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Thames Valley East March/April 2013 - Issue 65

RECRUITING NOW Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle,

please call Diana Page

01235 533362

The really useful magazine for parents of children between 0 and 12 Packed with information and fun things to do with the family in Maidenhead - Windsor - Marlow - Ascot - Slough - Egham

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e ic h Pr atc ise M om Pr

Try before you buy!

01628 660 893 BIGGEST Display in the Thames Valley (just 5 mins from M4 J7) Abbey Rose Nursery, Nashdom Lane, Burnham SL1 8NJ

Cupcake Decorang Pares Making Cupcake Decoraon fun for children aged between 6 and 16 • 1 demonstrated themed cupcake • 3 free design cupcakes starng with piped buercream swirls • 1 cupcake to eat decorated by Cakin' Faerie Each guest will receive a cerficate of aendance and take home 4 vanilla cupcakes that they have decorated in a presentaon box. All equipment is provided and demonstrated along with a selecon of decoraons and sprinkles. All that Cakin' Faerie asks is that you can provide sufficient tables and chairs for all of your guests.

10 Almond Road, Burnham, Bucks SL1 8HA

Tel: 01628 543963 or 07979 807553 Email:


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in this

issue 3 News & Info 6 Clubs & Classes News 8 Education News 9 How to learn the times tables 10 Mother's Day Under 5's special 11 How childcare is changing 12 Choosing a nursery 14 Nursery News 16 Getting girls back on track 17 Accidents can be prevented 18 Spring days out 20 Easter Activities and Camps 21 Competitions 22 Time Out 26 All-weather fun 27 Supporting your child through grief 28 Ed's Reading Room 29 How Hypnobirthing can make labour easier 30 Mums Who Mean Business 31 Classifieds

web: tel: 01628 627586 fax: 08717 146 305 (calls cost 10p/min) e-mail: editor: Claire Winter circulation: 19,000 next issue: May/June 2013 due out: May 1, featuring: Summer Camps & Activities copy/advertising deadline: April 1

Cover Photo: Dee Harris Photography. Shoes by Petasil, available from The Children's Shoe Company, Marlow.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

I am hoping that spring has finally sprung by the time you read this. After a long, cold winter it is nice to be planning some spring days out on pages 18-19. We also have some much-needed advice on how to bring up girls on page 16. Having three of my own, Steve Biddulph’s insights make a really interesting read. Many thanks to the Children’s Shoe Company for our lovely front cover. And last but not least, we have some great competitions on page 21 including the chance to win a family ticket to the eighties extravaganza Let's Rock the Moor. We will be back in May for our Summer Activities & Camps special.

New shop in Marlow pledges to make buying kids shoes easy Do you, like most parents, dread the chore of shopping for children’s shoes? Are you fed up of waiting around with impatient children and having to ‘make do’ with what’s in stock? Well, two local mums in Marlow have made it their mission to make shopping for children’s shoes a hassle-free and enjoyable experience for both parent and child. This month, The Children’s Shoe Company will open its doors in Oxford Road, Marlow (next to Clayton’s) and promises never to let your children ‘make do’. The fully trained team pledge to provide great customer service, lots of choice with good quality brands at affordable prices – and best of all, they will have a kid’s play area! They are even going to stock ballet shoes and other extra-curricular footwear, as well as accessories like raincoats and UV swimwear – so there really is no need to go anywhere else! Pop in soon or visit for more details.

Triple P makes parenting as easy as 1, 2, 3 Most of the time, parenting is great fun and you know you are doing a good job. But there are times when things get a little tricky. Like when your toddler won’t eat her dinner or your six year old won’t pick up his toys. Parents who live in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can now attend free Triple P Parenting Workshops for ideas on how to make these times easier. Only an hour and a half long, Triple P Workshops introduce a range of positive parenting

tips for parents/carers of children aged 2 to 12 years. There is an informal presentation, a tip sheet to take home and time at the end for questions. There is no homework, no follow up and no requirement for anyone to speak up if they don’t want to; just tried and tested parenting ideas to take home and try out. The three workshops cover the basic principles of Positive Parenting, developing children’s social skills and helping children manage their emotions. Parents can attend just one, two or all three. Parents living in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can access Triple P through their local children’s centre or phone 01628 685615 for more information. •


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Celebrate World Book Day

11+ Preparation 1 to 1 Tutoring Individualised Courses KS1, KS2 and KS3 Tutoring Telephone 07535 522755 email

Checking Homework and Correcting Online Tutoring Beginners Arabic Tutoring

We specialise in preparing pupils for common entrance examinations

Learning English as a Foreign Language Tailor Made Study Packs

Try before you buy at Just Outdoor Toys If you’re looking to buy an item of outdoor play equipment this summer, have a look at Just Outdoor Toys in Burnham. The outdoor display centre is full of climbing frames, swings, slides, sandpits, trampolines and playhouses from many ranges including HomeFront, TP, JumpKing and All Out Play. All equipment is set up outside, so your children can play to their heart’s content while you chat to experienced staff about what you want and how it will work in your garden. Many of the staff at Just Outdoor Toys are parents themselves and really know what they’re talking about, with lots of hands-on experience. Installation services, safety surfacing and even site surveys can all be arranged, while commercial equipment is also available. And if you’re interested in trampolines, check out the special buyers’ guide that Just Outdoor Toys have written for Families magazine at For more information, visit or call 01628 660 893.

Young imaginations are set to run wild as World Book Day returns on 7 March, with an exciting line up of eight new books from some of the nation’s bestselling children’s authors and illustrators, including a new mystery story by Lauren Child and an activity book based on Giraffes Can’t Dance. Youngsters can pick up one of the fantastic new titles completely free, using a special £1 World Book Day Book Token handed out in schools in March. All eight will be available in bookshops across the UK and this year an extra-special surprise is in store for children who download the World Book Day ‘Books Alive’ app. They can watch their £1 Book Tokens and books come to life by scanning them with a smartphone. To mark the big day itself, 2013 will see the return of The Biggest Book Show on Earth – the UK’s original live-streamed literary festival for children – which last year saw half a million children from 78 countries worldwide tuning in to watch performances by their favourite writers and illustrators. Visit for more information.

Smiley’s now offer a new CRB service

Blossom Ballet

For a FREE taster class or for further information please contact Lucy: 07813084283

Blossom Ballet Playful, imaginative dance for 18 month - 5 years

Blossom Ballet and its syllabi were created

Smiley’s Childcare Agency can now perform a CRB check for you, whether you are a Nanny, Mother’s Help, Babysitter or Childminder requiring a new CRB check, or if you are a parent employing someone to care for your children and would like a new CRB check done. The administration cost for Smiley’s to process the CRB check is just £10.You will also have to pay for the CRB check itself, which is £60.

All you have to do is provide them with the relevant information needed. The checks are currently being processed and cleared within one week or less. So if you are looking to employ a new child-carer to look after your children, or you work in childcare yourself, call 01628 675442 or email They can also help you find a new Nanny or Babysitter too.

specifically for babies, toddlers and young children. • New Classes Added • New Weekend Classes • ISTD Ballet and Tap • Tap Dance 4 years+

Blossom Ballet is about having lots of fun and making new friends. Classes throughout the week, including weekends, in Windsor, Birch Hill and Maidenhead.

For Little Kickers & Little Rugby classes in Maidenhead, Bourne End, Henley, Marlow & Stokenchurch. Call 01628 526 584 or email For Little Kickers classes in Ascot, Langley, Windsor & Eton call 07412 166 686 or email


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



News & Info

Labels4Kids launches new website Labelling specialist Labels4Kids is launching their new look website in March. It will make ordering so much easier and you can even design your own labels prior to ordering. There are labels for your children, your sport requirements, camping, corporate and even care home items for grandparents, plus a personalised clothing site selling high quality clothing, including a climacool range. Ann-Maree Morrison, the founder and Managing Director, told us: “We have, I believe, the best quality labels for a reasonable price. Labels4Kids has very high levels of customer service with a money back guarantee, a free returns policy and a free 1st class delivery option.” See the full range at today.

New Osteopath comes to Marlow Experienced local Osteopath Eva Winter has recently expanded her services and now treats patients at the Marlow Complementary Healthcare in Liston Court, just off the High Street. She treats all types of aches and pains in adults and children. If you are suffering with neck, back, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle or foot pain, she can help. She also treats pregnant women and children. So if you are suffering with any pregnancy related pain, then give her a call. After the birth, if you are concerned that your baby is unhappy and unsettled, osteopathic treatment can often help. Eva qualified in 2009 with a first-class honours degree in osteopathy and completed a two year post-graduate diploma in paediatric osteopathy in 2011. Eva is also a clinic tutor at the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London, which is a centre of excellence for the osteopathic treatment of babies and children. She aims to get her clients better with the minimum number of treatments; in some cases this may mean longer-term management, depending on the complexity of the condition. Here are just some of the things her clients say about her: "Eva is honest, reliable and very knowledgable about the human body" and "She is professional, caring and her treatment is very effective" She is offering an introductory offer of £10 off initial consultations in Marlow during March/April 2013. All you have to do is quote "Families" when booking your appointment. For further information go to or call 07776448700

Have you booked your summer holiday yet? If not, and you’re not sure where to go, how about a summer holiday with a difference in the French Alps? Morzine, just on the French side of the Swiss-French border and south of Lake Geneva, offers families a special experience. Morzine’s tourist office is bursting with ideas for sporty or relaxed days out and family activities – and they don’t have to cost the earth. Take advantage of the summer Multi Pass (two euros a day) and you can enjoy free mountain lifts, shuttle buses and other travel between resorts, and free entry to many local attractions including Aquariaz, the new water park up in Avoriaz. From walking to a day out in a hot-air balloon or white-water rafting, Morzine has it all. To experience the area at its best, call Paul and Francesca Eyre at Chilly Powder. With the main chalet (Au Coin du Feu) plus two chalets next door, choose between self-catering or your own chef – or join the party at Au Coin du Feu for dinners that you usually only dream of. With drinks in the bar – or in the Jacuzzi on the terrace – early evening meals for the children and a daytime crèche for little ones, you won’t want to go home at the end of your stay. For more info, visit,

BOOK NOW for advertising in our May/June 2013 issue Due out May 1st email:

Street Dance Classes for all ages For funky dancers who want to dance like the crews they see on TV. We teach authentic moves from Hip Hop, Breakin’, Lockin’ and House. Free trial class Providing classes for 4-6 yrs, 7-11 yrs & 12 yr+ Classes for Adults too!

07743 551 501

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Clubs and Classes News New Tennis Club for Maidenhead

“New membership Tennis Club in Maidenhead”

DELGADO TENNIS CLUB in partnership with St Piran’s School

Delgado Tennis supported by Living Tennis has been striving for many years to offer local residents an all year round membership club with the facilities to allow them to deliver programmes for all levels of players including grassroots, and performance tennis. The new Delgado Tennis Club in partnership with St Piran's School, based on the school's grounds in Maidenhead will be open to adults and juniors. Coaching will be delivered by the very best coaches that have experience in both professional tennis on the ATP tour and exellent local experience in managing clubs and coaching programmes. They have support at all levels of the game, including Britain’s number one tennis player Andy Murray: “I fully support Living Tennis and their vision for opportunity and accessibility. Knowing their backgrounds and expertise in both grassroots and performance tennis they can offer the next generation a top level delivery within their academies” Living Tennis has been set up by Paul Delgado and Martin Lee (former top 100 ATP player). Paul says he is very excited about the new venture. “We are a fast growing business that offers many coaching opportunities at multiple venues. Look forward to seeing you all on court soon!” For full details on all their venues and for the new St Piran’s membership club please visit

Junior Windsor Theatre Guild looking for more members Does your child enjoy acting? Then why not join the Young Windsor Theatre Guild? They are the youth branch of Windsor Theatre Guild. They meet every Saturday morning at Clewer Youth and Community Centre, Parsonage Lane, Windsor. Juniors (8 - 13yrs), 9.45am - 11.45am; Seniors (13+yrs), 11am - 12 noon. In addition their members can take part in the end of year show at the Theatre Royal, Windsor and the Guild's outdoor summer matinee production at New Lodge. The first two taster lessons are FREE, for more information please call Pauline Pickin on 01753 860578 or visit “Sarah has introduced me to and nurtured me through, post natal circuit classes, personal training, circuit classes, training for and running a half marathon and Pilates. She makes exercise safe, fun and fit for purpose. She spends a lot of me making sure she understands you and your needs, limits and physical state and works to push you safely to get you to a fier and stronger place.” Sarah Nutbrown 2013

Go Figure offers a range of personal Training both on land and in the water, and a range of classes to suit all abilies and lifestyles. • Aqua PT – The No Sweat Workout! Improve cardiovascular fitness, lose weight and tone up all in the therapeuc environment of water.

• 1 to 1 Personal Training • Pregnancy Pilates, Postnatal Pilates and General Pilates. Pilates is a total body condioning regime that works by rebuilding strength, flexibility and improving your body’s posture at any stage of life.

• Let’s Go Mummy Buggy Class This is a buggy class focusing on exercises which will help rebuild and strengthen your body, helping you drop some of those extra baby pounds along the way.

• Pelvic Floor Course. Learn how to acvate and strengthen your pelvic floor, and reduce your waist line in the process! Baby welcome For more informaon please visit or call Sarah on: 07938 588029


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Clubs and Classes News Increase confidence with Drama classes

Celebrate a classic fairy tale with Perform Perform will be running courses in Marlow and Windsor with the theme ‘Hansel and Gretel’ this Easter. This three day experience will take children on an exciting performing adventure. With unqiue games, specially written music and energetic dance routines. The course in Windsor is being held from April 3 to April 5 at the Clewer Youth Centre and in Marlow at All Saints Church Hall from April 8 to April 10, from 10am12pm each day. For more information call 0845 400 1282.

Sideways Drama teaches classes in Windsor for children aged 7 to 15 years. The classes aim to inspire creativity by encouraging children to explore, to imagine and to ignite a spark of new found confidence in themselves. Experienced drama teacher Janine Wetherall says, “My classes nurture and stimulate the growth of imagination, giving children the opportunity to enjoy Drama in a supportive, free-spirited environment where they can learn and develop new skills. Every class is filled with energetic games, dynamic activities, music, movement and plenty of fun and laughter!” “Drama is not reserved for the already confident child, nor simply another school lesson or just a fun past time, but a valuable way of shaping how a young person sees themselves, others and the world around them.” To find out more go to

Children’s Kickboxing Classes in Marlow New Kickboxing classes for children aged 4 to 6 and 7 to 12 are starting at The Marlow Club, Globe Park (SL7 1LU) on Sundays beginning 3rd March. Run by The Samurai Fitness Group, an organisation that has become one of the leading child martial arts organisations in Berks and Bucks. Matt Collins, instructor and company director says the focus of the classes are unique. “The content of each class is aimed at the developmental stage of your child. The maximum size of each class is 15 students which ensures your child gets enough attention. The classes inspire confidence, leadership, anti-bullying, discipline and teamwork.” The first three classes are pay as you go at £6 each. After that they ask for a half-term commitment , with the cost still £6 per lesson. If you would like to find out more information about the classes in Marlow or the one nearest to you please call 07828 534817 or e-mail

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Education News

Schools’ Noticeboard

Community eco project at Courthouse Junior School

Independent School Open Days

Courthouse Junior School, in Maidenhead, has been selected by the carbon cutting charity 10:10 to take part in an online community fundraising programme, raising funds to install solar panels on the flat roof of its Year 3 classrooms. After a nationwide search, Courthouse is one of 40 schools that have been selected by 10:10 to be part of the project. They are aiming to raise enough funds to install £15,000 worth of solar panels. This will enable the school to benefit from over £2700 worth of cash benefits per year, diverting these funds back into the schools educational budgets, benefiting the children for many years to come and cutting the carbon footprint of the school by over 3 tonnes a year. How can you help? Help Courthouse School celebrate its 60th academic year by buying a solar tile from their web pages from as little as £5. If you are a local business you can upload your company logo to the solar tiles and add a message. For a £100 worth of tiles you can link through to your company’s website. The school has also partnered with Co-Op Energy and if you switch your energy supply to them and quote "Courthouse" as your solar school they will donate £40 to the project. Please help fundraise for this great project and help the children of Courthouse School for the next 25 years.You can buy your tile at and follow the school on twitter at @CourthouseGov.

Children’s Laureate advocates plays to encourage reading Well-loved children’s author Julia Donaldson has said that reading aloud in class is too “wooden” to interest children in books, and instead they should be taught how to read by acting out plays. The Children's Laureate has suggested that reading aloud makes children feel like they are being tested, rather than inspiring them. The author of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom said that when she visits a classroom she takes small groups of students aside and works on the play with them, before reading it to the rest of the class. "It can develop children's reading" as well as build confidence, she said. The author has launched a new series of short plays written for especially schools, including plays by authors such as Vivian French, Alison Hawes and Steve Barlow. To find out more go to


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enhead. Independent Day Schools for CLAIRES COURT SCHOOLS, Maid Maidenhead Thicket; Claires Court boys and girls. Ridgeway boys 4-11years, College, (co-ed nursery – 3-5 years, The East; Road Mill boys 11 – 16 years, Ray years) 1 College Avenue. OPEN 16-18 – girls – 4-16 years, and co-ed sixth form 19 March, 9.30am-12noon (nursery from MORNING at all sites on Tuesday www 72; 4114 9.30am-11.30am), 01628 SCHOOL, 35 Eton Road, Datchet. ETON END PREPARATORY DAY boys aged 3-7years and girls aged 3-11 for l schoo day rtory prepa Independent March from 10am-12noon. 01753 9 rday Satu G years. OPEN MORNIN 541075; OOL, Shrubbery Road, High GODSTOWE PREPARATORY SCH school for boys aged 3-7 years and ing board and Wycombe. Independent day 2 March, 10.00am-1.00pm. rday girls aged 3- 13 years. OPEN DAY Satu .org towe .gods www 01494 529273; ham Dean. Co-ed preparatory school HERRIES SCHOOL, Dean Lane, Cook NING Wednesday 27 March, and and nursery, 3-11 years. OPEN MOR am. 01628 483350; 11.00 to m 9.30a l, Apri 24 Wednesday enhead. Independent preparatory Maid , Road West , HIGHFIELD SCHOOL Friday 8 March, 9.30am to DAY school for girls, aged 3-11years. OPEN on. 01628 624918; -12no 10am h, Marc 9 rday 11.30am and Satu Co-educational Day & Boarding School LVS ASCOT, London Road, Ascot. A TOUR Saturday 9 March, 9.45amOOL SCH IOR SEN for 4-18 year olds. r and Senior School OPEN DAY, Junio . 10am at 12noon with Heads welcome s welcome at 10am. To book Head Thursday 2 May, 9.45am-12noon with email or form ing book e onlin the please complete 01344 882770; , Sunninghill, Ascot. A Catholic Day THE MARIST SCHOOLS, Kings Road OPEN DAY for Prep School, old. years 18 to 2/1/2 aged School for girls 4 626137 (Prep) or 01344 0134 . .30am m-11 Wednesday 6 March, 9.45a 624291(Senior). Please ring the school to check the



Open Day or Evening is still going ahead


How to learn the times tables

By Elisabeth Dolton

Learning the times tables is an important skill that is the foundation for all maths. Children are expected to be able to master their tables up to 12x12 by the age of nine. Teachers need parents’ help in getting children to learn the basic principles. Finding a pain-free method of learning times tables is not easy, but these tips and techniques should help. Start with explaining the concept 
 If your child understands that multiplication is repeated addition, they will have an easier time learning their tables. Using objects such as crayons, illustrate a simple times table such as 3 x 2. Make two groups of three crayons, then count the crayons. Continue until they understand that multiplication is just adding a series of numbers, 6 x 4 means 6 added together 4 times (6 + 6 + 6 + 6). Create a number line from 0 to 100. Show them the pattern to working out each multiple, i.e. the three times table answers are every third number. End by encouraging them to write out the times tables on paper, using addition, up to 12. Show them the tricks of the trade 
 Now they need to start learning the facts, rather than by counting. Learn the tricks of the trade first, e.g. any number times by 10 is the number with a zero on the end, e.g. 10 x 5 = 50. They are all listed on Further ways to help them memorise Your aim now is to recite memorized facts quickly and in any order. If your child is a visual learner, purchase or make flashcards. Write the problem, like 4 x 9, on the front, and the answer, 36, on the back. Buy or create a times table poster and display key facts.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Times tables raps and music CDs are great for an auditory learner. Chant the times tables as multiples 0, 5, 10, 15, etc. and also as sentences 1×5=5, 2×5=10, etc. Say difficult times tables in a funny voice, a squeak or a whisper. Use helpful rhymes to remember really tricky ones, e.g. 8 x 8 = 64 becomes “He ate and he ate and he sticks in the door, eight times eight is sixty-four”. For a kinaesthetic approach, add actions. Children can clap, stamp or jump on the difficult fact. Play ‘Knock, Knock’ –knock your fists twice on the floor, then put out the number of fingers of a times tables. The winner is the first to say the answer. Games to reinforce the multiplication facts 
 After your child has a basic knowledge of the tables, games will help instil the recollection of correct facts quickly. Multiplication Bingo, Hoo Ha!, Know Your Times Tables and Math Whiz are great board games.


Education There are a whole host of multiplication computer games – on websites like:,,,,, apps such as Squeebles, Ghost Blasters, Multiple Wipeout. Another idea is to print off worksheets from or Enchanted Learning, Keep it fun Your continued energy and enthusiasm is very important – go at their pace and always praise their efforts. Aim to reward your children with every bit of progress made; it doesn’t have to be material things, just a bit of fun together. Take breaks often, relax, give lots of ‘high fives’, and real compliments. And keep it up! After memorising times tables, it can be all too easy to forget them! Don’t give up too soon. It can take six or seven weeks until the facts are truly automatic. Practice quick-fire drilling. There are numbers everywhere, so multiply the digits in number plates or in recipes. Print out a times table square and keep a record of the tables your child knows well, so you know which ones you need to focus on. Whichever method you choose, there is never a truly pain-free answer because real fluency requires real practice over weeks and months. That said, it is important for your child to have a secure knowledge of the times tables with instant recall - their future maths skills depend on it. So take the challenge, make it happen, and enjoy it!

FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Mother’s Day


With Mother’s day just around the corner, it’s time to think about choosing that perfect little gift which tells your mum just how you feel about her. Finding that special gift for that special someone in your life isn’t easy, especially when you haven’t got lots of time to trail around the shops. e’ve discovered this great new website which sells artisan handmade, designer gifts and homeware all by British designers. Many of the products they sell, are ‘one-off items’ like this beautiful resin stone mounted silver pendant, or can be personalised like this silver initial and angel wing necklace. The business was set up last year, by partners Deborah Bancroft and Ann Ellison. Deborah said ‘people are so busy these days they don’t always have the time to hunt down exactly what they want, especially if they are looking for something a little different. We wanted to bring together many gorgeous and unique products all under one roof and at the same time support the growth of small British businesses’. Many of the products they sell are made from locally sourced materials or are exclusive designs. Their pampering products include a sumptuous range of organic bath and body products. One of our particular favourites is deliciously named ‘bath spa with bergamot, lime and black pepper’, ideal for indulging in that little ‘me time’. Go on, treat your mum like she deserves and make her feel extra special this mothering Sunday! Other ideas for Mum: Why not get her a voucher from the Dinky Fingerprint Company? She can get jewellery made from her children's hand prints, foot prints or a special drawing. They make great keepsakes because they capture a unique moment in time. She can make an appointment to come and have her children’s prints taken or they can send her their print-taking kit. The inkless handprint and footprint kit is non toxic and easy to use and consists of a special inkless baby wipe and a sheet of sensitised paper. The wipes are used widely by hospitals to take children’s hand and foot prints and are not toxic or harmful to your child. The Dinky Fingerprint company can then capture tiny toes and fingers and magically shrink them down to create the perfect keepsake for her. She can also choose from a wide range of personalised fingerprint jewellery too. To see the full range go to Mothers Day orders need to be placed by and all kits returned by March 2. Please call 01628 623386 or email with any questions. Or how about a beautiful picture by local company Betsy Blu? The artwork they produce is full of personality and each piece is one of a kind. One of our favourites is this hand painted butterflies picture. To find out more go to And last but not least, spoil her with a two hour pampering session in Windsor. New company Evergreen Creations can offer: a Clarins make up consultation and a stylist and a professional photo shoot of the experience for just £60. Call 07880 555 949 to book a session.



FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Under 5s Special


children, parents and business.”But the important issue for Busy Bees is childcare vouchers: currently, employers are allowed to give employees up to £55 a week in tax-free vouchers to pay for childcare; raising this to £75 a week would make a real difference to parents, the chain argues. In comparison, the saving to families if the Truss proposals go through would amount, says Busy Bees, to less than £3.00 per week.

Childcare in Britain costs more than childcare almost anywhere else in the world, but how can childcare be made cheaper without compromising on quality? By Joanna Moorhead. n late January, the government announced a new plan to change child:staff ratios for childminders and nurseries in a move it says will cut costs for parents and raise preschool standards. Early years minister Elizabeth Truss is proposing that: • Childminders, who are currently restricted to looking after three children aged one to five, should in future be able to look after four. • They would also be allowed to look after two children aged under one, instead of being restricted to one child under one. • Nurseries will be allowed to increase their staff-to-child ratio from the current 1:4 to 1:6, and for under-ones, the ratio will rise from 1:3 to 1:4. • Qualifications would be raised for new nursery staff – they’ll be required to have a GCSE grade C or above in English and maths. Other changes include the introduction of a new graduate-level early years teaching qualification. Truss says the proposals won’t lead to children being neglected – she points out that the changes she’s suggesting will still leave England with higher staff:child ratios than those for childcarers in France, Denmark and Germany, three countries that are often cited as providing high-quality care for pre-school children.


Photo: S Deness;

Her basic argument is that the current relatively tight ratios have two main effects: they mean higher costs for parents, and lower pay for staff. The changes she’d like to see would, she believes, lead to lower fees for parents and higher pay for staff, and this in turn would improve the quality of childcare workers over time. But Labour’s shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg says he believes the plans would undermine the quality of the UK’s childcare. ‘I think this is one area where we’ve got something to teach other countries,’ he says. ‘If you look at France, there’s quite a big public debate about whether they’ve got this right.’ Marg Randles, managing director of Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider with 213 nurseries across the country, says this flexibility already exists within settings for 3-5 year olds where providers can choose to adopt a 1:13 ratio where there is a qualified teacher or EYP working directly with the children. She believes Busy Bees baby ratios of 3:9 and toddler (2-3’s) ratios of 3:12 works best across its 213 settings, but others may find they can work within the new ratio guide lines. She welcome changes that put the decisions in the hands of individual childcare experts and trust they will make the right choice for their

What about tax breaks? Childcare vouchers are one form of tax breaks for parents paying for childcare. Before the recent Truss announcement it had been hoped that the scheme would be reformed and extended, allowing more parents to benefit from the scheme, and those already using it to save more. Unfortunately these hopes haven’t come to fruition: Truss has said changes are in the pipeline, but the details of the scheme are still being worked out; and it’s been widely reported in the press that there are ideological differences within the Coalition. Nick Clegg has suggested that changes should be for those on lower incomes, while the Conservatives are believed to want the breaks to be universal. While we wait for another announcement, it’s being reported that the scheme under consideration could be worth thousands of pounds – sources close to the government have said working women with children aged under five could become entitled to claim a flat-rate tax allowance of £2,000 a year to pay someone to look after their children. But if that’s the good news, the bad news – sadly – is that with all the political wrangling going on behind the scenes, the plan could take some time, though some experts still believe it could be introduced before the next general election.

At Herries, ...... Quality Day Care for Ages 0-5 years Open all year 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday • Friendly and homely environment • Experienced and qualified staff • Covering the EYFS & Montessori curriculum • Excellent & Safe outdoor play area • Council Funded sessions • Childcare Vouchers accepted • Freshly cooked meals Our childcare philosophy is to promote a warm, safe and stimulating environment for every individual child so they develop a unique curiosity for knowledge and potential for learning.

For further information please call: 01628 665621 email:

Telephone: 01628 627 586

every child is an individual and every child is known and loved. Come and visit the school at one of our monthly Open Mornings or arrange an individual appointment. See our website for full details: Herries Preparatory School, Dean Lane, Cookham Dean, Berkshire SL6 9BD Tel: 01628 483350 Email:


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Under 5s Special

Choosing a nursery

Joanna Moorhead looks at whether a nursery is right for you and your child. tudies show that because attending nursery involves mixing with adults and other children from outside the family group, it can increase a child’s confidence. It gives children social skills and experience from an early age of an environment outside the home. The nursery ‘key worker’ scheme, under which each child is allocated a special member of staff with whom they can bond, helps provide security. Healthy food and menus are another big plus of nursery provision: staff work hard to ensure children are given a balanced diet. And as your child gets older, play and learning opportunities will be targeted appropriately: staff are trained in what young children can do when, and will be conscious of a child’s likely interests and potential. Nurseries work best for parents who have regular working hours – it’s difficult or impossible for staff to deal with erratic patterns of collection and drop-off: nurseries often open early in the morning and some close late in the evening, but they are not as flexible as, say, a nanny or a childminder. On the other hand, they have the big advantage that only very, very rarely will they be closed at short notice – so they’re more reliable than one carer who may be ill or have to cope with a sudden family emergency. However nurseries aren’t cheap, and this can be become a problem if you need care for more than one child, although many nurseries do offer a sibling reduction. If your work is constant and you like the idea of a social environment and a place with plenty of activities and trained carers, a nursery could be the place for your child. How to choose the right nursery Start your nursery search well ahead of the time when you’re actually going to need to leave your child: the more confident you are of the choices you make, the happier you’ll be when it comes to the day you have to head back to the office. Ask around so you get other parents’ views on what nurseries are like in your area. Make a shortlist of ones that might work for you (remember to take geography into account: how easy will it be for you and/or your partner to do the drop off/collect?) and don’t hesitate to ask to visit a second time. Make sure you read the most recent Ofsted inspection report for the nurseries you’re considering, and ask whether they have any awards of excellence. Be guided by your instincts when looking at a nursery: it may seem a cliché to say do the children look happy, but it’s an important barometer of whether a nursery is good. Be aware of the quality of both indoor and outdoor play areas: are the spaces pleasant, bright, welcoming, and do they seem safe? Ask about meals, how the food is prepared, and what time meals are served. Are you able to provide input for your child’s food – suggestions for what they would like to eat, or recipes? What kinds of snacks are provided and how often are they available? Watch the children while they’re playing, and pay attention to how much they’re interacting with the staff. How do the staff come across – do they seem happy, relaxed, fun to be around? Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem interested in your child and their likes/dislikes and interests? Ask about organised play sessions – weekly music groups, perhaps, or storytelling. Are there trips to the library and to the park? How are these organised and how often do they take place? Make sure you understand what the nursery charges, how payment is made, and exactly what the fees include (for example, do they cover meals, nappies, outings). How many weeks a year is the nursery open? How are


Where your little ones will blossom into independent confident learners in a wonderful environment, cared for by dedicated and qualified practitioners.

Come and meet our team and see what makes Poppies Day Nurseries different.

Bourne End Marlow Beaconsfield 01628 521522 01628 487772 01494 677116


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BOOK NOW for advertising in our May/June issue Due out May 1st Call: 01628 627586

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parents involved in the nursery, and are there opportunities for parents to meet up? Is all well when I’m not there? Some nurseries have webcams, which allow parents to see live images of their child at play from their desk at work. But while some parents welcome this idea, others are sceptical – they say they want their child’s nursery to know they trust its workers, and worry that cameras are too intrusive. Others say they like the idea of watching their child at play so much that they’d spend too much time doing it and wouldn’t ever get any work done. As your child is settling into nursery, trust your instincts about how well it’s going.You know your child better than anyone else, so if your hunch is that your child is happy and contented, that’s almost certainly the case. Remember that in the early days, they will probably get more tired than usual; nursery is a big change, emotionally as well as physically. Both your child and you need time to adjust to the new set-up. Try not to drag out your goodbyes: leaving your child will be difficult, especially at first, but keeping it brief will help you both. Remember that your child may cry every day when you drop them off (and so might you) for quite a while; this is a normal part of getting used to this big change in your lives. Cope with it by emphasising the positives: think about why you’re working (to make money and provide a better standard of living; to ensure you have an interesting life, and income, in the longer term) and how much your child will benefit from a wider social network. How to reduce nursery costs Most nurseries provide funded places for three and four year olds under the government Free Early Education scheme, which will start from the beginning of the term (1 September, 1 January or 1 April) after your child’s third birthday. Check whether your employer can offer help towards your nursery costs through the childcare voucher scheme. Under this, money is taken out of your pay packet before deductions, giving you savings on tax and National Insurance. In return, you are given a voucher or e-voucher that you forward

Under 5s Special to your nursery, and the amount is deducted from your bill. So it’s a way of getting more childcare for your money, although it requires your employer’s co-operation. Troubleshooting Fingers crossed, you’ll never have a problem with a nursery your child attends. But what happens when there IS an issue? As every working parent knows, nothing undermines your ability to work more than a nagging suspicion that your child isn’t happy, or isn’t being looked after as well as possible or even – worst scenario of all – isn’t safe. If you have any worries at all about your child’s nursery you must resolve them, and as quickly as possible. So as soon as something strikes you as ‘not right’, talk to the nursery manager or your allocated member of staff – many niggles are simply down to a lack of communication. Explain what’s up, and the chances are you’ll never have to mention it again, and things will all be smoothed over. But if you’re not satisfied that all is well, put your concern in writing to the nursery manager. All nurseries should have a protocol for dealing with complaints, ask to see this if it’s not spelled out in the nursery handbook.

Little Stars at Ledger Farm ...where children provide the inspiration

**opening May 2013** Due to the expansion of two independent Ofsted Outstanding childcare settings, we are delighted to announce the opening of our third high quality full day care nursery and pre-school set in a unique and central location in Fifield, SL6 2NR

Due to high demand spaces are limited so for further details and to request our brochure please visit our website: www or contact us directly:

Visit for listings of nurseries in the local area.

Tel: 01628 828258 Email: School Lane, Littlewick Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 3QY We are a very well-established Montessori Nursery set in a once Victorian primary school at the heart of the picturesque village of Littlewick Green.           

Telephone: 01628 627 586


Ages 12 months - 5 years After School & Holiday Club for children 1 to 8 years. Operating a 43 and 48 week year Open 8am-6pm Full days or morning and afternoon sessions Covering the EYFS & Montessori curriculum Quality day care in a warm and friendly environment Football & Multi Sport coaching available for ages 3-5 Mouse Wizards (I.C.T.) for the 3-5 year olds Drama, Music & Movement Classes Free funded sessions for 3-5 year olds

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Under 5s Special Nursery News... New nursery coming to Windsor Countryside Nurseries is delighted to announce the opening of a brand new extended daycare nursery in William Street in April, in time for the royal baby! Ingrid Howell, Director of Childcare at Countryside Nurseries said “We are very excited to have the opportunity to open a nursery in Windsor as there is such a huge demand for good quality childcare and we are already getting lots of enquiries.” “In addition to the usual nursery offerings, we will have a dedicated children’s cookery area which will allow nursery practitioners to teach children about healthy eating through hands on experience. There is also a secure rooftop garden incorporating natural resources to encourage children’s creative thinking and imagination as well as enhancing their gross physical development and well-being; whilst indoors, the dedicated ‘Learning Zone’ allows small groups of pre-school children to focus on literacy and mathematical skills through fun games and activities.” Countryside Nurseries have been caring for children for over 21 years and have the experience to provide the best quality care for children aged 0-5 years. The new nursery will be the eighth nursery for the family owned and run nursery group, with nurseries in Cookham Dean, Flackwell Heath, Ascot, Sunninghill, Henley and Burnham. For more information about Countryside Nurseries call Head Office on 01628 476153 or visit


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Truly “Outstanding” childcare Cherry Trees (Slough), Silchester Manor (Maidenhead) and Children’s House (Wokingham/Bracknell) make up a small Berkshire family of premium day nurseries. All have recently been refurbished and re-equipped to a very high standard – and inspected by OFSTED. All have achieved excellent results and been rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ for every aspect of care, with Cherry Trees rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED for every aspect of care - making Cherry Trees one of only 3% of UK nurseries to do so. All three nurseries occupy beautiful large buildings, and feature wonderful, light airy rooms, fabulous large outdoor spaces in which children can explore and play, and their ‘Key carer’ approach – ensuring that your child is cared for by a member of staff who gets to know you and your child really well. All offer care to children aged 3 months to 5 years, are open 51 weeks / year from 7.45am to 6.00pm, and offer mornings, afternoons and full days. All offer nutritious, home cooked breakfasts, lunches and teas; fruit, drinks and snacks during the day, and

free nappies and wipes. FREE childcare places are available to all 3 and 4 year olds, and all childcare vouchers are accepted. They also offer as many free ‘settling in’ sessions as you feel you need before your child starts nursery. The nurseries contact details are below. Cherry Trees Day Nursery, 179 Bedford Avenue, Slough Trading Estate, SL1 4RA. 01753 532718; Silchester Manor Day Nursery, Bath Road, Taplow, SL6 0AP. 01628 778890; Children’s House Day Nursery, Park Lodge, Tilehurst Lane, Binfield, RG42 5JL. 01344 301277;

Homely environment at the Oratory Montessori Day Nursery The Oratory Montessori Day Nursery in Burnham aims to provide a positive and nurturing home from home environment for children aged three months to five years. Staff are committed to providing excellent care and learning experiences to give your child the very best start in life. Ellena the nursery manager says, “We believe that all children are unique and competent learners and with our encouragement, praise and care will


blossom into independent, happy and confident little people!” The nursery follows the EYFS and the Montessori method of teaching and believe the amalgamation of the two systems produces excellent results in achieving the Early Learning goals. Please call Ellena or Cassie on 01628 665621 if you would like to look round the nursery.


Under 5s Special Early Years at Upton House Childhood is a special time for children to learn about themselves and the world around them and every child who starts at Upton House, an independent preparatory school in Windsor will have the opportunity to explore a variety of learning experiences. Mrs Sue Bish, Head of Early Years Foundation Stage says, “Learning through discovery is something we value highly and children are encouraged to build on their existing knowledge through play, making links in their learning and developing new ideas and challenges.” Children within the Early Years follow a broad and balanced curriculum provided by highly qualified staff, who deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. Specialist teaching in French, Music and Physical education forms a key part of their educational programme. The school believes that children benefit from learning about languages and cultures and they enjoy sharing songs and rhymes from around the world. This encourages language development and develops early reading skills. The staff also encourage children to find something they are good at from a wide range of extra curricular activities and support them as they develop a set of personal values within a kind, loving and safe environment. Mrs Bish adds, “Children need to feel happy and secure in order to develop their self esteem and achieve their full potential and so all activities in the early years are fun, inspiring and challenging.” To find out more go to or call 01753 862610

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Nurturing learning at the Littlewick Green Montessori School

Find a warm, caring environment at Marlow Day Nursery

Early Years education contributes enormously to the healthy development of each child, laying down the foundations on which they will establish themselves.

The Marlow Day Nursery has a reputation for providing a warm, caring and secure environment for their children, which allows a smooth transition from family to nursery. The Marlow Day Nursery provides parents with a uniquely individual approach based on investing in highly experienced and qualified staff, who combine to create a family atmosphere. Currently they have two Early Years Professionals leading their children’s learning through play. Many of their staff have been with the nursery for five to ten years. Nursery manager Joanna Brown says, “We encourage our children to develop emotionally, educationally and physically by offering them resources and opportunities appropriate to their age and inclination. We have always promoted an ‘open door policy’ with parents which enables them to leave their children in the knowledge that they will be safe and well cared for.”

Children are like sponges- they are innate, intrinsic learners, who are constantly absorbing and learning from new experiences. They have a natural urge to question and explore themselves and their environment. At Littlewick Green Montessori School they supply children with "handson" experiences in a safe, loving and strongly supportive environment where their desire to learn can be nourished. The children can develop confidently through their intellectual, creative, physical, social and emotional journeys. They are also encouraged to develop a positive sense of self. For more information about the nursery school, which is in the picturesque village of Littlewick Green near Maidenhead please call Tracy Cannell on 01628 828258, who will be happy to show you around the nursery.


To take a look around or find out more call 01628 488114;

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Getting girls back on track

A few years ago, psychologist Steve Biddulph was advising parents of boys on how to raise them to avoid a battery of difficulties. Now he’s back with a formula for how to raise girls. Joanna Moorhead, a mother of four daughters, asked him what matters most. he day after I gave birth to our fourth daughter, my husband was involved in a puzzling exchange with our neighbour. The baby had been born at home overnight, so the neighbour was keen to hear the news over the garden fence. “It’s another girl,” announced my husband excitedly. “Oh,” said the neighbour, looking downcast. “And are you very disappointed?” Gary and I enjoyed telling the story, and we enjoy telling it to this day, because disappointment was truly the very last emotion we felt when our lovely little Catriona arrived to join her big sisters Rosie, Elinor and Miranda. Raising boys may, for all I know, be every bit as exciting and fun-filled as raising girls; but the truth is, I know nothing about it. I’m sure it’s similar, but I’m sure there are also ways in which it’s different: and the point is that, by the time Catriona was born, I was already quite certain that bringing up girls was a fabulous task to be taking centre-stage in my life. So, from the moment the line went blue on my pregnancy test, I was secretly hoping for another daughter. And when she finally landed, Gary and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Fast-forward ten years, and it’s still every bit as wonderful now as it was back then. But the last few years have brought a few scary moments – and, explains psychologist Steve Biddulph, I’m certainly not the only parent of daughters to have discovered that. Fifteen years ago, Biddulph leapt to fame when his ground-breaking book ‘Raising Boys’ tackled the difficulties that were making life tough for parents of boys – rising rates of ADHD, aggressive behaviour, teenage drinking. Back then, he says, “girls were doing just fine”. But no longer. “It all started to change about five years ago. We began to see a sudden and marked plunge in girls’ mental health. Problems such as eating disorders and self-harm, which once had been extremely rare, were now happening in every classroom and every street. And more than this, the average girl was stressed and depressed in a way she hadn’t been before.”
 So now Biddulph is back with a new book aimed at parents with girls. And the message he wants to give us is that, from their earliest times, we need to bomb-proof them from what he calls “a world that seems bent on poisoning their confidence and trashing their lives”. What the onslaught is all about, says Biddulph, is the fact that advertisers have fixed their beady eyes on our pre-teen daughters: they’ve realised that little girls are extremely malleable from a marketing point of view, and they’ve gone all-out to sell them not only pink-clad dolls and sex-typed toys, but also sexualised clothes (long, long before any little girl should be thinking about looking attractive to the opposite sex) and pre-adolescent make-up.


Biddulph’s advice is simple Avoid all sex-stereotyped toys and products like the plague. From her earliest days, think not about what material possessions you are giving your daughter: instead, concentrate on how you’re making her feel. From birth to two, he explains, all that really matters to a baby girl is that she feels safe and loved. In a world where the arrival of a little girl is often seen as an invitation to start showering her with possessions – cute outfits, a pretty bedroom – he advocates forgetting all about what she has (especially if it’s of the ‘girly’ variety) and concentrating entirely on how welcome, and wanted, and loved she is in your life. The deep-rooted confidence that brings will, he promises, be something she carries with her right through her life. From two to five, a little girl starts feeling interested in the world around her: now, she needs to be introduced to the world as an exciting and fascinating place, a place full of adventures. From five to ten it’s all about people skills – what she most needs to discover, says Biddulph, is that while her feelings are very important indeed, other people’s feelings matter too. With the coming of puberty, a girl’s thoughts shift towards what Biddulph calls ‘finding her soul’: if she is helped and encouraged to find what he calls her ‘spark’, some passion or interest that she cares deeply about and is willing to invest her time in, that will help her to find fulfilment through her entire life. It’s an empowering message: best of all, for parents like me, is Biddulph’s conviction that the family and the adults surrounding a girl are the most important elements in helping light the fire that will burn through all her days. If girlhood has sometimes seemed scary, Biddulph reminds us that it’s exciting and enriching – and guides us through the skills that will help us help our daughters, time after time. Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls is published by HarperCollins, £12.99

Play sessions for under-5s at the Phoenix Gymnastics Club Have fun in this fully equipped gym with your kids. Sessions Monday: 10.30-11.30 Tuesday to Friday: 9.30 -10.30 & 11.00–12.00 Tuesday & Thursday: 1.00-2.00pm Cost just £3.50 per child (must be accompanied by adult)

Refreshments available Phoenix Gymnastics Club Unit 1, Water Oakley Farm, Maidenhead Road, Windsor Tel:01628 778881


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Accidents can be prevented... A sensible parent knows that many accidents in the home are inevitable and often easily treated. Dealing with them is part of a child’s development and a way for them to recognise dangers. We want children to lead active, healthy lives, allowing them to play and take risks. But there’s a balance to be struck. No parent wants their child hurt in an accident that could have been prevented. Claire Street from Child Matters, who teach first aid courses for parents and carers, explains how we can be more vigilant. ccording to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), two million children have accidents each year. The under5s, along with people over 65, are the most likely to have an accident at home. However, a survey by St John’s Ambulance found that most people would feel helpless in a medical emergency. Parents need to understand the risks and give their children a safe environment to grow up in. So what can we do if something were to happen at home?


BURNS Old myths die hard, but putting butter, toothpaste or ice on a burn may cause even more damage to already tender skin. Pulling off clothing or other materials stuck to the burn could damage the tissue or pull the skin off completely. These days, there's one clear rule: put the burnt bit under a cool tap for a full 10 minutes – not 30 seconds. Burns don't need creams but should be gently wrapped in clingfilm and then help should be given by a medical professional (practice nurse, GP or A&E) to minimise scarring.

CHOKING Choking is probably every new parent's most common anxiety. Ninety-nine percent of the time, five back blows will dislodge the choking object. If not, we must turn the child on their back with the head lower than the bottom and perform five chest thrusts, a bit like CPR but with the fingers directed up to the throat.

ACCIDENTAL POISONING A staggering 25,000 under-5s are rushed to A&E each year in the UK with suspected accidental poisoning. Young children are naturally inquisitive: brightly coloured detergents or medicines, pills that look like sweets and liqui-tabs are all very attractive. Accidental poisonings can cause a great deal of harm to children as their bodies are small and still developing. Childresistant closures are absolutely not childproof – they simply provide a little time in which parents/carers may spot that a child is accessing a potential poison and intervene to prevent the substance being ingested.

HEAD INJURIES Head injuries must be a close second to choking. If you took your child to hospital every time they banged their heads, you'd move in there! Instead of rushing to Casualty, lay the injured child down with a cold compress and monitor for signs of potential internal damage including drowsiness, dizziness and disorientation, fluid in ears or nose and dilated pupils. Where children are concerned, NEVER be afraid to dial 999. If you are reading this and thinking it will never happen to you, think again. A First Aid Course covers every parent's worst nightmares: bleeding, embedded objects, burns, fractures, raised temperatures, seizures, meningitis, severe allergic reactions, head injuries, swallowing harmful substances, unconscious baby/child and much more. Demonstrations and practice will make you realise that a lot of it is common sense and easy to remember.You can learn online at your own pace, with videos to teach you what to do in different first-aid situations. Or enrol onto a local family first aid course and get £5 off the regular price (courses normally cost £40). Organise a course through your nursery or school and raise funds per head.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

First Aid 10 Tips to Prevent Accidental Poisoning of Children

1. Store all medicines locked safely away from children. 2. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing securely. 3. Never refer to medicines as “sweets” when speaking to children. 4. Ask guests to keep bags, or coats that have medicines in them away and out of sight when they are in your home. 5. Keep cleaning supplies locked up and out of reach. 6. Keep all products in their original containers with the original labels. 7. When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight, even if you must take the child or product along when answering the phone or doorbell. 8. Lamps or candles containing lamp oil should never be left within reach of a child. 9. Households with children should never use loose bait or loose pellet rodent control products. 10. Households with children should never use soft drink bottles or cups to hold paint thinner, turpentine, fuel or other household chemicals as children may be tempted to drink them. If your child has swallowed something potentially harmful, do not try and treat them yourselves. If they are showing signs of being seriously ill then call 999 for an ambulance, or take them to your local A&E department. Do not put your fingers in their mouth, make them vomit, or give them anything to eat or drink.

NEW course venue, Four Marlow Road, Maidenhead. For further information on local courses, online E-Learning or fundraising courses please contact Child Matters: Tel: 07788 720 612

Be prepared for an emergency

Don’t wait for one to happen NEW IN 2013 - FAMILY FIRST AID COURSE aimed at the needs of the family Practical courses designed to prepare parents, grandparents, siblings, carers, babysitters and anyone caring for children. An excellent life skill to learn • 3-4 hours • Morning/Afternoon/Evening • Small groups and tailor made courses • Covers all aspects of Basic Life Support and First Aid for babies, children & adults • Practical hands-on experience • Informal relaxed teaching styles delivered by Professionals • Handouts, First Aid Manual and Certificates to keep • Suitable for ante/post natal groups, parents, families, friends and carers classes at home • Why not host a course as a fundraising event for schools and nurseries. NEW YEAR PROMOTION £5 OFF PER PERSON for FAMIlY FIRST AID courses in January, February & March

We also offer 6 hour and 12 hour Ofsted & EYFS approved Paediatric First Aid course for Nannies, Au Pairs & Childminders.

T: 07788720612 E: •

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Spring Days Out What’s not to love about Easter? It’s that time of year again where it’s easy to find a day out that includes the heady combination of fun and excitement, fresh air and chocolate! Below is a selection of our favourites, don’t forget to go Time Out on page on page 22 for some more ideas. Forget the Easter bunny…learn all about seahorses at London Zoo

Explore the Royal Landscape with an Easter Trail Enjoy the Easter Trail around The Royal Landscape, Windsor Great Park (30 March-14 April) Set off on the Easter Trail and enjoy a great family day out, with fun clues for all ages taking you through the spring displays of The Royal Landscape, Windsor Great Park. Discover the newly restored Cow Pond and explore The Coronation Grove on your way around. There are things to find as well as clues to solve on the Easter Trail, with a chocolate prize at the end for participants. The cost to enter is £2.50 per leaflet (see the opposite page for a discount voucher), with one prize per leaflet and normal car parking charges also apply. The leaflet can be purchased from The Savill Building from 10am and participants must return to The Savill Building by 5.30pm to collect their prize. Complete your day with a visit to The Savill Building, and enjoy the popular restaurant managed by Leiths, the superb gift shop, outdoor plant centre and the Gallery Coffee Shop. The Ice Cream Parlour will also be open at The Savill Building. For more information visit or call 01784 435544

Males that give birth, females who perform romantic dances, and couples that form life-long relationships are just some of the fascinating behaviours visitors will see at ZSL London Zoo’s Seahorses exhibit during the Easter holidays. Seahorses opened during February halfterm and will be home to 172 long and short-snouted seahorses, both of which are the focus of ZSL London Zoo conservation breeding programmes. With eight bespoke tanks, Seahorses will show visitors the various stages of the seahorse lifecycle, with special curved tanks for the fry (seahorse babies…), different tanks for juveniles and separate tanks for each of the mating pairs, who like a bit of privacy. Seahorse Secrets will be revealed every day during the holidays, with a daily talk about these remarkable creatures, including what seahorses have in common with monkeys and chameleons! Beat the queues and book tickets online now at

Learn more about chocolate at Kew Gardens Discover fun, excitement, adventure, and most important of all – chocolate – at Kew Gardens this Easter. From 29 March to 14 April you can take a journey through time and discover the history of this delicious substance. Learn where our passion for chocolate originated; from the use of cacao in Ancient Maya and Aztec culture, to sailing across the seas to Europe with the Spanish Conquistadors and finally arriving in 17th century London. Handson sessions will give youngsters the opportunity to explore the world of chocolate – from cocoa pods to delicious Easter eggs – and on Easter Sunday there will be the traditional Easter Egg hunt. Spring is a lovely time to visit Kew with over five million bulbs coming in to bloom, and there are plenty of family-friendly activities on offer.Younger children will love Climbers and Creepers, a unique indoor play zone for 3-9 year olds and, for outdoor fun, Treehouse Towers has giant swings, zip wires, scramble nets and slides to help burn off some more energy. If you’ve got a head for heights, enjoy an exciting birds-eye view over the Gardens along the Xstrata Treetop Walkway, an 18 metre-high circular walkway through the treetops. For rainier days there are the Glasshouse galleries to explore. Climb up high inside the Palm House or the Temperate House to tower above the palms and plants and experience the huge scale of these historic glasshouses. As well as incredible plants, the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory also feature aquatic displays where you can see piranha, enormous catfish, freshwater stingrays and water dragons. Adult entry to Kew Gardens costs £14.50 but children under 17 are free. For more information about upcoming events see

Music with Mummy Themed, fun music classes for children aged up to 5 years in small groups Jolly Babies – specially designed for babies under one year Jackie @ Windsor: 01344 301954 Caroline @ Ascot: 01753 850772


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Spring Days Out Celebrate Easter at ‘Downton Abbey’

Easter fun with the National Trust For the sixth year running, Cadbury and the National Trust are teaming up to help families celebrate Easter weekend together by offering fun Easter Egg Trails at many different National Trust places throughout the country. Follow cryptic clues around picturesque gardens, complete fun-filled challenges and explore some spectacular places to hunt down a chocolate prize. Each trail is unique to its location and offers a range of activities for all the family to enjoy. There is an entry fee for most National Trust properties, members go free, plus a small additional charge for the trails. We have listed local Trails in our Time Out pages but you can find the full list by visiting As well as Trail details and locations, you can also find tips on how to make the most of the Easter weekend at home. There’s also an Easter Egg Trail Pack, the perfect kit for organising exciting egg trails at home.

Have a fun day out for the whole family at the BCA Open Weekend The college open day and lambing weekend at the BCA in Burchetts Green, Maidenhead is on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 of April. There’s lots to do including a fun dog show, a sheepdog and duck display, ferret racing, a bird of prey and equestrian display and a sheep shearing show. Plus a farmers market and craft fair too. Recorded information line: 01628 827555. 0800 0711 666;

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Admission tickets to visit Highclere Castle over the Easter period were snapped up months ago. However you can still enjoy views of the real ‘Downton Abbey’ on Easter Sunday when local children’s hospice, Naomi House, will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt in the beautiful grounds, situated close to Newbury. Running from 11am until around 4pm, admission costs £5 per person, and a chocolate egg is on offer to all children completing the Easter Egg Hunt (subject to supplies). Don’t forget to take your home-made bonnet along to join the Easter Bonnet Parade – or make one at the craft workshops – you might win a prize. There will be plenty of other activities to enjoy including a 1940's themed area with characters from the era, a nursing station where you can practice your bandaging skills, vintage Rolls Royces and military vehicles. More modern attractions include an array of fete games, beat the goalie, stalls, a Classic Ferrari car display, bouncy castle, bungee trampolines, face painting, glitter tattoos, refreshments and entertainment throughout the day. What would Lady Grantham have to say about it all! For more information, take a look at

See real life chicks at the London Wetland Centre Over 200 species of birds have been spotted at the WWT London Wetland Centre, which has also been voted the UK's Favourite Nature Reserve by Countryfile magazine in 2012.You can roam the beautiful walkways amongst the lakes and pools of this 105 acre wildlife haven The centre is home to rare birds from around the globe plus a family of otters, you can also or watch birds from their numerous hides or from the comfort of their heated Observatory.You can also join one of their free daily walks led by an expert guides. Have a coffee in the Water's Edge Café - or let the kids run free in their own adventure areas, both indoor and out. Plus it’s just a ten minute walk from Hammersmith tube.


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Easter Activities and Camps Need help with the kids this Easter? There are loads of courses and camps running during the holidays. Whether your child is a budding artist, swimmer, dancer or tennis player. Below is a selection of what’s on in your local area:

BRAY LAKE WATERSPORTS are running a variety of activity courses for children aged 8-15 years, from Monday 1st April to Friday 5th April, and Monday 8th April to Friday 12th April. Courses range from multi-activity weeks (windsurfing, dinghy sailing and paddlesports) to specific training courses for windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. Early booking is advisable. For further information on times and cost go to, call: 01628 638860 or email: HANDS-ON-ART ADVENTURES will be running a Kids Pottery Club each morning 10am-11:30am (Tues-Fri) over the School Holidays. Make your own clay creations using a different technique each day, £12 per workshop or £44 for all 4. 'Potters Wheel' event on holiday Wednesdays: anyone (kids & parents) can book a 15-minute lesson on the potters wheel - pots can be decorated once they have fully dried out a week later - all for just £12! Call 01753 206265 or email;


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

LIVING TENNIS EASTER CAMPS in Marlow, Maidenhead and the loca area from Tuesday April 2- Friday April 5.For more information email or go to NORDEN FARM presents the No Limits Festival at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead from Sunday 24 March to Sunday 14 April. A springtime festival for children and families. 01628 788 997; PERFORM WINDSOR are running Hansel and Gretel - a three-day experience at Clewer Youth and Community Centre, Parsonage Lane, Windsor from Wednesday April 3 to Friday 5 April, 10am-12pm. Cost: £93 (includes refreshments each day). Early bird, group, and sibling discounts available. 0845 400 1282; PERFORM MARLOW are running Hansel and Gretel - a three-day experience at All Saints Churh Hall, the Causeway, Marlow from from Monday April 8 to Wednesday April 10, 10am-12pm. Cost: £93 (includes refreshments each day). Early bird, group, and sibling discounts available. 0845 400 1282; PHOENIX GYM are running daily Easter courses for non-members to experience gymnastics in a fun and safe environment on Tuesday April 2, 2.153.45pm; Wednesday April 3, 1-2.30pm; Thursday April 4, 2.15-3.45pm, Friday April 5, 1-2.30pm; Monday April 8, 1-2.30pm, Tuesday April 9, 2.15-3.45pm; Wednesday April 10, 1-2.30pm; Thursday April 11, 2.15-3.45pm, Friday April 12 1-2.30pm, at the club on the Windsor Road. For boys and girls age 5-14. Book early to avoid disappointment, the more days you book the cheaper it is. For more information call 01628 778881; REDROOFS EASTER SCHOOL FOR STARS. Musical theatre; acting technique; team building, choreography and film acting classes. Plus trip to Harry Potter studios and final performance at the Novello Theatre for parents and friends. From Tuesday April 9 to Saturday April 13,10am to 4pm at Redroofs Theatre School Maidenhead, ages 7-16 years. All abilities and beginners welcome.; 01628 674092. Kickboxing Easter camp with THE SAMURAI FITNESS GROUP at the Holy Trinity School, Cookham on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 of April from 9am until 3pm. It costs £25 for one day or £40 for 2. Contact for details or call 07828 534817. SERIOUSLY FUN SWIMMING SCHOOLS are running Easter holiday courses at St Pirans School in Maidenhead, Teikyo Japanese School in Wexham and Maplewood School in Wycombe, from Monday April 1 to Friday April 5. Cost: £50 (discounted from £60). The intensive courses consist of a 30 minute swimming lesson every day for 5 consecutive days. Maximum of 6 children per class and a great way to build confidence and improve technique. Book online at or call 0844 35 11 461. THE GAP CLUB is running a Holiday Club at King's Court First School, Ashbrook Road, Old Windsor, from Tuesday April 2 to Friday April 12 (closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday). Times: 8.30am-4.30pm or 6.30pm. Cost: £22 per regular day, £27 per full day. Early booking discounts available. 07854 078728;



Great Competitions with WIN A FREE PHOTOGRAPY SITTING AND 2 PRINTS Having a professional photographer take some family shots of you and your children is a lovely way to capture a moment in time and we have a free sitting to be won.

WIN A FAMILY TICKET TO LET’S ROCK THE MOOR 2013 ! Let’s Rock The Moor! returns to Cookham for its fifth year with a mega 80’s line up on Saturday 18 May!

For more info about Vanessa White Photography, visit

Tony Hadley, Bananarama, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, Five Star, Imagination, Rozalla, Altered Images and Brother Beyond are all confirmed. The event will be hosted by Nick Heyward, Dave Benson Philips and a surprise 80’s star! This event has plenty to do for everyone. They have a new second stage - The Paddock Stage - introducing local bands; children’s entertainers from BBC/ITV; a much bigger Circus; children’s rides (including Bumper Boats and Dodgems); a new 80’s themed children’s play area; competitions to win an 80’s retro package; a fantastic selection of caterers and multiple bars; plenty of toilets; wacky stalls and much, much more! If you haven’t been before, Let’s Rock The Moor! is a one day open air charity event held on the Cookham Moor. A family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) costs £78. Their aim is to provide a fantastic day out for all the family with a great offering of music, entertainment, stalls and general silliness. Check out for full details.

To enter go to

To win a ticket go to

Since becoming a photographic fanatic when she was a teenager,Vanessa White opened a studio at her home in Great Missenden three years ago and is specialising in family photography. It’s sometimes hard to relax in front of the lens, but as Vanessa has two daughters herself, she knows how to get the best out of children – it’s also possible to go in the garden if you prefer or would like another setting.

WIN TICKETS TO ODDS FARM PARK THIS EASTER Guaranteed to give you the Ahhhh factor, there's plenty of family fun this Easter at Odds Farm Park - voted “Farm Park Of The Year 2013” – and we have 5 entry tickets for 2 adults and 2 children to give away! From 29 March to 14 April, children can follow the Chick Trail around the farm and get a yummy treat, bottle feed lambs and, back for 2013, board the daily tractor & trailer rides* for a fun tour of the farm. You’ll love to meet the farmers and get extra close to the animals in the Hands On Area, in the large Undercover Animal Barns, open all day and with extra hand-washing facilities too! Stroke bunnies, hand feed goats and sheep, meet cheeky pigs and more. Plus, within the Giant Indoor Playbarn, you’ll find a massive adventure play area including a 4 lane Astra Slide, 2 large drop slides, a netted area with zig zag chicanes & tunnels, swinging ropes and much more. With special Toddler and Under 5’s areas, there’s bags of fun for all ages. And adults can relax too with a delicious speciality coffee from the fantastic Espresso Bar! Combined with the outdoor play, including the Adventure Maze, Go-Karts, Log Play Areas and Crazy Golf, and plenty more new baby animals to meet there’s so much to do. Award winning Odds Farm Park is located just minutes from Junction 2 of the M40, near Beaconsfield. For full details, visitors should call 01628 520188 or visit To enter go to *(April-October, Weather Permitting).

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Easter Holidays: Tuesday April 2 - Friday April 12 (Closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday) The Gap Club c/o Kings Court First School, Ash Brook Road, Old Windsor, Berkshire SL4 2NE

FOR NEW 2013 and , new

Tuckshop tivities, ac exciting d sitors an trips, vi es experienc

Tel: 07854 078 728 email:


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Time Out

Mother’s Day at the Savill Garden, March 10

Fly the Spitfire simulator at Maidenhead Heritage Centre, March and April

Dora the Explorer, Wycombe Swan, March 28 and 30


Saturday March 16. KID’S CLUB – WII AND ACTIVITY DAY at the Firestation Arts Centre, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor. Starting at 1pm. Saturday afternoon fun. Battle it out in a Wii Tournament plus try out an array of arts and crafts activities. Cost: £2.50, plus £1 booking fee. 01753 866 865; Also on Saturday April 13. Saturday March 16. SATURDAY CLUB at the Slough Museum, ground floor, Slough Central Library, High Street, Slough. 12.15-1.45pm. Saturday Club activities are all family friendly and FREE. No need to book, just drop in. Also on Saturday April 6 and 20. 01753 526422; Saturday March 16. PARTY IN THE SQUARE, part of the Henley Youth Festival, in Falaise Square, Henley, from 11am. For a full programme, go to Lots of workshops, competitions, exhibitions, sports, film screenings, crafts and performing arts activities for the under 5s to 18 yr olds throughout the two weeks, starting from Monday March 4 and ending with the Festival Stage at the Kenton Theatre from 7pm on Saturday March 16. Sunday March 17. NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Sir William Ramsay School, Rose Avenue, Hazlemere, High Wycombe. 11.30am-12.45pm (11am with a valid NCT membership card). Items for sale: toys, books, children’s clothing from newborn to 12 years, nursery equipment, maternity wear, high chairs, buggies, school uniforms, games, dvd’s and much more. Entry: £1 donation. Sunday March 17. HANDS-ON SCIENCE at the Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe. 2-4.30pm. Free, drop-in activities full of scientific fun for the curious and inquisitive, whatever your age. Part of the National Science and Engineering Week. 01494 421 895; Sunday March 17. EASTER EGG HUNT at Frieth CofE School, Frieth, near Henley. 10am-12.30pm. Open to the public! 10am start from the school, then follow the clues on a route of about 800m through beautiful Chiltern countryside. Also, arts and crafts activities and an Easter raffle – something to entertain the whole family. Food and drink for sale too. Tickets: £3.50 each. Contact Hazel by email at Thursday March 21. NATURE TOTS at the Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre, Maidenhead. 9.30-11.30am. Fun activities for pre-school children and their carers, including bug-hunting, mud-painting and mask-making, games, story-time and refreshments included. For ages 18 months to 3yrs. Booking essential. Cost: £3 per child. Book by phone: 01628 829574; or by email: Saturday March 23. NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at the Vyners School, Warren Road, Ickenham, Uxbridge. 1.30-3.30pm. Pick up a bargain. Lots of items for sale, from toys, clothes, games, equipment to maternity wear and much more. Contact: Saturday March 23 and Sunday March 24. GO GREEN AND CARRY ON - Fun Forties ideas for today at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. 10am-5pm. The museum opens again for the new season. Admission by donation only. 01494 871117;

Saturday March 16 to Saturday March 23. FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE at the Royal Holloway University, Egham Hill, Egham. 10am-4pm. Programme of events throughout the week, culminating in SUPER SCIENCE SATURDAY on Saturday March 23. Lots of activities for all ages. Packed programme of hands-on activities, demos, talks, live experiments and much more! Free admission. For a full programme, go to: Saturday March 23. COME OUT AND PLAY in Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 1-4pm. A fun filled afternoon of arts, crafts and a 25 metre challenge as part of National Outdoor Play Week.Variety of stalls providing activities and games for children of all ages. 01753 875209. Saturday March 23. FAMILY FIRST AID COURSE with Child Matters at Four Marlow Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7Y from 9.45am-1pm. 07788720612; Sunday 24 March to Sunday 14 April. NO LIMITS FESTIVAL at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. A springtime festival for children and families. 01628 788 997; Monday March 25. FAMILY FIRST AID COURSE with Child Matters at the Marlow Sea Cadets, Trinity Court, SL7 3TZ from 9.45am to 1pm. 07788720612; Thursday March 28 and Saturday March 30. DORA THE EXPLORER at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 10.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm. Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer LIVE! Search for the City of Lost Toys. Two-act, song and dance spectacular to sing and play along with. Tickets: Explorer Seats - adults £19, children £17, family £68; normal seats – adults £17, children £15, family £58. 01494 512000;



During weekends and school holidays, throughout March and April, till Monday May 6. THE SLIME SHOW at the Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. Interactive and fun show, at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3.15pm. Show times are at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3.15pm, subject to minimum numbers. Suitable for ages 5+. Tickets: £1.85 per person in addition to main admission. 01344 354400; Beale Park, Lower Basildon, Reading. The wildlife park has re-opened on Monday 11th of February 2013. 10am-5pm (6pm from March 29). Lots of attractions: deer park, pets area, model boats, landscaped gardens and adventure playgrounds, miniature railway and restaurant. Admission: (till March 28) adults £6.50, children £4.50, family £20; (after March 28) adults £9.50, children £7.50, family £29. Under 2s free. 0844 826 1761; Daily in March, April and May. SELF-LED SPRING TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 10am-5pm. Explore Cliveden’s springtime landscape by picking up a free family trail from the Information Centre. 01628 605069; Saturday March 9. MOTHER’S DAY POSIES at Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. Make a lovely flower posy for mum with the help of flower arranger Victoria Turner. Booking essential. 01753 875209; Saturday March 9. BLENDED 12 HOUR PAEDIATRIC FIRST AID COURSE/ 1 DAY COURSE FOR NANNIES & AU PAIRS with Child Matters at Booker Gym Club, HP12 4UE from 9.30am-4.30pm. 07788720612; Sunday March 10. MOTHER’S DAY at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 11am-3pm. Celebrate Mother's Day by bringing your Mum to Cliveden for free. Treat her to a free wine tasting (while stocks last!) or make a gift for her (Cost: £2 per child). 01628 605069; Sunday March 10. MOTHER’S DAY at The Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green. Free admission to all mums! 01784 435544; Sunday March 10. MOTHER’S DAY at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Station Approach, Station Road, Chinnor. Mums travel free when accompanied by a fare paying passenger and receive a complimentary posy of flowers. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm & 4.30pm. Tickets: adults £10, children (3-15) £5, family £25. Talking Timetable: 01844 353535; Sunday March 10. MAKE MUM’S DAY at Hughenden, High Wycombe. 11am-4pm. Treat your Mum this year with a trip to Hughenden and leave with a special gift for her to keep. Free event, but normal admission applies. 01494 755573; Friday March 15. LEGOLAND WINDSOR OPENS AGAIN for the season. 10am-5pm. New for this year are the themed Duplo Valley Splash and Play, Legends of Chima 4D movie and Lego Star Wars Gallery. Buy tickets online on


Compiled by Trynke Casale

FAMILIES Thames Valley East

EASTER HOLIDAYS During the Easter Holidays, why not visit the GRANDMA FLEW SPITFIRES! Exhibition at the Maidenhead Heritage Centre, in York Road, Maidenhead. 10am-4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Fly the Spitfire simulator. 15 minute flights include instruction and cost £5, plus entry to the exhibition. Suitable for 'pilots' aged 7 or over. Admission to the exhibition: adults £3.50, children (10-16) £2, under 10s free. Booking recommended. 01628 780555; or Visit Odds Farm for some EASTER FUN! Wooburn Common Road, Wooburn Common. Open seven days a week, 10am-5.30pm. Meet baby lambs, kid goats, cute bunnies, fluffy chicks and plenty more baby animals. Plus bottle feed the lambs, meet the residents in "Funny Bunnies" and follow the Spring Trail around the farm to win a Yummy Treat. Admission (during holidays): adults £11.50, children (2-16) £10.50. 01628 520 188; Thursday March 28 to Sunday April 14. EASTER FAMILY FUN in the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Pick up an Easter puzzle trail from the Information Kiosk. See if you can work out the wicked brain teasers for young and old. Donations welcome. Look out online and onsite for more information on additional activities nearer the time. 01753 647358;

Time Out Event times and dates to change. Please try and check that an event is still going ahead, before you set out.

Easter Family Fun Day Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, March 30

Easter Egg Hunts with the National Trust, various dates and locations.

Friday March 29 to Monday April 1. CADBURY’S EASTER EGG TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. Hunt for clues around the grounds, get your face painted and enjoy a delicious prize at the end. Family fun, whatever the weather. Drop-in sessions; children must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: £2 per child. 01628 605069; Friday March 29 to Monday April 1. EASTER SPECIALS at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Station Approach, Station Road, Chinnor. Refreshments for all including a chocolate egg for children and a hot cross bun for adults. Easter chick hunt. All Trains will be steam hauled. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm & 4.30pm. Tickets: adults £10, children (3-15) £5, family £25. Talking Timetable: 01844 353535; Friday March 29 to Monday April 1. AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN BUCKS at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. 10am-5pm. Admission: adults £9, children (5-16) £5.50, family (2+2) £26. 01494 871117; Friday March 29 to Monday April 1. DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, near Aylesbury. 10.30am-5.30pm. Take a ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine under the watchful eye of The Fat Controller. Plus: Magic show, video cinema, Punch and Judy shows, free giveaways. Miniature railway also working. Tickets: adults £15, children (2-15) £11, family (2+2) £44.50. Friday March 29 to Sunday April 14. EASTER EGG TRAIL at Hughenden, High Wycombe. 11am-4pm. Follow the trail to win an Easter Egg. Plus lots of other family activities throughout the holidays. Cost: £2 per child. 01494 755573; Friday March 29 to Sunday April 14. EGGTASTIC FUN at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading. 10am-5pm. Hunt for eggs in the house and win a prize by solving the Easter trail in the garden. Craft activities on Wednesdays during the holidays. Eggs-tra activities supplied by Cadbury’s during the Easter weekend, including face painting and giant games. Cost: £2 per child. 0118 984 3040; Friday March 29 to Monday April 15. EASTER EGG HUNT AND EASTER CRAFTS at the REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Reading. 9am-4pm. Spot all the eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny. Prizes for the winner, plus a small prize for all entries. Also, Easter craft-based activities for the family throughout the Museum. Tickets: adults £5, children £4, family £15. 0118 976 3375; Thursday March 28 to Sunday April 14. EASTER HOLIDAY CRAFTS at Denham Country Park, Denham Court Drive, Denham, Uxbridge. 10.30am-3.30pm. Choose from a selection of craft bags starting at £1 each and have a go at making an Easter or wild craft. 01895 833375; Saturday March 30. SUITCASE CIRCUS at the Firestation Centre for the Arts, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor. 1-2pm. Meet Wobulous Discombobulous, the anarchic sock as he presents a line up of the most unlikely of performers. Tickets: adults £7.50, children £5. 01753 866865; Saturday March 30. FREE EASTER FAMILY FUN DAY at Grenfell Park, Grenfell Road, Maidenhead. 11am-3pm. Organised by the Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club, event aimed at young families with children aged 0 – 12 yrs. With an Easter egg hunt, face painting, bunny mask painting and art sessions with Messy Monets. Refreshments and bouncy castle. 07876 341334. For more details on where to park, visit the website: Saturday March 30. DAFFODIL WALK at Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham. Guided seasonal walk with one of the gardeners through the beautiful grounds and then finish with tea, coffee and cake. All walks start at the Ormandy Centre at 2pm. Booking essential. Tickets: adults £7, children £3 (5-16). 01628 825 517; Saturday March 30 to Monday April 1. IVOR THE ENGINE DAYS at the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, via Wallingford Station, Hithercroft Road, Wallingford, or via Cholsey Station (on the Oxford line). Meet Ivor and those favourite characters such as "Jones the Steam". Trains from 11am (first from Wallingford) to 4.35pm (last from Cholsey). Tickets (returns): adults £8, children (3-15) £4.50, family £23. 01491 835067;

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Easter Egg Hunt, the River and Rowing Museum, March 30 & April 14.

Saturday March 30 to Monday April 1. EASTER EGG HUNT at Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley. 11am-5pm. Come into the garden at Greys Court and get exploring, follow the clues which could lead you to a chocolate prize. Cost: £2 per child. 01491 628529; Saturday March 30 to Sunday April 14. EASTER TRAIL at The Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green. 10am-5.30pm. Pick up a trail from The Savill Building and set off on the Easter Trail in the Savill Garden, the perfect backdrop for a great family day out. One prize per trail. Cost: £2.50 per leaflet (and prize). See voucher on page 19. 01784 435544; Saturday March 30 to Sunday April 14. EGG HUNT AND SPRING HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES at the Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe. Search the Museum and gardens for the hidden eggs to win a chocolate prize. Cost: £1.50. Special holiday activities - Tuesday April 2 and Thursday April 4: Easter Bunny masks and baskets. Tuesday April 9 and Thursday April 11: Crazy creatures. All activities last approx. 45mins and are on a first come first served basis (max 15 per session). Sessions at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. All drop-in sessions are £2.50 per child. 01494 421 895; Saturday March 30 to Sunday April 14. EASTER EGG HUNT at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10am-5pm. Eggsplore the Museum galleries to hunt for clues and help solve a puzzle to claim a mini Easter egg. Free with admission. EASTER HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS: Wednesday April 3. POM POM CHICK CHICK. For ages 4-7yrs. Tuesday April 9. VOLE IN A HOLE. For ages 4-7yrs. Wednesday April 10. TAYLOR TUG’S HOLIDAY HAPPENING for ages 18mths to 5yrs (11am-12.30pm). BIRDS ROC! For ages 7-11yrs from 2-4pm. Thursday April 11. WHISKERS AND WILDLIFE, Family activities from 10am-4pm. All workshops: 10.30am-12.30pm, £8.50 per child. Booking essential. 01491 415600; Easter Sunday March 31. A 1930’S EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA at Nuffield Place, between Henley and Wallingford. 11am-4pm.Vintage games, hot cross buns and Easter egg hunt (NB, not sponsored by Cadbury’s) in the grounds of Nuffield Place, the home of Lord Morris.Vintage cars on display. 01491 642 857; Easter Sunday March 31 and Easter Monday April 1. EASTER EGG ACTIVITY TRAIL AND COMPETITION at Runnymede, Memorials Car Park, Windsor Road, Old Windsor. 10am-4pm. Fun for all the family in the beautiful riverside meadows and woodlands of Runnymede. Easter Egg Activity Trail and a 'Design Your Own Egghead' competition. Cadburys chocolate Egghead for every child. No need to book. Cost: £3 per child. 01784 432891; Easter Monday April 1. EASTER TRAIL on the Maidenhead and Cookham Common, Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead. 11am-3pm. Family fun day with a fun Easter puzzle trail. Meet at the Pinkneys Green woodland carpark on Pinkneys Drive off the A4130 Henley Road. Cost: £3 per child. 07768853514; Monday April 1 to Friday April 12. EASTER SHOWS at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. Monday April 1. STUCK by Oliver Jeffers, at 12pm. Everything a little boy throws at a tree, gets stuck in it. Will he ever get his kite back? Suitable for ages 3+ years. Tuesday April 2 and Wednesday April 3. THREE BILLY PIGS, at 11.30am and 2pm. A different re-telling of the classic tale… Suitable for ages 3+ years. Thursday April 4, at 11.30am and 2pm. THE SELFISH GIANT. Highly acclaimed production of the Oscar Wilde classic. Suitable for ages 3+ years. Friday April 5. LITTLE BO PEEP, at 11.30am and 2pm. Watch your favourite nursery rhymes come to life and sing along with them. Suitable for ages 2+ years. Monday April 8 and Tuesday April 9. BATTLESHIP ISLAND, at 2pm and 4pm. Hitomi lives on the deserted Battleship Island. But what are the paper planes covered in mysterious writing people keep finding? Suitable for ages 7+ years. Wednesday April 10. BLOWN AWAY, at 11.30am and 2pm. A story about George and a little girl who says she is the wind. With live music, shadow puppetry and movement. Suitable for ages 3+years.


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Time Out


Norden Farm, Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! April 12

Countryside Family Day at Ascot Racecourse, April 7

Michaelas Really Wild Adventures, Wycombe Swan, April 8

Friday April 12. DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! At 11.30am. The friendly bus driver has just one simple rule: ‘Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!’ Would you let the Pigeon drive? Suitable for ages 3+ years. All family shows: £8.50, family (4 people) £31. 01628 788997; Tuesday April 2. WILD ONES: EASTER TREASURE HUNT at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. Drop-in anytime between 1-3pm. AND on Thursday April 4 at Lily Hill Park, off Lily Hill Road, Bracknell (meet at the Giant Picnic Bench, down from the North Car Park). The course will take an hour to solve. Cost: £2 for materials. Booking required on 01344 354441; Tuesday April 2. NATURE SAFARI at Langley Park Country Park, Billet Lane, Iver. 1-2pm. Self-led trail set up by the Langley Park Gardener. Follow clues and learn about the animals that live in the park. Great fun for all the family. The trail takes up one hour to complete. Cost: £4 per trail guide. No booking required. 01753 511060 or email: Tuesdays April 2 and 9. TERRIFIC TUESDAYS at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. 11am-4pm. Hands-on holiday activities for the whole family. Admission: adults £9, children (5-16) £5.50, family (2+2) £26. 01494 871117; Tuesday April 2 to Friday April 12. EGG AND SPOON RACES at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey. 12-4pm. Woodland egg and spoon course. For children aged 2-13 yrs. Park not open on Monday. Or book one of the WILD EASTER CAMPS! from 9am-4.30pm. Have a wild adventure with bushwhacking, bivouac building, archery and mud sculptures. For children aged 8 to 13 years. Bushwhacking and Bivouac Building on Tuesdays 2 and 9 April. Wild Journeys onWednesdays 3 and 10 April. Wild Woodland Dens on Thursdays 4 and 11 April. Wild Creations on Fridays 5 and 12 April. Cost: £35 a day or £115 for 4 days. Booking essential. 01932 868113; Wednesday April 3. WILD WEDNESDAYS – PLAY TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 11am-3pm. Come and see Cliveden’s new play trail in the woods. Enter a competition to design a new part of the play trail. Drop-in sessions; accompanied children only. Cost: £2 per child. 01628 605069; Wednesday April 3. NIGHT WALK at Black Park Country Park, Black Park Road, Wexham, Slough. 7-9pm. We hope to see bats over the lake and hear owls or deer calling in the woodland. Booking essential. Suitable for ages 7-12, teenagers and adults. Cost: adults £4, children £2, family £10. 01753 511060 or email:

Wednesday April 3. TRAIL TRACKERS at Hughenden, High Wycombe. 11am-12.30pm. Become a 'Trail Tracker'. Learn the basics of compass use and orienteering around the parkland with the Rangers. Try out some tree-climbing, hill-rolling and other fun things too. Cost: £4 per child. Booking essential, on 01494 755573; Wednesday April 3. COWS ON THE COMMON. Come to the main common at Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common in the morning and see the cows being released back into the grazing area after their winter break off-site. Find out about the livestock and the important work they do, and meet the Rangers who look after them. 01753 647358; Wednesday April 3 and Thursday April 4. EGGSTRAVAGANZA CRAFT WORKSHOPS at the REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Reading. 11am, 12 pm & 2 pm. Creative Easter Egg-based workshops run by a member of staff. Booking is available but not required. Tickets: adults £5, children £4, family £15. 0118 976 3375; Wednesdays April 3 and April 10. SCHOOL HOLIDAY STEAMINGS at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, near Aylesbury. 10.30am-5.30pm. Unlimited free train rides on a full size engine. Miniature railway rides, gift- and bookshop, snackbar. Tickets: adults £10, children £7, family £27, under 5s free. 01296 655720; Thursday April 4 to April 13. THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, at the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. 7pm, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Directed by Luke Sheppard, associate director of West End productions of Matilda and Singing in the Rain, returns to SHP with this production of the children’s classic for the whole family. Ticktets: adults £18, members £16, under 16s £12, family £50. 01344 484123; Thursday April 4. SCRUMMY EASTER CUP CAKES in the Bentley Centre, Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 2-4pm. Cake decorating with the expert help of Yolanda, from Yolanda’s cupcakes. First cake free, others available to buy. Also: ANIMAL TREASURE HUNT AND HAT MAKING. Animal hunt around the park, and Easter rabbit hat crafts. Just turn up! 01753 875209; Saturday April 6. SATURDAY CLUB at the Slough Museum, ground floor, Slough Central Library, High Street, Slough. 12.15-1.45pm. Saturday Club activities are all family friendly and FREE. No need to book, just drop in. Also on Saturday April 20. 01753 526422;

Saturday April 6 and Sunday April 7. JOIN THE WARTIME FARM at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. 10am-5pm. Special events and activities for all the family. Admission: adults £9, children (5-16) £5.50, family (2+2) £26. 01494 871117; Sunday April 7. COUNTRYSIDE FAMILY DAY at Ascot Racecourse, Ascot. Gates Open at 10.45am, first race at 2.15pm, last race at 5.45pm. Lots of racing and activities for the children on the Plaza Lawns. Countryside inspired activities include terrier racing, quack pack, hawks and llama displays, climbing wall, pony rides, quad bikes, family farm, parade of hounds on the track after the first race. On the day admission: Premier £30; Grandstand £20; under 18s free with a paying adult. Sunday April 7. WINDSOR EMPORIUM on the first floor of the Guildhall, High Street, Windsor (above the Windsor Museum). 10am-4pm. Arts and crafts, antiques and vintage gifts from about 30 local exhibitors.Vintage tea room serving home made cakes and other refreshments. 07900 285919; Monday April 8 and Tuesday April 9. DEN BUILDING WORKSHOP at Langley Park, Billet Lane, Iver. 10am-12noon. Build your own den in Langley Park with the Langley Park Gardeners Ben & Craig. Fun, hands-on activity for all the family. Booking essential. Cost: £15 per family. 01753 511060 or email: Monday April 8. MICHAELA STRACHAN – REALLY WILD ADVENTURES at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 12pm. Based on her own book of poetry for children, TV presenter Michaela Strachan takes families on a journey through an alphabet jungle of animal rhymes. Interactive show full of poetry, dancing, music and lots of fascinating wildlife facts. Perfect for children aged 3-8. All tickets: £12. Michaela will be signing copies of her book after the show. 01494 512000; Tuesday April 9. PAEDIATRIC FIRST AID 1 DAY COURSE for PARENTS CARERS NANNIES AUPAIRS at Four Marlow Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7YR from 9.30am-4pm. 09.30-16.30. 07788720612; Wednesday April 10. BIRDS, BUGS AND PAPER PLANE FUN in the Bentley Centre, Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 2-4pm. Find out how birds and insects fly from local naturalist Trevor Smith. Make a paper planes and join in the flying games. Meet at the Centre at 2pm. Suitable for ages 7+. 01753 875209; Wednesday April 10. WILD WEDNESDAYS – WEEDS AND SEEDS at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 11am-3pm. Find out all about weeds and seeds. Have a go at planting you very own seed to take home and grow. Drop-in

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Time Out

Bluebell Walk, Black Park, April 30 sessions; accompanied children only. Ideal for children aged 4-11. Cost: £2 per child. 01628 605069; Wednesday April 10. MINI-BEAST HUNT at Black Park, Black Park Road, Wexham, Slough. 1pm and 3pm. Hire a mini-beast kit for your small family group and get hunting with the help of a Ranger. Book for one of the hour long slots. Booking Essential. Cost: £4 per kit to hire per family. 01753 511060 or email: Wednesday April 10 and Thursday April 11. MINI SHELTER WORKSHOPS at the REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Reading. 11am, 12 pm & 2 pm. Can you build a shelter in only 15 minutes? Booking is available but not required. Tickets: adults £5, children £4, family £15. 0118 976 3375; Thursday April 11. WILD ONES: BUG SAFARI at Longhill Park, off Longhill Road, Bracknell. 10–11.30am. A simple and fun way for all the family to enjoy a morning exploring the creatures beneath our feet. Booking required on 01344 354441. Saturday April 13. THE WONDERS OF THE WOODLAND, guided walk at Coopers Hill, Runnymede, Windsor Road, Old Windsor. 11am-12.30pm. Discover the bluebells in the woodlands of Coopers Hill. Supervised children welcome. Booking essential, on 0844 2491895. Tickets: adults £5, children £2. More information: 01784 432891; Saturday April 13. KID’S CLUB – WII AND ACTIVITY DAY at the Firestation Arts Centre, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor. Starting at 1pm. Saturday afternoon fun. Battle it out in a Wii Tournament plus try out an array of arts and crafts activities. Cost: £2.50, plus £1 booking fee. 01753 866 865; Saturday April 13 and Sunday April 14. FAMILY FUN ON THE FARM – MEET THE LAMBS at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. 10am-5pm. Special events and activities for all the family. Admission: adults £9, children (5-16) £5.50, family (2+2) £26. 01494 871117; Saturday April 13. ON YOUR BIKE, cycle ride starting and finishing in Herschel Park car park, off Datchet Road, Slough. 10am-12noon. Join the Slough Freewheelers cycle group for a 6 mile, 2 hour cycle ride suitable for all ages and abilities as long as children are accompanied by an adult. Helmets essential. For more information call 01753 875566 or e-mail:

NCT Nearly New Sale in Windsor, April 20 Wednesday April 17 and Thursday April 18. TODDLER DAYS AT THE LOOK OUT – SHAPES AND PATTERNS at the Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. 10am-5pm. Art and craft, play dough, face or hand painting and story telling. Cost: £6.45 per parent and toddler, additional £1.50 per extra child. 01344 354400;

REST OF APRIL Saturday April 20. NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at the Windsor Leisure Centre, Stovell Road, Windsor. 1-2.30pm (12.45pm with a valid NCT membership card). Pick up clothes, toys and equipment in nearly new quality at bargain prices.; 0844 243 6264. Saturday April 20. BLUEBELL WALK at Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham. Guided seasonal walk through the grounds. Finish with tea, coffee and cake. All walks start at the Ormandy Centre at 2pm. Booking essential. Tickets: adults £7, children £3 (5-16). 01628 825 517; Sunday April 21. CLIVEDEN’S CAR DISPLAY on the Grand Avenue at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 12-3pm. Enjoy a tantalising line-up of extra special cars. Free, with normal admission. 01628 605069; Sunday April 21. CELEBRATE ST GEORGE’S DAY at Flackwell Heath Community Centre, Straight Bit, Flackwell Heath. 11am-4pm. Stalls, attractions, free children’s ride (under 10s), refreshments, pig roast. Free admission. All proceeds go to supporting the Cherry Fayre in July. 07774 452242; Sunday April 21. FAMILY FUN DAY at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, near Aylesbury. 10.30am-5.30pm. Tickets: adults £10, children £7, family £27, under 5s free. 01296 655720; Sunday April 21. STEAM AND DIESEL GALA at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, Station Approach, Station Road, Chinnor. All available steam and diesel locomotives will be in operation throughout the day. Tickets: adults £10, children (3-15) £5, family £25. Talking Timetable: 01844 353535;

Cloud Child, Norden Farm, April 27 Monday April 22. ASTRONOMY FOR BEGINNERS at Westmorland Park, off Westmorland Drive, Warfield. 8.30–10pm. Free event featuring talks and telescopes, which will give you the opportunity to learn more about the night sky in a hands on way. With thanks to Reading Astronomical Society. Suitable for all. Booking required on 01344 354441. Thursday April 25. BASIC LIFE SUPPORT COURSE Adult/Child/Infant with Child Matters at the Choco Latte Coffee House, Liston Court, Marlow, SL7 1ER from 7.30-10pm 07788720612; Saturday April 27. NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at St Piran’s School, Gringer Hill, Maidenhead. 1.30-3pm (1.15pm with valid NCT membership card). The Maidenhead and Marlow Spring Nearly New Sale. Items for sale include: Prams and equipment, baby and children's clothes, shoes, accessories, maternity wear, toys, books and much more. Entry: £1 donation. Saturday April 27. CLOUD CHILD at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 2pm and 4pm. Cloud Child comes down to earth on a windy day. A brand new show exploring the bond between parents and children in a very special way. Suitable for ages 2+ years. All family shows: £8.50, family (4 people) £31. 01628 788997; Saturday April 27. BLENDED 12 HOUR PAEDIATRIC FIRST AID COURSE/ 1 DAY COURSE FOR NANNIES & AU PAIRS with Child Matters at Booker Gym Club, HP12 4UE from 9.30am-4.30pm. 07788720612; Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28. BCA OPEN DAYS AND LAMBING WEEKEND at the Berkshire College of Agriculture, Hall Place, Burchetts Green, Maidenhead. 10am-4pm. With dog agility displays, birds of prey flying demonstrations, sheep shearing shows, parrot shows, ferret racing and livestock shows, tractor and trailer rides, equine demonstrations, shopping area and farmers market, and lots, lots more. Entry: £15 per car. 01628 827555; Tuesday April 30. BLUEBELL WALK in Black Park, Black Park Road, Wexham, Slough. 10-11.30am. Beautiful, 2-mile bluebell walk around Rowley Woods. Meet in Black Park Car Park to start the walk at 10am. Not suitable for pushchairs. Booking essential. Cost: adults £4, children £2, family £10. 01753 511060 or email:

Specialist Baby & Toddler Swimming Classes Aqua-Natal Yoga Classes Come out of your shell and learn to swim the Turtle Tots Way! For more information call Jodi on: 07823 885328 / 01628 785236 or email:

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Go Outside

All-weather fun!

Make a water run

Make the most of the great outdoors this spring with these all-weather activities, taken from The Wild Weather Book.

This fun challenge is a bit like making a marble run. Can you keep water flowing along an obstacle course without losing any on the way? • You will need a collection of empty plastic bottles and containers, funnels and pouring cups, metal cans (beware of sharp edges) or even some old plastic guttering or water pipes – anything that can be made into a channel for water to flow down. • Find some muddy puddles and push a few forked sticks into the mud. Cut bottles in half lengthways and fix them together by pushing them into cans. Make channels at different heights, checking that water can flow from one to the other. • Pour puddle water down your run to see how well it works. If it starts to rain heavily, see if the rainwater rushes down your run. • How far can you get the water to flow? Can you race little sticks or other natural materials down the run? • Have a water run competition. Each team makes their own water run and puts a large container at the bottom to collect the water. The winning team is the one that collects the most water in the shortest time.

Make a wind sock These colourful plastic-bag wind socks can show you where the wind is coming from and how strong it is. They’re also fun to take running with you in the wind. • Cut the bottom and the top off a plastic bottle or an icecream container to make a cylinder about 15cm/6in long. • Pierce a hole in each side of one end of the cylinder and thread a long piece of wool or string through the holes to make a handle. • Cut a large plastic bag or bin liner into a long tube-like shape, or perhaps cut out a more interesting shape, such as a fish or a snake. Tape together any loose edges on the long sides, but leave a hole at each end so that the wind can blow all the way through. • Using staples or tape, attach one open end of the tube around the prepared plastic cylinder. Stick on bits of colourful plastic bag and add long streamers to decorate. Let the wind fill up your wind sock and bring it to life.

Rain stencils These rain shadows of natural materials won’t last long, so have a camera ready to take a picture before they disappear.You’ll need to prepare before it starts raining. • Collect leaves of different shapes and sizes. Find a space on a patio or some paving, or put some sand in a tray and level the surface. • Arrange leaves or other natural materials into a pattern or a picture in your chosen space. If it’s windy, put stones on the leaves so that they won’t blow away. • Wait for a rain shower. Once it stops, pick up the leaves to reveal your stencil patterns. See if people can guess what natural materials you used by looking at the patterns.

There are loads more ideas of things to do outdoors in rain, wind and snow in The Wild Weather Book by local authors Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield (Frances Lincoln, £9.99), which is also available as an ebook across Kindle and Apple platforms.


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Supporting your Child through Grief It’s a sad fact, but at some point in their young life, your child will lose a loved one. How do you help them process their grief and when do children need professional support? Sarah Butters talks to Dan Bordoley, a Children and Young People’s Worker, who helps kids through a difficult time. he branches of the Tree of Life at St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds are filled with delicate copper leaves inscribed with the names of those who have died here. Each of these leaves represents a life lost, a family bereaved. Dan Bordoley has supported hundreds of children from those families through their grief. The smiling faces looking out of the latest newsletter from his department reveal that he’s doing vital work. Dan supports children dealing with the very worst sort of loss – often a parent - and says there are as many different ways to grieve. “Everyone grieves in their own way, at their own pace,” explains Dan. “Most model their parents, especially younger children.Very young children tend not to understand and so don’t accept the person has gone. They think they’re coming back. Death doesn’t mean the same to a young child as it does to you and me. That changes when they are around 6 years old. Then they begin to understand the person who has died isn’t coming back. They will have feelings but at that age can struggle with verbalising them.” Honesty and direct, real language is the key to communicating with children. There’s a natural instinct as a parent to want to protect your child from sadness and loss, but most of the children Dan works with say they prefer to know what’s going on. It gives them the chance to ask questions, and gives parents the chance to explain things. “Be clear with the words you use. Don’t be afraid to say ‘death’ and ‘dying’ otherwise the child will be confused,” Dan explains. “If you say you’ve ‘lost’ someone, a child thinks they can be found. If you say someone has ‘fallen asleep’ a child thinks they can be woken, or they can be scared to go to sleep themselves.” Dan’s work combines individual and family counseling with group workshops. Those workshops use art, drama, dance and sport to either focus the children’s mind on working through their grief, or providing a positive distraction with young people going through the same experiences. At the moment Dan’s planning a sailing trip in Newcastle and some self defence classes. However one of the most poignant exercises is ‘A Day to Remember’.


Parenting “It’s a very direct look at a child’s grief, but done in a fun way,” says Dan. “It’s a day of arts and crafts focused around the person who has died. It allows the children to process the memories, and not just the good ones. It’s about remembering the whole person.” Art is a big part of the therapy here at St Gemma’s and Dan uses drawing with the children. When the words run out, drawing a picture can be a way of communicating feelings. The walls of the art room are covered with work from both those being treated here and the children they leave behind. “A useful exercise to do with a child is to divide a piece of paper into three sections,” explains Dan. “This is before, during and the future. Get the child to draw a picture in each area. It helps to start a conversation, acknowledge what’s happened but importantly to see there’s a future. This can take some children ten minutes and others much longer.” Dan will see about 100 children this year aged between five and 16 years old. He describes his job as a privilege. The children he’s supported over his five years here have taught him a positive and important lesson about the human spirit that can give every grieving family hope in their darkest hour. “Most children are OK.Yes, they will be changed.Yes, the experience will stay with them for life. But they’ll be OK.” WHAT DO I SAY TO MY CHILD? *Tell them the truth. Excluding them can make them feel left out and resentful. By talking to them you control the information and keep communication channels open. *Use clear, real language. *Let your child know it’s ok to ask questions. They will have worries and concerns and verbalising them can help keep them in perspective.Younger children will ask the same question over again. Be patient. *Don’t hide your emotions from your child. By showing them that you are upset, you are giving them permission to show they are feeling too. *Keep your boundaries in place. Children become confused when the boundaries they’ve lived with disappear. If they’re badly behaved, tell them. If they’ve got a routine, stick to it.You’re giving them stability at a time when life feels very unstable. *Look out for changes in their behaviour – anger, anxiety, worry, fear of being abandoned. Their fears may be irrational but listen and respond to them in a straightforward and truthful manner. *Consult the professionals. If you feel your child isn’t communicating or coping- then ask for support.

Useful Websites Child Bereavement Charity: Child Bereavement Network: Winston’s Wish:

Eva Winter Osteopathy BSc (Hons), DPO • Providing safe and effective hands-on treatment for adults, children and babies • Clinic Marlow, 11 Liston Court, High Street, Bucks For more information T: 07776448700 E: W: Registered with the General Osteopathic Council,

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Ed’s Reading Room Hi kids, parents, grandparents, teachers – and book lovers everywhere! I’m Ed and here is my Spring book selection for you to enjoy. The books are all available online from Ed’s Reading Room at Ed’s Reading Room is an exciting free online book and story club for primary children in homes and schools. Each month, recently published books are selected as Ed’s Books of the Month for Owlets (age 5-7) and Owls (over 7s). On the website, there are fun literacy activities to accompany each book, including wordsearches, quizzes, poetry and reviews, and there are new original stories in Edtime Stories. There are also lots of other fun online activities, complementary to the curriculum. Check out Ed’s Archive for Ed’s Books of the Month from previous months.

For Ages 5 to 7 years Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg by Johanne Mercier (Phoenix Yard Books £4.99)

For Ages 7 years plus The Smug Pug by Anna Wilson (Macmillan Children’s Books £5.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Arthur finds an egg in his grandparents’ garden. It’s a fairly ordinary egg but when he takes it into the house the grown-ups make a huge fuss. It really is a puzzle where it came from as there are no chickens nearby – and they all try to solve that great mystery, which came first, the chicken or the egg? They are in for a big surprise when the egg cracks, leading Arthur to ask the grown-ups another tricky question!

ED SAYS: ‘Welcome to Crumbly-under-Edge! Pippa Peppercorn hates the idea of going back to school after the holidays but it is not as bad as she thinks because there is an intriguing new girl at school called Tallulah with an equally intriguing dog, Smug. But when Pippa tells Dash the dachshund at Mrs Fudge’s salon Chop ‘n’ Chat how amazing her new friends are, he is less than impressed.

‘This is a lovely story for young readers who are sure to see things from Arthur’s point of view. There are super illustrations throughout the book which is the first in a new series.’

‘This is a laugh-out-loud story that is packed full of action and fun. The delightfully wacky characters will amuse boys and girls alike.’

Ghost Buddy: How to Scare the Pants Off Your Pets by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver (Scholastic £5.99) ED SAYS: ‘Billy Broccoli and his ghostly pal Hoover Porterhouse III, also known as Hoove, are off on another adventure. Hoove is seriously lacking in responsibility so Billy makes it his business to help Hoove improve in this area and he decides a good way forward would be to find Hoove a pet to take care of. But Hoove is not really an animal type so will Billy succeed in helping Hoove mend his ways? ‘This is the latest story in this hilarious series. The adventure shared by these unlikely friends is very entertaining and is gripping from beginning to end.’

Bone Quill by John & Carole E Barrowman (Buster Books £6.99) ED SAYS: ‘Matt and Emily Calder are twins who possess extraordinary powers including the ability to bring paintings to life. In this their second adventure they try to find their mother who has gone missing and they desperately search for the ancient and mysterious bone quill by travelling back in time. Will they be able to stop those who attempt to abuse its power? ‘This is a thrilling story with fantastic characters and settings. It includes references to real and imaginary paintings thereby encouraging an interest in art. It’s a real page-turner of a book.’

Ed’s Reading Room is part of, a DTI award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on fitness walking and healthy eating. You are very welcome to contact Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email at about the website or about Ed on the Web Spelling Bees in schools.


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Bumps ‘n’ Babes

How HypnoBirthing can make labour easier by Mary Parrish

It’s not long after you share the exciting news that you’re pregnant with friends and family that you start to be told scary birth stories. Well-meaning Mums feel the need to share their birthing experiences with you, in order to prepare you for what lies ahead. They detail long labours, describe pain you have never experienced before and reinforce all the drama, which in the Western world we have been conditioned to believe goes hand-in-hand with labour. hen I was pregnant with my first baby, I decided that there must be another way and was lucky to come across HypnoBirthing. The techniques taught me how to achieve a calm, comfortable birth. My little boy was born quickly and without any pain relief. I used the HypnoBirthing breathing techniques and remained calm and relaxed throughout my labour and thoroughly enjoyed the birthing experience – so much so that I decided to train as a practitioner. I wanted to help as many women as possible achieve a natural, calm birth for themselves and their babies. HypnoBirthing, The Mongan Method, is the gold standard of HypnoBirthing and is a total childbirth programme devised by Marie Mongan. Whilst pregnant, Marie read Dr Dick-Read’s book ‘Childbirth Without Fear’ where he described the ‘Fear – Tension – Pain syndrome of childbirth’. When a woman is fearful, she will experience the ‘fight or flight’ response, the oxygenated blood is directed to the defence system and away from the uterus. The uterus becomes oxygen deprived and tense, the muscles are not able to work effectively and pain is experienced. Dr DickRead believed that when fear is eliminated the muscles and uterus can work more


efficiently and effectively, thus eliminating pain. With this knowledge, Marie Mongan developed the HypnoBirthing programme, which teaches you self-hypnosis so that you remain relaxed and calm and free from fear and tension. Over the years, we have become conditioned to believe that childbirth is painful. As a first-time Mum, the only experience you have to go on is what is portrayed on television where births are always surrounded by drama, or real-life stories from other Mums that can be equally dramatic. It is no wonder that pregnant women become fearful of how painful labour will be and when the time actually comes they tense up when they experience a contraction. The uterus muscles aren’t able to do their job and the body experiences pain. The fear itself actually creates the pain, which makes labour harder and it becomes a vicious circle that is hard to break. HypnoBirthing teaches women that our bodies are perfectly designed to birth our children and in the majority of cases without the need for any intervention. Women learn what their body is trying to do at every stage of labour and they also learn specific breathing techniques, so that they can work with their bodies as opposed

to against them. The course empowers women to be in control during their labour rather than handing it over to the midwife or doctor. These classes are not just for first-time Mums, they can benefit all mothers regardless of how many children they have had or what kind of births they have experienced so far. The techniques can be used for all births whether you are choosing to give birth at home, in water, at a hospital or a birthing centre. HypnoBirthing classes can be completed with your birthing partner either on a oneto-one basis or with a few other couples. It is important that the birthing partner comes to the classes because they then play an active role in the birth and learn specific techniques to help Mum relax during the birth. There is no set time to complete the course, however ideally it is good to have completed the course by week 32, so that you have plenty of time to practice the selfhypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques. HypnoBirthing does not come with the guarantee of a pain-free birth, but with practice the techniques learnt can work. Most importantly it helps the mother to feel in control of the whole birthing experience. If mothers are calm and have a drug free birth it will allow their babies to enter this world gently and naturally. Now could you see a birth like that being shown on a popular TV soap? Maybe not, but it would be great if they did to remind women that birth can be natural and a positive experience. For more information about Mary’s classes in Wraysbury, Berkshire go to or the UK HypnoBirthing website


Please contact Elaine Dennis for further information Tel: 07876 338925 E-mail: Website:

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Mums Who Mean Business How Networking can re-invigorate your business By Katie Wilson Networking is defined as a supportive system of sharing information and services amongst individuals and groups having a common interest. There are numerous networking groups set up in the UK and on a local level that facilitate networking for small and medium size businesses. For businesses in the current challenging climate, networking is the one of the best tools in your business development armoury to create sales and lasting relationships with prospective customers, and clients, as well as building lasting partnerships. Building relationships through networking is a sure fire way to find potential sales as well as developing win-win partnerships that can open new markets and opportunities for your products and/or services. The likelihood is that if you are not networking then your competitors are. So get out there, get connected, mingle and converse. Be proud, passionate and enthusiastic about your products and services, this will shine through and attract people to you. Business is not going to just land on your lap or arrive in your inbox. If you are not out there talking about your business and raising awareness then you are not going to be creating the opportunities that will help it grow. Your business deserves a voice and networking is great way to increase its profile. continued on page 31


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Top 10 Tips for Networking 1. Feel the fear and do it anyway? - Networking can be felt to be quite a frightening prospect. Walking into a room and not knowing anyone can raise anxiety levels in the most confident of people. But remember you are all in the same position, or have been at some point. All of the groups I have ever been to have been friendly, inclusive and very useful in one way or another. If you don’t try you will never know the benefits that networking can bring. So GO FOR IT! 2. Find suitable networking groups - Find meetings that suit your diary as well as your budget and your product/service. This way your business is likely to have the biggest impact possible. For example my networking group, Exceptional Mumpreneurs is a networking group for women and mums in business. It has a pay per meeting policy, where are something like the BNI or 4Networking is more structured and you have to commit to a 6to 2 month period as a minimum. 3. Take Business Cards and Collaterals - Ensure you attending meeting with your latest marketing collaterals and business cards 4. Be open to opportunities - Be friendly and listen. Court people’s opinions on your product and service for feedback. It is the often the best way to grow your business and to find new ideas. 5. Make a lasting impression - If you have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your business make it interesting, unique and succinct, so people remember you. 6. To commit or not to commit? -Most networking groups that have longer-term membership fees allow you to attend 1 to 3 meetings for free or at a minimum charge. Take time to trial as many groups as possible before you finally settle and commit your money to any kind of membership. Make sure it is the right group for you and your business. 7. Get connected - Make sure you share your social media pages on your marketing material and then after meetings search out other businesses that you have met to show that you are actively interested in their business. This benefits you to by helping your page ‘likes’ to grow and gains you more exposure. 8. Opportunities increase with networking momentum - The more quality meetings you attend the more opportunities you are likely to come across and develop, so keep up the momentum. Attend meetings regularly - relationships take time for trust to build, so make sure you put in the effort. 9. Use Social Media to network 24/7 - Social media is a free way to network round the clock. So take advantage and get involved. 10. Follow-Up - Contact people you have meet after the event. Re-introduce yourself, share information about your business and if appropriate arrange 1:1 meetings.



Classifieds Networking, if done in the correct way, can open doors that you never knew existed. It can give you the break you were looking for, or a new client who becomes your best customer. Be bold, be brave and be open to new opportunities and if you find a meeting that does not suit you, then try another. There are so many meetings out there, you will find one that suits you and your business. Katie Wilson, runs Exceptional Marketing. 07850 898 361,

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Families Thames Valley East Mar-Apr 2013  

Families Thames Valley East Magazine Mar-Apr 2013