Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids

When I first heard about Sounds Right Phonics Classes for Kids I knew it was something that I had to get involved, as an ex-teacher I was so excited by these classes and new that they would go down really well in this area!

I am Sally, mum to two young boys, and a highly experienced early years teacher.  When I returned to teaching after having my boys, it became clear that something had to give as I just wasn’t seeing my sons during the week.

So when I stumbled across Sounds Right Phonics Classes fro Kids I though aha this is perfect! I could still use my teaching skills, but also fitted around my family.

Phonics has become such a huge part of children’s learning in recent years, so immersing children into simple phonic activities and games at a young age and introducing them to rhymes, whilst having fun seemed like a fantastic thing to do.

I have two different classes, Minis for children aged between 12 to 30 months – which introduces simple letter sounds, with many songs and rhymes, we also begin to develop motor skills through the use of pom-poms, bubbles and parachutes.

And Pre-school classes for children aged between 2 1/2 and 4 years old – where we introduce a sound each week and play games associated with that sounds, then with the help of our class mascot we develop word building and taking apart strategies.

Along side all of this we continue to improve our motor skills both large and small scale with pom-poms and play-dough.

I currently run classes on Mondays in Barton Stacey, Tuesdays at Totcity in Andover and Wednesdays at Picket Twenty Community Centre.

From September I will be adding an afternoon class on Wednesdays at YMCA Andover.  If you would like more information please contact me on andover@soundsrightphonicsclasses.co.uk or visit my facebook page Sounds Right Phonics Classes Andover.

Here are a couple of recent review from some of my parents:

“This class is so much more than I had expected. It is fun, interactive and different than all others out there. My daughter loves it! I love that she is so happy learning!!”

“I was initially interested in Sally’s phonics classes as I wanted to learn how to pronounce sounds correctly before my daughter starts school in September, as it’s all new to me too! We have both had so much fun that my daughter has said that she would “go to phonics every day” if she could. She gets bored easily but loves these classes and has learned so much. As her interest in letters and sounds has grown it’s naturally led on to her writing some too! Sally is wonderful and includes every child in the group, highly recommended.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Punishment at School as well as at Home?

I recently had a question from a Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “After some parenting advice; if your child misbehaved at school and was punished at school would you punish at home as well or not?”

Many thanks for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Punishment at School as well as at Home?

Katie said “I think it depends on what they did. I’ve just gone through this and decided punishing at school wasn’t enough so he also got punished at home.”

Chloe said “I had this issue before, I was unhappy that the school didn’t tell me, luckily my child is honest with me, but because she had already been punished, I chose to talk to her about it but not punish her, I make her reflect on what she does, it always depends on how often it happens and the situation”

Becki said “I don’t usually. If the school has dealt with it, I’d talk to the child about it and see if we can get to the bottom of why it happened so it doesn’t happen again. School won’t punish for bad behaviour at home!”

Jennie said “It’s already been dealt with”

Lorah said “Depends what it was!”

Wendy D said “Agree depends on what they did. If they broke school rules then the school punishment is normally enough but if they broke life rules then I would consider revoking a few home prvillages too. Also depends if they are sorry.”

    • Lorah said “Wendy yes agree with this!!”

Kathryn said “I’d have a chat with them at home about it, there is always 2 sides to a story and discuss different ways they could have dealt with whatever they were feeling but not punish them again.”

Catherine said “There’s not really a lot of punishment the school can doll out. It depends on what it was but I think if it was something you considered serious you should back up at home with a consequence to support the school.”

Rachael said “Depends what happened and the reasons it happened. I would always sit down and talk to them about it so they know that I communicate with the school, also so I can pick up if they are acting out because they are upset, stressed etc”

Kerri said “No. I work in a Pre school and we tell parents when their child misbehaves but only for their information. Depending on the age of the child once a certain amount of time has passed the ‘punishment’ won’t be relevant. I think parents should discuss what’s happened and the fact it’s wrong/they’re disappointed etc and to affirm the fact school have chosen to take it seriously. But not necessarily to punish themselves.”

    • Catherine said “Kerri I wouldn’t consider punishing a preschooler at all, other than sternly saying no and explaining why it’s wrong.”

Emma said “Yes!”

Hayley said “Personally punishment should be done at the time of incident.. else they won’t associate the punishment with the wrong doing. I’m with those who say the school should tell parents and when the child is home to sit down and talk about it.. punishment has been given so a stern talk when home about it is best.”

Amber said “If the child has already been punished at school then I dont punish again at home. I want my child to know that he can tell me anything that happens at school without fear of being told off again. Obviously we do talk about any incident but it is a conversation rather than punishment.”

Wendy S said “No, they’ve already been punished, I’d just say that I know about it.”

Karen said “No. Not if it’s been dealt with. Consequences are much better though…https://www.empoweringparents.com/…/punishments-vs…/

Marion said “If it’s a school rule they broke, no. If they’ve been a proper little for and done something unacceptable to another child, absolutely.”

Ruza said “Well it does depend on what happened. School rules, and discipline at school. However if this is something that you really think needs further dealing with then you need to find out why and then look at what you need to do further. Also remember sometimes something happens that has an underlying reason.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

In July 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I was wondering if you know of any local crash swimming courses for children?” 

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

Joanna said, “The sports centre do crash courses.”

Sarah said, “Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Becky said, “My daughter has just done a crash course at the Sports Centre and she really enjoyed it.”

Karen said, “I recommend the Sports centre too.”

Andrea said, “We go to Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Amanda said, “Aquadrome and tadley pool both do intensive courses, so five days a week for one week at a time. They learn faster as there’s no gap to forget things. Highly recommend.”

Ruth said, “We did it for our eldest, age 7? over a half term and he hasn’t looked back – Joanne is brilliant.” (Sports centre)

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Chalk Ridge Christmas Fayre – 1st December 2018

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My Experience: The end of Y2

You may have noticed that I’ve been going on and on and on about our experience of moving Miss NHM to a new school so I thought it was time to write something about my experience of Y2.

Four days into September 2017 term we removed Miss NHM from her old school.

The school pastoral team were arrogant enough to do completely the opposite of the comprehensive care plan that myself, Miss NHM’s paediatrician and Miss NHM’s GP put together over the summer and made Miss NHM sicker during her first week back at school. I have since found out that it was illegal for them to do this, based on the Department for Educations “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” comprehensive document.

Needless to say that was the icing on the cake after two years of despicable treatment of my daughter.

It was an incredibly stressful time. During that week that Miss NHM started her new school my car broke, the washing machine gave up the ghost, my Mother had what the professionals thought was a mini-stroke and it was the Sitting with Jane Bench auction at which the Teaching Assistant, who had been subjecting abuse at Miss NHM for months, was also at.

(When I reflect on that time, I still wonder how I didn’t end up in the nut house!)

We decided on the Friday evening that Miss NHM would never be going back to her old school.

On the Monday morning I rang round all of the local schools and was beyond delighted to find that one of my favourite schools had one space left for her (I’d already visited a few in June and July in anticipation of her old school still being beyond sh*t).

We were so, so, SO lucky and I thank our lucky stars every day that she’s now at the school she is at.

They have been….FANTASTIC!! I literally couldn’t ask for a better school. ALL of the staff are so lovely and compassionate. It’s such a brilliant school and Miss NHM has THRIVED  since she started in September 2017.

Seeing her get better over the past year as a result of just over a year of the Gluten free diet and seeing her in such a safe and happy environment has made my heart sing on a number of occasions.

She’s made some wonderful friends and she really has grown into a healthy and more confident child.

Her anxiety when she started at her new school was through the roof and I was extremely concerned about the impact of moving her to a new school but we realised we didn’t have any choice and despite her anxiety and Coeliac Disease she has completely flourished at her new school and I am eternally grateful to all of the staff at the new school who have helped with this.

Now that she isn’t in pain all of the time her reading has gone off the charts! I’m having to go to the library to borrow books for her as she’s read everything at home and for her year in school! (did you know that you can now borrow 30 books at a time on a children’s library card? Thanks Su for the heads-up!)

Her maths is still behind because she missed most of YR and a lot of Y1 as she was so poorly but she’s getting up to speed quickly.

She has lots of friends in her year and is WAY more chatty that she used to be (double edged sword) probably because she isn’t in pain now. It’s been wonderful to see that she’s been in a year where the children are all down to earth and, apart from one child, there has been no bitchiness or nastiness.

Even the school Mum’s are all lovely. Yes, there are a few cliquey’s but nowhere near as many nasty Mum’s (there were lots and lots of lovely Mum’s there too!! Just in case my friends from there are reading! <facepalm>) as there were at the old school.

With hindsight we probably should have moved Miss NHM to another school earlier but we were struggling with getting her well again and that was our focus. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and when it happens when the time is right.

I’m thankful that we moved her AFTER her diagnosis so that her “unexplained” sickness didn’t carry with her and I’m beyond grateful that the “new” school have been so fantastic.

Based on my experience, if your gut is telling you that your child isn’t happy in their current school have a look around at other local schools and go and visit them. Literally everyone I know who has moved their child to another school has found it a very positive experience for the child in question.

I’m really looking forward to Y3 and seeing how Miss NHM continues to bloom, to become more healthy and overcome her anxiety and thrive. Thank you to those of you who have supported us along this journey so far! I’m very, very thankful for all of you!!!

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NHM Reader Comments: Homework in Infant and Junior School

Louise posted the following question on her Louise Nhm Smith profile “Good Afternoon Everyone. I’ve had a question from a NHM Reader that I’m intrigued to know the answer myself: “Has anyone advised their child’s school that their children won’t be doing homework in Infants school, and if yes, how did they go about doing this? My understanding is that homework isn’t mandatory until 8 years old…” TIA”

Thank you to all who contributed to this discussion, highlights are below and thank you to Juliet for putting this post together! 

NHM Readers comments on advising infant /junior schools their children wont be doing homework

Jaz said

“We’re clearly lucky as my school doesn’t believe in it so young. We just have to read each day- but I think that’s right! They do have a project over the summer which I think is fine. But also- if it’s making a project or something you don’t want them to be the only child that doesn’t do it and is left out…”

Mary said

“My son is y1 and his homework is a short writing exercise (often draw a picture and write a sentence); practice tricky words, read his book and number bonds. I let him chose to do it when he wants to. It takes no time at all. The teacher says it’s ok if not everything gets done. If I were you I would open the conversation with the school in an open and honest way. You might find they are open to your choice. Plus think about what aspects of homework you won’t do. Be prepared.”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“I have already had this response from a Primary school teacher who obviously wishes to remain anonymous: “I’m currently a Primary school teacher and when my little boy goes to school I will be doing the same and probably withdrawing him from KS1 SATs.

I would write a clear polite letter outlining why you do not want your child doing homework, inc references to official sources to support your view if you think the school will cause a fuss. I would also include what educational activities you will do i.e. read and discuss books, family meals, visits to places that engage your child (whatever is relevant to you). Speak to your child so they don’t rub it in to others and keep track that they are not doing it in break times.

I would however keep an eye on the projects because they can be fun for the family to share in and be aware they may miss out on rewards (merits, stickers). Good luck and I hope the school supports your plans.””

Louise Nhm Smith said

“Response from the same Primary school teacher: “After a very quick google search, there is no formal method to withdraw an able child from SATs that I can find. There is an option to simply not take them in during the week (and risk fines) or take them on an unauthorized holiday (less likely to get fines but as you will have seen in the press it is a hot topic).

From my personal perspective my boy is not due to take KS1 SATs until 2022 and a lot will change in that time. If they do not then I will have a conversation with my school about my concerns, and if not addressed, will consider not sending him in and taking the penalties/fines.

I have a lot of professional concerns about how schools are implementing the tests, especially at KS1 and the pressure that is put on very small minds, bodies and souls.

If you as a parent also have concerns your first port of call should be your child’s teacher. Understand how the school approaches the tests and discuss how your child can be supported so that they are not stressed. If this does not reassure you, I would go to the head as the ethos of a school can shape the exam experience. If you are still not happy you need to reflect on your options. The sad fact is that if you simply withdraw your child for the test week, they will still be taught as if they are sitting them and the stress that might bring. It’s a really hard thing to address and most schools have their hands tied and so (unfairly) pile the pressure on the children.

If you feel the pressure is affecting their mental health (scary at such a young age) or their love of learning/school, then I would bring that to the school’s attention asap. Always be polite and provide evidence: from language used at home (‘I hate school’, ‘I’m not doing well’, ‘I’m not good enough’), examples from work in school, sleep patterns etc. Explain that you are not happy that the year has become about a set of tests when they should be loving learning and see how the school respond.

If you have concerns you could always talk to the LEA to see what they’d expect in a year 2 class. Or consider changing school/home-schooling.

This is not in any way official, just the reflections of a mum who also teaches.””

Susan said

“My child is 5 (year 1) and has reading and maths and now spelling homework (10 words a week) and also “talking homework” but saying that the school is outstanding!!”

Emily said

“Yes. But it took my son’s paediatric consultant saying it three times before they listened…”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“A response from an assistant head at a local junior school who also wishes to remain anonymous: “Homework is not a statutory requirement in infant or junior schools in England. I am not sure it is statutory in KS3 but don’t quote me. However, parental involvement proven to be crucial in child development. There is no set definition of what parental involvement constitutes and it certainly isn’t restricted to ‘formalised homework’.

Many schools have project/topic related homework that is designed to encourage families to share in activities for those who wish to do it and many schools are more than happy to pinpoint parents to the right place to find suitable additional home learning tasks. However, this is again non-statutory.

Personally, as a teacher and a Mum, I do value reading at home (even if that comes in the simple form of a bedtime story). Spelling and multiplication tables/number facts are also areas that can make an impact.

The Sutton Trust report rated homework as having very little impact on children’s progress at school. However, parental involvement is paramount! Parents should feel confident in making a judgement about whether their child actually benefits from homework and schools will respect this if the child is generally supported by their parents in their learning.

By the way…homework is always a nightmare topic at parents evening because it generates such conflicting opinions. It’s very difficult for schools to please everyone on this one.””

Mata said

“Interesting it is not ‘statutory’ in Juniors. I wonder if that means the school does not have to set it or does it mean the child does not have to do it? My daughter’s school give them detention if it’s not done. Tried complaining but it’s hopeless.”

Karen said

“Only an education is statutory. How it is delivered is up to the parents. If you can’t find a school whose ethos you like or can negotiate with don’t forget home education is a perfectly allowable method of delivering education with no constraints on your curriculum or time.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: What to do if a sibling is allocated to a different school

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader ” Can anyone help please? My son has been allocated a school different to where his sister attends. Has anyone been in this situation? Any help appreciated.”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below:

NHM Reader’s recommendations for a sibling allocated to a different school

Helena said “It happened to a friend. Her children ended up going to different schools for 18 months until a place became available at her preferred choice (out of catchment) school for her youngest, where her eldest already was. I think she appealed but didn’t get anywhere.”

Joanne said “You can appeal the decision and see if that helps.”

Rebecca said “I’m in exactly the same position. You could appeal, but it’s very stressful (we went through 3 appeals for my son) and unless your second child has undeclared SEN or Hampshire School Admissions made an error (it does happen), then there’s really no point. One thing to bear in mind is that every appeal is pretty expensive for the school. We have decided to ask our son’s school if they can find out if an error has been made without going to appeal because we don’t want the school’s already stretched budget to be used for an appeal that has no grounds. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.”

Further information on the appeals process can be found on the Hampshire County Council’s website:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/admissions/guidance/appeals

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NHM Readers Recommend: After School Drama Clubs

I recently had the following question from an NHM Reader: “Looking to see if your lovely followers can help. Looking for an after school drama club for my 4 year old. Looking for Monday’s or not Stage coach as it’s far too expensive for us.TIA”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend after school drama clubs

Karen said:

“My little one went to Perform in Bramley. I think it was on a Friday but I’m sure there are others around on different days. Great for building confidence and learning life skills. Not in anyway like stage coach. They do a termly performance but it’s really laid back and no pressure on the children to be perfectly forms performers.”

Rachael said:

The Spotlight Centre not sure of the time table now as this was a few years ago. The person who we did go to has his own business now and is based at QMC but this is LAMDA I think he takes children from 7. It is called In Yer Face Productions.

“I think there is a group at Sherfield Park too”

Kate said:

“Is drama tots only pre school?”

Katie said:

Merry go Round Storytelling offer fab Stage Craft classes – they are Andover based but I know travel, and are regularly in Longparish, Whitchurch etc. Worth looking into. Amanda is lovely”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Private Tutors, Yr R

An NHM Reader recently asked: “I’m looking for recommendations for a private tutor for English in Basingstoke area – ideally someone who’ll also be working through the summer holidays?

My little boy is currently rounding off Yr R. His teacher has said he’s meeting all of the required development elements for his age but I’m really worried that he’s falling behind in his reading and writing. I guess it’s hard not to compare him to others and I often see mum’s posting the things their children can write, whilst mine still struggles with his own name. I’d just like to get a jump on getting him extra support now if possible.”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM readers recommend – Private tutors, Yr R

Mary said “There are a few clubs and tutors around, kumon club and there’s a place where blockbusters used to be. I know people who go to both.”

TJ said “We recommend Explore Learning my children love it. They take them from 4 yrs and accept childcare vouchers. https://www.explorelearning.co.uk/english-tuition/

Prubie said “https://m.facebook.com/educationmatterstutors/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1

Nita said “https://www.basingtutors.com/ are good, maybe worth a try”

Lisa said “Look for South Basingstoke Kumon Centre, they have a fb page. It’s group so less pressure than 1:1. If it makes you feel any better, my son barely even picked up a pencil for the first 2 years. Now in year 2 and “the penny has dropped” so to speak. It all falls into place eventually https://www.facebook.com/kumonsouthbasingstoke/

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NHM Readers: “After school” activities for pre-schoolers

As part of “North Hants Mum Question Time”, I was asked by Andrea “Is there any “after school” activity available for pre-schoolers? As a mum who works school hours but has a 2 year old, I would love to do a class or something with both of them after 3pm, but all classes for under 5s seem to be during the day.”

My response, as well as those received from the community, are below in no particular order.

NHM Readers: “After school” activities for pre-schoolers

Louise NHM replied: “Oooh, great question Andrea! These might help:
Tuesday: Fun Tots (PM)
2pm – 4pm – 1 year to 7 years
Basingstoke Sports Centre
Thursday: Fun Tots again and Emboite Ballet (PM)
4.15pm – 4.45pm – from 3 years to 5 years
Sherfield Park Community Centre, Sunwood Drive, Sherfield on Loddon, RG27 0FP
http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/activities/

Nikki said “Andrea, we don’t offer after school, but do offer Sunday classes for 0-5s to cater for parents who work in the week. www.facebook.com/dinkydiscobasingstoke www.dinkydisco.co.uk

Rebecca said “I don’t know if it would interest you Andrea but something that I take both of mine to is Messy Church – they can play games for a bit, then there’s about 45 mins of crafts, a short talk and song, then dinner. At Christ Church Chineham it’s on a Monday (once a month) from 3:45-5:45, but there are loads around Basingstoke on different days.”

Louise said “Messy Monsters Basingstoke offer various single Sunday events which is very popular for working families. Messy Monsters Basingstoke

Karen said “Wessex Kids Club officially we start at 3 years but if parents stay we take at 2. Friday nights at Wessex Christian Fellowship. Free play, story, songs & crafts 6.30-7.30pm”

Sarah said “UCD runs on a Tuesday at Cranbourne College and Thursday at Oakridge Hall for All 4.45 all ages welcome”

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