Written on Friday, 21st April
A lion roars at me from his cage. I am little taken aback, I must admit, in contrast to the princess sitting above, who is a picture of serenity. Neither seem to care that they are sharing a wooden climbing frame. Just to my left, a racing driver is revving up a super-fast engine, whilst a very busy waitress serves teas on the grass to a collection of ravenous soft toys, watched by the Fat Controller, who is perched astride Thomas the Tank Engine. There is only one place I could possibly be in Onslow Village on a Friday morning to witness all of this creative industry, and that is, of course, All Saints’ Toddler Group.
This is no unique occurrence; trampettes are tramped, pizzas sliced, mountains climbed and villages built on a weekly basis. (During term time, obviously. Creative genius needs its holidays too.) We open the doors from 9:30 to 11, to give the grown-ups a chance to practise their socialising skills, while the toddlers finish those trickier tasks they haven’t been able to get on with all week, like digging right to the bottom of the sandpit, or seeing just how high the tower of bricks will reach before it topples over. The mums, dads, grandparents and au pairs seem remarkably ok with this arrangement, is must be said, as they sip their coffee and talk. And natter. And chit-chat and gossip and laugh. (If they get too excited the little ones can always distract them with a well-timed nose-dive off a ride-on, and order is restored.)
There is always a huddle of folk round the craft table, up to their elbows in paint, and the children sometimes have their work cut out to drag them away. Luckily, a nice cup of coffee and a biscuit is all it takes to ward off the mid-morning grumps; the littlies joining in with a glass of squash – it would be rude not to, after all. Before we know it it’s 10:45 and time to pack the toys away: mobile phones go reluctantly into handbags, after a sharing this week’s cutest photos, while the smallest members diligently clear up the mess that’s accumulated in the hall. Who left this stuff out, anyway? …..
(Sorry, that may have been me.)
Some snap-shot quotes from the grown-ups today….
“It’s a really welcoming group, with a good variety of toys for the children.”
“It’s a lovely way to spend time with your child and meet friendly parents.”
“Frances loves the craft activities and Finn loves the outside area….and the biscuits!”
Any pre-schooler is welcome to bring their grown-up along for a play – we would love to see you here any Friday in term-time, 9:30-11am.