the supermarket or asking them to help you cook dinner is just as (if not more) effective. Frequency is key, so learn to spot these little opportunities for connection throughout the week and use them for some pressure-free bonding time.

Play. Studies have found that play helps us learn how to navigate the unexpected, so the more we play, the less anxiety we feel about the world around us. Naturally, play will look different depending on the age and interests of your child, so let them take the lead. Play can be anything from making up silly songs

to card games to drawing; whatever fun, pressure-free activity your child can get absorbed in is going to be a brilliant antidote to stress and anxiety.

Take a deep breath. In times of anxiety, breathing can become shallow and erratic. Deep breathing helps release tension in the body, improves mood and promotes a sense of wellbeing. Teach your child to breathe slowly and deeply and you’ll give them a valuable relaxation tool they can use whenever and wherever they need it.

Anxiety is a part of being human. The key is to help our children recognise and understand how it works for them, rather than try to do away with anxious feelings altogether. Each interaction you instigate contributes to your child’s wellbeing and relationship with you. It can be hard but by boosting our children’s resilience and trusting them to navigate difficult emotions, they learn to trust themselves.

Poppy O’Neill has written several books on mental well-being for children and adults, including the bestsellers Don’t Worry, Be Happy and You’re a Star. Her most recent book How to Support Your Anxious Child is published by Vie.

Families Thames Valley East 13 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761
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Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East

It’s time for summer camps

I once spent a freakishly hot week in the summer holidays learning to sail near the Isle of Wight. As a tween, I was dazzled by the teenaged sailing instructors who seemed endlessly cool. I’m not saying my sailing skills were Olympian but it felt like a modern version of Swallows and Amazons. The sense of freedom and adventure was amazing. My point? Any programme run with experience and enthusiasm can be more than just a childcare solution.

Holiday camps can be daunting and my children enjoy them more if they go with a friend. Perhaps the pandemic made them cautious? Having asked around, it seems they are not the only ones.

Jenny, a mother of a 7 and 9-year-old told me: ‘My kids weren’t interested in going at all but three hours at a tennis camp turned out to be a good first step.’ Half-day camps are a great introduction to camp life.

It’s also important to think carefully before automatically sending siblings to the same camp. ‘Choose carefully!’ warned Maggie, who has two girls with very different interests. ‘I sent both of mine off to the same sports camp. At the end of the first day, one came home on top of the world, the other refused to go back.’

If it is your child’s first time at a summer camp, you can ease their worries by choosing something that really dovetails nicely with their hobbies and personality.

If you think a tech camp might hit the mark, try something with a more specialist focus on robotics, coding and inventions. Next Thing Education run programmes across the UK led

15 JULY TO 9 AUGUST 2024

by professional creators, inventors and tech enthusiasts. The children learn creative, technical and logical skills. See www.nextthing.education for details.

For outdoorsy kids, summer is the perfect opportunity to immerse them in the most inspiring local scenery.

Do you live near a woodland? Forest Schools are ideal for nature loving kids, encouraging play alongside learning bushcraft skills, all in a natural setting. You can find your nearest by looking on the database of the Forest School Association which ensures site leaders have Forest School L3 qualifications or equivalent. Visit www.forestschoolassociation.org for details.

If you are heading to the coast for a holiday or even a short break and your child can swim and enjoys being in the water, a surf school is a good option to consider. Surfing England (www.surfingengland.org) has a list of more than fifty accredited surf schools and coaches. They’ve also created the Grom Squad programme for kids to learn about protecting the environment and sea safety.

Ellie is a mum of two daughters, living in Surrey.

For Girls aged 7 to 15


Families Thames Valley East 15 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 SUMMER CAMPS

How about joining an Animal Ranger day at Heroes Farm in Holyport? During the school holidays they offer children the chance to become a ranger, feed the animals, exercise them, handle them, clean them and see what really goes on at the farm. Sessions run from 10am-12am and 1-3pm each day. Costs are £35.00 per child per session or £65.00 per day. Children need to dress according to the weather, particularly a hat and sunscreen if it is very warm. Suitable for ages 7 years upwards. Most of the work is outside or in the barns. www.animalrangers.co.uk

Busy Buttons run creative camps during the holidays. Email contact@busybuttons.org or phone 07952 418 212 for more information. www.busybuttons.org

Bray Lake Watersports are offering their ever-popular school holiday activities again this year. With a variety of 5 day courses running weekdays from 9.30am-5pm your child can learn to kayak, canoe, stand up paddleboard, dinghy sail and windsurf. They can work towards one sport or gain essential skills in a variety of sports. Courses are suitable for 8 to 14 year olds and prices include wetsuits, buoyancy aids and all 5 day courses include relevant RYA and Paddle UK log-books and certificates. 5 day courses: £395 info@braylake.com 01628 638860. www.braylake.com

Claires Court Holiday Club in Maidenhead provides agespecific groups with a dedicated multi-activity programme from sports to coding, bushcraft to kayaking. Children get to experience challenging, but age appropriate activities. The club is open to all children from Year 1 to Year 6 and for some activities they are also open to Year 8 (these activities are marked as Kool Xtra or River Xtra). Run by Claires Court staff and qualified playworkers, you can be assured of a very high standard of provision during the holidays. The Holiday Club is run from the safe confines of Claires Court Juniors site, the perfect leafy and spacious setting for fun and adventure. www.clairescourt.com/holiday-club/how-to-book

If tennis is your child’s game, how about trying Delgado Tennis at Braywick Leisure Centre. Whether they are an absolute beginner or a budding superstar, these camps will give your

holiday clubs

With summer just around the corner, here at Families we’ve picked out a selection of local holiday clubs and workshops booking now for the May half-term and school summer holidays. Would

children the opportunity to improve their tennis, while having lots of fun too.


Empower and Elevate offer children a broad spectrum of sports coaching, including athletics, basketball, bouldering, bubble football, nerf, table tennis, tennis, cricket and much more. They offer a holistic approach which encompasses both personal growth and well-being as well as skill development. Empower and Elevate operate out of Berkshire College of Agriculture in Burchetts Green.


Fun Fest Eton and Fun Fest Marlow give children a choice about how they spend their holidays. They have access to over 40 different activities including: Mission Impossible, sports action, LEGO creations, pottery, beauty school, crafty creations, a Harry Potter Experience, football, other sports and more. Fun Fest Eton is based at Eton End School and Fun Fest Marlow is based at Holy Trinity C of E Primary School. Both venues are Ofsted registered for children from 3 to 12 years old and are run by experienced childcare professionals. www.fun-fest.co.uk/marlow www.fun-fest.co.uk/etonview

Heathfield School in Ascot has been running its own Summer activities camp for over 30 years. New in 2024 are Heathfield’s ‘Academy’ options which form part of the Summer camp week and are joined by the International Summer School girls. Academy options vary each week but include: Performing arts, modern dance, water sports (kayaking and SUP boarding), tennis, golf, art – fashion, textile design and illustration, horse riding and multi activities. Girls who attend the performing arts academy, put on a show for their families at the end of their course.

Heathfield ensure they offer both a full range of sports and creative activities. Lunch is provided plus drinks and snacks at breaks. There is also an early drop off breakfast and late stay option for day girls. Heathfield Summer camp also offers weekly boarding or a minimum of 3 nights boarding per week. Boarders enjoy a fun evening programme with the International Summer School girls; a great opportunity to make lifelong friends from

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham S U M M E R A C T I V I T I E S F O R K I D S *Multi Sport Weeks *Skill Specific Courses *Refresher Courses from 8 to 15 yrs old * All skill levels Sail Canoe Kayak Windsurf Paddleboard BRAY LAKE WATERSPORTS Monkey Island Lane Windsor Road Maidenhead SL6 2EB www.braylake.com info@braylake com 01628 638860 Quote Families24 for a £10 discount
your school or children's
like to receive FREE copies of Families Thames Valley East magazine? Email editor@FamiliesTVEast.co.uk HOLIDAY CLUBS

overseas! Camps run Monday to Friday; from Monday July 15 to Friday August 9. For more information, email summerschool@heathfieldschool.net or visit their website. www.heathfieldsummerschool.co.uk

Longridge Activity Centre, based by the river Thames in Marlow now offers options for children aged 5 to 16. Holiday Activity Days are divided into age groups 8 to 12 and 12 to 16 where children get to experience adventures on and off the river (depending on the river status) and there are Wild Holiday Activity Days for 5 to 8 year olds which focus on off-river activities such as bushcraft, fire-lighting, shelter-building and mini-beast hunting. www.longridge.org.uk

Monkey Music has been running award winning classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers for over 30 years. Within a safe, supportive and nurturing environment, parents and carers are encouraged to share precious time with their children in age specific classes, playing real instruments, listening to magical sounds, singing and moving to the beat. The curriculum has been written to support language, physical and social development using music, which has been proven to be instrumental to a baby or child’s brain development. As well as term-time classes, they run workshops in the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. Classes and workshops can be booked via www.linktr.ee/monkeymusicmaidenheadwindsor For the latest news, follow them on www.instagram.com/monkeymusicmaidenheadwindsor www.facebook.com/monkeymusicmaidenheadwindsor

Playball run camps in Ascot, Chertsey & Windsor. An allencompassing sports holiday camp, full of fun-filled games, skills and drills for ages 3 to 8 years. For more information email windsor@playballkids.com www.playballkids.com

Stagecoach where your children can make new friends, learn new skills and gain confidence in term-time classes for 4 to 18 year olds. During the holidays they also run one-week holiday workshops which focus on singing, dancing and acting skills which end in a performance for friends and family. For availability, age groups, dates and more information please check your local Stagecoach website.


www.stagecoach.co.uk/windsor (covers Langley too) www.stagecoach.co.uk/ascot




Ultimate Activity Camps provide Ofsted regulated Summer activity day camps for 4-14 year olds. Access a range of exciting activities, whether these be in the art room, the sports hall, playing fields or the woods. Local venues include LVS, Ascot and St Bernard’s Prep, Slough. www.ultimateactivity.co.uk

Wilderness and Wonder outdoor adventures are held in the woods of Braywick Nature Reserve, Maidenhead. Group games, den building, tree climbing, fire lighting, clay and natural art and nature trails are all examples of activities at this camp. See website for days available to book. www.wildnessandwonder.co.uk/ouradventures

The team at Windsor Great Park are hosting numerous activity days and events during the summer holidays this year, thanks to the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Aimed at children and their families who love being outdoors, the Summer sensations family trail is a mindful, sensory experience through the summery woods and meadow, running from Tuesday July 30 to Friday August 2 and then on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday August 7, you can join their moths and butterflies event and discover the contents of a moth trap! Meanwhile, toddlers can pack their own teddy for a picnic in the woods on Friday August 16. Or, for those explorers aged 8 to 12 years who prefer a bit more independence, there is a Nature explorer’s day camp taking place on Monday 19 and Tuesday August 20 and a Wild discovery day camp on Thursday 22 and Friday August 23. All events require advance booking. For more information and to book, visit www.bbowt.org.uk/events

Woolly Firs in Maidenhead, have some great family events running over the Summer to look out for from Wednesday July 31 to Friday August 2, join their buzzy bee trail and quiz followed by honey tasting. Plus, there is a pond dipping workshop taking place on Friday 9 and Monday August 12 and a (micro) Bear Hunt day camp from 9.30am to 3pm on both Friday 23 and 30 August. All events must be booked in advance. Visit www.bbowt.org.uk/events for details.

Details correct at time of going to press (April 2024) but may be subject to change.

Would you like to advertise your business in our next issue?


Call 07753 414605 or 07867 514138

Families Thames Valley East editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 Sharing precious time together Maidenhead & Windsor E: maidenhead.windsor@monkeymusic.co.uk T: 01494 819138 Cox Green Community Centre, Tuesdays Maidenhead Community Centre, Thursdays All Saints Dedworth, Windsor, Fridays Age specific classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers

What's On Your family guide to


Mondays in May and June

Well Baby Clinic

Riverside Children’s Centre, Maidenhead SL6 7JB

Also: Tuesdays: The Manor Family Hub, Windsor SL4 3HD

Thursdays: Datchet Children’s Centre, SL3 9EJ (SatNav SL3 9ER)

Fridays: Boyn Grove Library, Courthouse Road, Maidenhead, SL6 6JE

First Wednesday of the month: Ascot Durning Library, High Street, Ascot, SL5 7JF www.rbwm.afcinfo.org.uk

Mondays in May and June

Nurture Groups (birth to 12 months)

Riverside Children’s Centre, Maidenhead SL6 7JB

Also: Wednesdays: The Manor Family Hub, Windsor SL4 3HD

Fridays: Datchet Children’s Centre, SL3 9EJ (SatNav SL3 9ER) www.rbwm.afcinfo.org.uk

Saturdays in May and June

Roller Disco

Braywick Leisure Centre, Maidenhead SL6 1BN www.leisurefocus.org.uk


Wednesday 1 to Friday May 31

City of Stories

The Story Museum, Oxford OX1 1BP Fantastical history of Oxford, for families. (Every day except May 13 & May 20) www.storymuseum.org.uk

Wednesday May 1 to September 29

Boat Hire

Dinton Pastures Activity Centre, Sandford Lane, Hurst, RG10 0SU

Pedalos, Kayaks, Paddleboards and Canoes (See website for summer availability). www.booking.wokingham.gov.uk/boat-hire

Thursday 2 to Sunday May 19

Cookham Festival

An enriching celebration of arts, culture, and community www.cookhamfestival.co.uk

Sunday 5 and Monday May 6

Elizabethan May Day

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4AB www.coam.org.uk

Monday May 6

May Bank Holiday Family Fun Day

Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road SL4 5JJ

Combines sporting action and children’s entertainment. Children FREE, but need a ticket and adult company. www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk

Saturday May 11

Suitcase Stories

The Story Museum, Oxford OX1 1BP Early Years


Monday May 13

Mini Mondays

Iver Environment Centre, Slough Road, Iver SL0 0EB

Theme: Spring Changes

Don’t forget to book car parking ticket 10am-12pm. 2-5 yrs


Thursday 16 to Sunday May 19

Pub in the Park

Higginson Park, Marlow SL7 2AE

Food and music festival


Friday May 17

Summer Garden Party

Windsor Racecourse , Maidenhead Road SL4 5JJ

Combines sporting action and children’s entertainment. Children welcome (and FREE), with adult company, www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk

Friday May 17

Tiny Talk Time

Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe, HP13 6PX Stories, crafts and museum fun for ages 2–5. On most Fridays. www.wycombemuseum.org.uk

Monday May 20

Community Explorers

Iver Environment Centre, Slough Road, Iver


FREE session exploring the site. Don’t forget to book car parking ticket. 10am-2pm. www.iverenvironmentcentre.org

Tuesday 21 to Wednesday May 22

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA


Saturday May 25 to Friday June 7

Half-Term Hoedown

Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common, HP10 0LX www.oddsfarmpark.co.uk

Saturday 25 to Friday May 31

Mythmakers: A Journey into Imagination Hughenden, High Wycombe, HP14 4LA Family-friendly activity for half term. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Saturday May 25

Comic Club Workshops

The Story Museum 42 Pembroke St, Oxford, OX1 1BP www.storymuseum.org.uk

Saturday May 25

Storytelling with Mama G

The Story Museum 42 Pembroke St, Oxford, OX1 1BP Early Years


Sunday May 26

Dantastic’s Magical Adventure Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BS www.kentontheatre.co.uk

Sunday 26 and Monday May 27

Windsor at War - History Weekend

Windsor Castle, Pug Yard Learning Centre

Free with entry to the castle. 9.30am-3.30pm. www.rct.uk/whatson

Monday May 27

LEGO Master Builders Club

The Story Museum 42 Pembroke St, Oxford OX1 1BP


Monday May 27

Dragon Adventure

Bucks Railway Centre, Station Road, Quainton HP22 4BY

Meet smoke breathing Dragons! Also enjoy steam train rides. www.bucksrailcentre.org

Monday May 27 to Sunday June 2

In the Picture - Photography themed activities

Windsor Castle, Pug Yard Learning Centre

Free with entry to the castle. 9.30am-3.30pm. Castle closed Tuesday and Wednesdays. www.rct.uk/whatson

Please email editor@familiestveast.co.uk with any events.

Event times and dates do change, please try and check that an event is still going ahead before you head out.

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 18

Tuesday May 28

Diddly Danny Pots

Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Make a clay pot inspired by Danny the Champion of the World. www.roalddahlmuseum.org

Tuesday 28 and Wednesday May 29

Mini Model Camp

Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe, HP13 6PX

Make your own miniature bodger’s hut woodland camp. Age 4-11. £4. www.wycombemuseum.org.uk

Tuesday 28 and Wednesday May 29

Out of the Hat

Norden Farm, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF Puppetry for ages 2-8. www.nordenfarm.org

Wednesday May 29 and Saturday June 1

Plant Sale

Iver Environment Centre, Iver SL0 0EB

Buy plants, cakes and honey from their own beehives. Don’t forget to book car parking ticket. 10am-2pm. www.iverenvironmentcentre.org

Thursday May 30

Ten in the Bed

The Curve, William Street, Slough SL1 1XY

A show about having fun, even when the world is at its most daunting. www.curvevenue.uk

Thursday May 30

The (not so) Big Bad Wolf Norden Farm, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF www.nordenfarm.org

From Friday May 31

The Paddington Bear™ Experience

London County Hall, Southbank, SE1 7GP Multi sensory interactive adventure for all ages. www.paddingtonbearexperience.com

Friday May 31

Don’t Panic, We Can Save the Planet Norden Farm, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF www.nordenfarm.org


Saturday June 1

Holyport Fair

Holyport Green, SL6 2JN www.facebook.com/events/s/holyport-fair-2024

Sunday June 2

Doctor Dolittle

South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA www.southhillpark.org.uk/shp-events

Monday 3 and Monday June 17

Mini Mondays

Iver Environment Centre, Iver SL0 0EB

Theme: Butterflies

Don’t forget to book car parking ticket 10am-12pm. 2-5 yrs www.iverenvironmentcentre.org

Monday June 3

80s Retro Explosion!

Windsor Racecourse , Maidenhead Road, SL4 5JJ

Evening of flat racing and 80s music! Children welcome (FREE), with adult company. www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk

Friday 7 to Sunday June 9

Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book

Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe HP11 2XE www.trafalgartickets.com/wycombe-swantheatre

Saturday 8 and Sunday June 9

Festival of Food and Music

South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA


Sunday June 9

Green Festival

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, HP8 4AB Sustainable fun! www.coam.org.uk

Monday 10 and Monday June 24

Community Explorers

Iver Environment Centre, Slough Road, Iver SL0 0EB

FREE session exploring the site. Don’t forget to book car parking ticket. 10am-2pm.


Monday 10 to Friday June 14

Write Your Will Week

Write or amend your Will with Gardner Leader in return for a donation to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service. www.alexanderdevine.org/wills

Saturday June 15

Suitcase Stories

The Story Museum 42 Pembroke St, Oxford, OX1 1BP Early Years www.storymuseum.org.uk

Sunday June 16

Fireman Sam - the Great Camping Adventure

Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, HP11 2XE www.trafalgartickets.com/wycombe-swantheatre

Sunday June 16


Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BS www.kentontheatre.co.uk

Monday 17 to Sunday June 23

Rock The Blue Week

Show your BLUE colours and help spread awareness and raise vital funds for your local children's hospice service.


Saturday 22 and Sunday June 23

Medieval Jousting

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4AB www.coam.org.uk

Saturday June 22

Big Birthday Bash

Penn Estate, Buckinghamshire

A fun-filled family day to celebrate 25 years of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. www.tvairambulance.org.uk/support-us/ events/big-birthday-bash

Sunday June 23

Open Day at Maidenhead Fire Station

Bridge Rd, Maidenhead SL6 8PG Fun-filled open day from 10-4pm www.rbfrs.co.uk

Saturday June 29

Comic Club Workshops

The Story Museum 42 Pembroke St, Oxford, OX1 1BP www.storymuseum.org.uk

Saturday June 29

All Hands on Deck

Iver Environment Centre, Iver SL0 0EB

A day of volunteering. Bring a packed lunch

Don’t forget to book car parking ticket 10am-2.30pm. 14+ (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult)


Saturday 29 and Sunday June 30

Royalists and Rebels - History Weekend

Windsor Castle, Pug Yard Learning Centre FREE with entry to the castle. 9.30am-3.30pm. www.rct.uk/whatson


Tuesday July 2 to Sunday July 7

Henley Royal Regatta

White Hill, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2LY

Historic Rowing Event. Stroll down the towpath for free or buy enclosure tickets


Saturday July 6

Boulters to Bray Swim

Boulters Lock, Maidenhead. www.boulterstobrayswim.org

Friday July 12 and Saturday July 13

FI.FEST Music Festival

Forest Green Road, Fifield. www.fifest.co.uk

Sunday July 14

Playdate at Henley Festival

White Hill, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2LY www.henley-festival.co.uk

Families Thames Valley East 19 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 HEALTH
Medieval Jousting at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Hot water burns like fire

Did you know that hot water burns like fire? According to the British Burn Association, more than seven thousand children were burned or scalded in 2022 alone in England and Wales. This figure doesn’t include the thousands seen and discharged in A&E. These are the children who were so badly injured they had to be admitted to a Specialist Burns Unit.

Most accidents that cause burns and scalds to babies and children involve hot water. So let’s take a look at the risks within the home.

Hot drinks

Hot drink burns are all too common but easily preventable with these simple rules:

Keep hot drinks out of reach of young children. Place them at the back of the kitchen surface and never on a tablecloth or teatowel that a small child might reach and pull down; Never carry a hot drink whilst carrying a baby; Never pass a hot drink over the heads of children.

Hot water bottles

Hot water bottles can be dangerous and cause burns if they are not cared for or used safely. Rubber deteriorates over time so old hot water bottles can burst or leak and cause serious burns. Check for signs of wear and tear regularly. Look for the flower symbol, which indicates exactly when it was made and don’t use if it’s more than two years old. Never fill a hot water bottle with boiling water.

What to do if your child gets burned

It is important to act immediately if your child gets burned from any source. The most common sources of burns in the home are hot water and perhaps less predictably, picking up hair straighteners. Here are the steps to follow:

REMOVE any loose clothing or jewellery. Don’t remove anything that is stuck to the skin.

COOL the burn by holding it under cool (not freezing) running water for twenty minutes.

CALL for help by dialling 111 for advice or 999 in an emergency.

COVER the burn using cling film to keep it clean and get it checked by a medical professional. You can buy special burns creams and burns bandages from most pharmacies in the UK.

Finally: consider signing up to a baby and child First Aid course. This will give you practical skills which can make all the difference in an emergency. It’s the qualification you hope you’ll never need.

Saucepan and kettle spills

It is important that children are not left alone around hot cooking surfaces; keep them out of the kitchen when cooking or preparing food and hot drinks. Always use the back burners on the hob when you can, turning handles in and keeping kettles and their cords out of reach of little hands.

Baths and showers

Hot water can pose a real danger. Bath and shower water can cause such bad burns that children need years of treatment and may be scarred for life. It only takes one second to get a deep burn in hot water when the water temperature is at 70°C. Always run cold water before hot and test the temperature with the back of your hand. Never leave a child alone in the bath, even for a second.

Jenni Dunman is CEO of Daisy First Aid (www.daisyfirstaid. com) which is an expert in baby and child First Aid. She’s a regular speaker at The Baby Show (www.thebabyshow.co.uk) which returns to NEC Birmingham 10-12 May, Manchester Central 7-9 June and Olympia London 25-27 October.

Top items for your home First Aid Kit

Digital thermometer. The NHS recommends under-arm thermometers for under 5s.

Ice pack. A top tip for when you’re at home is to pop a bag of marshmallows into a plastic food bag and freeze for an instant ice pack. Remember, never put ice directly on the skin; always wrap it in a tea towel before applying the cold compress.

Liquid paracetamol. Don’t forget that you can give your little one pain relief if they hurt themselves in an accident. It’s not just for when they have a fever and are unwell.

Alcohol-free wipes. Use to clean wounds before dressing them. A red flannel. When a child hurts themselves it can be scary to see lots of blood. Having something red to help mop it up can help disguise the severity of more nasty cuts.

It may also be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your First Aid kit.

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 20

Learning to swim

Learning to swim is the only physical activity which can save your life.

In recognition of this, all schools must provide swimming lessons in Key Stage 1 or 2 (ages 5 to 11), as a statutory sport within the Physical Education (PE) curriculum.

In particular, pupils should be taught to perform safe selfrescue in different water-based situations; swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of AT LEAST 25 metres and use a range of strokes effectively, for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.

However, Swim England recommends that your child doesn’t give up on regular private swimming lessons once they start swimming with school as these are crucial to their continued development and ultimately safety.

The aim of school swimming and water safety lessons during PE are to teach your child to be safe in and around water, with the emphasis on water safety.

At private lessons, your child will be taught more in-depth skills and techniques than they will at school. Regular private lessons progress way past the minimum national curriculum requirements and your child continues their aquatic education towards an active and healthy future.

What will my child learn during school swimming?

As well as learning to swim the basic strokes, your child will learn how to be safe around different water environments eg beaches, lakes, canals. Your child will be taught how the skills they learn in their swimming lessons can be used in an emergency situation.

Packing a swimming kit

Swimwear. Check school guidelines on the swimwear permitted. Towels. Two can be good!

Swimming cap. Keeps long hair out of the face and reduces ‘drag’ to make swimming easier.

Goggles. Ideally pupils need to experience swimming without goggles; if your child falls into a lake they won’t have goggles and may panic. If you think your child needs to wear goggles, discuss with their school.

Toiletries. Pack shampoo, conditioner, shower gel etc to wash off pool chemicals.

Hairbrush/Comb. Hair clips/bands are useful if swimming without a cap.

Locker coins. If lockers will be used, ask whether they require coins or a token.

Water. In a pool, children won’t notice how much they sweat. Give them a water bottle, remind them to keep it poolside and take regular sips.

Snack. Depending on school rules, a small snack like a banana for after their lesson will help replace energy.

Your role

As a parent, guardian or carer you play a vital role in encouraging your child to swim and learn about water safety, survival and lifesaving. You can help your child grow their water confidence through enjoying fun family swimming sessions together and also talking about water safety know-how.

Make sure your child has everything they need to take part in their swimming lessons and also find out what their current attainment level is and what they should be achieving.

If you are in a Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

You have an important role to play. Children who don’t learn to swim at school often never learn at all. In your regular meetings, you can encourage and support your school to sign up to the Charter and take swimming and water safety seriously, as well as making sure it stays on the agenda.

For further information, visit www.swimming.org

Families Thames Valley East 21 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 CLUBS & CLASSES

Top new children’s books from around the world


From bustling African cities to the Australian Outback via Asian high seas, these extraordinary stories will transport children around the world, broadening their horizons and inspiring empathy and understanding along the way. The following recommendations are for young readers ages 5 to 12.

Too Small Tola Makes It Count

Tola may be small but she’s very determined! This collection of three connected, fun stories feature Tola’s life in bustling Lagos with her clever sister, speedy brother and bossy grandmummy. Discover how there really is no problem too big for Too Small Tola. Ages 5+.

The Last

Follow Sai, a 12-year-old heroine who is seeking to chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. Taking off for a thrilling high-seas expedition, this is a vivid adventure set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world. Ages 8+.

One Chance Dance

Lagos is no place for a boy and a bush baby but things start to look up when young Jomi meets a crew of street kids and together they come up with a plan. A heart-warming story of friendship, wonder and dance set in lively Nigeria. Ages 8+.

Sona Sharma, Wish Me Luck by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Jen Khatun

Sona Sharma lives in India with her busy family, where she learns about the ups and downs of family, friendship and life. A warm and gentle illustrated chapter book set in colourful India, packed with empathy and humour. Ages 5+.

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun

Written by scientist and environmental activist Trang Nguyen, this inspirational graphic novel is based on a true story about a young conservationist who overcomes the odds to save a sun bear in Vietnam. Ages 8+.

The Boy Who Saved a Bear

A boy and a big, hairy bear meet, become friends and have the adventure of their lives, thwarting the plans of some very dangerous thieves. Young animal lovers will be gripped by this adventure set in a fictional Sri Lanka. Another brilliant escapade from the author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant. Ages 8+.

The Midnighters by Hana Tooke, illustrated by Ayesha I. Rubio

A ghostly tale about two friends, one murder mystery and a world of intrigue. I love the mysterious, richly gothicinspired European setting of this entertaining and magical adventure. Find out what it takes to find the courage to be extraordinary. Ages 5+.

The Song

A girl is found wandering through the Australian outback with mismatched shoes and a violin case. This great adventure with a twist is an extraordinary, spiritual story of friendship, discovery and courage. Ages 8+.


Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind by Misa

Momo just wants an ordinary life but she is half human, half Shinto goddess and evil spirits are threatening to escape and destroy humanity. A thrilling Japanese-inspired fantasy adventure full of action, adventure and even a talking fox. Ages 9+.

Sarah Campbell is co-founder of Parrot Street Book Club (www.parrotstreet.com), an online children’s bookshop offering a handpicked collection of high-quality children’s chapter books, plus an award-winning monthly book subscription for ages 5 to 14.

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 22

Your new character Ember Spark was inspired by someone close to home, can you tell us where the idea for the character came from?

I thought I’d seen my fair share of wildness over the years – I’ve ridden with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and been a whisker away from orcas in the Arctic, but then, in 2022, I gave birth to my daughter. She has flame-red, untameable hair (there was a brush once but she hurled it off a cliff). She naps in the dog basket instead of her cot because the puppy is the only member of the family who doesn’t tell her what to do. She hates baths but loves swimming in the ice-cold North Sea. She eats sand. There was only one thing to be done with her, I thought: write her into a story. So, along came Ember Spark: a feisty, flamehaired, animal-loving girl who discovers a cave full of fantastical creatures on the east coast of Scotland and becomes an Apprentice Vet to Magical Beasts.

You recently relocated back to Scotland, where this story is also set, what preempted the move and what are you and your family enjoying about being there?

My husband and I both grew up in Scotland and the landscape there – with its silver birch forests, icy lochs and purple hills – instilled in us an indestructible sense of wonder at wild places.

We lived in London for fifteen years, but we always knew we’d return to Scotland.

Covid sped up our move as we had our second child in lockdown and felt a yearning to be living in the countryside again – both in terms of having outdoor space for our kids to play but also having

This month at Families, Rachel Bailey talks to Abi Elphinstone about her brand-new series that launches with Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons.



the wild on our doorstep to re-ignite our sense of wonder. My kids are loving swimming in the sea, pretending to be Bear Grylls in The Jungle Beyond (the wood outside our garden gate) and climbing fiendishly tall trees.

Ember and Arno become unlikely friends when they are both tasked with helping a series of magical creatures. Does every good hero need a sidekick?

Sidekicks enable a hero’s inner growth. I included Arno as an Apprentice Vet to Magical Beasts because I wanted to write a story about the magic that happens when two children find themselves on an adventure together. It’s a magic that says to each child: it’s worth being curious, taking risks and going the extra mile for your friends.

As Ember discovers, when life moves in a difficult direction, it’s curiosity, courage and friendship that draw you out of the darkness. So, as much as the story is about the thrill of adventures in the wild, it’s also about friendship and selfdiscovery. Without Arno, Ember would never have learnt that ‘adventures are a hundred times better when shared.’

What creatures can we expect Ember and Arno to help next?

The second book, Ember Spark and The Frost Phoenix, comes out in October and opens with a magical beast hurtling through the window of Ember’s kitchen. It’s a frost phoenix, one of the rarest and wildest of magical beasts and it’s come to fetch Ember and Arno for their biggest adventure yet. One that involves krakens and neverwhales (whales that spout diamonds from their blowholes).


As a busy working mum, how do you like to spend your down time with your family?

We love visiting our local bookshop, Night Owl Books in East Linton. The children’s section has house martin nests in the eaves and tons of comics, which my two boys adore. I also love climbing mountains with my kids; they adore reaching the summit of North Berwick Law, because a fibreglass replica of a whale’s jawbone sits on top and sometimes, we glimpse wild ponies slinking round the side of the hill. Exploring caves down on the beach prompted me to write about a secret cave in Ember Spark and The Thunder of Dragons. And I love reading to my kids - my three-year-old recently burst into my bedroom at 6am and said: ‘Hello. I’ve finished all of my dreams. Let’s read a book!’

With the summer holidays just around the corner, what would be your ideal day out – long walk in the countryside or sightseeing in the city?

Long walk in the countryside. My kids have forgotten how to behave in a city. When we take them into Edinburgh, they crawl under buses, lie down on zebra crossings and lick shop windows. We’re on safer ground in the countryside – so long as I remember snacks for the walk. Without them, a twenty-minute jaunt through the woods can feel like ascending Everest with three extremely stubborn sloths.

Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons publishes on May 9th priced £7.99.

Families have a copy of Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons to give away!

For your chance to win a copy, all you have to do is answer the question below and email your answer to editor@familiestveast.co.uk

What’s the name of the first book in Abi’s new series?

A Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons

B Ember Spark and the Frost Phoenix

C Sparky and the Dragons

Closing date for entries is 1 July 2024

Families Thames Valley East 23 editor@familiestveast.co.uk 01628 829761 BOOK CLUB

Eco birthday gifts

At a time when we are all trying to reduce the amount of plastic we consume, it seems toymakers and our little ones are against us every step of the way, filling our homes with plastic toys and gadgets everywhere we look. Moreover, these colourful and joyous pieces of plastic often provide precious little fun before they are pushed aside for the next in line.

When the inevitable birthday party season comes along, gifting something that is a little kinder to the planet might also provide some longer lasting fun.

Garden games are a long standing favourite gift. They are great for getting kids outside and provide the opportunity for lots of family fun. Lovely wooden games such as quoits, Jenga and skittles will provide years of fun and last a lifetime.

Books are often overlooked but can be such meaningful and enjoyable gifts. Favourite stories can be read and loved again and again and then passed onto siblings, friends or the next generation. Alternatively, a book token gives children the fun of browsing a real bookshop.

No presents! If you are having a party for your child, you may just want to ask for no presents at all, if you feel your child has more than enough. Alternatively, ask everyone to bring along a book that they have enjoyed reading and then do a book swap, so everyone goes home with a gift.

Preloved gifts are also a great option. As children often outgrow their toys before they really get a chance to play with them, you can find plenty of preloved toys that are like new. You save money, kids barely know the difference between new and preloved and aren’t bothered anyway. Try nearly new sales, charity shops or school fairs. If you’re short on time, www.rumage. com can search all your favourite marketplaces for you and filter by location so you can find a seller nearby, saving on postage.

Lasting gifts. A subscription is a gift that keeps on giving, perhaps a monthly magazine or a craft box.

Non-physical gifts. Instead of stuff and more stuff, consider a fun day out or an experience that the whole family can enjoy or some dance, music or sports classes. Another idea is an annual (family) membership to a local amusement park, museum or similar, which means your gift can be enjoyed again and again throughout the year.

‘Fiver’ parties are also rising in popularity and it’s easy to see why. They reduce the pressure on parents to search for the perfect gift and also mean the birthday child can use the combined monies to buy a meaningful gift that they would really like.

For more birthday tips, read Tamsin’s blog at www.icecreamandjelly.com or check out her Instagram page @icecreamandjelly_uk

Handmade and upcycled presents add a really personal touch. You can make something bespoke that will be unique to the lucky recipient. Previously I’ve upcycled a scooter and a guitar for my daughter, which have been loved and adored.

Whatever gift you decide to go with, by consciously avoiding new plastic and making sustainable choices, your biggest gift will be to the planet - and thus the future of the birthday child. What more could they ask for?

Maidenhead Windsor Marlow Ascot Slough Egham Families Thames Valley East 24 BIRTHDAYS BIRTHDAYS
BIRTHDAYS Families Thames Valley East 24

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