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Thames Valley West IN THIS ISSUE

It’s party time! The great schools debate Half term days out Family festivals survival guide 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 selfemployed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle

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Issue 101 May/June 2019


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...endless ideas for families of young children in Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire Families® Thames Valley West • Issue 101 • May/June 2019 Visit us at www.familiesonline.co.uk

In This Issue... 4

News and Views


Family friendly beaches in Europe

Hello from the Editor

Don’t miss these great offers • FREE RedKangaroo socks worth £2 for Families magazine readers, see page 2 • 20 per cent off Smart Infused Fud order, see page 6 • £20 off Fire Tech Camps, see page 13 • FREE trial at diddi dance, see page 21 • One FREE child with one full paying adult at The Look Out Discovery Centre, see page 28


Education News


Single sex or mixed – the great schools debate


Positive discipline


Are we squashing our kids’ creativity?


It’s party time!


Party directory

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24 26 30 31

Find us on Facebook and Instagram

Smart route to success Mrs Bun’s chicken pies

Clubs and classes directory Clubs and classes news

How to encourage a love of music in your child

Family festivals – the survival guide What’s on

Cooking classes for your child

Dealing with medical emergencies: choking

There are three party-loving princesses in our household so I know only too well the stresses of birthday planning. Hopefully, this party special issue will help you embrace the mayhem. As well as offering inspiration for your theme, we have a directory of some of the best party suppliers in our area. All designed to help ease some pressure so you can you enjoy the celebration (almost) as much as your little ones. Look out for some great education features in this issue. We spoke to the headteachers of several leading independent schools about why they think co-education or single sex works best. Their viewpoints make fascinating reading. We also explore whether, in our drive for excellence in the core subjects, we are robbing our children of the creativity that will give them confidence, self-esteem and practical problem-solving skills.

To advertise: If you are reading this, so are your customers! We can help you reach an audience of over 47,000 parents in Reading, Henley, Newbury, Wokingham, Bracknell and West Berkshire. Give us a call on 07968 711937 or drop us a line at editor@familiestvw.co.uk to find out how we can help support your family friendly business!

The Families Team Editor: Rachel Jones Designed by: Ridgeway Press Ltd, 01256 300 420 www.ridgewaypress.co.uk Next Issue: July/August – Summer Holiday Special! Summer camps & classes plus the biggest What’s On guide to keep the kids entertained in the school holidays. Booking deadline: 10 June.

Enjoy some sunny Spring days out with your families (inspiration aplenty in What’s on) you may even be planning a far flung adventure soon, in which case, do check out the Travel Counsellor’s guide to family friendly beaches in Europe. We look forward to seeing you back in July for our round-up of the hottest Summer activities and holiday camps.


Thames Valley West

Families Thames Valley West is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Thames Valley West are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Thames Valley West. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof.

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News & Views

Glamour by the river Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous, intimate festival returns to its spectacular setting on the riverbank in Henley-on-Thames from 10th-14th July. The UK’s only

Bringing out the genius An established Japanese ‘braintraining’ programme for children has hit the UK and the results are impressive. The Shichida Method follows the principle that the vast majority of brain and sensory development takes place between the ages of 0-4. By seven, our brains are 80 per cent developed. It consists of a structured programme – delivered through a course of classes with four to six children, accompanied by their parents – designed to develop a child’s senses in a fun manner. Activities range from work with numbers and letters, to music and storytime, and from critical thinking and memory games to image play. The founders claim that the combination of activities – pitched at exactly the right level – lead to photographic memory skills, computer-like calculation capability, multi language acquisition ability and more.

black-tie festival, Henley Festival offers Michelin-starred food, award-winning comedians, critically acclaimed musicians, and a fireworks spectacular. Headline musical acts include platinum-selling Jessie J, and pop

Shichida UK has been running classes in Reading for over a year, and there are already some remarkable success stories. Some of the two-year old ‘regulars’ can now recognise numbers up to 50, count in fives and tens, recognise basic sight words and complete simple additions. Three to fouryear olds have the imagination to complete a story with minute detail. One of the Shichida UK founders, Shraddha Tekurkar, says: “Our programme is all about pulling out innate ability – we believe that every child has the potential to be a genius." Vandana Prasad, Founder, adds: "The techniques really work. The classes are also very enjoyable for both parents and their children. Some of our families are happy to make a three-hour round trip to attend." The promoters are now looking to franchise the business and open other centres across the UK.

4 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

icon and mega-star, Boy George. The 2019 comedy line-up is set to be bigger and better than ever, with the likes of Ed Byrne, Andy Hamilton, Julian Clary and Murray Lachlan-Young. Sunday daytime sees the festival turned into a huge playground for families and kids of all ages, with activities and entertainers, who captivate and enchant. 2019’s

Family Sunday offers balloon making, glitter tattoos, music lessons, comedy for kids, toddler disco and choir performances. Comedian Murray Lachlan-Young will also be bringing his special performance of Modern Cautionary Tales for Children to Henley and Turn Around Theatre will be presenting the tale of The Thief, Fox and The Phoenix at the festival.

Bounce bigger at RedKangaroo Reading!

sensory needs, autism or any other access requirements. As well as fun-filled bounce sessions, enjoy a gravity-defying party where children and young adults, friends and family can celebrate together. Not only will you have exclusive use of a party room and party host, but your guests will enjoy a 1-hour bounce session and trampoline games, a pair of RedKangaroo socks plus food and drink for all to enjoy after the bounce.

Get ready to bounce at RedKangaroo Reading, the ultimate trampoline park and the perfect place to get active and have fun. RedKangaroo is packed with wall-to-wall trampolines, gigantic foam pits, dodgeball courts, reaction walls, an epic wipeout game and more. Open seven days a week, RedKangaroo offers sessions for all ages and abilities including Kanga Tots for the little ones and a relaxed Kanga Calm session, designed for people with

Families magazine readers can pick up a free pair of Red Kangaroo socks – just take the voucher with you on page 2.


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News & Views The festival with a heart

Wondering about robots? In the world-class Imperial College London, Cory, a 13-year-old boy, is on his third Python course at Fire Tech. He says: "I used to think coding was bland and boring, but one day robots will control the stock market and I want to learn how to code them now." They're at Fire Tech, a tech camp for 9-17-year-olds, led by Jill Hodges and her team. Fire Tech has now delivered over 12,000 tech learning experiences to young people in the UK, Australia, and the Middle East. But what are they doing to solve the gender gap in STEM careers? Jill Hodges, said: "As the head of Fire Tech, I see how much girls enjoy tech and coding when they come to our classes. We have one

Art for all Contemporary Arts Fairs is the brainchild of Deborah James and Sarah McAllister, who identified a need for an informal, accessible way for established, award-winning and emerging artists to showcase their work and skills to a wider audience. The next showcase of the best contemporary art will be held at Newbury Racecourse from 10-11 May. From first time buyers on a budget and homeowners with an empty wall to art lovers and discerning collectors all seeking that elusive wow factor, there

of the highest girl participation rates around. But I also know that we get a lot of calls from girls or their mums who are concerned about being the sole girl in a class. “We don’t think tech needs to go “pink” to attract girls, but we do think that more girls will feel excited about coming to a course where they know they'll meet women studying STEAM subjects, and build their projects alongside like-minded young women. That's why this year we launched some All-Girls classes that allow young women to work together to problem solve, create, communicate, and build a community of tech-enabled young women."

The Around The Boundary charity festival returns to South Oxfordshire on Bank Holiday Sunday 5th May. After the success of last year, this fabulous boutique day festival returns with more fantastic live music, kids entertainment, the best local food, some of the UK’s finest food trucks, a coffee roaster, local breweries and a bar brimming with local liquor, brilliant beer and wonderful wine. Big kids and little ones will find fun and games galore with an action-packed family programme of activities. Bertie Slippers will take to the stage early on for a small person sing along and entertain up

will be something to suit every taste and spend. A range of exciting, interactive activities will be on offer, including a children’s Art Quest activity trail, art and craft workshops, live artist demos, free auction valuations by TV’s Thomas Forrester, delicious café, bar and wine tasting. Sarah explains: “Art is for one and all, and to bring it together alongside real, live interaction with the artists themselves makes the magic of art and creativity wonderfully accessible to everyone.”

close in the field. Drumming and circus skills workshops are back with the Go Dynamite team. There will be storytellers, art, crafts, country fayre games, welly wanging, bubble shows, a vintage funfair and haystacks a plenty. Around The Boundary raises money for the Bevington Foundation, set up by Berkshire brothers Jez and Matt Felwick in memory of their friend, Chris Bevington, who was killed in the Stockholm Terror Attack two years ago. The event takes place from 11am - 11pm at Kidmore End Cricket Club.


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News & Views A passion for chocolate Sam Slater escaped the corporate world six years ago to devote herself to chocolate. Making it, that is! Such is her success that her creations have been described as ‘truly delicious’ by Michelin star restaurant, L’Ortolan. We asked Sam, who lives at Bradfield, West Berkshire, how it happened: How did the idea come about? My lovely Aunt Tilly succumbed to cancer just a few weeks before my daughter (also Tilly) was born. Like her, I wanted to make the most of life and went through a period of reflection. In the midst of that I was out shopping with my mum and saw some chocolate moulds. She adores chocolate and bought them for me. The rest is history! Where do you sell your chocolates? A variety of places - online, shops, florists and at events such as festivals and village markets. What else do you do? I love sharing the passion for chocolate making and it is a lot

easier than people think. It is perfect for kids as they cannot burn themselves! I also do a lot of demonstrations for groups. What is your bestseller – and your personal favourite? Salted caramel is always a popular flavour. I make salted caramel bars and boxes of gooey salted caramel chocolates, as well as salted caramel hot chocolate. But my personal favourite is my salted pistachio dark chocolate bar. How do you juggle motherhood with your business? It’s challenging! Motherhood itself is challenging, and having a business is like having another baby. I am lucky that I have a

6 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

supportive husband, a brilliant mum and an amazing childminder, as well as some really good business buddies. What advice would you give to other start-ups? Invest in yourself, and most especially look after yourself — don’t burn out. Invest in expertise for the things you don’t enjoy or are not your strengths and get some business buddies!

What does the future hold for Tilly’s Treats? As well as extending our chocolate range, we are working on a really big dream that I have had from the beginning to provide support for others who want to work flexibly. It’s early days on that one but I will find a way! tillystreats.co.uk


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Family Friendly Beaches in Europe

With the summer holidays nearly upon us, West Berkshire travel counsellor, Sally Murray, offers her insider tips on some of the best beaches for families across Europe – from a great place to spot nesting sea turtles in Greece, to a watersports paradise in Croatia.

Gerakas Beach, Zakynthos, Greece This beach at the southern end of the island is gently shelving and hence ideal with smaller children. Wander along the shoreline, taking in the family-friendly atmosphere. In May and June, the spot is also home to loggerhead turtles making their way to the beach to nest. If you’re visiting in July or August, look out for babies hatching and flip-flopping back to sea. Caneiros, Algarve, Portugal If your family has a large age gap between the kids, head for Caneiros – you’ll find something for everyone. With golden sands for younger children and pedalo and kayak rental for your teenagers, everyone’s a winner. Zlatni Rat, Bol, Croatia Repeatedly listed as one of the top seaside destinations in Europe and indeed, the world, with its long pebbly beach reaching out into

the Adriatic. With lifeguards on hand during the summer, you can enjoy many activities including windsurfing, paddle-boating, jetskiing, snorkelling and paddling with younger children. Rented sun-loungers and umbrellas, showers and nearby cafés make this beach ideal for families to make themselves at home.

with waiter service will provide you with the luxury of enjoying your favourite tipple while your children play happily in the sand. The nearby village also offers a wealth of taverns, restaurants, bars and shops.

Viareggio, Tuscan Riviera, Italy This family-friendly seaside town boasts heavenly beaches and traditional Italian culture. The shallow waters are safe for children to paddle in, and older children can try sailing and other water sports. Away from the beach, visit the abundance of restaurants, sample delicious Italian cuisine, or visit the shops and art galleries on the promenade.

Been tempted by any of these amazing destinations? Please get in touch: Sally Murray – Personal Travel Counsellor – I will create your perfect travel experience 01635 766008 sally.murray@travelcounsellors.com travelcounsellors.co.uk/sally.murray facebook.com/SallyMurrayTC

Gerakina, Halkidiki, Greece Located at the northern end of the Sithonia peninsula, this 450m stretch of private beach

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Education News The best start to a lifetime of learning Mark Bushby, Head of the Prep School at St Joseph’s College in Reading, shares his thoughts on helping your child to get the best start in their educational journey. It is common knowledge that young children learn at an astonishing pace – they take in everything around them and are constantly acquiring new skills. But how important is it to harness this learning potential, and what can we do to make sure children use it to get the best start in life? According to leading charity, Save the Children, “all young people should have access to a graduate early years teacher because they are the single biggest indicator of quality childcare. Without them, children are 10 per cent less likely to reach good levels of development in their first year of primary school.” Between the ages of three and five, children’s brains become more efficient and complex. A three year old’s brain is about twice as active as an adult’s brain, and neural networks are refined as language skills emerge and vocabulary expands. As the architecture of the brain is strengthened, children are able to learn and recognise more words. As time goes on, the brain circuits become increasingly difficult to change so the early years are an absolutely critical time to lay foundations for later development.

Early education and childcare play a vital role in supporting this development. Early Years teachers play a critical role in creating a high quality learning environment and so children who attend settings led by qualified teachers are much better positioned to learn effectively at this critical stage. This research found that the higher the average qualification level, the better the setting is able to support children’s developing language and thinking skills. Qualified Early Years teachers are able to extend children’s verbal contributions, scaffold conversations and use sustained shared thinking techniques. They can ensure that children are encouraged to learn in a way that will seamlessly blend into formal learning once they are in Reception and beyond. Their learning will still be for the most part child-led and child-initiated, but a teacher’s experience and qualifications will enable them to support and enhance this into a more valuable long term experience, that will be built upon throughout their years at school. The challenge is then on to find a setting for your three-year-old which offers the right blend of care and education – careful to nurture very young children but also with an eye on their future learning. If you are a working parent, this is often compounded by the need to find a setting that is open year-

round – many school-based nurseries are only open during term time, and few holiday clubs cater for children under five. Increasingly, schools are beginning to be more aware of the needs of working parents, and are starting to offer more flexible solutions – something that is undeniably necessary given that 72% of families have two working parents.

Top prize for Queen Anne’s in Mandarin competition Four young linguists from Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, showcased their skills at the HSBC British Council Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition to be placed second nationally.

French and Spanish. The final result was a close call, but the Queen Anne’s group team was delighted to achieve second place, while Molly in year 10 came third in the individual category.

Held at the British Museum in London, the four students from years 8 to 10 battled against the UK’s leading schools to prove their Mandarin skills to a panel of distinguished judges.

Queen Anne’s School, set just north of the River Thames, offers day, flexi and full boarding for girls aged 11-18. Find out more about the education on offer at www.qas.org.uk or visit the Open Morning on Saturday 11 May or Open Evening on Thursday 13 June.

The girls began learning Mandarin in year 7 and are also studying


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Families Thames Valley West • 9

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Single-sex or mixed – the great schools debate By Rachel Jones, Families TVW Editor Cambridge University – amongst the most traditional of educational institutions – has announced that one of its last remaining women-only colleges will accept men. It is a move that is increasingly being reflected in the independent schools sector. Settings that have been single sex since time began are, one-byone, moving to co-education. In the Thames Valley, some well know girls- or boys-only schools have announced a change of direction this year – from The Oratory near Reading to Rupert House in Henley-on-Thames. Others remain resolutely single sex, and claim it makes for more focused, uninhibited pupils who achieve better. Nationally, each of the top ten independent schools (by GCSE results) teach boys or girls discretely. Alun Jones, former President of the Girls’ Schools Association, makes a good case for the performance gap: “If you have a very bright, very driven, very focused, very articulate lady (which a lot of girls are), that intimidates a boy in the classroom, especially those of average ability. The result is that boys don’t put their hands up to answer questions or they indulge in immature behaviour to avoid being shown up. Boys are falling behind as girls are doing better. Boys will put their hands up if they feel safe; they won’t if they are in fear of being ridiculed or humiliated.” Those who champion co-education claim it better prepares children for the real world. Slightly lower grades are, it is suggested, a price worth paying for increased confidence and social skills, and being more at ease with the opposite sex. They maintain that girls and boys can learn from each other in the classroom, and that great teaching is about

adapting for the different personality types – not just genders – you come across in any classroom. There is one point on which many educationalists agree. Every child is different and the most important challenge is to find the school in which you think yours will thrive, and which dovetails with your family’s values – whether that be co-education or single sex. The debate is bound to rumble on, and I for one think it can never be resolved. The grass is green on both sides of this particular educational fence. I spoke to the headteachers from several schools across Berkshire and South Oxfordshire about why they believe their particular model works.

The Oratory for a range of reasons – the atmosphere, ethos, personal attention, academic results – rather than because we were single sex.” Some aspects of PSHE and RSE are likely to be taught separately to give pupils more freedom to express themselves without feeling self-conscious. Mr Smith accepts that the change will not be without its challenges: “Good teachers can accommodate the differences in learning styles, and we will be providing plenty of preparation and training. Boys and girls are not a different species. “In my experience, personality type has a greater impact on learning styles than gender. Having said that, boys are often inherently competitive – if the advent of bright, articulate girls in the classroom encourages them to ‘up their game’, that can only be a good thing. If the influence of boys makes some of the girls more academically robust and confident in standing their ground in a debate, that is also a positive.”

Rupert House School Clare Lynas, head teacher at Rupert House School in Henley-on-Thames agrees: “Learning The Oratory styles vary greatly according to the individual The Oratory Schools Association near and not simply by gender. However, there Reading – a longstanding boys-only are significant numbers of children “Teaching the senior school with a mixed prep – who benefit from, for example, an has recently announced that it core subjects active and physical approach to will be accepting girls separately ensures that no learning. This will include some throughout from September child feels dispirited or boys and some girls. The vast 2020. Governors and the distracted, and can fulfil majority of our staff were trained senior leadership team made his or her own potential.” and gained their teaching the move in the interests of experience in co-ed schools, and David Fleming, equity. Headteacher Joe Smith Brockhurst & Marlston are very aware of the learning explains: “We wanted to remove styles and needs of different groups House the barrier to girls coming through of children. We would automatically the school, and to provide equal plan for this by differentiating in our access to the excellent education that our schemes of work and lesson plans.” boys enjoy. Our parents tell us that they want Boys currently leave Rupert House School at their daughters to be educated – and, in the the end of year 2 but, from September, will be case of boarders, to live – alongside their sons. welcome until the end of Year 6 along with Logistically, it can be very challenging to have their female peers. Mrs Lynas explains the siblings at different schools. In talking to our rationale: “It is a natural progression for us as a parents, it became clear that they are choosing school. Firstly, our boys have benefitted from the excellent foundations provided by our PrePrep School and then gone on to win accolades and prizes in their next schools. We want to keep these capable boys and allow them to carry on working alongside the girls whom they have known since Nursery. There does seem to be a movement, nationally, towards greater co-education and we felt that our parents would like that option. In the past, prospective parents have been very keen on the school until they learned that their son would have to move.”

Brockhurst School

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Luckley House Like Rupert House, Luckley House School has made the move from all-girls to co-education with great support from existing and potential parents. The small school in Wokingham now has around 300 pupils on-roll between the ages of 11 and 18. Headteacher Jane Tudor is


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passionate about the school’s different rates, and are happier and more successful if they are taught ethos, which recognises the separately for the formative years. inherent and creative value in every He says: “While much is down to child. This leads the school’s the nature of the child, girls tend to approach to learning and pastoral mature earlier; they work well care more than assumptions about collaboratively and are more the difference in ability and confident in areas like reading. performance between girls and Boys’ concentration can be less boys. Jane has personal experience and they respond well to subject of gender stereotyping. A science matter that taps into their interests, and maths-loving child who so we find that they are more happily ‘knocked out’ her engaged with shorter, more homework on the school bus, she focused tasks with plenty of variety. was once criticised by a teacher for Teaching the core subjects ‘working like a boy’! separately ensures that no child Jane says: “Trying to feels dispirited or distracted, pigeon-hole learners and can fulfil his or her own into what their “Trying potential. gender says does to pigeon-hole “By mixing the children young people a learners into what their outside the classroom, disservice. As a gender says does they still have the small school, we young people a opportunity to socialise have the luxury and to learn from each disservice.” of knowing every other. There is little Jane Tudor, pupil well and trouble readjusting in Year Luckley House. ensuring that they 7 when our classes become are individually co-educational, or for those progressing well. It would pupils that move on to a mixed be fair to say that you often have to secondary school.” Teaching the work a little harder to engage the sexes separately until Year 6 also boys, but that is the mark of a great enables teaching staff to prepare teacher, and dynamic teaching can the children for their next only benefit the girls too.” Jane educational step – sometimes at argues that too much store can be 11+ entry for girls, and otherwise placed on the co-ed versus single 13+ Common Entrance for boys. sex debate. “For me, there are far David acknowledges that there is a more important factors for families performance gap between boys to consider when choosing a and girls throughout their school. Are the children happy and schooling. “You cannot deny the relaxed? Does day-to-day life feel data. Boys do get there – but often calm, reassuring and purposeful? not until their University Finals!” What are you seeing on the walls – is it versions of the same thing, or Horris Hill School originality? All that is what sets Flying the flag for single sex apart a great school.” schools is Horris Hill in Newbury – a boarding and day preparatory Brockhurst & Marlston House school for boys aged 7 to 13. Brockhurst & Marlston House Headteacher, Giles Tollit, says: “We Schools at Hermitage, near believe that the period from 4 - 13 Newbury believes it takes the best years of age is the most critical in from both single sex and coany boy’s life. These are the years education in a ‘diamond model’. where the foundations of the men Pre-preparatory children are mixed, they can become are laid. At such a before being separated into boys crucial stage in their cultural (Brockhurst) and girls (Marlston development, we believe that an House) until year 7, when they are all-boys’ school provides the finally reunited for the last two optimal setting where boys will years. Throughout the single sex exercise their intellectual years, the two schools share inquisitiveness, free to explore all facilities, and boys and girls are avenues, building self-confidence mixed for many of their extraand awareness in a safe and curricula activities, plus meal times encouraging environment.” and assemblies. Their classrooms With a history stretching back are adjoining, with pupils coming 130 years, the staff at Horris Hill together for certain lessons. draw from a great collective Headteacher, David Fleming, understanding of educating boys. believes that girls and boys often “We know and understand boys,” learn in different ways and at adds Giles. “We celebrate and


Rupert House School

support them, and are not surprised by what they do. Boys are not held back by being negatively compared to girls (who, for several crucial years are quite a bit better at most things!), or because they

Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel:07968 711937

shy away from activities which are seen as more for girls. Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect school, and families must be aware of what they need to provide at home to complete the package.”

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Positive Discipline W

ith family and work life busier than ever, a barrage of parenting techniques to choose from and the added pressure of everyone else’s kids behaving better than yours… ..finding discipline strategies that really work and avoiding the trap of inconsistent parenting (the kind that fluctuates between overly permissive and overly authoritarian) can be a source of frustration and stress for many of us. For nearly thirty years, Jane Nelsen (distinguished psychologist, educator, and mother of seven) has built on the wisdom and research of others to find a solution. Known as Positive Discipline, this approach has become the gold standard in a common sense style of parenting that relies on principles that work instead of theories that don’t. It includes a number of different techniques that, used in combination, can lead to more effective ways for parents (and teachers) to manage children’s behaviour.

Headteacher of Meadowbrook School in Warfield, Serena Gunn, was one of the first to introduce parent workshops in Positive Discipline and manages a school that has embedded this approach into its practice. As a highly experienced lecturer in child development and parent herself, ex school inspector, parent coach and Head teacher, Serena, has seen first-hand the difference that Positive Discipline can make to families. ‘Adopting Positive Discipline as a way of life has made a tremendous difference to my approach with children. Instead of anger, frustration and blame, my default has become one that focuses on collaboration and problem solving. Adopting a Positive Discipline approach to daily parenting struggles, provides long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. It teaches children important life skills, encourages them to think for

themselves, develop essential problem solving skills that they need to become happy and contributing members of society and have greater respect for themselves and others.’ Positive Discipline focuses on positive points of behaviour in order to motivate children to do better and not feel worse. Good behaviour is reinforced and negative behaviours eliminated without resorting to shouting, bribing and punishment. As Serena points out, this does not mean ignoring bad behaviours but rather being able to deal with them in a mutually respectful and encouraging way that uses kindness and firmness simultaneously. ‘Kindness is essential when disciplining children if we want to be an influence on their behaviour and model respect. Firmness, is needed out of respect for us as parents and the needs of the situation.’

Positive Discipline Workshops for Parents are held at Meadowbrook School in Warfield on a regular basis. Visit www.meadowbrook.uk for further information. School Inset training or workshops for teachers are also provided upon request.

Top Tips: • Understand the meaning behind children’s behaviour so that you can respond to it and not react to it. • Focus on controlling yourself and not your child. • Be consistent and follow through with what you say. • When dealing with misbehaviour, consider what children are thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about themselves, about you and about their world. This can often stop us in our tracks!

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CALL or EMAIL TODAY veronica@hearandnowauditory.com Mobile 07534 307 203 • 43% of children with learning difficulties and 25% of people with Dyslexia ALSO have APD. • Auditory Integration Training improves auditory processing and diminishes overall stress on the system ALLEVIATING MANY OF THE SYMPTOMS of sensory conditions • Clinically supervised, intensive and highly successful programmes, conducted by Berard practitioner Veronica van Nierop B.Sc; D.C; N.E.T; A.R.T; Find out if AIT could benefit you or your child with a 15 minute chat.


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Families Thames Valley West • 13

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Creativity Feature

Are we squashing our kids’ creativity? By Families TVW features writer, Barrie Hedges We all want our children to be brilliant mathematicians, readers and writers. But in our drive for excellence in the core subjects are we at the same time robbing them of the creativity that will also give them confidence, self-esteem and practical problem-solving skills? With funding pressures often leading to a reduction in the time individual schools can devote to music, drama, dance and visual arts, there are fears that we are in danger of creating ‘exam robots’ rather than imaginative gogetters. One interesting comparison comes from a senior educationalist who describes pupils in Belgium as being far more independent, happy and enthusiastic. “What a contrast with the UK system,” she says. “Our children at age four and five still arrive at schools buzzing with excitement; they have so many ideas. But oh so quickly the UK education system starts to drive out creativity and individuality.” So … what’s the situation in our part of the Thames Valley? We put the issue of creativity in schools to a series of educational creativity specialists whose job it is to enthuse local children with a love of artistic subjects. Music: Inspire Guitar School offers a tailored service to primary and secondary schools in Reading. Proprietor Alex Clarke runs private or school-funded individual and small group lessons on guitar, bass and ukulele. The classes go all the way from ‘little crotchets and quavers’ for nursery and year 1 through music theory to composition, music technology and production. “The benefits of learning to play musical instruments cannot be overstated,” says Alex. “Learning to play helps with confidence, mindfulness, discipline and creativity to name a few. Music is a great confidence builder because it is a skill that children can readily demonstrate. It can also be hugely beneficial to

children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or other behavioural problems — I have seen some big changes in those who have never before tried music as a therapy.” inspireguitar.co.uk Drama: Berkshire Theatre School. Sammy Fonfe and Phil Buck run the Berkshire Theatre Company, which offers a Saturday theatre school for ages four to 21. They also run holiday workshops and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) classes in schools across Berkshire and South Oxfordshire. Sammy believes drama has much to offer children. “Acting releases endorphins and enables children to forget about homework or exam revision,” she says. “A break from the intense learning in school can often help them perform better when they come back to it. It benefits all children, but especially those for whom academia is a struggle or who experience challenges in their lives — drama gives them so much self-confidence and helps them make new friends.” berkshiretheatrecompany.co.uk Visual arts: Lots of Lovely Art (LoLA). Alara Hindle and Selina Swayne run art workshops in schools and work with teachers. They have also set up a new service to bring LoLA’s innovative art classes to families at home with a monthly ‘curated’ art box. Says Alara: “In recent years, school curricula all over the world have shifted heavily toward reading and maths. Creativity, confidence and a love of the arts are not easily measurable

14 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

Expanding horizons with the Portuguese Language Club

through standardised tests. But it has been shown time and again that art education is an important building block in a child’s development. “Teaching art in and out of schools for the past 15 years, I have seen how creativity can open conversations, relax children, encourage socialisation, improve fine motor skills, help with maths and language skills, and elicit selfpride and confidence.” lotsoflovelyart.com Languages: Portuguese Language Club. Based in Tilehurst, Reading, Maria Rodrigues offers Portuguese tuition within schools to GCSE and A-level, and also privately. She places particular emphasis on creating a happy teaching environment that helps children to absorb the subject. “Portugal is one of the most popular holiday destinations for a lot of parents, and they like their children to learn the language,” she says. “The core subjects are very important but learning a new language can do so much for a child, especially if it is tied to understanding the culture and values. It expands their horizons and helps them to form cross-cultural friendships. portugueselanguageclub.co.uk Music: Berkshire Maestros is the lead organisation of the Berkshire Music Hub, delivering instrumental and singing lessons in schools across the county and at music centres in Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham, Newbury and Windsor. Chief Executive Lynne Ellis makes a strong case for music as a medium for stimulating and challenging children and giving them a real sense of achievement as well as creating a powerful community bond across the school. Says Lynne: “We believe that music has the power to enrich and fulfill young lives, so our aim is to work together to make sure that young people, teachers, musicians, schools and the wider community find exciting ways to make music. Together, we will make a difference to children and young people, and light a musical spark that will, hopefully, last a lifetime.” berkshiremaestros.org.uk familiesonline.co.uk

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It’s Party Time! Planning your child’s birthday can involve deep-breathing and militarystyle planning. This annual event has kids jumping for joy but many parents breaking out into a cold sweat. Claire Winter takes a look at some different party ideas to inspire you. Food Parties Kids love food, so why not theme your party around it? A pizza making party is always a winner. You can go to your favourite pizza restaurant or hold a DIY party at home. Cupcake decorating parties also go down well and the guests can take home the tasty treat instead of a party bag. How about a doughnut themed party? They are even trending on Pinterest! Why not set up a Doughnut Wall covered in a variety of doughnuts? You could even attempt a DIY version. You could also serve food that has a surprise element to it. A cake that is full of sweets when you cut it. Ice cream cones filled with savoury fillings. You could also mix up healthy food with treats, such as marshmallows and fruit kebabs or tortilla chips with hummus and crudités. Number cakes decorated with fruit, meringues, and flowers are also all the rage. They make a great centrepiece on a party table. Active Parties According to Pinterest, searches for scavenger parties are up by 302%. These are similar to treasure hunts and start with a list of things to find (or do) and a time limit. But there is no set path as players scavenge around and search for all of the items on the list. The player or team

who finds everything on the list first or finds the most items before the time is up wins. These parties can be great fun and relatively inexpensive - you could hold one in your garden or a local park or wood. You can also do a whole variety of different activities at your local leisure centre. They often offer a variety of swimming, inflatable and sports parties. Why not pick a sport your child loves? You could also check out your local trampoline park to see what party packages they offer. Other easy activity parties include paintballing, bowling, laser quest and go-karting. Parties at Home If you want to host a party at home, think about hiring a company to help. You can even get specialists to come in and set up a sleepover these days. They will put up tents in your garden or your home, and some even supply breakfast on a tray! Or host a science party where someone comes in to do experiments and make goo with the children. They’ll even clean up afterwards. There are also gaming party providers who bring all the entertainment to you. If you prefer a more traditional party, why not hire an entertainer like a magician or clown?

Themed Parties Magical forest and flower-themed parties are great fun to host if you like being creative. A perennial favourite is also a superhero party. It ticks a lot of boxes and offers great fancy dress options for boys and girls. There are also loads of great decorations you can make, or buy if you don’t have the time! Another popular party is a Harry Potter party. You can make up lots of magical games to recreate a mini Hogwarts at home. You could also try something a bit different like a Mexican themed party. Decorate the house with cacti, serve guacamole and dips, hit a Piñata and have plenty of themed games. Art Parties If your child loves making things, an arts and crafts party is the perfect choice for them. You can go to pottery centres, art studios or get a party provider to come to your house to host a craft party. You can do a huge variety of things like mosaics, pottery, painting and jewellery making. Your potential Picassos will also get to take their masterpiece home instead of a party bag. Remember not to stress too much! Your child will remember your efforts whether you hire a circus performer and a bouncy castle; host a fun party at home or organise a trip out the cinema or a trampoline park. Enjoy it and embrace the mayhem; they grow up quickly!

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W h e r e f u n l i ve s ! THE MAD HOUSE PLAY AND PARTY WORLD READING – various party packages available, whether the children just want maximum fun on the play equipment or want to combine with some magic, football or dancing activities. Birthday child goes free and gets a free return pass. Unlimited squash and water. Reserved table in play area for adults, dedicated party host. Choice of hot or cold buffet with ice cream. Invites and sweetie bag. From £11.99 per child. 0118 975 5455, themadhousereading.co.uk BEALE PARK – parties include entry into the park for the whole day to enjoy the animals, beautiful gardens and play areas including the ‘Pirate Island’ adventure playground, plus two hours exclusive use of the Peacock Party Room, party food and drinks, invites and a birthday card. £130 for 10 children and 2 adults. 0118 976 7480 bealepark.co.uk WELLINGTON COUNTRY PARK – offers you the ability to design your own birthday party packages for children up to the age of 8. Held in the party room within the park grounds, you can have use of the room for up to two hours, a hot or cold food platter, unlimited squash, themed party tableware as well as a Wellington present for the birthday child. After the party is over, you and your guests have the opportunity to remain in the park for the rest of the day at no extra charge. £19.95 per child (minimum 12 children). 0118 932 6444, wellington-countrypark.co.uk

sheep. All you need to bring are the children and the cake. Plus, enjoy FREE admission for 1 adult for every child’s place booked and complimentary tea and coffee for the grown-ups. Odds Farm Park also offer a 2 hour After School Party package which is available from 3.30pm Monday to Friday during South Bucks Term Time for just £13.95 per child. oddsfarm.co.uk

PARTY ENTERTAINMENT POP UP PLAY VILLAGE - for children who love to role play! The play village features a construction site, baby nursery, hospital, vets, cafe, supermarket, baby play area, library and art studio. There is also an outdoor explorers play area which can be set up in an outdoor environment for children to explore and have fun in nature. Pop Up Play Village is a great option for your child’s next birthday party. Different party packages available including the option to theme a party as well as to hire individual play areas. Photography is included in our party packages and the option of catering can be included. More information at popupplayvillage.co.uk The FORENSIC ExPERIENCE offers children’s parties for 8yrs+. Available for 2 to 100 children. Carry out DNA testing, fingerprinting, and much more! Catch the burglar or work out who stole the pizza? Learn from a real CSI. 2 hours of entertainment, personalised invitations and party bags with all the CSI equipment included, up to 15 children is £300. Educational and fun. For a tailored quote for all budgets, contact us at the below info.

MUSIC, DANCE & DRAMA PARTIES PERFORM PARTIES – Based around an exciting theme of your choice, Perform’s energetic party leaders use a magical mix of songs, games and laughter to create fun-filled, action-packed parties to remember. Call 0207 255 9120 or visitperformparties.co.uk for more info.

ODDS FARM PARK – Make their special day one to remember at Odds Farm Park! Discover stylish party rooms with so much included, combined with acres of indoor and outdoor adventure play, furry friends to meet and treats for the adults too. For just £19.95 per child, a children’s party at Odds Farm includes all day farm entry and exclusive, private hire of a stylishly themed party room for 2½ hours, including fabulous party food and party bags, and complete with a docking station for your own music, animal masks, downloadable party invitations and animal feed for the goats and

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MONKEY MUSIC – parties are great fun for children and babies of all ages and work really well for a mixed age group. Each party is individually tailored to suit each separate occasion and always includes the birthday child’s favourite Monkey Music songs. 01635 860 959 / monkeymusic.co.uk BERZERK PRODUCTIONS – offers highly motivational drama parties for 5+ years. A choice of creative and fun themes such as drama, dance, musical theatre, mask work and specific themes based on your child’s favourite shows, an end performance for friends and family and much more. 07976 652 742 / berzerkproductions.com STAGEABILITY – offers a whole range of themed parties and supply everything you need for the entertainment: prizes, music and certificates, so you can relax and enjoy the party. Popular parties include Superhero Academy, Spy School and Knight Academy, as well as Dance Parties with music and choreography, games and competitions. £160 for a two hour party for up to 20 children. berkshire.stageability.co.uk, 0118 933 3791 BILINGUASING - Wokingham & surrounding areas. Sensory music parties with a Spanish or French holiday disco flavour! Popular nursery rhymes and catchy songs are sung in English and also in Spanish or French. The songs and music are accompanied by dancing, bubbles, role play, party games, musical instruments, sensory toys, puppets, light shows and more. Lively interactive fun guaranteed to get all children at your party singing along and enjoying themselves. Suitable for babies, toddlers & pre-school children. bilinguasing.com, kate@bilinguasing.com, 07810 751645

ARTS IN MOTION - BIRTHDAY. MUSIC. FUN. ExCITING. HAPPY. DANCE. CELEBRATION. Sounds great right?!? It’s your DANCE PARTY, your choice. Pick the dance style, pick your favourite songs and even pick some of the moves. Children’s dance parties for all ages. artsinmotiondance.co.uk


DIDDI DANCE – READING AND WOKINGHAM – as well as our popular classes, we also offer great value diddi dance parties for 2-6 year olds at your choice of location. Your little one and their friends will enjoy up to an hour of fast-paced activities including dancing games, action songs, a host of props, bubbles, balloons and loads of fun! Our parties offer fantastic, high-energy and affordable entertainment leaving you free to relax and enjoy the fun too! diddidance.com 07719 878 789 HARTBEEPS – specialist parties for very young children and babies. Suitable for 1st-5th birthdays. Entertainment packages created and unique props featuring original baby songs, nursery rhymes and lullabies. hartbeeps.com


book, contact Gaye on 07887 870 274 or email gaye@therealmacaroncompany.com THE KILN CERAMIC CAFÉ – in Henley, offers pottery painting parties that are enjoyable for all ages. Prices include choice of ceramics, use of paint brushes and stamps, glazing and firing of your items. kiln-café.co.uk, 01491 414 254

SPORTS AND ACTIVITY PARTIES BULMERSHE GYMNASTICS CLUB – offers party fun at their purpose-built gymnastics facility in Woodley. Invite up to 25 guests for an hour in the gym with two qualified coaches providing organised gymnastics games and activities, followed by 30 minutes for your own food, drink and birthday cake. bulmershegymnastics.co.uk REDKANGAROO READING – get ready to bounce at RedKangaroo Reading, the ultimate trampoline park and the perfect place to get active and have fun. RedKangaroo is packed with wall-to-wall trampolines, gigantic foam pits, dodgeball courts, reaction walls, an epic wipeout game and more. As well as fun-filled bounce sessions, enjoy a gravity-defying party where children and young adults, friends and family can celebrate together. Not only will you have exclusive use of a party room and party host, but your guests will enjoy a one hour bounce session and trampoline games, a pair of RedKangaroo socks plus food and drink for all to enjoy after the bounce. redkangaroo.co.uk

THE UGLY DUCKLING host your child’s birthday party at The Ugly Duckling and choose from two packages of either £10.99 or £15.99 per child depending on the pottery options. Both packages include unlimited squash for the children and balloons! You are welcome to bring food and a cake. Birthday parties must be booked! Call us on 01635 523778

MRS BUN THE BAKER – cookery parties with award-winning Mrs Bun the Baker, providing hands-on fun for children aged 2 years and up – and a stress-free experience for parents. Parties are held in Cholsey for between 7 and 12 children and last for two hours. Menu can be adapted, but many children choose to make pizza (to eat at the party) and cakes (to take home). Call Angie on 07870 727007 or email info@mrsbunthebaker.net THE REAL MACARON COMPANY – macaron baking parties for 7-13 year olds. Relaxed and informal, as well as fun and informative, giving the children careful instruction in the art of macaron-making. From £25 per child, including a soft drink and a macaron as well as tea or coffee for accompanying adults! To

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WOKINGHAM FAMILY GOLF because of its universal appeal, our purpose-built nine-hole FootGolf Course is one of the best places in Berkshire to host kids’ birthday parties, family celebrations, football team events, corporate events, team building, and staff social events. Play 9 on the FootGolf course. You can even include a trip to the driving range with use of TOPTRACER Virtual Golf System, a round of golf on the 'Pitch and Putt' style golf course, play Jurassic Adventure mini golf or get some professional golf coaching from one of the qualified PGA Professionals. A variety of packages are available to suit your requirements. More info at wokinghamfamilygolf.co.uk or contact 01189 795657 or info@wokinghamfamilygolf.co.uk

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Smart route to success Thames Valley entrepreneur Hattie Mauleverer gives Families readers her recipe for success “Don’t overthink. Just get on and do it.” That’s the ethos of catering business supremo, Hattie Mauleverer, and her advice to other entrepreneurs. The Mum-of-two heads up elite catering company Top Hat, clocking up a four-houra-day commute between Wiltshire and London. It is an approach that has enabled Hattie to realise a long-held dream by creating the UK’s only range of meals aimed at primary school children that is designed for optimum nutrition and brain function. Hattie originally pitched her idea to three friends – marketing

specialist, Kerry Collinge, nutritional therapist, Jo Saunders, and chef, Georgie Soskin – and Smart Infused Füd was born. Hattie says: “Right from early weaning, I would ask the chefs at work to make meals for my children in between events. It was important to me that we had a freezer stocked with nutritious food for the times that I was working – or when I wanted to spend time with them rather than in my kitchen. It occurred to me that many other parents must feel the same.” The Smart Infused Füd team know full well the importance of

18 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

super-charged food for health and wellbeing. Mental health problems have touched each of their lives, and Jo’s youngest daughter has been diagnosed with leukaemia. “Never has the power of nutrition been more valuable than in helping to ease the side effects of my daughter’s treatment,” says Jo. The recipes go above and beyond ‘5-aday’ thinking. They optimise key nutrients, vitamins and minerals studied for their benefits for cognitive function, concentration, energy, immune and nervous system support in children. Most importantly, they also taste great. The range currently consists of six meals (all dairy and glutenfree) – from vitamin A-rich sausage casserole, to fishcakes full of omega 3. The little touches – barely discernible to children – have a real impact on their health, like the flaxseed coating on the fishcakes, or the miso paste in the lamb tagine. All the meals are frozen after cooling to lock in the goodness, popped in recyclable packaging and delivered to

customers’ doors (nationwide) in biodegradable wool so that it stays frozen even if you’re out. So what’s next for Smart Infused Füd and the ever busy Hattie? “We have so many ideas! We will be expanding our range for autumn / winter with several immuneboosting dishes, and also creating bigger portions for larger families. It’s even been suggested we should consider meals for older people.” Her energy is infectious. Her drive and ‘act now think later’ attitude has been invaluable in bringing an ambitious new offering to market around her many other commitments. “Not everything was ready and perfect, but we set ourselves a launch deadline and we made it happen. You can deal with problems as you go. Most importantly, don’t make excuses or focus on the negatives – have a dream and go and get it.”


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MRS BUN’S Recipe... CHICKEN PIES These pies are great for a packed lunch, and make a good snack, hot or cold. This recipe is taken from Baking with Mrs Bun the Baker - 84 pages of savoury and sweet bakes, cakes and snacks loved by toddlers to adults alike, available from Amazon, Waterstones and local bookshops. Mrs Bun the Baker runs award-winning cookery classes in South Oxfordshire (see page 20).

Ingredients • ½ block of puff pastry, (250g) take this out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it, so it is softer to roll out • 1 spring onion

How to make... PREPARATION: Pre heat the oven to Gas 5/190c (fan 170c) Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. FLOUR YOUR WORKTOP Sprinkle some flour onto the worktop. TIP: You just want a light dusting. Place the puff pastry on top. Shake some more flour over the top of the puff pastry and roll out to 1/2cm in thickness. PASTRY SHAPES Use a 10cm circular cutter to cut out circles. Roll out and cut until you have 8-10 circles of puff pastry. TIP: turn the pastry to stop it sticking and cut close together (to get as many circles as possible without re-rolling). MAKE THE FILLING: Using scissors, cut the spring onions up into small pieces. TIP: Start at the green end and work your way down – you will find it easier. Cut up the cooked broccoli florets into small pieces.


• 2-3 cooked broccoli florets • 2-3 sprigs of parsley • 2-3 good sized cooked chicken breast slices or 1 cooked chicken breast • 25g sweetcorn (frozen or tinned) • 1-2 tablespoons condensed mushroom soup

Tear up the parsley leaves only. Tear the chicken up into small pieces. Mix this all together in a bowl. Add the sweetcorn and soup, and mix. Lay out your pastry circles on the worktop. Place a teaspoon of filling into the middle of only half of the circles, leaving a 1cm edge all the way around. PUT A LID ON IT: Fill a cup half full of water and have your other halves of pastry ready. Dip your finger into the water. Dab your wet finger round the edges of the pastry with the filling on. Place the other half of the pastry on the top. Using your fingers, or a fork seal the pasties nice and tight, so nothing can leak out. Place them on a baking tray. READY TO COOK: Use a knife to make a hole in the tops of the pies to let some steam escape. Place them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Leave to cool and enjoy.

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Clubs and Classes Directory

Arts, Crafts & Cookery

Regular clubs, classes and out of school activities give your child a chance to shine and for you to have fun together, and there really is plenty of variety to choose from. Here are a few of our favourites, for babies, toddlers and school-aged children. For more clubs and classes in your area, check out familiesonline.co.uk Developmental Classes (See also our Music & Movement section)

Shichida UK brain-training programme, designed to bring out the genius in every child. Activities are aimed at 0-6 year olds, and improve concentration, memory skills, general knowledge, musical ability and more. Hourlong classes take place in Reading once a week, with parents accompanying their children. For more information and to book: shichidauk.com, contact@shichidauk.com, 07774 523660

kerraleigh@hartbeeps.com. For Windsor, Burnham, Maidenhead, Woodley, Earley, and Wokingham contact Liz on 07985 935662 or email liz@hartbeeps.com Portuguese Language Club – offering tuition to help you talk fluently in Portuguese, but we don’t stop there. For us, it’s all about you and ensuring that you enjoy your stay with us whilst also making sure that your Portuguese language skills are vastly improved. We offer a range of services to suit all needs; including one-to-one and group lessons, in-school clubs, holiday Portuguese and GSCE and A Level tuition. Based in Tilehurst, Berkshire. Contact Maria on 07427630331, 0118 942 4591, info@portugueselanguageclub.co.uk, portugueselanguageclub.co.uk BilinguaSing Wokingham – award-winning bilingual sensory music & movement classes with Spanish or French singing for babies (from 1 month), toddlers and pre-school children. BilinguaSing is a unique class for parents and little ones to learn Spanish or French together in a fun and engaging way. Familiar nursery rhymes and songs are learned in both English and Spanish or French and are accompanied by a variety of fun movements and lovely props. Classes suitable for complete beginners to native speakers. Wokingham, Winnersh and surrounding areas. First taster class is FREE! Private sessions also available in nurseries, pre-schools and primary schools to support the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 learning objectives. Call Kate on 07810 751645, kate@bilinguasing.com, bilinguasing.com

Mrs Bun the Baker award-winning, hands-on cookery classes for those aged 2 years and up. Mrs Bun the Baker combines her knowledge and love of food with her teaching and baking skills, cooking up and creating magical moments. Classes are held at the Cholsey Pavilion, South Oxfordshire, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Mondays for toddlers. Monday sessions also for older Buns 6+, 11+ and 14+ perfect for DoE skills section. Call Angie on 07870 727007 or email info@mrsbunthebaker.net Artspiration School of Drawing and Painting – offering fun, imaginative and instructional lessons in drawing and painting to school-aged children in Maidenhead, Wokingham and Reading. Artspiration will inspire, motivate, guide and give your budding artists the skills required to express themselves better visually. 01628 634 418, artspiration.co.uk

Music & Dance

Gym, Sport and Swimming

Master Builders Club LEGO® Workshops for Children – weekend and school holiday workshops, birthday parties and primary school events are designed to provide children with an exciting and captivating experience. Fun workshops start with a short story which sets the theme and building challenges. Then the creativity begins as Master Builders have access to 1000’s of LEGO® bricks which have been sorted into colour, size and type. If you are passionate about providing engaging and stimulating play opportunities that nurture your child's mind, then Master Builders Club is for you! To book your LEGO® fan a place or to find out more about all the events, please go to: masterbuildersclub.co.uk Hartbeeps - Magical multi-sensory music classes using innovative props, lighting effects, and puppetry to a backdrop of funky tunes, reworked nursery rhymes, and beautiful lullabies. Classes for babies from birth to sitting; sitting to walking; and walking to four years. For Ascot, Bracknell, and Caversham email Rachel at rachel@hartbeeps.com. For Henley and Marlow, contact Kerraleigh on 07866 656366 or email

Bulmershe Gymnastics Club – based at a purpose-built gym in Woodley, run gymnastics classes for all ages including Leap Frogs for walkers to five years lead by qualified coaches. bulmershegymnastics.co.uk GR Swimming Schools – children’s swimming lessons from 3yrs in Newbury, Thatcham, & Pangbourne. Places for non-swimmers through to advanced academy levels. Also holiday crash courses in swimming, diving and coming soon SYNCHRO!! Uniquely structured lessons, following Swim England Award Scheme. 01635 34862 swimlessons.co.uk SwimKidz - runs lessons at locations across the Thames Valley. Its innovative programme begins with babies from three months to toddlers, all the way through to pre-competitive swimming by a child’s tenth birthday. The aim is to provide fun and progressive lessons in a small group environment. Contact Caroline Bairstow, 0750 005 6623 swimkidz.co.uk Aquababies/Kiddies Bagshot, Surrey and Dorking – one of the UK’s leading children’s swimming schools. They run lessons for children of all ages, including babies from as young as eight weeks old, that are based on progressive exercises relating to the child’s stage of physical and social development, whilst having fun. 20% off re-launch offer for newcomers. 07766 242572, info.surrey@aquababiesglobal.com

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Imagine More music & movement and storytelling & drama classes for babies to preschoolers, plus birthday parties, and nursery and preschool workshops. The unique music & movement class comes alive as you explore rhythm and creative dance with instruments, props, and engaging, energetic songs. Classes run on Thursdays in Curridge 11.15am-12pm and Fridays @ St Andrews School, Pangbourne 9.3010.15am. Each highly interactive storytelling & drama class is based around a themed story using multi-sensory props, drama, dance, musical instruments, songs, games and activities. Wednesdays in Curridge 9.30-10.15am, and Thursdays @ Cobbs Play Barn 9.30-10.15am. To book: 07774264607, imaginemoretoday@gmail.com


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Inspire Guitar School Inspiring students, fulfilling aspirations

Inspire Guitar School Guitar lessons for all. Family-friendly professional guitar school offering lessons for all age groups from young children to adults, and for all skill levels.  Group lessons are ideal for families and friends wanting to learn and play guitar together. Individual lessons for those wanting to learn their favourite songs at a pace that suits them. Lessons are great fun and designed to capture children’s imagination and build confidence. Lessons can be given at home or at school. Players will learn how to play the guitar, read music, tablature and chord charts. If you want engaging lessons on electric, acoustic, classical guitar or ukulele up to Grade 8 then Inspire Guitars can help – more details and booking options are available at www.inspireguitar.co.uk.  Taster lessons are available.

Arts in Motion School of Dance EXCITING and energetic BALLET, MODERN and TAP classes for children from 2 ½ years, held at Chieveley Village Hall and Frilsham Clubroom, West Berkshire. Classes are FUN, challenging and build confidence; we follow the ISTD Syllabus and support students through exams. Holiday workshops are also available. artsinmotiondance.co.uk Monkey Music – fun music classes from 3months-4yrs with action songs and rhymes, music and movement, percussion instruments and musical games. Classes in Newbury, Thatcham, Mortimer, Henley and Upper Basildon. 01635 860 959, monkeymusic.co.uk

diddi dance - funky pre-school dance classes for girls and boys. Award winning, high energy sessions explore 16 different styles set to original, age-appropriate music. Classes improve gross motor skills, rhythm, co-ordination, confidence, creativity and social skills with dancing games, fun exercises, action songs and a host of props. Lessons are aligned to the EYFS and are structured yet relaxed. Nursery workshops and parties too! Free trial available. Classes run every day throughout Reading & Wokingham. Call Andrea on 07719 878789, or email andrea.bickford@diddidance.com

Drama & Theatre Arts Steppin Out Stars of Tomorrow – Fun, energetic classes for 3½ to 18yrs. Dance, drama and singing, tap, street dance, pop styles, musical theatre. Regular classes in Wargrave, Wokingham and Woodley, plus summer classes. Call Shelley on 07970 034 488, or email shelley@steppinoutstars.co.uk, steppinoutstars.co.uk Stagecoach Theatre Arts School: Dance, drama and singing classes for 4-18 years that build confidence and teach skills. Early Years classes for 4-6 years designed to introduce young children to the performing arts. Local branches in Wokingham, Henley, Reading, Bracknell, Marlow and Newbury. stagecoach.co.uk Perform – confidence building fun for 4-12s. A unique mix of drama, dance and singing specially developed to bring out every child's true potential. Classes are kept small to ensure lots of individual attention. Perform offer no-obligation FREE trial sessions. Venues: Newbury, Reading, Twyford, Wokingham, Goring and Crowthorne Contact: T: 020 7255 9120 / enquiries@perform.org.ukperform.org.uk

Berzerk Productions: LAMDA examination classes, unique Drama Factory workshops, musical theatre and production opportunities for 6-19 years in Tilehurst, Woodley, Spencers Wood, Caversham, Reading, Pangbourne and Woodcote. Trial class free. 07863 734 830, berzerkproductions.com StageAbility - After-school drama classes for kids who love to ACT! Reading, Burghfield, Tilehurst, Earley and Wokingham. High-energy classes mean that students never get bored, can't wait to get to class and develop confidence, creativity and focus. Pay-As-YouGo option for infants and free trial class. Full listing of classes at: stageability.class4kids.co.uk , jackie@berkshire.stageability.co.uk M: 07721 565898, T: 0118 933 3791

To advertise here please call

07968 711937

Classes across Berkshire and Oxfordshire lead by inspirational drama coaches. www.BerzerkProductions .com info@berzerkproductions.com

Working with Nurseries, Primary & High Schools, Community, Family Classes & 1:1s


Ages 4 –18

Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

Contact: Lorna on 07764359924 Email: Lorna@berelaxed.co.uk

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Clubs and Classes News There’s no place like Perform this summer We’re off to see the wizard this summer, as we sing and dance our way down the yellow brick road in our Wizard of Oz holiday courses. With colourful costumes, uplifting songs and dazzling dancing, your child will have the best fun of the summer as we bring this story to life. Book online at perform.org.uk/wizard Age range: 4-10 years. Dates: Across July and August. Three, four and five-day courses. 10am to 3pm each day. Venue: Wokingham Contact: T: 020 7255 9120 / enquiries@perform.org.uk.

Family affair

Success for Bulmershe superstar Bulmershe Gymnastics Club is celebrating as one their stars – 15year-old Finlay Morgan – took an apparatus bronze at the recent British Championships. Morgan, a who trains with senior coach, Mat Budsworth, qualified to the U16

pommel finals, and held his nerve to deliver a clean performance. He was one of six Bulmershe gymnasts to quality for the prestigious competition. Mat, who has coached the senior team for the last five years, says: “It was a reminder of how far we've come at Bulmershe, and why I love this sport. For a small community gym to be able to field six competitors at this high-level competition is quite an achievement. I was extremely proud of them as they put in some outstanding performances, culminating today in our first ever national medalist. It's moments like this that make all the sacrifice and hard work worth it. Here's to many more.”

Successful swim school, GR Swimming, has a new owner, and it’s a real family affair. Jo Lay has taken over the Berkshire-based academy, which teaches over 400 children per week at locations in Thatcham, Compton and Pangbourne. Her daughter is also an instructor and her son is a poolside helper – even Jo’s husband is chief computer guru! Jo – a former chef – is not planning to change the unique structure of the lessons, which offer a high standard of tuition in a

Relax, kids Relax Kids – which gives children the tools to support their mental health and wellbeing – has now trained over 3,500 coaches from 44 countries. With a range of books, audios, classes and training, the programme offers young people self-regulation and resilience techniques. Classes are often fully booked and have even won the Nursing Standards Award for the Mental Health Category. Reading-based Lorna Crossan is a trained Relax Kids coach. Through her company, Be Relaxed, she helps schools,

safe environment for children of all abilities, from three years of age through to Academy level. However, she will be adding synchronised swimming to the popular holiday crash courses, and moving to an online payment system. As part of the water safety awards and skills, the content will be extended to include practising CPR on an anatomical dummy. Jo says: “I’m delighted to be at the helm of GR Swimming. It’s a really special swim school, and I’m enjoying getting to know our swimmers and their families.”

nurseries, children, adults and families with nurturing positive wellbeing, building self-esteem, awareness and confidence. The Be Relaxed programme leverages the latest research and science, with lots of fun to help develop lifelong habits for self-care. Lorna says: “Throughout my younger years I pretty much always felt anxious to varying degrees. I think this is why I am so passionate about what I do as I want to help others, especially children, so they can learn from a young age how to keep themselves relaxed and resilient with skills for life.”

A peach of a show

email: membership@bulmershegymnastics.co.uk

22 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

Reading-based theatre school, Berzerk Productions, has just announced its summer performance and it’s set to be a cracker. Open auditions have been held for one of Roald Dahl’s greatest stories, James and the Giant Peach, and rehearsals will soon be underway ready for the performances in July. The cast will be formed from the club’s talented aged 6 - 12 students. The well-loved children’s tale follows the young James Henry Trotter, who lives with his two horrid aunts, Spiker and Sponge. He hasn’t got a single friend in the whole wide world. That is not until he meets seven magically altered garden bugs including the old green grasshopper and silkworm, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure aboard a giant, magical peach! Berzerk Productions supports local children and young people in theatrical productions. All profit goes towards other projects involving young people. Berzerk provides Drama Factory workshops and LAMDA examination classes across Berkshire and Oxfordshire. familiesonline.co.uk

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How to Encourage a Love of Music in Your Child By Jon Flinn

Listen to the stories of successful young musicians today and they will tell you that they got involved with classical music, in large part, because they were exposed to it from an early age.


t sounds obvious doesn’t it? Yet no two musical ‘journeys’ are the same and there are many different starting points. Cellist and former BBC Young Musician of the Year, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, says that it was experiencing live music that really spurred him on (though having five equally talented siblings learning music must have helped too!) For 10year-old multi-instrumentalist, Nathan-Asher Oriakhi, it was watching the drummer in his local church band every week and finally being allowed to sit next to him. Adrianna ForbesDorant first became aware of classical music because Classic FM was always on the radio at home. The reality, of course, is that most musicians are unlikely to even remember their first exposure to music because, as the evidence clearly shows, the process of responding to music starts before we are even born. After just 25 weeks a foetus has a functioning auditory system and can respond to sound, for example, by jumping or kicking in response to a very loud noise. So how do you as parents or parents-to-be nurture your child’s relationship with music? The British Association for Early Childhood Education has done some great work in this area, showing how parental support for their child’s musical development is underpinned by two simple but vital principles: positive relationships and enabling environments. Beyond giving warmth and love, relationships which encourage a child’s musical development are sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, feelings and interests. For example, giving them access to variety of music to hear and play but acknowledging the child’s own tastes. They’re also about supporting the child’s own efforts to familiesonline.co.uk

express themselves, and being consistent in setting clear boundaries. Creating enabling environments is about making sure that your child – whatever age – has access to appropriate stimulating resources which are relevant to a range of children’s cultures and communities, has rich opportunities to learn through play and playful teaching and is free to take risks and explore through music. There are dozens of great tips on their website (www.early-education.org.uk) – everything from copying children’s vocalisations to show that you hear and value them to using recording devices and creating ‘treasure baskets’ with items that the youngest babies can shake, scrunch or tap. When it comes to developing your children’s relationship with music, you can’t start early enough – which is why it’s such great news that, when it comes into effect in 2020, the new National Plan for Music Education will lower the age of children targeted from the current 5/6 years to nursery age. It’s also why the national Music Commission (www.musiccommission.org.uk) focusses, in part, on the role that parents (whether they are musical or not) can play in their children’s learning. The ABRSM is the world’s leading provider of music exams and an organisation which has spent 130 years inspiring the musical achievement of young people. It is currently looking for music learners ages 7 to 18 and their parents from a wide range of backgrounds to take part in a series of online discussions, polls and surveys. If you are interested, register online at www.abrsm.org/parentslearners. Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

The inside track We asked two local business owners for their own experiences of encouraging a love of music in children

Shelley Otway runs Steppin Out Stars of Tomorrow – dance, drama and singing classes in the Reading and Wokingham areas. She says: “I saw a production of Joseph and The Amazing technicolour Dreamcoat when I was 9 years old. 20 years later, I went on to perform professionally in the show. The overture and the megamix have always stayed so vibrant in my happy memories, and now in my own daughter’s too. The endorphins released through music have such a positive impact, and it is vital that we share this passion with our children. With rapid cuts in creative subjects these days in favour of passing SATS, GCSEs and excelling in league tables, schools like myself really do play such a huge importance to the next generation of future stars!”

Thembi Palmer of Imagine More – music and movement, and storytelling classes for preschoolers in West Berkshire says: "Music, like play, is absolutely beneficial for a child's social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. Each of my three children were exposed to music at a young age. We encouraged them to discover different types and explore their own ways of expressing their love for it. In fact, being in a class with my child, sharing in the experience and connecting with music together, is what inspired me to start my own music classes."

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Festivals Feature

Family Festivals The Survival Guide Here in the UK, there is a plethora of family-friendly festivals you can visit. Claire Winter asked Families® Magazine readers to give their top tips on how to survive one! hether you opt for The Little Welly, Royal County of Berkshire Show, Camp Bestival or one of the boutique options, festivals offer oodles of fun for the whole family. However, a recurring theme when talking to readers is to be prepared! You never know what the great British weather or your kids (only joking) will throw at you...

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen and Hats You are going to be outdoors a lot – you can get sunburnt even if it is cloudy.

Pack Layers It’s always helpful to bring shorts, t-shirts and even swimwear to a festival but you are also going to need jumpers, woolly hats and maybe even onesies. It can get very cold at night even in the summer. Lightweight waterproof jackets are also a good option. You can carry them with you in case it rains and also use them as an extra layer if it gets cold.

Don’t Forget to Unplug Leave expensive gadgets at home. They are hard to keep secure and the whole idea is to get your kids off their devices. Mobile phones and battery chargers will be needed so you can stay in touch. We all love to document how much fun we are having – but keep some of it as memories instead of sharing it on Instagram or Facebook!

Bring Lots (and Lots) of Snacks Breadsticks, rice cakes, dried fruit, and nuts, you know the drill! Kids are always hungry and buying food on site can get expensive for a whole family. I would budget for buying some meals at the festival and doing some cooking at the campsite. Pasta with a variety of sauces is always an easy option!

Go with the Flow If you are a neat freak and like a schedule, this is the time to let it all hang out. There is no routine; your children will be filthy and running around in a onesie, wellies, and an Indian headdress. Wet wipes and fancy dress items are also essentials didn’t you know? Enjoy the fun and embrace the festival vibes!


Stay Hydrated Make sure the kids have their own water bottle. A rucksack or a bum bag to carry their water and money in is also a good idea. Most festivals have water points where you can refill water bottles.

Here is some more advice from our readers: Festival convert Pernilla says: “Get a proper canvas tent! I love our bell tent. Even wet camping is fine in it. I was a very reluctant camper due to the whole ‘tent wet on the inside’ thing until I was introduced to canvas.” Cath says make sure you are easy to find. “The best thing we bought was a windsock flag on a telescopic pole so the kids could go off but locate our camp easily.” Avid festival goer Julia from www.concertini.co.uk says: "My festival essentials are a wine cooler bag, non-spillable wine glasses, solar lights, table, chairs, and a picnic or tent rug! Also, don’t make the rookie mistake of pitching up near the toilets. Those banging doors will keep you up ALL night.”

Henley Festival

24 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

And the advice of a festival expert – Little Welly organiser, Tracey Beard, says: “Festivals are a great place to lose things (sunglasses, a jacket!) so my advice is don’t wear your best clothes or favourite sneakers - festivals are often wet and muddy or dry and dusty and you want to relax and have fun and not be thinking about keeping your new shoes clean!”


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The Little Welly

Please share some of your top festival tips with us on Facebook: @familiesthamesvalleywest Check out our pick of the best Family Festivals of 2019 in the South of the country The Little Welly, Henley-on-Thames 8 and 9 June The UK’s biggest obstacle course for children. The 3km course will feature 30 big challenges across the beautiful Culden Faw estate. It makes use of the natural aspects of the terrain, including the river and woodland. As well as adding some exciting new obstacles to old favourites, the Festival Village is better than ever, including a new and improved music stage, and a challenge for the most intrepid ‘The Cave’. More info at thelittlewelly.co.uk Around the Boundary, South Oxfordshire 5 May The Around The Boundary boutique charity festival returns with more fantastic live music, kids entertainment, the best local food, some of the UK’s finest food trucks, a coffee roaster, and local breweries. Big kids and little ones will find fun and games galore with an actionpacked family programme of activities, including drumming and circus skills workshops, storytellers, arts and crafts, bubble shows and a vintage fayre. aroundtheboundary.com familiesonline.co.uk

The Henley Festival 10-14 July Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous intimate festival, is the UK’s only black-tie festival, offering Michelin-starred food, awardwinning comedians, and critically acclaimed musicians. Family Sunday offers balloon making, glitter tattoos, music lessons, comedy for kids, toddler disco, choir performances. Comedian Murray Lachlan-Young will also be bringing his special performance of Modern Cautionary Tales for Children to Henley and Turn Around Theatre will be presenting the tale of The Thief, Fox and The Phoenix at the festival. henley-festival.co.uk Wynchwood Festival, Cheltenham 31 May - 2 June A firm favourite on the festival circuit and consistently voted ‘Best Family Festival’ in the UK Festival awards. Headline acts include The Stranglers and Scouting for Girls. The festival is celebrating its 15th birthday and they’re promising that it’s going to be a corker! More info at wychwoodfestival.com Latitude Festival, Southwold July 18-21 Laid back Latitude has a great line up this year that will appeal to all generations. Highlights Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

include headliners George Ezra, Lana Del Rey, and Snow Patrol. Plus Neneh Cherry and Sigrid are on the bill too. There are lots of familyfriendly activities to enjoy like interactive theatre, woodland fun and lake swimming. Don’t forget to check out the pink sheep! More info at latitudefestival.com Camp Bestival, Dorset 25-28 July For many, Camp Bestival is the holy grail of family festivals and is famous for its annual fancy dress theme. This year it is heroes versus superheroes. There is always an amazing amount of fun to be had and exciting things to do. Run by Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank, it is the sister festival to Bestival. Headliners include Nile Rodgers & Chic and Jess Glynne. More info at campbestival.net Wilderness Festival, Cornbury 1- 4 August A popular boutique festival set in the countryside in Cornbury, Oxfordshire. Every year they promise great music, delicious food, art, and a Champagne garden darling! They even have a Wilderness Spa and boating lake. More info at wildernessfestival.com

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What’s On May-June 2019

The Little Welly

NATIONAL TRUST BASILDON PARK, Lower Basildon, RG8 9NR, 0118 984 3040 20 May – 20 Sep WILD PLAY TRAIL 2019 UPGRADE Discover the Wild Play Trail with more play stations, wild art making, and a new area for little ones, with ball run stations. Trail leaflet £1 25 May – 2 Jun MAY HALF-TERM TRAIL Bring the whole family along and adventure through the parkland to discover clues and win a prize. £2 CLIVEDEN, nr Taplow, SL1 8NS, 01628 605069 25 May – 2 Jun MAY HALF-TERM TRAIL Sports-themed trail which ends with making a craft to take home. Trail £2. 10am-2.30pm 27 & 28 May TREE CLIMBING Tree climbing experts will teach children how to safely scale a woodland canopy. Child £25, book: 0344 249 1895 HUGHENDEN, nr High Wycombe, HP14 4LA, 01494 755 573, nationaltrust.org.uk/Hughenden 27 – 31 May MAY HALF-TERM: BEE TRAIL Take on Beatrice Bee’s trail among the garden blooms and orchard blossoms to find the bee hives. Trail £2 29 May JUNIOR RANGERS: TRAIL TRACKERS Track your way around Hughenden’s parkland using a map and compass with our friendly rangers. £4, book online. 10.30am-4pm

30 May THE GREAT BIG TREE CLIMB Join expert instructors for an adventure into the canopy of a giant chestnut. £20, book: bigtreeclimbing.co.uk. 10am-5pm 15 & 16 Jun FATHER’S DAY Treat the dads in your life to a day out in the countryside with a BBQ lunch and artisan market stalls. WADDESDON MANOR, nr Aylesbury, HP18 0JH, 01296 820 414 25 May – 2 Jun MAY HALF TERM: COLOURSCAPE Enter a labyrinth of light, colour and sound. Adult £5, child £3 From 21 Jun MID-SUMMER MAZE Maze mown into the lawn THE VYNE, Near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858 Daily until Sun 29 Sep GEOCACHING: THE LOST TOYS Can you help find four ‘lost’ Victorian toys hidden in the woods? Use a trail sheet from Visitor Reception or the Geocaching® app to locate the caches. 10am-4.30pm Daily until 29 Sep DRESS LIKE A VICTORIAN Try on Victorian costumes in the Housekeeper’s Room. 12-4pm 3 Jun – 29 Sep VICTORIAN CHILDREN’S PLAY TRAIL Pick up your trail sheet from Visitor Reception and discover how Victorian children played outdoors. Suggested donation £1 per trail sheet. 10am-4.30pm

26 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

ONGOING EVENTS THE LOOK OUT DISCOVERY CENTRE, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7QW, 01344 354 4000, bracknellforest.gov.uk/thelookoutdiscoverycentre There are over 90 hands-on science activities for children of all ages to enjoy at The Look Out Discovery Centre. You can launch a hydrogen rocket, play with boats in the indoor stream or build a house with your friends. Activities and exhibits are organised in ‘zones’ which correspond with what your child may be learning about in school: Forces & Movement, Body & Perception, Light & Colour, Woodland & Water and Build It where you can use the rubble chute, wheelbarrows, design a house or drive a dumper truck. Open daily from 10am-5pm. Until 7 Jul TOY BOx ExPLORERS This fun show looks at the science behind toys. Come and help our presenter play with the toys to find out how they work! Show times at weekends and Bracknell Forest school holidays:11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3.15pm. Cost £1.95 in addition to entry price. No need to book – just buy show tickets at reception on the day. Suitable for primary school-aged children Weekly TAYLOR TUGS UNDER 5S CLUB, River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames Wednesdays, term time, 10-11.30am pre booked, call 01491 415605 to find out more. 3-4pm drop in, £3 per child. Enjoy fun, interactive structured


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What’s On sessions for you and your little one, with craft, stories and songs. Themes and activities change weekly. Age 18 months – 5 yrs Weekly FRIDAY FLEDGLINGS at The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5Ex, 0118 378 8660, merl.reading.ac.uk A weekly outdoor session for the under 5’s in the urban garden at the MERL and inspired by the themes and collections in the museum. Each session involves story-telling, craft activities and singing. £4 per child (includes a snack and a drink). 10am-11.30am, term time only. Weekly BIG SCREAM CLUB, TODDLER TIME AND KIDS CLUBS at The Regal Picturehouse, Boroma Way, Henley, RG9 2BZ, 0871 902 5738, picturehouses.com Runs on Fridays at 11am exclusively for parents with babies under 1 year so you can catch up on the latest film releases. Toddler Time on Tuesdays at 11am offers special 30 minute shows designed to introduce little ones to the big screen, followed by fun activities. For the older ones, there’s Kids Club every Saturday showing a classic film at 11am plus pre-screening activities. Weekly TALES FOR TOTS – STORY TIME FOR THE UNDER 5’S at Reading Museum, The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1QU, 0118 937 3400, readingmuseum.org Enjoy a story using objects from the Museum’s collection. Every Wednesday at 10.30-11.30am in The Green Space or Window Gallery. Free, drop in. Weekly The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 521 8218, cornexchangenew.com RHYME & SHINE, Tuesdays, 10.15-11am or 11.30am-12.15pm, £3.50 Suitable for parents with babies 2 and under. A relaxed singing session with a range of songs, rhymes and rhythms in a fun and relaxed environment. MINI MAESTROS, Friday mornings Relaxed, friendly classes led by professional musicians from Berkshire Maestros who play real instruments. ‘Mini Maestros’ (and their grown-ups) will sing fun action songs, play percussion instruments, dance with colourful scarves, and have a wonderful introduction to musical experiences together. Separate sessions for babies, and 18 months to five years. Weekly RHYME TIME at Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3BQ Rhyme Time every Monday (except bank holidays), Thursday and Saturday 10.30am-11am. No need to book, just drop in. FREE. Weekly LEGO CLUB at Winnersh Library, The Forest School, Robin Hood Lane, Winnersh, RG41 5ND, 0118 979 7519, wokingham.gov.uk/libraries Every Thursday during term time for children aged 5-10 years. 4pm-4.45pm, 50p. Places must be booked in advance.


Weekly STORY TIME at Caversham Library, Church Street, Caversham, RG4 8AU An experienced storyteller will bring stories to life for the Under 5’s every Thursday (2-2.30pm) during term time. Sessions must be booked in advance via the library. Weekly TODDLER CRAFT at Southcote Library, Southcote Lane, RG30 3BA, 0118 901 5109 A free craft session every Friday for the Under 5’s from 11am-11.30am Monthly NATURE ExPLORERS at The Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG18 3FU, 01635 874 381, bbowt.org.uk A great opportunity each month for parents and their preschoolers to have fun in the beautiful woodland, meadow or orchard. Each session will include activities such as bug hunts, mud kitchens, crafts and nature discovery. Tea, biscuits and mud provided! Booking essential. Thursdays 10-11.30am or 12.30-2pm. £7 Twice a month STAY AND PLAY at The Abbey Nursery, 30 Christchurch Road, Reading, RG2 7AR, 0118 931 3111, theabbey.co.uk Held twice a month, the sessions offer you and your toddler a safe and stimulating environment to make friends and enjoy learning through play. Inspiring creative and imaginative play and encouraging your child’s natural curiosity is central to The Abbey’s learning ethos. Children can explore the Nursery garden and play with a range of toys, dressing up, science and role play equipment as well as take part in activities such as art, cooking, music and movement as they find out about the theme for the month. Limited places, call 0118 987 2256 to reserve your space. Dates for May and June: 2 and 15 May, 6 and 19 June.


2 May BLAZE’S BUDDIES, West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS Come and meet Blaze, the museum dragon, and join in with an action poem, story, simple craft, treasure hunt and sing-a-long! The session closes with a hunt to find a museum object or a sing-along. The theme this month is rabbits and hares. 11.00-11.30am (FREE) 3-19 May DORCHESTER FOOD FESTIVAL, Dorchester Abbey, South Oxon The biennial Dorchester-on-Thames Festival is one of Oxfordshire’s leading festivals based in the stunning location of Dorchester Abbey. Includes a fun cookery workshops for children with Mrs Bun the Baker on Sunday 12th. dorchesterfestival.com 4 May POP-UP PLAY VILLAGE, The Acland Memorial Hall, Hermitage Road, Cold Ash, Berkshire RG18 This is a special event featuring Thembi from Imagine More who will be leading a 30 minute storytelling session followed by an hour to play in the farm-themed Pop-Up Play Village. Adults and prewalkers are free with a child ticket! 1011.30am. More information and book at popupplayvillage.co.uk

Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

4 May TWIRLYWOOS LIVE, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA From the producers of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Sarah and Duck Live on Stage comes another enchanting show for young audiences. Expect mischief, music and plenty of surprises as the Twirlywoos share the delight of discovery. For ages 1+ but fine for younger children too. 2pm. Price: £14, child £12, family of four £46 4 May DAD AND BABY RHYMETIME, Wokingham Library, Denmark St, RG40 2BB Fun rhymes for babies and dads. Free, just drop in! 10-10.30am. 4-6 May BOUNCY CASTLES IN THE PARK, Wellington Country Park, Odiham Road, Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SP, 0118 932 6444, wellingtoncountry-park.co.uk The bank holiday weekend is here! Adding a little extra to your visit to the Park, come and bounce away the weekend with a whole host of different bouncy castles for all ages to enjoy. 10.30am – 4.30pm. 5 May and 2 June PUBLIC RUNNING DAYS, Prospect Park Miniature Railway 82 Bath Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG30 2BE Monthly public running afternoon and trains should be on track from around 1pm until 4pm (weather permitting). Everybody welcome, plenty of refreshments available and tickets remain at 60p per ride OR ten rides for £5. Free parking use the entrance off the Bath Road. 5 May AROUND THE BOUNDARY, Gallowstree Common, South Oxon, RG4 9BU This boutique day festival returns with more fantastic live music, kids entertainment, the best local food, some of the UK’s finest food trucks, a coffee roaster, local breweries and a bar brimming with local liquor, brilliant beer & wonderful wine. Big kids and little ones will find fun and games galore with an action-packed family programme of activities. 11am - 11pm. Adult £20, child £7.50, family ticket £45. 6 May CRAFTY CRAFT RACE 2019, Newbury, West Berkshire Newbury's colourful, community and fundraising event, including a charity fete in Victoria Park. The race begins in Kintbury, travelling lock by lock back to Newbury. 9 May POP UP PLAY VILLAGE, Goring Village Hall, High Street, Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG8 9AG The dinosaurs are back in the Pop-Up Play Village. Due to popular demand, T Rex and his friends will be hiding in the construction site, getting their claws sharpened at the vets and digging their teeth into some tasty snacks in our café. Sessions are aimed at children from 0-8 years old but all dinosaur fans are welcome. 10-11.15am. More information and book at popupplayvillage.co.uk 11 May MUM 2 MUM NEARLY NEW MARKET, Catholic Hall, Thatcham Mum2mum market hold regular nearly new baby and children's markets at fantastic indoor venues. 2-4pm. Admission is £2 on the door for buyers kids free.

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What’s On artists alongside a children’s Art Quest activity trail, art and craft workshops, live artist demos, free auction valuations by TV’s Thomas Forrester, café, bar and wine tasting. contemporaryartfairs.co.uk 12 May DUCHESS OF KENT FORGETME-NOT WALK 2019, Beale Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NQ, 0844 826 1761, bealepark.co.uk Gather with friends, family and the Sue Ryder staff to celebrate the lives of those who are gone but not forgotten. For prices and to sign-up, please visit: www.sueryder.org/supportus/fundraise/events/duchess-ofkent-forget-me-not-walk-2019 12 May SOUND BEGINNINGS ‘Babar the Elephant’ at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 521 8218, cornexchangenew.com The whole family is welcome to this all-inclusive performance of Babar the Elephant. Everybody’s favourite little elephant comes to life when pianists Mikhail Kazakevich and Elena Zozina perform the story with narration from Richard Morris. Tickets £7.50 (adults), £5 (children 5 years and over), under 5s free.

Be Amazed...The Look Out

Discovery Centre Science and discovery fun over 90 activities.

Toy BOX EXP LOR ERS ly 2019 6 April 2019 – 7 Ju ds and en Shows run at week e 3+ Ag s. ay lid ho school

Open 10am - 5pm every day

The Look Out Discovery Centre Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7QW

Tel: 01344 354400



28 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

12 May PETER AND THE WOLF & CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMAL at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 521 8218, cornexchangenew.com This delightful concert, suitable for all the family, will bring young people face-to-face with two of the greatest works for children – namely Prokofiev’s colourful Peter and the Wolf and Saint-Saëns’ atmospheric Carnival of the Animals. Full price £10, children under 16 £5. 14 May LIFE’S LITTLE BUGS STORY SESSION, Wokingham Library, Denmark St, RG40 2BB Come and meet author Tina Stubbs and meet the Little Bugs, with stories from Hum Bug and Fitness Bug with activities. For children aged 7 and under, free just drop in! Books will be on sale after the session. 4-4.30pm. 16 May POP UP PLAY VILLAGE, Sonning Common Village, Hall, Woods Lane, Sonning Common, Reading, RG4 9SL The dinosaurs are back in the PopUp Play Village. Due to popular demand, T Rex and his friends will be hiding in the construction site, getting their claws sharpened at the vets and digging their teeth into some tasty snacks in our café. Sessions are aimed at children from 0-8 years old but all dinosaur fans are welcome. 10-11.15am More information and book at popupplayvillage.co.uk To 18 May AMELIE, The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, RG20 8AE, 01635 460 044 Based on the much loved and fivetime Oscar nominated film, Amélie is

a feel-good musical filled to the brim with colourful observations and whimsical wonderings. Join Amélie as she finds her voice, discovers the power of connection, and sees possibilities around every corner. Performance times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm. Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2.30pm, Saturday 18 May performances at 1.30pm and 6.30pm. 19 May MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART WORKSHOP FOR FAMILIES, Brilliant Beings, Path Hill Outdoors near Whitchurch-onThames Come and explore how simple device photography and art materials can help you notice wonder in the present moment, help you focus your attention away from your busy mind and bring a sense of peaceful joy to your whole being. For children aged 6+ and their grown-up/s, £22.50 per person (discounts for groups of 4 or more), 11am-2.30pm. To book, contact Sarah: sarah@brilliant-beings.co.uk, 07979 755667 or visit brilliant-beings.co.uk 27 - 31 May NATURE ExPLORER WEEK, Wellington Country Park, Odiham Road, Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SP, 0118 932 6444, wellingtoncountry-park.co.uk It's Nature Explorer Week! Depending on the day, the Pop-Up Play Zone on the Main Green will have activities including The Mud Kitchen, role play construction, make a bird feeder or clay hedgehog, pebble painting, bug hunting and a travelling zoo. This event is included in your admission fee.

Bring this voucher to get one free child with one full paying adult*.


11 May MILKSHAKE MONKEY MUSICAL, MILKSHAKE LIVE 2019, The Hexagon Theatre, Queen’s Walk, Reading, RG1 7UA, 0118 960 6060, readingarts.com Milkshake Monkey can’t wait to put on a spectacular new musical for you all! But when stage fright hits, his favourite Milkshake friends come to help, creating the most dazzling show you have ever seen! Adults £16.50, U16's £15.50, Family Ticket £60 11 May and 8 Jun FAMILY YOGA, MINDFULNESS AND RELAxATION, Brilliant Beings, Tilehurst Discover how simple, fun, mindful tools can bring peace and balance to body, mind and spirit in our hectic world. These sessions are for children 6-11yrs and their grown-up/s, £8 per person. 1.30-2.30pm. To book, contact Sarah: sarah@brilliantbeings.co.uk, 07979 755667 or visit brilliant-beings.co.uk 11-12 May CONTEMPORARY ARTS FAIRS - NEWBURY, Newbury Racecourse, RG14 7NZ A brilliant, inspiring art experience open to all, showcasing a rich array of the best contemporary art and

Valid until 07/07/19 *Terms and conditions apply. Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7QW

Tel: 01344 354400 www.facebook.com/thelookoutdiscovery


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MORE 28 – 30 May HALF TERM STREET DANCE AND MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOPS, Frilsham and Yattendon, West Berkshire May half term workshops run by Arts in Motion. Tues 28th and Wed 29th 9am-3pm, Street Dance at Frilsham Clubroom. Thursday 30th 9am-3pm, Musical Theatre at Yattendon Village Hall. Ages 4 and up. £25 a day. 28 May CREATION STATION AT SADDLEBACK, Brightwalton Let the little ones get messy and have fun at Saddleback Farm Shop in the tearoom creating farmyard inspired crafty items to take home. Price includes biscuit and juice. £12.95 per child. 9.3011.30am. 28 – 31 May MAKE AND DO: HOLIDAY CLUB, The Corn Exchange Learning Centre, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 521 8218, cornexchangenew.com Young people aged 4 to 8 can come and join a day-long creative fun in the school holidays. Participants will get the chance to take part in all sort of creative activities led by an expert team from arts and craft to drama, dance and movement as well as the chance to relax and watch a film. 9am – 5pm. Full price £25 per child per day, £80 for 4 day week. 29 May FAMILY ACTIVITY DAY, Shaw House, Church Rd, Newbury RG14 2DR Happy hedgehogs. Make a multi-coloured model 3D hedgehog using a polystyrene shape for the body, wooden sticks for the prickles and Deco pens to make him or her colourful. Dress for mess! There will be a free hedgehog-themed activity trail available. For 4-11 year olds but younger and older children are welcome. No need to book, drop in. 10am-3.30pm, £2 30 May FAMILY ART WORKSHOP, West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS Get a closer look at some of 17th century objects from the museum’s Civil War collection and learn to draw them with the Armadillo Art Experience, along with famous people from the Civil War and some colourful local characters. Suitable for age 7+ (accompanying adult is free). Places are limited and must be booked in advance. westberkshireheritage.org/whats-on. £8.50 10am-12.30pm & 1.30-4pm 30 May MASTER BUILDERS CLUB LEGO WORKSHOP, Dorchester on Thames Village Hall 09:30-11:30; Sonning Common Village Hall 14:30-16:30 Do you love LEGO? Calling all young designers, engineers and inventors – Master Builders Club needs you! A two-hour workshop with LEGO building challenges. Master Builders Club workshops follow a different theme each session and after setting the scene with a short story, the Master Builders will complete a number of build challenges. At the end of the session, Master Builders are presented with a themed badge to keep and collect. Suitable for ages 5-11, £15. To book: masterbuildersclub.eventbrite.co.uk


ONLINE 31 May FAMILY ACTIVITY DAY, West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS Fly your flag! Design and make a colour inspired by the Civil War flags carried by roundhead and cavalier regiments, using calico, fabric crayons, a stick and other materials. This year marks the 375th anniversary of the Second Battle of Newbury. For 4-11 year olds but younger and older children are welcome. No need to book, drop in. westberkshireheritage.org/whats-on. 10am-3pm, £2 31 May POP-UP PLAY VILLAGE and STORYTELLING, Bucklebury Village Hall, Broad Lane, Upper Bucklebury, RG76QH This is a special event featuring Thembi from Imagine More who will be leading a 30-minute storytelling session followed by an hour to play in the farm-themed Pop-Up Play Village. Adults and prewalkers are free with a child ticket! 1011.30am. More information and book at popupplayvillage.co.uk 31 May THE GREAT BIG TREE CLIMBING CO, Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 6HF, stonor.com Try your hand at climbing one of Stonor Park’s biggest trees under the tutorage of The Great Big Tree Climbing Co., the largest provider of recreational tree climbing in the country. Suitable for anyone over 6 years old (including adults!). Tickets must be purchased in advance directly from The Great Big Tree Climbing Co. £20 May half term (dates tbc) MRS BUN THE BAKER WORKSHOPS, Cholsey Pavilion, Wallingford Ox10 9PT Award-winning, hands-on cookery workshops with Mrs Bun the Baker. Call Angie on 07870 727007 or email info@mrsbunthebaker.net


1 June MUM 2 MUM NEARLY NEW MARKET, Hurst Community College, Tadley Mum2mum market hold regular nearly new baby and children's markets at fantastic indoor venues. 12-2pm. Admission is £2 on the door for buyers kids free. 1 and 2 June CINDERELLA, Arlington Arts Centre, Mary Hare, Snelsmore, Newbury, RG14 3BQ. West Berkshire Ballet School is proud to present their cast of 96 dancers, with ages ranging from 6-16 years, dozens of beautiful new costumes and a story to please everyone! Come and spot the stars of the future – ballet lovers will find this the perfect half-term treat. Tickets £10.25. 01635 244246, arlington-arts.com 2 June WALLACE & GROMIT'S MUSICAL MARVELS, The Hexagon Theatre, Queen’s Walk, Reading, RG1 7UA, 0118 960 6060, readingarts.com Join everyone’s favourite dynamic duo as Wallace prepares to perform his musical masterpiece My Concerto in Eee Lad with help from his faithful canine companion Gromit. This interactive experience features specially created animations as well as live orchestral accompaniment. Two performances - 1pm & 4pm.

Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

6 June BLAZE’S BUDDIES, familiesonline.co.uk West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS Come and meet Blaze, the museum dragon, and join in with an action poem, story, simple craft, treasure hunt and sing-a-long! The session closes with a hunt to find a museum object or a sing-along. The theme this month is sheep. 11.0011.30am (FREE) 6 June BOOKSTART RHYMETIME, California Country Park, Nine Mile Ride, Finchampstead, Wokingham RG40 4HU Bookstart celebrations for the under 5’s with the theme of Pyjamarama – come along and bring your own picnic. There will be nursery rhymes, songs and a free book! You can also collect your Bookstart pack too. 10am to 12pm. 8-9 June FESTIVAL OF FOOD AND MUSIC, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA The Festival of Food and Music is South Hill Park’s celebration of summer in the beautiful grounds around the South Lake. Featuring performances from local and regional musicians, children’s activities and a variety of craft stalls to browse – there’s entertainment for all the family. Stalls and activities include vegan food area, craft stalls, BBQ area, children’s play area and face painting. 8-9 June THE LITTLE WELLY, Greenlands, Henley-On-Thames, RG9 3AU The UK’s biggest obstacle course for children. The 3km course will feature 30 big challenges across the beautiful Culden Faw estate. It makes use of the natural aspects of the terrain, including the river and woodland. As well as adding some exciting new obstacles to old favourites, the Festival Village is better than ever, including a new and improved music stage, and a challenge for the most intrepid - ‘The Cave’. More info at thelittlewelly.co.uk 9 June COLOUR DASH, Newbury College Get showered in paint, dance in colour and raise money to Save Your Corn Exchange. Choose from either a 5k or the Family Friendly 1k and whether you walk, hop, jog in fancy dress or anything in between, this is your chance to do something fun whilst raising money for an incredible cause. Full price £12, family ticket £35, under 16s £10. 15-16 JuneSTONOR FOOD FESTIVAL, Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 6HF, stonor.com A wide range of food and drink stalls selling local and regional produce. There will be a Talks and Tasting Hub showcasing chefs, cookery school and food and drink experts. Tickets include entrance to Stonor House and Gardens as well as the fantastic Wonder Woods Adventure Playground for children. 23 June FAMILY CSI EVENTS WITH THE FORENSIC ExPERIENCE, Sonning Common Come along with your family (over 8 years) and learn all about forensics and catch the burglar. 2hour event. £25 per person. Offers available for four or more people. Events held in Sonning Common area nr Reading. To book contact theforensicexperience@gmail.com or find them on Eventbrite. 3-5pm

Families Thames Valley West • 29

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The Real Macaron Company, Berkshire

Cooking Classes for your Child? By Andrew Campbell

or many adults, cooking can feel like a mundane chore but, for children, it is anything but. Most children love to be let loose in the kitchen, and enrolling your child in cookery classes or a cooking club will not only be great fun for them but also help them acquire important developmental skills. Most importantly, either now or at some point in the future, you may get a break from cooking as your children take to the kitchen themselves!

Maths skills Cooking involves measurement such as cups, teaspoons and tablespoons and the need to understand fractions, addition and subtraction.

“Children love baking and are capable of amazing results with just a little guidance and lots of encouragement,” says Gaye Perry, who owns the Real Macaron Company in Newbury, which runs parties and workshops for children. “Gathered around a kitchen table baking delicious macarons with friends allows them to chat and giggle at the same time as developing confidence with baking techniques and equipment, channelling their inner creativity, sharing and supporting each other and learning super life skills.”

Scientific concepts Cooking involves plenty of science. Children learn what happens when certain ingredients are mixed together as well as what happens when the measurements are incorrect.


If you need any further persuading, check out the important skills cooking classes will teach your child: Fine motor skills Mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough and using cooking implements are great ways to enhance fine motor strength and control.

Comprehension Reading and understanding step-by-step directions, adding ingredients in sequence, and techniques like folding and blending, all test your child’s comprehension skills.

Focus and attention When cooking, children need to stay focused and pay attention to detail or the recipe will not be completed correctly. Children learn quickly that they have to pay attention if they want to eat that brownie or biscuit at the end! Adventurous healthy eaters Learning to cook introduces children to new tastes and textures that they haven’t tried before which means they will be more likely to experiment with eating new foods. They also learn which foods are healthy and which are not.

Self esteem When a child is able to successfully complete a recipe and make something edible, they feel a sense of pride and confidence. As they become more experienced cooks, they become more independent, which boosts their selfconfidence even further. Life skills Cooking is a skill that is essential for adulthood. Children can learn from an early age how to make their own sandwiches, pour milk or heat something in the microwave. As they do this, they learn not to touch a hot stove and how to use a knife correctly. Older children can learn to cook meals for themselves and the family. This sets them on the road to being responsible, independent individuals. The Real Macaron Company, Macaron House, 41a Newtown Road, Newbury, RG14 7BS. therealmacaroncompany.com Tel 07887 870274, email gaye@therealmacaroncompany.com.

It’s official! Our readers prefer Magazine to the internet!


ast year, we conducted a survey across the UK asking readers to tell us what they find useful about our magazine and how likely they would be to respond to advertising in it. We were delighted to receive almost 500 responses, and here were some highlights: • More than 70% of our readers were highly likely to respond to advertising in our magazine or had already done so • A whopping 79% told us that they use the magazine to research ideas for local family activities or classes and clubs for children • Many of you also told us that you find easier to plan family activities and entertainment using a physical magazine than ‘endless trawling’ on the internet

“I find Families magazine extremely useful for finding out what is going on in the local area. I used to find out about events afterwards when photos were posted on social media but now I read Families magazine I know what is going on and can make a plan to get there.” A Mum from Finchampstead

30 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire

Thames Valley West

Thank you to everyone that volunteered their comments. If you are interested in taking part in one of our Reader Forums, please email info@familiesmagazine.co.uk with your name, phone number and post code. familiesonline.co.uk

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Dealing with medical emergencies – choking

Choking treatment – baby under 12 months Back blows • Sit or kneel and lay the baby over your lap, face down, head lowest, supporting the head • Give up to five sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

This is the first in a series of features in which Daisy First Aid offers expert advice to parents on dealing with a medical emergency – in this case, choking.

Chest thrusts

A child choking is something parents fear, particularly when they start introducing solids. Recognising that someone is choking and learning the treatment of choking can really make a difference to a successful outcome. Food and small objects can easily become stuck in the airway if they are accidentally breathed in rather than swallowed. Babies love to explore objects with their mouths as this is how they learn about new textures and tastes and to help new teeth develop. You can ensure that play objects are safe by checking they are unbreakable and that they are too big to fit fully inside the mouth. If a child is starting solids, you may find that your baby occasionally gags on even the most pureed food. This sensitive gag reflex allows the food to move forward into the mouth and it is quite normal.

Choking Treatment – adult or child (over 1 year)

If the child is old enough, ask them: “are you choking”? Instruct them to cough to help clear any obstruction. If the cough then becomes ineffective you need to carry out the following steps: Back blows

It is recommended that food such as grapes (and other foods that are a similar size) should be cut lengthways and for smaller children they should be cut further into quarters to pass easily through smaller throats. If an object or food does get stuck in the throat and your child is coughing, it is called ‘partial blockage’. Remember, if your child can cough, they can continue to cough until the blockage clears. You will know if your child is choking if they are unable to cough, cry or breathe. Check the mouth for the object. If you can confidently pick it out with your fingertips then do so, but you must take great care not to push it in further.


• Lean the child/adult forwards and give up to five back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. For younger children, you can place them over your knees to give the back blows. Abdominal thrusts • Stand behind the child/adult. Place both your arms around them and make a fist with one hand and place it just above the belly button. • Grasp your fist with your other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards. Do this up to five times. If these steps do not work, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 or use loudspeaker on your mobile if you are alone and get emergency help. Keep repeating the cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the obstrction is unblocked or if medical help arrives. If they become unconscious, you need to start resusitating them (CPR). Email: editor@familiestvw.co.uk • Tel: 07968 711937

• Turn the baby chest over facing up. Support the head and lower it below the level of the chest. • Use two fingers to give up to five chest thrusts. These are similar to chest compressions but sharper and slower. If these steps do not work, shout for help. Ask someone to call 999/112 or use loudspeaker on your mobile if you are alone and get emergency help. Keep repeating cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until the obstrction is unblocked or if medical help arrives. If they become unconscious, you need to start resusitating (CPR). We highly recommend these steps are practiced on a first aid manikin and that you attend a two hour family-friendly Daisy First Aid class to learn more. We also cover baby/child/adult resuscitation, recovery position, bleeding, burns, head injuries, allergies, meningitis and much more during our session. These can be carried out in a home setting (minimum of four attendees at a cost of £25 each) or in a local venue. Children under 12 months are welcome to attend our sessions. Please contact Andrea Thomas (Reading, Henley and Goring areas) email: andrea@daisyfirstaid.com or Helen (Newbury, Hungerford, Didcot, Wantage, Faringdon and surrounding Berkshire areas) email: newbury@daisyfirstaid.com for further information.

Families Thames Valley West • 31

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Profile for Families Magazine

Families Thames Valley West May June 2019 issue 101