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Half-term What’s On KENT COASTAL WEEK

Maidstone PARENTS’ VOICE

Local News

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Cool pools

What’s On l Maternity

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Parenting l School days


2 www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk


Kent

family

Welcome to Kent Family Magazine . . . Five years ago, with babes in arms, we launched a local magazine in the Medway towns called Kent Mama. Little did we know that over time the magazine would grow to a print run of 37,000, expand to Maidstone and be read by mums, dads, grandparents, parents-to-be and those with teenagers. The start of the new school year is a new beginning for some – new schools, new jobs, new classes. And we felt it was time to update our name to better reflect you, our readers.

Cover picture provided by Adam Knott www.aboutuphotography.co.uk

Editor: lara slavin 01634 814364 sub-editor: katharine lang 01634 306321 designer: jackie Pugh 01634 849949 Printing: headley brothers

Get in touch

For information, advertising or editorial contact 01634 814364 info@kentfamily.co.uk www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

Kent Family Magazine group

37,000 copies given to parents-to-be and families in Maidstone, Medway and kent. Green mama cic, publisher of Kent Family, is an independent not-for-profit organisation. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of details in this publication, we cannot accept responsibility for such. Views expressed by contributors and advertisers do not necessarily refl ect those of the editors and publishers. Articles and advertisements created by us are copyright of green mama cic and may not be reproduced without prior consent.

Our priority, with Kent mama and now Kent Family, has always been to produce a high-quality magazine that is interesting and fun to read, shares local information and that also helps promote Maidstone businesses, many of which are run by local parents. So, as summer starts to fade and we settle back into our routines, this issue is packed with ideas for activities and classes, the low-down on local swimming pools, Maidstone news, days out, and tips on helping your child with maths. We hope you enjoy reading it!

Lara Slavin

Editor

Contents 4 8

cool pools

use your voice

12 Surviving the first term

15 What’s on 16 Maidstone news 18 greenwich

20 number crunching 24 Maternity and toddler talk

28 could you be a

children’s author?

30 days out:

brogdale Farm

to advertise call 01634 814364

3


Days Out

CoolPools FluMEs, WaVE MachinEs, raPids, WatEr jEts and jacuZZis – sWiMMing Pools haVE nEVEr bEEn so cool. hErE’s our round uP oF thE bEst lEisurE Pools in our local arEa. Maidstone leisure centre, Mote Park

What’s there: Five pools including two teaching pools; a leisure pool, fitness pool; diving pit with 1m and 3m boards and 5m platform; flume; wave machine; toddler area and sprays. The Centre has recently undergone a £4million refurbishment and has a new flume and play area for toddlers in the pool. Parents’ tips: There’s a wide variety of things to do for children of all ages. Our 11 year old loves going on the diving boards while our five year old paddles in the leisure 4

pool and rides on the flume. The enclosed teaching pool is very warm so ideal for babies who don’t like the noise of a large and busy pool. There is also a softplay area and ice hills where children don a crash helmet and zoom down slides. A family fun ticket costs £19.95 for non members and entitles you to a swim session and play in the polar adventure area. cost: Family of four swim (non-members) costs £15 at weekends. Under 5s free. Centre membership reduces the price of a family swim to £9.50.

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cascades, gravesend

splashes leisure Pool, rainham

What’s there: A 145ft flume open daily; half hourly wave machine; baby and toddler playpool with slide; swim shop and café. Parents’ tips: Great for toddlers and younger children, or older children on their own as you can easily watch them from the poolside café. Tuesdays and Thursdays there are toddler-only sessions

Larkfield Leisure Centre, Larkfield

What’s there: A 60m water slide with tracer lighting and a space bowl whirlpool slide into a plunge pool; teaching pool; wave machine; jungle pool toddler area; lazy river rapids; jacuzzi; 25m fitness pool; café, and indoor soft play area. Parents’ tips: The centre is always really warm, particularly the teaching pool, making it ideal for babies and toddlers. Older kids will enjoy swapping between the various pools and activities. And the whirlpool

between 9am and 11am. And there are regular family-only sessions when the wave machine runs. Cozenton Park is next to the pool so it’s great for a swim and picnic if the weather is warm enough. cost: Family of four swim costs £13.20. Under 3s free. Reduced rates for adults and children during special toddleronly and family sessions.

What’s there: Flumes; leisure pool; wave machine; water jets; mushroom fountain; toddler area; water channel and waterfall. Parents’ tips: Excellent changing facilities for families. There are plenty of large family changing rooms, good-quality showers and a spacious seating area around the

lockers. The pool itself has a gentle slope, ideal for younger children and toddlers. There are two flumes of varying speeds and they hold regular inflatable and wave sessions. cost: Non-members family swim is £11.50 for two adults and two children or £14.40 for a family of five. Under 3s free. Reduced price for adults with an under 3.

flume and rapids are great fun for adults too. The website www. larkfieldleisure.co.uk has a handy section telling you today’s opening and start times for the various pools and activities. Confident swimmers from 4 to 15 will enjoy Splasharound sessions in the fitness pool with a giant inflatable island, water toys and mats. Reduced prices for the soft play in term-time if you buy a swimming ticket. cost: Family of four swim costs £14.90. Or £8.90 for members. Under 3s are free.

to advertise call 01634 814364 5


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Renaissance Crafts

Paint Your Own Pottery A truly entertaining and magical show loved by children of all ages (3+) Children’s magic shows ◆ Close-up magic Balloon modelling ◆ Learn circus skills Birthday parties, schools, nurseries, youth groups and corporate events Call Chris on 01732 847808 or 07807 927637 www.christhemagician.co.uk

l Late night opening for adults l Parties l Large room for groups - Scouts, Guides, WI etc l Baby footprints l Make unique gifts

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to advertise call 01634 814364 7


Parenting

Use your Voice Ever wanted to learn more about bringing up your children? Meet other local parents? Find out about local support? And even influence the services provided for families in Maidstone? Step forward Maidstone Parents’ Voice – a parent-led group giving parents and carers the chance to have their say. What is Maidstone Parents’ Voice (MPV)? We are an information gathering and sharing forum for parents and carers living in the Maidstone area. Run by parents for parents, we have the support of Kent County Council.

also provides an opportunity to share your views and ideas about how local services can improve. MPV can raise awareness amongst local agencies of the real-life, dayto-day issues affecting parents and carers raising children in the Maidstone area.

How does MPV benefit parents?

Who can come along to the meetings?

Bringing up a family is hard work. It can be difficult to find time to research what’s available locally or learn more about raising children and teenagers. MPV helps keep you up-to-date. We pick topics that have been chosen by parents and carers as the basis for meetings. We then invite speakers who are experts on that topic and who may also possess useful local knowledge. In the past, these have included talks about the transition from pre-school to primary school, anti-bullying strategies, developing your child’s self esteem, the assessment process for Special Educational Needs and building your child’s lifelong emotional wellbeing. The group 8

Anyone who is caring for a child, whether they are parents, carers or even grandparents. MPV is one of many similar parent-led groups in Kent. We are open to any parent/ carer with a child aged 0-19 living in Maidstone town centre, Bredhurst, Lenham, Harrietsham, Leeds, Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, Yalding and places in between.

When do meetings take place? They are held regularly in termtime. Start times vary – some are held in the day time, others in the evenings. Meetings are relaxed and informal to allow time for questions and answers and usually last around 2 hours. At the end of each meeting,

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our chair person summarises parents’ and carers’ views and ideas so these can be forwarded to the Maidstone Children's Trust Board. At the start of the meeting we cover our ground rules. These include respecting confidentiality and each others’ opinions. The meetings are not a place to discuss individual issues that attendees may have with a particular person, school or teacher but instead share their experiences in general terms.

local community noticeboards. We have an email list where parents can register their interest and be kept up-todate. If you would like to join or book a place at our next meeting please email nikki.john@kent.gov.uk.All meetings are free to attend. A free crèche is available at most meetings, but places are limited so you do need to book for this.

What’s happening at the October meeting?

Most parents/carers come along to the meetings where the topic is of interest to them. But if you want to get involved we are keen to welcome new recruits to our Steering

We are especially excited about our next meeting on 11th October where the topic will be children and teenagers’ mental

‘‘

How can parents get more involved in MPV?

I feel MPV is important because it gives parents/carers a place to meet with those who provide local services and to say: “This is the reality of life for us now, these are the ways it could be improved and these are the reasons why things should be changed.

’’

Alison, MPV member and mum of 2, Maidstone and emotional health and wellbeing. Our speakers are the Lead Nurse for Tier 2 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and the Senior Educational Psychologist for Maidstone. This meeting will take place at the Life Church, Brewer Street, Maidstone, ME14 1RU from 10:00-12:30 (refreshments from 9:30am).

How do people find out / book a place? Flyers advertising the date, venue and topic of meetings are sent out to all Maidstone schools and are displayed on

Group. This is a small group of parents which, with support from Maidstone Extended Services, works to ensure there is a regular programme of meetings and two-way communication with the Maidstone Children's Trust Board. The Steering Group develops local contacts, plans MPV meetings, provides feedback to parents, reviews the effectiveness of each meeting and looks for ways to promote MPV locally.

Contact Nikki John on 07787 295405 or nikki.john@kent.gov.uk to advertise call 01634 814364 9


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irls Every G Dream

Spectacular Girls glitter parties

Want to know what’s on? Sign up for our new FREE email newsletter with all the local activities, events and news for the month ahead. 21/09/2010

September News

09:35

Hair, Make-up, Nails, Temporary Tattoos, Friendship Bangles, Craft Making, Dancing, Party Games, Prizes and lots more.

Plus fantastic Pure Glitz party bags Call Nina on 01634 408867 or Kate on 01634 233688

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What's On

and event taking of activities are still plenty what's on round up of over but there ed! Here's our hols might be The summer family entertain to keep all the place this month locally. at September all be seen & Sun 5th monks can er - Sat 4th fire breathing in Rochest Saturday, 4 flight and even Medieval Fun Gardens on nt, falcons in Rochester Castle medieval weekend at Knights in tourname ed into a vast a free family transform t, a be will and used as Medieval Merrimen The castle grounds castle was built to the 5 September. time when the and Sunday, back to the days and entrance taking visitors to 5pm on both encampment, open from 11am event will be residence. The event is free. way.co.uk www.whatsonmed

Rare Breed 5th American Indians. Sat 4th & Sun Weekend from the Native Pow Wow traditional life and hear about Story telling n prices apply. Usual admissio Centre, Ashford. tre.org.uk lade - Friday www.rarebreedcen sale Walders / tabletop Swopshop Travelling (MAD) Dads Mums And Walderslade 10th Wildfell Close, Facebook - Beechan Hall, p events on Starts at 10am travelling swopsho visit - MAD 2noon for more info er - 10am-1 11th Septemb Book in Library - Sat s welcome. Dance at Strood 16's only. Beginner Learn to Morris Morris - over Head and Vixen Led by the Wolfs 01634 335890 advance on Far East sounds of the 11th Sept The sights and Festival - Sat Adams Festival. Will Adams Will Adams for the Will off with the annual Medway er to Septemb Gillingham Park, Japan comes Saturday, 11 take place at Gillingham on spectacle will s links with will come to the colourful ng Medway’ in its 10th year, will also be As well as celebrati Festival. Now in 1598, visitors 11am to 4.30pm. to the east life in Street, from famous voyage Canterbury during his early forged on his have known would Adams Adams Japan, which Tudor England taste of the able enjoy a d36ee34dc1

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Outdoor exercise for women only. Suitable for all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. 6.00am and 9.30am classes. Indoor and outdoor. Also evening and weekend sessions. Full preparation. 98% success rate rate Full11+ 11+ preparation. 98% NEW location in Maidstone. over helped overmany manyyears. years. Over Over 300 300 students students helped towards school each year. towards grammar school year. FREEgrammar fitness test and body stats. Proven results over a 5 week course. Verysmall smallgroup group classes classes Very FREE Classestaster forYr Yr 3session 3 -- Yr Yr 11 available. Classes for Evenings Weekends Evenings &&Weekends Contact Pip for details All public exams: SATs, 11+(Kent & All public exams: SATs, 11+(Kent & 07981 225799 / pip@fi tnesscamp.co.uk Medway),GCSE, GCSE, Common Medway), Common Entrance Location: Lower GrangeEntrance Farm, andScholarships Scholarships and Sandling and Priestfields, Rochester Holiday revision programmes programmes Holiday &&fitness, revision Improve loose inches Handwriting courses Handwriting courses and have fun doing it !! One to one (subject to availability) One to one (subject to availability)

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Education

Surviving the first term

thE holidays arE oVEr, tiME to knucklE doWn to thE nEW tErM With our tiPs and adVicE FroM local ParEnts.

Packed lunches “Don’t over estimate how much packed lunch they can manage to eat at lunchtime when they start in Reception. When I’d quiz Emma about why she hadn’t yummed up the tasty titbits I had lovingly prepared, she’d say plaintively, “I didn’t have enough time”. After a few weeks we had a frank chat and cut it back to a drink, a sandwich and fruit for break. Having less to think about and manipulate seemed to result in more getting eaten.” rachel kerr, mum to Emma, rochester 12

Pre-school “We borrowed books from the library about children going to school so my daughter Poppy got used to the concept. We had some friends who already went to pre-school so we collected them a few times so Poppy understood about being left and then picked up a bit later.” jane howes, Walderslade

www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

Evening meals “Once the afterschool clubs start up again, all that ferrying around cuts down on the time you have to prepare an evening meal. The best thing I have ever bought is a slow cooker on ebay for £15. I put cheap cuts of meat in with vegetables, seasoning and some water in the morning and come home to amazing stews, curries etc. Obviously it's not an everyday thing (there are only so many casseroles you can make before the children start begging for chips!) but it can be really helpful when you know you’ll be busy after school.” suzanne Parrish, mum of 2, rochester


tiredness “Many new starters at school will be tired and often fall asleep as soon as they get home (or to the childminders). It does get better, but in the meantime parents need to think about how to avoid them napping too long then not sleeping at bedtime! Having an early tea as soon as they get home means they can go straight to bed and will often sleep til morning. Plan meals in advance that are quick to prepare. If your child is has school dinners, make a cold snack beforehand and leave it ready in the fridge. If the weather's nice have it for a picnic on the way home. The fresh air might boost their energy.” suzy coughtrey, childminder, gillingham

secondary school “After being there for a few weeks it occurred to me that I would be there for the next seven years, that’s when I felt really sad. I missed my old school and friends. I had expected to make new friends really quickly but it actually takes time for friendships to happen. A year on and I now have some great friends so don’t worry if you don’t make friends instantly. It will happen; it may just take time.” caitlin smith, aged 12, rochester

11+ The Results this year the kent test and Medway test both took place in september. While families await the results, we spoke to parents whose children took the exam last year.

“The 11+ is uniquely stressful. We tried to avoid the whirlpool of anxiety by outlining a Plan B. We pictured the situation if our child did not pass and planned for it in a positive way just as we planned and practised for taking the 11+. We talked about these options as a family to help put the exam into perspective. After all, it is only one day in a child’s life.” Pernille richards, mum of 2, headcorn “Don’t be tempted to look at the email or open the envelope without your child present, they have put the work in, they deserve to be there to get the news, good or bad. Don’t quote scores. If they passed they don’t need to know by how much; if they didn’t the same is true.

A child’s intense pride at passing can be shattered by a comment such as: 'My mum says you only scraped through’. Once results are out, move on. It will not shape the rest of their lives no matter how important it has seemed over the previous months.“ bridget haddican, mum of 2, tunbridge Wells We rewarded our son for doing his best when he did the exam– rather than promising him gifts if he passed. It’s important they know you are proud of them whatever the outcome. After the results, things move on surprisingly quickly at school. A handful of children passed but there were many who didn’t, so there is no shame in not passing. It’s likely there will be others from their class going to the same school as them, so look forward in a constructive way to where they will be going to, rather than dwelling on where they could have gone.” P Roberts, dad of 3, Larkfield

Win 11+ study books

We have two sets of nine study books (worth up to £80) to give away. The books, called Practice and Pass 11+, are designed to help parents coach and test pupils at the same time. Covering the four key 11+ subjects they are split into three levels: discover, develop and practice. Available online and at bookshops. To enter send your name, address and contact details to winbooks@kentfamily.co.uk by 30th October, enter online at www. kentfamilymagazine.co.uk or by post to 91 Maidstone Road, Rochester, ME1 1RL. to advertise call 01634 814364

13


T H E

B R O O K

T H E A T R E

P R E S E N T S

6 to 21 December 2010 The Brook Theatre, Chatham

Your child can help save Christmas!

A magical walk-through show specially created for young children. There will be lots to touch and listen to…and fun games and puzzles too. A multi-sensory delight. Great value - just £6.50 for adults n and childre

Written, directed and produced by The Brook Theatre’s resident professional performing arts companies: Play on Words Theatre Company, Icon Theatre Company and Loop Dance Company.

www.brookchristmas.co.uk 14

www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

01634 338338

Just the right length approx

50 mins


What’s On October Half Term saturday 23rd

the tudors at upnor castle, 10am-4pm Come and see for yourself the life and times of a Tudor Castle and meet Queen Elizabeth I herself. Normal admission charges apply.

saturday 23rd

halloween at leeds castle, nr Maidstone, 10am-4.30pm Mask making and spooky Halloween-themed activities in a marquee. Usual admission prices apply plus additional £1.50 for children’s craft activities.

saturday 23rd & sunday 24th

lest We Forget, royal Engineers Museum, gillingham, 10am-4pm Re-enactors share the lessons learned from the First and Second World Wars. Also features Steps in Time show ‘William, the WW2 evacuee’. Usual admission prices apply.

saturday 23rd

spooktacular Fun with scooby-doo, kent life nr Maidstone, 10am-5pm Creepy Crawly insect workshops, meet Scooby-Doo, ghost hunt, fancy dress and face painting. Lasts all week until Sunday 31st. Usual admission prices apply.

sunday 24th

spider day, Farming World, nr Faversham, 9.30am-5.30pm Part of week-long spooky Halloween week. Spider day with Invicta Arachnids on 24th, Creepy Crawlie Day with Reptiles’R’Us on 27th and Have a Go Falconry Day on 29th. Usual admission prices apply.

Monday 25th

dinosaur Footprints, Maidstone Museum Drop-in activitiy between 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Make your own dinosaur footprint out of clay. £2 per child.

Monday 25th – sunday 31st

the haunted castle – dover castle, 10am-5pm Spooky characters lead you through the castle telling the stories of ghosts from the Castle’s history. Prize for best children’s Halloween costume. Usual castle admission prices apply.

tuesday 26th

autumnal leaves, riverside country Park, nr rainham 10am-12noon. And Wednesday 27th capstone Farm country Park, 10am-12noon Children’s craft workshop making collages with the seeds, berries and autumn leaves collected from around the park. For accompanied children aged 4-12 years. Drop in any time. £1 per child.

tuesday 26th

Egyptian Pharoah collars, Maidstone Museum Drop-in activitiy between 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Be like the Egyptian Pharoahs and make your own colourful collar. £2 per child.

Wednesday 27th

big draw dinosaur collage Drop-in activitiy between 10.30am12.30pm and 1.303.30pm. As part of Big Draw 2010 come and stick, colour and paint an area of their giant dinosaur.

Thursday 28th

Feed the birds, bedgebury, 10am – 12noon Ages 5+. Short bird watching walk, find out how to look after birds in the winter and make your own bird feeder to take home. Pre-booking essential 01580 879820. £6 per person.

Thursday 28th

Pop up Egyptian cards, Maidstone Museum Drop-in activitiy between 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Surprise your friends with an Egyptian mummy card that comes to life! £2 per child.

Thursday 28th

halloween Walk, riverside country Park 5.30-6.30pm and 7-8pm and Friday 29th at capstone Farm country Park. Spooky ghost walk. For accompanied children aged 5-12. Book in advance 01634 338191 (Capstone) and 01634 337432 (Riverside). £3 pp.

Thursday 28th

shadow Puppet Family Workshop, staplehurst library and Maidstone library Learn to make shadow puppets and perform a show. Ages 4-7 years. Staplehurst at 10.30am-12.30. Booking essential on 01580 891929. Also at Maidstone library 2.30-4.30pm book via 01622 752344.

Friday 29th

Flapping dinosaur Mobile, Maidstone Museum Drop-in activitiy between 10.30am12.30pm and 1.303.30pm. Make your own pterosaur to fly around the room. £2 per child.

Friday 29th

Freaky Friday, trosley country Park, 6.30-8.30pm. Self-led trail through the woods of Trosley. Booking required on 08458 247 600, time slots allocated every 5 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Suitable for age 5+. £7.50 or £25 for family of 4.

Friday 29th

Manor Mystery, Manor Park country Park, West Malling 4-5.30pm. Visit the park at dusk, follow a self-led pumpkin trail, with a Halloween theme and meet some of the park's spooky residents. Ages 8+. Must be accompanied by an adult. Book on 01474 823800. £5.

Friday 29th and saturday 30th

shorne scream, shorne Woods country Park, 6.30pm-8.00pm Spooky trail around the woodlands lit only by lantern. Ages 8+. Children must be accompanied. Advance book on 01474 823800, £7.50.

sunday 31st

Mini scream, shorne Woods country Park 4-5pm. Visit the park at dusk, spot pumpkins and take a Halloweenthemed trail around the woods. Suitable for under 8s. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking required on 01474 823800. £5. For more events visit: www.kentfamily magazine.co.uk While we make every effort to ensure times, dates and prices are correct, please contact the location in advance to confirm these.

to advertise call 01634 814364

15


Maidstone

news Pass it on... Maidstone Wins national bMX competition

kent’s coastal Week 23rd to 31st october Living in Maidstone, it’s easy to forget that Kent has more than 350 miles of coastline within easy reach. Each year, to celebrate the diversity of coastal and marine wildlife, Kent County Council and other local organisations run Kent Coastal Week - eight days of free or subsidised activities, walks, talks and workshops. This year, Scandalmongers Theatre Company will be on

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several beaches along the Thanet coast performing stories, games, art and magic. There are experts from the Natural History Museum and local nature organisations giving beachside talks on seaweed, fossils and rock pooling. Reduced-rate boat trips leave Ramsgate Royal Harbour to see seals. There are children’s marinethemed activities at Kent Wildlife Trust Visitor Centres and a variety of craft workshops

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for both adults only and families including felting, silkscreen printing, mosaic making and cupcake decorating, organised by www.kents creativecoast.co.uk Closer to home Medway Swale Estuary Partnership is running a series of events at Riverside Country Park, Gillingham. These include the Cool Seas Roadshow and Easy-peasy eels workshop on Monday 25th October and coastal creatures in clay, where you can make your own undersea monster to take home, on Saturday 30th. Pre-booking essential on 01634 337432. There's a drop- in Coastal

Maidstone has won a national Red Bull Backyard Digger competition to have a new BMX track installed at Mote Park. Work started on the new track 20th September and will be launched at a BMX jam on Saturday 2nd October.

Treasure Hunt on Friday 29th where you can follow a fun trail round the park and win a prize. To see the full programme of events visit www.kent.gov.uk/ explorekent. Or call 08458 247 600 to be sent a copy.


shadow Puppet Wordshop Children aged 4-7 can learn how to make shadow puppets at local libraries this half-term. The workshops include a demonstration show, puppet making and a grand finale involving all the puppets made. It's a free event, but booking is essential. The workshops take place at Staplehurst Library, 10.30am12.30pm on 28th October, book on 01580 891929. And at Maidstone library 2.30-4.30 on 28th October. Call 01622 752344 to book.

Wave rave and Monster Fun This half-term Maidstone Leisure have a monster mash theme to their popular Club Energy playscheme sessions. Open to children aged 5-14 you can book for a morning, afternoon or full day session. There are a choice of activities including sports and dance and in

the afternoon there is usually swimming sessions (over 8s only) and free play. The Monster mash theme will involve learning a dance routine, stage makeup techniques and fi lming the finished performance. The playscheme runs from Monday 25th to Friday 29th and can be by calling

the Children’s Activities Team on 01622 220228 or in person at the centre. Prices for a half-day session start at £9.25 or £17.75 for a full day. On Saturday 30th they are holding their popular wave rave and fancy dress party. £2.95 per child for non members.

Big Draw Events in Kent ✐ Doodle Mania at Droit House, Margate. 9th October, 1-3pm, free. Drop in and add your doodle to their big wall drawing. ✐ Discover the wonders of autumn through drawing at Canterbury Environmental Education Centre on 25th October. 10 - 4pm. ✐ Bedgebury Big Draw event. Drop in between 11am-4pm on 26th October. Use natural art to make an animal hotel to take home with you. £1 per child. ✐ Shorne Woods Big Draw. Wednesday 27th October, 10am-1pm Shorne Wood Country Ages 3-13years. Children must be accompanied. No booking required. £1. to advertise call 01634 814364

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Days out

Greenwich

By Natalia Forrest

into the trap of feeling the need to get too ‘whizz bang’. Children can try on parts of suits of armour, explore what it was like for sailors in various eras, and the information desk can suggest family activities and trails to follow. Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre

An ideal first stop is the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre. Part of The Old Royal Naval College, it gives a great overview of Greenwich and its part in London, and England’s, history. There are lots of hands-on activities, and the information is well presented and quite in-depth: the centre manages to make it engaging without falling 18

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David Copeman Photography

Many Kent families are keen to take advantage of our proximity to London by visiting free attractions such as the Science Museum or Natural History Museum. However, a family-friendly hidden gem that is often overlooked is Greenwich. Situated within easy to reach from Kent by train or car, it can also be reached from central London by the Docklands Light Railway, bus or river boat.

Adrian Brooks, Imagewise

closer than you think, and with lots for all the family to enjoy, this hidden gem makes a great day out.


A walk up a steep hill will bring you to one of Greenwich’s most famous attractions - the Royal Observatory - which is frankly amazing (and like Discover Greenwich, it’s free). If you have young children with you it is probably best to concentrate on one of the two galleries for a single visit. The Astronomy Galleries are a mix of interesting hands-on activities and static displays. Even if your children have never shown an interest in anything astronomically related, they are sure to find something here that interests them. The other half of the

Greenwich Royal Observatory

Royal Observatory, the Time Galleries, concentrates on telling the story of the Meridian Line, and time in general. The Observatory often runs free activities targeted at families.

greenwich Market

There are plenty of other things to do in Greenwich, making it a place you can come back to visit again and again. The National Maritime Museum takes in not just the Observatory but also galleries

on the Web Many of the attractions in Greenwich hold special events, exhibitions and festivals. For more information visit: www.visitgreenwich.org.uk www.oldroyalnavalcollege.org www.nmm.ac.uk www.greenwichmarket.net

concerned with Maritime exploration, art and history. The ‘village’ of Greenwich itself is very pleasant and well worth a stroll around. And one of my favourite, if bizarre things to do when in Greenwich is to walk under the Thames to the Isle of Dogs via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Kids enjoy the slight spookiness of it and marvel at the thought they are walking under the river! So whether your family is interested in art, open spaces, pretty things to look at or architecture, Greenwich has something for everyone.

Crafts, food, homewares, art and fresh produce are all available at the famous Greenwich Market – currently celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. Situated in the centre of the oneway system, it is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5:30pm. With a fantastic range of unusual bits and bobs for children and adults alike it’s a great place to buy gifts, pick up some food-to-go or browse the many independent stalls. Natalia Forrest is a writer and mother who lives in Kent. She also publishes a family travel blogs: http:// letsdosomethingdifferent. wordpress.com/

to advertise call 01634 814364

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Education

Number crunching How to help your child with maths and make it part of everyday life. by Inge Watson Maths is like Marmite â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you either love it or hate it! But add in new terminology and teaching methods such as number bonds and number lines and it can be doubly confusing. Kent Family spoke to Inge Watson of Kip McGrath, a qualified teacher, and asked how parents can help their children be maths confident.

How is maths taught at primary school? We speak to a lot of parents who want to help their children but realise that maths is taught differently compared with their school days. The biggest development is that children are taught that there is

Partitioning involves splitting up a number into more manageable parts. For example, when adding 22+23 you can add 20+20 and 2+3 separately and then add the results together to reach the final answer. 20

Number Bonds are pairs of numbers which, when added together, make up each number. I.e. The number bonds for five are 1+4, 2+3, 0+5. more than one way to do subtraction, addition, multiplication and division. They are encouraged to learn a variety of methods so that they can choose to solve a problem in the way they think is best.

Mental maths There is a strong emphasis on mental maths in primary schools. Mental maths means solving a maths problem in your head. Children are encouraged to learn tables, halving, doubling, rounding up or down and number bonds by heart and use these facts to help solve problems. In the classroom this can involve singing times tables or playing games in a circle where children shout out

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answers to maths questions. The teaching is often very practical, with work also being done in small groups. Children are encouraged to work with others and discuss their findings with their classmates and teachers. In younger years, the maths teaching is very visual with pictures being used to help


how parents can help? itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not surprising that many parents feel reluctant to help their children in case they do things the wrong way. but there are many practical things that can be done so that children can gain confidence and grow to enjoy maths.

children complete simple sums by counting on or counting back. l Kip McGrath Education Centres provide English, Maths and 11+ tuition for children aged 6-16. For more information, or to find our about their upcoming open days, call 01634 201777 or visit www. kipmed.co.uk

did you know: That Kent Adult Education centres run FREE Skills Plus courses for adults in maths and English. For more information, visit your local adult education centre, call 0845 6065606 or email skillsplus@kent.gov.uk

l Games like Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes and Monopoly are a fun way to learn to count, add up and score. l Cooking is a fantastic way to learn about weights, measurement and ratio, as is helping with putting up a shelf or decorating a bedroom. l Sharing a pizza is a tasty method to introduce fractions, decimals and percentages l Giving your child pocket money will help them to add up whether they can afford a particular toy or game. l Use both analogue and digital clocks with your child to work out how long their favourite TV programme is. l Draw objects using triangles, squares or other geometric patterns. l If you are on a car journey, your children can add up the numbers on the licence plates of the cars they see. There are a multitude of opportunities around us to encourage children to have fun with numbers. The BBC (www.bbc.co.uk) has an excellent website for parents with tips and advice on helping with maths. to advertise call 01634 814364

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BABY & ME Baby Massage Classes Communicate with your baby through touch. ❊ Come along and meet other mums at this wonderful baby group whilst learning all the benefits of Baby Massage. ❊ Classes are held weekly in Rochester, Maidstone and Ashford and taught by a fully qualified infant massage instructor. ❊ For all babies aged from 6 weeks - 10months 5 week course £42.

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The award winning movement to music, dance and singing programme for boys and girls from 6 months upwards run within a fun, safe and caring environment.

Classes available in Chatham, Rochester, Strood, Maidstone Contact Miss Diane on

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Maidstone maternity & toddler talk

£5 osteopathy scheme to continue The European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone have announced that they are extending their Mother and Baby Scheme until the end of the year. The lowcost community scheme

allows new mums and their babies (up to 1 year) to visit their clinic and receive a thorough osteopathic check and assessment, and if required on-going treatments, for just £5 per appointment instead of the usual £16-£22. The scheme is open to existing and new patients and now runs until 30 December 2010. To make an appointment simply call 01622 685989 or email enquiry@eso-clinic. co.uk quoting Mother and Baby Scheme.

So Unique

With christmas on the way why not plan ahead and make it personal. Maidstone’s Renaissance Crafts Paint your own Pottery make gift-giving fun for all the family. Even babies and toddlers can produce works of art with footprint plates www. renaissancecrafts.co.uk

Essex-based Pitter Patter Products offer a wide range of personalised items including clocks, canvases, keepsake boxes and door plaques which they sell online and via party plan agents www. pitterpatterparties.co.uk

To add to their range of fingerprint jewellery, Smallprint have recently launched a new range of cut-out mini masters, capturing your child’s artwork. Contact Nicola Tuffin on 01634 320722. 24

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What’s on Friday 8th October naturally healthy Pregnancy Evening at Southcote Clinic, Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone. Drop in anytime between 6 and 8pm. Advice and information on pre-conception, pregnancy and post-natal care. Free treatments and demonstrations. Contact Georgina (07870 409681) or Emma (07811 209452) for details. Saturday 9th October Medway nct is holding it’s popular nearly new sale at Rainham School for Girls, Rainham. Doors open at 10.15am and the event fi nishes at 12 noon. Entrance is £2. For more information visit www. nctmedway.org.uk tuesday 12th october storytelling and craft activity for under 5s at Maidstone Museum. 10.30-11.30am. £2 for one adult and up to two children. saturday 16th october Maidstone nct nearly new sale at Invicta Grammar School. Doors open at 2.15pm (2pm for NCT members). Monday 25th october Prickles in the park, Hedgehog Day at Manor Park Country Park, West Malling. For ages 3-8. Meet real life hedgehogs and make clay models. Booking essential on 01474 823800. £5 per child.


Fun for all - big or small thEy May bE too young For school but thErE is a nEW tErM oF classEs For agEs 0-5 starting this autuMn.

Music and dance

jo jingles provides lively, interactive music, singing and movement classes for ages 6 months to 5 years. Classes in Maidstone, Kings Hill, Larkfield and Medway. Their aim is to provide an enjoyable

and creative introduction to music and singing through a variety of activities. Call Jo on 01634 814364 www. jojingles.com/ maidstone NEW little bubble pre-school classes

are fun music classes with plenty of singing and dancing. Suitable for children from newborn to age 4. Classes are held in Maidstone, Kings Hill and Medway. Free trial lesson. For details call 07538 112018 or visit www. littlebubble.net trendy toddlers is run by ISTD trained teachers, these dance classes for children from walking to age 4 have a strong emphasis on fun whilst also teaching the foundations and correct techniques of dance and musical theatre. Says

Nicky: “our classes are energetic and enjoyable as well as giving children the right technique from the start”. Maidstone

classes are £4, payable weekly. Contact Nicky on 07870 610965 or www.intermissionpa. co.uk dinky dancers provides music, dance and action sessions for preschool children aged 2-4. And have classes in central Maidstone, Kings Hill and Medway. Sessions have a weekly theme such as amazing animals or at the circus. For more information contact Lisa on 01634 682181 or visit www. dinkydancers.com NEW babyballet Singing, dancing and movement classes that help boys and girls aged 6 months to 5 years develop balance, co-ordination and self-control. And learn about colours, shapes and more whilst having fun exercising. Classes in central Maidstone, Kings Hill and Medway. Contact Miss Diane on 07984

393949 or visit www. babyballet.co.uk

skills for life

tumble tots One of the UK's eading physical play programmes. Five age groups from 6mths to age 7. Classes in Gillingham, Chatham, Meopham and Maidstone. Call 01634 682760. Waterbabies is the largest specialist baby swimming company

in the country. Courses run throughout Kent including Maidstone, Gravesend and Medway. Lessons use word association, movement, games and songs to make babies feel at ease in the water. Suitable form birth to 12 months. Contact 01622 662589 or visit www.waterbabies. co.uk

to advertise call 01634 814364

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The world’s first pre-school football programme. Improve your child’s:

● Football skills ● Co-ordination ● Balance ● Social skills ● Self confidence

As well as being fantastic fun! Classes in Medway, Maidstone and Sittingbourne. Walkers to age 5.

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2 to 4 year olds Classes in: Creative Physical MaidstonE,kings hill, Fun WaldErsladE, strood cates and st Mary’s island. Certifi Parties Call Lisa Jarrett on Nursery 01634 682181 Classes Free trial www.lisajarrett@dinkydancers.com

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Find out about these and other businesses in our online directory. 19/7/10 www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

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Real life

About me My name is Sian Shanahan. I was born in Kent and attended Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone. My parents live in Aylesford so I split my work between here in Kent and my Buckinghamshire home. As well as being mum to Corey, aged 2, I work with my husband, Des, promoting his recently launched first book.

How it began

Main picture: Graeme Crouch, Rocket Creative Consultants 2009.

Could you be

a children’s author? Ever read a childrens’ book and thought you could do better? Originally from Aylesford, Sian Shanahan and her husband have recently written and self-published a children’s book – here she tells Kent Family her story and gives advice for other would-be authors. 28

www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

About 4 years ago, Des was daydreaming while on a flight and noticed how a rainbow shone through a cloud. He started to consider how magical nature must seem from a child’s perspective. By the time he’d landed, he’d come up with an idea for a children’s book, all the characters’ names, and even a theme tune. He called me at 3am the next day and though it sounded crazy, I knew that it was something we had to go for.

First steps Protecting the idea, and the characters' names. Then we spent a lot of time reading books for pre-schoolers with an environmental theme, creating storyboards and researching illustrators. At the time we were working in America, so we advertised for illustrators who wanted to develop their portfolio, but had experience working on character development. Luckily, we were contacted by two professional illustrators who were working for Warner Brothers and The Cartoon Network at the time, and they created all the images for the Bumblejums website and book.


creating a buzz We wanted to raise awareness online, so we built up an e-list of followers who would be interested in the book and music when it became available, and whom we could keep in touch with at each stage of the process through a blog and Facebook. When our book and cd launched, we

schools about running a Bumblejums literacy and music workshop as part of their Eco Schools plan or for Environment week. And we ran a workshop at Shorne Woods Country Park to celebrate World Earth Day.

how was the process? Expensive, and slow, but rewarding. My father, a graphic designer, helped us put the artwork and copy together. Besides loads of time, we have invested £10,000 on the website, marketing, suppliers, studio time, pressing CDs and printing. We hope to recoup our investment within a year.

advice for budding authors/entrepreneurs

By the time he’d landed, he’d come up with an idea for a children’s book, all the characters’ names, and even a theme tune.

already had a growing fan base eager to hear the news.

is self-publishing right for you? We researched children’s book publishers, spoke to lots of people in the industry, and decided to go it alone. We knew we weren’t aiming for high-street bookstores and realised how competitive it was. If a publisher really likes your idea, it's easy to get a book published, but you can get a lot of knock-backs before finding a publisher who says yes. Rather than face rejection, we decided to pool our own funds to get the book published. We targeted niche distributors like the Eden Project in Cornwall, country parks and visitor attractions whose clients were the kind of people we were trying to reach. We knew it would be a challenge, but it has been very liberating to self-publish.

our successes

The books have been well received. We plan to launch the next book in the series later this year. We’re working with Early Years specialists to produce interactive resources for pre-schools and nurseries. And we hope to develop a children’s tv series. We are in discussion with several Kent nurseries and primary

Have the confidence to write, and share your work. Get a good team to work with you. Make a list of contacts with useful skills who might give time cheaply or for free. Search for young talent such as web designers or illustrators who have the same desire to make it. Being part of project like this can be very rewarding for everyone involved. For further information about the Bumblejums visit www.bumblejums.com. For information about upcoming events and news visit http:// bumblejums.blogspot.com. Books and cd are on sale online and at Shorne Woods Country Park, Lullingstone Castle and The Eden Project. The 9 musical tracks are available for download via iTunes.

to advertise call 01634 814364

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Brogdale Farm Where: Brogdale Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8XZ. Tel: 01795 536250 www.brogdalecollections.co.uk

What’s there: Brogdale’s 150 acres of orchards are home to the National Fruit Collection including more than 2,200 varieties of apples, 550 types of pear, 350 of plum, 320 of cherry and smaller collections of bush fruits, nuts and grapes. Festivals are held throughout the year, with demonstrations, stalls and tastings, and at weekends, the Faversham mini railway runs through the orchard. The courtyard area has a café and shops selling locally sourced products.

We say: Brogdale has more varieties of fruit than you could have imagined possible. If you are a gardener, an hour-long orchard tour (£7.00 adults, £3.50 under 16s) will keep you enthralled, but that’s a treat probably best enjoyed when the kids are at school. There’s plenty for children: rare breed pigs (fed on surplus fruit) wallow behind the market place and chickens range freely. The shops have a great range of local foods and crafts, food in the café is delicious and you can pick up something for your garden at the plant centre. Best bits for the kids: ace café and tasting cherries straight from the tree! Prices: Parking for the courtyard and café is free. There is a charge for guided tours of the orchard or you can take a self-guided walk (£5 adults, £2.50 under 16s, £12.50 families). There is a charge for special events/festivals. 30 www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk 46 www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk

Upcoming events: Apple Festival 23-24th October Apple tasting, cookery demonstrations, tractor trailer rides, tours and children’s activities. £8 adults, £4 children, £20 family, under 2s free. 2011 Events include – Soft Fruit Festival, Cherry Festival, Plum Day, Nut Day, Cider Festival.


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Newborn - Christening - Baby - Children - Pets - Family Portraits - Birthdays

Maidstone edition Kent Family  

Maidstone edition of Kent Family magazine for parents in Maidstone, Medway and Kent. Given free to 37,000 families. Autumn 2010.

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