Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...

Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...

   Thames Valley West

                             IN THIS ISSUE
              Brand new “Get Outdoors!” feature
           Family health • When friendships go wrong
             Loads of child-friendly local activities

Issue 116 January/February 2022     
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
Looking for a new owner, long established
                                                                            private nursery, warm and supportive
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     A purpose-built gymnastics facility in
     Woodley, running gymnastics classes
     for all ages including Pre-school from
      walkers to five years lead by British
         Gymnastics qualified coaches.


2 • Henley • Reading • Wokingham • Bracknell • Newbury • West Berkshire                          
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
...endless ideas for families of young children in
                                            Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham
                                    Families® Thames Valley West • Issue 116 • January / February 2022 Visit us at

In this issue...
                                                                  Edit or’s

            News and Views

            Education News
                                                                  Happy New Year! 2022 is here,
7           Meet the Head: St. Andrew’s                           bringing with it the thrill of new
            School Pangbourne                                     possibilities to come over the
                                                                  next twelve months.
8           Learning to Write                                        Rethinking your career may be
                                                                  a New Year’s resolution,
9           Print Books or E-books?                               especially as we look forward to
                                                                  something resembling “the old
10          Language features
                                                                  normal”. Our article on taking a
                                                                  chance with your career post-
11          When Friendships Go
                                                                  Covid provides inspiration for                           forward to your                                              To “cap” it off, Wear a Hat Day
                                                                  those wishing to take the plunge                         recommendations for other                                 is coming! This is a unique
                                                                  and try something different.                              outdoor places to visit with the                          national event which unites
12          Get Outdoors!
                                                                     Locally, we have a lively new                         family.                                                   families, communities and
13          Happier Every Chapter                                 feature: Get Outdoors! In this                              On that note, please get in                            schools for a day of hattastic fun
                                                                  issue we have collaborated with                          touch with your comments for                              with the aim of raising money for
14-15 Clubs and Classes                                           fantastic local outdoor activities                       our “Have your say” section. It’s                         Brain Tumour Research. Find out
                                                                  company, Little Muddy Boots, to                          great to hear what people are up                          more about this and how you
16          Health features                                       give you a suggestion of a fun                           to and to gather your ideas and                           can join in the fun in our News
                                                                  outdoor craft to enjoy with the                          suggestions to share with other                           and Views section.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Lesley x.
17          Taking a Chance with Your                             children, whatever the weather. I                        families in our wonderful Thames                             Have a great January and
            Career Post-Covid                                     have shared one of my favourite                          Valley West!                                              February!
                                                                  local “hidden gems”, and I look
18          Have Your Say! & Soothing
            Nightmares and Night
                                                               Congratulations to
19          Meet Mumpreneur
            Sarah Collison
                                                               Lizzie Shirley, who
                                                               won tickets to Hurst
20          Knowing Your Nursery
                                                               Pantomime in our
            from Your Pre-school
                                                               Nov/Dec 2021 issue!
21-23 What’s On

    The Families
    Editor: Lesley Chambers
    Production: Ridgeway Press                                    Follow us on
    01256 300420
                                                                 Facebook and
    Next issue:                                                    Instagram
    March / April 2022 –
    Easter activities
    Booking deadline:
    7th February 2022

    To advertise: If you are reading this, so are your customers! We can help you
    reach an audience of over 47,000 parents in Reading, Henley, Newbury,
    Wokingham, Bracknell and West Berkshire. Drop us a line at to find out how we can help support your family
    friendly business!

Families Thames Valley West is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham
House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Thames Valley West are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without
prior consent of Families Thames Valley West. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for
the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof.
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...

  A Drama Class for Shy Kids…
  Really? Yes, really!
  If you have been told by your child’s teacher
  that they rarely put their hand up in class,
  drama could be the answer.

  StageAbility helps children to build their
  confidence and self-esteem by teaching
  acting and theatre skills so that they can
  overcome life’s challenges, even if they are
  really shy.

  Mrs Smith from Wokingham told us, ““My                                                               Help fund vital research by
                                                    Classes are not performance-based; they are
  daughter has been a part of StageAbility for
                                                    great fun and lots of the work is through          joining Wear A Hat Day!
  nearly 5 years now. She has loved the weekly
                                                    drama games building trust and friendships.        Join thousands of children, parents and
  classes. My family and I have loved watching
                                                    After-school drama classes run in                  teachers on Friday 25th March for Wear A Hat
  her grow in confidence. StageAbility has
                                                    Wokingham, Lower Earley, Tilehurst and             Day – a great way to bring people together and
  been amazing for her to help nurture her
                                                    Burghfield Common. To book a trial class,           raise vital funds for leading charity Brain
  passion for drama and it’s also given her a
                                                    visit        Tumour Research.
  great network of friends.”
                                                                                                          Register your school, community or family
                                                                                                       event today: and we’ll
                                                                                                       send you a free fundraising pack!
     COMPETITION: WIN A TERM OF DRAMA CLASSES AT STAGEABILITY!                                            Coming at the end of March, Brain Tumour
     If your child is in Year 3-6, you could win them a term of drama classes!                         Awareness Month, several celebrities are
                                                                                                       supporting this hattastic campaign.
     Question:                                                                                            The latest set of collectable Wear A Hat Day
     Are StageAbility drama classes performance-based?                                                 pin badges have a regal theme in celebration of
     To enter, e-mail your answer, along with your name and                                            the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. Order your
     e-mail address to by                                                     box of badges to sell during registration!
     28th February 2022.                                                                                  Brain tumours kill more children and adults
                                                                                                       under the age of 40 than any other cancer. This
     All entries from new students will receive a                                                      is unacceptable and Brain Tumour Research is
     discounted offer of classes at Stageability.                                                       determined to change this. Funds raised from
                                                                                                       Wear A Hat Day will help towards establishing a
                                                                                                       new Research Centre of Excellence.

                                                    Take part in National Storytelling Week
                                                    National Storytelling Week takes place from 29     sequence ideas. To be a good reader and writer
                                                    January to 5 February and during this period,      a child needs firstly to be a good speaker and
                                                    stories will be told in schools and theatres,      listener.
                                                    pubs, museums, village halls, community                Above all though, storytelling is fun. Whether
                                                    centres and in many other places across the        we are listening to someone else’s story or
                                                    UK.                                                telling our own, inventing and adapting stories
                                                       Speech and language therapists believe that     can open doors to exciting new worlds — both
                                                    storytelling is vital for children’s academic      real and imaginary.
                                                    success as it promotes narrative skills and        To find a local event or to look through its
                                                    strengthens the ability of children to correctly   extensive archive, visit

Home from Home with Chilly Powder
Do you prefer winter or summer in the Alps…         groups in relaxing luxury, with fantastic food
or both? Francesca, Paul and their three            and outstanding facilities, with unrivalled in-
children live in Morzine in France all year round   house childcare facilities. For many returning
and have a good knowledge of Alpine                 guests Chilly Powder is considered a real home
traditions and the Morzine people.                  from home.
Having adapted their chalet holiday style over      For more about Chilly Powder chalets for
the years to suit the tastes of their regular       summer and winter visit
guests, they offer the perfect ski and summer
holidays for either families, couples or mixed

4 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                        
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...

Families Thames Valley West to Donate to The Woodland
Trust with Every Issue    This magazine is a wonderful local
                          resource, and I would like it to remain
                                                                  Pierce, an environmental campaigner
                                                                  and expert on climate change, I realised
                                                                  relevant and positive. Amid increasing       that the value of existing mature
                                                                  concerns about the environment and           woodland, both to nature and humanity,
                                                                  the impact of a product that uses paper,     far outweighs that of newly planted
                                                                  I have decided to make a donation to an      trees. I will therefore be donating to
                                                                  environmental charity with every issue       The Woodland Trust, which maintains
                                                                  of Families Thames Valley West               some of the most valuable biodiversity
                                                                  magazine that is printed.                    woodlands in the U.K. and works to
                                                                     My initial intention was to donate to a   promote sustainable land management,
                                                                  charity that plants trees, naively           whilst continuing to educate myself
                                                                  assuming that these would cancel out         about conservation and
                                                                  any trees that had been cut down.            environmentally-conscious actions.
                                                                  However, after discussion with Clive         Lesley Chambers, editor

Children’s Mental Health Week 2022
From 7 to 13 February, families across the UK     to consider how they’ve grown, what they
are encouraged to take part in Children’s         need to help them grow and how they can
Mental Health Week with the theme Growing         help others to grow too.
Together.                                            Around five children in every
   Growing Together is about growing              classroom have a mental health problem and
emotionally and finding ways to help each          many more struggle with challenges from
other do the same. Challenges and setbacks        bullying to bereavement.
can help us to grow and adapt and trying new         Help raise funds to enable Place2Be to reach
things can help us to move beyond our             more people by organising a Dress to Express
comfort zone into a new realm of possibility      fundraiser.
and potential.                                    Find FREE resources for parents and carers and
   Run by the children’s mental health charity    more information at
Place2Be, children (and adults) are being asked

                                                                  Welcome to Rugbytots: fun, weekly            finish the class, leaving everybody on a
Looking for things to do                                          classes for children aged 2-7, themed        high.
                                                                  around rugby!                                   Every class has a lead coach and an
in the New Year?                                                     Rachel Cooper has five years'
                                                                  experience running a franchise, and she
                                                                                                               assistant coach, and the classes are
                                                                                                               delivered with excitement, enthusiasm
                                                                  has recently purchased East Berkshire,       and drama, which really engages the
                                                                  Reading and Henley, so new classes           children.
                                                                  have arrived in Tilehurst, Caversham,           Feedback from parents all over world
                                                                  Earley and Woodley, alongside the well-      mirrors this comment: ‘My little one’s
                                                                  established classes in Henley, Marlow        confidence has grown, his listening skills
                                                                  and Maidenhead.                              have improved, his behaviour has
                                                                     Each class starts off with a fun warm-     improved.”
                                                                  up game, followed by passing and
                                                                  catching, the amazing obstacle               For more information, go to:
                                                                  course/relay races, kicking and one of or
                                                                  many fun-filled Rugbytots games to            e-mail

More risky playgrounds are better for kids
The British Children's Play Survey revealed       being built to be dangerous, forcing children to
recently that British society is becoming more    negotiate perilous obstacles while risking injury
protective of children, at a detriment to their   if they fall.
ability to manage risk and their overall mental      According to Prof Rolf Schwarz of Karlsruhe
and physical health.                              University of Education, who works with
   David Ball, a professor of risk management     councils and playground designers to develop
at Middlesex University, said UK playgrounds      challenging obstacles, 'safe' playgrounds
were ‘over-sterilised.’                           prevent kids from learning how to handle risk
  ‘If you look at them only as a series of        in the early stages of their development.
potential dangers, you’re missing something         'If we want children to be prepared for risk,
important’ he said.                               we need to allow them to come into contact
  By contrast, in Germany, playgrounds are        with risk,' said the professor.                                  Email:                            Families Thames Valley West • 5
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
                                                                                 Cost of school uniform to drop
                                                                                 The government has published          option which also helps the
                                                                                 legally binding guidance which        environment.
                                                                                 means that schools in England
                                                                                                                       Schools will be expected to have
                                                                                 must ensure that the cost of their
                                                                                                                       made changes before parents buy
                                                                                 school uniform is reasonable and
                                                                                                                       new uniform for the new
                                                                                 parents get the best value for
                                                                                                                       academic year in September 2022.
                                                                                                                       Research from the Department of
                                                                                 From next autumn, schools will be
                                                                                                                       Education in 2015 showed that
                                                                                 required to remove unnecessary
                                                                                                                       parents can save almost £50 on
                                                                                 branded items from their uniform
                                                                                                                       average if they can buy all school
                                                                                 and allow more high-street
                                                                                                                       uniform items from any store,
                                                                                 options, like supermarket own-
                                                                                                                       compared to uniform which all
                                                                                 brand uniform. Schools will also be
                                                                                                                       needs to be bought from a
                                                                                 required to have second-hand
                                                                                                                       designated shop or school.
                                                                                 uniforms available, as an affordable

More flexible approach to school starting age
Being young in a school class puts         Senior author Professor Jonna
a child at a long-term disadvantage     Kuntsi said: ‘The difference
compared to their older peers           between the youngest and oldest
according to new research.              member of a class can be up to
   The study by Kings College           eleven months. In the early stages
London, found that when children        of childhood, this is a significant
are the youngest in their class, they   difference in terms of maturity,
have a greater chance of                behaviour and cognitive abilities.’
experiencing educational                   The researchers are now calling
problems, as well as social and         for greater flexibility about school
even emotional complications.           starting age.
These findings could help parents
considering when to enrol their         More at
child in school.

Moving Forward Together: Bradfield College and St Andrew’s School
                                                                                                                        SCHOOL OPEN
Bradfield College and St Andrew’s
School are excited to be entering a
new era for both schools when,
                                                                                                                        ELSTREE SCHOOL
following over twelve months of
                                                                                                                        Saturday, 26th February from
due-diligence and talks, they joined
                                                                                                                        10am to 12 noon.
to found the Bradfield Group on
December 10th, 2021.
                                                                                                                        KIDMORE END PRIMARY
This merger will enable the schools                                                                                     SCHOOL
to share expertise as they build                                                                                        Final open morning for
upon a common vision of an all-                                                                                         prospective parents on
round education through which                                                                                           Thursday 6th January @
children enjoy school, learn, grow                                                                                      9.30am for those interested in
in confidence and make a positive                                                                                        the 2022 reception intake
contribution to society.                                                                                                (ahead of the registration
The two schools have shared close                                                                                       deadline for 2022 entry of
ties since St Andrew’s was              This partnership offers the schools       character and traditions, and will     15th January)
                                        opportunities for sharing strategic      continue to be run on a day-to-day
established just two miles away
                                        thinking and developments in             basis by their own leadership          MOULSFORD PREP SCHOOL
from Bradfield (formally St
                                        teaching and learning, for               teams, overseen by a single,           Saturday 4th February,
Andrew’s College, Bradfield) in
                                        enhanced curriculum and                  combined Governing Body and its
1934. Both schools enjoy beautiful                                                                                      10am - 12pm and 1 – 3pm
                                        professional development, for            Committees. Each school will
locations, extensive grounds,                                                    continue to develop its own
                                        better use and improvement of
excellent facilities, and a proud                                                provision whilst building upon the     ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE
                                        facilities, and for delivering cost
heritage. Both have generated                                                    links that exist between them. St      Thursday 20 January: Early
                                        efficiencies through economies of
strong momentum in recent years,                                                 Andrew’s will continue to feed a       Years – Year 6 Open Morning
                                        scale. It will further strengthen both
establishing reputations for                                                     number of senior schools in the        (09.30-11.00)
                                        schools as they look towards the
educational excellence within a         future.                                  Berkshire area, and beyond, and        Thursday 10 February:
nurturing environment                                                            Bradfield will continue to welcome      Years 7 – 11 Open Morning
characterised by family values and      St Andrew’s and Bradfield will each       pupils from a wide range of feeder     (09.30-11.15)
outstanding pastoral care.              retain their individual identity,        schools.

6 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                           
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
                                            We recently caught up with Mr Ed Graham,
                                            Head of St Andrew’s School, Pangbourne,
                                            which is an established co-educational day

   head                                     and boarding Prep School for children
                                           aged 3 to 13 (Nursery-Year 8), offering a
                                         rounded education in the beautiful Berkshire

When did you start at St Andrew’s,    School now has 307 children, with      parents can visit in the morning.      namely race, gender, disability,
and what did you do before that?      153 boys and 154 girls. The main       This is a great way for them to get    sexuality, religion, age and poverty.
I started at St Andrew’s in           Victorian Gothic part of the School,   to know one another and feel a         Actions from this are led by the
September 2021, having been           ‘Buckhold’, built in 1885, was         part of our community. Pre-Prep        children, and they arrange for
Deputy Head for six out of the nine   designed by acclaimed architect        also shares pupils’ work and           visiting speakers to come in and
years I was at Westminster            Alfred Waterhouse, also known for      photographs securely on a digital      talk to the children.
Cathedral Choir School, where I       designing the Natural History          platform.
was also Head of English. Prior to    Museum.                                                                       What would you like to achieve
that, I worked in shipping in the                                            Does the school work with the          over the next couple of years and
City, trained as a teacher on the     Are there any particular highlights    local community in any way?            beyond?
Teach First scheme, and spent four    of the school year at St Andrew’s?     We have a thriving programme of        In December, we formed a new
years at Edinburgh University.        We have many traditions unique to      local charity work, led by the         and exciting partnership with
                                      our school, but the highlights have    children’s Charity Committee. This     Bradfield College, which saw two
How would you describe the            to be celebrating St Andrew’s Day      includes everything from Christmas     charities merge to form the
ethos of St Andrew’s School?          on the 30th November with              toy collections and food bank          Bradfield Group. Whilst this brings
St Andrew’s is a family-orientated    Progressive Games (an afternoon        donations; helping raise awareness     opportunities for shared strategic
School that nurtures children to      of team games in mixed year            through sponsorship for Newbury        thinking and new initiatives in
become grounded, confident             groups); singing carols around the     Riding for the Disabled, and           teaching and learning - from
young people, who are both            Christmas tree; Sports Day; night-     supporting our local Children in       enhanced curriculum to
curious and connected to the          orienteering; and the Dolman           Need action group. Our sports          professional development - it also
world around them. We try and get     cross-country run around our 54        centre (including the swimming         means we can enhance and
the children to look outwards and     beautiful acres.                       pool) is also used by local clubs      improve our already-excellent
away from themselves.                                                        and schools.                           facilities.
We provide an all-round education     How do you involve parents and                                                We are expanding our use of
built upon academic excellence        carers in children’s education?        Do you have any specific                technology, with children in the
and outstanding pastoral care.        Parents and carers are actively        approaches that encourage and          older years using Surface Gos; and
                                      encouraged to get involved in their    embrace diversity?                     have plans to develop our boarding
Can you tell us a little about the    child’s education as much as           St Andrew’s has established a RIDE     provision (currently space for 24
school’s history?                     possible. Aside from Parent            (Respect, Inclusion, Diversity &       children); Nursery offering (so we
St Andrew's was founded on 11th       Evenings, they are invited to music    Equality) committee made up of         can cater for wrap-around care for
May 1934 with two staff and eight      concerts, games fixtures, school        Years 7 and 8, led by our Deputy       3-4 year-olds); and turn our Old
boys, under the leadership of joint   productions, and book fairs. We        Head Pastoral, Mr Haig Howard.         Hall into a state-of-the-art creative
Headmasters RW Robertson              also have our own coffee shop           The aim is to promote the issues       and drama space. It’s going to be a
Glasgow and W Ward Clarke. The        onsite which, when COVID allows,       that often divide our society,         busy two years!                                    Email:                            Families Thames Valley West • 7
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...

                                                                                                                       Fun activities to support
                                                                                                                       children develop their
                                                                                                                       writing skills
                                                                                                                       Create obstacle courses that
                                                                                                                       require a wide range of
                                                                                                                       movements. Using a variety of
                                                                                                                       ball sizes for challenges is a great
                                                                                                                       way to get children developing
                                                                                                                       their motor skills through play.
                                                                                                                       Encourage fine motor skills
                                                                                                                       alongside gross motor skills;
                                                                                                                       picking up small objects, building
                                                                                                                       with blocks, threading beads,
                                                                                                                       using pens and cutlery are all
                                                                                                                       examples of fine motor skills.
                                                                                                                       Provide lots of mark-making
                                                                                                                       opportunities eg finger painting,
                                                                                                                       drawing with chalk on the

Learning to write                                                               By Catherine Lynch
                                                                                                                       ground, using crayons, pencils
                                                                                                                       and pens.
                                                                                                                       Help them get the correct pencil
Children need to develop lots of skills before they can write. The three main skills that build                        grip by using the ‘pinch and grip’
writing foundations are the physical ability to make marks on paper, knowing that print                                method.
conveys meaning and knowing what to write.                                                                             Praise all their efforts; writing
                                                                                                                       skills take time to build.

   n preparation, children need   Fine motor skills, like picking up       Next, children need to know what
   to develop both their gross    small objects follow. Children need      they are going to write. Adults can         Provide opportunities for
   and fine motor skills. Gross    to be given lots of opportunities to     support children in this stage by           children to apply their knowledge
motor skills develop first;        move their bodies and build up the       providing practical opportunities.          of letter sounds, ege by writing
walking, jumping, throwing and    muscles needed to sit in a chair, hold   Writing shopping lists together is a        secret words and secret
                                  a pen and write.                         great way to get children writing for a     sentences.
                                                                                                                       Make use of free resources
                                                                              And now to the basics of getting
                                                                                                                       available as downloads for home
                                                                           marks on paper. Children’s first marks
                                                                                                                       practice. There are many ideas
                                                                           on paper start with squiggles and           for play activities, tips to get
                                                                           scribbles. With practice, their marks       parents and children started,
                                                                           become more controlled and they             word tracing sheets, handwriting
                                                                           may start to ascribe meaning, for           guides, letter formation
                                                                           example, scribbling lines on paper          worksheets and posters. Good
                                                                           and saying it is a list of their friends.   resources include
                                                                              As children’s awareness of letters
                                                                           increases they will start to use letter
                                                                           shapes in their writing. Familiar letters
                                                                           might start appearing among their
                                                                           squiggles and shapes.
                                                                              The next stage is using their
                                                                           phonetic knowledge to identify                 By the end of Year 1 children
                                                                           which letters to write. Phonics             should have been taught most of the
                                                                           explain the relationship between            letter sounds in the English language,
                                                                           sounds and letters. Typically children      complete with alternative spellings
                                                                           start by hearing and writing the initial    and sound groupings. For example,
                                                                           sounds in words, for example ‘c’ for        the many ways to write the /ai/
                                                                           cat and ‘a’ for apple. As their phonic      sound in sail, crayon, lake, weigh,
                                                                           knowledge improves they will start to       grey, reindeer, break and acorn.
                                                                           hear and write more sounds in               Initially children won’t typically use
                                                                           words. It is common for children to         the correct spelling of the sound;
                                                                           reverse letters, miss out sounds and        however, the more they read the
                                                                           muddle up letters for the first few          better they will get at recognising
                                                                           years that they are writing.                when a spelling looks right.

                                                                             Catherine Lynch is a former UK primary school teacher, now writing for
                                                                             PlanBee ( about issues affecting teachers, schools
                                                                             and pupils. PlanBee has lots of completely free resources for teaching
                                                                             and learning for home and school.

8 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                            
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
Print book or e-books
What’s best for our children?
By Lulu Skantze

E   lectronic devices enable us to
    access, at the touch of a finger,
millions of e-books at a lower cost
                                        the habit of reading through
                                        mindfulness. They slow us down
                                        and enable us to engage with a
and with easier storage than printed    book with no sounds, distractions or
books. Most children’s books and        screen glare. Reading printed books
magazines are now available in          teaches us to connect with the
digital format too. This makes sense    present moment and be in the
as many children use electronic         reading space, which is a wonderful
devices at an early age. While it is    thing to learn and a habit to develop
important to embrace all                that will be useful for life.
technologies and see stories            Shared reading
available in all formats, printed       Printed books make shared reading
materials have an essential role in     easier than e-books. Shared reading
developing young readers.               is incredibly important when it          As you read to your child, get them     vocabulary.
                                        comes to encouraging a child to          involved from the start. Can they       When you find a complex idea or
Deep Reading                            read. A book allows for more             guess what the story might be about     sentence, stop and ask your child
‘Deep reading’ is an important          discovery and children can interact      from the title?                         whether they understand.
process which is activated when         with it for longer in a more engaging    Follow each word of the story with      Point to the illustrations, ask your
reading from paper and particularly     way, as well as being able to colour     your finger, so your child can           child who the characters are and
applies when reading high-quality,      in, draw, underline words and so on.     associate the sounds they’re hearing    what happens next. This helps build
long texts. Screens affect our                                                    with the letters they see.              anticipation and encourages
reading processes and the more we       Reading for pleasure                     Encourage your child to read out        participation.
read short texts on screen, the more    Studies have found that reading for      loud with you when reading              When reading aloud, put lots of
our reading shifts towards              pleasure plays a huge role in a          rhymes and repetitive stories.          expression into your reading, so
skimming. Consequently, our             child’s confidence, personal              Ask your child to listen and repeat     your child can copy what you’re
tolerance for reading long literary     development and academic                 unfamiliar or hard-to-pronounce         doing.
texts diminishes and we lose the        achievement. It is so important that     words. This will help their             When you’ve finished, ask questions
benefits of using the cognitive          reading for pleasure now forms part      pronunciation. Talk about what the      about the characters and what
processes that deep reading             of the National Curriculum. If you       word might mean to help build their     happened to them.
involves. In addition, reading from     read books to your children, you will
devices involves juggling multiple      engage them in a magical world of
distractions, such as interactive       stories, adventures and fantasy. It
touchscreens, hyperlinks and alerts,    will be a gift that lasts a lifetime.
which move our attention away
from what’s being read. This            Shared reading tips
adversely affects our                    Sit together with your child so that
comprehension and reading speed.        your they can see the pages you’re
Mindful reading                         reading.
Printed books help children develop

 Reading for pleasure
 Reading is fun, entertaining and       reads to you. Dig deep into the
 relaxing; it also improves writing,    stories with them.
 spelling and vocabulary and            • Value the importance of books,
 increases general knowledge and        magazines and stories. Discuss them
 understanding of other people and      with your child and ask why they like
 cultures. Here’s how you can help      certain books.
 your child to fall in love with        • Don’t leave home without a book
 reading:                               so that your child can read
 • Make reading part of your child’s    anywhere.
 routine and life.                      • Join your local library and visit it
 • Have old and new books around at     with your child so they can choose
 home and treasure them.                and borrow books they are
 • Pick books that are at the           interested in and discover new
 appropriate level for your child.      authors for free.
 • Put aside quality time to read       • Exchange books with friends.
 together every day, even if only for   • Treat your child to a magazine
 ten minutes.                           subscription or book vouchers for
 • Listen attentively when your child   special occasions.

 Lulu Skantze is co-founder of Storytime, a high-quality monthly
 magazine that helps to improve children's literacy - with no adverts or
 plastic toys, just great stories. Visit                                        Email:                             Families Thames Valley West • 9
Thames Valley West - Brand new "Get Outdoors!" feature Family health When friendships go wrong Loads of child-friendly local activities ...
By Lesley Chambers, editor
Language Learning for Children                                                                               children in terms of developing their curiosity
                                                                                                             and empathy.”
As a former languages teacher, language                (French and Italian were cited), which were
                                                                                                                Ricardo Barreto, who teaches Spanish and
learning has always been a passion in addition to      enjoyed for their fun elements, for example “an
                                                                                                             Portuguese locally, agrees: “Learning foreign
a profession, and my love of other languages           annual ‘French café’ when the teacher brings in
                                                                                                             languages has a very particular impact on one’s
and cultures has shaped my life, including living      (French) food and the pupils have to ask for it in    brain. It is also a powerful key that can open
abroad and having enriching friendships with           French”.                                              valuable doors in the real world, allowing
wonderful people from different parts of the               It seems therefore that many local parents are     purposeful interactions with other people and
world.                                                 keen for their children to learn a foreign            cultures, as well as widening one’s professional
   I have always hoped to share this passion with      language before secondary school but that this        prospects.”
my children but have struggled to find                  has to be fun and lively in order to catch the           The message is that these skills are still
opportunities for children to learn languages          interest of children. I spoke to Cari Weston of       relevant, still fun and still incredibly beneficial on
locally. My son had a fantastic, French-speaking       BilinguaSing, who runs bilingual music classes        many levels: language learning in the UK is very
childminder when he was one, and he came to            from ages 0-11 in French, Spanish and Italian in      much alive and necessary!
understand what she said to him and spoke              the Wokingham and Bracknell area.
                                                          Cari’s classes are part of a holistic, multi-      If you would like to find out more about Cari’s
several French words himself, which was
                                                       sensory experience, where babies and children         classes, contact or
exciting! However, the childminder moved on
                                                       can start to learn foreign languages in a fun and     07729 261018.
to other work, and my son became half-hearted
                                                       engaging way. The focus is firmly on being             To enquire about private Spanish or Portuguese
about speaking French after that.
                                                       positive about learning languages, and she            lessons, contact Ricardo at
   In researching this article I spoke to several
                                                       states, “As someone who studied languages, I'd
families in the Thames Valley West area, two of
                                                       always said that I didn't want to be a teacher.
whom had a parent whose first language was
                                                       However, the BilinguaSing classes are such a fun
not English. These families were bringing their        and innovative way to teach, I could see how
children up to be bilingual (Japanese / English        engaged the children were and I felt I would be
and Russian / English), but they were also really      able to do this. I've also always loved music,
positive about other languages for their children:     singing and dancing, so this is a perfect
Tatiana said that her sons were learning French        combination for me!”
as well, and James said he thought children in            As well as the uplifting feelings
the UK should be taught another language.              experienced during the classes, Cari is
   Unfortunately, my son, now nine, has lost           enthusiastic about the wider benefits
interest in learning another language, and             of learning languages: “It also opens
another mum I spoke to said of her nine-year-          children's minds up to the fact that
old, “Sadly, my daughter hasn’t been interested        other people are different - they eat
in learning another language.” Perhaps children        different food, have different traditions,
just don’t see this as an interesting activity?        even celebrate Christmas differently! It
   Nevertheless, several parents mentioned             gives them another perspective on the
language clubs at their children’s schools             world, which I think can only benefit

Speech and Language Therapy                                                                                    Help for my child
or EAL support By Camilla Crystal                                                                              Mental Health
                                                                                                               Time to Talk
Many of you will be reflecting on recent years and wondering whether we will be                                 Kooth
waving goodbye to COVID-19 this year as well as recovering from the impact of                                  Emotional Health Triage service
Brexit. I sincerely hope so!                                                                                   ( and
In the context of health and education, Speech         • being able to say sounds in speech (except /th/
and Language Therapists (SLTs) and educators           and /r/ and three-consonant combinations e.g.           Legal advice and support
have adapted tremendously during the pandemic          str)                                                    IPSEA (
via video-conferencing platforms. Nevertheless, I                                                              Contact (
CAN, a reputable charity, has reported that ‘up to     Visit the ‘progress checker’ via              
1.5 million children face being left behind in their and the Centre for Disease          ASLTIP (
speaking and understanding due to disruption           Control and Prevention for milestones:                  ICAN (
caused by Covid.’ (Source: Speaking up for the  
Covid Generation)                                      es/index.html                                           Tuition
                                                                                                               Tutor Doctor (
How do you know if your child needs Speech             English as an Additional Language (EAL)
and Language Therapy?                                  A pre-schooler by the age of four will be exposed
Once your child is in school, if they are struggling   to both their home language (if they’re bilingual)
with forming friendships and understanding what        and their second language (at the educational
is expected of them, they may be experiencing a        setting). If your child is not acquiring vocabulary     Help for me
developmental delay/disorder. Contact your             typical for their age in their first language, one
SENCO, particularly if your child has problems         needs to consider if there is a delay.        
• abstract ideas e.g. time                               Camilla Crystal is an Independent Speech    
• understanding or remembering instructions              and Language Therapist and Teacher of       
• organising ideas in order                              English as a Foreign Language. Contact:               Resources
• understanding stories                                     
• missing out words in sentences e.g. “bird                                                          
                                                         or call 07581 067 499.
garden” instead of “a bird is in the garden”

10 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                               
When friendships go wrong                                                                                                          By Clare Cogan

Friendships can be a
challenge throughout our
lives; from our own school
playground days to when
we’re back there as parents.

Late primary school age often
brings significant shifts in
friendships. If your child has been
in a ‘group’ or has a ‘best friend,’
you might observe fall outs which
can include exclusions from
invitations and activities. These
ever-shifting sands can lead to
tears, sleepless nights and worries.

It’s time to help your tween
navigate some of these trickier
times and support them. Part of
building that all-important
resilience in life is to help them
deal with and learn from difficult
times. You are their guiding light in
this regard.

Take a moment.... and a step back.        they are not alone, even when it          Know that it is not okay for your       young person to become aware of
The drama itself is easy to get           feels like they are. This sharing can     child to be on the receiving end of     this behaviour and how it can
embroiled in, especially if you are       carry more weight than just               these remarks, even though they         affect them can also be a powerful
friends with the parents whose            reassuring them that things will ‘get     are difficult to challenge. They can      tool to support them in navigating
children are involved. Despite the        better.’                                  chip away at a child’s self-esteem      tricky friendships.
temptation, texting or picking up                                                   and confidence. Helping your
the phone to discuss the issue is         Spend time helping them to think
not always helpful and can be             about what they value in friendship,
counterproductive. As children            such as honesty, kindness,
start to move towards transition to       trustworthiness. Talk about why
secondary school, we need to give         others choose them to be their
them the tools and resources to           friend and point to what makes a
cope with friendship challenges,          good friend when times are tough.
not always step in and sort it out
ourselves.                                What is a frenemy?
                                          This is probably the most useful
Be aware that some of what might          term I ever learnt as an adult!
be happening may trigger
memories of your own experiences          A frenemy is a ‘friend’ who can flip
at school which may not be                between being kind and caring,
directly related to your child’s issue.   inclusive and supportive, to being
This often happened with me when          disparaging, critical and unkind. It is
we had challenges with our boys           the friend where you never really
and friendships. My inner lioness         know where you stand. If you
would spark off straight away in           challenge their unkindness, put
response to these issues based on         downs or insults, they will usually
my own childhood challenges.              respond with: ‘I'm just joking,’ ‘I can
                                          say that to you because you’re my
Use your own experiences of               friend,’ ‘You’re being over-sensitive'
difficult friendships or times when         or other similar responses
you have moved away from friends          including that over-used and
and made new ones to help your            dishonest current cop-out: ‘It’s just
children understand that it is okay       banter,’ which appear to excuse
for things to change. Children love       their behaviour. As the saying goes,
stories, no matter what age they          with friends like these, who needs
are and yours will help them realise      enemies?

  Clare Cogan is a teenage anxiety specialist and author who works with
  parents and their teens to help them understand how their mind affects
  their mood. More information at                                          Email:                             Families Thames Valley West • 11

Maiden Erlegh
Nature Reserve,
Lakeside, Earley,
Reading, RG6 7PH
Ditch the screens and get outdoors! We have some                                   It includes a gentle – and manageable for small legs –
beautiful natural spaces in this area, and going for a walk                        stroll around a lake, where there are plenty of ducks and
with the family is a great way to spend time together.                             other birds to be seen, or you might like to veer off and
I discovered this hidden gem during the first lockdown.                             run around in the open space of the adjoining Laurel Park.

The park is some twelve hectares in      The park is in several “parcels”,         inspected by a Consultant Engineer    which was launched and put into
extent and is classified as a local       which are described on the various        once or twice each year.              place behind the island on 28th
nature reserve. It is managed on         interpretation boards around the                                                January 2016.
the town council’s behalf by its         site. The lake area, between Instow       The Park Rangers in conjunction
Park Ranger Service with the help        Road and Lakeside, is managed             with the Earley Volunteer Group
of volunteer groups.                     under the Reservoirs Act and is           have made a tern nesting platform     nature-reserve

Please get in touch if you know of a local family-friendly walk: We’d love to share it in the magazine!

How to make a Pinecone Owl...                                                                                 The Big Garden
Little Muddy Boots run outdoor nature and gardening classes for toddlers and pre-schoolers
throughout Berkshire, they also sell a series of seasonal activity cards packed full of craft and
                                                                                                              Birdwatch 2022
activity ideas for your little ones. Here Little Muddy Boots share instructions of how to make a              Get your family involved in the RSPB Big
pinecone owl for you to make at home.                                                                         Garden Birdwatch and help monitor bird life in
                                                                                                              the UK.
What you need                                                                                                    Simply count the birds you see in your
• One pinecone                                                                                                garden, from your balcony or in your local park
• Cotton wool                                                                                                 for one hour between 28 and 30 January.
                                                                                                                 Challenge your children to see who can spot
• Two leaves
                                                                                                              the most birds. Take a bike ride to a local park
• Yellow or Orange Cardboard                                                                                  or make a day trip out of it and spot birds in a
• Two googly eyes                                                                                             new place.
• PVA Glue                                                                                                       You can also watch Big Garden Birdwatch
                                                                                                              Live! on Youtube and Facebook to see what
Instructions                                                                                                  birds are being spotted across the UK with live
                                                                                                              commentary, interviews and chats with special
1. Get your pinecone and push the cotton wool                                                                 guests and wildlife experts and the chance to
into the pinecone                                                                                             ask them questions.
2. Now push the two leaves into the pinecone,                                                                 Register and get your FREE guide at
one on each side to make the wings.                                                                 
3. Cut a triangle out of the card and glue it on
to the front of the pinecone to make the owls
                                                        5. Let it dry and fly your owl around!
4. Now glue on the two googly eyes above the
beak.                                                   *Supervise activity at all times.

As an additional activity why not take a trip to your local library to find some books on owls. Little
Muddy Boots recommend Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Your local woodland is a great place to find pinecones on the ground during the winter months.
Swinley Forest in Bracknell, Simon’s Wood in Finchampstead and Lily Hill Park in Bracknell are all
great places to find pinecones!
Find out more about Little Muddy Boots by visiting their website

12 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                             
Why Aiyven and Kirsten are
                Happier Every Chapter
 Sisters Aiyven (age 12) and Kirsten (age 13) both love writing stories and both published debut novels
      in 2020. Families talks to them to find out more about their writing and their achievements.
What made you start writing stories?                  instead of feet. Because of her differences she          is faced with the threat of being taken over by a
Our parents read stories to us every night when       is imprisoned in what she calls The Kennel. It          scandalous man, and it is up to Hayden and a
we were young, which opened up whole new              was such fun to write and I almost felt like I          few of his friends to overcome him.
worlds to us. From around the age of 4 or 5,          was going through life in the kennel with
we were folding pieces of paper into cards and        Lizzie!                                                 K: My book, Sagas of Anya, is a historical fiction
writing stories inside them - and just never                                                                  novel which follows the life of a young Welsh
stopped!                                              Do you work together on stories or write                girl. When her mother tragically dies from a
                                                      them separately?                                        long term illness and her father turns to drink
What do you like best about writing stories?          We each write separate short stories although           as a coping mechanism, Anya is forced to
The best thing is how in a few hours, a new           occasionally we’ll share ideas and give each            move to Victorian era London. The London life
universe can sprout out of thin air.                  other tips.                                             isn’t all glitz and glam however, as she comes
                                                                                                              to terms with the hardships of living as a
How many stories have you written?                    Do you make a plan for your stories before              scullery maid.
A lot of our early stories were on laptops we         you write?
don’t have anymore but every month we write           When we were younger, we often just typed               Any advice for other children who’d like to
short stories for our book subscription box.          whatever came to mind, which can result in an           start writing?
Over time, we’ve written at least thirty stories      unusual plot and a storyline that doesn’t flow           A: Manage your time as well as possible. You
each. That’s excluding our books.                     very well. Now, we plan the beginning, build-           have plenty of time to produce a good piece of
                                                      up, climax, resolution and ending. Once you             writing, no one is rushing you. Prioritise the
Which is your favourite?                              have those five factors planned, it’s just a             most important things first, like getting your
A: My favourite short story is Scapegoat Kid. It’s    matter of connecting the dots.                          homework done. You’ll be happier and freer to
about a boy called Tom whose parents are                                                                      write that way.
splitting up. As the oldest of many children, he      Tell us about the books you have published
finds all of the responsibility turns to him. Tom      A: My book is called Land of the Nurogons: The          K: Plan or plot the rough idea in your head
becomes distant from the people closest to            Zest for Quest. It tells the story of a young boy       before jumping straight into your story. Also, I
him and falls in with the wrong crowd. I feel it      called Hayden who lives a relatively normal life,       find it quite constricting to have a set title as it
is one of my most powerful short stories. I           until the day he plummets through a black hole          means your story must follow what your title is.
think that even if people haven’t experienced         into a parallel dimension, Nurogonia. The world         It will be easier once the story is finished.
the situations that occur in the story, they’d feel
just as touched.
                                                       Aiyven and Kirsten launched their Happier Ever Chapter monthly subscription box in November
                                                       2020, promoting reading for pleasure, literacy and diversity among their peers aged 8 to 14
K: So far, my favourite short story is Life in the
                                                       ( Each box includes two bestselling books (one being diverse), two
Kennel which is about a girl called Elizabeth...
                                                       short stories written by the girls, activity sheets and 4-6 lifestyle items. They also offer boxes for
but not a human girl. Elizabeth is different, she
                                                       younger readers aged 4 to 7.
has wings sprouting from her back and claws                                      Email:                              Families Thames Valley West • 13
Perform weekly drama, dance and singing
Clubs and classes directory                                                                         classes
                                                                                                    Confidence-building fun for 4-12s. A unique
                                                                                                    mix of drama games, dance and singing
Regular clubs, classes and activities give your child a chance to develop new skills and
                                                                                                    specially designed to boost confidence,
make new friends, and there is lots to choose from. For more clubs and classes in your
                                                                                                    communication, concentration and
area, check out                                                               coordination. Classes are delivered in line with
Please get in touch if you would like to be included in our directory:                              government COVID-19 guidelines. Visit                                                                  to book a FREE class.
                                                                                                    Venues: Newbury, Twyford, Caversham, Earley,
                                                                                                    Wokingham, Winnersh, Crowthorne, Henley-
          Developmental classes                   There is a maximum of 6 children per class. We    on-Thames and Goring.
                                                  are currently looking for a private indoor,       Contact: 020 7255 9120,
                                                  heated pool, 1 or 2 weekday mornings, for,
The Academy of Magic                              much needed community baby & toddler
Created by Radek Hoffman, an international         classes in the Newbury / Hungerford area!
magician with 15 years of experience in the art
of magic. The Academy of Magic shares   
Radek’s enthusiasm for entertainment and
performance with young magicians through          Reading Swimming Club
weekly online lessons. Fun and exciting after     Formed in 1885, the club offers a structured
school clubs instil confidence, nurtures self-     learn to swim programme, squad training for all
esteem and helps to develop children’s social     ages and competition opportunities from
skills. Visit for more            within the club, up through to county, regional
information or to sign up for a free trial        and national level. We are keen to welcome
session. Suitable for children aged 8+.           new members of all ages and abilities. Please
                                                  contact or email
                                                                                                         Award-winning after-school drama
                                                                                                          classes for kids who love to ACT!

                                                                      Music                               Burghfield, Tilehurst, Lower Earley,
                                                                                                             Mortimer and Wokingham.
                                                                                                      High-energy classes mean that students
                                                                                                      never get bored, can't wait to get to class
                                                                                                       and develop confidence, creativity and
                                                                                                        Free trial class and a Pay-As-You-Go
                                                                                                      option for infants. Ages 5+ Full listing of
       BilinguaSing Wokingham                                                                          available classes, prices and venues at:
             and Bracknell                                                                    
    French, Spanish and Italian classes from                                                                   Come and join the fun!
  age 0-11 in the Wokingham and Bracknell
    area. We run fun sensory music classes                                                            E: M:
    for babies and toddlers with the added                                                                 07721 565898 T: 0118 933 3791
    bonus of a second language! You don't                    Henley Youth Choir
  need to know any languages to take part,          Non-Auditioned Youth Choir. Rehearsals
    but as our songs are in English as well, I         every Thursday in Term Time: 5.30-
    guarantee you'll be singing along in no         6.15pm for Juniors (7-11yrs), 6.15-7.00pm
  time! We offer one-off trial classes as well                  for Seniors (12-17yrs).
            as bookings by the term.                 Location: the D:Two Community Centre
    We also run classes in private nurseries           in the centre of Henley-on-Thames.
      and lunch clubs for primary school                         Parking nearby.
                 aged children.
                                                          Fees are £60 for 12 rehearsals.
       Please contact Cari Weston at                                                                         Progress Youth Theatre or call                 Contact Fi Harding on 07947 658252 or
                                                     email, and come for            Workshops for ages 7-18 involving theatre
     07729261018 for more information
                                                                a free trial session!                     games, improvisation and skills
                                                                                                          development, leading to a stage
         Gym, sport and swimming                                                                              production every year.
                                                                Drama and dance
                                                                                                       We are an Arts Award Supporter and also
Bulmershe Gymnastics Club                                                                                       offer LAMDA courses.
Based at a purpose-built gym in Woodley, run      Steppin Out Stars of Tomorrow
                                                                                                      Classes held at Progress Theatre, Reading.
gymnastics classes for all ages including Leap    COVID secure, fun, energetic theatre classes
Frogs for walkers to five years lead by qualified   for 3½ to 18yrs. Dance, drama, singing, tap,         Book a FREE taster session by emailing:
coaches.                street dance, pop styles and musical theatre.
                                                  Regular award-winning classes in Wokingham
GR Swimming Schools                               and Woodley, plus summer schools. Call                           Learn more at:
Uniquely structured, safe, FUN, swimming          Shelley on 07970 034 488, or email           
lessons from 3 years old. Lessons include,
continual assessment and lane progression.

14 • Bracknell • Henley • Reading • West Berkshire • Wokingham                                                    
Clubs and classes news
                                                                   Outdoor Activities                                         Pregnancy

                  JG Dance
  Classes from 2.5 years to 18 years for all
    abilities in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Singing,
 Acrobatics & Drama. Twice Yearly Theatre
             FREE TRIAL LESSON
  Saturday Theatre College (Twyford) RAD
                                                                                                                            Happy Births
                                                                                                                  Hypnobirthing classes, Antenatal
 Ballet, ISTD modern & Tap LAMDA singing                                                               !
                                                                                                                education, Bespoke birth preparation
   & Drama. Grades to Vocational Exams.
                                                                                                              coaching, Birth trauma recovery therapy
       Classes on Tuesday – Woodley,                             Little Muddy Boots                              Preparation is key when it comes to
    Wednesday-Bourne-End, Thursday –                      Little Muddy Boots is an established                 maximising the likelihood of a positive
   Tilehurst & Twyford, Saturday- Sonning                unique garden and nature club, which                  birth experience. Marvel at your body's
   Common, Kidmore End & Basingstoke                    inspires outdoor play, hands on learning             amazing abilities, get informed about your
                                                           and time spent as a family making                 options, learn skills to enable you to make
     01491 572000
                                                                      memories.                                  the right choices for you, develop a
                                                                                                                   practice of gorgeous relaxation
                                                         Termly sessions are available alongside              techniques, and get your partner trained
                                                         PAYG Saturday clubs and Forest School
        To advertise in
                                                                                                             up to be the best support on the day. You
                                                                    holiday sessions.                         deserve to feel confident and calm about
                                                                                                               this super exciting journey to meeting
                                                        Suitable for children aged 1 - 6 years old
                                                                                                                              your baby.
                                                        (siblings welcome). Little Muddy Boots is
                                                         based at sites located across Berkshire.            Contact Sarah Collison on 07740349946
                                                                                                              or email,
           please email                                          To find out more visit
                                                or email
                                                                                                             and see for positive
                                                                                                                 birth stories and testimonials from                                                         working with Sarah.

 Happy, Confident New Year from Perform
 Perform, the UK’s biggest centrally-run drama        Local Perform classes available:
 school, is getting 2022 off to a flying start with
 a new term of classes focusing on building           Twyford Youth Centre, 3 Loddon Road,
 confidence and social skills.                         Twyford, RG10 9JA
                                                      (Age 4-7: Saturdays at 9:30am, Wednesdays
 How have your children adjusted after the            at 4pm, age 7-12: Wednesdays at 5:05pm,
 pandemic? Many have struggled to reconnect           Saturdays at 11:15pm)
 and re-establish their old friendships and
 confidence. Child psychologist and author,            St. John The Evangelist, St. John’s Road,
 Linda Blair, says that classes like these: “can      Newbury, RG14 7PY
 help children recover from social isolation as       (Age 4-7: Saturdays at 9:30am, Fridays at 4pm,
 they encourage communication and effective            age 7-12: Saturdays at 11:15am, Fridays
 social interactions. Drama helps a child’s ability   at 5:05pm)
 to understand and interpret things like eye          St. Andrew’s Hall, Albert Road, Caversham,
 contact and can help in countless other ways         Reading, RG4 7AW
                                                                                                           The Crowthorne Methodist Church Hall,
 both socially and cognitively.”                      (Age 4-7: Saturdays at 9:30am and 11:15am,
                                                                                                           10 Dukes Ride, Crowthorne, RG45 6LT
                                                      age 7-12: Saturdays at 2pm)
 Fortunately, Perform classes are packed with                                                              (Age 4-7: Fridays at 4pm, age 7-12: Fridays
 confidence-boosting drama-based games and             The Cornerstone Community Centre, Norreys            at 5:05pm)
 activities, allowing every child to shine as we      Avenue, Wokingham, RG40 1UE
                                                                                                           St. Nicolas Church Hall, Sutcliffe Avenue,
 explore two exciting termly themes.                  (Age 4-7: Fridays at 4pm, Saturdays at 9:30am
                                                                                                           Earley, Reading, RG6 7JN
                                                      and 2pm, age 7-12: Fridays at 5:05pm, Saturdays
 Children ages 4 to 7 will trek off on a jungle                                                             (Age 4-7: Wednesdays at 4pm, age 7-12:
                                                      at 11:15am)
 adventure while ages 7 to 12 enjoy a thrilling                                                            Wednesdays at 5:05pm)
 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. What’s more,         Winnersh Community Centre, New Road,
                                                                                                           Goring Village Hall, High Street, Goring-on-
 Perform’s jungle theme becomes a West End            Sindlesham, Wokingham, RG40 1XS THIS IS A
                                                                                                           Thames, RG8 9AG
 musical during February half-term, featuring a       NEW VENUE!
                                                                                                           (Age 4-7: Mondays at 4pm, age 7-12: Mondays
 professional adult cast, stunning costumes and       (Age 4-7: Mondays at 3:45pm, age 7-12:
                                                                                                           at 5:05pm)
 fabulous music. Visit             Mondays at 4:50pm)
                                                                                                           Henley Town Hall, Elizabeth Hall 2, Market
   To book a no-obligation FREE trial, visit with code TVW70222,                    Place, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AQ
   or use code TVW70222 for a £40 discount when you book by 7th February.                                  (Age 4-7: Fridays at 4pm, age 7-12: Fridays
                                                                                                           at 5:05pm)                                     Email:                            Families Thames Valley West • 15
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