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Education

My Mood Stars – A learning aid & interactive toy that can help children express their feelings

March 11, 2019
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Today, I would like to introduce you to My Mood Stars these tactile cuddly little stars are an ingenious invention by Wendy Woo. She saw a need for children to be able to express their emotions particularly in young children or in children with special needs. As parents, carers and teachers well know when a child can not express truly how they feel, it can lead to anger, anxiety and frustration. Mood stars can allow a child to explore how they are feeling in a fun and simple way. They also allow children to gain an understanding of the emotions and feelings of others, which is something important for all children to learn.

Wendy Woo worked as a Nanny before having her own three children and later on she became a Registered Childminder, so she has a huge amount of knowledge of how children play and develop. Wendy explains in her own words what My Mood Stars are about.

“Encouraging emotional development was always a priority for me during my long career as an Early Years Practitioner, leading me to design and develop My Mood Stars.”

“My Mood Stars and the accompanying board started to gain attention from parents and carers of children with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Some of these children have difficulty recognising and acknowledging facial expressions so My Mood Stars helped as a visual aid. I was delighted, not only had I made a really fun toy but an effective developmental resource that would actually help young children.”

My Daughter Amelia is six years old, despite having quite advanced language skills for her age, she still struggles at times to get across how she really feels. We played with the mood stars for a little while and it was interesting to hear her describe how she related to each of the star’s faces. Mood Stars are suitable for children of any age.

The Mood star set comes complete with:

A board that can be mounted on the wall and included the hooks and fittings to do so.

8 mood stars including, Shy Star, Sad Star, Scared Star, Happy Star, Angry Star, Surprised Star, Silly Star and Sleepy Star.

Plus the book, which is an excellent way to work through some of the emotions your child might be feeling. As you can see Amelia has both drawn a picture and written a comment about snoring.

The mood stars are small enough for little hands to hold and are made of a material that will simply attach and detach from the board. Moving and replacing the stars on the board is a game in it’s self.

I wish I had know about this wonderful education toy years ago when Amelia was younger, as I can see how they would have been invaluable in dealing with lots of the changes that small children go through such as: Mummy/Daddy going back to work, starting nursery or school for the first time, sleep issues and potty training.

Wendy has also developed some suggested games that could be used alongside the Mood Stars, a leaflet is included in the pack and you can also find out more over on her website. The game that stood out to me that was particularly helpful was “Today I Feel….”. This activity allows the child to take control of their emotions and express how they feel thought the day. In this game you use the board and stars as part of their morning routine, allow the child to choose which star they are feeling that day. If it is a negative star, the child will see this as a challenge to end the day with a postive star. If the child feels they are in complete control of their emotions, they will want to ‘win” the game.

Wendy has also published two books which are available to buy online via her website, Rat & His Amazing Musical Band, plus Rat Loses His Voice.  These stories have become firm favourites in early years settings such as childminders and nurseries and has been developed to encompass much of the UK Early Years Framework. Both both are priced individually at £10.00.

If you would like to buy your very own set of my Mood Stars you can head over to Wendy’s Website where the board and set of stars are priced at £24.99 and you can also purchase extra copies of My Mood Star book for £5.99.

Disclaimer – AD -This is a collaborative post with My Mood Stars, however as always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of my opinion of the product.

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Explore Learning – Brand New Tuition Centre Now Open in Ealing Broadway

January 11, 2019
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Explore Learning has opened a brand new tuition centre in Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. They offer award-winning maths and English tuition for children aged 4 to 14 years old. If you are looking for your child to build their confidence and make progress with their learning in the New Year then Explore Learning could be the ideal place for them!

Perhaps your child is preparing to sit the 11 Plus or a local entrance exam? Then Explore Learning can build strong foundations, whilst developing their speed, accuracy and exam technique. Or maybe your child is struggling at school? If this is the case the tutors will be able to pinpoint where your child needs extra help and concentrate on that area. Even if your child is a high achiever Explore Learning can provide support, making sure they are challenged at the right level for their ability.

Explore Learning – Ealing Broadway

If you sign your child up before the 1st March 2019 you will save the £50 joining fee, so it is worth booking in for a free trial session soon. You will be able to meet the team and discuss your child’s needs. Both you and your child will be able to see the centre in action and experience how it works for yourselves!

Our Experience of Explore Learning

Amelia absolutely loves going to Explore Learning, she actually asks when is it time to go? I really like the relaxed and friendly environment and have always found the staff to be friendly and engaging. Children are taught to be “fearless learners” which from what I have seen encourages them to ask questions, show how they have worked out their answers and to not give up. The concept that I am really keen on is that they are rewarded through effort and not ability. This means if they complete all their learning outcomes for that session, they are given lizard cards (they can earn up to 4 cards at each session). These lizard cards are used like a currency. The children collect them and in turn can can be used to ‘buy’ items such stationary or small toy as a reward for their effort. You can see the prize wall below and the sort of things they can earn.

Once the children have completed their learning they get to go to Surf Club, this is place that they can relax, engage in play, read, colour and even play a board game with one of the staff members.

How does the monthly membership work?

Your child can attend the tuition centre once or twice a week for sessions lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What are the opening hours?

Centre opening hours in Ealing during term time are:

Monday 15:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 15:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 15:00 – 20:00
Thursday 15:00 – 20:00
Friday 15:00 – 20:00
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Bank Holidays 10:00 – 16:00
Opening times change when it is school holidays.

Do you have to book?

No, it’s really flexible, you just turn up at a time to suit you. They are open throughout the week, weekend and during school holidays.

What will my children learn?

Maths, problem solving English, reading, spelling and comprehension. This will be done via their own programme of work, which adapts to their own particular strengths and development needs.

How is the centre staffed?

The tutor to child ration is 1:6 and all of the centres are Ofsted registered.

Are there any other options to help pay the fees?

Childcare vouchers/Tax-Free Childcare, the childcare element of Working Tax Credits and the Childcare Grant for full-time students could enable you to save on your monthly membership. They also offer a fantastic scholarship scheme which gives a 50% discount to parents receiving Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance. What’s more, with their ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme members can reduce there monthly membership, simply by successfully introducing other members to Explore Learning.

You will find Explore Learning on the First Floor, Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, Ealing, London, W5 5JY There is plenty of parking available within the shopping centre. The centre is also only a short walk from Ealing Broadway Station. While Amelia is at the centre I usually do a spot of shopping or even have a bit of time out in one of the local coffee shops! For any enquires you can contact the centre on 020 7052 1968

Disclosure – I was gifted one month’s complimentary membership at Explore Learning in return for a review. As always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of our experience.

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Harvington Prep School – a Traditional Independent School in the Heart of Ealing

February 4, 2018
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Here in Ealing we are very lucky to have a wide selection of independent schools to choose from. Now is a really good time to think about options if your child is due to start reception in September. Many schools will have open mornings in the Spring, so in the meantime you should think about getting your research done now.

The first thing to consider is what type of school you would like your child to attend? Are you looking for a prep school in particular? Do you want that to be same sex? Or co-educated? Or perhaps you are looking for a school that will take your child all the way from nursery to when they leave school at eighteen?

Researching schools initially can take some time. You could start by reading a guide such as The Good Schools Guide. You should also have a look at the school’s website and obtain a prospectus. It is also useful to read the Independent Schools Inspectorate report for the school of your choice.

In my opinion the best way to really get a feel for a school is to visit on either an open day or most schools can organise a private tour. I think it is really beneficial to see the school operating on a normal school day ,as that way you can really see how it runs on a daily basis. It is of course important to look at exam results and see where the pupils tend to go after they leave.

Also look at what sort of areas the school excels at. Do they have a particularly good drama and music department or do they have a particularly good sports facilities? It all depends on what is important for you and your child.

For our Daughter we decided upon Harvington Prep School.  She started there when she was three years old in the Nursery. The Nursery at Harvington accepts girls and boys from the term that they are three years old, up until they move onto the next stage of their education.

We knew straight away that Harvington was the school for our Daughter on our very first visit. We loved the fact that the school was small. It currently has 128 pupils. This was also reflected in the class sizes (our Daughter has just sixteen girls in her class). There is a real sense of community and I have seen for myself how many of the older girls have made the time to get to know some of the younger ones. The Headmistress Mrs Evans really does know every child by name!

Music and drama play a big part in school life. We are lucky enough to have both a designated drama and music teacher. Since our Daughter has been there have been many amazing school drama productions directed by Mr Grant, involving children right from nursery up to Year six. Children also encouraged to learn an instrument and many progress to an exam standard.

Harvington prepares girls for the 11+ entrance exams for many of the top London day and grammar schools.  My Daughter is still very early on in her education, however the encouragement and dedication she has received from her teachers has meant her progression in both Maths and English has been above and beyond what I would have expected for her age.

After school clubs run every day and these include such activities as: cookery, tennis, reading, crafts and dance. The School also offers breakfast clubs and after school care which is very helpful for the busy working parent.

If you are interested in seeing the school for yourself, you can contact the office to organise a visit.

Email: admin@harvingtonschool.com

Phone: 020 8997 1583

20 Castlebar Road

Ealing

W5 2DS

 

Don’t forget to follow Harvington Prep School on social media for regular updates and news:

Facebook – @Harvingtonprepschool

Twitter – @harvingtonprep

 

If your Daughter is due to start reception this September, then why not come along to an Art Attack coffee Morning?  Thursday 8th February from 8:45 -10:45 see full details below!

 

This is a collaborative post.

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