Fun Activities for the Kids this Summer Break

Basingstoke activities for the kids this summer:

Circus skills, Multi sport, Kite making, Disco&Games, learn2DJ, Balloon Modelling and more!

Drop off workshops or family stay and plays.

Costs: £5 per WORKSHOP if booked before 17th July, £6 per WORKSHOP if block booking two sessions or more or £10 thereafter.

To book, please email info@niknakevents.co.uk

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New Kids Pilates and Yoga Class

  • Kids Pilates and Yoga @ the Osborne Room, Viables Craft Centre, Basingstoke
  • Thursdays 16:30 – 17:15
  • Toddlers 3 – 7 year olds welcome – moms stay and watch or join in.
  • 4 class pass @ £18
  • Early bird special @ £12 if you book by 31 July
  • Drop in session @ £5
  • To book text “toddleryogapilates” to 07956528671
  • or mail anneke@perpetualenergy.org

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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 when your child is frightened of dogs

An NHM Reader recently asked for advice regarding their son’s fear of dogs “He’s 6 and loves all other animals. Nothing has ever happened to make him scared and I don’t know how this has developed. I’m not a dog fan so tend to just ignore them, but he isn’t able to do that.

Obviously have asked him why he feels like this (he doesn’t know but I think it’s their energy and speed) and have explained again and again that most dogs are out to have fun and aren’t remotely interested in him.

We don’t know anyone who has a dog, no one we know well anyway, so aren’t able to help him by spending time with a dog in that way. So I was wondering if anyone had any helpful suggestions of what we could try?

Most mornings on the walk to school we see a dog or two so it’s affecting him pretty much daily.”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all your offers of help, listed below in no particular order are your suggestions:

NHM Readers recommend what to do when your child is frightened of dogs

Tracy said “Maybe borrow my doggy website may be helpful. If you can find someone with a very calm/older dog that he can get to know.”

Becky said “The library in town used to run dog awareness sessions for children frightened of dogs. Might be worth contacting them to see if they have any sessions running soon. This was last year’s session at the library so ignore the date but may do something similar in the future” https://www.facebook.com/events/120949278409726/

Becki said “I think Dogs trust do something about children and dogs. I’m sure I saw it on a poster once” Is your child frightened of dogs? Dogs Trust is here to help

Lisa said “I don’t have any suggestions but feel your pain, my six year old is similar. He’s got better from being around my friend’s dog who is the most placid dog in the world but dogs he doesn’t know he just gets really overwhelmed. Hope you find a solution”

Libby said “She could try her local facebook page and ask if any dog owners might like to help.”

Emily said “I would say that when he feels panicked by a dog to try to turn his back on it and fold his arms. be a tree. the dog will probably just have a sniff and move on.

Lowri said “I had this with my son and I asked about at school who had a dog. Found a family that were happy for us to join them on dog walks and go round to their house. Lots of reassurance and seeing the other children happily playing with the dog helped. I started this after my son ran off screaming when he had to walk past a lady with a dog on a lead that was smaller than a kitten…”

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Local Ironing Services

Louise recently asked: “Good Afternoon Everyone! I hope you are having a lovely day. Mr NHM recently started a new job which he has to wear a shirt for every day. Every Sunday night he goes on and ON about not wanting to iron his shirts for the week. Does anyone have any recommendations for local Mums who offer an ironing service? TIA”

The responses are below, thank you to those in the NHM community who responded. The recommendations are in no particular order:

The Helpful Hedgehog – Karen

The Helpful Hedgehog

Charlene says “Karen (The Helpful Hedgehog)”

EZ Ironing and Home Cleaning – Michelle

EZ ironing and home cleaning

Cheryl says “Michelle”

Helen says “Michelle does ours too!”

Barrett Dry Cleaners – Martinne

Barrett Dry Cleaners

Charlotte says “Martinne”

Martinne says “Yes I can Help … ironing is one of the services we offer in our dry cleaners … FREE local pick up and delivery also!”

Lauren says “Martinne for definitely!”

Blanksons

Blanksons

Diane says “Ours go to Blanksons, they collect and drop back! They are brilliant, we have used them for a number of years!”

Other Suggestions

Lowri says “I bought my husband a round necked jumper to wear over his unironed shirts. Made sure it was a jumper that could be tumble dried. Job done.”

Wendy says “Line dry then Tumble dry for 20 mins, crease free. Charles Trywritt and T M Lewin shirts work best.”

Stefanie says “We have non iron shirts; they go in the tumble dryer and as soon they are dry they go on the hangers… if they are not taken out immediately they go in the tumble dryer again…”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “Do you know of any buggy friendly walks with tea/coffee shop at the end? Know of Eastrop, Beggarwood and War Memorial.”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

Rebecca said “There is one in Rooksdown on Thursday morning. We haven’t started to yet but have been talking of ending the walk at a local Costa or with a picnic.”

Mary said “Basingwoods is good for buggies. There is sometimes a cafe in the popley fields community centre but i can’t remember dates etc. Also from there you can walk up to st Gabriel’s which sometimes has a cafe. I think you need to check their websites for times.”

Emma said “Sherfield on London is nice! Take the little ones to see the ducks, play on the park, walk all around the big greens and across the streams and then there’s a lovely cafe on the corner with a post office in the back”

Wendy said “Greenham common are on the verge of opening their cafe in the old control tower. It will be staffed by volunteers so not open every day. Check their facebook page for details. https://www.facebook.com/GreenhamControlTower/

Lauren said “Beggarwood is ok and the community centre has a really nice cafe”

Karen M said “Kempshott/oakley multi user path and jolly ollie’s in oakley or kitty’s in kempshott”

Karen J said “Go on ready steady mum’s group”

Ruza said “Farnham great park, and the cafe is reality good.”

Ruchira said “Ready steady mums walk at Eastrop park on a Wednesday at 1”

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AlphaBetty Adventures

AlphaBetty Adventures is a new multi-sensory pre-school class in Basingstoke. These new classes are planned, designed and performed by Lee-Anne (A.K.A Betty) who is a mother of two and a lover of messy play (having been an artist and teacher for over 16 years).

Each session supports the Early Years Foundation Stage so they are educational, interactive, immersive and fun for children and their adults!

In the classes children aged 2-5 learn how to create emotional bonds with each other and adults whilst exploring a range of story telling, multi-sensory and messy play activities in our hour long sessions. Children will meet Betty and her magical big red book that has new and exciting puppets each week to guide them through imaginative and exciting stories and play.

The sessions are run as blocks of letters from the alphabet starting with the letter “A”.  Our first introductory session is being run on 20th July 2018 at Oakridge Hall for All from 10-11am £6 per session. The first session in entitled A…for Alan and is inspired by the book “I need a wee” by Sue Hendra. This story is set in a fairground where children will be doing some fairground games, cake decorating for Claude’s party, singing some songs at a monkey’s tea party and finally taking part in an international dance competition!  

Parents can book up to the trial session and see if this is the class for them and their children. As a little thank you, if you book onto the following block of sessions (Letters B-E) you will get that first class at half price.

All sessions are interactive and will involve some sort of messy activity such as cake decorating, face painting, dinosaur excavation to name a few (so wet wipes need to be on hand just in case it all gets a bit messy!).

Being a parent it can be tricky to attend groups suitable for all your children. Therefore babies up to 1 can come to each session with a paying sibling for free. For older siblings between the age of 2-5 there is a 10 % discount on the block sessions.

Also during the school holidays siblings who are 5+ can come along and support their younger siblings, or entertain themselves in our large community hall.

Later in the year we will be running alternative days and locations so please get in touch if you would like AlphaBetty Adventures to come to a location near you! Also if you are interested in us coming to a nursery, pre-school or infants school we’d love to hear from you!

For more information, news, offers and a peek at some videos of the activities that will take place in the sessions please visit the website: https://leeannehampson.wixsite.com/alphabettyadventures
Or follow us on Facebook: AlphaBetty Adventures

To book a place on the introductory session or block bookings please email: alphabetty_adventures@hotmail.com

We look forward to seeing you soon X

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NHM Readers Recommend: How to Tell a Child a Pet has Passed Away

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader: “I have a very poorly kitty. Just waiting for the results but I think it’s likely she may need to be put down. My girls are totally attached to her, especially my eldest daughter. I was wondering if you might be able to do a question about how to tell a child a pet has passed away. And how they help with the grieving process?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below:

NHM Readers recommend how to tell a child a pet has passed away

Rachele said:

“The rainbow bridge is a good way to explain it. You have to be honest about it but just that when they see the brightest star it’s her watching down etc. It’s never easy.”

Marta said:

“This is very sad. I work as a psychotherapist and there are a few things we use in therapy to help with grieving process. The most powerful exercise is to allow children to write (parents can help if the child is too young) their own message”

Andy said:

“So, our daughter is three and a half. Her cat was hit by a car last month…We wrestled with the idea of allowing her to say goodbye. But decided that it was probably the best way to go.”

Wendy said:

“It’s hard because you have no idea how they will react until you have told them. My son has lost two cats, last time it happened he was four. He was OK, we just keep a few photos around and talk about our cat when my son asks. Use honest language, say dead not gone etc. We said our cat was no longer with us, someone then used that term to describe a nursery worker who had left, he thought they had died.”

Zoe said:

“When our elderly cats had to be put down my girls were small and didn’t understand. They came up with the idea that the cats had gone to live with Santa.”

Helen said:

“We said that our pets became stars”

Vicki said:

“There are some great stories about grief – Badgers Parting Gift is nice”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with a question I had received: “just wondered if you could ask people about clubs/meets etc for a baby and toddler.? 1 month and a 2 year old.”

Many thanks for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

Naomi said “Melrose Hall run a tot group on a tues and fri”

Claire said “Coffee & Chat at Brookvale is lovely. Toddler section and baby section. Just £2 donation. Friday’s from 10am https://www.facebook.com/NCTCoffeeandChat/

Debbie said “Michelle runs tots play plus helps (I think) at coffee morning on Fridays at Sherfield Park.” www.facebook.com/totsplaybasingstoke www.facebook.com/bumpintomums

Any said “Basing Beans on Tuesdays 10-11.30 is great. It’s at Lychpit village hall. Lots for toddlers plus baby area and a cup of tea or coffee for you…https://m.facebook.com/groups/204635339562838

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes for newborns through to preschoolers in Hook on a Tuesday morning. You can bring your little one to Happy House Class with your older one. https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Jo said “Caterpillar music”

Hayley said “caterpillar music is perfect, took my little one from about 3 weeks old with my 2.5 year old:)”

Jaz said “www.facebook.com/CaterpillarMusicBasingstoke Even better- siblings are FREE!”

Steph said “I run netmums Basingstoke meet ups once a month for people to get out with the little ones and make new friends…you can find the group here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1833762103604347

Rachael said “Under 5’s at Sherfield Park on a Tuesday morning and bump into mums on a Friday morning both 10am-12pm and both very welcoming and friendly”

Allison said “Two year olds are welcome to Tot Cross Buns…mummies are welcome to bring younger siblings too Www.facebook.com/totcrossbuns

Kelly said “Www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke

Anna said “I’m a midwife running a newborn and baby massage courses in Camberley available to book now https://www.mummasandbeans.co.uk/camberley/

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NHM Readers Recommend: Gym Classes for 3 Year Olds

In response to a question from an NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of my Louise nhm Smithprofile on Facebook: “I am new to Basingstoke and looking for a gymnastics class for my nearly 3 year old boy. Could you advise me on any please?”

Thank you very much to everyone who responsed. These are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend gym classes for 3 year olds

Active Life Centre

http://www.basingstokegym.co.uk/

Rachael said “Active life centre”

Victoria said “Active life, they have drop in groups daily if they aren’t looking for a structured class.”

Edie said “The Active Life Centre is great!”

Laura said “Active Life Centre! I love it there!!”

Natasha said “Active life centre – they do child accompanied with parents, child by self (3yrs), and free style (3yrs, small group in the smaller back room)”

Lucy said “Active Life Centre as the others have mentioned.”

Charlotte “Basingstoke Gymnastics Club, from The Active Life Centre. They’re fantastic, drop in free play, baby zone, parent and toddler, gym juniors (unaccompanied), freestyle.”

Lynden Dance and Gymnastics

http://www.lyndendance.co.uk/gymnastics.html

Sara said “Lynden dance and gymnastics. They do a little tots class. Check out the website”

Louise said “I’d second Lynden!”

Lucy also said “There’s also some classes at the sports centre I believe – a relatively new group also under British Gymnastics”

Mel said “Lynden at The Sports Centre definitely over Active Life!”

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