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 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: 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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Track Party, Old Basing Village Hall – 1st July 2018 (TOMORROW!)

On July 1st, at Old Basing Village Hall we have an epic train track ready for your little ones to play on. To complete the #epicplaytime experience we also have great car tracks and hundreds of toy dinosaurs to play with!

Why not come along and see what all the fuss is about? We have 5 hourly play sessions available for you to pre-book, each play session has limited numbers, so have a look below and see which one fits in with your day!  

Alternatively, you could hire a whole session just for you and your friends!  A perfect way to celebrate a child’s party or a special treat for a group of kids!  You can find out more about session hire by clicking HERE.

Event Details

https://trackparty.co.uk/event/basingstoke-1st/

When: July 1st, 10am till 5pm

Where: Old Basing Village Hall,The Street, Basingstoke, RG24 7DA

How Much: from £7 per child, per play session, Adults are free (free tea
and coffee for all adults)

Play Sessions available: 6 hourly sessions, starting from 10am (see
below for sessions)

  • Session 1 (10am till 11am) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great big
    train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!
  • Session 2 (11.10am till 12.10pm) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great
    big train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!
  • Session 3 ( 12.20pm till 1.20pm) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great
    big train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!
  • Session 4 (1.30pm till 2.30pm) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great big
    train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!
  • Session 5 (2.40pm till 3.40pm) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great big
    train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!
  • Session 6 (3.50pm till 4.50pm) Trains, cars and dinosaurs!– A great big
    train track, car ramps and dinosaurs!

Basingstoke Track Party is sponsored by NorthHantsMum

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Party with Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense!

Spaces still available

Got a new baby and fancy giving Baby Sensory a try? Or perhaps you have a toddler and want to wear them out in a Toddler Sense session? Join us for a party session on Saturday 7th July in aid of B.A.B.I.E.S!

The incredibly busy and ridiculously talented Michelle Grzbiela is offering three fantastic 45 minute sessions to raise funds for Basingstoke breastfeeding support. There will be two classes aimed at babies from birth to 13 months (10am and 11am), and one mixed session (12 noon) aimed at children 13 months to five years (younger siblings welcome at a discounted rate).

The sessions will be at Hatch Warren Community Centre at 10am, 11am and 12 noon.

BABY SENSORY 10AM – BOOK NOW https://nct.intrabiz.co.uk/cgi-bin/sys.cgi…

BABY SENSORY 11AM – BOOK NOW https://nct.intrabiz.co.uk/cgi-bin/sys.cgi…

TODDLER SENSE (MIXED SESSION) BOOK NOW https://nct.intrabiz.co.uk/cgi-bin/sys.cgi…

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Questions I would ask if Miss NHM was starting YR now

I’ve learnt a few things during the last three years, since Miss NHM started school.

We’ve changed school in that time and we’ve experienced two very different schools as a result.

These are the questions or the things I would be thinking about if Miss NHM were to start school all over again.

As I’ve said here before, I’m very aware that I only have experience of two schools so please take this with a pinch of salt.

You don’t have to agree with me and that’s fine. These are just my ramblings, as a parent, on what I would be asking or considering if Miss NHM was to go back and start school again.

Oh and apologies to any teachers or teaching assistants who read NHM and take offence to any of this. I think that the majority of you do a PHENOMENAL job under very difficult conditions and I’m very thankful for all of your efforts.

Visiting Schools/Questions to Ask

“What are your objectives for the school?”

“What do you want the children to get out of their time from school?”

If you are visiting lots of schools I would recommend seeing if you can get some time with the head. They are top of the food chain at the school and as everything flows down from them it would be important for me to understand what their “ethos” is for the school.

I would ask them about what their objectives are for the school and what they expect the children to get out of school. If they don’t mention the word “fun” at least twice during that conversation I wouldn’t even be considering that school.

If all the head or the teachers talk about is education and maths and english that would be a red light. For me, infants school (in fact all school) needs to be not just about education but also about the welfare ofeach child and how the school would support that.

I believe that there needs to be a fun element in school. Children should not be expected to sit at their desk all day long, especially not in YR.

I would also be VERY reticent if that head teacher came across as very cold and didn’t share anything about their thoughts or feelings. This will reflect throughout the school.

Length of service of the teaching staff

“How long has the head teacher been at the school?”

At Miss NHM’s first school the head teacher changed during the summer holidays just before she started YR. Parents were not informed and I only found out about this by accident. It was handled appallingly by the school and things changed dramatically from when we originally saw the school to when Miss NHM started school. To the point that we didn’t even know when Miss NHM would be starting school until a month before. This should have been an early warning sign to me.

Also, it was clear that the head teacher had no idea what they were doing and this reflected in Miss NHM’s experience of YR.

“How long have the teachers in YR been at that school? ”

This is really important. It’s very interesting to note that often when a new head starts, a lot of the existing staff leave within 6 months, so you will essentially be starting with a brand new staff team.

School Visits

We were given a tour of one school by a parent governor. I wouldn’t attend this tour again. They did not give us a clear picture of the school and we only found this out once Miss NHM started at that school.

I also attended another school visit that was led by children who attended that school. This was a DREADFUL way of seeing a school because it wasn’t possible to ask questions as we went round because the children were unable to answer them. Or maybe that was the idea…

Visit during the school day

As I’ve said before I would also ensure that my visits were during the day time whilst the existing children were in the school. This is VERY enlightening. If the children are all sitting well behaved behind desks, that wouldn’t sit well with me after everything we have experienced.

In YR children should be free to roam. Their focus should be on play activities. I would stand in the YR rooms and turn around slowly and take in the environment. Are the rooms free flowing? Are there mostly toys and sensory items available for the children to play with? Are several of these outside? These are the kinds of things I would be considering as a parent.

School Uniform

“What’s the policy on school uniform?”

Are the school really, really strict on school uniform? This speaks volumes to me if they are strict about uniform in infants school.

Particularly if they demand that the children wear logo’d T-shirts. The stress that we went through because Miss NHM wouldn’t wear logo’d T-shirts because they scratched, is still firmly etched in my mind.

“Extra” classes

“Does the school allow for any other “classes” during the school day?”

I know of some schools that have extra classes during the school day that parents can pay for. Things like sports, music and art, the stuff that the government doesn’t deem important enough to be included in the school curriculum on a regular basis.

If the school doesn’t allow external providers into the school, to me, this indicates the philosophy of the school.

Forest School

“Does the school have any provision for forest school.”

I know of several local schools that have forest school and I’m GUTTED that Miss NHM missed out on this at her school as they mainly do it for the YR and Y1’s in her current school and her old school didn’t have forest school at all.

The children turn up in casual clothes and spend the day outside. The fact that some schools recognise how important it is for young children to be outside would be important to me.

Holidays during term time

“What’s the school policy on taking a child out of school during term time?”

This was my “killer” question when we were going round to view schools before Miss NHM started YR.

All the schools will say the same. It’s illegal, the children will miss out on their education and become illiterate, stupid and will fail at life, you’ll get fined, blah, blah, blah. However, it’s not WHAT they say it’s the WAY that they say it. One head teacher of a school we visited literally tried to rip my head off after I’d asked her that question.

Her response made me think very long and hard about whether I would want my child in a school where the head felt it was appropriate to behave like that with a very reasonable question from a parent who was new to the schooling system.

Failing YR

“How does a child fail YR at this school?”

If a teacher or head teacher balks at the word “fail” then that’s what I would be looking for. If I got a long spiel about how children fail YR for whatever reasons, I would NOT be sending my child to that school.

Time outside

“How often are the children allowed to play on the school field?”

Does the school even have a school field and if they do are the children allowed to play on it or is it “just for show”. I would also want to know about break times and the times that children are allowed outside.

For example, if it’s a heatwave are children still allowed outside to play in the shade during their break times or do they need to remain in the sweltering heat in the classroom?

Additional Needs Children

“How are children with additional needs treated at this school?”

Even if I didn’t have a child with additional needs this would now be a key question for me.

Having seen the IMMORAL and inhumane way that Miss NHM was treated at her old school and having heard that several other children with additional needs have now been removed by their parents from that school, I would want to know exactly what the school was doing to support children with additional needs.

Even if my child didn’t have additional needs I would want to meet the SENCO and the ELSA of the school so I knew who these people were and I got to see how sympathetic and understanding they were.

You never know if your child is suddenly going to need extra support, like we did, and knowing these people in advance and what their “ethos” is would be important to me.

Reception Staff

Having experienced two school receptions I know EXACTLY what I would be looking for.

If the receptionist on the front desk is rude, dismissive or patronising, this speaks volumes about the school.

They will potentially be the first person that you speak too or meet. If they can’t be civil or understanding of a new parent who has no idea what is going on, I wouldn’t want my child at that school.

If the reception staff are bubbly and happy and very willing to give you advice if you are a new parent then this is what I would be looking for.

Sports Day

“What happens on Sports Day?”

This is a bit of a random one but having experienced two very different Sports days at two different schools I would want someone to explain to me what happens on sports day.

If there is no mention of Mum’s races, Dad’s races, toddler races or teacher races this would raise a red flag for me.

For me, Sports days should be a really lovely family affair and if parents and families aren’t invited to take part and it’s just about rigidly following the “structure” of the schools Sports Day, I would be concerned.

Primary Schools vs. Infants Schools

“Is the school a Primary or an Infants school?”

In my naivety before Miss NHM started school I was adamant that she went to an Infants school because I thought it would be better for her to be with children roughly the same age as her and that she would be with lots of her peers.

However, now that we’ve been through two schools I would ALWAYS opt for a Primary school, for many reasons.

Primary schools are normally smaller schools with smaller years, so instead of 3 or 4 classes of 30 children in YR you have 1 or 2 classes of 30 children for each year in a Primary school.

Younger children are also mixing with other children a lot older than them and I have only seen good things come from this. Miss NHM is in awe of the children in Y6 and is always trying to emulate her favourites.

Also, if your child is in Infants school you then have all of the anxiety and stress when they move from Infants to Juniors. I have several friends at Miss NHM’s old school who are living this reality and it looks like it’s quite stressful. Not knowing what the new junior school will be like can be very worrying (they often operate independently of the infants school), as well as stressful wondering about how things “step up” in Y3.

Go with your gut

Most importantly, I would trust my instincts. I wouldn’t let Mr NHM do some of the school visits on his own because I was busy working and trying to look after Miss NHM whilst she was still an un-diagnosed Coeliac. I would want both of us to go and see ALL of our local schools either together or independently during school time.

I wouldn’t just follow the system and think that the school that’s closest to us has got to be a “good” school because aren’t all schools “good”? (No, they aren’t).

I would trust my parenting instincts and if a school didn’t feel right for whatever reason, even if I couldn’t verbalise it, I wouldn’t send Miss NHM there.

When you go into a school and you speak to the staff and the children you will just “know” which school is right for your child.

I hope this hasn’t been too stressful to read for new parents who are due to join the schooling system soon.

Hopefully it’s given you some things to think about that I had never considered when Miss NHM started school. (I wish I had had the benefit of reading this post when she was 3 years old!)

What would you add to these questions?

Good luck!

Feedback from NHM Readers on this post:

Alison: “Some interesting points although I was rather shocked to find out that the school closest to you might be the only one you got even if you didn’t chose it.” 

Leanne: “Lots to think about although your bit about infant/junior schools I would say is unnecessarily worrying for parents who live where there is only a choice of separate schools and no primaries. There are also some enormous primaries! I’ve taught in both and I don’t think the type of school has been a significant factor in children’s happiness.

Also-no teacher or parent races at sports day would not raise a red flag. For every parent that enjoys that sort of thing, there is one that dreads it and hates the thought of letting their child down. Also, the more races there are, the longer the children are sat doing nothing which is especially not great during this hot weather!

I totally agree with listening to see if the HT talks about more than just English and Maths.”

Lucy: I’d add that your child isn’t legally required to be in school at all. It’s your choice how and where your child is educated.”

Leanne: “Oh and it is worth knowing that you can take your child out of school legally until the term after they turn 5 (when they then have to be in education). So if your child is 5 in May, for example, you can take them on holiday any time during their Reception Year but if they are 5 in November you only can for that first term.”

Lizzie: “Couple of things I would like to add. Firstly, your child is not compulsory school age until the term after they turn 5 so it is your right to choose how much they attend until then. Also, if your child is born 1st April – 31st August you can apply to decelerate them and start them at school a year later at age 5. You can ask for them to start in reception.”

Lizzie: “In regard to forest School – I am a forest School and outdoor learning teacher. If you really want forest school make sure it isn’t just one class that get the opportunity, look for a school that continues the provision throughout the school every year to get the most from it. Also, don’t get hung up on forest school itself. There’s schools out there that don’t have actual forest school sessions but outdoor learning and is embedded across the curriculum throughout the school. If a school values outdoor learning they will be telling you about it before you ask.”

Other questions to ask suggested by NHM Readers

Good Afternoon Everyone! I’m putting together a post with questions to ask and things to look out for when visiting Infants/Primary schools. I’ve had some great suggestions in the YR 2018 group but thought I’d ask the whole of the NHM Community if they have any suggestions? TIA 

Charlotte: “Ofsted report, exam results, behaviour management, teaching method as in topic based etc, class sizes, mixed year classes or years on own”

Mary: “Ask about toilets and the dignity of children when using them.”

Lisa: “Mainly go with gut feeling but also look at how happy/polite/well presented the kids are, how much homework do they get in each year, after-school clubs, staff turnover, parent involvement (trips etc), friendliness of staff particularly office staff, how often parents get feedback (i.e reports/parents eve)….”

Victoria: “You can ask all the questions in the world but you will ‘just know’ when you’ve found the right one for your child. When forming questions think about your child’s needs, current ‘academic’ interest, emotional maturity and then base your questions on that. In some way generic questions about OFSTED, sat results are not really going to give you the answers you need!”

Hannah: “Look for how the staff interact & engage with the children. I’d want to know more than anything else that staff would be able to build a positive relationship with my child (no matter how difficult they were being) so they would feel safe and happy… only then will the learning etc take place.”

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Lynsey’s Little Stars

Lynsey’s Little Stars

Lynsey’s Little Stars is a new parent, baby & toddler group, which started in February 2018.

10-11:30am every Wednesday term time only at St Mary’s Church Old Basing.

£3 for the 1st child 50p for each extra child

Tea and coffee for the parents and a fruit snack for the kids.

There is craft making which the children can take home, and singing songs just before the end.

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