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 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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Failing Families: Health Visitor Clinic Closures

It’s been 8 years since I started NorthHantsMum in June 2011.

I’ve seen a lot of changes during that time. Unfortunately many of those changes have negatively impacted local families, especially Mums with babies and small children and families with SEN children.

Yesterday I saw that the Health Visitor clinic schedule has been changed again so that now the Drop In’s are only Monday at The Ridgeway Centre and Friday at the Discovery Centre. The others are by appointment only.

Many of the clinics that have been running for at least 8 years (I know because I used them) have now been cancelled, such as Christchurch Chineham, Overton, Hatch Warren, Whitchurch and Bramley.

I understand that we are living in times of “austerity” but why is it that families, especially Mums and young children, are targeted with any cuts first?

What you can do!!!

If, like me, you are pissed off/ fed up  (I don’t swear on NHM but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance!) with the way local families are being repeatedly let down then this is what you can do:

Specifically email ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut.

Please cc. me in any emails that you send (

  1. Email the head of Southern Health:
  2. Email Maria Miller:
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode:

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here:;;

Specifically tweet ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut:

  1. Tweet the head of Southern Health:
  2. Tweet Maria Miller:
  3. Tweet your local councillors

The remaining clinics also have feedback forms, so please complete these as well.

Please make sure you add comments as to why it matters to you that the clinics have been cut as the way these things work is that individual letters/emails count more than group ones.

What to write about

You could write about how disappointed you are that so many clinics have been discontinued because they were so important to you when your baby was born as they were somewhere for you to go for support.

You could write about how annoyed you are that funding cuts are impacting new Mums and thus putting them at more risk of post natal depression.

You could write about how angry you are that new Mums and future new Mums are being failed by the services that are supposed to be in place to support them.

You could also write something similar to this which I’ve been sent by another local Mum: “in recent years in our area parents have lost specialised breastfeeding support when grant funding was not extended and have had closures of Children’s Centres (11 remain out of 64 in Hampshire I think). To say that support for parents has been decimated is an understatement. I understand that money is tight but the latest blow will affect those parents who are only just coping and in turn these women and children will need to access more services via their GPs for example or as mental health referrals. I consider these additional closures will knock on to the health and well being of ordinary families and will cost the whole system more in the long run. We were promised more Health Visitors in the call for action – instead it seems we have fewer with just a skeleton service remaining. I worry for those families who in the past would have got early support from a trusted Health Visitor – who now will go under the radar. If a GP visit costs around £45, a hospital overnight stay more like £500 and a child taken in to care around £50K per annum… we can see how cutting services for families to the bare minimum will soon knock on to these other budgets. We are calling for a joined up approach to services in the county.”

You can obviously write whatever you would like but please put why it matters to you that the Health Visitor Clinics have been cut.

On Social Media you could use the hashtag #FailingFamilies.

Summary of Closures

If you have a bit more time and feel like you really want to “go to town” on how local families are being let down, then please see my summary of closures and cancellations in the past 4 years….



(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).


  • 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, meaning many Mums are being forced back into working much earlier than they would want too.


  • Closing of Little Play Town in Nov 2018
  • Manydown Family Fun Closed
  • Absolute Karting Basingstoke Closed
  • JJ’s (softplay) Closed
  • Beenham Wolf Sanctury Closed
  • Reduction of funding for school buses – August 2018
  • Removal of school buses for children with disabilities – August 2018
  • National Playday at Eastrop cancelled in 2018. This was a free day for children that had been running for years in Eastrop but now runs in a few of the local community centres instead. It’s not the same. At all.
  • Reduction in funding for the newborn courses at the remaining Children’s Centre, Westside – 2018
  • Cancellation of the EHCP process in Nov 2018 for SEN parents
  • Closing of ParentVoice and switching to Red Rose:
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire


  • Kids N Action Softplay Closed
(If there is anything that I have missed off this list, please let me know).

Impact of these changes

All of these changes are impacting many, many local families.

Even more so with the increase in housing of an extra 10,000 houses to be built in the local area by end of 2020, so more families are moving to the area but services are being reduced that don’t support existing families, let alone new families.

As I said above, I understand that we live in times of “austerity” but it’s very, very worrying and I try not to dwell too much on the impact these changes will have on my 8 year old daughter, her generation and future generations.

I try my best to be positive and upbeat on NHM but I think we need to try to do something to ensure that at least the Health Visitor clinics are better represented. Any help you can give with this will be greatly appreciated. If we ALL send the emails, the impact the NorthHantsMum Community could have would be huge!

Comments from other Mum’s

who have put it far more eloquently than I have!

Sarah: Sadly it Seems like this government would rather waste money hosting a £40million trump visit and push through brexit at any cost rather than look after it’s vulnerable citizens. After brexit more services like this will be cut as we will all be poorer – Apparently it’s “the will of the people”.

Genevieve: As well as writing letters, you may also wish to comment on Maria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (or here – she’s very good at attending awards, not so good at helping people!).

Eleanor: Prevention is better than cure … health visitor clinics are so useful to local people in their own communities. Mums don’t think ‘oh I’m struggling, I know I’ll book a health visitor clinic’ they just keep struggling, until something breaks or nothing happens but just struggle.
I’m so sad to see the Bramley clinic cancelled. The stay and play sessions were so valuable to me. Sadly the funding is ridiculously short I presume. I’ll defiantly be emailing as you suggested. Taking away support for parents is only ever going to cause problems for parents and children in the future. Even if it’s the subtle kind of problems that don’t translate into hospital admissions etc.

Elisa: The unfortunate truth is that they are down on 5 full time health visitors for Southern Health. The reason they are not able to recruit is that most of their time is spent dealing with safe guarding issues. The role of the health visitor has sadly changed and nobody wants to do the type of work they are doing now. Add to this, the fact that the remaining staff are over worked and stressed, it’s not an environment anyone else wants to join.
So as desperately sad as it is about the decreasing availability of them, writing to anyone will sadly make no difference. The jobs are available but sadly nobody wants them ☹️.

Emma: When I had my first I could walk around to chiltern school and see a HV every other Tuesday. He was regularly weighed and as a first time mum I could ask all my questions. Fast forward 4 years and I had a prem baby. Zero support. I was told I’d have more contact because he was premature- I didn’t. When I went for weigh ins the HV’s didn’t all understand how to record his weight!! You have to plot it twice for actual and corrected. The library was the easiest one to get to but queues were horrendous and then you felt rushed because you could feel the strain. Needless to say I stopped going. It was too much effort with two children and with my baby being so little. I can’t believe they’ve reduced this even further. If I was a first time mum now I’d be very worried.

Wendy: Emma, such similar story, my first was weighed once a fortnight at first, then once a month in the Popley 5 drop in that was walking distance for all of Popley, Oakridge and South View. Then they moved it to Popley Fields for my second, no longer walking distance, not at a time that was convenient for nursery/school run. He got weighed about 4 times. He had eczema and allergies but going to the drop in meant missing out on other things or struggling with the car park, so we didn’t bother. Parking charges, town being busy, all things that would have put me off going to the library. I can only imagine what it’s like for those using public transport.

Angela: It’s thoroughly saddening to see such valuable support (emotional to individuals and economic to the wider public health system) being stripped away. I hope people remember this feeling of hopelessness during the next general election and vote for a party that is going to help the public. (I’m really sorry to make this political, but in the words of a great 90s rock band “everything’s political”. We have the power to choose a government that won’t strip the first line of support from us.)

Charlotte: It’s so sad. I used to work on a HV team and the work they do really cannot be underestimated. Yes, you can still see a HV without a clinic but as mentioned above, the clinic is such a convenient and quick way to see them, without having to book an appointment. Some parents don’t have to confidence to book an appointment, or they aren’t sure if they are wasting someone’s time (they never are wasting anyone’s time). I think the cutting down of these clinics alongside the closure of the children’s centres we really come back to bite the Government in a few years when there are increased social issues and late diagnosis of problems that could have been resolved with early intervention 😢.

Mary: To be a HV, you have to be a qualified nurse. They can’t find nurses because they cut the support for people to train. Lots of nurses stop nursing because its not compatible with being a parent unless you are lucky enough to work in a day service. Nurses, however, aren’t paid enough so free childcare is vital to contribute towards the cos. It’s more problematic that childcare support doesn’t start until age 3 so working parents have to struggle through age 1 and 2 first – or not work and then have to pay to reregister or train for their jobs. It’s all connected.

Nicole: I got my almost 3 month old weighed yesterday at Discovery Centre and I was shocked at how much it had changed since I took my first there in 2016. There was a queue out of the door to get in, and then you now weigh your baby and record it in your red book yourself. I didn’t need any support from the HV on this visit, but I’m not a healthcare professional and it would have been nice to just have them oversee it and my baby’s progress. To be honest I won’t be attending again. I feel sorry for the HVs because they look so stretched when you see them trying to get around the room, but most of them were extremely friendly and pleasant, and even found me a seat to feed the baby before I left.

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Guest Post: Jiggy Wrigglers – Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surrounding areas

My name is Kelly and I run Jiggy Wrigglers in Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surround areas.  I first started this business as I wanted something that I could flexibility run around my twins and also I wanted to enjoy my job.  I certainly do both every day!

Jiggy Wrigglers is a musical movement and sensory class that uses unique songs to entertain your children along side props, bubbles, parachutes, puppets and more!  The classes are either Jiggy Mixed (5 months to 5 year olds), Jiggy Tots (0-2 years old) or Jiggy Babies (0-12 months old).  We are also proud to be the leaders of intergenerational sessions through our Jiggy Vintage sessions (sessions run in care homes) which we started at the beginning of last year and have had overwhelming feedback on how it has positively impacted care home residents life’s and the little ones that come who don’t have grandparents of their own.

You may not have realised the benefits when you come to our sessions as you are having so much fun but these include:
– Physical fitness for both you and your little one(s)
– encourages creativity
– promotes team work (parachute games)
– may help encourage better naps/sleeping
– fostering friendships
– helps with social skills amongst peers
– helps parents get out of the house and socialise
– aids creativity
– promotes patience
– helps children learn how to share (although we have props for everyone!)
– helps with language development as the children sing along to songs

We welcome all at our classes and have always charged per family, not per child, so why not give us a try? Our sessions start from £4 per family and they are PAYG so you don’t have to worry about your child being unwell and losing your termly payment.

Although we have a different playlist each week, I also include monthly themed session at no extra charge.

Most of our class locations either have a play area, are in a country park or have a playground near by so you can make a morning of activities.

Our current timetable of classes is below:


Hook Home and Garden Centre
10.20am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies


Wellington Country Park (currently twice a month but will soon be moving to weekly)

10.00am – Jiggy Mixed
10.50am – Jiggy Babies

Mothercare, Hatch Warren (once a month)
10.30am – Jiggy Tots


We are soon to have weekly central Basingstoke location so please keep your keep an eye on our Facebook page and website!


Fleet (once a month)
9.45am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies

Beech Tree Care Home (once a month)
10.00am – Jiggy Mixed

We also cater for parties and nursery session so please do get in touch if you would like to discuss our packages.

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Play Yoga

‘If the children are happy, then we’re happy!’ – a phrase widely used by parents! As a mum of two daughters myself, I am a total advocate of this! However, in more recent years, the importance of good mental health in children has come to the forefront of the news and media.

I have worked for over 20 years in the childcare and education sector, ranging from nurseries, to primary schools, to working closely with children with Special Educational Needs. I feel that there is no greater reward than working with children. But, as any parent will tell you, it is also one of the hardest jobs in the world. In the past few years there has been significant change in our society, causing more and more children great anxiety, and an inability to cope with their emotions so well. Research has shown that if the concept of wellbeing can be introduced at an early age, it will provide the child with the strategies to cope with life at a later age.

Play Yoga is a preschool class (2 ½ to 5 years old), dedicated to promoting healthy children, with happy minds. All classes are designed as an introduction to Yoga and Wellbeing. The sessions are all devised by myself, using techniques and experience from my childcare background.

All sessions use props, games and songs to help us to learn such things as breathing techniques, calm down strategies, and mindfulness activities that help us to calm ourselves in moments of high energy and anxiety. Yoga moves are introduced to the group, with the help of Buddy Bear. This is not always a ‘calm’ time, but a great introduction to the concept of Yoga for future use. Creative time plays a huge part in our sessions too. If children are allowed to be creative and express themselves now, they will be more confident at expressing themselves in years to come.

Each session ends with a time for ‘reflection’, which encourages children to talk about what they have enjoyed about the session, thus increasing their confidence and giving them security that they are being listened to and valued by others.

Some weeks are themed to suit the time of the year or even the interests of the children. One of our group last term was keen to show off some dinosaur yoga moves that he had created at home! Our Mother’s Day session included baking a pretend cake for our Mummies, and using our breathing techniques ‘to blow out the candles’. We practised some partner poses with our grown-ups, followed up by decorating some biscuits for our Mummies!

Finally, for our mindfulness activity, we cuddled up with our grown-ups under a blanket to play a listening game. We listened to short and long sounds, noticing when the sound actually finished, encouraging the children to take note of the sounds around us in everyday life.

Play Yoga is preparing to roll out our new Monday sessions from 3rd June to 22nd July 2019. We will be at Viables Community Centre, Basingstoke, starting at 10am. I am a small, independent, local business which started operating in February 2019, and I am keen to meet lots of children and their parents.

If you are interested in joining us, a trial session is £4.50. If you wish to continue then your space can be booked for the remainder of the half term at a rate of £6 per session.

Please take a look at my Facebook page – or feel free to email me with any queries at (You can message me also directly through Facebook.)

Thank you for taking the time out to read my post.


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NHM Readers Recommend: Play Cafes and Cafes with Toys

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “Does anyone know of any play cafes, or alternatively cafes that have entertainment/ toys for little children?”

Many thanks for your replies, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Play Cafes and Cafes with Toys

Hook Garden Centre

Tracy said “Hook garden centre has a nice play area and cafe.”

Lottie said “Love the garden centre in hook. “

Kelly-Lauren said “Hook Home & Garden Centre, Come along to my session there! Jiggy Wrigglers Basingstoke & Surrounding Villages

Little Roses Coffee Shop

Andy said “Little Roses on the road to tadley is neat.”

Catherine said “Little Roses at Elm Park Garden Centre have toys upstairs”

Katie said “Little roses at Elm Park garden centre has a little play area upstairs for children. And it’s usually fairly quiet.”

More of the Good Stuff

Catherine also said “ More of the Good Stuff in Dummer have a fenced off area within the tea room full of toys”

Ellie said “More of the good stuff at dummer farm has a lovely area”

Andrea said “More of the good stuff cafe in Dummer.”

Samantha said “More of the Good Stuff , Dummer ….. amazing cake and a secure play area for little ones.”

Active Tots

Emma said “Active Tots is good if your kids are under 5”

Sarah A said “Beware – they have to be under 4 and not higher than a meter. Was turned away by my taller than average just turned 4 year old when I had my 2 year old and 6 month old in tow”

Beggarwood Cafe in the Park

Lottie also said “Cafe in the park in beggarwood has lots of toys”

Andrea also said “Beggarwood community centre.”

Redfields Garden Centre

Lottie also said “Bit further but the treetops cafe at Redfields garden centre in fleet is lovely too”

Sarah S said “Redfields garden centre has a little play area in their treetops cafe upstairs”

Rosie and Bean Play Cafe

Michelle said “Rosie and Bean in fleet is fab!!! Worth messaging their Facebook to book a table as they are very busy in the mornings”

The Overton Coffee Shop

Kate said “The Overton Coffee Shop has children’s books/toys and a little table”

The Tea Bar

Abigail said “The Tea Bar in Basingstoke is a lovely independent coffee shop/cafe. They do all sorts of food and they have loads of toys for toddlers and kids to play with”

Wellington Farm Shop

Ruza said Wellington farm shop has an outside area with a great adventure house, some animals to look at and inside a small selection of toys and books for use.”

Proteus Creation Space

Stephany said “Proteus has a little toy corner”

Lasham Gliding Centre

Michelle also said “On a sunny day, Lasham Gliding Centre has a great play park, cafe/restaurant plus you get to see all the gliders and planes”

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LinguaTastic Languages for Babies and Toddlers

I was absolutely gutted that I didn’t find out about the Baby and Toddler Linguatastic classes until it was too late for Miss NHM.

However, we enrolled her in German with Linguatastic when she started in YR and she thoroughly enjoyed it (Linguatastic do language classes for all ages).

Unfortunately because of her health issues, her energy levels couldn’t cope with it at the time but I still rate the LinguaTastic classes highly!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Drama Tots

Is your little one due to start school in September? That time beforehand is one that you want to savour, making special memories along the way. The perfect chance to create those memories awaits you at Drama Tots.

Classes are designed for 18 months-3yr olds Rising Stars and 3-5yr olds Bright Stars. Younger siblings are always welcome as well.

At Drama Tots our programme harnesses imaginations, we use repetition to encourage listening skills and allow expression and confidence to grow. Our classes are nurturing and offer the chance to build friendships along the way. 

The summer term of Drama Tots commences from Thursday the 25th April and runs until July with a half term break in May. A 3wk trial package costs £12 and allows time to have a good overview of the programme. 

We find that children pick up the actions to the songs really quickly and enjoy the weekly familiarity of the class structure. 

Every week we go on a new adventure and explore these with a variety of traditional nursery rhymes, original music, instruments, props and puppets. 

The programme is designed with the EYFS learning goals in mind so there is an educational thought process behind everything we do, of course delivered in a fun and interactive way. 

My name is Kate and I run the Basingstoke branch of Drama Tots. My background was in professional theatre, graduating with an honours degree in musical theatre from GSA. 

I subsequently worked in children’s theatre as well as walk about character work at various locations around the U.K. both on and off stilts!

I have taught music and drama classes to preschoolers in London before having my own children. Seeing their imaginations in use every day has been amazing and I’m passionate that drama and imaginary play has a huge benefit for children of all ages and is a powerful way of learning to express yourself. 

Our current timetable of classes is as follows:


St Mary’s parish room Old Basing

⭐️Rising Stars 

9.40-10.20 18mnth-3yr olds

⭐️Bright Stars

10.30-11.15 3- school age


Lychpit village hall 

⭐️Rising Stars 

9.40-10.20 18mnths-3yr olds

⭐️Bright Stars

10.30-11.15 3-school age

The Drama Tots programme is also designed to be delivered in a nursery or preschool setting, the benefits of having an enrichment activity are extensive.

I have received some excellent feedback regarding the sessions and how well engaged the children were. The programme works alongside the EYFS learning goals and can be used for many observations. 

To find out more and to book a trial please see our website- 

Find me on 

Facebook- Drama Tots Basingstoke 

Instagram @dramatotsbasingstoke 

Or email me- 

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NHM Readers Recommend: Friendly Swimming Teachers for Pre-Schoolers

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “Can anyone recommend a decent and friendly swimming teacher for pre-schooler age. Looking for something a bit more than rhymes and toys, but not constant telling off! Many thanks!”

Thank you for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Friendly Swimming Teachers for Pre-Schoolers

The Little Swim Club

Debbie said “Try the little swim club in hook”

Lindsay said “The little swim club are excellent.”

Nadira said “Little swim club”

Sally said “Daniel Hawthorne at Little swim school in Hook. Took A from non swimmer to competent in all strokes in under 1 year. L also now 4 can do some front crawl and back crawl”

Basingstoke Sports Centre

Natasha said “Sports centre in town are fab. Excellent price too!”

Joanna said “I second the sports centre”

Lisa said “Agreed Sports Centre”

Kelly T said “My 3 year old has had two months of lessons at the sports centre during the day which have been really good and only two children in his class. Although he is leaving at christmas as he has joined his big brother at bluefins.”


Kelly T said “(Bluefins) is equally as good. Bluefins only normally take preschoolers at their weekend classes”

Sarah G said “ Bluefins at cranbourne school”

Swim Fish

Helena said “Tanya at swimfish is brilliant. She gave my two a really good start to swimming.”

Wendy W said “Tanya at Swimfish is brilliant – she adapts the lessons and works with the children to make sure they get the best out of the session. Sessions are a great size and she has a love of children and swimming which comes through in her lessons and the confidence the children develop. I definitely recommend her”

Sarah P said “Tanya and Kirsty at Swimfish are amazing. She teaches in a small pool at the Basingstoke Country Hotel, Hook. She has helped my little one hugely with confidence and ability in the water.”

Turtle Tots Surrey & North Hampshire

Emma said “Turtle Tots are fab at Hook swimming pool, there’s definitely no telling off there!

Kate M said “Thank You Emma. Hi louise at Turtle Tots we offer child led lessons which means your child learns at their own pace and comfort level. We have lessons around Surrey and North Hampshire and would be delighted to offer you a trial class to see first hand what we are about. Please email us on for further information or to book a trial class.”

Cali Kids

Wendy D said “Alicia Reilly is returning from maternity leave in Jan and has space for pre-schoolers”

Christine said “Alicia Reilly is brilliant. Lots of fun but the kids make amazing progress”

Kate said  “Cali Kids. Alicia has taught my two boys and they’ve done so well with her. Thoroughly recommend”

Michelle said “ Cali Kids with Alicia Reilly”

Alicia said “Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I offer semi private swim lessons on a Sunday morning and during the day on a Monday for preschoolers and babies at Tadley Swimming Pool. I worked for years with Water Babies and owned my own swim school Cali Kids for years too. We have lots of fun in my lessons and learn through play but have a good success rate. Most my kids start swimming independently at 3 or 4 years old. Feel free to DM me if you’d like more info.”

Aqua Kids

Susan said “Mel Bristow is amazing my two girls go to her”

Mel said “Aqua Kids teach a Fri pm and Sat am just outside Hook. Please pm me for info!”

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Guest Post: Muddy Fingers

Hi, I’m Lauren. I set up Muddy Fingers last September, after a long career in global fashion buying. As a mother of two boys, I’ve found that gardening, and creating outdoor spaces we can share, has been a wonderfully connecting experience. Playing with colour, textures, form and design, I realised that everything I’d loved about fashion was present in my own garden – my passion for horticulture grew and grew. Encouraged by my fellow mum-friends, I developed our small back garden and allotment pastime into classes for every child to enjoy.

Whether you’re planting seeds in pots on windowsills or in vast community spaces and allotments – the enjoyable benefits of gardening are well documented. Muddy Fingers teaches the joy of gardening and nature through children’s education and curiosity.

With the UK’s children spending an average of 4 hours a day on screens, I believe that teaching them about the beauty and importance of the outdoors is more essential than ever. I encourage the next generation that by growing food and flowers, they are engaging and re-connecting with the natural world at a pace that provides a welcome break.

Operating across Basingstoke and the surrounding areas, I run hands-on gardening classes with pre-schoolers and primary school aged children.

During our classes, I teach children about:

  • Nutrition, cooking and where their food comes from.
  • Looking after the environment, from recycling to protecting wildlife.
  • Wellbeing and how nurturing plants are good for both physical and mental health.
  • Teamwork and self confidence in a cooperative setting.

My fun and practical activities give the opportunity to incorporate numeric skills, problem solving and basic science. The children are also given a sense of responsibility, looking after their own seedlings or, for example, taking their seed potatoes home to chit. I incorporate literacy skills by bringing relevant books and stories into classes. When learning about and growing potatoes, we read Supertato and create our own potato superheroes!

It is a very exciting time for Muddy Fingers. It has recently been shortlisted for Best Outdoor Activity for the Hoops Awards and Most Loved New Activity by What’s On 4 Kids Awards which I am very proud about. But, I am most excited that from the 6th April, the first Saturday of each month, children of all ages can join me at the Muddy Fingers garden at Clift Meadow, Bramley for hands on gardening activities. This new space is a lovely size to enable the children to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, as well as ornamental flowers. It also allows for creative and fun stations like a runner bean tepee den, herbs planted into ‘pizza slices’ and a water wall! I have lots of exciting plans for the space, all of which the children will be helping to develop and build.

Preschool classes are every Tuesday at Brookvale Village Hall and Thursday at Brocas Hall, Bramley during term time at 10am for 50 minutes. Your first class is free and children get to take home what they have planted and made during the class.

Children have a natural curiosity for the world around them. Muddy Fingers nurtures that curiosity, encourages experimentation and mess, and pulls children away from their technology – even just for a little while. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get muddy!

More information can be found at or my social media accounts

To contact me directly please email or 07775594463

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