Two Lincoln parks flying the flag as among the UK’s best green spaces!

Hartsholme Country Park and The Arboretum have once again been recognised by the Green Flag awards scheme as among the best green spaces in the country. Keep Britain Tidy, which organises the awards, was particularly impressed by a range of improvements at Hartsholme, which has received the award for the ninth consecutive year. The parks are among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces to receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space – this week. Now into its third decade, this international award is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities. At Hartsholme Country Park, judges highlighted excellent events listings, community involvement and use of the park, and wildlife conservation management as particularly good, adding that the park is ‘very lucky to have such a dedicated and hardworking team of volunteers.’

Councillor Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Health and Recreational Services at the city council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive Green Flag awards once again at two of our parks. This is a testament to all the hard work of the staff and volunteers who are committed to providing welcoming, safe and clean environments all year round.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and businesses, and that’s why enhancing our remarkable place is one of the council’s main priorities. By creating and maintaining attractive environments we are providing places that help people relax, stay healthy, socialise and so much more.

“Lincoln is fortunate to have three fantastic parks, alongside a host of other open spaces, and we are proud to be working hard to constantly improve these spaces. It’s fantastic that the Green Flag awards have recognised this.

“I would especially like to thank the many volunteers who help towards the upkeep of the parks. It’s great to have local communities involved in the places which matter to them.”

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme. 

“Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people.”

 

Another of the council’s green spaces, Boultham Park, is currently undergoing a multi-million pound restoration thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. Working in partnership with learning disability charity Linkage, the plans involve converting the former stable block into an education centre as well as building a café, horticulture centre and restoring park features. The work will also introduce some lighting and will feature improved pathways, CCTV, signs and seating.

It is hoped the 50-acre park will achieve Green Flag status upon completion of the work. Details are available at www.boulthampark.co.uk.

To find out more about the Green Flag Award go to www.greenflagaward.org.uk

A Summer of Play with The National Trust

Visitors to National Trust places across Lincolnshire are being invited to step back in time and enjoy traditional games and past-times this summer, just as the families who once lived there did in the past. Games such as tennis, bowling and archery, became hugely popular amongst the upper-classes in the late 1700s. Whilst croquet was the big craze of the 1860s and would have been avidly played at many of the houses and estates in the charity’s care.

This summer, visitors can carry on this tradition and relax with a game of croquet in the picture-perfect surroundings of Gunby Hall. Or at Tattershall Castle, children can travel further back in time and see what passed for entertainment 500 years ago, with have-a-go medieval games and a historic children’s trail exploring this majestic castle. Nicky Boden, Visitor Experience Consultant at the Trust said: ‘Whilst many things have changed over the years, the ways in which we like to relax and enjoy our free time have stayed remarkably the same. Whether that’s playing a traditional garden game; or just getting out into nature and building a den or climbing a tree.

‘Each place in our care is unique so we design the activities, trails and games to reflect the history of the place they’re in. This allows us to bring the stories of the people who once lived and work there to life, in hands-on and most of all, fun ways’.

This summer, visitors to National Trust places in Lincolnshire can have a go at playing games old and new.  Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/midlands for details of events and activities across the county.

Swim Long and Prosper with the Vulcans

Budding swimmers with their sights set on Olympic glory, are being encouraged to sign up to an historic Lincolnshire club.

Lincoln Vulcans Swimming Club (LVSC) has been running since 1974 and meets every week at a variety of different pools across the county. With a keen emphasis on healthy competition, club members compete in local leagues, as well as attending regional and national meets throughout the season. Beginners can join from as young as four-and-a-half years old and club secretary Cheryl Hendel said in the early days it’s all about developing an important life skill.

“We have around 320 members and training takes place every day – some days we have three sessions going on at three different pools,” she said.

“A suitable session is offered to beginners to come along for a trial, to help work out which group is best for them.

“It’s safety first when they are learning to swim and as they develop they become part of a team, teaching self discipline, time management and good overall fitness.

“Sessions range from our Learn to Swim programme to our Junior Squad and swimmers tend to compete once they reach the Pre-transition and Transition Squads at around eight to 10 years of age.”

Over the years the club has seen lots of success competing in the local leagues and even seen household swimming names such as Lizzie Simmonds, Sophie Allen, Jack Burnell and Kate Haywood go through the its programme. Run by a paid head and assistant coach, the club also has a group of dedicated volunteers who keep it afloat throughout the year, helping out with lessons and the general day-to-day running.

“The club aims to promote and encourage participation in all aspects of swimming with special emphasis on competition,” added Cheryl.

“We seek to provide the opportunity and encouragement for both children and adults to realise their full potential and achieve excellence in swimming in an environment of support and good sportsmanship.

“One of the great things is seeing the children develop from nervous beginners into competent swimmers – competing as part of a team and representing the club.

“Parents can get involved too and we run courses for volunteers to become qualified officials and opportunties to become qualified teachers or coaches.  We have several young swimmers who volunteer and have then gone on to teach with the club.”

LVSC sessions take place at RAF Waddington, Priory City of Lincoln Academy, Priory Academy LSST, Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School, One NK, Yarborough Leisure Centre and Cranwell village.

For more info contact Cheryl -   T: 07557 234091   E: d.hendel@ntlworld.com    www.lvsc.co.uk

Sir Robert Pattinson Academy

Striving to achieve...

Sir Robert Pattinson Academy is a school where students are valued, happy, challenged and strive to achieve their best.

The Academy provides rich learning experiences both in and outside of the classroom, resulting in a great education.

Staff pride themselves on ensuring that our pupils are not just well educated but encouraged and supported to become valued members of society.

The Academy makes sure that understanding and preparing for the world of work are integrated fully alongside a first-class education in a calm and caring environment where all students can succeed. The Academy has a strong ethos that every student should value, enjoy and be excited by learning and the world around them – giving them a unique opportunity to be successful. Students are inspired to take part in our excellent international programmes, local projects and actively engage with businesses and universities. In the latest OFSTED report, last year inspectors rated the Academy as ‘good’ after praising its leaders for improvement of ‘all aspects of the school’. The Academy’s facilities are continually updated, extended and refurbished: Lincoln City FC is now using one of our pitches for first team training.

To see the campus and meet the staff for yourself, why not come to one of our open evenings? The first one will be on Thursday 13 July 6pm–8pm.

Play like a Victorian at The Workhouse this summer

Pauper children at The Workhouse had few opportunities to play but today there’s plenty for children and families to experience at the National Trust property this summer.

During August there is a packed programme of activities which occur on the same days each week. Mondays see pauper inmates going about their daily duties, on Fridays visitors can join a family-focussed ‘Pauper’s yarn’ tour and hear more about life in the institution. On Saturdays, paupers will be outside in the recreated vegetable garden and can help visitors select fresh produce to purchase from amongst the wealth of heritage varieties.

Wednesdays during August are 50 things themed craft days with many new activities being introduced this year. Children can have a go at making needlepoint bracelets, flower buttons, create a Victorian star chart, make a kite to fly on the field and construct homes for wildlife, different themes and activities apply each week.

During the school holidays, a new Victorian activity trail will challenge younger visitors to complete a series of traditional games such as hopscotch, the game of life, sack races and much more. There’s a grass maze on the front field provides a challenge too.

Over 2000 votes have been cast so far as part of the popular exhibition ‘The History of The Workhouse in 20 objects’ which has been updated with the latest selection of artefacts, so why not visit and select your favourite. The births and deaths register was the standout winner from the last round gaining over half the votes.

A new approach to interpreting the cellars and several other rooms is being tested as part of the Re-imagining The Workhouse initiative during the summer, so why not visit and tell us what you think?

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/theworkhouse

No Mans Land...

As school ends we find ourselves in No Man’s Land...

The long summer break from school signals so many things.

It heralds a more relaxed approach, when alarm clocks can be turned off, when breakfast is eaten at a leisurely pace, when there’s plenty of time to locate missing shoes and jackets before leaving the house, without anyone (me) breaking into a panic-sweat about beating the morning bell. It’s also the chance to ditch the nightly ritual of wondering what filling to use in tomorrow’s sandwiches so they are eaten, rather than stuffed inside an empty crisp packet.

It’s leaving school uniforms buried under a pile of T-shirts, shorts and flowery dresses until September when you have to dig it all out to check if any of it still fits. (It won’t, by the way, it’s an absolute given that children grow at least two centimetres during the six weeks they are off school).

It’s a time when GCSEs and A-levels are now a fading memory (and results day in August seems like it’s months away – it’s not - but whatever that piece of paper says, life usually works out just fine). It’s a time for chasing after the ice cream van waving a shiny pound coin as it drives away and planning a trip to the lido at Woodhall Spa (or try Billinghay’s outdoor pool to beat the crowds). There’ll be water fights in the garden and rainy days spent indoors watching the TV. Trips to the beach and picnics at the park with at least one wasp encounter to be had at some point in the proceedings. Between the fun stuff, there’ll be boring life admin - the trips to the supermarket with the kids trailing behind saying they’re bored;  housework, which really should be put on the backburner until September 5, because trying to keep a tidy house in the school holidays is like shovelling snow in a blizzard – impossible.

Then, as the end of the holidays draws near, thoughts turn once more to the start of a new school year. If your child was a new starter last September, the reception year is now under your belt. All of those wobbles about leaving them for the first time will be in the past. The new academic year will bring continuity – a familiarity that should by now be established. Then, there are the Year 6 pupils, who have earned the right to a spot of big kid swagger. At the top of the school, they are usually pretty confident because they’ve got this going to school malarkey licked. As a parent, you probably feel the same way, too.

But for me, this particular school holiday marks the end of an era. 

From being a shy pre-schooler to the confident Year 6 pupil she now is, this summer holiday brings with it the end of everything we have become familiar with.

From getting to know most of the teachers, to the layout of the classrooms, to knowing which mums make the best cakes for the annual bake-off (and making sure we bag a slice), to the receptionists who never judge when I drop off a Greggs carrier bag holding a tuna sandwich for my child’s lunch because the bread has gone stale overnight, my daughter’s time as a primary school pupil is coming to an end and I can’t help but feel nostalgic about it.

It’s not just my daughter that will be moving on at the end of the summer holidays, I will be too. I will have a child at secondary school. 

My daughter is ready for the transition. I’m not. I don’t mind admitting I am slightly wistful and a tiny bit apprehensive about the change (I don’t deal with change very well).

But it’s not just the practicalities of the change – that she will have to be up an hour earlier to catch a bus by herself, that she will be a couple of miles away from home, instead of a seven-minute walk, that she will be rubbing shoulders with sixteen-year-olds, it’s not just those things that are giving me butterflies if I think about it for too long. It’s more than that. It’s realising she is growing up, becoming an independent person. Secondary school marks a new chapter in her education but equally takes her on a journey towards adulthood.

And there’s the rub. In my head, she’s still my little girl. I can remember her first nativity play and how cute (and terrified) she seemed as she stood on the stage, wearing a tinsel halo. I can remember how in Year 1, a lovely teaching assistant had to take her hand and lead her into class on most days, otherwise, she would have hung off my leg like a human koala bear. Then, how in Year 2, she decided she was ‘over’ missing me and would walk into the class by herself.

I have attended every sports day and kept every headteacher’s gold award sticker.

I have a video stored on my phone of my daughter winning an ‘Oscar’ for a short film she made and thousands of loom bands stored in a box marked ‘school fair’ from when we ran a loom band stall at the summer fete.

I can recall the surge of pride I felt when she told me she won a class poetry competition and I still wince ever so slightly at the embarrassment of her winning a cake decorating contest after she submitted a Victoria sponge I bought from Sainsbury’s. (To be fair, it was a DECORATING contest, not a baking contest and she did all the icing herself… plus, I came clean to the judges).

There are eight years of mostly happy memories bookended between each summer holiday and the beginning of the new school term, memories that have been preserved like pressed flowers between the pages of an encyclopedia.

And now, we are in limbo, as we spend this last summer holiday in a no-man’s-land between primary school and secondary school.

I’m sure it will be an exciting ride, bringing fresh challenges, excitement, apprehension and a uniform bill that will set me back a month’s salary.

I’d better get another encyclopaedia ready to press some new memories.

You can follow Sam on: Twitter @sammanfa | Instagram: sammanfa1 | Facebook: SamCurtisWrites

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

But, as I reflect on our recent family holiday in the Balearics with our two young girls, I would dare to suggest that theory is not always correct.

Our carefully selected Facebook snaps post vacation paint a picture of nothing but joy, cheer and smiles. However, while undoubtedly it was a wonderful getaway with our nearest and dearest, we had more than our fair share of challenges. And, as you will see, there are even two morals to the tale. Less than an hour after checking into our hotel apartment, crisis number one struck. Betty, our recently-turned two-year-old, was understandably in excitable mood and, after we took our eyes off her for a split second, took a heavy tumble in the shower room. Blood was pouring from her quivering mouth and it was soon apparent a large chunk of one of her front teeth had fallen out. She was visibly bruised to the face and cut severely on the lip. She was screaming in pain. Cue chaos. The hotel staff were absolutely first class and they immediately called a taxi to rush us to the nearest urgent care centre in Ibiza.

Now, of all the holidays I have been on, this was the first time I had invested in medical insurance. I remember having a discussion with Mel pre-holiday and saying something along the lines of: “Let’s save our money – everything will be fine.” That tends to be my woefully weak approach with most things in life. And how wrong was I?

Betty was seen by a nurse and we were soon sent on our way to restart our holiday.

I’m delighted to say Betty has healed and is back to her normal cheeky self, albeit with less teeth than before. It is important to stress that on this occasion we didn’t need to use our health insurance - but this taught me a valuable lesson. You just never know when you may need it. So the first moral of the story is don’t be like I was – make absolutely sure you get that all-important medical insurance sorted before you jet-off. It really could be a life-saver Believe it or not, crisis number two erupted that same night. Mel and I were reflecting on a terrible night for our beautiful Betty but eventually nodded off following a long day of travelling. I kid you not, less than an hour later I was being awoken by Mel with: “It’s Evie – she’s pooed the bed.”

Nine-year-old Evie, my stepdaughter, has not once done this since I met her at the tender age of three. It turned out she was suffering from an awful bout of diarrhoea and sickness – mostly the former.

Bless her, she hardly moved from the bathroom for the next 12 hours. We had a shattered toddler with a battered face, swollen lip and tooth missing screaming to get back to sleep and the eldest who had no hope of controlling her bowels for what seemed like for ever. And this was our family honeymoon by the way! Mel and I were like zombies.

Back to the travel insurance moral, we did try and see a local doctor for Evie later that day. But he wouldn’t even let us through his door until we had parted with 90 Euros. Ninety euros, just to be looked at. Of course we could have recuperated this money with our insurance but what if we hadn’t had it? We decided to keep the cash and thankfully, Evie soon returned to normal.

Before I come to the moral here, I’ll skip to a third crisis which came out of nowhere on the penultimate evening.

As we sat for dinner, Betty’s face suddenly paled and her temperature soared. She became very emotional and looked drained. She was suffering from something and we feared she may have picked up Evie’s tummy bug.

She hadn’t and she slept intermittently. On the final day, she seemed exhausted and clearly under the weather. We had only brought a small amount of Calpol from home and this had been used during the shenanigans on night one.

As Betty’s mood dipped and we became more concerned, I frantically began asking parents around the pool if they had any spare Calpol. Predictably, the first four or five parents I spoke to were either German or Italian and there were language barriers. It’s never easy is it?

Eventually though I stumbled across a lovely couple from Liverpool – who gave us a two Calpol sachets.

How magical is Calpol by the way? Betty improved no-end and, while she wasn’t fully fit for a couple of days, the flight home was relatively comfortable.

So the second moral of the story is to make sure you are fully stocked on remedies before you go on your travels this summer. As we learned the hard way, it could make life so much more bearable in difficult situations a long way from home.

I have done a quick piece of research and the NHS recommends we have the following stocked up – whether abroad or at home:

•  Pain relief tablets (including for children)

•  Anti-diarrhoea tablets

•  Anti-histamines

•  Oral rehydration salts

•  Indigestion treatment

•  Sunscreen

•  First aid kit

Branston Academy

Achieving academic excellence...

Branston Community Academy has rightly gained a reputation as one of the very best schools in Lincolnshire.

The school is rated by Ofsted as outstanding in all areas and in 2015 and 2016 the school received two national awards for the academic achievements of students for both progress and attainment at GCSE.

This is all within a school site that boasts excellent facilities enhanced further by £3 million worth of recent investment.

But it is not just the exceptional educational achievements which sets Branston apart – it is the desire to achieve academic excellence in a truly caring, supportive and nurturing environment which the school is most proud of, fostering values of individual aspiration, tolerance and compassion.  Ofsted has praised the behaviour, resilience and kindness of students along with teachers who ‘enthuse students with a love for learning and foster a ‘can do’ culture. Community is at the heart of this school and manifests itself not only in the relationships within the school but also the close ties with local organisations, businesses and people.

The Academy is home to a thriving nursery and Heron’s gym, complete with a pool for public use. Art, Music and Sport play a large part of Academy life. Visitors and local dignitaries are welcomed to the Academy’s annual musical production and also enjoy the numerous concerts and shows throughout the year. The views of students and parents show these are more than just fine words. In a national survey both rated the school as outstanding on every level. The school is justifiably proud of its success and students and welcomes visitors to see this in action either at the advertised open evening (12th September 2017) or during a visit which can be arranged by contacting the Academy office.

Summer Holiday Fun!

Get crafty and creative in these great workshops to keep your children busy this summer holiday.

Starting on Thursday 27 July, get in to the summer spirit and make a Flower Petal Sun Catcher letting little ones get creative as well as enjoying a short stroll to collect items to use in the workshop. On Thursday 3 August, artist Eve Marshall will return and will be running a Felt Fun for All workshop from 10am to 4.30pm. There will be four mini sessions to book on throughout the day which will include making wet felted flowers, fish plus others. 

For kids with a creative side, take part in their photography workshop on Friday 29 July. Join wildlife and landscape photographer John Owens for an informative and instructive workshop ideal for families. Capture the perfect shot and enter it in to our photographic competition!

And it doesn’t stop there! There’s plenty more workshops on offer; starting with Make a Mud Man (suitable for 6 to 11 years) on Thursday 17 August with artist Janet Schooley. On Thursday 24 August you can make your own Wind Chime or a hungry caterpillar who likes to munch on cress in their Cressy the Caterpillar workshop on Thursday 31 August.

To make a great summer holiday, their new Take Part in Art sessions will start on Wednesday 2 August and will take place every Wednesdayin August! Explore nature through the power of art and let your imagination run wild! Ideal for children aged 5 to 10 years.

Various charges apply to all workshops and are suitable for 4 years and above unless otherwise stated. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL. Payment must be received to guarantee your space. All activities start at different times so please ask upon enquiry.

Don’t forget Little Darters Wildlife Adventure Area & Otter’s Reach Indoor Adventure too! Stay and play whatever the weather with our FREE adventure play areas open every day from 10am to 4.30pm.

For more information about any of these workshops please call the Natural World Centre on 01522 688868 or email whisby@1life.co.uk

For regular updates follow us on Twitter @WhisbyNatureP or search Natural World Centre on Facebook

Bransby Horses

One of the UK’s leading equine rescue and welfare charities, Bransby Horses, has invested in a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU), funded entirely by legacies and donations from an appeal.

The ICU is situated on the charity’s quarantine yard which prevents the spread of disease and enables staff to maintain the strict biosecurity procedures which are in place.

Bransby Horses rescues equines in desperate need of help, many of which require intensive medical care and help to stand as they are so weak. Before the ICU was built, those that were too weak to stand had to be lifted by hand; this required six or more people and carried substantial risk of injury or strain for the staff involved.

Without an independent hoist for support, these frail horses were also at risk of injuries from falling against the breeze block walls which were present in the stables used previously.

The new ICU features stables with padded walls and rubber floors which are cushioned for horses prone to collapse and also sealed so it is easy to disinfect when required. Each stable has a bespoke hoist for lifting horses and supporting them to stand.

In 2016 the charity rescued 144 equines, all of which were initially cared for on the quarantine yard. The new facilities will enable Bransby Horses to provide the best possible care for new arrivals.

The charity would like to thank supporters for making this development possible.

For further information please contact Bransby Horses on 01427 788464 or

Visit www.bransbyhorses.co.uk.

Go Glamping in Style!

Glamp-in-Style is a small family run Glamping site located 1/2 a mile outside the popular village of Tetford in the Lincolnshire wolds area of outstanding natural beauty.

We offer a complete get away from it all experience. Our safari tents offer extremely comfortable and spacious accommodation for up to six people in each. We are the perfect location for families, friends and groups to spend quality time together and build the special memories that our hustle bustle lifestyle sometimes doesn’t allow.

Perfectly situated for walking, cycling and riding as the footpaths, bridleway and tracks lead directly from our gates. We even offer the choice to fetch your horse on your glamping stay as we offer individual paddocks to graze.

Accommodation is in two luxury safari tents each sleeping six people. They offer the ultimate in camping comfort. This includes integral shower room with wc, one double and two twin bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen and dining area and a beautiful lounge area with a log fire. Outside is a veranda with relaxing seating area. A fire pit, pizza oven and BBQ for your own exclusive use makes for terrific outdoor enjoyment.

A variety of traditional outdoor games are set around for you to enjoy. Board games, cards, colouring books and traditional indoor games are in each tent for you to enjoy.

The local area offers a large variety of activities.

• Walking - A walkers delight with footpaths directly from our gate.

• Cycling - A variety of terrain from quiet lanes to off road tracks.

• Riding - Fetch your horse, Glamping and enjoy the stunning hills and scenery on the many local bridlepaths leading from our gate.

• Golf - Several golf courses are in the area and Woodhall also has a driving range.

• Fishing - Day tickets can be purchased for several local lakes.

• Horse racing - Market Rasen racecourse is an exciting day out.

• Motor bike racing - Cadwell Park host of the British super bikes.

• Wildlife and animal parks - Lincolnshire wildlife park, Naturland seal sanctuary, Rand farm park and Hardy’s animal farm to name a small few.

• Antiques - Horncastle hosts an array of antique shops for you to browse.

• Market towns - Louth, gateway to the Wolds, a very popular market town with markets every Wednesday and Saturday.

• History - Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle are well worth a visit. Take a walk up the famous Steep Hill or wander around the traditional shopping and stop to relax and eat at the Waterside. Tattershall Castle, Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and Alford Windmill (that still produces flour); a small number of the many historic places to visit.

• Nature reserves - Gibraltar Point and Snipe Vale, relaxing walking and picnic havens.

• Beaches - Explore Lincolnshire’s natural coast, Anderby Creek hidden gem. Huttoft, Sutton-on-Sea or visit the more traditional Mablethorpe and Skegness with amusements and entertainment, candy floss and seaside rock and don’t forget the famous beach donkeys.

So go out and enjoy the local area/activities or chill out and toast marshmallows, listen to the bird song, watch the sunset or sunrise and catch a glimpse of the abundance of wildlife around us. Whatever you choose to do we are sure you will enjoy your stay.

Glamp in style is open Easter to November.

For further info: T: 07941 176873E: enquiries@glampinstyle.co.uk

Facebook: Glamp in Style     www.glampinstyle.co.uk

The Minster School

Mindfulness key in supporting happy and focused pupils...

Victoria Whitworth, Deputy Head of Lincoln Minster Pre Preparatory School on the importance of mindfulness in school...

The development of the emotional wellbeing of each individual child is of vital importance at Lincoln Minster School. Having a happy child, who is focussed, enthusiastic and keen to learn is becoming even more essential at a time when academic excellence is being emphasised and expectations placed on children are high.

Meditation is recognised as an important life skill, encouraging the development of emotional intelligence. Current research has determined that meditation increases resilience to stress, boosts self-confidence, enhances performance and focus, reduces anxiety, encourages good behaviour and improves overall attainment.

We have adopted a variety of strategies from nursery to Year 3. For example, in nursery, sensory stones have been introduced with expressive words being used to describe how they look and feel. Year 3 pupils have listened to guided meditation whereby they can use their imagination to create relaxing imagery in their minds.

We have noticed an improvement in pupils’ responses to situations and their focus during lesson time. Whether a child is able to calm themselves through practising breathing techniques or their descriptive language and imaginative capacity have improved as a result of first hand sensory experiences, it is clear that there are many benefits of incorporating a mindful approach into everyday school life.

Kingsdown Nursery School

30 free hours – coming from september 2017 at kingsdown nursery school...

Do you have a 2, 3 or 4 year old?  If so, do you know that the Government is providing funding for some 2 year olds, and all 3 and 4 year olds to attend Kingsdown Nursery for 15 hours or 30 hours a week?

Young children can have great fun playing with or alongside other children, exploring paint, water, clay and playing outside in a safe, well-equipped play area. As well as the benefits for the children, having a nursery place at Kingsdown, can give parents and carers a welcome break from the demands of a busy toddler or young child. It can give you extra time to go shopping, do some housework, look after the baby, take a college course, do extra hours at work or just have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet, and drink it while it’s still hot!

Most children attend Kingsdown for 5 mornings or 5 afternoons, some do 2 ½ or 3 days a week. However, from September 2017, some children will get 30 hours free of charge. Coming regularly helps children develop friendships and positive relationships with staff and other children. We also run a before and after school club if you need care outside of traditional school hours. Families who are not eligible for the Government 2 year funding often use their Child Benefit to buy one or two sessions a week to help their child develop their social skills ready for starting school.

At Kingsdown we offer a wonderful engaging environment, both indoors and outdoors. Children have access to top quality resources and fully qualified staff, both teachers and Early Years Practitioners. We teach children to share, take turns, learn about letters and numbers, paint, write and draw, ride, climb, explore and investigate.

Throughout the year, Kingsdown provides many opportunities for children to experience nature in all its forms. We have a bird’s nesting box with a camera in and currently there are 8 eggs waiting to be hatched. Children eagerly watch the laptop to see if the eggs have hatched yet. Kingsdown is fortunate to be near Birchwood Nature Park and we regularly take groups of children for walks there, to look for mini-beasts and to study the changing seasons. All children have weekly music lessons with Pete the Music Man. Pete brings his Double Bass and Guitar and enough musical instruments for all children to have a go! We also have Stuart from Meet the Beasts in with his exotic pets, snakes, lizards, spiders, insects and snails.

Children can wear their own clothes but many wear our uniform of red, blue or purple polo shirt and sweatshirt.  Children invariably join in with messy activities at nursery and if they have their Kingsdown uniform on, they are hard wearing and will stand up to the demands of a busy day at nursery!

For more information and a look round,

please call in or T: 01522 684335

E: enquiries@kingsdownnuseryschool.co.uk

www.kingsdownnurseryschool.co.uk

No Man’s Land...

As school ends we find ourselves in No Man’s Land...

The long summer break from school signals so many things.

It heralds a more relaxed approach, when alarm clocks can be turned off, when breakfast is eaten at a leisurely pace, when there’s plenty of time to locate missing shoes and jackets before leaving the house, without anyone (me) breaking into a panic-sweat about beating the morning bell. It’s also the chance to ditch the nightly ritual of wondering what filling to use in tomorrow’s sandwiches so they are eaten, rather than stuffed inside an empty crisp packet.

It’s leaving school uniforms buried under a pile of T-shirts, shorts and flowery dresses until September when you have to dig it all out to check if any of it still fits. (It won’t, by the way, it’s an absolute given that children grow at least two centimetres during the six weeks they are off school).

It’s a time when GCSEs and A-levels are now a fading memory (and results day in August seems like it’s months away – it’s not - but whatever that piece of paper says, life usually works out just fine). It’s a time for chasing after the ice cream van waving a shiny pound coin as it drives away and planning a trip to the lido at Woodhall Spa (or try Billinghay’s outdoor pool to beat the crowds). There’ll be water fights in the garden and rainy days spent indoors watching the TV. Trips to the beach and picnics at the park with at least one wasp encounter to be had at some point in the proceedings. Between the fun stuff, there’ll be boring life admin - the trips to the supermarket with the kids trailing behind saying they’re bored;  housework, which really should be put on the backburner until September 5, because trying to keep a tidy house in the school holidays is like shovelling snow in a blizzard – impossible.

Then, as the end of the holidays draws near, thoughts turn once more to the start of a new school year. If your child was a new starter last September, the reception year is now under your belt. All of those wobbles about leaving them for the first time will be in the past. The new academic year will bring continuity – a familiarity that should by now be established. Then, there are the Year 6 pupils, who have earned the right to a spot of big kid swagger. At the top of the school, they are usually pretty confident because they’ve got this going to school malarkey licked. As a parent, you probably feel the same way, too.

But for me, this particular school holiday marks the end of an era. 

From being a shy pre-schooler to the confident Year 6 pupil she now is, this summer holiday brings with it the end of everything we have become familiar with.

From getting to know most of the teachers, to the layout of the classrooms, to knowing which mums make the best cakes for the annual bake-off (and making sure we bag a slice), to the receptionists who never judge when I drop off a Greggs carrier bag holding a tuna sandwich for my child’s lunch because the bread has gone stale overnight, my daughter’s time as a primary school pupil is coming to an end and I can’t help but feel nostalgic about it.

It’s not just my daughter that will be moving on at the end of the summer holidays, I will be too. I will have a child at secondary school. 

My daughter is ready for the transition. I’m not. I don’t mind admitting I am slightly wistful and a tiny bit apprehensive about the change (I don’t deal with change very well).

But it’s not just the practicalities of the change – that she will have to be up an hour earlier to catch a bus by herself, that she will be a couple of miles away from home, instead of a seven-minute walk, that she will be rubbing shoulders with sixteen-year-olds, it’s not just those things that are giving me butterflies if I think about it for too long. It’s more than that. It’s realising she is growing up, becoming an independent person. Secondary school marks a new chapter in her education but equally takes her on a journey towards adulthood.

And there’s the rub. In my head, she’s still my little girl. I can remember her first nativity play and how cute (and terrified) she seemed as she stood on the stage, wearing a tinsel halo. I can remember how in Year 1, a lovely teaching assistant had to take her hand and lead her into class on most days, otherwise, she would have hung off my leg like a human koala bear. Then, how in Year 2, she decided she was ‘over’ missing me and would walk into the class by herself.

I have attended every sports day and kept every headteacher’s gold award sticker.

I have a video stored on my phone of my daughter winning an ‘Oscar’ for a short film she made and thousands of loom bands stored in a box marked ‘school fair’ from when we ran a loom band stall at the summer fete.

I can recall the surge of pride I felt when she told me she won a class poetry competition and I still wince ever so slightly at the embarrassment of her winning a cake decorating contest after she submitted a Victoria sponge I bought from Sainsbury’s. (To be fair, it was a DECORATING contest, not a baking contest and she did all the icing herself… plus, I came clean to the judges).

There are eight years of mostly happy memories bookended between each summer holiday and the beginning of the new school term, memories that have been preserved like pressed flowers between the pages of an encyclopedia.

And now, we are in limbo, as we spend this last summer holiday in a no-man’s-land between primary school and secondary school.

I’m sure it will be an exciting ride, bringing fresh challenges, excitement, apprehension and a uniform bill that will set me back a month’s salary.

I’d better get another encyclopedia ready to press some new memories.

The Boys of Summer

Hang on in there – we’ve almost made it!

School is nearly out for summer and just like Alice Cooper, I think my dynamic duo wish it really was forever.

These past few weeks have seen school runs turn into battles of epic proportions, with stand-offs and set-tos taking place on a daily basis as they begrudgingly trudge through the gates for the last few days of summer term. Don’t get me wrong, the boys love going school, as mummy and daddy do sending them, but come the end of July I think everyone’s ready for a break. You can see it in the pleading eyes of the teachers as you drop them off in the morning.  I imagine them chalking off the days in the staff room whilst taking a swig from a gin flask, before bracing themselves for the dreaded morning bell.

You can sense it from the miraculous lie-ins that suddenly appear from ‘those who usually don’t sleep’, always on week-day mornings when you’re already late for work and have a pesky packed lunch to prepare. But most of all you can feel the tension in the air, the restlessness at night and the longing for a bit of time off that seems to encompasses the entire family. Summer needs to start and the kids need to break free, so all you can do is brace yourself for the inevitable roller-coaster that will be the next six weeks and hope you come out the other end with just a few minor flesh wounds to show for it.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have stocked up on plenty of liquid treats to keep you going, planned an audaciously scheduled family holiday for around week three, and have an Apple technician on standby in case one of the two-dozen iPads you’ve accumulated suddenly decides to break down – imagine. But if it’s some six-week salvation you’re after, if the thought of having to occupy your less than harmonious hooligans curdles your blood to the point of no return – just think back for a minute to how it felt for you.

Remember that very first morning waking up to a long hot (not!) summer stretching out ahead of you and all the amazing possibilities it could bring? A feeling of complete elation, looking forward to lazy mornings of kids TV and computer games, with no mardy sergeant major barking at you to put your socks on in double-quick time and brandish your book bag for inspection forthwith.

For if Alice Cooper kicked them out of school, it’s Cyndi Lauper’s turn to take over now - kids just want to have fun after all.

And the six-week summer break is probably the one time they’ll forever remember doing it in style. It may not feel like it now, but September will be here before you know it, and along with it the shorter days and darker nights as another season descends out of nowhere to sweep us firmly off our feet. So with wine racked stocked and iPads fully charged let’s tackle this tussle together and try to make the very best of it. Because I can tell you my love for them will still be strong, after my boys of summer have gone (to bed).       

Milling Day at Cogglesford Watermill

Cogglesford Watermill will open their doors  for their next milling day of on Sunday 9 July from 11am to 4pm.

Cogglesford Watermill is thought to be the only Sherriff’s watermill still in operation in England and is a rare survivor from a river that once boasted some 18 watermills at the time of the Doomsday Book. It belongs to a group of mills considered to be most valuable from Lincolnshire, and amongst the most important in the country.

The mill has been producing flour since the early 18th century and the mill has been beautifully preserved by North Kesteven District Council, giving a real insight into milling in days gone by.

Visitors can see the mill in operation during special milling days which take place on the second Sunday of the month. The millers will be busy on Sunday 9 July as the huge water wheel rumbles into action turning the millstones to grind the grain producing wholemeal flour using certified organic wheat.

Whilst you’re there you can learn about the history of the mill and its millers, try your hand at grinding grain and explore the mill. Why not take home a reminder of your day with a bag of Cogglesford Watermill’s very own flour, on sale in the shop. The milling will take place between 11am and 4pm.

For more information about the Milling Day or for other events taking place at Cogglesford Watermill please visit www.cogglesfordwatermill.co.uk or contact the North Kesteven District Council tourism team on 01529 308102.

You can also find us on Facebook /heartoflincs or follow us on Twitter @Discover_NK

Experience Whisby through the lens

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get out and enjoy the tranquil and picturesque landscape of Whisby Nature Park. With so many photo opportunities, enter our FREE photographic competition open to all ages.

This year marks the 8th annual Photographic Competition at The Natural World Centre and is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the sunny weather whilst you walk around Whisby Nature Park, capturing the beautiful flora and fauna through the camera lens. 

This year’s competition will be sponsored by Vantage Point Photography in association with artsNK and is open until Monday 11 September. This year has four categories that will be independently judged with short listed entries being displayed in the Boardwalk Bistro at the Natural World Centre. Visitors will also have their chance to vote for their favourite which will become the face of the 2018 Calendar which will go on sale in the shop.

It is FREE to enter and is open to all ages with a limit of four entries per person. All photographs must be taken within the Whisby Nature Reserve. 

For more information or for an application pack, please contact the centre on 01522 688868 or email whisby@1life.co.uk

There will also be Photographic Workshops taking place on Saturday 28 July with landscape and wildlife photographer John Owens. The session is aimed at beginners and family groups and will take people on a short trail, giving visitors a really good chance to capture the Whisby environment and look for local flora and fauna. You can also get tips for composition and colour, especially when working on landscape shots and close-up images.

 Workshops will take place at either 10am or 1.30pm and costs £2 per adult and £1 per child. Participants must bring a camera with them. Children must be over the age of 8, and be accompanied by an adult at all times (one adult can bring up to two children with them).

 For more information or to book, please contact the Natural World Centre on 01522 688868 or email whisby@1life.co.uk. For regular updates on events and activities, find us on Facebook /naturalworldcentre or follow us on Twitter @WhisbyNatureP 

Summer Fun at Bransby Horses

 

Bransby Horses has an action packed summer planned so you can enjoy a wide variety of activities whilst learning more about their rescued horses, ponies and donkeys.

Visitors can take part in Pony Grooming for a ‘hands on’ experience, or for those that prefer to watch and learn there will be informative demonstrations including ‘Donkey Playtime’.

There will also be regular children’s craft sessions, quizzes and games. Activities take place on selected days only so please visit the website for further details before you plan your visit.  

Junior Club day takes place on Sunday 30th July and is not to be missed! The day will include children’s entertainment, face painting, pony grooming and a bouncy castle.Situated just eight miles from Lincoln, Bransby Horses has excellent facilities including the Feedroom Café, Horse Sense Education Room, Children’s Play Park and Gift Shop.

Admission and parking is free, donations are gratefully received. All funds raised go directly to the animals in the charity’s care.

 For further information please contact Bransby Horses on 01427 788464 or visit www.bransbyhorses.co.uk.

 

 

 

Bumper Children's Festival

There’s a feast of fun lined-up for families when this year’s Lincoln Children’s Festival hits the city’s streets. 

Not only will youngsters from nearly 20 schools be entertaining shoppers and visitors over the four-day event - which runs from July 3 to 6 – young families with tots between the ages of two and five-years-old will also be able to pop intodrama, juggling and arts and crafts workshops. 

And with so much happening across the city, in addition to the better-than-ever Festival, families are being encouraged to spend more time exploring Lincoln’s many attractions and enjoy a snack or meal while they are in town. 

This year’s Festival is timed perfectly to tie-in with the fabulous Lincoln Knights’ Trail, the Knights’ Education Trail(featuring more than 40 half-sized Knights) and the brilliant Battles & Dynasties Exhibition at The Collection. 

There’s also the chance to see The Domesday Book at Lincoln Castle, alongside Magna Carta and The Charter of the Forest, so there’s bags to keep everyone occupied!

But back to the Children’s Festival, which will be a real spectacle, bursting with songs, drama and dance, and complemented by a super range of workshops. 

Lincoln BIG Events & Promotions Manager Michael Armstrong said: “We wanted to put a fresh slant on the Festival this year, by offering families the chance to let their children get involved in workshops. 

 

“Each day the Festival will run from 10am, with free tots’ workshops also being staged in each’s day’s location.  On Monday, July 3, the Festival will be in Lincoln High Street (near St Benedict’s Square) – with a Juggling Workshop at 1.30pm, with First Feet Entertainment.

“On Tuesday, July 4, we will be based in St Mark’s Square at St Mark’s Shopping Centre, when the schools’ performances will be followed by free drama workshops at 1pm and 1.30pm, which will be run by Back Garden Theatre.”

Lincoln BIG Events & Marketing Assistant Jess Wickham said: “On Wednesday, July 5, the Festival moves to the Waterside Shopping Centre in the High Street, and children’s performances will be followed by free arts and crafts workshops at 1pm and 1.30pm.

“Children can design their very own Lincoln Knight and get involved in a selection of Knights’ Trail activities, and take their work home.

“Finally,  on Thursday, July 6 the final day of Festival will take place at St Paul in the Bail, when the schools’ performances will be rounded off by drama workshops at 11.30am and 12 noon and Balloon-making workshops at 12.30pm and 1pm, by First Feet Entertainment. 

“We are looking to welcoming more people than ever to enjoy everything that the Festival features and all the other wonderful attractions currently on offer – including the Lincoln Knights’ Trail which gives young people the chance to complete a quest and claim a badge, certificate and a 1217 Battle of Lincoln book voucher.”

This June, it’s all about nature...

For everybody, everywhere, every day with The Wildlife Trusts’ annual challenge: 30 Days Wild.

Last June thousands of people carried out 1.8 million Random Acts of Wildness during 30 Days Wild. That’s 1.8 million precious moments that brought people closer to nature and enhanced their lives.

Can you and your family take on the challenge this June and do something wild every day for 30 days? You might find yourselves spending an evening star gazing, building a bughouse, threading daisy chains or simply sitting in the garden and watching butterflies.

A Random Act of Wildness is anything that you can do in an average working day to bring a little nature into your life. They can take a few seconds, a few minutes or, if you lose yourself completely, a few hours! And can be in your garden, local park or further afield on a trip to a nature reserve or the coast, or even in the heart of the city.

The Wildlife Trusts’ have lots of practical, fun and quirky ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ ideas for connecting with the wild around us but what you do and how you do it is up to you.

And its official - a daily dose of nature, even in bite size chunks, is good for you. The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study found that people who did something ‘wild’ each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature. From walking barefoot in the park to feeding garden birds, all sorts of activities proved positive for people – with added benefits for the natural world too.   

The overwhelming majority of parents believe that a childhood separated from nature is a diminished experience. In October 2015 a YouGov poll of parents and children, commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts, found that 92% of parents think access to nature and wildlife is important for children in general. Yet 78% of parents are concerned that children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife.

30 Days Wild is a great way to start bringing nature into your everyday lives; and once you’ve gone 30 Days Wild, you might just want to stay wild for 365 days!

Have an amazing time going wild this June!

Here are a few Random Acts of Wildness to get you started:

Look up at clouds - What shapes can you see?

Race for a rainbow - Spot all seven colours of the rainbow in nature nearby.

Create artwork in the wild - Use leaves, pine cones, twigs, feathers, or shells and pebbles on the beach, to create a temporary masterpiece in the great outdoors.

Inhale a wild scent - Smell a wildflower or the leaves of a tree.

Cuddle your favourite tree - Work out if it’s ancient - the wider your hug, the older it is.

Lunch in the wild - Eat you packed lunch outdoors and watch the birds and beetles go by.

Lift up a log - Look under dead logs and in leaf piles - what creepy crawlies do you see?

Tickle your toes - Squelch your toes in grass, sand or mud, or dangle them in a cool stream: how many wild landscapes can you feel through the soles of your feet?

Read a book in the wild - Find a book about wild creatures and read it outdoors.

Explore somewhere wild - Explore a nature reserve, river bank or woodland that you’ve never been to before.

Admire the setting sun - Find somewhere with a view to the west, stay up late and admire the setting sun in all its colourful glory.

Tell wild stories - Use nature to inspire your characters, setting and plot; create the wildest story you can.

Keep a wildlife list - Make a list of all the wildlife you can see in your garden.

 

 

For more ideas of Random Acts of Wildness apply for a free 30 Days Wild pack: www.mywildlife.org.uk/30DaysWild or download the phone app: www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild/App. 30 Days Wild packs include a packet of wildflower seeds, activity sheets, a calendar to record adventures, stickers, and a poster (free but subject to availability).